My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 11: The Dark Seedling

It’s been

 

At the funeral, everyone of Dani’s family members were present, as well as JB’s. When Dani was lowered into the ground, Alex picked a handful of dirt and dropped it on her coffin. JB snapped, a lapse of reason, pure rage and anger sparked like a volcano. Running full speed at Alex, picks him up in the air like a typical football player, slamming him into a tombstone. “You raped your sister!” First punch lands on Alex’s nose. “ You don’t belong here!” Next punch landed on his cheek  “This is an insult to her!” with every statement JB pummels him in the face.

 

Crying and raging JB grabbing Alex by the collar of his shirt, whipping around half circle like a rag doll throws the half unconscious Alex into another tombstone, jumping into the air and landing on Alex’s leg snapping it instantly from the force of his weight and intention. JB slams his elbow into Alex’s shoulder, shattering his collarbone and dislocated the shoulder joint. With pure rage and intent  “I’m going to kill you!”

At that moment Dirk, Stanley, and Phillip pull JB off of Alex, while he is screaming with pure rage “You incestual fuck! I’m going to end your very existence!” Phillip stands in front of JB “That’s MY SON!” JB composes himself long enough “You stupid ignorant fuck, be glad I don’t kick your ass for abandoning her when she told you what happened.” Phillip breaks down “I didn’t believe it.” JB lunges at Alex again and lands on his stomach with his knee and buries his hand into his teeth. When JB pulls his hand away from the unconscious bloody mass of flesh and bone he notices a perfect half moon shape circle of teeth lodged in his right hand knuckles.

 

Angela, Dani’s mother is screaming in sheer terror, JB walks up to her, “She’s dead because of you three!” Angela looks at JB with tear filled eyes and mixed emotions “Your son raped my wife! She tried to tell you what happened! You ostracized her! And she killed herself while I was at work! Know this… For the rest of my life, if any of you come into view, I will kill you!”  Rose tries to choke out in a loud voice “ENOUGH!” JB startled by his mother’s voice. Looks at everyone, coming to his senses, he walks up to Dirk, “give me your keys!” Dirk didn’t argue, hands JB the keys. As they all watch him walk away to the car, get in and burn out of the cemetery spraying dirt everywhere, and knocking a few headstones over.

 

Stanley and Phillip look at one another, and instinctively run to Stanley’s truck together. Jumping in and taking up chase after JB. Stanley looks at Phil “I know where he is going!” Phillip responds “I’m sorry Stan I didn’t believe my own daughter, you have to believe me I didn’t mean for this.” Stanley looks at Phil “never mind that, JB is about to kill himself!”

 

Stanley and Phillip drive all over town most the afternoon going to all of  JB’s favorite hang outs, with no sign of him. Phillip “might I suggest you go back to their apartment?” Stanley “I doubt he is there, but yah!” They pull up to the LaSelle Apartment Building on 9th street in Minneapolis. Dirk’s car is parked in front. Stanley parks his truck behind it, and the two of them run into the building, pushing the doorman aside and running to the elevators. The doorman runs after them, as the door is closing “You can’t go up unless we confirm it.” Phillip shouts back “Call the cops!” They two of them arrive on the fifth floor, the door opens, and they run down the hall. The apartment door is slightly open, JB is on the couch with a bong taking in a huge drag. Stanley angry at the sight “What the Fuck do you think you are doing Joseph Bradley!” JB starts laughing and choking while exhaling the smoke “You’re angry at me for smoking a little pot when i just beat the shit out of my brother in law!” JB gets up and walks towards the two of them. “I don’t care why you are here, but unless you have wings and can fly, I suggest you leave!”

 

Stanley’s rough grained chapped hand lands on JB’s throat “I never hit you son, not in anger. But right now, you’re coming with us, or I’ll beat the shit out of you!” JB Looks at his dad with absolution “Do It!” Stanley felt the pain of his words slam into his chest like an invisible sledge hammer. “Don’t do this son!” JB pushes Stan away “Do what?” Phillip blurts out “Kill yourself!” JB lets one fly, connecting with Phillip square in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. “I can never kill myself, it goes against every moral grain of fiber in my being! But I can destroy myself! Now get the fuck out of here!” Phillip is rubbing his jaw. JB “I hold you and your family responsible for all of this!”

 

The cops walk into the room, see Phillip on the ground, Stanley standing inches from JB who’s still yelling at Phillip. “What’s going on here? We got a complaint of trespassers and disturbance!” JB Looks at the cops “You can remove these two from my apartment!” Cops look at Stanley “Come on, let’s go.” Second cop “Is that a bong on the table?” JB says “You can arrest me, arraign me, but nothing will happen, there’s not even a sixteenth of an ounce. It’s not convictable!” Second cop helps Philip to his feet “come on, you need to leave.”

 

Stanley pleads “Son, don’t do anything stupid, we are here if you need us!” JB follows them to the door and slams it behind them. Walks back to the couch, pulls out a baggie from under the cushion and packs another bowl. He smokes until he is unconscious.

 

The next day, there is a knock on the door. JB get’s up and answers the door, sees Rose and five Sherburne county and three ramsay county and one hennepin county sheriff are standing in the hall. “What the hell is this Ma? I told dad last night he has nothing to worry about!” Rose calmly “Son, you need to come with us.” JB snaps “What for?” A Ramsay County Sheriff “We have a warrant for your arrest son.” JB replies “Yah, let me see this warrant!” Rose motions for the paperwork, shows it to JB. “JB please just go quietly. Don’t make things worse!” JB grudginly “You need ten people to bring me in?” The Ramsay Count Sheriff responds “We saw the reports and saw the pictures, we couldn’t take the chance, and since this involves all three counties, this is a joint effort.” JB Opens the door and lets them into the apartment “I’m getting dressed before we go!” Hennepin County Sheriff “Sorry son, can’t let you do that, just tell us where to find the clothes, we will grab you a few things.”  The Sherburne County Sheriff’s “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be held..” JB retorts “Shut up, Ma call the lawyer! Please stay at my place to make sure the Landlord doesn’t lock me out of my stuff!” Rose agrees, as she watches JB being escorted out of the apartment.

 

My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 10: Evolution of Families

Janae and JB just finished moving from Schenectady, New York to Houghton, Michigan so Janae could finish her Doctorate in Computer Science at the Michigan Tech University.  After weeks of searching and living at the campground they found a Lahti rental, a victorian red 2 story house on top of a rock face overlooking the town below. JB found a job at the Perkins in town as a manager which allowed them to afford the place together.

 

Janae took the Bravada  and went yard sale shopping after dropping JB off at work. She drove over to Chassell and found a cute small round table and few chairs, and a three person couch with kick out leg rests. She stopped by Kurkish furniture and picked up a mattress, and stopped by Walmart and picked up a saw, hammer, nails and other carpentry tools, then she drives over to the lumber yard and picks up some more material.

 

JB  gets a ride from his friend Clarke, and heads home after as 12 hour day. The sun is still up, when he gets home, and sees Janae sitting in the back yard with the new tools. She is trying to cut some lumber up. “What are you doing?” Janae looking at him “Trying to make a bed frame!” JB starts laughing “You’re doing it all wrong Janie!” Walking over to her, he grabs the saw out of her hand. “You never try to saw wood with it in your lap, you will hurt yourself!”  Taking a look at all the lumber in the yard “Don’t you think you went a little over board?” Janae shaking her head. JB blurts “here, you have more then you need for a frame, in fact lets make a set of carpenter horses!” Janae looks at him strangely. JB smiling, “remember my father owns the biggest Cabinetry business in Minnesota, a child picks up a thing or two.”

After crafting two sets of carpenter horses, JB sets them up a few feet from another and lays a large piece of plywood on it. Putting all the tools on top of the makeshift table. “There, now you have a proper work place for an aspiring carpenter!” Janae looks at him with a stink eye “Smart ass!” JB chuckles and starts walking into the house “I’m grabbing a shower and some food! I’m beat!” Janae snaps, “You’re not going to help?” JB stops in his tracks, pauses, and continues into the house.

 

Half hour later he comes walking out of the house in grubby clothes smelling like lavender and coffee. Janae blurts “What the fuck JB, I told you not to use my shampoo.” JB shakes his head, “you didn’t get anything else!” Janae responds “Oh yah, sorry!” JB looks at her, “why dont you go up and make some dinner, ill finish this up. Don’t worry I already took measurement of the bed, you forgot to bring the tape-measure out with yah.” Rattling it at her and chuckling. Janae grunts and stamps off humiliated, JB couldn’t help himself, chuckling and shaking his head.

 

Three hours later JB walks into the house with a shallow rectangular box, with one by one cross beams at the base. Janae looks at it with anger “That’s not a box spring!” JB ignores her and takes it up the stairs to the bedroom. He trots up and down the stairs a few more times carrying boxes, with make shift drawers. Setting it up with four boxes on the corners, he puts it in the middle of the wall, so each side had a set of drawers. Setting the box spring on top of them, then the mattress.  Yelling down the stairs “Janie get up here!” Janae comes walking in, She is shocked by what she sees “I didn’t realize what you were doing! This is Awesome!” JB smiling “Yup we each have a side with our own drawers!” Janie pounces him. JB snickers, and trying to get a word out between kisses “There is enough lumber … …out there … …to return … …get your money back, … … …or I can probably whip … …up a couple of shelves for the bedroom”

 

That night the two of them sat out on the rock face with the new lawn chairs and their two huskies Tanner and Dusty watching the traffic pass on by  . Janae grabs JB’s hand and lookas at him, “ do you think this is going to last?” JB shrugs, “No one knows the answer to that question for all we know tomorrow one of us could be hit by a truck.” Janae grimaces “Why do you always have to be so negative?” JB chuckles “That is not negative Janie, that is being a realist, someone who doesnt dream but someone who can be hopeful but accepting reality for what it is.!”

 

My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 8: Sapling in the Forest

Sapling in the Forest

 

The blazing hot summer of 1987, the the humid air of suburbia Minnesota is wreaking havoc on everyone. Blistering hundred and two degrees is killing the festivities for most graduates, yet JB is enjoying his graduation party in Shoreview, quite a few people showed up. Mostly family and a few friends, even a couple of random guests, no one was turned away, everyone brought gifts.

JB along with  Lonnie Douglas and David Feldt, his two closest friends are hanging out in the living room chatting. Everyone else is in the large back yard of a two story two car garage house on the corner of Lake Oaks Drive and Lexington Avenue,  drinking beer and eating cake. Even the Roeders, the backyard neighbors who have a pool, which they offered people to come and swim as part of the celebration.

 

Lonnie grabs JB’s hand and leads him into the back laundry room, closes the door, hands him a photograph. JB looks at it, shocked, stammering to try and get a word out.  Lonnie chuckles “You’ve been after me since the 9th grade, this is my gift to you.” Kissing him on the cheek. JB hands her back the photograph. “You are truly beautiful, but this is not what I want!”

Lonnie wounded “What do yo mean?” JB Looks her in the eye, places his hand on her shoulder then gently grabbing the back of her neck, pulls her in and kisses passionately. For what seemed an eternity, a knock at the door interrupts the moment.

Rose inquisitively, “JB, are you in there?” JB lets out a sigh “Yes Ma.” Rose stifling her chuckle,  “Well come on, the rest of the people want to spend time with you.” JB grumbles out, “Yeah ma. Give me a minute!” Lonnie looks at JB and smiles, slides the picture into his pocket, “The answer is… Always!” she turns around, opens the door and walks out, JB follows her like a love bit puppy after a treat.

