March 18th, 2004

Brian's Death

Almost two years later

I can never remember the date off the top of my head, but since I'm a packrat, I can pull out my April 2002 cellphone bill to remind me. On the evening of March 26th, starting at 5:49pm, I made a sequence of calls. One to a cell phone, then one to my house, and a third to the Gillis residence.

The first call was to Brian, who was standing below the Carmel Valley Rd. interchange off I-5. He was on his way back from a spring break trip to Mexico, and had convinced the bus driver to drop him there (actually, up top on the shoulder of the freeway was the closest he'd agree to) rather than going all the way back to San Luis Obispo, where he'd be hard pressed to find a ride all the way back here, as everyone else was already home on break.

The call doesn't even last the full minute I'm charged for, because Brian's battery dies as soon as he picks it up. I'm trying to tell him I'm on my way down Black Mountain Rd. to fetch him, following a call at home from his mom. Pat's hopped up on goofballs (as David Letterman would put it) following shoulder surgery, so she couldn't go herself.

My next call is home to check for any messages, as I don't know exactly where near the interchange to find Brian. Maybe he's waiting at one of the two gas stations there, or one side or the other of the freeway, I don't know, and I'd like not to have to spend too much time searching. The third call is to see if Pat's heard anything more concrete. She hadn't, but I find Brian, looking like a derelict standing next to the traffic light control pedestal on the south side of CVRd., on the east side of I-5.

On the way home, and on the subsequent trip in Brian's truck to get gas and pick up dinner (In 'N Out,) I hear all about the Fun Things that went on in Mexico. Brian had helped sign people up for the trip, so he got a better hotel room and the responsibility to MC some of the activities. Things like getting people to perform drunken sex acts on each other (with fruit?) on stage, in front of a crowd, for... a free drink to get even more drunk! Yeah, these college spring break trip are every bit as depraved as you'd imagine they are.

I already had plans for Easter the following Sunday, so as it turned out, that would be the last time I saw Brian alive. The next Thursday, April 4, I got a phone call telling me he was dead. He had been found that morning by his roommate. The ME's office would determine the cause of death to be an overdose of Gamma-Hydroxy Butyrate, the common club drug GHB.

The SLO New Times has a cover story today about Brian's death. Much of what we know about the circumstances come from depositions taken from fellow students and fraternity "brothers" (*snort*) who were with Brian at the party thrown by Sigma Chi the night before. There are a lot of conflicts in the stories. People are trying to cover their ass. A lot of these kids are fellow Poway residents.

The icon picture comes from the whiteboard in my home office. It's styled after the board on Homicide. The name stays up in red until whoever's responsible is found.