"I'm getting too old for this shit." - Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in Lethal Weapon
Roger Murtaugh's signature catchphrase from the Weapon movies never rang as true in someone as it did Richard 'Dick' English. Dick, like Murtaugh, did not start out too old for this shit. In fact, at one point, he was optimistic, perhaps idealistic. Dick was born on January 9, 1966 to Mary-Beth English and Richard English, Sr. in a city in Pennsylvania known as Duquesne. Duquesne started out in 1789 but didn't start its economic ascent until the 20th century when the Carnegie Steel Corporation built the Duquesne Works, a productive steel mill that was the heart and soul of the working-class population. In fact, Duquesne was the home to the largest blast furnace in the world, named "Dorothy Six." It even inspired a song by Bob Dylan. But in the end, prosperity doesn't last. In 1930, the city population peaked, and by the 1960s, deindustrialization in America took its toll. Richard English, Sr. was a mill worker up until 1967 when it was finally his head on the chopping block. The 60s were turbulent times for the people of Duquesne, with the mill steadily laying off workers, but then came 1968. In 1968, the Duquesne City School District razed the Carnegie Free Library of Duquesne, a gift to the city from Andrew Carnegie from the good ol' days of the Duquesne Works, and none other than Richard English, Sr. and his young son, Richard, Jr., stood and watched as the library was destroyed. If any event would weave the destiny of Duquesne, and of Dick English, Jr., it was the razing of that library and the symbolism behind it. The heart and soul of Duquesne was dying, and nothing would stop it.
Richard English, Sr. was now unemployed. He lost the only good job, really the only type of job, in Duquesne. It didn't keep him down, though. Him and his family found hope in Jesus, in God, or more precisely, in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Dick, Jr. grew up in a poverty-stricken, religious household. He grew up with sermons flooding his ears and scripture burned into his retinas. Faith, and faith alone, would lead the family through the turmoil. The words hung true in Dick, Jr.'s heart but seemed to slip away for his father in the decade following 1968. In June of 1978, his father climbed into his 1965 Cadillac Calais after plugging the tailpipe in the garage and started the engine. At twelve years old, Dick, Jr. was now the man of the house. His mother was heart-broken that she lost her husband, but it was more than just an emotional loss, it was the lose of the sole-breadwinner for the family. Dick, Jr. got involved in petty crime to help support him and his mother. After a string of luck for the next eleven years, until he got caught on a third-degree misdemeanor charge and the judge sent him to the jail.
The judge was a kind-enough fellow and told Dick, Jr. that he better "get his head screwed on straight" or he would be in and out of jail the rest of his life. By the time he got out of jail, the year was 1990 and the start of the next decent war since Vietnam was brewing. When the Gulf War started, Dick did the sensible thing for someone looking for a fresh start. He applied for a waiver to be able to enlist in the United States Armed Forces. It worked. Dick enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed with the 4th Tank Battalion. He participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, including the Battle of Kuwait International Airport. The end of the war should have marked a turning point in his life, but he didn't change.
When Dick got back from the war on leave, he took odd jobs to support him until his next deployment. After he served his four years, he got out. Free from the Corps, Dick fell into old habits. After all, old habits die hard. Within two years, that is to say in the year 1996, Dick found himself appearing in front of a judge once again; this time for assault with deadly weapon. Dick, in his infinite wisdom, decided not to take the plea deal and went to court. The judge and jury saw right through him and he was granted no leniency. He was thirty years old and facing down a ten year sentence. His time in prison was rough, to say the least. A year into the sentence, his mother had a heart attack and passed away. And Dick became the cynical bastard he is today. He was a temperamental jackass in the slammer and got into his fair share of brawls on the inside. He was no stranger to solitary, which surprisingly he used to petition God for atonement, and by the last year of his sentence became mellow.
Released at forty years old with no one but God on his side, he realized it was time to heed that first judge's words. Time in the Corps and a youthful career that involved the occasional stolen and chopped car gave him some valuable life skills. It was 2006 and he was getting a fresh start as an apprentice mechanic. In 2007, he met a lass a few years younger than him. She may have been reaching middle age, but he saw nothing but beauty and she saw past his glaring flaws and violent history. It was love at first sight. Things moved quickly then. In late 2007, they were engaged with a baby on the way. In early 2008, married. In the middle, a beautiful baby girl was born. Everything was going great until 2012.
In 1988, a mistake in an armed robbery of a liquor store left a man dead. It was Dick's fault but he bolted and left his close friend Jay stranded. Jay got arrested for murder and served 24 years in the pen. In 2012, Jay was released and decided to get his revenge. A drive-by attempt to kill Dick English left him wounded with a bullet-grazed shoulder. He wasn't the only casualty, though. Tragically, his wife, Anne, and his daughter, Gen, were killed. And so the story of his life turned into one tragic revenge tale.
Dick, known around the neighborhood at the time as Grandpa Dick (because of his old visage), began his quest for vengeance. It took him a year to methodically plan out his revenge and gather the supplies. One by one he executed the living family members of his old friend, Jay. First was Jay's mother, car bomb. Then his sister, house fire caused by arson. And finally, his girlfriend and newborn daughter, drive-by shooting. Jay went on the run. It took him a couple years for Dick to find him, but he was relentless in his task. On March 5, 2016, Dick tracked Jay down to a run-down motel in a crappy Minnesotan town. In the middle of the night, the motel occupants were awoken by several gunshots. By the time the police arrived, Dick had vanished and Jay had five rounds in his chest. An eye for an eye, at last.
The next year Dick spent wandering the country, until he heard about the zombie outbreak in Chernarus. The scripture and sermons from his youth, still burned into his mind, showed him a revelation. He had learned that "he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in his glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. ... We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." It was then that he knew he had a purpose, to embrace the zombie apocalypse as the Second Coming. In 2018, he took the leap and journeyed to the apocalyptic Chernarus. In the Second Coming, in Jesus Christ, he would have salvation.
And, so, from listening to that Duquesne whistle blowing to the Second Coming, the story of Grandpa Dick continues. But doubtful the zombie outbreak meets his expectations; doubtful Chernarus is his salvation. After all, life isn't always happy endings.