The Lone Wolf
The lone wolf of Clark and Diversey, Steak ‘n Egger, Cheeks–the guy who looked like Paul Newman and lived alone above the Logos Book Store–is dead.
The circumstances of his death, like the circumstances of his life, are in great dispute. Officially, he was said to have overdosed on some mix of drugs, pills, and alcohol. But the few around him who knew his habits think he did not take many drugs or drink that much.
Most knew him as Norman and thought he was in his mid-30s. Others knew him as Jim and were sure he was 29. He was super bright and always had a good job in the Loop.
He usually wore a tan suit with a tie, and on the street at night he just wore the vest from the suit….
A week after he died, he was found in his room alone. His office had called twice, but did not follow through. His mother had come by that week, but since they did not get along, she did not dare intrude on his privacy. He had a special lock, so his landlord could not easily get into his room.
Neighbors below complained of maggots. They found his body bloated by the summer heat.
His four cats were in the bathroom. They jumped out when the police came. He had left food for them for several days. He loved his cats very much. They were closest to him….
Norman had a difficult time. Not an easy life. Most of us found him too intense to go home with. But we also overlooked how difficult it must have been for him to go home with himself.
Gay Chicago (1978)