One

Originally written ~2004

The names have been changed.  The rest is the truth.

In case you were wondering, getting married and immediately starting a family at 19 is not a well thought out plan. It can however lead you down a path into the kind of drama that the ancient Greeks never thought possible.

I was thinking of just skipping to the murder part but I figure you people deserve more than that. Also it being that the nanny is sick today and I’m home with the children with time to kill doesn’t hurt.

As I was saying I got married to Laura when I was 19 and she was 21. I immediately launched my career into orbit by working 6 days a week at a quaint Christian bookstore / gas station in Wareham Ma that I had to walk to in the snow, with hand me down workboots, with holes, and plastic bags inside, uphill both ways.

I was young and retarded but I was in love and determined to make my doomed-from-the-start marriage work. Our daughter, Hope was born in 92 which is about when I started to realize that there was something “just not right” with Laura. For example, months after Hope was born, Laura wouldn’t let me even hold Hope for a moment unless Laura was standing by in case I would try to eat the child like Cronos. Laura around this time also made it known to me that she was not going to work anymore, ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I had no unreasonable ambitions for the lady. I had met her when I was still full force punk rock / subgenius / tattoo artist man and she was just as weird. I just had no idea that some people were so determined to lose at life. And by that standard she has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.

Anyways, I eventually I hit the glass ceiling at the Gas station, and sought out new horizons with a career in the Air Force. A little time passes and Laura and Hope join me in our new home, Abiline Texas.  This is
supposed to be about Laura so I’ll spare you stories of the THRILLS and EXCITEMENT that await the brave traveler when they get to Abiline Texas, better known to those on the “in” as “That place that is much like the rancid inside of the devil’s jockstrap after a long, hot day of torturing the souls of those who were damned for sending people to be stationed in Abilene Texas”.

About month four of our vacation to Abiline Texas I was standing in my lavishly furnished (milkcrates, couch I found by the dumpster) 1 bedroom apartment when I read the phone bill. The long distance charges were about the same amount that we were paying for rent. This was, puzzling. Upon further investigation I found that my bride was calling from Texas to Massachusetts at least once every day to talk to her mother.

Now I know that an E1′s salary is probably a king’s ransom if you live in Calcutta, but in America it’s really not enough for one to be able to splurge like that. We were already on WIC, using the food pantry at the base, and barely getting by. We spoke of course, but she would not be denied her 30+ calls a month to her mother. When I asked Laura about this behavior it was as productive as talking to my foot. I triedbribery, explaining how if she would write now and then, and call but once a week we could buy her a plane ticket in time for Christmas so she could visit her family. Not a chance. She did however find a way to have someone buy her a round trip ticket so she could visit her mother for a couple of weeks and ‘take a break’.

I’ll cut out some of the drama that happened about here and cut to the meat of the matter. About a month after Laura returned she was pregnant. It should be observed that we did in fact know where babies come from. What we had decided when we had gotten married was that we would have three children, quickly, so that by the time they were grown and out of the house we would still be young enough to enjoy our time alone together. In retrospect I think that at the time we made that decision we also were under the assumption that if I believed, like really believed, and really hoped, that everything would just “work out OK”. This is actually a commonly believed myth by many youngsters.

Protip: If that sounds like you, you’re probably fucked already.

Three months into Laura’s pregnancy I was pushing Hope on the tire swing out front of the ramshackle house that I had found to rent when I got the phone call. It was the hospital, Laura had gone in for an ultrasound and the doctor was calling to tell me that he didn’t think that our baby had a stomach. Laura was to be Medivaced to Wilford Hall Medical center and I was to bring her a bag with her belongings asap.

Months later, and many trips from Devil’s Jockstrap to San Antonio later we find that our unborn daughter, Joy along with her esophageal etresia also has Downs Syndrome. Joy was quite petite at her birth and had a tube inserted through her belly into her stomach so she could be fed. Her esophagus simply did not go all the way down to her stomach. There were other problems, holes in her heart, etc.

During the next few months I found that there are in fact two types of people. The type that rises to the occasion, and the type that gets buried under it. I don’t know what in particular it was that made Laura implode. Perhaps it was the difficulty of our life in general combined with the mourning one can go through when confronted with an “imperfect” child and post partem depression. But that girl had a break down. She would refuse to visit Joy in the hospital, not even for a pre-surgery hello. It was like Joy did not exist.