Lonnie  grabs JB’s  hand and the two of them walk around the massive back yard,  talking to people randomly. Jb is riddled with questions about the future plans, immediate and long term, how it felt to be finished with high school. Rose notices the two through the kitchen window, as she is putting potato salad into a large bowl. She   smiles, realizing that this is the first time JB is actually being social, and being happy about it. David, who is sitting in the octagonal nook, enjoying the air conditioning, starts acting childish and antisocial, because he is in love with her too, he gets up from the dining room table, walks outside to where Lonnie and JB are and congratulates JB. Then David lumbers away through the back garage door to his sky blue buick, jumps in and heads back to faribault.

 

Most the afternoon the two lovebirds wandered around the back yard talking to people, discussing a wide variety of topics. After a few hours the two of them retired to the living room where they sat exhausted on a 6 person couch, facing the patio door, overlooking the backyard.  Lonnie is half snoozing on JB’s shoulder, while he had his feet up on the grey three by three artistic coffee tables that Stanley made, with his head against Lonnies. He chatted with various people, which didn’t seem to bother her.

The sun disappears over the horizon, everyone starts leaving the party. JB is sleeping on the couch with Lonnie. She reaches around his chest and snuggles in with content.

 

Stanley taps JB’s foot, “Wake up.” JB groggily “Yah whatcha want dad?” Stanley respond “It’s 10:30 pm, you know rules of this house.” JB “yah yah yah…” as he sits up, shaking Lonnie with his big hand on her head like a basketball. Jokingly he bobs her head “Doop doop doop… Lon, oh Lonster” She slowly wakes up “What time is it?” JB glowing “it’s 10:30pm, dad is making me take you home.” Lonnie groggily replies “no that’s ok, I should have been home hours ago, I’ll take off here in a bit.”  She gets up and heads down the hall to use the bathroom across from the laundry room near the garage door. After washing up she walks out seeing JB is standing by the back door waiting for her.

 

The two of them walk out into the garage. JB reaches up, clicks the button to open the large door, Lonnie turns around planting another long passionate kiss on him, JB embraces her back.  She grabs the back of his hand, slides it down in her pants, JB reacts in shock, tries to pull away she holds his hand in place, smiling with devilish intentions “Next weekend, I’m coming up!” JB reacting all giddish, continues feels her up, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” Kissing her again, she stands there waiting for something to happen, JB cues in, and runs his hand up her side, putting his large hand on her breast, and squeezes gently. She plants him one more peck on the cheek “You better call me, or else!” turning around and bolts to her car in a half dance like run

 

Stanley is in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee helping Rose put the food away in the fridge, noticing JB walking down the hall, Looking at the clock on the microwave, “11:45 pm, Did you have a good time today?” Rose’s snarky interruption, “He certainly did!” JB turning red, looking at his mother “MA!”, snorts and walks away into the living room.  Rose chuckling while looking at Stanley, “Rose, what was that about?” Rose cheeks are burning like embers from smiling, “Your son just had his first kiss in the laundry room, I caught the too of them snogging and chatting!” Stanley shaking his head “That’s my boy!”

 

The next morning, Stanley and JB go out shopping for a vehicle. Stanley and Rose had made an agreement with JB towards the end of the school year,  what ever amount of money he could raise, upto the day of his graduation, they would match it. JB spent the as much time working as he could at McDonalds, he is working his way up to management level.  JB managed to save up 1200 dollars.

The two of them drove around to used car lots, when they came across one in Blaine, where JB instantly fell in love. A suped up flaming candy apple red 1975 Thunderbird classic. The glistening chrome trims, fifty-inch mag rim tires, jacked up on keystone struts, buttefly intake, tinted windows, black canvas retractable roof. “Dad! There!” Stanley looks in the lot, and sees the car, smiling at the good taste, “Ok let’s go see”

 

After talking with the salesman for a bit, Stanley and JB take the car for a spin. As soon as JB sits behind the wheel, feeling the rumbling of the engine, noticing the pioneer sound system, and powered windows. He looks at his dad with pleading eyes. He puts it in gear and lays out a rubber track in the parking lot, and blue smoke everywhere. Stanley just about shits himself in awe, “Oh Hell no! If you are going to act like this, it’s to much car for you!” JB responds “Sorry Dad, but that power, this thing has a 460 big block engine with dual exhaust. This thing is a monster!” Stanley amazed at his knowledge of the car, knew right then and there this was his dream car.

 

They pull into the lot and started negotiations with the salesman who is eagerly standing outside the door as the exit the car. The sleaziness on him emanating off him like a stink on turd, Stanley knew it was going to be a tough one. JB steps up “How about this. You want five grand for it right? I only have twenty four hundred. You take my money, and I’ll come work on the weekends for you, washing your cars and give them a run around the block to keep the engines in good shape for the next 3 months, for free!” the sleazy salesman smiles “Deal!” Stanley looks at JB, impressed. JB whispers to his dad “You thought all these years I never paid attention to your business negotiations. I just stepped it up like you did!” Stanley smiling.  After writing a check and exchanging the title. JB gets into his new car and starts it up. The salesman “I expect to see you saturday morning 9 am sharp!” JB looks at him, “You bet, I wont be late!”

JB follows Stanley home, pulls up behind the van, Rose walks out of the house, looking at the car with disapproval “Stanley! You let him have a street racer?” JB responds before Stanley could “I’m responsible mother, I won’t get in trouble with it.” Rose turns around, grunting and mumbling to herself, she walks into the house. Jb and Stanley look at one another and follow her into the house.

 

.

 

The blistering heat from the long summer only swells with intensity as the middle of August slips by. JB continues to work on weekend mornings for the sleazy car dealer, and evenings at McDonalds. He is being promoted to a manager in training. The long hours were taking it’s toll on his body, but JB didn’t care, the money was good.

JB started hanging around with the other managers after work.

 

(story about the summer that breaks down family dynamics)

 

November rolls around, JB is heading home from his job, where he worked as a manager at the  McDonald’s off the Snelling Avenue exit, driving his midnight blue Rabbit, He notices Traci in her pumpkin pink Pinto trying to flag him down. JB signals for her to meet him at the house. JB had to be home at a certain time, as a deal was struck earlier that summer with his parents to purchase the car. However Traci wanted him to stop, so she tapped him in the back bumper, JB gets angry and speeds away. Traci speeds on by and cuts him off, slamming on her breaks. JB barely nicks her car, but enough to notice the damage. Somehow the front tire blew out from breaking into the gravel. Traci speeds off, JB is flipping her off while he walks to the back of his car to get the spare and jack. After finishing up and putting everything away, he drives off home. He notices Traci’s car in the driveway, and he walks up into the garage, Stanley and Rose are standing on the steps, Rose angrily “Did you just hit her?”JB shocked “What’s that crazy bitch saying this time?” Rose runs down the stairs so fast, it look like she pounced JB, she grabs the keys and yanks them out of his hand, breaking his right pinky finger, because he always carried the keys with the ring around it.

JB is in tears from the pain, “You stupid cow! You never listen to me!” Stanley yells at JB “Don’t you ever talk to your mother like that!” JB yells back “Go fuck yourself, I didn’t do anything wrong!” Stanley walks down the stairs and up to JB pushes him “Get off this property, you are no longer welcomed at this house!” JB shocked “What did I do?” Rose angrily “You smashed up her car, and you ruined yours!” JB responds with rage, “That cunt played bumper tag with me because I wouldn’t pull over, I wanted to get home, because she did I got a flat tire and had to replace it!” Stanley angrily “You hit her intentionally!” JB looking with absolute hatred for the first time at his father “You two assholes have always treated me like shit! You never believe a word I say. Give me the keys I’m leaving!” Rose shakes her head, “No! We we are selling the car, and you are leaving now!” JB enraged “I only have 500 dollars, one more paycheck to pay off this car, it’s Mine!” Rose shaking her head still “Nope you broke the rules, get off this property!”

 

JB notices Traci walking out of the house acting like she’s in tears, He walks up to her menacingly, Stanley cuts him off. JB stares at her “You won’t ever know when it comes Traci, but I’m going to get even! I promise my life on it! Your lying ass is mine!” Turning around, JB grabs a few pages from the discarded Star and Tribune newspaper pile, rolls up a funnel, walks over to the back of the car, opens the gas tank, shoves it in. Stanley sees what he’s up to, starts walking over to him. JB looks at Stanley, “If you come near me, I will kick your ass! You have made your bed, now you have to lay in it!”

JB lights the rolled up newspaper, the flame shoots out like  mini spiraling tornado, since the gas tank was full, it didn’t immediately explode, though the Rabbit does go up in flames instantly. JB walks down the driveway a ways, to admire his work in hatred, a concussive blast engulfs the inside of the car. JB glares at Rose with burning hatred, for breaking his finger, the seathing white light pain coursing his body, sparking an adrenaline rush unlike anything he felt in the past.

 

As he turns to start walking down Lexington Avenue, he yanks the mailbox off the post and throws it through the front  windshield of Traci’s car. Yelling back at her “Bitch, Do you see that… That was intentional, and if I ever see your lying fat ass again, I will intentionally kill you with pleasure, and no one will stop me!” Traci stands on the steps behind Stanley and Rose acting all scared and shocked. Turning his gaze to Rose “Sell that! you stupid old cow!”

 

JB starts walking down the sidewalk along Lexington, Stanley yells out “We are calling the cops!” JB looks at him, flips him off yelling over his shoulder “Go ahead you ignorant fuck!”    About two miles down the road, Danny and Dirk came driving up, breaking hard enough to squeal the tires, Dirk opens the door, “Get in!” JB jumps into the van, and they drive off to Dan’s house.

 

Dirk is sitting in the back on the conversion bed smoking a joint, Dan is playing pink floyd with Diana sitting in the passenger seat completely blitzed out of her mind, Dirk speaks out  “JB we knew that bitch was going to do it, She was fessing up to Diana about it.” JB looks at him, “So why don’t we go back to the house and talk to Mom and Dad about it!” Danny interjects “You just torched your car, the cops are looking for you!” JB shaking his head “Yah I see your point!” Dan responds “You can crash in my van for a few days until you get your check from work, we will find an apartment.”

When they arrive at Dan’s house, JB follows Dan into the house, he jumps on the phone  calling up David, telling him what just happened. David jumps into his car, drives over to Lonnie’s house, picks her up and starts driving to maplewood.

 

JB and Dan start walking back out to  the van, Dan speaks out “Just warning you, you’re brother isn’t exactly playing on a level playing field, watch your back!” JB responds “Dude… Dirk and I have always had mutual ground, and yet we still hate each other, called brotherly love!” The four of them lounge out in the back.  Dan asks “JB you want a hit?” JB shaking his head “Dude! …You know how violent I get on that angel dusted shit of yours, really?!” Dan smiles “Good point!” handing JB a beer from his mini fridge under the bed.

 

For three hours they sit in the van talking about how horrible their mothers are, and their girlfriends.  The brown crown victorians cruiser of the Ramsay County Sheriff Rolls up behind the van, Dan whispering, “Don’t move, don’t say anything!” Dan clambers to the front seat,  gets out of the van, starts walking towards the house. Officer who is driving gets out “Hey you… Have you seen JB?” Dan turns around, “Nah man, I just got off work, why, what’s up?”  Officer replies “We need to bring him in for questioning.” Dan looks the officer dead in the eye “I’ll call you if he shows up, you got a card?” Officer hands him a card, “Make sure that you do, it’s important that we get hold of him!”  Dan nods, turns around and walks towards the house, as the officer gets back in his vehicle and drives off.

