Houseguests

July 26, 2010 at 11:13 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  My son came over Sunday with his two youngest, and we had a good visit.  We caught up and had a few beers, and reminisced a little.  Talked about cars and so forth as well.  I gave him some of dad’s tools. 
  I don’t…I’m not saying this to be bragging, like, "See how good of a dad I am?" or anything like that.  I just think it’s a testament to the bond we have.  I have some bad shit that I can blame on my ex–namely  poor credit and lasting psychological damage–but I did get some good things out of it, like the kids. 
  She had two kids when I met her, aged 14 and 15.  Now they are 37 and 38, so I’ve known them over half their lives, and all of their adult lives.  Hell, I was 23 when I met them, so they’ve known me for all my adult life as well…which has only been the last 6 or 7 years.  But I am glad that these kids have accepted me as their dad, and even through the divorce, they have stuck by me.
  For the length of our marriage, it was all about her family and her extended family.  I mean, she could hardly stand them, but she hated my family even more, so by default, all gatherings were genetically linked to her.  I like many in her family.  Hell, I look at the spouses of the sisters–we are kind of a secret club together, or were, until I escaped.  I imagine they curse me in their sleep:  "Rat bastard!  Why didn’t you take me with you?!"
  It was good to chat with Mike on Sunday.  Monday, he called me.  "Guess who I just saw at Walmart?"
  Could be anyone.  Most likely, though–"Elvis?"
  "Sonny!"
  "No fuckin way!"
 
  When I first got together with Linda–she was different.  In addition to being willing to suck my dick, she was generous in other ways as well.  She had two essentially homeless guys living in the basement of her apartment.  Both of them were about twenty.  Sonny was one, a Vietnamese-American.  I forget the name of the other asshole, but he was some Mexican kid.
  The Mexican kid I had to throw out of the apartment, because he caused Linda to lose the lease.  While she was at work she got a call about it.  The fucking idiot had a BB gun and was going around the complex shooting windows, lights, and other fun things that break.  I remember that it was the oddest thing–I happened to be driving down West Florissant–God knows why–and I saw Linda walking.  She had taken a bus and was walking to the apartment to…I don’t know what she was going to do.
  But I had to step up.  I kicked the little punk out myself.  Some time later, Sonny and I had to try to find him.  I drove, and Sonny checked out a few places.  I remember going to one door, and a middle-aged scraggly-looking bum came to the door.  Sonny asked if the kid was there.  Under my breath, I said, "He’s a worthless asshole."
  Sonny looked at me and said quietly, "That’s his dad, dude."
  Hunh.  How ’bout that?
  The guy looked at me with a half-smile, trying to be diplomatic, or maybe he wanted to rise above it.  Cryptically, like a Buddhist monk speaking in pig Latin, the guy said, "Are you any better?"
  Perhaps at that point I was supposed to take out my soul and weigh it, or take a tape measure to my karma.  I prefer to do my introspection in private, however, and not in front of a crowd of simpletons and marks.  For him, I had a quick, pragmatic answer:  "I’m not a thief."
  "Well, that’s your opinion."
  What the hell does that mean?  Either you are or you aren’t.  Either you have an arrest record…or you don’t.  But the little asshole had tried to steal from me, I know that.  I had a Ford Escort with a really nice stereo in it.  The little prick had actually shown it to someone (See the stereo in that car?  Wanna buy it off me?) and he was going to steal it.  However, the car thwarted his plans.  For some reason, if the driver’s side door was locked and you pulled on the door handle, it wouldn’t unlock with the key; you’d have to go in through the other side and do it, and even then it would be stiff.
  In the course of trying to jimmy the lock, he must have pulled on the handle.  That coat hanger was not going to unlock it.  Instead of having the balls to break the glass and steal it, he slasked a tire.  Actually, he slashed TWO.  Both on the driver’s side.  Fucker.
  We kicked him out, and never saw him again.  But Sonny stayed with us for a while.

