Chicken house uncle
His crazy uncle wasn't his uncle. It's not clear how they were related, actually. Myabe it was his father's uncle but there was something in there too about a second cousin. The whole family called him that though regardless of relation: The crazy uncle, or Crazy Uncle Russell, or, sometimes, Uncle Russell, Crazy Gandma Robertson's son.
Regardless of the relation, though, he was called the uncle and he was called crazy. The whole family knew him that way.
When we asked him crazy how?, when we asked him driving back to his girlfriend's place in the car with the radio working through a sporadic playlist working through the back seat speakers behind his head, he didn't really know but worked through a list of ways the family said that Crazy Uncle Russell was crazy.
There weren't a lot of specifics. Russell Robertson's mother went crazy. She was really crazy and talked to herself and then she died. He mentions that she died maybe because it happened because she was crazy, or maybe he mentions it because it was the thing that maybe pushed Russell Robertson into becoming Crazy Uncle Russell. Either way, his mom went crazy and he went crazy somewhere in there, right before or right after.
When we asked him but like what did he do that was crazy, when we asked him with dark streets turning corners and really it was just me that asked and his girlfriend said shut up, your stories are so stupid, when I asked him for concretes, for examples, there were really only two things.
The one thing was the crazy uncle refused to buy a house. He rented for like 20 years, 24 years. He could have bought a house but he said it was wrong and he didn't. It could have been a lot of things, I think, but they knew him and said, no, he was crazy. That's all.
The second thing was the crazy thing. The second thing that made the crazy uncle crazy was that he would drive down to the old place, the place where his mother was when she went crazy and where the family was when it was a family that could remember how everyone was related. He would drive down there and sit in the chicken house. There weren't any chickens any more and the big house wasn't there or was someone else's now but he'd park his car by the gate and climb the gate and go into the chicken house and just sit there.
For like 16 hours, and I mean he had a house and everything, he said. He was literally crazy.
They would find him there, sitting there in the empty chicken house staring past cobwebs and through floor boards mucked mostly clean. He had a house, but he wouldn't buy it because it seemed wrong. He had a family but they thought he was crazy and he had a mother who was crazy and dead. He sat in the chicken house and looked at the sky through the cracks in the ceiling. He sat there and looked at the peeling walls and he didn't think about how long it was that he was there until he heard their cars rolling up to get him, to take him away.