South Africa
Part 78
Based on emails from October, 2002.

Hmmm. I guessed I was maybe a little too harsh the last time I wrote Gary. Next time I wrote, I explained that if I sounded pissed off I was sorry. It was just that working on Cody's World had kept Cody so much alive for me. I was in fucking tears after reading Gary's comment on his news page about "sealing Cody's passing" cos I was so angry! It was as though Gary had given up!

He argued that my being around Cody's folks and his friends made it easier for me. But it didn't... it made it harder cos I would expect him to suddenly appear whenever I was there.

In exactly one month's time a year ago, my fucking world fell apart and I couldn't handle it. Well, Gary knew how I chose to handle it. I fucked myself up and was totally suicidal cos I couldn't see myself going through life without Cody there to talk to or to confide in, or fight and argue with. He was like the generator that kept me going day to day... making each day different... forcing me to see beyond my own ego.

Making love to Steph the other night was very special for me. Nothing would ever take the magic of what happened away from either of us. Despite that, I would still think of me and Cody lying in bed together, with my head on his chest, and his fingers playing with my hair. The feel of him and the smell of him and the sound of his voice were as clear to me now as they were a year ago. That was just so fucking hard and intense, and I didn't really expect anyone to understand that. On the other hand it was good cos I didn't wanna end up a couple of years later not even remembering what he looked like.

Had his friends filled that void? Nobody could ever do that. Nobody could ever come close to being like him or having the same effect on me in terms of what went on in my heart and head when he was there. And the more I thought and remembered, the more I felt guilty about not appreciating what I had in him... or at least showing him how much I loved him. I thought Cody saw me as treating our relationship as ordinary. I never gave him the chance to recognize the fact that I really did appreciate how special it was.

After he left, and I dove into the more hardcore type drugs, it was supposed to be a temporary escape for me, just to help me over the really hard times. But the drugs took control and I never saw it as being that way for a long time.

Writing Gary and working on Cody's World gave me a chance to keep him alive in my head... to help me remember the times that we sat side by side and fought and argued over putting the news pages together. We would sit there and come up with ideas for the Cody TJ stories.

Meantime, Gary was giving me the impression that he wasn't gonna write any more Daniel Stories. Pity. They'd had a huge effect on Cody, and he loved them. He used to talk about Daniel as though he was the kid next door. I thought that Daniel was the guy who helped so many people through MrB. Yeah, Cody and Winger and those guys helped too, but Daniel was like the glue for the whole MrB thing.

"Hey, Gary, to have your life fucked up by a lightie like Luke is not doing yourself any justice at all. Luke is a part of the real world of fuckups and people screwing each other over... and distrust. But then so was Cody a part of the real world of rewriting the boundaries of what is acceptable in a relationship and friendship. He blew those boundaries apart. The people he touched found the things he did acceptable because they were. They weren't bound by the dictates of a bunch of fucking morons sitting in high offices who told the world how to live their lives."

"Cody told me once that he'd had some debates with you about religion and Christianity via email. You had different views on Christianity. Cody chose the view that so long as people lived decent and honest lives, they were living according to good spiritual values where nobody hurt anybody else, and differences were accepted."

"Cody spoke quite a bit to me about you, Gary, cos he had so much respect for you, and just had to talk to someone about this friend of his that he thought so much of."

"Think I would've bothered to have John send that mail last December [telling you about Cody's accident] if I didn't believe that?"

"I've really fucking gone on with this subject but I don't think Cody would agree with you about Daniel. I think Daniel needs to continue to meet the "stars of the Net", including me, fuckhead. :) Daniel hasn't met Steve yet. And Steve is cocky enough for the two of them to have some real humdinger fucking fights and arguments as well."

"Don't start giving up now, Gary. Cody didn't become your friend for four years for you to suddenly give up on what the two of you started. You have the respect of so many people, Gary."

"I haven't said anything about what you wrote in your News and Thoughts pages about this fucking pending war with Iraq. The WTC thing blew Cody's mind. He went into a total depression about it. Mark? He wanted to go fight somebody. But who the fuck do we fight? These are political games that none of us understand except that someone wants to go out and kick some fucking ass."

