Kerol McManus was a colourful character during my time working at a pharmacy. He was a cornucopia of medications, and I originally planned to paint him out of expired tablets and capsules. I even started drafting the image as you can see below, however time got in the way and he slipped from my view.
Warning – this story does NOT have a happy ending. If you’re squeamish, stop reading right now!
Kerol’s life was not a happy one. Scooped up and deposited in Vietnam to fight at the age of 18, he was ill equipped to deal with anything outside its orbit. He had no idea there was a war on, then suddenly it was his only life. When he eventually returned, he found it difficult to adjust. The shrapnel in his shoulder that he delighted in kneading in front of me led him to a crippling codeine addiction. We got on famously – his clever wit and dark humour were in perfect alignment with mine. He would stir me up with horrendous war stories just to watch me cringe. He tried very hard to connect with his 10 year old son, but like most people, even he was nervous in his company. For some reason, despite Kerol’s odd behaviour I enjoyed chatting with him and he always made me laugh (when he wasn’t trying to revolt me). When Kerol eventually passed away from an overdose, I can’t help but feel he had choreographed the carnage that followed. I know that Kerol would have faded from this life peacefully, and quietly from his overdose. I don’t believe he suffered at all. It was the aftermath that was gruesome. He had adopted a dog in the last few months of his life. I’m not going to go into details, but let’s just say that the dog was not hungry when Kerol was eventually discovered by police. RIP Kerol McManus. I know you would have enjoyed the spectacle of your demise.
Airbrushed coloured ink with hand brushed black ink overlay on 3mm plate aluminium.