Decisive Chapter 2

Chapter 2 On Notice

I needed to get to work and decide how I was going to deal with this situation. Mark said he would stop by my office at 1:15 so he could have a chat with Glenn. I arrived at my office earlier than usual 8 am the bank did not open until 9 am. My phone had a message on it, I pressed play all messages:

“Ms. Lawrence, I realize you are an educated person and you follow the rules implicitly. Let me advise you so you are aware what the consequences will be if you push me too far. Your dear neighbor Clair will need a go-fund for her medical expenses. When I married Clair I did not know about her financial problems with her parents’ mortgage and her own credit card debt. This fund will help her pay her debt to them and me.”

My first thought was an expletive rant. I saved the message so I could play it back for Mark. While I was mulling over how to handle this I wanted to also finish up some legitimate paperwork so my afternoon would be clear.

In a split second life can change in someone’s life, there is an ill-fated decision some make when you feel you have no control, all you can do is stand your ground or find a way to get out of the way.

My desk was neat which cleared my desk for the rest of the day. It was almost noon some of the tellers were taking their lunch break; I was having my fourth cup of coffee. That hum started to gnaw at me again I turned to my office window and I saw the truck coming at me at full speed. Just as I lurched out of the way I heard a gunshot. Mark was standing on the sidewalk; he had shot the back window out of the truck and the back tire. The truck hit my window pushing my desk across the room. Glass had cut my cheek hot coffee scalded my hand but all in all I was okay.

Glenn was pulled out of the truck and placed in handcuffs. Mark came over to check on me and I said to him: “I wonder if Clair is okay.”

Mark leaned back on his heels and called into dispatch. They sent a patrol car over to the house. She was nowhere to be found. Glenn was asked repeatedly what he did with Clair. He continued to say he did nothing to Clair.

This was one time I did not get a hum. My hope was Clair took off to get away from her husband and hopefully, she will emerge, happy and healthy ready for a better relationship.

It took a week to find Clair. Clair indeed had fled her husband’s grasp. She was staying near the hospital with a friend. I started to put some of the pieces together when I found out Clair worked at the hospital as a nurse’s aide. What bothered me was Mark had come up with dirt on Clair. Clair had many scams going to make extra money. She sold drugs stolen from the hospital pharmacy and she was addicted to Oxycodone.  Sadly this young woman made disastrous decisions.

I believe we each have the power to decide right from wrong. We all need to be decisive. We especially have to remember our decisions have consequences; each consequence is our debt to pay. Clair’s debt is 10 years without parole.



Decisive Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Go-Fund

I work in the branch office of our local bank. My education affords me many perks, one of which is to pick and choose where I work. My superiors wanted me to work at corporate headquarters; I prefer the slower pace and homey feel at the branch level. I get a chance to see my neighbors helping them with any difficulties they may have financially and guide them to retirement through investments.

I have noticed lately many are dipping into their savings because of medical bills or may be helping another family member there are many reasons. I always try to steer them from doing this if at all possible. Another trend that has recently evolved is the go fund. This needs to be policed carefully being that there is a great opportunity for fraud.

One late afternoon just before the end of the day a young couple came into my office to open a Go-Fund account. I have known Clair since she was in grade school. Her parents passed a year apart from each other she was left with the house and a large mortgage while still attending her first year of college. Clair smiled and shook my hand as she introduced me to her husband Glenn. I gestured to the two chairs in front of my desk, we simultaneously sat down. I had not seen Clair in some time; Glenn was the first to speak explaining the reason for the go-fund account. Clair teared up as Glenn explained about their young son of 4 having bone cancer, the medical bills, transportation has nearly bankrupted them.

I get a little hum in my head when something seems tenuous. The last time I saw Clair was 3 years ago at her dad’s funeral; at that time she had neither children nor a husband that she spoke of. I broached the question carefully asking if this was Glenn’s child thus he would be Clair’s step-child. Clair straightened up and said: “No, he is our son, why do you ask?”

I answered: “I ask because when I saw you last was at your dad’s funeral, there was no mention of a marriage or a child in your life.”

Her shoulders slumped and she said: “Oh.” She paused a moment and then added: “Glenn and I were having problems at the time, so much was going on I just did not want to talk about it.”

I nodded yet still that hum warned me in the back of my head that something just wasn’t right about this. I used the excuse that it was near closing and that I needed to get all the paperwork in order. I asked if they could come back the following day so we could finalize the account. We agreed to meet at 1 pm the following day.

Before I get involved with helping them set up a Go-Fund account I want to be sure their charity is legit. My first task would be to find out if they truly have a son that is sick. I made a few calls to people I know such as a doctor friend John Lut. John agreed to do some checking I then contacted a friend of mine Mark Trenton, Mark is a police officer he also knows Clair and he too was surprised to hear that Clair is married and has a 4-year-old son.