"You want Saddam to get his cos he's arrogant? How come you let me get away with what I did? Fuck knows I am arrogant, and can be painful, but I'd hate to think that someone was figuring to knock me off cos they couldn't handle me."

"My dad mentioned this scene the other night at supper. He said that what we don't need right now is another Vietnam cos it will cause a major catastrophe, mainly because of the global village. We all belong to the same fucking very small universe now, and we should start building rather than breaking."

"Let me ask you a question, Gary, and I want an honest answer. If Cody were alive, would you ask him to volunteer to fight this war? Cos, if not, then you don't believe in it yourself. But if you're prepared to send someone you love dearly to fight this thing and know that there's little chance of his coming back, then go for it. And when you see the body of a soldier lying in the sand of some fucked up little village just close your eyes immediately after that and imagine that it's Cody lying there."

"Me? Fucking hell, I'm too young to die for someone else's bitch. Get back to writing Daniel. That's your direction. Let's hear what he has to say without being influenced by an adult. I don't think he would want to give up skating in his Speedos and camping in his tent to go and rot in the desert sand of some country he doesn't understand."

"I don't think your readers want to see Daniel do that either. I don't think MrB readers want to hear about politics and war."

"Sound like I'm getting on a soapbox here? Fuck, yeah! If you hadn't gotten onto a fucking soapbox nine months ago and told me to pull myself together, I'd probably be playing second string in Cody's quartet right now."

"This is not a crap-out session, Gary. You're the primary link to Cody's World... his private world that very few people got to look at except through you."

"Don't start using MrB as a personal political soapbox. It's not your style to do that. So, hey. Reckon I'm gonna be a good psychologist? Hahahahahaha!"

"There are people out there who love you so much, and I think they are really sad to see what you're going through right now. This is gonna be a fucking hard time for us, Gary, and we don't need you to bail on us now. You need to put on Cody's rose-colored glasses and see what he saw cos fuck knows he saw only good in everyone, including the shitters that he had to face in the [boxing] ring, or had to put down to protect someone else."

"Hey, he saw some good in me that I wouldn't have bet on. That has to count for something. And a lot of what he saw he learned from you."

"So, do I see any good in Craig for the big match on Tuesday? Yeah, I reckon Craig would be pretty good lying on his back in the ring with me standing there while the coach lifts my hand into the air as the victor. So, you see? There's even good in that cunt, Craig."

"Winger is still making sure of his daily call to train with me, and he's just getting a bit stronger himself cos he does everything with me."

"My dad is taking a keen interest in my technique as well. Steph is feeling more and more that I should try to get out of this commitment somehow."

"Am I worried about Tuesday? Not as much as I was cos I think I can beat him. In fact, I'm almost positive I can. I've been working like shit and it can only pay off. Am I looking forward to it? Not a fuck, cos I know that he has to get his fist in there somewhere, and he hits fucking hard. I'm looking forward to after the fight where I can help him up off the mat, and we can shake hands, and we can declare a truce between us."

"Wingnut visited this afternoon, and I got a fucking erection. But before I got the opportunity to ask him if he wanted to sleep over, he said that he and Jacky were going out to a movie. So I didn't bother. And it wasn't just me being horny. It was about wanting to spend some quality time with him. He's got a major job on tomorrow morning. We had a storm during the week with helluva strong winds, and one of the driveway gates belonging to an old lady who lives down his road blew right off. So the Winger's gotta fix it. He said he might just need to gimme a shout to help him if Jason's busy."

"Wingnut is fucking good with his hands, and can fix just about everything. He also knows his way around tools. I think his dad spends some time with him, and always gets him involved in fixing things around the house, and showing him how things work. The grommet helps his dad with the car as well, and isn't scared to get his hands dirty. :) I saw that when he slept over. :) I've got a lot of time for Winger."

"Oh! You asked about his dad and Mr T. I think they're good neighbors rather than buds. Winger says that his folks get together with the Ts now and then for braais [BBQs], but it's not like a major friendship or anything."

