One of the patio characters is Medicated Bob, otherwise known as Religious Bob or Blue Guitar Bob. He’s been a regular for years. Bob is a forty-year-old schizophrenic, beefy and tanned, who always wears religious t-shirts. His cycle begins when he’s well-medicated and he sits and reads placidly. Later on he stops taking his medications and he gets a bit preachy, and then a bit more preachy, and then really loud. At the end of the cycle he stops making sense at all, harangues people and shouts, and is finally asked to leave. His third nickname comes from a time when he had a blue (fake) cutout wood or cardboard guitar that he would play and sing along with tunelessly. One time when friendly_bandit was working at the newsstand Bob came up and started screaming out the names of the porn magazines until he was asked to leave. “Plaaaaybooooy! PEEENT HOOOOOUSE!! HUSSSTLAAAAAR!!!” You get the idea, I think.
Bob returned to the patio again today looking rested and well, no doubt on the early part of the cycle. As he was leaving I encountered him out front. “Hello!” he said, “I don’t think we’ve ever been introduced. I’m Robert.” I introduced myself in return and shook hands. He seemed to recognize my name. “Say, I’d almost think I went to elementary school with you.” “What school?” I asked. “Woodland.”
I asked him his last name. “L_____”, he said. “Yeah, I remember you! You were the speed reader in sixth grade!”
Holy fucking shit. The stocky schizophrenic in the religious t-shirt in front of me was Bobby L_____. The kid who was a scary fast sprinter, prankster, a bit aggressive and mean sometimes but mostly okay, just another normal kid. He and I and James and Jamie played tag a lot in fifth grade, and hung out eating Chef Boyardee ravioli and explaining sex to each other in sixth grade. I hadn’t seen him since. Until, of course, I spent the last 7 years seeing him on and off and having no idea it was the same guy.
What the HELL happened to Bobby? WHAT THE HELL?