Early the following morning I received a phone call from John he told me that there was, in fact, a young boy by the name of Butch Marsh but his birth certificate had the parents’ names as Greg and Marcia Marsh.

John said: “Your hum is paying off again Crystal.”

“I hate when I get these feelings, especially when it concerns someone I know.”

I called Mark after I finished my conversation with John. Mark pickup on the first ring.

“Good Morning Crystal. When are you going to have dinner with me?” Mark asked

“Will you settle for breakfast? We need to talk.” I said

We met up at our local Big Boy. Mark filled me in on Glenn’s dubious background. Glenn had a rap sheet a mile long, drugs, larceny, domestic violence. My ears perked up when he said domestic violence. Mark saw my recoil when that was mentioned he nodded his head and said: “Yes the domestic violence was directed at Clair. Glenn came home from work sat down to have a beer  while Clair was preparing dinner. He did not like what she chose to make for dinner nor did he like the fact the laundry was not put away. He decided to treat her to a choking. A neighbor called the police when he looked through their dining room window and saw Glenn had picked Clair up off the floor by her throat.”

I was sickened and saddened by this news.



Blind Spot

Blind spot

I love my children, wife, and dog, not necessarily in that order. Yet, there are times I think I have a blind spot. Love is a weird emotion; it does not always have clear logical vision. I try to tell myself the vision is never clear when the heart is connected. Although I know as a man I am supposed to know the difference between love and reality. The reality of life we try to hide in amongst the wonderful reality of love. I say the reality of love because one day I know my daughter will ask me “Daddy, when do you know you are in love?’ I really do not have a concise answer because I know in part it is a spiritual connection. How do you explain the reality of love? Like the love between the creature and his creator? Scientist will never understand the equation. If they do not believe the soul is real then you cannot equate that into any compilation.

Life seems to whip by with a few speed bumps along the way. My daughter was born with jaundice they said it was normal she spent two days inside an incubator. That was our first speed bump the next few were the childhood illnesses, measles, mumps, colds, flu. Nothing really big came along until she was in her teens. Here is where the rubber hits the road. This is where your faith, love and hope are challenged.

My wife Linda and I are shaken to the core as we hold each other’s hands while walking down the cold, highly lit hallway of the hospital. Nurses, doctors and indeterminate personal are scurrying from one emergency to the next. No one to ask where our daughter is let alone how she is.

Carla has been a challenge since she reached puberty. She would challenge every rule as she broke them. We thought we finally reached the end of this bump in the road when in her sophomore year she made the list of top students in her class. She was voted class president and the girl most likely to succeed. Carla was coming into her own. Her specialty was biology and science. She wanted to be an astronaut of all things.

Linda answered the door when the police officers informed us that Carla had been hurt. The only information they gave us was she was at county hospital. Nothing of the incident or what caused her injuries.

Linda and I walked into her intensive care cubicle, the sight of her with tubes in her arm, nose, and abdomen. Her legs were both in casts; her neck had a brace on it. If it were not for the tattoo just below her right ear we could not have recognized our daughter with her face so disfigured.

We stood silently staring at our beloved little girl. I glanced over at Linda and noticed she had the same silent tear on her cheek as I did. Linda looked up at me as she turned we grabbed each other sobbing hoping to cleanse the evil from the room.

Many of my more liberal friends call me phobic. Mostly because I disagree with their view of the world and politics, I would much rather people attain professional help instead of going through radical physical changes to themselves and their lives. My friends say I lack empathy due to my lack of education. I respectfully disagree.

Finally a nurse came in asking if we were Carla’s parents. We said yes. She told us that a detective Bryant had asked to be called when we arrived; he wanted to speak to us. We tried asking the nurse for more information in regards to Carla’s injuries. The nurse said that she felt it was best to speak to the detective and that the doctor would consult with us in a couple of hours after all the blood tests and radiology came back.

Linda and I settled into the two small chairs that were available and waited for Detective Bryant. The only sounds in the room were the beeps and squawks of the machines  tending to our Carla’s needs.

I went down to the cafeteria to grab two coffees; by the time I came around the corner I noticed a tall lean man in a grey suit walk into Carla’s room. I reached the door to hear him introduce himself as Detective Bryant.

To sum up what Detective Bryant wanted to know about Carla and her activities nearly brought me to my knees: “Did you know that Carla was involved with a young woman who is going through gender transition surgery. The young woman who goes by the name of Tracy used to be Carla’s boyfriend Tom.”

I stood shaking my head while I said: “We had no idea. What does this have to do with Carla’s injuries?”

