The Courts – Part Ten


Everything after that meeting seemed to have happened so very quickly, bringing with it a circus of events that would follow. Lola filed endangerment and abuse charges against my parents, and a court date was set. Life in our household during this time is such a blur, I can remember how terribly nervous my mother seemed, and how scared I was about the outcome. I never wanted her to have to endure the stress of such an ordeal, but it was my life we were dealing with here; my well-being. And I was a being that was not well, at all.

During this time, my father quit physically abusing me, instead, he used verbal and mental attacks against me to break the little bit of spirit Lola managed to provide me. He blamed me for tearing the family apart, and turned my sister and my mother against me. Even though both of them witnesses the abuse, and were abused themselves, they sided with Jay.

You see, my father was the kind of person who, if you didn’t agree with him, he made you feel guilty to the point of being exiled by ostracism. My mother and sister knew this and so they went along with anything that Jay said, fearing his disapproval. Disagreeing with him came with dire consequences. It was hard for me to take, but I was so used to it that it was an expected reaction.

My mother’s spirit had been broken years ago, she was an already molded piece of fucked up art, carefully shaped by a fucked up artist. I don’t think my sister was even aware that she had a spirit, hers was enthralled in school activities and friends. She smartly avoided as much of the drama as she could.

More closed door meetings occurred with my parents, where, I’m sure, my father was drilling my poor mother with psychological warfare and coaching her on what to say and how to react during our court appearance. He was determined to win this fight and would stop at nothing to succeed. I watched helplessly, as my mother’s mental state declined; that too was blamed on me. I’m sure she cried herself to sleep on many nights before and after the incident.

I had a few private meetings with Lola before the court date, during which she explained to me exactly what to expect. She knew, given previous history, that my mother would protect Jay, and had a plan to combat her denial. She told me about a facility in Mobile, Alabama called Charter Academy of Mobile, where I would be safe, and get the counseling that I needed. She went on to explain that I would live at the facility until my eighteenth birthday, making it legal for me to leave the poisonous environment Jay built, after I was released.

“So, it is a school?” I asked.

“Well, kind of,” she replied, and went on, “Charter is a psychiatric facility with experts who are there to help at-risk kids get the help they need, but it is set up as a school. Think of it as a boarding school, pretty neat, huh?”

“Well I don’t understand why I have to go away to some psycho ward,” I said, disappointed.

“Shawn, if your mother protects your father, which we both know she will do, the courts will deem you a delinquent. It will be your word against theirs, and you have had a recent history of delinquent behaviors. The judge could send you to a jail-like environment, where you do not belong. Charter is a very nice psychiatric facility, where you will be amongst other kids who have similar issues and problems. There are counselors who will help you understand the reasons your father treats you the way that he does, and they will help you make the transition from the unhealthy life you’ve lived into one that is happy and livable.”

“So it will be me going to a mental hospital when it should be my father?” I asked, realizing the unfairness this whole thing might bring.

“Well, Shawn, we both know who the one that needs to go is, but it isn’t up to us, it will be up to the judge. All we can do is to tell the truth and the cards will fall as they do.”

“I’m not crazy though, Lola.”

“Shawn, you have to trust me. I would not recommend sending you somewhere if I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure that it was in your best interest,” she told me with a sincere look about her face. “We both know you aren’t crazy, but this place is our only alternative to boot camp, or worse…and trust me, you don’t want to go to either! You have been mistreated for a long time, this place will help you get to the root of the problem, and will guide you in a direction that will help you maintain a productive adult life.”

At this crossroads of my life, it is my father who I thought should be made to pay for all of the years of torment he brought to our family, but my hands were tied; I was vulnerable. I had to accept the situation as it was.

In just a short period of time, I would be the one who would wind up exiled and ostracized. The court date loomed, as a vulture waiting for a car-struck armadillo to finally die.


The Courts – Part Five

Eventually, I was assigned a case worker, Lola, who would turn out to be the staunchest supporter I had ever known. She would also become that special kind of friend anyone needs when going down a yellow brick road; corroded and crumbly.

She began slowly working with me to get to the root of the problem that had sent me to her. She was tough as a Marine Corp. drill sergeant, yet had a gentle, almost motherly quality about the way she counseled me. We began our visits at a sterile, stainless steel round table with five welded chairs around it. They were inmate day room tables by day, and councilors offices afterwards.

