April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Your eyes always look away when you say that.

I love you.

Funny how, when you say that, your eyes get heavy and you look at your shoes.

But I do, I love you, you love me too don’t you?

I love . . . You? No, not since . . .

Please don’t’ bring that up again. You know I didn’t do anything.

I know, you . . . didn’t . . . do . . . anything. Especially when I told and you said you didn’t know what I was talking about. You were standing right there watching as he did it . . .

What happened, then huh, no one believed you and you got punished for lying, I knew you would and I didn’t want any part in all of that. Besides, he said if I didn’t tell and if I let him, he would step pestering you.

He didn’t

Didn’t what?

Stop pestering me.

He said . . .

He didn’t.

Well anyway, I told mom about what he was doing to me and she just laughed saying if I wasn’t careful who I told, I would get the same treatment as you.

So you didn’t tell anyone besides mom.

Nope, you are the first.

Did he stop?

You know the answer to that, he never stopped going to your room at night did he.

Blurred Memories

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Her ghost comes in from the outside corner of the south facing room. Blurry, like a bad photograph, she hides nothing but distorts everything. Even her voice is wispy and slurred. This room, in a deserted house that I used to know, holds many more ghosts but they have chosen her to be the spokesperson.

I stand mute as she holds her hand out, entreating me to forgive. “I am so sorry” she whispers. “I knew but I was as powerless as you. I couldn’t even stop myself from being a part of it all. I was trapped in a situation I was unprepared for. I had to play along or it would have been me at their hands. It may not matter to you but I did intercede and I did suffer the consequences. I became their target to spare you but not every time, I couldn’t, they wouldn’t let me. I was forced to be a part of their depravity, betraying both of us as I complied.”

I watch as she shifts and blurs again then collapses, puddled in the corner, wailing like the ghost she is. I sense the others now swirling about my head and feel I have become the boy that lost his childhood in this room. I can only know to sit by the spirit of her and pray that this is not another lie and I look for the strength to forgive her. My tears blur the reality of this room and I wonder at the memories that are like ghosts in an abandoned house.

Short List

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Short List:

a fear of being hopeless
a fear of being accused
a fear of little girls
a fear of being made to do despicable things
a fear of being unable to avoid the inescapable
a fear of being helpless but responsible
a fear of being the chosen one
a fear of being the toy
a fear of remembering
a fear of not remembering
a fear of helplessness


April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I just ran across the photographic documentation of his prowess at marksmanship. This picture is of 30 dead gophers laid out on the sidewalk in front of our Burns Oregon home. I remember he was so proud of himself that he called all the neighbors over to see.

I remember that one of them asked him, “Why would you do a thing like that to such innocent creatures?”

He impatiently explained that “Those damn critters attract rattlesnakes, and we sure don’t need to have snakes around here, not where the children play.” Well everyone knew that this was bullshit, there had been no sightings of these pests. And besides, we had spent the entire morning far out, way past the Paiute Community on the next ridge, well out of range of any local rattlesnakes.

My part in this slaughter was to steer the truck down the trail so the Gophers would not run and hide when it stopped. He walked along the truck taking out any of the gophers that thought they were safe. He was so proud of this innovation, but I was disturbed by his wanton killing.  I liked Gophers and enjoyed their presence when I escaped home for a while to wander around in the desert

Then with the sun setting behind us, he shot a jackrabbit. He thought we were doing a great deed by giving the rabbit carcass to the Paiute Indian. What He did not see was their smirks and the look in their eyes. I had secretly made friends with these people and was devastated by my father’s condescending attitude. I was relieved when the elder gave me his wink signifying that he understood and didn’t think poorly of me because of what my father did and said. Later, the elder and I had a good laugh about the meaning of the rabbit.

This story reminds me of the time in Michigan, when in fulfilling his duties as a dog-catcher, he shot a dog that was running through the forest. The dog’s owner happened to be nearby and came over. He asked dad if “you are pretty proud of yourself aren’t you?”

Dad responded, “Hell yes, a moving target at 100 yards and I brought him down with one shot.”
Faced with my father’s aggressiveness and gun, the man, with tears in his eyes, shook his head, turned, and slowly walked away.

I have often watched him euthanize stray dogs and am convinced that he enjoyed watching them die. And though he tried and tried to pass this trait on, I still abhor killing.


moved to wattpad 9/9/16

Categories: Dads Tags: , ,

Cold Clammy Hands

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Cold clammy hands caressed my face, waking me from one dream, pulling me into a nightmare, a place where I am compelled to do hurtful things to myself for the enjoyment of others. This molestation has gone on for years and the permutation of acts and actors seems endless. Invariably, in the morning, I will wake to lingering pain and a mess of bodily fluids that need to be hidden from view. I am left with guilt, the guilt of allowing myself to be victimized, allowing these things to be done to me and the guilt of my body’s response. As a child I dissociated to the future to avoid what would become an awful present, but my mind recorded it all. So now, when all should be well, it isn’t.

As a professional I learned the signs of abuse and came to realize that my self-destructive behavior has its roots in my childhood. I became very angry about the unforgivable things that had been done to me. I was angry that I had to relive it over and over. I am still haunted by my ghosts but they have less sway on what I do now. Now that I have begun to write about them, these memories hold less power over me. It is not by accident that I found myself working with adult perpetrators of physical and sexual abuse. But it wasn’t until I could separate the person from the act that I could begin to forgive. This shift was paramount if I were to make a difference with theses dysfunctional adults and give them the tools to not perpetrate the violence on their children. I did that for ten years and was successful, but like the cobbler, there were holes in my shoes. For a time the walls around the memories were strong. Eventually my defenses began to fall, which is when the ghosts started coming back. So now in my writing, I become a witness to the abuse, which is a far better place than to merely, survive, to be a survivor. And as a witness and by allowing others to witness the source of my anger and torment, the power these memories had over me began to dissipate. I still have those dreams, but they no longer bring the self-defeating anger and guilt they used to. I have begun, most importantly, to forgive myself and my father and all of those other figures that remain present but unidentifiable and for whom I had been the target of depraved amusement.

