Memories - In Memory of Chuck Rock

 

April 24, 2004, I was going through my holiday depression. The next Tuesday I would be 58. My clock was ticking down. I wasn't afraid of death, just not ready to meet it head on. And 50 was my count down year. I had hit the downhill side of 50, so that would mean the flame was dimming, so small it wasn't even noticeable. But it is like one day, you wake up and you are old. I am not ready for this old thing.
 

The August before, on the same date that my Mother died. August 10th to be exact, I came home from Church, and as my daughter Lisa met me at the gate, from the look on her face, I knew something was wrong. Someone told her that her step brother Chuck Rock, had been killed, or was dying in the hospital. She didn't know how, or anything about it. By the time I got into the house, the phone was ringing off the hook. I finally got to talk to Vickie, his sister. She wasn't real clear herself, but he was in the intensive care, burn unit at Tampa General Hospital. Vickie had gotten in touch with her Dad in Belize, and he was on a plane to Tampa.


Chuck had broken up with a girlfriend, and she had been stalking him. She was a drug dealer from Texas, where she had felony's on her record. She somehow managed to get a beer license, and had a drive-through beverage castle in Riverview. She even went so far as to leave a bunch of flowers on his mothers door step, and sign a note to him, with "from your fatal attraction". The mud slinging, had been going on for months. And even though his sister, was worried about what Beth could do, Chuck just tried to ignore her. The phone calls at all hours of the day and night. She would go through the spells of being mad, then crying, begging him to take her back. And every day it got worse. He was getting tired of her, chasing after him all the time. And she would fill up the voice mail on his phones. Near the date in August, she was getting desperate, even saying if she couldn't have him, she would see to it no one had him.


Elizabeth W., had a torrid past. Drug dealing in Texas, and felony convictions. She finally came to Riverview, to open the drive through. And the word on the street was. The states attorney's office, was supplying the drugs, she would sell them, and could keep the money, in exchange for information on the ones she was selling to. She had a very profitable little business going there. At the tax payers expense. She knew, any dime that was dropped on her, would evaporate. There was so much information coming in from the beverage castle, they let her slip through the cracks. She by then thought, she was above the law. And it looked like she could do anything, and the States attorneys office, and the HCSO, would look the other way. She had it made, plenty of dirty money, and had supplied drugs, for selling and partying. She had a new friend, Joshua S., in his early 20's. She would give him drugs and booze, and he would do anything for her. All she had to do was ask. She had been playing him along, the whole time, she was plotting to kill Chuck. She in her drug glazed brain, had made a cell phone call, to a mutual friend. But forgot to hang up her cell phone, and just laid it down in the seat of the truck. With the voice mail recorder, still running on the other end of the line.


Joshua S., had many monkeys on his back, for being so young. And Beth W., had reeled him in, hook, line, and sinker... He needed money, to pay some bad debts, and she knew it. They had gone to Capt. Jack's in Riverview that night, because she knew Chuck would be there. A fight broke out and they all left. She had Josh in her truck, and Chuck took off with a friend, Ralph S., they were going to the park, to meet Ralph's brother, who drove a Semi, and would leave it in the park, till he could get some rest at home, about a mile away. Chuck and Ralph told him by phone, they would be there around Six AM to pick him up. While they were waiting, Beth's truck pulled in, and Chuck was livid. He told Ralph, he was going to talk to her for the last time, tell her to get out of his life. Chuck was shirtless, when he went straight to the truck. Just as he ran up to the drivers door. A rag was thrown out the window, that had been lit on fire. Chuck just ran up to the truck anyway. And it was Josh, not Beth that sat in the truck. Just as soon as Chuck leaned down to speak, a pail of gas was thrown in his face. He turned to run away, but it was too late. He erupted into a fire ball, the gas flaming from the burning rag, resulting in 3rd degree burns over 80% of his body. Josh himself had very bad burns, but nothing like Chuck. As they were waiting for the rescue unit, they saw Josh walking to the river, which he tried to swim across. As Beth had waited on the other side of the bridge, by the Giant's Camp restaurant, when she saw two fire balls instead of one, she quickly called a friend for a ride, before the people pieced together, what had just happened.


Josh was easily caught, and also taken to the hospital. Chuck was in shock, but was able to say a few words to his ex-wife, the mother of his 10 year old son Zachary. From that time on, he never regained consciousness. And six days later, with his family by his side, Charles Roy Rock died.


It was hard for the family to grieve, and know the one that paid $2,000. to have him killed, was still walking free, and selling her drugs. When the young man she had conned into doing the deed, still lay in the hospital bed, next to Chuck, alive.


Chuck had raced cars at the local race track, with a Radio personality, Bubba the Love Sponge. They became close friends. Somehow, Bubba got a tape handed to him. Apparently, while Beth and Josh, sat in her truck plotting the murder, her cell phone was still connected to the voice mail of the friend, who will remain unnamed at this time. So the tape was played over and over on the radio, the following day. The public was outraged over what was on the tape, And an outpouring of love, went to the hospital, where hundreds of his friends gathered. And candle light services were held, in the park where he was set on fire.


He was cremated, shortly after his death. And his ashes will rest in a beautiful, peaceful Cemetery, not far from his home in Riverview, Florida. The woman that caused the murder, has been arrested without bail, as is Josh S.. The trials will last for maybe years, with so many twists and turns. The loss of Chuck will never end for those that love him. It may fade a bit as the years pass by, but there will always be a little boy, writing his Daddy a letter every day, asking him, when will he come home.


Chuck came to me in a dream the night of April 24,2004. and as I found out the next morning, he also went to my daughter, the same night. He was so handsome, perfect, and smiling. Wanting his little boy to not be worried, as he would see him one day, and then they could be together. But for now, to look after his Mom and be a good boy. He was also trying to show me a child's long sleeved white T-shirt. That was well worn, and had a logo of a football or basketball team on it. He just kept telling me to find it. For Zachary. I don't have any idea, why he would give me this message, or where to go to look for it. My daughter, his step sister, dreamed about him in water, the same night. He was perfect and smiling to her also, and told her to not worry, as he was happy. And we will all be together again in Heaven. He had no bitterness, except the pain his son had to endure. And he said he was always looking down on Zach, and was very proud of him, and to look after his Mother Vickie Rene'.


There will never be closure, till the ordeal is over. And no one who knew Chuck, will ever forget him. He has left his mark on this town, and had hundreds of friends. Chuck grew up a lot after his son was born, and they spent so much time together. If you saw one you saw the other. There is a photo of Chuck, on his marker, and his little man, is smiling right there with him. Some day they will be together again, and till that time comes, his Dad is watching over him... Chuck, you are Loved, and Missed... R.I.P....

 

2004 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights Reserved

Published with the permission of Judy Tomaini Rock

 

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