This is one of those things we hate to write – that we try to avoid writing.

One of our close friends has passed on.

It’s not the first time, and we usually don’t say anything publicly when it does. We have rules here about talking about real world events – especially personal events. As strange – or even shallow – as it may sound, the timing warrants highlighting this friend.

With very rare exceptions, we don’t use real people as the basis of characters in our fictional works. There are a few characters which might be amalgamations of several people we have known or met, like real-life stereotypes, but almost never a specific person written as a fictional one. I say “almost never,” because this friend was the exception.

In the story section of this site, you can read old west timey tales about C. A. Jones and the Kill ‘Em All Kid. These were not made up whole cloth. This series of short stories are my “true life” – dramatically enhanced – happenings playing the game Red Dead Redemption. The man who played as “Jones” in these stories succumbed to cancer this week.

I mentioned the timing, and there are two events which are relevant.

The more important is No-Shave November. Our friend died on the eve of men’s cancer awareness month. While the particulars of his case are not (necessarily) some cautionary tale about early detection, early detection and advances in modern medicine save lives. Please consider science and research in your donations and ballots.

The more personal is the release of Red Dead Redemption 2. Knowing my friend was ill, I had looked forward to the game’s release. No longer living in the same state, we didn’t get to hang out very often. Using RDR2 as a virtual hangout, we had planned to saddle up once again and spend what time we could causing virtual mayhem, playing cards, and just enjoying the scenery in the cowboy west. We didn’t get the chance. I downloaded the game last night, right after I received word of his passing. As I now prepare to ride into the west once again, it will be with a heavy heart, remembering a good friend.