In high school, life became dull for me. I could not understand my fellow students. To me they were like nice, pleasant cattle. They were crazy about basketball. The prospect of a prom thrilled them. I almost made beatnik status. I considered leaving school. My mind was mired down.
Then a new student came in from Massachusetts. His father was an aircraft engineer. He was brainy. We soon became friends. Under his influence, my mind woke up. He knew the symbols for the elements. I did not. I began to learn them too.
We competed in running one day. He said he was the champion of his school back home. He was pathetic. I left him in the dust.
We became close friends. Dave introduced me to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, my favorite story even today. We discussed the Morlocks and their subterranean culture of machinery.
On a school trip at a machining company we saw a man open a hatch and peer about. He ducked back down into a giant machine. "Just like a morlock," one of us said. Later my teacher lamented that if only he had known. The father of one of the students worked at the factory. His name was Mr. Morlock. I looked at my friend across the room. He was astounded at this synchronicity.
Dave had a killer sense of humor. He told of a baseball game he and his brother were in. Someone hit the ball into an orchard. Dave's brother went after it, but did not return. Dave went looking for him and found him bowing down to an apple on a stick. Someone threw another apple and knocked the idol down. Dave's brother was horrified. "You have desecrated Momo," he said. Dave laughed so hard at this he cried.
Dave had his first attack at school. I was talking to him when he got a terrified look on his face and fell to the floor, thrashing about. This was the beginning of a mental decline. It was incurable. I visited Dave in a mental institution. He could be rational, but soon tired out. He was fighting his demons.
Not long later, he walked into a severely cold winter landscape. He had done it before. This time they found him too late. He was wearing a short sleeved shirt and seated against a tree, frozen to death.