We had confrontations. I’d be exasperated by Laura doing nothing at all through the day to the point where she wouldn’t even wash her own clothes and especially by her ignoring her daughter through months of hospitalization, surgery, and healing. More drama occurs and one day she lets me know that she is pregnant again and is going to go home to mother.I did not know that for the past few weeks she had not been entirely dormant. She had told me that she wanted to move back to MA and I, as a good husband, did my best to find out how the Air Force could accommodate. The outcome was that in order for us to move again we would need written consent from the Secretary of the Air Force, and I would have to charter a Medivac out of my own pocket which would be in the neighborhood of $30k, therefore it was not an option.

When confronted with this information Laura went about calling relatives back in MA explaining how the Air Force was going to move Joy to Boston and she needed plane tickets and a place to stay so she could move ahead of time. My family being good people came through and wished her well. So she left with Hope and didn’t so much as say good by to Joy.

About now is when Laura started to call my commander making outrageous claims about anything she could think of. I think that he was more annoyed that my wife (still married) was calling him and going ballistic than anything else. Dirty pool Laura. About this point Laura also got a restraining order against me. Now I was living in Texas, and she was in Massachusetts and had minimal contact with her. When the SPs arrived to serve me the paperwork I still remember the female SSgt at the police station rolling her eyes when she was reading it. She said “It says here that you have to turn in any firearms that you have (I owned none)… you must be a good damn shot if she thinks you can shoot her in Cape Cod from Texas”. Again, not very nice. Eventually when I went to court in MA to have the dirty thing removed from my record I got to read what it said.

It basically said that I was a crazy person, and that I had said that Barney (the dinosaur) was the devil. Yep. Barny is the devil, I don’t know if I ever said that or if Barny is indeed Satan, but if he is than I stand by my previous Devil’s jockstrap comments even more rigidly.

Months later, rarely hearing a peep from Laura, Joy was ready to be released. Finally after countless days of me sleeping in a chair next to a sick baby. That’s when I hear from a concerned nurse that Laura called the hospital to tel the staff that she was flying into San Antonio to pickup Joy and not to tell me because I’m a dangerous person. The confrontation was brief and a Colonel made the decision. Even though Family Advocacy had opened a case of parental neglect against my exwife it bottomed down to this. We were still married. She’s the mother. Mommy wins.

So Joy left with Laura. Laura was nice enough to tell me that she was almost done finding herself and she’d be back with me in time for the Holidays.

I send money, I send poems of reconciliation not sure exactly what I’m supposed to be reconciling for. Months pass and I get a phone call. “You had a son three days ago. You don’t deserve to have any say what his name is.” I had to take a moment to take that in. I have gotten used to the name now and love my son to death but I’d never in a million years expected to have a son and not be allowed to have any say in what his name was going to be. The whole call kinda rubbed me the wrong way I guess.

Time passes, I visit the kids and their mom on and off whenever I can scrape up the leave and some money for plane tickets. Find out that she’s living with another man, old ex boyfriend that was scared shitless of me I found out. Fun fact. When you call the woman that you’re married to and a familiar man’s voice answers the phone you can scientifically find out exactly how much balls that person has. In his case, not much. I think he said “Laura told me I can’t tell you if I live here or not.” Then I said lots of colorful things. Laura was mad, he has a bad heart so I hear. This is when she went to file for divorce. I never did ask for it because I figured that even if it took a year or two that if we could ever work it out it would be worth it to our kids. At least I can tell them now with honesty that I did all that I could to make it work with their mom.

When I did go to visit I’d find them living in complete squalor. Some social project type housing with a broken window complete with black trash bag over it. She’d write new age poetry on her walls. The once white carpets would be almost black with grime. Trash littered the floors, really quite disgusting. In the middle were my three children. God how I prayed every day that I’d have them away from her some day. They’re downstairs playing right now, my son rules at counterstrike on Xbox.

On one visitation I flew to where she was living, got to the house and was met by an open door, and an abandoned home. There was garbage in places. A large burn mark in the rug. Things were broken, and there was no hint as to where they had gone. I had one week of leave so I wasted no time and went to the police. There they told me that the landlord had made many complaints about the occupants and that they had just abandoned the place. I couldn’t be told when, and they wouldn’t help find out where. I had no custody so I had no rights. I eventually found out that she had moved into a homeless shelter with the children and stayed in them off an on for a month or so. That was not a pleasant week. By the way, if you’re keeping score, I was 23 right around this time.

