My cross-street neighbor Kim strolled up the driveway yesterday to see what I was up to–Shelby and I were cleaning out the vibratory tumbler, getting ready for the next grit–and casually mentioned that the Admiral was dead.

“Committed suicide,” she said, and frowned at my look of surprise, “I can’t believe you don’t know that. How could you NOT know that? There were police cars and sirens and lights and ambulances all over.”

Apparently I was out that night.

I mentioned the Admiral last March, a ghostly, skeletal figure who lived a few doors down. An ex-Vietnam vet and alcoholic who, whenever the craving took him, slipped on the skimpiest pair of running shorts I’ve ever seen and ran, shaking his fist at the stars, outrunning his demons.

I guess his demons finally caught him, because he shot himself. Kim, working in her garage with the doors up, heard a bang, then screams. Someone called 911, and that was that.

His widow put the house up for sale and moved down south. It’s a nice-looking house–the Admiral painted it last year, and the year before that replaced the old, worn driveway with brick. The realtor removed the Admiral’s favorite whirlywind toys and gnomes from the front yard when it went on the market, so that it now looks like the sober, up-and-coming-yuppie house it probably never was.

But nobody’s buying it.

I’m sorry, Admiral.