Thursday, September 18, 2014

2nd chances, then amendments

It is meant to rain 100 inches today. Eight feet of rain will fall from the skies. It is up there, waiting. Nowhere will be safe, not even the swimming pools. Some forecasters even say that there is a chance of thunderstorms.

And this, an auspicious hint from god, on Scotland's possible day of independence. Some have asked the state of Florida to participate again in the democratic process.

Scotland needs you in their time of need, brother swamp.

Bog, swamp... whatever.

We used to drink this stuff known as "Florida Whiskey" when we were all fresh out of high school. It was just gasoline, turpentine and lighter fluid. 

It was okay.

Did I ever tell the story here about how I was shot at? I think I meant to one day but then I skipped it.

Since today looks to be a tremendously rainy day....

A long time ago, in a suburb far, far way......

I no longer lived with my ex-girlfriend. But we were only ex's because that was what we had determined would be official. It was our public messaging concerning the relationship, what was left of our love.

I loved her deeply, but I had fucked the relationship up, using it as a testing ground for sex. My experiments proved quite conclusive. The failing love of my life and I were growing apart at the genitals.

Though, we were still in tender touch. 

I was in Peru for the new year and we managed to talk on the phone, exhausting whatever money I might have made by being there, dj'ing. She was ill, something was wrong. She could not drink enough water, she was losing weight fast, double-vision, and worse.

When I returned she found that she had Type I diabetes. That was probably my fault also. I encouraged a lifestyle for her that was damaging in almost every imaginable way. She had a genetic predisposition for it also, I guess.

We spent the nights sleeping together after she got the news. She needed me, and I was happy to be there for her. Also, she did look amazing. The lost weight, which had never bothered me, revealed another girl altogether, one that was waiting inside of her. 

I would have her wear wigs of various color, and bought her new underwear.

Also, I would hold her in the night and let her know that she was loved. 

Is, loved.

Her brother moved in as her roommate and we got along pretty well. He had some extreme views that differed from mine, but we were buddies.

He did not call her a cunt often but when he did he chose his times well. Like, when their mom was there, who also was blessed with this moniker of dis-endearment.  

He also had Type I diabetes, had had it since childhood. He always seemed angry about it, and self-destructive as a result, or that was what he used as his excuse. Even his choice in self-destruction differed from mine. 

Before he moved in with my girl-ex, he was homeless for a time, having been through a romantic breakup of his own.

He had a great dane, who died one night sleeping alone in his car. I do not believe it was his intentional fault but he felt differently, and he just might have been more right than me on that point.

So, one day while driving in the car with him I told him that he needed to stop calling his mother and his sister cunts.

He exploded.

He jumped out of the car just before we stopped at an intersection, screaming invectives, explaining my role in his life to me.

I drove back to home-base ex and explained what happened.

Things changed for him and I after that, for the worse. We didn't seem like buddies any more, but rather more like dual experiments in the loss of patience.

Ex and I tried to keep things between us immersed in love-solvent, but it was a painful and struggling endeavor at times. We were lost to the love we once shared. The reservoir that makes love possible seemed to be drying up. What had once been a torrent had slowed to a trickle, or less.

Love between us was painful.

One Friday evening we had planned on spending time together. Long before cell phones, she let me know through an email (or maybe she paged me..) that she would, regrettably, not be able to join me that evening.

A close friend that lived nearby invited me to a basketball game.

Problem solved.

Until I saw her at the game, with a problem. A man. She seemed to be having fun. I could not look away. I could not believe it. I could not even tell that she had been stricken with an incurable infirmity.

But I did believe it. It didn't take very long, either. In seconds, I knew.

I went back to my seat, defeated.

It was finally, once and for all, over, for the moment.

After the game, I went to collect my stuff from her house, a thing that needed to happen that night.

The romantic timing of youth is punctual. Love insists, then begs.

I was packing up my books and taking them to my car. She and I were arguing. Her brother tried to get involved.  I was standing in her room and closed the door with one hand, letting him know that his contributions to the conversation were no longer desired and might even serve as a distraction.

When I came out of the room with a stack full of books he was there, taunting me with a wooden stick that seemed to be the thick end of a pool stick, but without the artful end.

He held it in the overhand striking position, so I dropped the books, jumped on him, took the stick away, wrestled him out to the front yard, pinned him to the grass, pushed the stick against his throat and explained to him that he need not ever threaten me with a stick again.

And here is where I went wrong: If you ever threaten me again you had better kill me, fucker.

