By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

About three years ago, I lost a friend in an accident. Well, I wasn’t the only one who lost him. A whole bunch of living people lost him, including his friends and family. He was easily the funniest human being I ever met, and the thing is, he never really knew it. People all over the state of Florida loved to hang out with him; many cops let him slide without tickets; girls let him into their lives (and pants) quicker than even he could believe. He was just, for lack of a better term, lively. He was the kind of guy who, upon his arrival at a party, could lift the mood of a room full of people. When he entered a room, you could just feel the “Cool, Joe’s here” vibe throughout the party. He was that much fun.

Anyway, he’s dead.

The other day, I had dinner and drinks with his mother, a woman named Candace who had genetically handed-off to Joe his smile and wit. She’s always been a great lady, always pushing me with my writing and comedy and telling me (unlike my family and friends) not to waste my time with a career but to have fun spreading (what she considers to be) my “gift” throughout the world.

After our fourth drink, she removed a Chinese food menu (with pen ink all over it) from her pocket and gave it to me. I read it at the table and I damn near cried. Then I read it again and I laughed my butt off. It was a note written to me (that I never received) back when Joe and I were living in a crappy studio apartment in central Tampa. Since Candace loves reading my stuff on PIC, I figured I’d try to get Joe’s letter up on the site.

Anyway, without further ado…

Dear Nate:

We’re three weeks away from moving to bigger and better places with smaller and better smelling people, and I just wanted to get this on paper because it’s funny and cool and because it shows a prime example of why I loved living with you.

Back in January, you were getting freaky when I was trying to sleep and you weren’t polite enough to leave out the video recorder so I could capture your lousy, lazy excuse for rough sex, you loud ass, melodramatic SOB. So I spent a few hours wandering some of Tampa’s rougher neighborhoods so you could fuck. Don’t say I never did anything for you, you long-haired son of a sheepherder on acid. At the time, I was hoping she would give you VD—not the serious kind, the kind that would go away with a few shots of penicillin and allow me the privilege of telling every slut you know that you picked up gonorrhea from a Gulf Coast whore.

Anyway, while I was out walking, trying to make sense of why your skinny ass had someone to fuck and I didn’t (I chalked it up to the fact that I have higher standards than you—what’s new?), a bum pulled a rusty .22 on me and tried to take my wallet. While that stupid gun was pointed at me, the following thoughts went through my head, all at the same time: “I’m not dying over eighteen bucks, I’ll bet that gun doesn’t work, if I die, at least I won’t have to do my final paper for Collins; fucking Nate gets holed up with a whore while I brave this shit fuck town to give him some privacy, ah fuck it, let’s die, what’s life worth anyway? Shit, give him your money. It’s good karma.”

So I gave him the eighteen bucks, and the next day, you came home from class and said, laughing while talking (which you always do and which I have finally grown accustomed to): “Dude, some dumbass bum pulled a rusty .22 revolver on me and tried to rob me. I fucking grabbed the gun and bitch slapped him. Check it out. I made over two hundred bucks. Drinks are on me tonight.”

As we drank that night, I never let you know the truth about that bum with the rusty revolver. You never told the story again because I guess you felt bad about stealing from a bum—or maybe you were just drunk and forgot you did it. At any rate, the subject was never again breached. I never got my eighteen bucks but I did get my karma.

During one of our wine-drunk rap sessions, you once asked me why you’re not a nice person—whether it was environmental or genetic? And I said that it didn’t matter really because you won’t change. And I was right, but not completely.

You see, people like you may not be nice or especially kind, but they can recognize when a gun won’t fire and who needs a bitch slapping. If there was no one like you, there may be no way to ensure that the nice guys in the world get what they deserve. In short, you’re Karma’s Asshole. You’re there to keep people in check, to let them know that life is humor and that every action has a consequence.

So it’s best to do nothing at all.

Pleasure living with you bro. Now crack that best-sellers list.

Your favorite sausage smells,