Sunday, April 06, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

Yes, it is true, Dad is in jail for 20 years for the attempted murder of his third wife – or girlfriend. I'm not sure since he told me he actually never technically divorced his second wife. But when you're stabbing someone to death, do formal labels really matter? has garnered me lots of questions readers. Mainly: "Why do you still talk to him?"

Last summer, I was sharing some of this with my mom who asked, “Yeah, why DO you?”

Good question. Valid.

I said, "Well, he has always been a big champion of mine. He taught me how to drive in the Toyota and, even though there was never an ASL interpreter, he watched me in every single one of my school plays. He always told me how smart I was and encouraged me in my studies. Like when I was 15 and was going on my first date with Nick Quivers who is now a Christian rock star – Dad told me 'Don’t Fuck! I don’t want you pregnant. I want you to graduate and go to college!'"

He really pushed me to reach for the stars!

Plus, how often do you get to relate to a sociopath in a real human way? Examine up close and personal the nature vs. nurture debate. And since Dad contributed 50% of my DNA, understanding him helps me understand myself. Now I finally know why every now and then I get the overwhelming urge to slice somebody’s fucking throat.

So I try to make light with my mom and say, "And besides, he only TRIED to kill you and Gloria, it’s not like actually killed somebody."

Mom says, "Well … that we know of …"

"Uh, excuse me? What do you mean 'that we know of''?"

She replies, "Well. [SIGH] Do you remember Donna?"

Weird as it may be, I’ve gotten comfortable knowing My Jailed Deaf Dad tried to kill two women but what exactly is Mom insinuating?

Yes, I DO remember Donna.

The summer I turned 13, one of my jobs was working at a Fireworks stand. I didn't know it then but Donna, the woman who owned the stand, was Dad's mistress.

Donna ran a Country & Western night club named Johnny B Daltons. My parents took me there once and some guys in his 40s tried to pick me up which gave Mom and Dad a good chuckle. I was petrified as I sipped my fuzzy navel and played backgammon trying not to make eye contact with the potential pedophile.

Donna also had a cute son named Cash Price. Cash drove a convertible Mercedes and would let me sit on the top of the back seat as he drove with the top down to his other fireworks stands to pick up the day's take.

He really liked the song "Easy Lover" and always blasted it as loud as he could. I had a fleeting thought that maybe he thought of ME as the Easy Lover in the song but dismissed the idea quickly because who would want to be an EASY lover? Besides he was 21 and rich and drove a Mercedes. I was 13 and drove a VW Bug that had a dented roof and missing back windshield from the time my brother flipped it three times when he was high on Quaaludes.

The next summer I worked at the fireworks stand again. By then I wasn’t so innocent. A few months earlier, my mom told me of the Second Coming and that Christ would someday return to Earth. I thought she meant -- like – tomorrow. To make sure I didn’t die a virgin, I had my brother’s friend come take care of matters in the back seat of his mom’s Buick.

Turns out I was an Easy Lover after all just not savvy enough to sleep with Cash Price. Instead I picked a 17 year old stoner who is now in jail not far from Dad.

This summer I never saw Cash. I spent most of my time holed up in an office that let us use their bathroom prank calling my then ex-friend Maria Kingfisher. The cops traced the calls and figured out it was me and hauled my ass to the police station. I told them that Maria prank called me a few times first, so turn about was fair play. They pointed out that I called her over 1,000 times on Christmas eve. I had two phones going at once. I was always an over achiever. A couple of days later they told me Maria said I was telling the truth –she had started it-- and her parents weren't going to press charges.

So, yes, I remember Donna and her son and her fireworks stand. What about her?

Well, when your father wanted to be with Donna, they would hang out at her other bar Thirsty’s over on Coon Hollow Road. There was this young bartender that your Dad would flirt with and he would just hover over her and tease her non-stop, you know how he is. Well, they found her dead under a bridge on Hwy 2854. She had been raped and then strangled to death with her pantyhose. I always thought maybe your Dad did it. But I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to know the answer.”

Strangled? Dad’s M.O. is all about the neck…something to do with not being able to talk maybe? And 2854 is the only road he could take to get to our trailer on Boars Head from Coon Hollow Road.

Cash and his mom never asked us back to work their firework stand. All these years I thought it was because of the trouble I caused by prank calling Maria. Turns out it might not have been my fault…maybe it was because Dad might have killed Donna’s bartender.

I don’t know. What I DO know is that for those two years, we had the best 4th of July fireworks display anyone could ever ask for.

*Some names of people and places have been changed to protect the guilty.


Candy said...

We're all who we are because of who we know in our life. Even good can come out of bad.

I think it's amazing that you came out ahead in spite of how you grew up.

StaceyG said...

What Candy said. You use your DNA for good instead of evil!