It was the end of the week, and I'd planned on connecting with Steph. I wasn't sure what we were gonna do, but my main priority was just to stay outta shit for a while. So it was probably gonna be pizzas and a movie, or a movie and a pizza, or maybe just a movie, or maybe just a pizza, or maybe half a pizza each with a movie, or a movie and a half pizza each, or maybe just half a pizza each, or maybe we would just stay at her place and watch a vid or something and order some pizza delivered, or maybe go out for pizza, depending on whether we got a vid or not... or maybe just go out for pizza and get a pizza delivered to a street corner and eat it by the side of the road.

"Have a cool weekend, G."

Peace, Love, Respect

Your friend and the Codeman's,

Steve

> Hi Gary. If I sounded pissed off in my last note Im sorry.

Below is what I wrote before having the heart attack last Saturday afternoon, October 5, 2002.

G'day Steve,

It's OK to be pissed off. We've both got something worth being pissed off about. I'm old enough to have lost many friends one way or another, plus both my parents. But none of that compares to losing Cody. So many of Cody's friends have said that he taught them what love and friendship was all about. Ditto for me.

My prob was that at 50+ I couldn't rush out and start putting Cody's teachings into practice. So I had to invent someone who could. Enter Daniel. Mind you, Daniel kinda took Cody's ball and ran with it hehehe, and got up to a helluva lotta tricks that even Cody would need to think twice about. But I was loving the way Daniel would stretch the rules and boundaries, and yet somehow keep his integrity intact. The lovable scallywag. If it hadn't been for Daniel's escapades being described in explicit detail, I doubt whether Cody would have told me about his escapades in equally explicit detail.

For you it's the memories of you and Cody together, with your head on his chest while his fingers played with your hair. His odor, the sound of his voice, the beating of his heart. For me it was "hiya G", followed by another email telling me all about his life and what had been happening. Cody and I carried each other around in our heads. We were thousands of kilometers apart, but also closer than two peas in a pod. When Mark visited Cape Town for Cody's 19th birthday, he met him at the surf shop. Right away, Cody raced next door to the internet cafe to send me a quick note. Yep, he wanted to share that special moment with me.

Cody was always talking about friends "being close". Mark was petrified of Cody to begin with, and Cody's insistence that being close was what friendship was all about. But he eventually won Mark over. The interesting thing for me is that Cody was also able to magically make the physical distance between him and me disappear. When I read his mail I was in Cape Town. I was in his head. So being close was not just about being close physically. I can honestly say that I've never felt as close to anyone in my life as I have to Cody. Not by a country mile.

I've just been reading some of his email. It's like he's still here talking to me. I just happened to be reading one where he and Mark had had a huge fight. Jeez, the hills and valleys! At least the emails used to keep me busy, as well as on my toes.

Daniel? I've taken on board what you've said, Steve. And just now I received an email from a reader who wants to know when I'll be writing more stories about Daniel. Well, in order to do that, I would need to "become" Daniel again, and I'm not sure how Daniel would handle the news of Cody's death. The most recent Daniel story I've written is the one where he accompanies me, Lindsay and Sue to Taree. I was waiting around to meet a real "Bobby" Aborigine so that I could write some stuff about the Koori culture here from a teen's point of view. But that hasn't happened yet. I suppose I could finish that story cos although Cody was killed on November 3, 5 days after we arrived in Taree, I didn't find out about it until December 15, by which time Daniel would have returned to the States.

If I were to resume Daniel's Diary and other Daniel stories, Cody/Kyle would need to be dead. I just wouldn't feel right about keeping Cody/Kyle alive. I can't have you, Wingnut, Mark, Steph, and everyone else living without Cody while Daniel is the exception. The Daniel stories have always had a certain credibility even though they're fiction, and I don't wanna risk that credibility. But before I "become" Daniel again, I would need to feel right about it. Right now, I don't, and I don't know how long it will be before I do. Sure, I understand that I need to keep going and to do it for Cody, but I also have to do Cody's memory justice. If I churned out stuff just to fill up space, he'd be mad as hell at me.

No, I don't wanna stick a rocket up Saddam's ass cos he's arrogant. I wanna stick a rocket up his ass cos he's dangerous, and a serious threat to stability. Your dad's correct. The last thing we need is another Vietnam, and I've said so myself. But this is different, as is every conflict. It needs its own special solution.

