Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the back of a van, in some rest area in Southern Washington, I come to understand that I am a woman. Sharaya is there, of course, and learns the news from my lips just as I understand it.

The same van, homeless again quite suddenly, I sit on the absence of a seat. Vibrations from an angry road play havoc on my aching spine.  Marketing copy on the back of a bag of off-brand crisped rice occupies my eyes and the forefront of my mind.

“If you haven’t tried the delicious taste of Crisped Rice, today is your day!”

In the back of a cop car, strangers tend terribly to our son; violent intent and authority still echo across my mind. Sweat and rage and impotence drench my every pore. I fracture wrists, just a bit, but cannot quite break the handcuffs.

That was my payment for questions asked of wicked men with badges and guns and dark needs to control. It would be an hour before anyone can tell me why I am arrested.

“Boy, I will knock the curls right oughta your hair,” said the worst of them even as I was put into handcuffs.

I was arrested because my hair was long, my shorts were short, and I don’t look enough like a woman for them. Clearly though, they know I am not a man.

I am berated and mocked, and when they transfer me to the county jail, the pigs haven’t even figured out what to charge me with.

I am in Western Oregon, asking about a bathroom, in the past, but after the first sentence.

His dead eyes look through me. I will die if I stick around. I’m too gimpy and unarmed. I didn’t see the southern swastika out front until we fled.

A few hours after I am jailed, but before I am actually booked in, I am informed by an official representative of the state of Arkansas that I should be hitting our child. She tells me it will be a year before we get him back. A year before our son will be returned.

A year of unimaginable pain for no actual reason at all. Somebody didn’t close the door. He walked outside and they stole him. The state of Arkansas stole our beautiful baby boy.

The county jail kept me off my medication for days, and I languished.

The folks in the cell with me are wonderful. Supportive and kind. I withdraw from them and find a golf pencil on the first night.

My eyes must’ve been wild. A trustee offered to sharpen our pencils. He paused forever before he accepted mine.

Sharp, but delicate, the lead breaks as I try to shove it into a vein. I reposition and try again. I imagine bleeding out will feel like coming home.

A kind soul noticed and quietly stopped me from dying.

I find out the next day, Olan is with Sharaya, returned to his loving mother, my wonderful wife.

I can only remember one phone number.

My soul broke, and I called my grandparents.

My grandfather answered, eventually.
“…Well, maybe jail is where you deserve to be…”
“…You still pretending to be a woman?...”

I take note of a twisted steel plate, rusting and flecked with ancient paint. Its corner sticks out from the wall, bent maybe 20 degrees. With enough force and determination, I decide it could slash my wrists.

I tried to kill myself before I called the people that raised me.

I was panicked about marching in a Cub Scout parade. Grandpa tried to force me into it. He will box my ears in scarce controlled rage before storming out of the house. I stood in the hallway unsure of what to do. Alone.

I am in front of a Cub Scout meeting sitting on pale leather seats. My smart mouth is closed. My eye has just been blackened by a ring with a mound of diamonds on it. This will be a funny story later.

I am in a courtroom. There is a man in a very nice suit.

He is there to support the police. He is there to make the pigs’ narrative official. His job has no relationship to justice. He is the status quo.

-- The cop that threatened me so cleverly, smiles. The woman that held our son against our will smiles with maliciousness extraordinary.

The man in the nice suit is a DA.

We plead down. For doing nothing wrong, we owe the county one thousand dollars. I don’t know that we will ever be able to pay it.

I found some nihilistic Zen, and pleasantly returned the pig’s grin just before we caved in.

No contest. Justice impossible.

-- After all that, that dumb, abusive fucker threatens to call the cops. They evict me officially, delivered by a county pig, after having offered us a home. They pretend Sharaya and the children have a home there still yet. We leave. Their idiot plan comes too close to working.

I am young. My mother was slammed into a ratty couch, a fist descends. I ran.

I am very young – in memory normally unattainable and kindly forgotten. A dick hovers in front of my face. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant. This will haunt me always.

I am a bit older, in a bully’s room (before he is a murderer). He suddenly strips down to his underwear and holds me against the floor. It is exciting. It is terrifying.

“What are you doing?”

“Fixin’ to fuck you silly!”

He doesn’t.

In a motel, in the snow, in Kansas, in the shower, I held a knife to my temple. I tried to find the wherewithal to press it into my skull or set the thing down. I am held forever in between until Sharaya took the knife away.

 “If you haven’t tried the delicious taste of Crisped Rice, today is your day!”

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