Uncle Daryl lived in a rough neighborhood. When I say rough, it was full of gang members, you might call it a ghetto. And Uncle Daryl needed to live with the constant threat. He was white and bald. He hated everybody. He hated his race and every other race, but he loved me.

“Uncle Daryl, can I look at your gun magazines?”

“Sure, Andy.” Uncle Daryl was paranoid. He had guns under every seat cushion.

He told my mother, “I can’t wait until one of these punks breaks into my house.” He sat in his ugly green chair with the cracked leather.

“Andy, what do you want to watch?”

“Star Wars.”

“Okay, let me get the tape.” Daryl popped in the recording. He fast-forwarded through the commercials. Then we watched Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker fighting with lightsabers. When Luke Skywalker lost his arm and Princess Leia was taking care of him, I felt funny. I liked Princess Leia in her bikini.

“Why do they have to show that?” My aunt asked. My mother nodded in agreement.

“Andy, would you like a 3 musketeers bar?”

“Sure,” I said. “Hey mom, can I have a diet coke?”

“Okay.”

My aunt poured it with ice. She smoked and the popcorn ceiling smelled of it.

“Why don’t I put in Blue Thunder. Oh, you don’t want to see this part,” my uncle said. He was always fast-forwarding through sex and love scenes so we could get to the helicopter firing off the Gatling gun.

Uncle Daryl gave up alcohol for candy. He became a diabetic. He had his pilot’s license and we watched airplane movies together.

“I’ve got more in common with your boy than my own grandsons,” he said to my dad.

Uncle Daryl got cancer when I was in sixth grade. He had patches all over his body and he sat in his leather chair with his shirt off. He died shortly after. My uncle liked me and hated everybody else. I don’t know why, but he chose me. I’ll never forget him.

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