 

JB whispers to Dirk “Fucking hell that was a close one!” Dirk responds “you know mom and dad are never going to allow you to come back home!” JB Looks at him with saddened eyes “Yah, I know that, but it’s their fault, they didn’t even listen to my side of it, like they were deadset to believe that lying cunt!” Dirk taking a puff off his joint, holding his breath for a moment coughing out a response “Don’t worry, tonight we have something special planned for that red headed twat!”

 

A few minutes later, Dan walks back to the van and climbs in. “Man we need to get you out of town JB!” JB nods, “David is on his way up with my girlfriend, I think im going to go to her parents cabin for a while.” Dirk responds “Actually that’s a great idea, we should all go there for the weekend.” JB looks at dirk, “you’re joking me right? After that shit with Mike Meyers at Dawn’s cabin!” Dirk starts laughing “Fuck man, I thought you were going to kill him for body checking you into the drink. You were drunk as fuck!” JB looks at Dirk “Asshole, that’s when that cooky fucking cunt Traci fell in love with me! I landed in the water in front of her, she saw the whole thing go down with Mike, and she started kissing me like I was the damsel in distress in needing of comfort.. ech!.”

Dirk laughing, Dan turns around “Yah no shit we saw the whole thing, You could barely stand, Mike hated you so bad, he didn’t want to miss the chance to pounce you. You practically flew at her with homing missile lips, that scabby whore wanted you so bad after that night!” JB shivers “fucking ech, dude! …come on! Get bent!”

Everyone is laughing, except JB who is only getting more infuriated “That fucking bucktoothed red haired sow shit bombed my life like a hammer to a pile of dog shit!” The other three started laughing even harder “Fuck you all!” JB snorts out in a tantrum. Diane speaks up “JB, we aren’t laughing at your situation, but you have a very colorful way of making a point, and well,  …no offense! …That was fucking hilarious!” JB slumps down in the bed, ponders over what he just said, starts chuckling. “Yah i guess that was pretty fucked up! Doesn’t change the fact she is an ugly retarded sow!” Dan blurts out “No one will argue that one!”

 

An hour later David and Lonnie pull up in his blue buick, Lonnie jumps out as she sees JB exiting the sliding door of the van. “What’s going on!” JB holds up his ace bandaged hand, purple and bloody “My parents and a skank!” Lonnie looks at him sternly “JB! Don’t use that language around me!” JB sighs “Sorry hon, I’m just pissed right now!” Lonnie hugs JB “you need to tell me whats going on.”

JB and Lonnie walk down the road a ways to chat, David gets out of the car, Kyan Sou arrives on his motorcycle at that moment. Kyan, “Dirk what’s the emergency?”  Dirk looking at David, then at Kyan “Hey ricecake, your ex just fucked my brothers life up royally! Time for a little payback!” Kyan takes his helmet off, interested “I’m all in, what do you have planned?” Dirk, with an evil look on his face “We have the entire gang coming over!”

Lonnie and JB are walking up and overhear what Dirk said, JB blurts out, “Everyone but Teri Stenlund and her boyfriend, No offense little brother, but that side of beef needs to keep her distance from me too. That girl is a side or of crazy with a mug of stupid in a combo to go!” Everyone starts laughing again. Diane “JB, …You know this is why we love hanging out with you, you’re fucking hilarious!” Lonnie is shaking her head trying to hold back the laughter.

JB speaks up, “So Lonnie and I have discussed what’s going to happen, she and I are going to head up to Ely, we are going to her grandparents since they are on a month long cruise. Going to her parent’s cabin is out of the question. Apparently the cops already called her house too looking for me.” Dan blurts out “Fucking hell is there no bounds to what Traci will do. Fuck that chick is obsessive!” JB responds “Dude… She shows up at my work every day I’m on the schedule, and just sits in the lobby staring at me, It’s fucking creepy!”  Dirk “JB don’t worry, we got this.” Diane nodding “Yes, she needs to be taught a lesson, she can not get away with this kind of behaviour.”

David, Lonnie and JB jump in the buick and start driving north on highway 96, Jb blurts out, it’s dark out, we need to stop by my parents house, I need to sneak in and get some stuff, like clothes etc. David “better make it quick, I don’t want to get in trouble for this!” JB looks at David with a stink eye “David!  …you know my skillsets, don’t fret it dude!” David sighs.

 

The park down the road a ways from the house. His parents have been asleep for hours already, taking his pocket knife out of his back pocket, he flips it open, slides it under the window to the basement, slides it sideways and unlatches the lock with a gratting click. He  struggles to slide in. Barely fitting because of his large figure. Landing on the cement with a dull thump, he looks at his belly all scratched up. Mumbling to himself. He slowly tip toes up the stairs to the main level, goes to the laundry room, grabs his hockey bag, goes out to the garage, empties it out on top of his mothers taurus station wagon.

 

Walking back into the house, stepping carefully, he ascends the stairs purposely stepping on the sides as to not squeek the stairs,  he quietly passes his parents room on the right, turns left around the banister, and down to the end of the hall. Quietly he opens all his drawers dumping ll his clothes into the bag, grabs all his art supplies, his hunting rifle, and camping gear. Barely fitting everything in the bag. He opens his window and throws the bag out onto the grass. Grabbing his backpack, he goes downstairs to the kitchen, grabs as much food as he can from the pantry, and raids their liqour cabinet. Taking virtually everything but the gin.

He writes a note on a note pad, “I came here in the middle of the night, to get all my things! You will never see me again, you were a shit mother and an absentee father! What happened with Traci and what followed, is Your fault not mine. But this is absolute. Let the fact I came in the house with out you knowing it be a testament to how far I will go if i am pushed! Don’t look for me, don’t think of me! We are no longer a family!” appends it to the fridge with the magnets. Sighing, JB is thinking to himself, *If only they had listened, this would never had happened*

He walks out of the house, around the side to the back of the yard, grabs his hockey bag and cuts through the neighbors yards along the tree line to the car, opening up the trunk he throws his stuff in.  JB jumps into the car, “David we have one more stop, let’s go over to McDonalds, I need to speak with Sarah!” David sighs. “Dinner is on me Dave!” David smiles “Ok!”

 

They arrive at McDonalds, JB walks into the back of the restaurant, into the managers office, “Sarah, I have to make this quick, here’s the address to send my last two paychecks to. I don’t have time, and please don’t call the cops on me, i didn’t do anything wrong!” Sarah who is in shock “What did you do JB?” Jb shakes his head “Long story short …” Sighing again “Your boyfriends sister shit bombed my life, and IM getting flak for it!” Sarah mumbling obscenities, “Don’t worry JB, I’ll make sure you get paid, I’ll even make sure you get a bonus. If you ever get this cleared up, you’re welcome to come back to work.” JB almost in breakdown mode “thanks Sarah, I love working with you!”  JB walks out grabbing a couple of big macs and fries for the road as David pulls up along side the building, JB jumps in. They head off towards Ely.

 

Dan, Kyan, Diane, Dirk, Terri, and Dawn are in the Van sitting outside of McDonalds waiting for Sarah and Jake to finish closing up the Restaurant. The two of them get in their own car and the group drives up to the Rosedale Mall on Snelling and they park in the lot near Traci’s pinto. Jake blurts out “My sister is a stupid cunt!” Sarah “this is your sister!” Jake responds “I don’t care for JB at all, in fact I want to kick his ass for crushing on you all the time, but I don’t want to destroy his life, he is a good guy!” Sarah “Jake we are close friends, he kisses my cheek, he’s in love with Lonnie, there is nothing between us, we are just really close. He wants to be the best man at our wedding!” Jake looks at Sarah with confusion. Sarah lets out a short laugh “you don’t think I know? About that boulder in your ganja drawer? Bitch! I’ve been waiting for you to ask the question, get a pair and ask already!” Jake’s mouth drops, but his eyes are glistening. Again Sarah lets out another laugh.

A knock at their window, the other six are standing outside. Diana is pointing, “here comes trouble” Traci is walking out of the building, halfway through the parking lot, fumbling through her purse, she doesnt realize what is happening. Kyan and Dan pick her up, and throw her into the van. Everyone piles in after her.

They all drive over to Turtle lake beach, knowing no one ever goes there at night. Dirk looks at Traci whose face is beat read, her eyes are swelling up with tears. “Traci, you have this coming!” Traci begs “Please don’t hurt me, I didn’t mean it!” Dirk starts laughing, “If you didn’t mean it, why is the law after him, and why are they showing up at Dan’s house. You tipped them off!” Traci denies it outright. Kyan stomps on her foot, looking her dead in the eye, as he slaps his hand over her mouth.

Diane angrily turns around in the seat up front “Traci, you have problems. Serious mental problems. We have put up with your shit for years. Now you have two choices.” Traci mumbles something. Kyan pulls his hands off her mouth “What are my choices?”

Dirk blurts out “First one is my preference, we torture you!” Dan shaking his head, Diane looks at him and smirks, talking to traci with a side glance “We take you down to Minneapolis and you commit yourself for a 48 hour evaluation, voluntarily!”

Traci starts laughing, grabs her purse and dumps it out on the bed. Dirk picks up several prescription bottles, reading them off out loud “Chlorpromazine,  fluoxetine, citalopram … Holy fucking shit! You are certifiable!” Dan’s eyes widen, mouth drops open for a moment “So we have ourselves a bona fide Cybil case in my van, maybe we should do society a favor and just end her!” Dirk looks at Dan “Are you fucking nuts? We aren’t going to jail for this skank!”

Kyan opens the sliding door, grabs Traci by her straight red long hair, and pulls her out of the van, dropping her on the ground. Jake and Sarah jump out and  walk up to them, the rest of the group exits the van and form a circle around Traci.

 

Dirk “Here’s the deal, you can either take a beating from all of us, or you can strip naked, and swim across the lake!” Traci doesn’t hesitate, she starts removing her clothes down to her underwear. Dirk stares at her “Everything Traci!” Traci protest “No, this isn’t right!” Diane screams at Traci, “Right? You have the audacity to complain about what is right, after what you pulled on one of the sweetest people in our group?” Traci is crying, pleading. Dirk grabs her by the hair, pulls her close and drops a hammer punch to the nose, “Clothes or beating!” Traci removes her bra, and panties. Everyone staring at her. Kyan “You are all kinds of beautiful, but you are nine cats in a bag crazy and stupid to boot, now get swimming bitch!”

As Traci is entering the water Jake speaks up “Traci, sister or not, what you did to JB is morally wrong, mentally fucked up, and just despicable. I am ashamed to have you as a sister, and I will be telling Dad about this when I get home. Have fun walking back to your car naked!”

Dawn runs after her, “Traci, Know this… If we see your face around any of our family, or friends again, I’ll sick Stendlund’s on your ass!” Traci crying hard, shivering from the cool night air, she starts swimming across to the private beach. Dirk yells out “Don’t even think about stopping by my parents and saying anything, or next time we will dump your body in the copper mines!”

 

David, Lonnie an JB are pulling into the driveway after the 5 hour drive. David looks at Lonnie “You were not kidding when you said rustic, there’s no electricity or telephone poles.” Lonnie nodding “Because of where this place is, the park service agreed to let my grandparents live here so long as they do not modernize it. We are in the Boundary Water Canoe Area.” JB “David do you remember last summer, when we worked for the department of Natural Resources on the gunflint trail?” David nods. JB “This cabin is a few miles south of the trail. Since this place was built before the formation of the park, it was given historical significance and they gave special permission to her family to remain here.” Lonnie smiles “you were listening to me when I was talking about this.” JB smiles, “I always listen, even when it appears that I don’t care at the time.”