I was so nervous at first, and I told her I was. Even through unspoken words, though, it must have had to have been clear to see.  She told me, “You can put a Band-Aid on any old wound, but to be completely healed of it, a lot of honesty, and talkin’s gonna  have to happen,” and went on with her deep southern drawl, “Plus, as part of your court-ordered visit here at the detention center, you are forced to talk,” she reminded me; teasing-ish.

One thing was for certain, I was to the point where I would no longer accept the treatment I was receiving from Jay. It was time to finally come through and tell of the years of abuse, both physical and emotional (Just as before I had done, but to deaf ears.). He’d gone on too long getting away with it and I was through taking it. I was going to use this medium to finally break free from the man who bludgeoned my soul, my well-being, my self-worth and my trust.

I slowly and shyly began from the top and told her of the turmoil’s of life at my house under the control of Jay; the abuse, the name-calling, the alcoholism and all of the horrors that came with that. I told her of the denials my mother faced and how my father had brainwashed her into believing the treatment we all received was normal, and as it should be.

I let her know I was aware of his abuse for some time, but felt like the signs were ignored by the very people who could have helped me. She believed in me and turning the other cheek was not on Lola’s menu at that time. Her rosy cheek caught the fluorescence of the lighting and sparkled like glitter, on my hope. I finally had someone on my team. I can’t begin to tell you how safe it made me feel. The stainless steel table/chair combo became what I looked forward to each day I was locked up. Hard as steel, but a comfort like nothing I’d yet experienced.

Of course we talked about my behavior and how it infected a relationship that was prone to infection from the very beginning. I told her of New Orleans and Houston, but, somehow, she understood. Some of my actions she obviously was opposed to, but, she whole-heartily felt me.

Life for me at the detention facility was bearable, and I looked forward to the meetings I had with Lola; not so much for mealtimes. She promised me she would take care of me and I believed in her. Like all humans, the more time we spent with each other the more she learned and the more we bonded.

Even though I broke the law and got myself into that mess, the reason behind it all, would soon come roaring out.




The Courts – Part Four

After the embarrassing process of redressing from my orange lovelies to the clothes I wore when I arrived had finally been accomplished, I was escorted to the waiting room of the get-out-of-jail area. It is where Jay waited, all prim and proper, with the concerned look of a concerned father masking his caring demeanor with sparkly ‘I gotcha’ eyes that only I could decipher. The look in his eyes, which I fought hard to ignore, were like laser beams burning tiny holes in the part of my skin he glanced. I felt his gaze move upwards and then down my body and could feel his distaste.

His body language spoke volumes; everything about him being there to pick me up were the tell-tale beginnings of a toss-and-turn nightmare that would soon begin. I would have nowhere to hide. My mother was not there, if she had been, it would have made a significant difference in my comfort level. Without her there I was more afraid than ever, but, then again, I knew she would have been even more of a wreck than I was, at this, the beginning of a long trip home. I was glad she wasn’t there. Sad and glad.

If my memory suits me, upon first sight of me, he said something like, “Have a nice little vacation, boy?”, or something of the sort. The officers at the desk got a good laugh outta his comment. Meanwhile, all kinds of answers to his question swirled around my mind like hungry dolphins swimming around their Sea World tank at feeding time. Sheer panic and fear kept my mouth sealed as tight as it might be if a spoonful of poison were trying to be introduced into my system. I said nothing. Jay was a poison no tight lips could escape, and the lurking shark, whose presence took away every ounce of appetite the dolphins once had, smiled wide with pride. Still, his question was a taste of the misery that my failed shenanigan would manifest.

When we made it to the truck, and to my total dismay and fright, he opened the glove box, made an ordeal about removing his Smith and Wesson, and then proceeded to remind me of his readiness to use it. He tucked it firmly inside his jeans. He was like a child with his guns. They were like toys for him. He had a license to carry them; a license to kill. Really, I think he was hoping he would get to use it. His tactic worked and I sat motionless; expressionless. I was scared of what he might do.

