Caton H. Fudge was my boyfriend's best friend, a nested member of a small but very close group who'd known each other from college. All of them were near misses for Nam. A skinny blonde with dry wit, sly command of subtle sarcasm and understated brilliance. We were inseparable as a trio one glorious year of bright Florida sun, shady, fragrant parks, late hours of debate. Chess, Risk, beach trips, random spontaneous adventures. Star Wars hit the theatre, and we conspired to sit through it twice, middle of the day, while Caton somehow conveyed the impression we were important critics who were not to be disturbed. We tore the film apart, error by error, masterful frame, important chord, and every plot nuance. Wound up staying into the third viewing, to catch something he'd noticed; the extra arm.
We were his sounding boards for a film script he was writing, all about pirates, bad choices, unexplained shifts in weather, corrupt law enforcement, high seas adventure. With drugs, and a hard-boiled hero with a redeemed harlot by his side. Sitting on Playalinda with tide maps, road trips at midnight, discussions of the meaning of life over lukewarm glasses of whiskey. Always missed that soft chuckle while the mental wheels spin out the next wisecrack or stroke of genius.
When I went looking for him, I'd only missed him by a few months. Who haven't you spoken to lately?