So, the next load of books that came out from behind Ex's closed door was met with an extended arm that was holding a can of mace. I turned in time to only get it across one side of my face.

The effects were instantaneous. 

(I will explore mace perhaps in a later post as it requires a dedication that would pull me away from my current theme.)

There was much yelling and instruction being given by the brother at this time. I failed to recognize the nature of these urgent directives, or what they might have implied. I was more interested in having an intimate conversation with the brother about this latest development.

She ran. He backed out of the house. I followed, thinking that some fresh air might do us all some good.

When I hit the front yard that's when the first shot was fired. Immediately, the driver's side glass window on his Mercedes next to me shattered. This night was really starting to turn around for me.

When people claim that it "all seemed as if it happened in slow motion," I can attest to this sensation. I still see it all. It is as if the frames of life are extended in such a way that I can replay any of them at will, even now.

Almost by instinct, I walked back into the house. I stood in the hallway door frame at the corner of the living room, about 10-12 feet from the front door, where he immediately emerged. He commanded me to get down on the floor, dangerous end of the gun still focused on me.

I remember him emphasizing this point, "FACE DOWN!"

I declined, stood there looking right at him with a puffy, red, swollen, indignant side of my face and normal side too, nodding "No."

He fired four more shots directly at me, at what the police later described as "point blank range."

I felt something across the back of my head that made me flinch forward.

We were still in what might be called the "negotiation stage" when the neighbor, a friend of mine, appeared at the door with him and talked the gun out of his hands.

The police arrived shortly thereafter. I could hear the sirens growing closer.

As the police are known to do, they separated all of us to determine independently what might have happened, and to see how well we were all able to relay the facts of an instance while under pressure. The difference in tellings gives them an indication as to who might have reason to hide portions of the evening, etc.

I relayed loudly across the divided space to dear Ex, Don't make a statement! Don't sign anything... , knowing that this would be used as grounds for an attempted murder charge.

I was right. It was the only eyewitness evidence that they got, Ex's signed statement.

I said nothing, I signed nothing.

I exercised my right to remain silent, much to their frustration and even with their threats that they would charge me with "obstruction of justice," a silly, impossible threat also made later by the Florida DA.

I explained to the cops that he was firing blanks. 

They told their version of the story, emphasizing their experience in these matters, which I refused to believe. They showed me the shells on the grass, the broken glass on the car, the holes in the wall, all of it. They even had the paramedics treat me for a mark on the back of my head where one of the bullets had ricocheted and sliced a thin line along the back of my skull.

They described what a bullet does to a human skull, had I been standing only half an inch further back. They also made clear that the only reason he did not kill me was because he was a poor, untrained marksmen whose body was flooded with adrenaline, a thing that saves more lives than many people realize.

But who needs facts when you don't trust the cops, right?

They "arrested" me without charges, wrongfully believing that a jailhouse would make me more willing to give a statement. I offered that I would tell my story to the judge in the morning, if they chose to have me do so. I would describe how I had been shot at by one man, then arrested by others, and that I would like to know why I was now in jail, and does the state have an official obligation or a reason to charge me with a crime, or to hold me any longer.

They let me go.

They even gave me a ride home.

Ex did not choose this path. She signed quite a statement, with great and many details outlining her brother's threatening behavior with the stick, the mace, and of course... the gun and the bullets that were no longer in the gun.

She had an explanation for all that had happened.

They arrested him on five different charges, three of which were felonies, two of them quite serious.

One misdemeanor seemed silly, even at the time, and had something to do with using a firearm while not being on or near a farm. The bullets were of an illegal sort, and the gun not registered properly. It was probably an antique, German, I think.

All the charges were eventually dropped. I refused to cooperate, much to everybody's dismay.

Everybody except their family.

He continued to hate me. I bailed him out the next morning, posting an amount of money that shocks my memory to this day.

The following Monday he was fired from his long time job, escorted off the property of a famous Orlando tourist attraction, by police, in front of his friends and co-workers.

He never forgave me for that.

I saw him in the grocery store a few years later.

I was walking down the aisle when I spotted him and knew not to turn back, that it would send the wrong message, to ever turn my back on him.  Ever.

He looked up just as I was passing. I said his name, fondly and in recognition. I might have even prefaced it with "Hey,..."

In the first brief second he seemed happy to see me, but then he corrected his facial expression and posture with the logic of some personally held ideology, and sternly responded with my name in a forced, formal tone and nod.

It was nice to still hear it, it always has been, to hear my name said aloud.