And I am better for it.



Check In

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Check In 23 April 2006

“My name is Fred, I feel Sad, I have not chosen to be violent, I have not taken a time out. I am in.”

“George, fine, no T’s, no V’s, I Am In.”

“I am Steven, I have been violent, I have taken time outs, and I am afraid. I’m in.”

“Would you like time to talk Steven,” asks the group leader, John.


“If we don’t get back to you after check-in, please remind me. Next”

“Frank Lloyd, I feel good, I am not a violent person, and I don’t know about this time out. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know why I am here. She started the fight and look, here—I am the one with the bruises.”

“Whoa Frank, For the check in we don’t need so much detail—if you would like we can give you some time after check-in. Joe, you are next.”

“I am Joe, your fucking time out didn’t work, and now I got another case.”

“Slow down Joe. Like I told Frank, we can give you time after check-in, but for now we just need to hear how you feel right now, whether you have been violent and if you took a time out. Then tell us you are in so the next guy can go.”

“Ahh right—I am Joe, I feel pissed off, I took some times outs and I was violent. I am in, but I don’t want to be.”

“I am John, I feel competent, I have not been violent, I have taken a time out, and I am in.”

“What? You took a time out, you must have been real mad to do that.”

“Yeah, Steven, I took a time out, and I know you would like to bust my chops about it, but you will have to wait, we will get to the guys who need time first. But before we go back around the group, I need to discuss Georges check-in. This is serious business and we need to take credit for our successes as well as our failures. So please take credit for not being violent. There is violence all around us and you chose not to be a part of it. Tell us you didn’t take a time out—don’t minimize its importance and your achievement by saying not T’s and you already know what I mean when I say I am fine.”

”No I don’t, what do you mean when you say fine?”

Well Frank, when I say fine, I am saying that I am Fucked-Up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. So if that is how you feel, by all means, check in that way.

Bob Frankl

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

“Bob Frankl, Bob Frankl,” blared the loudspeaker. “Report to personnel, Bob Frankl Report to personnel.”
Bob, in the middle of solving an intermittent mechanical problem throws down his wrench, slaps his assistant on the back, saying “Finish this one up Jack and I will meet you for lunch.”

Jack finds the problem, fixes it and then heads for the Roach Coach. “At least the food is cheap,” he grumbles to himself. Just as he sits down at the picnic table, Bob comes down the stairs from personnel. “Damn Bob” He says, “you look like you got some bad news.”

Yeah—the friend of the court is garnishing half my wages, Eve in personnel is irritated and has made a note in my jacket and the boss, well let’s just say he is pissed.”

“Shit man, they can’t just take a man’s hard earned money.”

“Well they can and they did.”

“What ya gonna do Bob?”

“Don’t know, Martha has ideas about fixen’ up the house, but she can forget that now.”

Again the loudspeaker blares, “Bob Frankl, report to the manager’s office. Bob Frankl.”

“Dammit, what now, I haven’t even gotten my lunch let alone been able to eat it.”

“Don’t know Bob, but when the old man calls you better run.”

During that long walk up the stairs Bob ruminates on what he might have done wrong. “I haven’t been late in months. I haven’t fucked up any jobs. Everything was going fine till this Friend of the Court thing. Maybe it is my ex-wife, Debbie; maybe she is just stirring the shit again.” By the time he had reached Mr. Marmer’s office, he had worked himself into an overly defensive state of pissed off.

Bob stops in front of the door that has Manager written on it. He knocks. If that is you Frankl, get your ass in here, and if it is anyone else, go away.”

Bob storms in, slams the door and says, “What the fuck now?”

Just sit your ass down Mr. Hot head and I will tell you what the fuck now, but first I need to take a leak. I’ll be back.”

Bob is too agitated to sit but paces back and forth getting himself more and more worked up. Finally he throws himself in the chair across the desk from his bosses. He looks around a minute, and then closes his eyes trying to relax.
That is how Mr. Marmer finds him. “Anybody else would have rifled the papers on my desk by now Bob. I bet it didn’t even occur to you did it? Well, that is one of the reasons you are in here now.”

Bob starts right in, “If you’re going to give me more grief about the Friend of the Court thing . . . “But he isn’t even allowed to finish his sentence.

“That kind of shit means nothing to me, except for how it affects my people. You for instance, I know you are barely squeaking by on what you make now. You have been her for five years and you know this business as well as I do. I need someone to watch my back on swing shift. Think you can handle it?”

“Well sure but what about Sanders what is gonna happen to him?”

“That son of a bitch has stolen from the company and is going to get fired tonight.”

“I thought everyone liked him how ya gonna handle that?”

“I’m not, you are. Just makes things a little more interesting for you. Are you up to it?

“Yah, I could use some extra money, what’s it gonna be?”

“Well the job of foreman is tough and you will be salaried so there will be no overtime but there are health benefits, you can ask Eve about them. I figure with the shift differential you should be making twice what you are now. And with Friend of the Court taking half, you will walk away with what you are making now.”

“Sounds great but what about Jack?”

“You can take him with you if you can find replacements for both of you. He stays on days until you do.”
“Thanks Mr. Marmer, I don’t know what to say.”

“It is Joe to you now. And you have earned the promotion; just don’t disappoint either of us. You start tonight, so go home now and get some rest, it promises to be a long one. Now get the fuck outta here.”

It was a different man that made the long walk down the stairs.