 

The three of them haul everything from the car into the cabin. Lonnie starts rolling the dust covers up off the furniture, JB walks outside with David gathering up arm loads of firewood for the fireplace. Lonnie “JB can you check the drums if they are full, and if their are skeeter eggs in them?” JB “No problem.” As he drops his arm load of logs. “David could you stack those in the rack please and start a fire.” David quietly starts stacking them, JB walks outside and unscrews the drums and examins them, looks into the giant stainless tank. Yelling back int othe cabin “We have water and it’s clean. But it smells a bit mildewish.” Lonnie responds “No problem.”

Walking over to the shed JB opens the door, unlatches the windmill crank, walking back over to the  tank he sees the bubbles. Screwing the lid back on. He yells “We should have water pressure in about an hour if the breeze continues.” Lonnie “Awesome.” grabbing a bunch of blueish tablets from the bin just outside the front door, she walks over to the shanti and opens the door, tosses the pills into the hole. “Holy fucking hell, that stinks!” JB over hears it starts to chuckle.

 

David walks around the house unlatching the shudders and opening the windows. Lonnie is walking back into the house, grabbing duct tape from the drawers and tosses it to David. Incase there are holes in the screen. Just tape em up. David notices an ice box, “Hey lonnie, if there are no electrical lines, how is it you have electric appliances here/” Lonnie “There’s a diesel generator in the trailer under the tarp in back. What the park doesn’t know wont hurt them.” David shakes his head. Lonnie “My grandpa is a Civil engineer, he figured out ways to circumvent utilities requirements.”

JB yells out “I’m setting the fish traps, Ill be back in about an hour.’ Disappearing into the woods. David “A river?” Lonnie nodding “Yah we are right by Burgo Lake. There’s a swampy like marsh attached to it, and a river that runs southerly from it. Best brown trout fishing ever. We can have trout for dinner tonight.” David “i love trout, thats awesome.” Lonnie, “If you want, we can take the row boats out on the lake later and go fishing, that lake is chalked full of bow, brownies, splake, walleyes, and bass.” David “Sounds like fun.”

A few hours later JB strolls back carrying a branch over his shoulder with fish dangling from it, strolling over to the fish house, opening the door, and dropping the fish on the counter. Grabs the handle to the faucet and pumps it a few times, water starts flowing from the spout. “Well we know the water pressure is up now. “

Walking into the house with a cedar board filled with filets, “Lonnie, I have  six trout fillets, mind getting dinner going?” Lonnie startles from her sleep on the couch. “Mhmm, sure..” JB looks at David “I need you to go outside to the shed under the windmill and pull the blue painted lever down. Thats going to slow the windmill down so we don’t blow the water tank.”

JB walks into the bathroom, turns on the shower, touches the water. “Damn this is cold!” Lonnie hears him, “Sorry I didn’t start the Gennie yet.” JB “Not a problem. I’m gonna take a sprits I smell like fish.”

 

David walks into the house looking at Lonnie in the Kitchen “Damn that shed is full of spiders, what the heck.” Lonnie “Yup the Brown recluse is a common spider in the area, Kill it if you see one. You don’t want to get bit by them. Your day will suck.”

Few hours later sitting around the table, The sun is going down, Lonnie gets up and looks around for the lanterns, realizes they are empty, she goes over to the closet by the fire place and opens it. There are no bottles of oil for the lanter. “JB I think we need to go to Duluth to do a bit of shopping. “ JB looks at David. Care if we all go to Duluth?’  David shrugs, gets up from the table, grabbing his keys off the counter. JB “well that answers that question, come on the bus is leaving.”

It’s midnight when they return to the cabin, David “Well I don’t think im gonna drive back to faribault tonight, that’s just to long of a drive. I think I’ll crash on the couch.” lonnie ‘you can take the spare bedroom if you want.” david, “I thought you two were sleeping in seperate rooms.” Lonnie just stares at david.

With the new sleeping bags, camping supplies and bare essentials put away.  JB and Lonnie retire to the master bedroom shutting the door. David sits down on the couch staring at the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 6: Family Matters

Family Matters

 

It’s a spring morning in 1989 a month away from summer vacation, JB is sitting in the office of a psychologist in Minneapolis. Rose decided it was time to have JB assessed. The violent outburst and tantrums were getting more frequent. Coupled with the fact JB is almost as tall and as heavy as his father at the age of nine, made him scary to her and his peers.

 

A young lady walks out of the room past them to the elevator. The receptionist politely “Doctor Erickson will see you now, go ahead in.” Rose and JB get up and walk into the office. They see a woman in a one piece psychedelic dress with long flowing blond down hair to her knees, standing by a bookcase, putting books away, without turning around “You must be JB.” JB nods and sits down. Rose sits on the couch behind him.

Doctor says “Does the cat got your tongue JB?” as she turns around and walks over to her chair. JB Shakes his head and shrugs. Doctor “I see.” She looks at Rose, would you mind waiting outside in the lobby please. Rose replies “Nope, I’m here to make sure my son …” Doctor “Rose, I can call you Rose right?” Rose “Sure. But..” Doctor interjects “Your son is in good hands, if you don’t mind” Motioning with her hand towards the door. Rose gets up and leaves the room.

Doctor Erickson smiles at JB, “let’s go over to the table, I have some games I want to play. Do you like games?” JB nodding. “Still not a talker are yah?” JB “I talk, when I have something to say.” She replies “So you’re the silent type, you having problems at school?.” JB “Hey I’m not stupid.” She replies “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel that way.” The two of them sit at the table. For the next few hours Doctor Erickson and JB talk and play puzzle games, talk about ink blots, and discuss his home life and school experience.

Rose is getting restless “What’s taking them so long?” the reception replies “Doctor Erickson is giving your son an assessment. She is testing his intelligence, his personality and his communication skills.” Annoyed Rose replies “Well how long does it usually take?” Receptionist “anywhere from a half hour to three hours, really depends on what she needs to figure out.” Rose is about to ask another question when the office door opens, JB walks out smiling and sits down on the chair next to Rose, Doctor Erickson “Rose would you mind coming into the office so we can talk?” Rose gets up from her chair and walks into the office.

 

The doctor walks around to the other side of the desk and motions for Rose to sit down. They both lower into their chairs. Doctor “First I need to ask you a few questions before I finalize the assessment.” Rose replies “Sure.” Doctor “Rose you can call me LeeAnn.” Rose replies “ok” LeeAnn asks “How many friends does JB have?” Rose “None that I know of, no one close.” LeeAnn replies “Why do you think that is?” Rose “I honestly have no idea. We try to encourage him to socialize. But he hasn’t found anyone to connect with.” LeeAnn “How often do you get mad at your son on a weekly basis, mind you I am not judging you, I am assessing him.” Rose, who’s fidgeting from being uncomfortable, responds “He tends to get in trouble, him and his brother always seem to want to kill one another.” LeeAnn “What do you mean by that?” Rose replies “At least once or twice a month we are visiting the hospital for stitches or broken bones or concussions.” LeeAnn “so you have a couple of demon children.” Trying to make light of the situation. Rose responds “that’s putting it mildly.” LeeAnn “how does he and his father get along?” Rose responds “those two are inseparable when he isn’t working. Almost like best friends. JB does anything Stan asks of him without a single complaint.” LeeAnn “So it’s a healthy father and son relationship, that’s good.” Rose nods.

 

LeeAnn scribbles some stuff down in her notes and clears her throat. “Rose, this is only the initial assessment, I will need more time with your child, but today we did several things. First I gave him a Minnesota Multiple Personality Inventory test and an IQ test. Are you interested in hearing those?” Rose curiously “Yes!” LeeAnn “Ok to begin with, your child is an introvert. He is quiet because that’s just who he is. He learns through visual cues. He only speaks when it is necessary. He is a doer not a talker. That is why when he gets angry, it is because someone provoked it out of him. He’s not a violent child, he’s just standing up for himself because he doesn’t want to talk someone’s ear off about why he is so angry.” Rose “Well that kind of makes sense.” LeeAnn nods “Your son is also an empath, because of his hearing loss, being that he is considered legally deaf, being mainstreamed in a hearing school he had to hone his skills to visual recognition of his surroundings. He picks up on the smallest details and can read a situation. It’s one of the reason why he doesn’t like being around other people.” Rose confused “What do you mean?” LeeAnn “JB can pick up from a long way when kids intend to do him harm or ridicule. Simply reading their body language and how they approach him. He doesn’t like confrontation and doesn’t like to argue so he avoids people and likes to be alone.” Rose nodding “That sounds about right.”

 

LeeAnn shuffles her papers around “Now this is particularly an interesting part of his case, his IQ test” Rose nods “I suppose his hearing impairment has put him behind the other kids.” LeeAnn in a perky voice “Quite the contrary Rose, your son has a 191 IQ. he’s literally considered the top fifteen percentile of people.” Rose looks at LeeAnn in total shock. LeeAnn continues “Have you ever noticed your son accomplishing something amazing, something  that shocked you, or he can figure things out faster than average kids?” Rose shuffles through her purse and pulls out an old polaroid of JB Standing behind a monstrous block structure and hands it to LeeAnn. She looks over it “How long ago was this?” Rose smiles “He did that when he was 7” LeeAnn nods “this is exactly what I am talking about. If you look at the blocks some of these shouldn’t be there, but because he figured out fulcrums and counter balances he accomplished something most kids wouldn’t dream of. He is a natural at architectural and geometric objects.” Rose smiling with pride. LeeAnn “Also your son displays a wide spectrum of skills, the one he is sorely lacking in though, is english and social skills. However this is not unheard of in geniuses.” Rose shocked again “Wait.. What?… he’s a genius?”  LeeAnn gets up from her desk and walks over to the table and grabs a stack of papers, and returns, sits down and spreads them out in front of Rose “Your son has a collegiate level vocabulary. Although his grammar is suffering, he understands words you probably never even heard of.” Rose chortles “I sincerely doubt that!” LeeAnn picks up the papers “Ok let’s test this. What does relogate mean?” Rose states “I honestly don’t know.” LeeAnn “it means to assign lower position. When i put the word into a sentence JB’s response was My dad does that, he delegates to his men. The fact he knows what delegate and relogate mean, this is a sign that your son is in the wrong grade.” Rose looks at her with contemplation.

 

Rose perks up “So I need to have my son tested for a higher grade level?” LeeAnn “it’s a little more complicated than that. What I would like to do is have him come in over the next few weeks, and I’m going to try and teach him a few things. At the end of the month I want to give him an SAT test.” Rose shocked again “You want him to take a college entrance exam?” her mouth starts dropping. LeeAnn “Well not really, I am going to use it to gauge his strengths and weaknesses. Most likely put him into an Independent Education Program.” Rose interjects “I will not have my child labeled a retard!” LeeAnn responds “It’s not like that, we will determine if he needs to be bumped up a grade or two, or if he needs to go to a different school, I won’t have a suggestion until I work with him for a little bit.”

Rose “So how do I stop him from having those outbursts?” LeeAnn “You need to challenge him, and you need to stop punishing him. He’s going to make mistakes, that’s part of his learning process.” Rose “What do you mean, challenge him?” LeeAnn “Do you ever just sit and observe your son?” Rose “Not really, I just let him do his own thing until he gets into a fight with his brother, which is usually instigated by his younger brother. JB gets annoyed after a while and justy finishes it, unless Dirk does some horrific thing, and it ends up with it turning into a hospital bill.” LeeAnn tries to stifle her chuckling “I take it they are always trying to out do one another?” Rose laughs “I would say so!” LeeAnn “Might I make a suggestion?” Rose “If it will help him and stop their bickering, I’m all for it.” LeeAnn “JB has an affinity with math sequences, try getting him into a musical class.” Rose “What, like a guitar or piano teacher?” LeeAnn “exactly what I am saying, you can either buy a piano or take him to a music school or something. It will be something new for him to learn, and he loves to learn.” Rose “How can he love learning when he gets constant F’s in school,  he doesn’t do what the teachers instruct him to do, so they fail him, and his response to that is they are all stupid!” LeeAnn, “Because your son doesn’t have the patience to sit and listen to material he can do in his head. He’s completely bored.”