It was a grueling eight hour drive, sandwiched between Jay and a heavy-set friend of his who he must have brought as a stronghold of some type. My fathers truck was a Ford F-150 manual transmission bench seat.  If you’ve never been so unlucky as to be the third passenger sandwiched between two others with a long metal gear shift between your legs, you should take this bit of information as a lucky strike on your part. To make it even more uncomfortable than it already was, the factory AM/FM radio was turned off…the whole time. He knew with music, I would be able to take my mind away from the things he wanted to make sure stayed, right where he wanted them; in a place of ponder.  He knew I was in trouble, and so did I. This, I am sure, brought him great bliss. Silence makes self-condemnation torturous.

I doubt a minute passed that I didn’t think of escape, but I couldn’t, he made absolute sure. The whole drive consisted of complete silence, or worse; “You’re a bad kid,” or “You done fucked up, son,” or “Now you’re a criminal.”, or “Just wait until they get their hands on a pretty boy like you in prison,” spat with delight from my father’s cruel mouth.

I was driven directly to the Pascagoula Juvenile Detention Hall, in Mississippi, given the orange jumpsuit again, and thrown into a cell, a prisoner; lonely and scared. I think I cried for three days straight. I ate nothing and drank the bare necessity of water. The guards were not nice, as they are not supposed to be, I was in juvenile detention, after all. A bad kid. A menace to society, who was on a path of the no-gooder. If only they knew the reasons for my delinquency, maybe they would have been more sympathetic, but, at this point, in the eyes of the law I was a criminal. Jay basked in all of the glory of my demise.



The Courts – Part two

Shortly after my arrival, and as promised, I was enrolled, once again, into Hillbilly High. You should know, first off though that my parents decided to buy a house in Van Cleave, right before I began the ninth grade. It was, to me, like a potato sack filled with red bricks, dropped directly on top of my soul; to them, their dream home. It would also prove to be the worst ‘new kid in school’ experience I had ever experienced, and I experienced a lot of them.

So, there I went, on my first day, all awkward and shit, kinda effeminate, but definitely different, walking into this new school out in bum-fuck M-eye-crooked-letter-crooked-letter-eye-crooked-letter-crooked-letter-eye-hump-back-hump-back-eye. All of the kids had gone to school together since kindergarten, and ‘Ta-dah’, there I was, a strange kid in a strange place. No confederate flags, no cowboy boots, a mullet, or even a truck. I was just some sissy boy, wearing some faggety-assed Calvin jeans, feathered hair, riding the yellow bus to school, donning huge red and swollen pimples, and dreadfully shy. I was a target right away.

I resumed my classes quickly, and I soon became the topic of tabloid royalty. Just as in any small town, the first person to spread the big cheese is like a demi-god, so naturally, and immediately upon my re-admittance, questions were raised as to my whereabouts during the time I had been away. Several classmates became close to me, to get the dirt, but I told no one the truth. I made up some sort of BS rigamaroar, just dim enough to where I knew the rumor wouldn’t be nearly as juicy as they’d have liked it to be, and I’d be spared ridicule. It wasn’t their business, and I don’t believe they would have taken too kindly to the truthful answers to all of their questions.

Of course thinking back, maybe I should have told the truth as to where I’d been, what I’d done, and whose company I kept. Controversy sells, gurl! But I didn’t, and still, just as before, the bullying continued. Every new day brought with it just a little more isolation. If it wasn’t the kids at school, it was Jay, or, many days I’d get it from both ends. Misery was upon me and happiness was only a fresh and fantastic memory, seemingly never obtainable again.

“Welcome back, fag.”


Bye-Bye Boyhood (Part Sixteen)

I began hanging out more and more at Gift’s apartment complex, Woods End Apartments. We’d sit, almost naked, by the pool and meet others, close in age, who hailed from the complex and beyond. These were the care-free days of youth, the ones where taking your shirt off at the pool was easy and a second thought, unwarranted. Intimacies conspired with smooching feet, hot and submerged, under the privacy of the Jacuzzi’s bubbly. It was the hub of the latest rumor, conspiring love affairs and a pond of pleasure. We swam in a sexual vat of  hormones. Gift had a way of punctuating the fact that she was single and was a popular pool-side attraction.