You see, when Laura had divorced me she had requested from the court full legal and physical custody and that I would only be allowed supervised visitations. I didn’t understand this but since she was doing this in MA and I was in TX with no money and all of my leave, and emergency leave burned up there was little I could do but wait until I had money and freedom. When my 4 years were up I got out of the AF I headed back to MA. I wanted to be around my children.

Laura was living with her 17 year old boyfriend, on welfare, and neglecting the children. After some blow outs I took her to court so that I could get rid of the supervised visits. It is actually one of the best memories that I have of her. The judge asked her why I needed supervision, if I had ever been physically or verbally abusive to her or the children. All of which she answered no to. When the judge asked why she wanted this she said that it was because once, my little french grandmother had kidnapped me from my mother. Nice reason from fantasy land.

The best part was when my lawyer asked why is it that her 17 year old boyfriend, with a criminal record was an adequate person to watch the children but I wasn’t. Laura was around 27 at the time I’ll guess and the judge was curious about that. Laura told the judge that that was her private life and none of his business. Court was not in session long that day, I got my weekend overnight visits and a very sympathetic look from the judge.

Years of weekends with the kids and Laura becoming more and more socially retarded pass. She stays on welfare, steals from relatives, tells the children that stones and trees have souls etc. I spend as much time as possible driving from Boston to Cape Cod every weekend and in the mean time build up a respectable resume as a software engineer.

Oh trust me, the wacky antics she pulled. I’d drive the 70 odd miles on visit days only to find that they went to the beach. I’d bring them home and have to sit in the driveway with the kids for hours because Laura was busy at a party. Sure I made attempts at custody but this is MA and she is the mommy. More towards the end of the Laura Saga her resume included having been investigated by DSS (the people that take children away from bad parents) a number of times, reputably dating a known drug dealer, not bringing our handicapped daughter to a doctor for 7 years, and successfully not having a job for a decade. Fun fact, Laura would put a crystal under my daughter Joy’s pillow instead of taking to her to the hospital when she was having problems with her heart / esophagus / lungs etc. I had all the children fully covered with health insurance at the time.

Eventually things became too much for Laura and one night about a year ago she drove to my place in her dumpy van, pushed about 10 trash bags of clothes onto the lawn, dropped off the kids and drove away. Within three days I had full custody and I made sure that she owed me child support. Hey it’s only fair. She was also required to get drug testing which I assume will never happen. A week later Laura’s sister told me that Laura was seen in a bar ordering rounds of shots to celibrate getting rid of the kids. What a fucking horrible person.

Now days the kids are doing great. Joy sees only the best doctors. They’re in good schools, good home, loving family. I’m even remarried to a fantastic woman who has a great son of her own. We’re the all American family complete with totally dysfunctional backgrounds but we’re beating the odds anyways.

(Edit: Debbie downer moment, that didn’t last)

Gotta love that pioneer spirit.

About two weeks ago we got a call from Laura. We hadn’t heard from her in 3 weeks, a month maybe. Hope, who is now 11, picks up the phone and Laura blurts out “Your uncle Tom was murdered by Bob!” She’s so tactful like that. Bob being Laura’s ex who I think she may have been engaged to at one time. The first time I met Laura’s brother Tom he had just gotten out of jail and I was 19. These days I knew that he had been in jail again, this time for 5 years, had gotten out recently, and was staying at Laura’s place with Laura’s boyfriend.

I talk to nuttypants and find out that Tom and Bob got drunk one night, went for a walk to the store to get cigs and only Bob made it home. Some investigation into local news sources confirm this. It was in a number of papers actually. What she believes happened is that Tom was probably warning Bob to leave Laura alone and that on the way back into the house Bob found the 35 pound splitting maul (sledgehammer) at Laura’s and blindsided Tom with it.

The police reports say that Tom’s jaw was broken on both sides, nose was crushed, basically all kinds of fucked up to the point where they wouldn’t allow family to view the body to identify. The kids are doing well now and are working past the grief. I think that the fact that the man that lived in their home for so long that they thought was going to be their stepdad is now a murderer has bothered them perhaps more than the uncle no longer being around. They only met Tom a couple of times their whole lives.

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