Detective Bryant answered: “Carla was in the girl’s restroom at school with Tracy, they were having a heated discussion about the surgery when another female entered and started to butt into the conversation, interjecting her advocacy for the surgery. Carla was heard to tell this girl that this was a private conversation. Carla also stated she felt the reason for Tracy/Tom’s decision was due to his relationship with his dad. At this point another girl walked in and joined the conversation. By the time the incident ended there were 4 girls screaming and getting irate with Carla. They were the ones that caused the injuries. Tracy is also in intensive care for trying to protect Carla.”

I was numbed by the information, angry by the evil intent of those who disagree with someone’s point of view; this causes more harm than it does solve a growing issue.  Linda looked up at me and asked: “Are the lambs being silenced?”

A day to myself

Today started like any other day. Coffee in hand I Stumble through the living room, bleary-eyed wondering if the coffee will kick in soon. Not wanting to go to work not really wanting to just stay home. Adventure is what I need.

As I sat drinking my coffee trying to determine who I was going to call to add to my adventure. I had considered my friend Rose but I remembered she had other plans. Then I decided it was time for me to strike out on my own. I called into work and left a message for my boss telling him that I was taking a vacation day. Next, I showered grabbed another coffee took my time dressing and doing my hair. I decided, this time, I would just get in the car and drive. Keys in hand, I’m out the door. My first stop is the gas station to top off the tank get a water. Next, I go north and just keep driving when something interesting pops up I will stop and hang out.

It took about an hour to get out of the familiar views. Soon everything changed as the trees sped by my window I let out a breath and realized this was a good decision.

It has been a long time since I’ve been North probably since I was a kid when my parents used to do this very thing we would just get in the car and drive. My mom would always pack a picnic or at least lunch and treats depending upon how long they had decided to drive.

For me, part of my adventure will be deciding where to stop for lunch. I pulled out my phone called work again letting them know I’m taking two days this is feeling way too good I have decided I will spend the night somewhere.

I took the next exit coming up in 1 mile. Here is a good place to get off. Pulling onto the exit ramp I needed to make a decision, go right or left. I chose right. This took me to Rose City. Now my stomach is telling me I should have had breakfast to go with my coffee. Up ahead Rose City is coming into view. I passed the Rose City Greenhouse. At the light in the center of town, I noticed a Randy’s Restaurant and Bakery that serves food. Small town feel, with alluring scents of cinnamon, fresh bread. If I stay here too long I will get fat.

After leaving this home away from home lure, I decided instead of north, I would backtrack and go West. It reminded me of a Toby Kieth song a parcel of the lyric is ‘go west young man.’ I figure since it is playing on my DVD player it could sound out my heart. ‘go west young woman’

Westward I went. Until I hit Saint Helen. No place to stay in the Inn, where to now? I stopped at a nature preserved fed the albino deer corn which was there for purchase. Sat and stared awhile, wondering what I was doing and where I was going.

I have been divorced for a year. The marriage did not end badly, amicable for the moment. I say for the moment because I left as soon as I felt safe to leave. Andrew, who somehow I still crave, was a relentless controlling, manipulative, abusive husband. I know many say ‘why do they stay’ and ‘those who stay must like it’ I stayed because I love. Or because my love is enabling. Or because. I have a Ph.D. and other alphabetical degrees. I stayed. Not because I am uneducated, nor because I am naive. Is it more complicated than that? I do not know. Who knows when you are in the midst of it. It is what it is. Yes, I can sit down and talk to a therapist and delve into my childhood. Did I love my mother? Did I like my father? But I say ask them that perpetrate the abuse. Ask the one who perpetrates the abuse. Ask them why!

Sorry to babble on like this. This road trip was needful. I need to regroup. Seems I have been part of the equation. The percentages say second marriages end in divorce because you will choose the same sort. What is scary about that is, not only will those who chose to be with those who abuse. It also suggests those who abuse tend to choose those who are likely not to resist the abuse?

All that is rattling around my head. Thus the reason to get away. I met someone. He is a Vietnam vet. My big door bell ring (this should tell me to run) he is PTSD certified. Is this not looking like failure or understanding?

I need to roll, think things through and analyze my options. It is getting late I need to decide where to stay for the night. I am not used to driving country roads. No street lights it is darker than dark. My headlights caught something fleeing my beam.

Roscommon county: Accident on county road 100

by Christine Swiderski

A car with an unidentified woman traveling late at night on August 31st crossed the center line in the path of oncoming traffic. The large truck hauling logs could not stop in time nor swerve to miss the Ford Taurus. The passenger was dead on the scene. More details will become available.

Website- more short stories and poems