The Path Chapter 3 (sequel to The girl down the street)

The Path

Chapter 3 sequel to ‘the girl down the street’

Ellie was 3 years old when I got her, I find myself so dependent upon her that it would be devastating if something happened to her. As I sit on my bed contemplating what has happened in the past year and in years past I realize how much I have been through and how far I have come, yet I still depend on Ellie.

My classes will be starting on Monday I am excited and scared knowing I am starting a new adventure in my life, one that will take me out of my comfort zone. Each instructor has a right to deny Ellie in their classrooms. My first weeks here I decided to deal with it head on; I went to each instructor told them about Ellie and why I need her. I also asked them to keep what I am telling them privately not wanting to share my intimate details with the world nor share my weakness. They were all understanding and very supportive. One of the instructors said the only time there may be a problem is if one of the other students have allergies or has a fear of dogs.

The first day I had 3 classes, they each went smoothly, a problem did not arise in regards to Ellie until the last class of my second day. One of the students was opposed to me having Ellie there; he did not believe that I had a disability warranting a service dog. The instructor pointed out that Ellie and I went through a rigorous training and vetting process.  For the time being Ellie will be able to escort me; the instructor told me that the policy of the college was that service dogs were allowed for those who were sight impaired but that the guidelines did not specify any other maladies that would warrant a  service dog.

No one mentioned Ellie again; many were indifferent to being in class they were focused on the class at hand. Some were positive and treated her like she was a mascot. By October I noticed Ellie was having problems getting up from a sitting position, it soon became apparent she was having hip problems. I took her to the clinic where other students were working and gaining credit for their Veterinary degrees. My worst fear was realized after taking X-rays. Ellie’s hip dysplasia was severe; I called my parents and told them through my hysteria that I was going to have to put Ellie to sleep. My dad said to wait till he arrived he would take her home and bury her in our backyard. I waited and spent the last night with Ellie sleeping with her in my bed as I wet her fur with my tears.

Once my dad left I felt as alone as I did when Rats snatched me off the street. Claudia and Brad were so wonderful showering me with attention, affection, and food. Jason came home with his girlfriend Willow Labinski. I smiled when I heard her last name and that reaction did not go unnoticed she sat down next to me and we started to talk about all things Polish. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways. Don’t get me wrong I was still upset, but my new friend Willow took some of the sting away.


The Path Chapter 2 (sequel to The girl down the street)

The Path

Chapter 2 sequel to ‘the girl down the street’


Ellie and I finished our training and graduated as a team in July after my graduation from high school. I was accepted into the Veterinary school with no problem. My biggest hurdle was finding a place to live while in college. During the day Ellie would be with me, the only time she would be in an apartment or house was when I was with her she would never be left alone because I am not ready to be alone.

There were a lot of people working alongside me but it came down to me. Ellie and I took a trip to the college we stayed at a Drury Inn and took the time to call and visit many places that were available to rent. I finally found one outside of town. There was a farm that had a room for rent. I decided to take it even though it was a half an hour ride into town. My day would keep me out of the room and only be there to sleep.

My grand exodus from home was filled with bittersweet goodbyes and many well wishes. The drive to the farm was eerie to me because I now am on my own and need to grow from here. I did my breathing exercises each time I started to have a panic attack.  Ellie was great during those moments she would alternate from licking my face to laying her head on my lap.

I pulled into the driveway at the farm and was greeted by two dogs, Ellie was thrilled to see Salt and Pepper two immense Permease Mountain dogs.  I opened the door and Ellie jumped out to play tag and sniff butts with Salt and Pepper. Claudia was at work and her husband was in the fields, her son Jason was with the cows.  I had spoken to Brad, Claudia’s husband on the phone before I left, he had told me to just go to my room and make myself at home. I left Ellie with her friends and I dragged our gear up to my room. It was large and sunny with a small closet, two dressers. I put my things in the dresser and transformed the closet into a space for Ellie. There is a bathroom at the end of the hall that I will be sharing with the family.  The money that I pay for rent will help this family with the day to day needs of the farm. I have come to understand farmers depend so much on their crops and livestock that their very existence hinges on the weather and health of the farm.

Once I got my room squared away I brought Ellie in to let her sniff our new home and her special space. I fed Ellie and headed out to town, I wanted to walk to our classes to give Ellie a sense of our new life together.

