Sometime Saturday someone posted a photo of Bryan Audrey on Facebook. A bit later someone else did. I thought it was just an odd coincidence. It happened again. I also thought it odd that Bryan wasn’t commenting on any of this.
Sunday afternoon I logged on to Facebook to see that someone using Bryan’s account had posted that he was dead, complete with funeral arrangements. I immediately thought it was a joke — after all, people have been posting about me being dead for months on Facebook. Still, something about it seemed legit. I followed the link to the funeral home website.
It was true.
Bryan Simon Audrey — Dead? How could this be? The man was only 45. I’m 49. I know he’d long had health issues, but I hadn’t heard anything lately. But then, when was the last time I talked to Bryan? I was walking down Main Street and he was sitting at a table in front of a coffee shop, reading. Bryan was always reading something.
We had a good chat and vowed we’d get together soon. We never did. Now, we never will. When was that? Six months ago? A year? More? I hate being a lousy friend. It makes me look hypocritical when I complain about all my lousy friends.
I met Bryan Audrey more than 20 years ago. He had been hired to work part time as a proofreader for the Journal. He was a giant of a man. He could be loud. He could be crude. He was funny. He was loyal. I think he scared some people, people who didn’t know him.
Bryan was one of the most well-read people I’ve known. He would start talking about books and authors and I would nod my head like I knew what he was talking about.
I could tell some stories about my exploits with Bryan but, well, my family read this blog.
Bryan always called my wife “Mrs. Roy” and always treated her with a politeness and a deference I’d never seen from him, or anyone for that matter. He certainly never treated me that way.
Bryan and I shared a love of music. He introduced me to Concrete Blonde, Belle and Sebastian and a number of artists. Back in the early days of the report I used to make these mix CDs every year — “The Best of the RROY Report” — that would feature music I loved and albums I’d written about over the past year. Bryan was the only person who loved them. And probably the only person who listened to them.
Bryan once showed up at my house with a box full of drinking glasses — all with Looney Tunes and DC Comics characters on them. He found them at an estate sale and thought of me. I kept the ones I didn’t have and the duplicates I give to people when they get married.
For many years Bryan lived in an apartment over Big A’s, a restaurant on Main Street. Last weekend we were walking along Main Street and looked up at his place, notable for the books stacked up by the window. Laura suggested we stop by and say “Hi.” We didn’t.
In conclusion, well, I’ll let Mr. Audrey have the last word:
25 random things what not!
1. I love Indian food!
2. I fought a priest, as a lad, 13, during a rough confession. In my defense, he cursed me and hit me first and really hard!
3. I was crippled as a lad, 1-9 years old. I wore those sweet braces just like Forest Gump!
4. I love my books like other people love their children.
5. I have no tats or piecings.
6. I enjoy french kissing in the U.S.A.!
7. I smoked a hash joint atop the Arc D’Triumphe in the middle of the day.
8. I wish I was much taller.
9. I carry grudges and torches!
10. One time at Lambert Field to get Chuck Berry’s autograph for my Mom I bought him a Heineken and a shot of Chivas! I was 14 and ordered the same for myself, we toasted and killed both, he reached up and patted me on the head and said, “Thanks white boy, you alright!” and gave me a soul brother handshake!
11. I am convinced JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald!
12. I have committed perjury, three times, to help my mates.
13. I have adopted English colloquialisms(sp?) as part of my everyday speech.
14. I am in a slanderous video on YOUTUBE, produced to humiliate myself and a mate of mine.
15. As a boy while hunting with my beloved dog, Scobbie, I shot a guy in the head who was mercilessly beating a Golden Lab with a stick! Sorry? NOT AT ALL! The next day my Mom was reading the paper and told me that some guy in the neighboring subdivision got shot. “He must’ve deserved it!” I said, How Scobbie and I laughed!
16. Being in Love is the most wonderful thing two people can share in this world. Unless it is with me and I will screw things up, I do aplogize, “Can’t we just give it another shot?” is something i have said with great frequency.
17. When I was little I wanted to be a horse Jockey, the nuns had fun with this, so much so that I dislike nuns or people dressed as nuns.
18. I love my Mother and dislike my Grandmother!
19. When I feel down I get a haircut and all is right in the world!
20. On a dare from Tim Maples I once threw a full beer out onto the field at Busch Stadium on opening day to “protest” George Bush throwing out the first pitch. Actually i had a column of, 10, spent beer cups beneath the full beer that gave it enough heft to reach the field. You are welcome America!
21. I have only been beaten once playing trivial pursuit…by Jen Gruenloh, well played young Jedi!
22. I am color blind, blue/green and red/yellow!
23. I enjoy making fun of people who are colorblind, “Did you see that outfit? When did the circus leave town and how did she get into their trash?”
24. I swore that one day I would write jokes for Bob Hope!
25. I love all of you more than you will ever know, I know that I have the best friends in the world! Thank You ALL!
No, thank you, Bryan.