Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shelbyville Reunion, July 2003

Here is Wayne in between my mother, Dolores, and my daddy Jim. Or, as nicknames go, Doll and Leland. We were staying at my Auntie Dorothy's and I arranged for Wayne to be driven the 110 miles from Madisonville--his son David drove Wayne and Bobbi, and David was the one who suggest Two-Gun Henley to me, which I of course put a twist to. My father was the only one in the dark, and they sat the entire afternoon on Auntie Dorothy's new deck, talking about growing up in Humboldt Park, Wayne and my dad walking from Wolcott and Willard Court, respectively. Meeting up at Henderson Park. How they stood on Honore Street and watched a scene from CALL NORTHSIDE 777 filmed, my dad being a bouncer at Mania's Lucky Stop on Division Street, with my mom a dice girl at the Orange Lantern over there by Hermitage, things like that. Well, I called him yesterday evening while my nieces were playing ball in the yard. My father is very hard of hearing now, so I got the full story. Three months ago, Wayne had a 60 pound tumor removed from his stomach. Underneath that, the docs found cancer in his spleen, prostate, gall bladder, everywhere. He's not on chemo and getting hospice. He wanted to spare everyone from feeling the need to visit, but after getting the copy of the book I dedicated to him, he had to tell everyone in the Chicago area. I will be in Austin at the end of October for the World Fantasy Convention, but hope to take Greyhound to Louisville in November and get my Cousin Slick to drive me in his '64 Dodge Dart out towards Madisonville. I still haven't cried, though tears almost came Saturday morning while I was walking in the tunnel connecting the Red and Blue subway lines, of all places. More like my eyes unfocusing, floating in mist. He worked for decades as a trucker until the place went bankrupt, he moved back to KY and ran a store called Henley's Gottemdown (after a radio show that is long gone). He kept saying how proud he is of me, and I told him that while he was having a life I was writing my fictions every day for twenty years now. I wanted to die before him. There are too many ghosts around me and I want to join them.......Wayne

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Henley Heaven

I had been thinking about doing a post about ol' Bob Petitt, the Baton Rogue, or my John Agar Hypno-Cube, but that aint gonna happen. The photo is of Wayne & Bobbi Henley, the Wayne I dedicated my book to, the Wayne "One and A Half Gun" Henley from my story HIGH MOON, my namesake. He called today, while I was at the print shop, and talked to my father, kept things vague, though it could be my father being very hard of hearing. What I do know is this: the Madisonville KY doctor gives Wayne Henley three months to live. I can't even cry because of the meds I take to control being bipolar and in pain. The last time I cried was 18 days after 9/11, it took me that long. Before that, when my grandfather died in 1996, though I can fall silent when hearing Johnny Cash or George Jones singing "He Stopped Loving Her Today." But I can't cry, I'm trying to right now and I can't. Wayne