The campus was near deserted except for a few students and faculty doing summer classes. I plan on doing summer classes to finish my degree a year early.

As I turned the corner to go back to my car I heard footsteps behind me. I don’t know why I had a flight or fight thought go through my head. I turned slightly to see who was behind me. He was tall, dark and attractive. Ellie let out a little growl warning. The guy said: “Is that dog dangerous?” I answered: “Only if someone messes with me?”

I made it to my car and as I was turning the key in the ignition; I was doing my breathing to calm myself down. Sweat slowly cooled me off, giving me a cold chill. It is the end of July and I turned the heater on for a few moments just to feel the comfort of the warmth blowing on me. Once I crossed over the line separating the town from the country I rolled the window down turned the radio up and slowly drove to the farm.


The Path (sequel to ‘The girl down the street’)

The path

Sequel to ‘The girl down the street’

It has been 2 years since we moved out of Hamtramck. I still have nightmares of what happened to me. It is always the same dream but I replay it in my head trying to change the outcome. But there is no changing the outcome of what happened to me.

Soon after the incident, my parents took me to a therapist that specialized in trauma especially that of rape. I went to a support group where other girls who have been raped spill their guts weekly. I only went for a year because I could not bear my pain and theirs.  I did learn from it, one thing, in particular, was ‘it was not your fault’. I tell myself all the time that there was nothing I could have done differently nor would I have. I would not have done anything differently. That is the cadence in my head “This was not my fault the fault lies completely with Rats.” Funny thing is when I heard that Rats was dead I did not feel relief nor jubilant, I actually felt sorry for him. The fact that I felt sorry for him eluded those other girls that decried their pain at the support group. Their hatred for the person who raped them was still palatable. Hatred does not imprison me, empathy at this point does.

I am graduating from high school this year and I plan on going away to college. My parents have cautioned me about going away to college, they are afraid of something happening to me, I told them I have to try, I have to do this for me. In my head I am scared and I have the same fears as my parents but in my stubborn heart, I want to conquer the past by becoming a successful Veterinarian.

Through all my tears, fears and nightmares my dog has been alongside me. She instinctively knew I needed her near me she was my constant companion and confidant.  Her soulful eyes would tear up as I decompressed my emotions after yet another nightmare. When Tippy died I was devastated. A neighbor suggested that I volunteer time at a local shelter. I wanted to bring all the dogs’ home with me. I worked there for a year as a Veterinarian assistant. My parents allowed me to foster a few dogs. I ended up adopting a dog and went to a trainer to have her trained to be my service dog. People with PTSD can have their pet trained and registered as a service dog. Being a rape victim Ellie my German shepherd makes a perfect choice she helps me feel safe.  Too many people disrespect this process which makes it harder for those who truly need the assistance and companionship.

My hope is that I can take her with me when I go away to college. Doctor Heath told me he would write a letter of recommendation for me and he also said he would help me look for housing that would allow me to have Ellie with me.


The girl down the street conclusion

The girl down the street

In my neighborhood, you don’t have to watch the news to find out what is going on in the area. They found Rats and tried to arrest him. There was a gunfight between him and the poolice. Rats, was outnumbered. Sadly someone will take Rats place but at least he won’t come after me and Tyler.

Christine was in the hospital for 2 weeks she had infections from the rat bites, she was raped and she never left the house without either he mom or her dad accompanying her. Some of the kids from the school got together and they would walk her to school and home every day, those days she went to school, which wasn’t often because she did not want to leave the house.

I heard the priest would bring her homework when she decided not to go to school. They moved out of the neighborhood at the end of the school year. I don’t know what happened to her after that. I do know she will never be the same after what she learned the hard way.

Tyler and I decided it was better that we have a buddy system now that emotions in the community are heating up. The riots were hell for most of us. There was a rumor that there were so many bodies they were being dumped into the Detroit River. I don’t know if that is true but I do know I am glad the girl down the street moved out before all this happened; she had been through enough.

Some of us are not lucky enough to move out we had to make the best of what we had. I just kept trying to get good grades so I could get a good job.

I took a welding class and after graduation, I got a job with Chrysler in Highland Park. The pay was good and I was able to move out of the neighborhood. That is where I met my wife.  Carla is Mexican descent, a nice little Catholic girl, she said she would only marry me if I would become Catholic and raise our kids Catholic. I converted from being a nothing to being Catholic. I look and my daughters and remember the girl down the street and wonder how much I should tell them. Carla said: “We tell them the truth about things when they ask, we tell them the truth about bad people to start with.”