It was on one of these hot, sweaty days, by the pool that I met Darla. A clown who would soon replace the sexy and jealous pool’s attraction with one, more witty, more personable and less self-consumed. My attraction to her was instant, but I couldn’t let Gift in on my secret admiration. Gift’s friendship was paramount to my place in the community, ending it would spell disaster, I thought. For the time being; here, here, long live the Gift!

Darla, was a tomboy. She always used shorts as her swimming suit and had no trouble keeping the horny guys at bay. Usually, after the gentle and good-willed let-down, the advancing horny heathen and she would become pals anyway. It was clear, early in our relationship that she was just one of the guys. She was short and fit, with long blond wavy hair. Her most attractive feature, in my opinion, was her larger-than-life laugh, you know, the kind that will force you to laugh, even if you didn’t hear the joke that started it all. She would become a very close friend shortly thereafter and walk me through a difficult life change. At this point though, she was just a cool girl I met at the pool.

I guess my aunt and uncle threw up their hands in frustration with me, because I was rarely at their house and spent most of my time at Woods End. They were, for obvious reasons, not too happy with my educational decision and our relationship deteriorated.  I’m pretty sure they put two and two together and realized that I chose to break away and fend for myself. My nights spent at their house became far and few between. I took the road less travelled, one travelled more than you might think and drifted away from my God loving protectors. I have maintained, through all of the years since, a high degree of respect and appreciation for the love and the protection they offered.

Gift shared an apartment with two other girls. Kris was mousy and bouncy with a squeaky voice and always a stupid one-liner that was due a sympathy giggle. You could tell that she was the low man on the totem pole within the trio, because she was always the one they sent on errands, well until I came into the picture, anyway.

Her other roommate was gorgeous and tall. Her name was Samantha. Her appearance was that of an upper-middleclass spoiled girl, who lacked for barely anything. She had a tough-looking Mexican boyfriend named Raul. I only met him on a few occasions. One of them would change the course of my life. Sniff, sniff. Toot, toot.


Bye-Bye Boyhood (Part Fifteen)



School became more of a nuisance and less of a learning experience for me. I didn’t pay attention in class and mostly daydreamed about the freedoms that were out there for me to partake. I had a hard time taking out of my thoughts, the lifestyle that was beckoning me. Or of all of the other guys out there who had the same desires as I, for that matter. I wasn’t a perverted monster after all, I was a part of a group! All of those years spent believing that I was an abomination and on the highway to hell were lies to control me; to change me; to make me more miserable than I already was. Not to be rude to all of those church folk who made me believe that, but fuck you (I tried, in vain, to think of a nicer way to write it, but couldn’t)!!!

I think I must have been at a point in my life where I didn’t have time for school, but plenty of time to learn about myself. Time spent learning about all of the eccentricities that were a part of who I really was, which, still, had no idea. To know what it was that made me happy, was tough, because the only happiness I ever felt was when I was at Charter or when I went to visit Nanny. Happiness was inside me, the gay me, I just had to learn to grab it by the horns and accept it. It’s not called ‘gay’ for nothin’! I was eighteen and old enough to make my own decisions. Most of them were not the best decisions ever, but I was an adult, dammit! I surely didn’t have the confidence to finish high school and go to college, I felt and was taught that I was far too dumb for that!

Now I realize the stolen opportunities that could have been, had I had the confidence to take it. Regrets are not a part of anything that makes me who I am today. I could have. I would have. I should have. But I didn’t and that’s ok.

I guess I can’t blame it all on you know who, but do feel confident that most of it was contrived straight from the mouth of the beast. It is a difficult thing, writing my story and not referring to him regularly. He played such a main and villainous role in my life. It’s hard not to think of him in that way.  I have grown in so many ways since the days of his domination. But still, I have difficulty hearing someone else speak of the love their father gave to them. It is a love hard for me to conceive; a father’s love for his son. It makes it easier knowing that every person experiences life differently. Not everyone comes from happy family, just like every oyster from the sea doesn’t produce a lovely pearl. I have finally come to a point in my life where I can embrace my grain of sand and churn my own masterpiece.

One day, unbeknownst to my aunt and uncle, or anyone else, for that matter, I walked into the main office of the high school and dropped all of my classes. I checked myself out of school. It would be the beginning of a shift in my life’s already curvy path.

