It was a Tuesday afternoon the first time I met Joe. The full white beard and hair with thin gold framed eyeglasses gave him a thin Santa Claus look that him appear older than his 61 years. He was a helicopter pilot during Vietnam and the war scene had a profound affect. At some point he had been declare ‘insane’ and had received full medical benefits. Anyone who knew him though would just tell you he was interesting, unique or odd.
He ran a small engine repair shop from his garage and lived next door in a 24 foot diameter geodesic home he built single handed. The home was small but the craftsman ship and details were of a patient quality. I remember a stone fireplace centered in the house extending all the way to the peak of the dome, each of the shists, quartz and granite rocks were found nearby. The bathroom on the second floor loft had a half moon cut in the saloon style door.
It just happened to be 4 pm when I arrived on that summer day and it was time for ‘Oinky’s’ beer. Oinky was Joes 400 pound pet pig. Oinky loved beer. From the pen, we walked 20 paces over to the shop. As I was overlooking a riding lawn mower, Joe was talking away, back to me, about the repairs from the work the bench. I didn’t think much of it.
When he turned to face me again he was sparking up a rather large joint with a plumbers torch. He got the ‘j’ cherried within 4 puffs then proceeded to place it into some device that resembled a light bulb.
I looked at him curiously:
‘It don’t waste smoke this way’ Joe says ‘do ya want some?’
‘No thanks Joe, it’s a long way home for me, but go right ahead.”
‘Oh don’t worry about that, I will!’ laughing loudly.
Shortly thereafter a woman with a snowblower arrives. Joe walks out to talk with her, learn the problem and get her phone number to call her when the job is done. While I was waiting, Russ, who occasionally works in the shop told me a story about how one day he came into the shop to find that Joe had just eaten a bag of mushrooms and was now standing in front of the mirror with hair clippers. He had just finished shaving the whole left side only of his head and beard. Russ told me he kept it like that until the next day when the ‘shrooms had finally worn off.
I haven’t see Joe in quite a while. Recently I learned that he decided it was time to plan an end. One day he went out back, shot Oinky, then himself.