On Thursday night I was at Holy Cross for a meeting that ended around 9 p.m. I turned my cell phone on as I was walking through the church parking lot and there was a message from Junior. I figured it was about homework, so I called back right away.
It was worse than that. "Did you hear Picasso's brother got killed?" he asked me.
"What? Not the one in jail?" (I thought it was a prison riot or something.)
"No. His other brother." (Picasso is the family caboose--he's the youngest and his older siblings are grown. Some have kids and none of them live here, so I don't know them at all.)
"Naw. Someplace west. He got shot."
"Damn," said Junior, with the particular pronunciation that expresses profound surprise (dah-um, kind of).
I agreed wholeheartedly, so I couldn't bring myself to make a comment about not cussing. I just said, "Yeah."
Junior asked me if I saw Picasso to tell him to call. (I bet Junior's parents advised him not to call since he'll be busy with family stuff.)
I got home around midnight tonight and saw the lights were still on in Picasso's apartment and even thought I saw him at the window. I put my bike in the basement and came back out.
It turned out they were expecting somebody, but not me of course. I guess it was another brother. He pulled up in a car as I got to the gate and asked, "Are you looking for somebody?"
"Yeah," I said. "I didn't get to talk to Picasso yesterday. I live across the street."
"Oh, OK," he said. "They're coming down now."
Picasso and someone who I would guess is his older sister came down. The sister went to talk to the brother and I talked to Picasso for a minute.
"Hey, Picasso, I saw your light was on. I just wanted to come and say I'm sorry."
"Oh," he said. I asked about the funeral--the wake is tomorrow late afternoon, but it's way up on the northwest side so I probably won't go.
"Did you talk to Junior?"
"No, he hasn't called me," said Picasso.
"He told me to tell you to call him when you have time."