Early in high school I started working at a little restaurant in New Jersey for my first job. I was young and clueless. It was a small place and the majority college-aged staff was very close. It was expected that as the new kid I would struggle to fit in at the start. Weeks and months went by and I began to find my place. I took a liking real quick to one employee named Vinny. His nickname was “Goblin.” He was a high-school drop out, cooked a delicious cheeseburger, and was addicted to heroin. He was one of my best friends throughout high-school and through the job.
Vinnny was awesome. We had so much fun when we were on the same work shift. He would cook and I would cover the counter. We would sing songs and I would just laugh at his jokes and impressions. We made fun of our bosses together. We would try flirting with female customers. We would sneak chicken nuggets to each other when the bosses were not looking. We would argue about hip-hop and yell at each other over songs. After I got my license, we hung out and drove around. He was hard on me though. He wanted me, an idealistic high school kid, to understand the realities of the world around me. I knew about his addiction the entire time and I knew he was struggling.
Vinny was a good friend and there was a real brotherly love between us. But during senior year, I began to work less. When high school ended, I left the restaurant to go to college and we drifted apart. I didn’t see or talk with Vinny for a while. I went back to the restaurant last year and learned that Vinny had died from a heroin overdose in September 2012.