“Young man, do you know what you are doing?” the councilor warned.

“Yes ma’am, I don’t think I am cut out for this,” I replied. I may have said something else, I don’t remember.

And so it was done. I officially became a high school drop-out. Not necessarily a drop-out of life, just out of school. I would realize, with the ticking of time, that my smarts wouldn’t come from textbooks, mine would come from the street. Sometimes it’s better to be street smart than book smart, trust me, it is.


Bye-Bye Boyhood (Part Fourteen)

We finally found a ride home with a couple of guys in a pick-up truck. The catch was that we all had to sit in the bed. Now, let me just tell you that this was a ride straight out of a cops and robbers movie. In my mind, I could still hear the sirens from the music at the club, which made me believe that we were being chased by the cops. It seemed to me, in my fucked up state, that we were hauling ass, at around a hundred miles an hour and being chased by the cops. Each time the driver took a turn, it felt as if the truck turned so violently that we were taking the corner on two wheels. It must have been the scariest ride I’d taken. I damn near jumped from the truck, but the guys I was with held on to me so I wouldn’t. It could have been a very tragic night, that’s for sure.

We finally made it back to the guys’ neighborhood. Orrie and two of the other guys took off down the street in the opposite direction from us. I had permission to spend the night with Kyle and Bert lived at a house along the way to Kyle’s, so we walked together. Of course, I remained the comedian of the night and was laughed at about our recent ride.

On the way to Bert’s, a police officer pulled alongside us and exited his car. My breath was like a bunny rabbit, frozen with fear, upon spotting a hungry wolf. I just knew we would be in a heap of shit for taking the drug and would be hauled to jail.   As he crawled out of his cruiser, he pulled at his pants, you know, all tough guy-like and stuff. He walked, with his arms bowed as not to interfere with his night-stick and gun, right up to us. He turned on his bright assed flashlight and shown it into our misconceiving eyes.

Still, after all of this time, I can’t believe we got away with that one. Have you ever seen the Disney movie, The Jungle Book? Do you remember when the snake hypnotized Mowgli and his eyes were all spinning and stuff? Well I betcha our eyes looked very much like that boys did. Spinnin’ right round, like a record player, right, round, round, round.

“What are you boys doing out so late tonight?”

“We just got dropped off by our friend after dancing at a nightclub, sir,” Kyle said, he wasn’t frying like we were.

“Well, you better be on your way home, because around here, nothing good comes with a group of guys stalking the neighborhood.”

“Oh, we’re not stalking the neighborhood, sir, we are going home, right now, believe us, we are,” I said, all Leave it to Beaver-like.

“You better be, don’t let me catch you boys out here next time I drive this way. I’ll have to take you in for ignoring curfew hours.”

“Yes sir,” we said in jumbled unison.

After the cop drove off, uncontrollable laughter filled the night sky again. We were having so much fun!

“Ha-ha-ha, Shawn, you said ‘believe us, we are’! Ha-ha-ha!” Bert laughed at me. “I thought I’d toss my cookies right then and there after you said that shit!”

“Well, I had to say something to get us out of trouble, he was about to bring our fucked up asses to jail!”

We walked right up to Bert’s house and he reluctantly went inside, separating himself from the group. His mother was surely waiting up for him, reading a book on the Lazy Boy, by the dim glow of the side table’s lamp. She’d had hours to practice the smorgasbord of vile words to be spat at him in distaste, for his disrespectful behavior.  Having that sort of thing happen while feeling the effects of the drug was a frightening thought. Sympathy filled my cotton candy brain, as I watched Bert close himself into his home.

It was just me and Kyle now. He was sober and I was not. We made it to his house and I went to the garage, which was set up with a bed, for guests, I guess. Boxes stacked to the ceiling circled the walls. Kyle went to his room and went to sleep. I couldn’t sleep.

Inside the garage was an old dancing light thingy from the seventies. When you plugged it in, a light moved back and forth, causing the colors to change. Normally this would have been something that I wouldn’t have given a second thought to. This night, however, it was the most beautifully magical thing my eyes had ever beheld. I stared into it for hours, until I finally succumbed to the instinctual reality of sleep and drifted off.