 

Rose “So when do you want to set up these appointments?” LeeAnn “How about every monday from 9 am till noon, you can drop him off and pick him up.” Rose “Ok, I can make that work, I will have to let the school know the plan.” LeeAnn gets up from her desk and opens the door, “JB can you come in here please.” JB walks in and sits down next to Rose. LeeAnn “JB How would you like to come here every monday and play new games and try new things?” JB nods “I had fun, sure.” LeeAnn smiles at him “Ok Rose, it’s set. Ill make sure my Secretary writes it in.” Rose “thanks this means a lot.” LeeAnn “don’t mention it, this will be good for JB.”

 

Rose and JB leave the office and drive across town on 35E, cutting up Roselawn avenue, pulling into Saint Jeromes parking lot and the two of them get out, the kids are on lunch recess.. Rose “JB Get to your next class, I am going to talk to Sister Clarice Ok.” JB Nods and runs off with his back pack bouncing around. Rose walks into the office and ask Ruth at the desk “Is Sister Clarice in?” Ruth “Let me see, have a seat.” A moment later Sister Clarice walks out of her office, Ruth following, she sits behind her desk. Sister Clarice “Hi Rose, what can I do for you today?” Rose “Can we talk for a bit, I have some interesting news for you.” Sister Clarice “Yes, sure come in.” The two of them walk into the office. Sister Clarice closes the door as Rose takes a seat. Sister Clarice “How are you today Rose?” Rose “I’m fine, I took JB to the Psychologist today.” Sister Clarice “Oh that’s good news, he’s going to get counseling?” Rose “I think it’s a lot more complicated than just counseling.” Sister Clarice “I’m interested in hearing about it.” Rose smiling “Well according to his Doctor, she did a Minnesota Multiple Personality Test and An IQ test. With staggering results.” Sister Clarice tilts her head “What do you mean staggering?” Rose “Well it appears JB is a genius, a genuine bonafide genius. He scored over 190 on his test.” Sister Clarice’s eye grew wide “This is interesting, and could explain a lot about JB.” Rose “that’s another thing, she called him an introvert, empath and something else I’m not clear because I’m just reeling from the news on his intelligence.” Sister Clarice “It’s starting to paint a perfect picture about JB, now I understand, he’s a special kid with a lot of hurdles in his way.” Rose “To say the least.”

 

Rose looks out the window and sighs, Sister Clarice “What’s wrong.” Rose “I just had an epiphany, JB isn’t like the other kids. He won’t know how to have fun like they do.” Sister Clarice “trust me, I think he finds more enjoyment in a book then he does kicking a ball. That’s a good thing.” Rose “I guess so.” Sister Clarice “it is!” Rose “Anyways, JB is going to be absent on mondays for the rest of the year. The psychologist wants him from nine am till noon possibly longer?” Sister Clarice “that’s strange, sessions usually only last an hour.” Rose “According to her she wants to spend some time with him teaching him a few things, and then she is going to give him an SAT test. “ Sister Clarice astonished “As in college entry test?” Rose “That’s exactly my response. But no she wants to assess where he is advanced and where he needs work. She wants to establish an IEP for him.” Sister Clarice “That makes perfect sense, that way next year we can figure out how to address this situation.” Rose concurs.

 

It’s the first weekend of July, Stanley just bought a mobile home for the family to go on trips with, he decided that he was going to take his two week vacation. Rose and he discussed it the week before and made the arrangements. Stanley yells into the house “Move it. We’re wasting daylight!” JB and Dirk come tearing down the hallway, running past him, JB yells “I get the top.” Dirk pushes JB to the side “Not if I get there first” Stanley snaps “You’re both sitting at the table until I say otherwise!” Rose chuckles and shakes her head as she climbs into the passenger seat.  Stanley locks up the side door and walks around and gets into the driver seat, starts up the up vehicle and pulls away.

Stanley says “Ok boys, we are heading to Dakota’s then to Yellowstone National Park.” Dirk starts bouncing in his seat, “We get to see old fatefufl.” JB “you moron it’s old faithful! TH THing, the, third, faith. Idiot!” Dirk kicks jb under the table. Jb screams out in pain. Stanley snaps out “If you don’t behave we will go right back home.” JB replies “Yes dad!” Dirk grudgingly “Sorry.”

 

Three hours later entering Fargo North Dakota, JB is in the back bunk reading his comics, Dirk is on the overhead bunk sleeping. Rose “So what are we going to do about JB this fall?” Stanley glances at her “What do you mean?” “ Rose “Well the psychologist finished her assessment last week, She said that JB should be in a different kind of school.” Stanley “what like a school for the special kids?” Rose “No, like a magnet school, one that has specializes in his unique abilities.” Stanley “No! No! Absolutely not!” Rose “Why aren’t you even considering it?” Stanley “My boy isn’t going to live away from us!” Rose “He would be going to Highland Park high school!” Stanley “there’s one in minnesota? “ Rose “according to the psychologist it’s the best in the state!”  Stanley “So what do these classes entail?” Rose “Well first off his tests says he’s scattered in the grades. He has a collegiate level understanding of math and art, a twelfth grade understanding of science and he practically memorized the periodic table. He has an eglish of a third grader and the social skills of a kindergartner.” Stanley shakes his head and continues on driving.

 

He pulls into McDonald’s, in a loud voice “You boys hungry?” Dirk flies out of the bunk like rabid bat and slides into the bench seat at the table, JB walks down the hall “Yes. I want a big mac and a large chocolate shake.” Dirk “I want that too.” JB sits across from Dirk “copy cat!” Dirk sticks his tongue out. Stanley and Rose enter the restaurant order food, pay for their meals, returning to the mobile home they see Dirk and JB wrestling on the table and laughing. Stanley opens the side door “What are you two doing?” The two of them slip back into their seats, “Just horsing around dad.” JB acting innocent. Dirk “I’m hungry!” JB laughs. Stanley hands them the bag and pushes JB in and sits next to him, Rose sits next to Dirk.

 

They continue down I94 to the Belfied exit, on their way to Theodore National Park where they plan on camping the night, and do some trout fishing on the river.

 

My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 5: Miracles and Nightmares

Miracles and Nightmares

 

Seven year old JB and six year old Dirk are bundled up in snow suits, the two of them look like morbidly obese penguins waddling around. They are playing in the backyard of the yellow split level two story house that Stanley, Paul, Chris, Bill, Mick, and Denny built on Desoto street in Maplewood, Minnesota.The house is built on top of a hill, once a fertile german farmstead until the owner died, and the land was sold off in parcels.

 

The two of them are arguing over who gets to use the red hornet sled and who gets to use the toboggan. JB snarls  “I dragged the hornet out of the rafters of the garage, I’m using it first!” Dirk picks up a mitten full of snow, forms a hard snowball and pelts JB hard in the face, “I’m using the hornet.” JB reeling from the pain from the impact and sting of the melting snow freezing on his cheek,  angry “Ok you can have it!” Pushing Dirk backwards, forcing him to tumble on his hind end. Dirk lands in the sled and JB gives it a kick, knowing full well the sled was going to bounce off the fence.

 

The sled plummets down the hill, Dirk flailing and hollering, manages to get the sled to spin around by using his leg and jamming it into the snow, so he can see where he is going, but could not gain control. The sled pummels the fence like a torpedo to a battleship, the sheer force caused Dirk to slide under the chain links which were supposed to be buried 6 inches in the ground.  The pressure of being pinned down, Dirk starts crying “It hurts, I can’t breathe” his breath looks like a geyser of steam with every scream. JB is laughing so hard he can’t see straight from the tears stinging because the freezing cold turning the tears to ice instantly. Dirk is screaming at the top of his lungs and crying “Get me out of here! I can’t breathe!” Flailing his arms and legs like a caught bird. JB still laughing “Oh shut up, I’m coming!”

Flopping down on his butt, letting the suit act like a sled, he slides down the hill to help his brother from out under the fence.  JB crashes into the fence, and stands up. Dirk screams out in pain from the fence moving up and back down into his chest, ripping his suit. JB reaches down and grabs a handful of fence and pulls up. Dirk slowly wiggles his way out, he ends up on the other side of the fence. “I’m going to kill you!” JB starts laughing again, begins to run up the hill before his little brother can get over the fence. “Catch me if you can asshole!”  Dirk is scrambling to get a footing in the chain links with his big rubber sorel boots, and he manages to get himself to the top of the fence, then his ripped snow suit catches the link on the fence when he clambers over, he tumbles, face plants into the snow like a rag doll. Whimpering he gets up and starts running after JB, “When I catch you I’m gonna kill you!”

JB reaches the back door, he’s fumbling with the door knob because his mittens are so huge and frozen. He looks back, Dirk is almost upon him, laughing and excited he rips off the mittens, opens the door and runs into the house. Dirk not caring, picks up an iceball from the pile of shovelled snow near the back door, and runs into the house after him. JB runs around the corner down the hall into the family room and stands in front of Rose. Dirk lets the iceball fly.

 

A direct hit to the face, the ice ball shatters, JB falls over backwards, the shards hit Rose and knocks her glass of pop that was on the corner of her chair all over her hawaiian mumu. JB lies on the floor unconscious with a bloody nose and a huge cut over his eye. Rose jolts to her feet “What the fuck are you two little shits doing?”

Dirk’s jaw drops in fear, he runs upstairs knowing full well the kind of  trouble is in store for him. He attempts to hide in his closet of his bedroom. Rose sees the blood flowing all over JB’s face, she freaks out, runs to the bedroom and get’s dressed as fast as she can. She runs back to see JB rolling over onto his stomach bawling and gagging from the pain. She runs upstairs rips open the closet doors and grabs Dirk by the ear “come here you stupid little shit!”  drags him down the stairs, grabbing her purse and keys off the counter, “Get your ass into the car or I’ll beat the stars out of you!” She picks JB up and carries him to the car.

 

Rose speeds down DeSoto street taking a right onto Larpenteur ave, driving through the stop signs, swinging left onto 35W  towards downtown Saint Paul. JB is screaming in pain the entire way, she breaks the speed law intentionally not caring. She arrives at the Ramsay County Emergency Hospital. Exits the car “Get your ass out of the car and follow me, and shut your mouth!” She  carries JB into the ER room. The receptionist, a young lady working at the desk sees the shoulder of Rose’s coat is saturated in blood, hearing the bone chilling shrieks from JB she rushes the three of them into one of the rooms, and moments later an on call doctor comes running in. Rose sets JB on the table, and the doctor grabs the boys’ face with both hand turning his head side to side. “He’ll need a couple of stitches, his nose is broken. His eye looks ok, but it’s going to be filled with blood for a week or two.” Rose flops down in the chair relieved. Dirk just stands there staring at Rose, knowing he’s going to get a beating when he gets home.

 

Rose looks that the doctor “Do you mind if I use the phone please?” Doctor replies “Sure, the nurse will show you where it is.” Rose walks down the hall behind the nurse who points to the wall where the phone is. She picks up the receiver, starts dialing the rotary to her Husband’s work. One of the guys answers “Yes, can you put Stan on the phone, this is an emergency!” While waiting she can hear her son screaming at the top of his lungs, notices 4 other nurses running into the room.