  We lost the lease on the apartment, and we had to move.  Her brother had a house sitting empty, and we moved in there.  If I recall, we moved first, and then had to deal with fixing a few things to get an inspection from the city.  Sonny got a job working 3rd shift in a manufacturing plant, doing plastic injection molding.  He would drive Linda’s 76 Caprice to work.  Once he said he got pulled over for speeding over in the hood–the factory was there–and he just started spouting off in Vietnamese–which he didn’t even speak very well.  The cop didn’t want any hassle; he just let him go.
  He got himself a girlfriend–how, I’m not sure.  But she was a pretty blond thing, although she looked a little young to have that rode hard and put away wet look, but she did.  The two did a lot of drugs together.  Hey, I’m not judging; at the time, I was a big pothead.
  But I was on my way to quitting, because Linda was pregnant.
  Let’s see, her kids…her kids weren’t staying with us, exactly.  Mike lived a few blocks over with his grandmother.  I think Melissa was staying with her real dad briefly.  So it was just us and Sonny, and then Sherry moved in with.
  Sonny had a brother named Joe, and him and his girlfriend hung out for a while too.
  I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but it was sometime during this period that this happened.  Linda and I had been out that day–probably a doctor’s appointment for the pregnancy, then a meal, then some shopping.  When we got home, it looked like no one was home.
  There was blood on the porch.  On the door.  And inside, on the floor.  Fuck!  Fuck?  What the fuck happened?
  A few minutes later, Sonny and his brother Joe came running in.  It was Mike.
  Mike was 15 at the time, and starting to get taller than me.  We lived in Jennings, and that’s where he went to school.  Jennings is a tough town to be white in.  It’s really tough to be a big white boy.  A boy in his school whose name I forget–let’s call him Lamont–didn’t like Mike, was jealous of his size and his power because he had friends, and did what ignorant niggers do in this situation.
  And maybe you think that’s inappropriate, so here’s my apology:  fuck you.  When 6 or 7 niggers armed with baseball bats and crowbars and other weapons jump your son and beat him to within an inch of his fucking life in the middle of the street in the middle of the day–while a couple of them held back Sonny and Joe to keep them from interfering–then maybe you can have an opinion about what I should and shouldn’t call them.  Until then you can shut the fuck up before I fuck start your head.
  Finally, Sonny got smart, and he and his brother started yelling about the cops being on their way *right now*, and the niggers scattered like the fucking roaches that they are.  First they got him home, then they called an ambulance.
  I remember feeling disconnected from the moment, and that helped me deal with it.  I got everyone into my tiny car, and we went to the hospital. 
  Mike was going to be okay.  The beat him unconscious, and he had some serious concussions, but even though they *beat him on the head with a baseball bat and a tire tool* he had no broken bones or fractures.  This is one tough boy.  He has since grown to 6’8, so I recommend not fucking with him. 
  Mike knew exactly who it was, and could identify a couple of the other boys as well.  I’m sure this was a well-thought out plan by some ignorant niggers.  Did they think–what?  They were going to kill him?  Or beat him until he couldn’t remember who did it?  Or that he would be too scared to tell?  That’s pretty fucking funny.
  Of the six or seven boys there, three of them went to prison, including the gangleader.  A few years later we were quite happy to learn that he died in a prison fight.  Maybe I should be more forgiving, instead of feeling satisfaction; however, what comes around goes around.
  Here, you want this?  Will this make you feel better?  Of course I don’t think that all black people are niggers.  But the ones that did this to him definitely are.  And so are the parents (if that’s the word) who raised (if that’s the word) them.  I don’t have to explain myself any more than that to you.
  To this day, Mike still has some memory and cognition problems.  He did get some brain damage as a parting gift "for free" as he would say.