>Let me ask you a question Gary and I want an honest answer. If Cody were alive, would you ask him to volunteer to fight this war?

No, I wouldn't ask him. I would leave any decisions about participating or not participating entirely to him. But you'll notice that no Safricans volunteered to fight in Afghanistan. They weren't needed for one thing. And nobody was arguing about the need to fight the Taliban and Bin Laden. Why? Because the WTC towers were knocked down, the Pentagon was attacked, and another hijacked plane crashed before it could get to the White House. So what do we do about Saddam? Wait until he strikes first? Then retaliate?

Last month I got a skin cancer cut out of my back. The doc said, "this has gotta come out". I didn't argue. That cancer was as big as my little finger, much much smaller than the rest of me. But it had the power to destroy me, just as Saddam has the power to destroy. Being small doesn't mean being harmless.

At the moment in Oz, we have the Uniting Church, the Anglican Church and various other community groups suggesting civil disobedience, and organizing protest marches against war with Iraq. Similar demonstrations are happening elsewhere in the world. They're comparing the current situation with Iraq to the situation during the 60s with Vietnam, when people began to protest about America's involvement with the struggle between North and South Vietnam - or communism versus democracy. When did protesters kick up a stink about Vietnam? In the beginning? Nope. They waited until American soldiers started to lose their lives. If America had been kicking the Viet Cong's ass do you think there would have been mass protests at home? Do you remember any mass protests about America's recent involvement in Afghanistan? Nope. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am, and it was all over. Goodbye Taliban.

If Vietnam taught us anything it was NOT to fight a war with one arm tied behind our backs.

That's how I see a "war" with Iraq if it happens to eventuate. It'll all be over in days. Guys like you won't even have time to enlist. If Saddam wants to avoid conflict, all he has to do is allow the United Nations to send in its weapons inspectors to inspect EVERYTHING, including Saddam's palaces. If Saddam has nothing to hide, then where's the problem? BTW, the Presidential Election is due in a few days in Iraq. There's one candidate's name on the ballot paper. Guess who's name that is? What's the point of having an election if there's only one candidate?

Saddam Hussein is a joke that the UN is not taking seriously. It could be said that the UN itself is a joke. Oz's most popular talk-back broadcaster calls it a "travelling cocktail party". He is also not in favor of American/British action without the full backing of the UN. That's understandable. But I don't agree with the notion of a bunch of pacifist academics trying to convince a mad dog not to bite.

Saddam knows exactly what he's doing. He creates divisions and diversions amongst those people who are supposed to be his opponents. He's got people in the western world demonstrating, NO WAR AGAINST IRAQ! He's even got people sending me nasty emails! Not that they're siding with Saddam directly; they just don't realize that they're siding with Saddam indirectly.

Consider this. If US intelligence had gotten wind of what the Taliban was planning... hijacking jetliners and crashing into the WTC towers, the Pentagon, and the White House [actually there was advice that those attacks were being planned but it was ignored]... and decided to attack the Taliban in Afghanistan BEFORE the hijack attacks, what do you think the do-gooders would have been saying about that?

NO WAR AGAINST THE TALIBAN! Hey, the WTC towers would have still been standing, there would have been no hole in the Pentagon, and no airliner crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Everything would have been normal and peaceful. So why wage war on the Taliban? There would have been no reason to except for some 'crazy notion' that American soil was going to be attacked. Ha! The administration is paranoid! NO WAR AGAINST THE TALIBAN! Yeah, right.

To my mind, anyone who thinks that Saddam is not dangerous is a fool. And anyone who thinks that the "travelling cocktail party" can get its act together in time to stop Saddam's evil plans is also a fool. I have been a fool many times in my life, so I know what it takes to be a fool.

You saw "cunt eyes" when you saw a picture of Luke. You warned me about him. But I waited until I actually busted him stealing from my wallet, and then later getting a brick through my front door, to act. If I'd acted on your advice in the first place, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache. Correct?

> And when you see the body of a soldier lying in the sand of some fucked up little village just close your eyes immediately after that and imagine that its Cody lying there.