Stan sounding out of breath, “what’s up?” Rose choking up almost in tears “JB is in the hospital getting stitches, those little shits were at it again!” Stanley replies “I’ll be down there in 20 minutes.” Rose interjects, “No, it’s ok, turns out all he has is a broken nose and needs a few stitches.” Stanley shocked “What the heck?” Rose “Dirk threw an iceball at JB in the house, knocking him out, spilling pop all over and creating hell!” Stanley sighs, “They are going to cause us bankruptcy with how much they visit the ER room!” Rose “You’re not the one that has to look them in the face and yell at them for being stupid all the time!” Stanley “I’ll deal with them when I get home.” Rose “I love you, you know that right?” Stanley senses she needs a little reciprocation “You’re the love of my life Rose. I’ll see you in 3 hours!”

 

Rose walks back into the room, sees four nurses holding JB down while the Doctor is trying tp put a needle into his face for a local. “I’m going to fucking take a hammer to your head when you sleep Dirk!” Rose walks over to the table, looks down, yelling “Shut your damn mouth and stop cursing!” JB is even angrier and struggles against the nurses, shaking his head back and forth while the doctor attempts to put the needle in. Doctor stands up annoyed “We are going to have to give him some anesthesia, he’s too angry and hurt to sit still.” Rose nods, knowing it’s going to cost another couple hundred dollars. “Fine!”

 

Dirk starts crying, Rose “What’s on with you?” Dirk “I killed my brother!” Rose starts laughing, after trying to compose herself “Maybe next time you won’t try to kill him, this is all your fault!” Dirk starts wailing even harder. Rose shaking her head “He’s just going to another room so people can’t hear him scream.” Dirk sniffling “So… he is not dying?” Rose “No, but you’re going to when we get home!” Dirk runs out of the room in terror,  sits in the lobby chair sulking.

 

Later on in the evening, Stanley walks in from the garage to see Rose sitting in her chair passed out. He smells something cooking, recognizes it, mumbles to himself  “mmmm pot roast!” He goes upstairs to check on the boys. Dirk is in his room sitting on his bean bag sulking, JB is in his bedroom playing with his colored building blocks. “You two out to the dining room NOW!” The two boys run down the hall and sit at the table on opposite sides. Stanley puts his lunch box and thermos down on the countertop, looks at the boys “Ok who’s going first?” Dirk jumps up “He started it!” JB sits quietly. Stanley “And how did he start it?” Dirk flops down on the chair “He pushed me down the hill, I got stuck under the fence, and ripped my snowsuit!” JB is smiling. Stanley gives JB the stink eye, “Ok Dirk, why did he push you down the hill?” Dirk looks at his father as if he’s innocent “We were arguing, he got mad and pushed me.” JB continues smiling. Stanley looks at JB “What do you have to say?” JB sits quietly, smiling. “Why are you smiling JB?” looking at his father “Because I’d do it all over again if I had the chance, only next time I’ll let him stay there!” Stanley replies “So you did start it?” JB shakes his head “I’m not saying a word, because you won’t like what I have to say.” Stanley “Speak your mind! You know how I feel about honesty!”  JB “Ok, that little fucker threw an iced up snowball in my face, it hurt so bad so I pushed him backwards, he fell in the sled, he slid down the hill on his back, got stuck under the fence, I slid down, I got him out, he chased me up the hill, into the house, and threw an ice block at my face.” point at his stitches “I’m going to hurt him when he least expects it!” Stanley “You will do no such thing!” Turns and looks at Dirk “No tv, no playing outside, and no comic books for a week, your allowances are revoked for a month!” Dirk screams “This is not fair! He threw me down the hill!” Stanley interjects “only after you hurt him first!” Turning towards JB “You are going without dinner tonight!” JB “What did I do?” Stanley replies “You said Fucker, and because I said so!” Dirk is smiling. “Get out of here and get to your rooms!” Stanley says with pretentious anger. After the boys run down the hall pushing each other into the walls. Stanley mumbles “Good lord!”

Rose comes walking into the kitchen, seeing Stanley sitting on a bar stool at the extended counter top nursing a cold beer he grabbed from the fridge, “I heard, you made the right choice. I would have beaten them senseless!” Stanley shakes his head. “Stan if you’re smart you will take JB to McDonalds and talk with him about his strength. He’s twice as big as any other kid and three times as strong. He could have really hurt Dirk.” Stanley looks at Rose in shock “I will do no such thing!” Rose crosses her arms “Rose, he’s a good kid, he was provoked and he responded, I’m not going to teach him to turn the other cheek!” Rose calmly “You can not let him fight, he will hurt someone!” Stanley starts laughing “Who’s the one with the stitches Rose?…    He’s the one that will stop a fight not start it!” Rose huffs with disagreement, and starts grabbing dishes from the cupboard. “He should never have pushed Dirk down the hill like that!” Stanley “Are you kidding me Rose? … He only defended himself, and I’m done talking about it. He’s being punished with no dinner. Now drop it!”

 

Monday morning, JB and Dirk are walking to school. Rose is totally comfortable letting the two of them walk a half mile to school, even if it is cold out. They live in a safe neighborhood, surrounded on the outskirts with Hells angels bikers that all had a crush on Rose.  Dirk is taunting JB “I’m going to tell everyone I kicked your ass!” JB “Do that, find out what happens at recess!”

Lunch bell rings, all the children run out to the playground. Dirk and a group of his friends are teasing JB about getting stitches and being a wimp. JB grabs Dirk by the back of his coat and shoves him into the snowbank, kneels on his back between his shoulder and gives him the royal snowjob. The process of shoving snow down one’s underpants till it looks like the person had an accident, then kicking them so it melts. “You always got to poke at me. Just stop it!” Dirk responds through tears “I’m telling Mommy on you!” JB laughs and walks away into the school library. JB didn’t like being around the other kids, they are always teasing him. He’s always been smarter than the rest, however JB’s antisocial behaviour made him a target. A giant with a huge intellect and the demeanor of a lion in sheep’s skin. Just wanting to be left alone to read his books, exasperated from getting abuse on all sides. Mother beating him, brother will not stop trying to intimidate him, peers constantly making fun of the hearing aids and how funny he looks.

Sister Clarice walks into the library and sees JB sitting in the corner on a big red bean bag, with his feet up against the wall reading a book, smiling big. “What are you reading JB?” Bending his head backwards over the bean bag looking at her, “The Secret Garden by” mispronouncing it due to his hearing impairment “J.B. Limpcock” Sister Clarice puts her hand over her mouth trying to stife a chuckle, “JB why aren’t you outside playing with the other kids?” JB replies “Because I don’t want to!” With a stern voice and a cold stare “Come on put the book away and go outside and play.” JB stands up closes the book, tucks it under his arm and walks out the door, thenruns down the hall opposite of the front doors,  down to the 8th grade math room on the other side of the school and sits in the back corner on the bean bags and starts reading again. Sister Clarice shakes her head and mumbles “at least it’s constructive…” and proceeds to her office.

The recess bell is rung, classes are about to resume, JB stands up and starts walking to his class. The one class he hates more then anything is the english class, because he has to take it with his brother. Dirk loves to pull practical jokes and blame it on JB. Today Dirk snuck in during recess and used the chalkboard erasers and powdered up the teacher’s desk, erased all the material on the chalkboard, and dusted JB’s desk, and tossed the erasers in his desk and traced something in the residue. A couple of the 8th graders put him up to it, or they would beaten him up.

 

Sister Maria opens the door and walks into the classroom ahead of the children as usual, she sees the mess. Her desk looks like a white dust storm hit, his desk looks the same, with a message on it. “English Sucks!” and the blackboard was a mess, everything was erased. She  turns to JB “You were in the building all during lunch, get yourself to the principal’s office NOW!” JB looks at Sister Maria, angrily he screams out “NO!” She grabs him by the collar, dragging him to the office. “SIT!” JB flops down on the chair angry.

She walks into the Principal’s office, few minutes later Sister Clarice opens her door “JB please come in here. Sister Maria you can go back to your students.” JB walks by staring at Sister Maria with pure hatred. Sister Maria walks by without paying attention to him. Sister Clarice motions for him to sit down in the chair, “would you like a chocolate kiss?” JB reaches into the jar and grabs a few hershey tear drops. He starts opening one when Sister Clarice in a kind voice “JB I happen to know it wasn’t you, I saw where you went during recess. I know you hate the other kids. But the evidence is overwhelming.” JB just eats his candy and shrugs. “Your mother was called, and she is on her way here.” JB looks at her in shock “I didn’t do it!” JB tries to dart for the door, Sister Clarice puts her foot in front of it so he couldn’t open it. “You’re not in trouble JB, we are just going to have a conversation.” JB angrily grabs another handful of hershey’s and sits down in the chair. “Why are you so angry?” JB just sits there and doesn’t say a word. Fifteen minutes later A knock at the door, Sister Clarice opens the door, the receptionist is standing there “His mother is here.” Sister Clarice looks Rose in the eyes and invites her in.

Rose walks into the room, sits down in the chair next to JB “what did my son do?” Sister Clarice “Someone played a prank in the classroom, and made it look like he did it.” Rose replies “What happened?” Sister Clarice “I don’t know the details, but Sister Maria dragged him down here by his shirt collar, she was pretty upset.” Rose “So why is he in the Principal’s office?”

 

Sister Clarice “JB displays high aptitude, but doesn’t want to take the initiative.” Rose “I don’t know why.” JB blurts “because everyone is stupid!” Sister Clarice “He speaks!   …And why are they stupid JB?” JB just shrugs his shoulders, expecting them to understand since they were adults. Rose looks at JB “She asked you a question!” JB grabs the candy in his lap, gets up from the chair, starts in a loud voice “I get picked on all the time, brother, other kids, mother, and teachers. No one lets me be alone!” Rose “Sit down JB, you’re being foolish!” Sister Clarice “No…    he’s on to something, let him continue.”

JB “Because I look like an eighth grader in a third grade class, because I like reading more than playing, because I like being alone. Kids think I am weird.” Sister Clarice “No that just means you are unique.” Rose looks at JB “Is there something else?” JB Looks his mother, anger sparks inside of him like a volcano, the candy that is in his hand, he whips it at her hard “You are an evil mother, you always beat me, you always call me names, and you always make me feel like I was a mistake, you even said adopting me was your biggest regret!” Rose shocked “When did I ever say that?”  JB starts screaming “You don’t remember? God I hate you!” Rose responds “You will not talk to me like that!” JB “Go ahead HIT ME, you do anyways, you will when we get home!” Sister Clarice “Would you step outside for a moment, I need to talk with JB!’ Rose “No!” Sister Clarice “Please, I promise everything will be fine.” Rose nods, gets up from the chair and leaves the room closing the door behind her.

 

“JB, Are you abused at home?” JB grabs a couple more hershey kisses, and flops down in the chair with a thunk, Sister Clarice grabs the candy dish and puts it in the desk drawer “JB, I need you to answer me.” JB tears up “She’s my mother, she loves me.” Sister Clarice “Ok JB, that’s fine. You can wait out in the office, I’m going to talk with your mother now.” JB gets up from the chair, walks to the door and opens it Sister Clarice is standing behind him. He walks to the chairs in the lobby, Sister clarice motions for Rose to come into the office.

Twenty minutes later, the class bell is ringing, the halls are buzzing with children. Rose comes out of the office, “JB come with me, we are going home.”  JB follows his mother out to the car. The two of them get in and drive home. When the car is put in park in the garage, Rose turns to JB “I want you to go up to the dining room table and wait for me.” JB silently does what he is told. Rose sits in the car for ten minutes, almost breaking down into tears.

