“He’s a veteran,” Brinkmeier says. “Of sorts.” He relates Larry’s background a little more deeply to Hank. Beverly and Larry had a brother, Walter, who died in Vietnam, part of Operation Texas Star they called it. Larry had been close with Walter, who had written him letters, one every two weeks or so, since he’d gone the previous Fall. Beverly had received a few as well, each one, she’d said, seemed sadder than the last. When news of Walter’s death came back over, Larry, eighteen that Spring and just about to graduate high school, broke down in a manner that Beverly had never seen anyone break down up ‘til then or ‘til she passed. For a few years Larry had seemed to take on Walter’s personality, convinced that he’d had all those experiences of the war not a scratch on him. He drifted for a while in the mid to late seventies, following around a rock band. At some point in there he was committed, but when California started releasing people the mother took him in, though she was about on her way out by this point.

Advertisements