You've been watching too many movies, Steve, and listening to too much hype. How much of that kinda thing did you see in the Afghanistan news reports? How many of the thousands of people who went to work at the WTC towers that fateful morning would have expected two jets to crash into their buildings? How many would have expected to be leaping out of windows to their deaths rather than being consumed by fire? How many of the thousands of people in neighboring buildings could have expected to witness horrific sights that will never ever be erased from their memories? So what would my advice to Cody have been? Go get a job in an office in one of the WTC towers? You'll be safe there. Have a few end-of-year beers with your mates from the surf shop then hitch a ride home?

On the news the other day, I heard about a car crashing into a tree at Kangaroo Valley, which was one of my fav spots to visit when I had my Kombi camper. There were six kids in the car, aged 14 to 19. All were killed. Next day, three more kids were killed in another crash in Queensland. Yesterday, some lunatic kid was showing off, doing wheelies around the roundabout here, when he lost control of the car. WHAMMO. Into a pole. He did more damage to his pride and his car than he did to himself or his passengers, but that's probably the kinda dickhead Cody hitched a ride home with on November 3.

No, I don't intend to use MrB as a political soapbox. Actually, politics bores me. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But this one time that I expressed an opinion about Saddam, the email came thick and fast, some of it bordering on hysteria. I was quite happy to say a few words and let it rest. But my detractors wanted to blow it into something bigger, and out of all proportion. I wasn't willing to get into an argument with them, so I kept my replies to just a few lines. That was construed by some as being "rude". Others suggested that I was totally lost in my mind. Giving up the ciggies had sent me crazy, so they said.

It's interesting to observe something here. On the subject of Saddam, I have had a few emails criticizing my opinion, and only one supporting me. All the critics were aggro. The single supporter was gentle and polite. So there ya go. People who wave banners and get involved in marches and demonstrations are usually noisy and unpleasant. In the case of Vietnam, they made Viet Vets feel ostracized. Soldiers doing a job for their country were made to feel like rejects; unwelcome. The demonstrators wanted to teach their governments a lesson but it was the soldiers, the individuals, who paid the price. Demonstrators don't think. They just make a lot of noise. Waving banners and chanting the same slogans over and over. They behave like people who have been hypnotized. Robots.

Yeah, you're gonna be a good psychologist hehehe. But you've gotta get a few more runs on the board yet, young whippersnapper.

So the big day is next Tuesday? So soon? It's absolutely wicked that you have Wingnut doing so much to help you train, and to keep you focused. Who could have guessed this? Your dad, Mr T, Wingnut, Mark... all in your corner. OK, so Steph is behaving like a female. They don't really understand guy stuff.

I can see a lot of parallels between your attitude to Craig and Bush's attitude to Saddam. Craig's gotta go. He's gotta get outa your face and stop giving you grief.

And it's great to know that Wingnut's a practical person... fixing things, understanding how a car works, that kinda stuff. Interesting about that woman's gate being blown off in a gale... same thing happened here last week. Half the gate's practically falling apart. I fix it to a point, but only to a point. It ain't my gate.

It's Saturday here, and soon I'll be pedaling down to the river to see my old mate Steve Starling. Not sure when I'll be hearing from you again, so good luck on Tuesday. You sound pretty confident. Just be careful of being overly confident. There's a bunch of us here who can't wait to hear about the outcome. And I'll bet Wingnut is even more nervous than you are! Hehehehe. Actually, Mr T, your dad, Mark, Steph, the whole bloody tribe will be biting their nails waiting to hear the news.

Well, there's not much more you can do. You've trained yourself stupid, you've sought advice from all the right quarters, and you've got your mind focused. The rest will happen in the ring. Hopefully, Craig's ego is just sooooo ridiculously inflated that he's figured he didn't need to do anything for preparation hehehe.

Well, there ya go. That's where I finished the email before pedaling down to the river, then suffering the heart attack. I was gonna add a bit of whatever and send my reply to your email when I got back home. Sorry about missing the fight. :( I'll go into a bit more detail about the heart attack in my next answer.

Your friend and the Codeman's,

Gary

PS: Just got a phone call from Brian "The Pest". He sounds like Deputy Dawg in the cartoons hehehe. :)

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved. mrbstories


 

 Steve Part 79