 

She gets out of the car, walks into the house putting her purse on the bar counter to her right, heads down the hall to the stairs. She goes up to the dining room table and sits down. Looking at JB for a minute or two. JB sits quietly staring back at her. “JB what happened at school today?”
JB shrugs his shoulders and looks down at the table. “JB please tell me what happened.” JB just shrugs, “nothing.” Rose sternly  “JB if nothing happened why was I called, now tell me.”

JB gets angry, gets up from the table and runs to his bedroom, slams his door. Rose gets up and walks after him. Knocking on the door, “Go away! I hate you!” Rose starts crying, and walks down the hall to the living room. She sits on the couch and grabs the phone receiver, and cranks the rotary dial and calls her husband up.

 

An hour later Stanley shows up, Rose and him talk for a few minutes. Stanley walks down the hall and knocks on JB’s door “Son can I come in?” JB responds “I don’t care!” Stanley walks into the room and sees a massive, beautiful architecture that JB built from the building blocks. Pieces of wood that Stanley cuts up from the junk pile at work, paints and puts in a bucket for the kids to play with. JB is standing on the chair reaching up and putting the final touches on top of the structure. “JB. You did this all by yourself?” JB nods.

Stanley “Stay right there, do not move!” Stanley runs down the hall to the closet and pulls out the kodak camera, and returns to the room. He snaps a picture of JB standing in the center of his massive structure, smiling.  As he is shaking the square photograph dry “JB, lets go to McDonalds.” JB excited plows through the blocks knocking everything down, flying down the stairs leaping 4 steps at a time, grabbing his coat off the rack, runs through the garage and into the van before his dad could get a word out.

Stanley walks down the hall, hands the photograph to his wife. “JB is a special kid!” and leaves.

Rose is staring at the photograph in total disbelief. Mumbling to herself “He did this in one hour, my god!”

 

Stanley and JB are driving to McDonald’s on White Bear Ave. “JB what’s wrong?” JB looks at his dad “Everyone is picking on me all the time!” Stanley, “I find that hard to believe.” JB responds “That’s because you leave for work before we get up, and you don’t get home until half hour before we have to go bed!” Stanley drives quietly for a while. As he is turning left off of Larpenteur Ave onto White Bear Ave “JB how about you tell me everything.” JB just sits staring out the window mumbling to himself.

 

After ordering food, Stanley drives onto hwy 36, and heads over to Lake Gervais beach where they sat and ate their food. Stanley lets out a lion’s roar belche, JB starts laughing. JB gulps some air in, and lets out a belche too. Stanley chuckles “That’s a loud one!” JB laughs so hard milk shake starts squirting out his nose, Stanley is laughing at the site. Shaking his head in amusement

“JB not everyone is out to get you.” JB responds “Mom told me I was her worst mistake in adopting me. She says I’m fucking stupid, calls me an asshole, calls us retards and lazy little shits.  My brother is always trying to pick a fight with me, even gets his friends to help. “ Stanley interjects “That can’t be true.” JB stares at him and continues “ …I am the one getting hurt, and punished for it. The teachers don’t listen to me. I can not tell you because Mom will find a reason to take the wooden paddle to me the next day.  I’m tired of feeling alone!” Stanley sits in shock. “JB are you telling me the truth?” JB wounded by his father’s reaction, face turning red, trying to hold back the tears, shrieks out at the top of his lungs “ASSHOLE!” throws his milkshake on the floor of the van, opens the door and runs down the parking lot, looking left and right, he crosses the street and starts walking down Edgerton Street. Stanley runs after him, catches up and starts walking beside him “Why did you get so mad just now?” JB stops and looks at his dad, angrily he punches him in the stomach “You don’t believe me!” and starts running down the road.

Stanley takes up chase, when JB finally runs out of breath because of his asthma, Stanley catches up to him. Picks him up, and carries him back to the van. JB is crying, kicking and punching him  the whole way back. Stanley puts JB in the seat, puts his seatbelt on, unscrews the door lock, and pushes it down, closes the door. Walks around the front and gets in the vehicle. The two of them drive over to Arlington Ave, to his Mother and Father’s house. “JB you are going to stay with grandpa and grandma for a few days.” JB tries to smile and nods through a tear stained face.

 

Later that evening Stanley is sitting at the table eating his dinner. Dirk “Where’s JB dad?” Stanley takes a bite of food and stares at Rose. Rose feeling uncomfortable “Where is he Stan?”
Stanley replies “I’m eating!” The three of them eat dinner in silence. Stanley gets up from the table, puts his dishes in the sink and goes into the living room and sits on his lazy boy, flips on the evening news. Dirk gets up and goes downstairs to play on the atari. Rose cleans the dishes. When she finished she walks out to the living room and sits on the couch. “Where’s JB Stan?” Stanley looks at her with red eyes, almost ready to tear up. “I want a divorce!” Rose is shocked.

 

Rose “What are you talking about Stan?” Stanley gets up from the chair in a hurry and walks into the kitchen, he starts making a pot of coffee. “Stan!” Stanley whips around growling out with sheer anger “You abuse my children! I won’t have it!” Rose stammering “… I never …” Stanley growls “Don’t lie to me Rose!” Rose “All I do is run after those two hellions trying to kill one another!” Stanley barks “You told JB he was a mistake!” Rose who is standing on the other side of the counter, slumps down on the stool and stares with her mouth agaped.

 

Stanley is pouring a large mug of coffee, Rose chokes up “Do you remember the other day when you came home, and you saw the atari on the kitchen counter?” Stanley nods. Rose continues “Dirk wouldn’t let JB have a turn at the game, and when JB turned the television off, Dirk used the controller and smacks JB in the back with it. JB picked up the atari and smashed it over Dirk’s head and whipped the game cartridge at the wall!” Stanley responds “So that’s why I had to shell out another 30 dollars towards the machine!” Rose nods “I was so angry at the two of them I started saying things without thinking. I am sorry. I never meant it. But all those two… spoiled… little brats do is destroy everything, and cause us financial ruin with their destructive hatred for one another!”

Stanley responds “today when I brought him to McDonalds and we sat at the beach talking, he got so angry, anger like I never seen before. He’s a quiet kid and yet he blew up!” Rose starts crying. Stanley continues “He feels the world is coming down on him, he feels like you hate him, he doesn’t feel loved, and he was running away from me. He punched me because he thought I am against him too.  I chased him down, a whole mile down the road until he ran out of breath. I had to carry him back to the van crying and throwing a fit!” Tears flowing down Roses’s cheeks,. Stanley looks at her with mixed emotions, Rose see’s the expression on his face and breaks down into full hysterics.

 

Stanley clears his throat,. Rose, through her heaving sobs “I think we need to have counselors!” her hysterics intensifies, Dirk hears the commotion and runs out into the dining room “What are you doing to my Mommy?” Stanley yells “Get to your bedroom NOW!” Rose is shocked out of her hysterics, her face is red, make up smeared “Don’t you yell at him!” Stanley looks at her with detest “You truly don’t give a shit about JB, … Do you?” Stanley smashes his mug into the sink and leaves the house, gets into the van drives off with Rose staring out the front bay window. He  arrives at his parents place, walks up the stairs to where JB is sleeping and lays next to him. JB stirs, Stanley strokes his head and kisses him. Pulls the blanket up over his shoulders and snuggles him, falls asleep with an arm draped over JB.

 

The next morning Beth is cooking breakfast, Chris is sitting at the table, JB walks down the stairs after waking to the smell of bacon. He smiles as he sees his grandpa, he pulls a chair up next to him. Chris ruffles his hair and smiles, picks up the Star and Tribue and snaps open to the sports page. Beth “Chris put that down for now, JB what would you like?” JB replies “What ever gramps is having please!” Beth puts a plate of scrambled eggs and toast in front of the each one of them, then puts the bacon and sausage platter on the table, with coffee and Orange juice. JB reaches for the bacon, Beth slaps his hand with the spatula lightly, “prayer first young man!” Jb smiles “yes grandma” JB bows his head “Bless our food dear lord amen” Chris chuckles “From the mouth of babes.” The two of them start eating. Stan walks down the stairs and sees the two of them eating, and Beth is putting two more plates on the table. She sits down at the table, and Stanley pulls the chair up. He reaches for the bacon Beth smacks his hand “BOY!” Stanley laughs “Yessum” JB laughs too. He said grace and they all eat their breakfast.

 

Chris wipes his mouth, pushes his plate forward and takes a drink of coffee. “Spit it out son!” Stanley still trying to eat his food, stops “There are complications between my wife and myself, and JB is in the middle of it.” Chris tilts his head in confusion “What is going on Stan?” Stanley hesitates until JB is done eating, “JB go into the living and watch TV grandpa and I have matters to discuss.” JB “ok dad.” JB picks up his plate and puts it in the sink, walks by Beth and kisses her on the cheek “thanks grandma.” and leaves the kitchen. Beth smiles “He’s such a sweet child.” Stanley shakes his head “JB is feeling overwhelmed. My wife, his brother, and kids at school are causing him stress.” Chris responds “What do you mean son?” Stanley replies “Well, I found out yesterday that Rose told JB to his face that he was the biggest mistake she ever made.” Beth gasp in revolt “The galls of that woman!” Chris reaches down the table and taps Beth’s hand, she responds by picking up the plates and walks away from the table to the sink to wash the dishes. “Stan, you need to be clear about this matter.”  He nods at Chris “Dad, The other day Dirk started a fight, JB defended himself, and then JB was hit in the face with an iceball and ended up in the hospital.” Beth gasps “That explains why he has stitches on his face!” Sighing. Chris “what else?” Stan clears his throat “He was blamed for an incident at school and I know he would never do anything like that, on top of that Rose is always blaming him for anything that happens.” Chris sighs, closing his hands on the table. Low voice “Stan what are your plans?” Stanley hesitates “ …I told Rose I want a divorce.” Beth whips around from the sink “You will not!” Stanley shocked “I will not have my son abused!” Beth barks “Then you get counseling, you do not divorce over something like this!” Stanley “Yessum, but for now He and I are going to stay here.” Chris responds “that’s fine, take all the time you need.”

 

“Mom, can you and dad watch him for today, I’m not sending him to school after what happened.” Chris interjects “We will find something to do.” Beth nods, Stanley grabs his plate puts it in the sink “Good I have to get to work, I’m late already, Thank you.” he leaves the room to get ready for work. On his way out the door, he stops in the living room “Behave JB, you get to spend the day with your grandparents.” JB starts jumping around excitedly. Stanley smiles and ruffles his hair and walks out the door.

 

While eating lunch Chris looks at JB smirking “How would you like to go Highland Park to go sledding” JB’s eyes opened wide “yes yes yes yes.” Beth starts laughing. “Go ahead Chris, take the boy, I’ll clean up around the house.” Chris smiles and ruffles JB’s hair. The two of them get ready to go, Beth hands them a wicker basket filled with food, “Here you go hon, a little snack in case you are late for dinner.”

 

Chris opens the garage door, JB stands there amazed at the chrome and turquoise Plymouth Fury. Chris chuckles “You like this don’t you?” JB excitedly “yes.” Chris “come on get in, I’ll put the toboggan and red runner  in the trunk.” The two of them drive off to the the Highland Park. For hours Chris and JB walk up, and slide down the massive hills. Until Chris feel exceptionally exhausted for some reason and sits on the bench watching JB sliding until he walked up and sat down across from him. Chris says “Why don’t you go grab the food out of the back of the car JB, I’m going to sit here for a while.” JB slides down the hill on the red runner  to the street where the car is parked, grabs the wicker basket and puts it on the sled, and totes it up the hills to the bench where they sit and eat sandwiches and hot cider.

