For most people, the closest they ever get to seeing a dead man walking would be while sitting on the couch watching Game of Thrones, or maybe during a horror movie snuggled up next to a loved one, or potentially in a dream in the early hours of the morning. There are only a few people who have not only seen, but partied with a dead man, I can confidently say that I am now part of this group…
When I first met young Richard McDonald he was very much alive. He had a zest for life. He was a storyteller. A ladies man. A former athlete. An Instagram creep. Some may say he was a virile man. I wish that you could have met him in his prime, I know I wish I did, according to his stories, he was a sight to behold.
Over 10 months or so, Rich and I shared some great times together. In many respects, he was the younger brother I never had who was 8 years my senior. On a night out, Rich was the captain and I was a poor excuse for a first mate. We also had a friend Ryan who would usually find himself overboard, but that is a story for another day.
Rich was a fan of adventure, but never two nights in a row. Hangovers hit harder these days. He would not suffer fools, but was always up for educating people on his favourite topic, the stock market. Whether we were walking the streets of Prague or driving in a van through the desert in Morocco, you could definitely say that Rich was an educator.
You may think that some of this is painting a slightly less than positive image of the dearly departed Rich Mac. You would be wrong, Rich came as a package, and even if you didn’t agree with all of him you couldn’t go past the amazing generosity, warm nature, inquisitiveness and openness that made up the rest of the man.
I knew we had lost Rich a few months before the funeral. He decided that he would be sailing back home, back to the UK, back to the rain and darkness. Some thought that the light and warmth that Rich brought to any situation would help thaw the cold of London but I knew that even for him, it would be a tough task…this was the end.
While we still had him, we decided to make sure he knew he was loved. We organised what Rich understood to be a casual dinner. Just Rich, myself and Ryan wearing his life-vest. Tacos were on the menu and we all enjoyed a beer or two. In classic Rich style, he was up for something sweet after dinner. Her name was not Brenda, or Flor, or Fernanda, or Allesandra, he wanted a waffle or crepe to close out this Thursday night before the voyage back home began the next day.
This was not how things were going to turn out…
We walked up the street with Rich thinking dessert was on the cards only for him to notice a big party bus (otherwise known as the “funeral home”) parked on the side of the road. When he saw it, he laughed at the image on the back, made a wise crack about how the picture of Jesus looked like me, not knowing that the image of the messiah on this bus could not be more appropriate.
As we got closer and closer, reality set in. Richard could see everyone who he had travelled with for almost a year waiting for him to board the bus. He was shocked and uncertain, tried to resist the pull of the grim reaper and found himself cemented to the spot. However, in the end, you cannot cheat death, it comes for all of us and it was Rich’s time. So with a gentle push, I guided him onboard and to the sound of melancholic bagpipes from his homeland, we laid him down to rest.
It was time for the ceremony to begin. I called for everyone’s attention and the congregation fell silent. Ryan read a lovely eulogy, fit only for the best. People wept at his fine words, laughed at the memories he recalled of the good times and were perplexed by his life-vest.
Rich lay motionless on the floor of the party bus and everyone pulled out their funeral cards. I think we all took a moment to look at his beautiful face on one side of the card, taking in those piercing eyes for one last time before turning it over and reading out The Lord’s Prayer…
That was when Rich’s tears began. The cold hard truth of his demise hit him right in the chest, in his heart, in his spirit. His naked emotions exposed like his naked body was to his final lover. But this was when the night got truly weird…
Richard rose from the dead!
We don’t know if it was the music, the booze, the bus or the impending adult entertainment that made him stand to attention, but he rose from the dead. The night was one to remember with people dancing on top of the bus, reggaeton music blaring and feminists cheering on strippers.
It was only fitting that the night ended where so many of my other nights with Rich ended, at a night club. Being Thursday it was a quiet night for the club, who even on Saturday’s were not used to the undead walking through the door, but we continued on until the early hours just the way Rich would have wanted!
Later in the evening Ryan had well and truly slipped overboard with the life-vest unable to keep him afloat. True to custom I made sure to get him home. Rich was standing on the corner of the street while myself and Ryan drove past waving at him in a cab. Not the way I envisaged saying goodbye but sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you expect.
Farewell friend, you will be missed. We almost made it to a full year together, only for you to stumble at the final hurdle. I hope we get to see each other in the life to come, and for your sake, I pray that there is a nightclub in hell, because we both know that’s where you are going.
As always, take what you will from this post and good luck if you run into the undead in your travels.