The memorial was at a Mormon church. I’m sure you can imagine that I had no idea where the Mormon church was. Luckily we called a customer-friend who was on his way and he led us there. We pulled into the big parking lot and parked next to our friend on the edge of the parking lot. We were early so he introduced us to his sister and we all threw the ball for Bro for a minute. This is something that only happens in Alaska, hanging out throwing a ball for Bro before a memorial with a guy who pays you to sit in his lap naked and his sister. It’s all wholesome.

The memorial was crowded into a little classroom in a Mormon church. Seventy people in a room intended for thirty and we all sat squished together. The Mormon guy talked a little about our dead friend and how they had come to be friends (two ex marine hillbillies in Alaska, duh), and showed us pictures. I was surprised to find out that way back in the day our friend had had teeth and hair and had been kind of handsome.

Then he asked everyone to share their own stories about our friend. I looked around and the room was full of strippers, bartenders, DJs, bouncers, and club regulars just bursting with stories. Then the man reminded us that we were in a very strict church and to keep our stories appropriate. That wiped out most of the stories. A few people told stories with vague references to “a bar.” Other people had rodeo stories with no cuss words and stories about how he’d been a father to them.

It was a curious kind of editing. The recounting of a life with no juice, none of the big spirit. It was a good recounting. It sounded like a good life. But it was the edited version.

Afterwards we went to the house and appetizers and families gave way to grown ups and hard liquor.


  1. I think it’s awesome that the whole strip club showed up for a regular’s funeral. Maybe it’s a small town thing? I mentioned visiting one of Christie’s Phx regulars in the hospital when he had heart surgery….and everyone looked at me like I was nuts.

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