  I think when I got robbed first time was right around this same era.  What happened to me wasn’t nearly as bad as what happened to him.  Anyway, Sonny stayed with us, and eventually Melissa moved back in.  Linda and I got married, with her wedding dress carefully hiding her six-month belly.  Sonny was in our wedding party.  Let’s see, on the bride’s side was a hot redhead that Linda knew from church that she claimed was her best friend but we hardly ever saw, then her friend Donna who should have been the maid of honor, then her daughter Melissa, then my sister, maybe?  Four sounds right.  Then the men were my friend Lee, my cousin Kevin, Mike, and Sonny.
  We didn’t have a honeymoon per se–Christ, we did the wedding ourselves and I was the only one working.  She got her dream wedding.  Bridezilla?  Damn skippy.  But we did take an overnight trip out of town.  On the way, we dropped of Sonny and Sherry at her parents’ house, and got to meet them.
  Her parents had to be about the age I am now.  But they had aged like curdled milk.  The mother–let’s call her "June"–had a nice figure, but I’m sure it was covered in battle scars under the clothes.  And her father?  He looked exactly like what he was:  a hardcore fucking biker gang member.
  At one point in the conversation, Sherry was telling her mother about something that happened, and her mother was intentionally giving her bad advice and planting doubt.  A light bulb went off in my head, and I pointed at her.  "You’re a shit disturber!"
  She nodded, taking a long drag from her Marlboro.  "And?"
  I had a talk with the father–let’s say his name is "Ward."  He got on the topic of martial arts, and he showed me a trick.
  Maybe you’ve heard of it–these monks or whoever they might be can draw their testicles up into their bodies for protection.  He didn’t show me his nuts, thank God, but he did get into a stance, took some breaths, and then proceeded to quickly and repeatedly hit himself in the groin.
  I don’t care who you are, that takes guts.  But apparently, not balls.  I’m sure I could learn the discipline in theory, because I can learn anything (I think), but I would never be able to accomplish the feat in the real world; my balls is just too big. 
  Anyway, that was March.  By the time the baby was born in July, Sonny and  Sherry had moved out.
  First, though–and I don’t remember if this was before our wedding or after, because a lot of shit happened at that time–we had an episode with Sonny.  I think this was all brought on by drug-induced depression.  He and Sherrie were doing way too much coke…I suppose it’s a fine line between the right amount and too much.
  Sonny woke us up one night, phone in his hand.  He had taken what he thought was an overdose of pills to kill himself, then called Sherrie to say goodbye.  I’m sure it all seemed like a good idea at the time.  She had convinced him to wake us up and tell us.
  So, Christ, another trip to the hospital.  We were already going way too often during this time because of Linda’s pregnancy.  They pumped his stomach and held him briefly for observation, and we went along with his story that he did it just to get high because he didn’t want to end up in a psych ward.  Linda felt empathy for him about that because she had tried to committ suicide before I met her and she had been in a psych ward and she had been restrained and put in a straightjacket…
  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all the women I meet are nuts.  It’s kind of like wondering if all the fish swim in the water.  Degrees, baby, degrees.
  So he came back home, and spent a few days with some rugged recuperation.  Most of the pills he had taken were harmless–a handful of Linda’s dilantin for her epilepsy, a few pain pills–
  –And some prenatal vitamins.  With iron.
  He was so constipated he was screaming on the toilet for the next several days.  A cautionary tale, I suppose.

  Between the wedding and the birth, Sonny left.  But it’s more complicated than that.
  Sherry was staying with us more at that time, because her folks lived in Illinois.  Linda tried to keep a clean house, and I wasn’t much help–but these two were worse.  I let it simmer to a boil and then I went off on them.  It was something simple and inocuous, like a stack of dirty dishes in their room on the floor with dried ketchup on them.
  I yelled at him, gave vague threats, and left.
  The next day, they were moving out.  Maybe I shouldn’t let things go so long before I do something about them?  Sherrie’s dad was there with the truck while they just loaded shit into trash bags and threw them in the truck.  The whole time, her dad–"Ward"–stood out in the street by the truck, doing some weird stuff.  Like…putting one leg at a time up on the side of the truck and stretching, and maybe some other rituals.
  Since I’m not completely stupid (just close) I could figure it out.  He had to protect his daughter’s honor, and that of his new potential son-in-law.  He was honor-bound to kick my ass.
  I wanted no part of an ass-beating by a grizzled go-to-hell biker with Shaolin monk secrets.  I had time to prepare and calm myself.  I hope.
  When they were ready to go, Ward instructed them to get in the truck, and he came up the stairs to where I was standing in the yard.  After 22 years I don’t remember the conversation, but I got the gist of it.  He calmly expressed his grievances with me, and I did apologize–in a manly way.  I wasn’t cowering or begging for my life.  I just explained that I had a bad day, maybe I shouldn’t have taken it out on them.   And I did like them.  I wonder how I said this, because it sounds like a sarcastic thing to say, but essentially I told him that for better or worse they were his problem now.  He accepted that, and we shook hands. 
  I never saw them again.

  Mike told me that Sonny and Sherrie did get married, and they had two kids.  I remember his mom wasn’t too keen on the idea of him dating a white girl, because she wanted him to keep the bloodline pure.  She said this in her broken English, standing next to her white American husband and the father of the two boys.  Hypocrisy, much?
  Sonny told Mike that he and Sherrie got a divorce about 12 years ago, and he had moved to Troy about four years ago.  I was there for part of that time, and Troy isn’t that big.  We might have seen each other and not known it.
  But I don’t know.  I don’t remember names, but I remember faces.
 

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