February 8, 2012
By , Hood River, OR
We were jaywalking across the street trying to get to Rosauer’s. We had to sort of waddle-run because that’s always a pretty busy street. When we got inside, we didn’t really know what we wanted to do. Maybe we could steal some alcohol, I suggested.

Yeah, why not?

We strutted up and down the aisle, scoping it out for cameras, employees, etc. You know, just average stuff you’d do anywhere—well at least me and Aisha. I guess not everybody would go to a grocery store and try to shoplift alcohol. Anyway we were trying to figure out what we wanted, waiting for an opportune time. Also didn’t wanna seem fishy, so we went to leave the aisle and take a quick loop around the store. Just as we were going, though, we passed an oldish couple and Aishie whirled around and said incredulously, “STEVE-O?”

“STEVE-O!” I looked around frantically for a second and sure enough, the old man we’d run into was him. God, we hadn’t seen the guy in six, maybe seven months. Yep, it was definitely him. And he was sober. For a moment he didn’t even recognize us, then he said excitedly, “Oh, yeah! Hey! You guys look great!” We talked to him about his disappearing and how we’d heard he went to rehab for his drinking.

“Yeah, yeah, man; I went to a six-month treatment program for my drinkin’. I cleaned up,’ he said.

We were dumbfounded.

I guess you had to have seen him before to really get what Aisha and I were feeling. The first time I ever met Steve-o, I was down at a place we in Hoodie like to call the Fire Spot with my then lover and good pal Riley. Steve-o was sitting around the smouldering remains of the fire. He was drunk off his ass, too; man couldn’t even stand up. He had a sleeping bag, some clothes, and a drink with him. He was homeless and had been staying around the Fire Spot and at other various parts of the Tree Trail.

“Hey, man, you wanna come down town with us?” Riley asked.

“Yeh, sure, just lemme get my s*** together,” Steve-o slurred in reply. But he still couldn’t stand up. We stayed for maybe twenty minutes longer and when the man still couldn’t move, we gave him a bit of our money for another drink and headed off without him.

We hung around with him a lot after that, not just me and Riley but all of us, and every time we saw him he was hammered. Then one day he just up and vanished.

So now, seeing him like this, we didn’t even know what to think. He looked so fantastic and energetic and happy. I mean, he’d always been a positive and good-natured guy but, because of the alcohol, he always came off as rather muddled. And he was with a woman, walking straight with a twinkle in his eye.

We made idle chit chat for awhile then went separate ways.

Aisha and I walked slowly around the store.

“Are you gonna try and get it?” I asked after a few minutes.

“I dunno,” Aisha said. I nodded.

“Wanna just go outside and smoke a cigarette?” I asked. She nodded then, too.

I don’t know what it was. Something about seeing Steve-o that way, like a different person—but we still loved him. We were so proud of him. Even though he’d never have known we were planning to get drunk that day, we wanted to make him proud just like we were.

As we were leaving, we caught a last glimpse of Steve-o. He winked and held up his hand in a peace sign. Aishie and I laughed.

Yeah. It was definitely the right thing, and we both knew it then. We did it—or rather, didn’t do it—for him. For Steve-o.

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