That made sense to me and left me wondering if the girl down the streets mama or dad told her about bad people or if she only saw the good in people like Wanda. I remember how gentle she was with Wanda when she put her to bed and how respectful she was when she went into Wanda’s purse to get the money she was owed. Maybe she knew about bad people and choose to love.


The girl down the street Chapter 5

The girl down the street

The only time Tyler and I were not sitting on the step was when we were called to dinner.

A police car eventually pulled up in front of our house and a poolice man got out and walked over to us.

He asked: “Are you Jerome and Tyler?”

We nodded and I said: “I am Jerome. What’s happened to Christine?”

The officer said: “We are trying to find out she did not show up at school this morning. Some of the kids saw a large black Cadillac along the curb. Did you notice the Cadillac? “

I said: “We don’t go to the same school. We start school an hour before the Catholic school does. But Rats owns a black Cadillac, he got out of one last night when he came to ask Wanda to give him the money she owed him”

We talked some more and the Poolice officer left. Later Hazel came back and told us they found Wanda’s body in a dumpster downtown there were rats all over her. I wanted to cry.

My mom said to me and Tyler: “You do not speak to anyone else about this! Do you hear me? You do not go anywhere without your older brother Tyrone, do you understand me?”

We both shook our heads yes and promised my mama we would do what we were told.

Tyler and I sat on the step, neither of us wanted to admit how scared we were. You don’t piss off Rats and you certainly don’t rat on Rats. I wasn’t thinking about anything except how Christine’s mama must be feeling. I should not have said anything.

I couldn’t sleep, it must have been 3 in the morning when I got up and sat on a chair on the porch. I noticed a black car pull up in front of the house down the street. A door opened, no light went on in the car. I heard a thump and the car pulled away quickly. The front light went on the porch of the house I could vaguely see something on the ground near the curb. Christine’s dad came out and ran over to the curb. He leaned over and started to cry. Christine’s mom started to come out and he yelled at her “Call an ambulance.”

I wanted to run over to see her, to ask if I could help but I promised my mama I would stay out of it.  I could hear Christine’s dad crying the words: “You are going to be okay, daddy is here now. You are going to be okay. Daddy won’t let anything happen to you ever again.”

I started to cry. I wanted to go over and help but I knew I could not. I saw Hazel’s porch light go on. She came out pulling her robe across her chest. She knelt on the ground next to Christine’s mom and held her as she cried.


The girl down the street Chapter 4

The girl down the street

Next afternoon when I came home from school I saw police cars out in front of Christine’s house her mama was talking to the poolice, Wanda’s boys were holding onto Christine’s mama.

I went into the house and asked my mama: “What’s going on down the street?”

She answered: “I don’t know Hazel is coming over after the poolice leave to tell me what she heard.”

It wasn’t long before Hazel came over and told us that Wanda’s boys went to Christine’s house because they thought if their mama isn’t home then Christine would babysit them. No one knows where Wanda is. I ran outside and saw Christine’s mom walking towards the school. I ran to catch up to her. When I came alongside her she looked at me sternly, I introduced myself and told her about the night before.  She had tears in her eyes and said: “Christine told me and her dad. She woke us up when she got home. We told her there will be no more babysitting at Wanda’s the boys can come to our house instead and we will take them home the next day.”

I shook my head and said: “Mam, Rats is pretty mad at Wanda and your daughter.”

She stopped dead in her tracks and said: “Do you think he will do something to my daughter?”

Tears were stinging my eyes and I said: “Yes.”

She looked back towards the school, kids were coming out. I waited a few feet away I know she was waiting for her daughter to walk her home.

Everyone came out but her daughter. She stood there and waited some more. A priest came out, she ran across the street calling out: “Father!”

They talked, he shook his head and put his arm around her. They walked back inside the school. I decided to go home as I turned and started to walk away Tyler came up to me and asked what was going on. I told him as we walked back to my house. We sat on the step and watched the house down the street. Neither of us felt good about what has happened.

Soon a car pulled up in front of the house down the street. Christine’s dad got out slamming the door. He hammered the top of the car with his fists; stopped suddenly and looked around. He walked down the street towards the school.


The girl down the street Chapter 3

The girl down the street

Tyler and I went back to the step and watched Rats being handcuffed and taken away in the Pooolice car.  This cannot be a good thing for Wanda or the girl down the street.

Two hours later Wanda showed up, she stumbled passed Tyler and me on her way home. I said: “Hey Wanda, Rats was looking for you. He gave the girl you have babysitting some shit. He made such a fuss the Pooolice came and took him away.”

She turned and looked at me; you could see the terror in her eyes. She turned to run home, but she fell down. Tyler and I helped her up and took her home. She couldn’t even walk up the stairs.  I said: “You gonna pay that girl for babysitting Wanda? She deserves to be paid.”

Wanda slurred: “I always pay the girl. She is a good girl.”

Tyler asked: “What’s her name.”

By that time the girl opened the door and helped Wanda in. Wanda said: “Your money is in my purse.” The girl nodded and helped Wanda to bed. She came back with her backpack and went inside of Wanda’s purse; she counted out some money and put the rest back.

I looked at Tyler and said: “I guess Wanda is right about you when she said you are a good girl.”

She looked at me and said: “Why do you think I am a good girl? Just because I go to Catholic school and don’t know what a pimp is?”

Tyler laughed and said: “I knew it!”

She laughed and asked: “Hey do you know what a Perogie is?”

We looked at her and shook our heads. She laughed and said: “You live in a predominately Polish neighborhood and you do not know what a Perogie is?”

I smiled and said: “Does it have something to do with why you think you are not a good girl?”

She said: “No it doesn’t  the reason I don’t think I am a good girl is what I tell the Priest when I go to confession on Saturday night. Since I tell him I don’t have to tell you!”

By this time we were headed down the stairs, Tyler asked: “What’s your name.”

She said: “Christine, it means follower of Christ. What’s your name?”

I said: “This here is my best friend Tyler, my name is Jerome. I don’t know what our names mean.”

She said: “Jerome is a good biblical name you should find out. I don’t know about Tyler. Thanks for walking me home.”

I said: “Girl, you better tell your dad what happened tonight. Rats is really pissed off at you.”

She looked at me with that look she gave us when we said the word Pimp.

Tyler said: “Rats gets money from Wanda when she has sex with men, that’s what a prostitute does, gets money for having sex. Rats owns Wanda, Rats is supposed to protect Wanda from some of the guys who are mean to her. Everyone knows not to piss off Rats. They call him Rats because he uses Rats to discipline his girls.”


The girl down the street

The girl down the street

I got up, Tyler grabbed my arm and said: “Don’t go over there you know how nasty Rats is.”

I said: “I have to tell him that the girl babysitting doesn’t know about Wanda. I am even gonna tell him that she doesn’t even know what a Pimp is.”

I pulled away from Tyler he shook his head and stepped up alongside me. We both walked to the back of Wanda’s house, I yelled up: “Rats! Wanda ain’t here! That girl in there doesn’t know about Wanda and her business. Hell, she doesn’t even know what a Pimp is.”

Rat’s came down the stairs walked up to me and chest-butted me. I fell back on my ass, Tyler stepped back but not soon enough to miss the shove he got from the palm of Rat’s hand. He landed next to me.

“What are you two ass wipes know about Wanda’s business?” Rats snarled

I said: “She’s your girl everyone knows she’s your girl. Everyone knows except that white Catholic girl up there babysitting Wanda’s boys.”

Rats stood for a moment and then turned to go back up the stairs. He hammered again on the door, this time he used an even mellow tone and said: “Girl get your scrawny white ass over to this door and talk to me.”

I kept praying under my breath: “Don’t do it.”

She came to the door but did not open it. She asked: “What do you want? “

Rats said: “You tell Wanda that Bob was looking for her.”

She said: “I will do just that.”

Rats said: “If you ever need a friend just get a hold of me.”

She said: “Do I ask for Bob?”

I chuckled knowing the girl down the street knew a little something about sarcasm.

Rats said: “No you ask for Rats.”

She said: “I am thinking an exterminator would be needed not a friend.”

That pissed Rats off he started to hammer and spit out swear words left and right by this time someone had called the Pooolice, Tyler and I beat feet home through the alley.


The girl down the street Chapter 1

The girl down the street

I noticed the girl down the street when she first moved in. Her dad always came home wearing a uniform. He is in the army. They used to live one street over and just recently moved on my street. Living in Detroit in the sixties was okay but sometimes you run into people that did not realize how dangerous it was. There were so many angry people yelling out about their misfortunes or how they are being treated and very few people listening to their grievances.

One night my best friend and I were hanging out on the front step of our house, I noticed the girl down the street sitting out on the balcony of Wanda’s flat. Wanda had two young boys and I was glad this time she found someone to stay with them. I nudged my friend Tyler and pointed at the balcony; we got up and walked down the sidewalk. I looked up and said: “Hey, you babysitting tonight for Wanda.”

She leaned over the balcony and said: “Yes.”

I asked: “You go to that Catholic school down at the corner? It’s called Resurrection right?”

She just stared for a second and said: “Yes.”

I said: “Well nice little white girl make sure you do not open that door to anyone. Wanda’s pimp is mad at her for holding out on his money.”

She wrinkled her eyebrows and said: “Okay?”

Tyler said: “Girl! You have no idea what a pimp is do you!”

She protested: “Yes I do! Go away!”

I said: “Okay we will go away for now but when we see Wanda come back we will come over and walk you home. Your porcelain skin is not safe in this neighborhood these days. Why your daddy lets you do this I do not know. Being in the military I would think he would know better.”

She protested: “I can take care of myself!”

Tyler and I both laughed and walked back to sit on our step. We joked about this little Catholic white girl not knowing about Pimps. There was a part of me that wished my sisters did not know about Pimps.

An hour later we saw a familiar car approach and pulled in front of Wanda’s flat. The girl down the street had gone inside; I could see the flicker of the TV through the open door.

Rats got out of the car (they call him rats because he uses them to discipline his girls) Rats walked to the back of the house, I could hear him stomping up the stairs and then hammering on the door all the while yelling: “Wanda! Get your skanky ass out here and give me the money that is owed to me!”


Melancholy Chapter 5 conclusion

Melancholy Chapter 5

I had my gun with me and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a truck pull away. I did the craziest thing I had ever done in my life, I attempted to shoot the tires out.  I was on the phone with 911 told them what was going on and what I had done and why I had done it. Luckily there was a patrol car near us it pulled into the parking lot as the two guys got out of the truck and started shooting in my direction.

I ran behind Paul’s car and laid flat on the ground while the two patrolmen opened fire on the two guys from the truck. I heard other voices from another direction. I carefully peeked around the bumper and saw the other squad car as the officers opened fire.

I started to cry hoping that Paul was not hurt nor hit by all the gunfire. I stayed put and heard someone approach, peering under the car I noticed the shoes were police issue and I had hoped whoever was wearing them was, in fact, a police officer.

A woman patrolman came around and said: “Keep your hands where I can see them.” She took my gun and helped me off the ground. By this time they had the other men assessed and were pronounced dead.

I told the officer: “My friend Paul is a state patrolman, he is assigned to the human trafficking task force. We were about to take some photos. My back was to him. I went to turn around and slipped and fell, by the time I was able to look up Paul was gone. I called and there was no answer.”

The officer had my elbow and we walked over toward the truck at that moment an ambulance pulled into the parking lot. The paramedics ran up to the truck with a gurney, one stuck his head inside the backseat of the truck he asked in a loud voice: “Paul Morgan? Can you hear me, Paul?”

I took a breath and felt light headed and nearly collapsed. There were two patrolmen near me they both reached out to grab me and walked me to the ambulance.

I asked the patrolmen if Paul was still alive. The patrolmen who had stuck his head in the truck said: “He was breathing when I looked inside the truck.”

 I started to cry. Finally, I heard Paul yell: “Mary?”

With the help of the patrolmen they had Paul on the gurney; he was hooked to an IV. I yelled: “Paul! I am alright!”

I found out later I did not hit any of the tires just the right taillight. I was glad they stopped and that the patrolmen arrived when they did. They also took my weapon until the investigation was completed as with the one that was taken yesterday. Paul was now being placed into the ambulance, he turned to me and said: “You might as well go through the academy, you are better with firearms than most of the department.”

I laughed out loud and said: “I am too old, besides, I thought you wanted kids?!”

Paul was promoted to detective and is no longer doing any undercover work. After his cover was blown we both decided it would be for the best.

I am helping the investigation by using my skills; I am spending hours following the money. This is much more interesting than working at the bank. Paul and I had a quiet wedding and got to work making our first child.