 

Beth is cleaning the house, dusting the living room, a knock on the door, she walks  to the backdoor and opens it. Rose is standing there, Beth looks at her indifferently “Come in.” Rose walks into the kitchen, and sits down at the table. Beth “What can I do for you Rose?” Rose sits there for a few minutes, then starts to cry uncontrollably. Beth takes pity and sits down across the table, makes a loud sigh intentionally. Rose looks up “I messed up, …I messed up bad!”. Beth agreeing “Yes! You said something that should never had been said.” Rose replies “Yes, I did say it, it was said out of anger. I couldn’t handle the fighting anymore.” Beth curious “What do you mean?” Rose says “Those two children are driving me into a break down, always going into the hospital, always fighting, so much blood, so much destruction. All they do is fight, fight …fight. JB smashed the Atari over Dirk’s head after being attacked with the controller” Beth responds “That doesn’t excuse what you said to that poor boy, you said you didn’t love him anymore!” Rose snaps back “I did not!” Beth snaps “You might as well have, telling him he was a mistake, pretty much says you hate him!” Rose “That is not what I said!” Beth angrily “In a child’s mind, when a parent says something like that, it destroys his trust and love in you, because you broke his heart. He’s scared of you!” Rose responds “I don’t know how to deal with it. I can’t punish them anymore, they already think I am an abusive mother. They don’t listen. They hate each other like fire and ice.” Beth calmly “As I said to Stan, this is not the reason for a divorce, you two and your family needs to see a counselor!” Rose “I already suggested that.  …Stan got up and left angrily!” Beth in confusion “you already suggested this?” Rose is shaking her head in affirmation.

 

Chris and JB walk into the house to find Rose and Beth at the table. JB looks at her, then at his grandfather and runs out the door. Chris runs after JB catches him. “Why don’t you give her a chance JB.” JB struggling and screaming “No, Let me go.” Chris wraps both arms around the boy to restrain him “JB starts screaming louder “Let me go!” Chris picks JB up and throws him over his shoulders and brings him back into the house, setting him down on a chair. “Stay there JB!”  JB looks at his grandfather with hatred “I hate you too. You lied to me!” Chris wounded by his comment leaves the kitchen to the living room to avoid showing the tears. Beth snaps at JB “Be Quiet!” JB instantly closes his mouth, crosses his arms, sitting there sulking with hatred in his eyes as he stares at Rose.

 

Rose turns to JB “When we first brought you through those doors and everyone was all around you, i could not have been happier.” JB starts to tear up. “You were and always will be my child. I love you.” JB snaps “You said I was a mistake, you hate me, you yell at me, you don’t care about me so you beat me all the time, even if I didn’t do it. Go away. I’m living with Grandma and Grandpa” Rose starts to cry, JB starts to cry too. “I am sorry. I am so sorry.” Rose gets up from the table and starts walking to the back door, JB jumps off the chair and runs to Rose and grabs her leg, “Don’t leave me!” Rose picks him up and kisses him all over the cheeks “Never” Beth is sitting at the table with tears running down her cheek, and Chris is standing in the arch between the living room and kitchen with tears in his eyes too. Beth clears her throat “Where’s Dirk?” Rose responds while looking at JB “Julie from next door is watching him.”

Beth gets up from the table, wipes the tears from her face. “Would you like to stay for dinner?” Rose nods “If it’s ok with Chris, Yes.” Chris nods and turns around and heads to his rocking chair. Beth smiling. Clearing her throat from being choked up “Do you need help finding a counselor?” Rose responds “If you know of anyone, sure.” Beth turns and looks at her “How do you think Chris and I survived three hellions and 45 years of marriage?” Rose smiles.

Stanley walks in through the door to see Rose sitting at the table playing cards with JB, Beth is at the stove cooking pork chops and sage stuffing. He looks at Rose and walks past her without saying a word. He walks into the living room to see his dad on the rocking chair with his eyes closed. Whispering loudly “Dad, what the hell!” Chris responds with his eyes closed “A miracle happened today.” Stanley short tempered “What the hell!” Chris sits upright in the chair looking Stanley in his eyes “Don’t cuss in my house boy! Those two made up, let them be, give it a chance!” Stanley grunts and goes upstairs to shower.

 

Stanley comes downstairs from his shower, finds everyone is sitting around the table. He sits opposite of Rose. After blessing was said, they start eating. Stanley in a calm voice. “If you ever say anything like that to JB again, it’s over. Do you understand me. This is the only time I am going to say this!” Rose looks at him “We are going to counseling next week, your mother is helping us set it up with someone she knows.” Stanley nods “Fine” The five of them finish eating dinner. JB helps Beth clear the table, Chris goes to the living room to watch the news. Rose and Stanley head upstairs to talk.  A half hour later the two of them walk down, into the kitchen hand in hand. Stan “JB would you like to go home?” JB asks “Can I stay here one more night with grandpa and grandma?” Rose hesitantly “Only if they say it’s ok, then it’s fine with me” Stan nods.

 

The last day of school, Stanley and Rose are waiting in the parking lot for Jb and Dirk. When the two of them run out of school to race each other home, they see the big white panel van with a camper behind it. JB and Dirk stare at each other with excitement. They run to the van and jump in through the sliding door. Stanley turns around “Ok, we are going to Uncle George’s and Aunt Alice’s house in Arizona.” Dirk and JB start wrestling each other in excitement and in good fun. Stanley “No fighting or I am turning this around and we going home!” Dirk “we aren’t fighting dad this is us being excited” Rose smiles, and Stanley puts the vehicle into drive. Rose turns around “Dirk, you’re responsible for keeping an eye on Smokey, let us know if he needs to go potty ok.” Dirk smiles “yes mom.” JB “Did you pack my comic books?” Rose chuckles, “Yes dear, they are in the green hand bag, and you share them if your brother wants to read them.” JB scrambles for the bag “Yes mom. Thanks mom.” After finding the bag the two of them flop back on the bed in the back of the van. JB puts the pile of comics between them and picks one. Leans back and starts reading Conan the Barbarian. Dirk picks Batman and Robin. Smokey jumps up on the bed and flops in between them causing a ruckus of laughter. Rose looks at Stan and smiles.

 

Three weeks later, they are pulling into the driveway. Anne and Jewels come walking out of the light blue house next door. Anne looks white as a ghost “Stan, you need to come with me!” Stanley is detaching the camper from the back of the van, the boys are taking smokey for a much needed walk. Rose looks at Anne “What’s wrong? You look pale.” as she starts to grab the suitcases. Anne blurts “Stan, it’s our father!” Stanley drops the camper with a loud metallic thunk, stands up straight “What about dad?” Anne looks at him, “he’s in the hospital” Stanley looks as if he was just shot in the chest, he slumps against the back of the van and slides down till he rests upon the bumper. Almost a whisper “What happened?” Anne choking up “Just come with me you stubborn git!” Rose puts the suitcases down, walks around the back of the van, assists Stan to his feet and pushes him towards Anne and Jewels “GO!     …the boys and I will be down there shortly after we unpack!” Rose looks to Anne “Ramsay right?” Anne nods “room 315”

Stanley walks next door, a few minutes later Bill, Anne, Jewels, and Stanley are walking out to the woody station-wagon. They all clamber in and drive off to the hospital in a hurry. JB and Dirk come running back with the dog. “Where’s dad going?” Dirk asks. Rose replies “Help me get this van unpacked, we need to leave.” The three of them unpack everything into the garage, and put the dog in the house. Rose jumps into the van and starts it up. Dirk jumps into the front seat, JB jumps in back and closes the sliding door and drive to the hospital.

Stanley runs up the stairs to the room, He walks in to see Beth sitting there holding Chris’ hand. “Mom, what happened?” Beth hooshes Stanley, “He’s sleeping right now.” Stanley whispers “Is he ok?” Beth nods. Stanley responds “what happened?” Beth “He and I were going to go see the new movie in town, -A Bridge Too Far-, on the way to the car he fell over and tumbled off the deck. I called the ambulance, and we’ve been here for two days now. The doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with him.”

 

Stanley sits in the chair staring at his father, Beth is reading a magazine, both of them are waiting patiently. Chris stirs in his bed, Stanley perks up in his chair, however chris was only adjusting and sleeping. The doctor walks into the room, Beth puts the magazine down. Doctor “Mam, we got the test results back.” Beth looks at him with intent. Doctor “It shows that your husband has Lou Gehrig’s disease, and he’s suffering from the common flu.” Beth respond “What is Lou Gehrig’s disease?” The doctor puts the clipboard down on the edge of the bed and walks around and kneels next to her, grabbing her hand and holding it,. “Your husband has what we refer to as the wasting disease, his body is slowly dying, his muscles and nerves are deteriorating. He will have more and more episodes like he experienced, and he will be prone to common ailments.” Stanely in a state of shock mumbles out “He’s Dying?” Doctor “I am afraid that is exactly what is happening.”

 

Stanley jerks out of his chair and rushes out of the room. Beth is choking up, “What now…?” Doctor “you husband is dying mam, we don’t know how long, or how severe it is until he is up and about when we can assess the progress of the disease.” Beth trying to hold back her tears “What do we do?” Doctor replies “as I said, it is too soon to tell atm, we need to wait until the flu passes and he’s able to get up and walk around.” Beth jerks her hand away from the doctor “Please leave!” The doctor gets up and leaves, grabbing his clipboard on the way out, closing the door behind him.

 

Stanley is out in the waiting room with Rose and the boys, talking to her about what is happening. Rose is quietly crying while Stanley comforts her. JB is standing by the big bay window looking out it in shock knowing full well what is happening, Dirk is playing with his tonka toy on the floor contently. JB disappears down the hall without his parents knowing, walks into the room, climbs up on the bed, and lays down next to his grandpa putting an arm and a leg over him as if trying to full body hug him.  Beth watches through tears making it even more difficult, she can not control her heaving sobs. JB says in a low voice “Grandpa, everything is going to be ok, I love you.” JB closes his eyes and falls asleep next to Chris.

 

Few hours later Chris wakes up in his bed with JB is on him sound asleep, Beth is crying, her face is red and swollen. “What’s going on here?” JB stirs, Chris wraps one arm around his shoulders turning JB on his side to free himself, pulls the blanket up to his shoulders and pecks him on the head. Beth “My dear god, you’re ok!” Chris respons “It was just a spell, I’m fine now.” He gets out of bed and walks to the bathroom, noticing every muscle in his body is screaming with relentless pain as he walks, he tries to hide the grimaces with a fake smile.  After exiting the bathroom he walks back to the bed and lays back down in it, and snuggles JB. “Beth could you get me some pop or ice water please.” Beth gets up from the chair and walks out of the room. Few minutes later she comes back with a can of 7up and a glass, trailed by Stanley, Rose, and Dirk. The four of them see that Chris fell back asleep snuggling JB. Stanley sadly “Mom, I’m taking Rose and Dirk home, it looks like JB is in good hands, I’ll be back in a few hours.” Beth nods. The three leave the room.

 

Beth sets the 7up on the table with the glass, and leaves the room, she heads down to the cafeteria to order food. JB wakes up to find that Chris had already been awake, and tries to get out from under the covers. Chris wakes up from the movement, smiling Chris kisses JB’s forehead “I love you boy!” JB rolls around and hugs Chris hard enough to make the old man complain “You’re hurting me.” JB chuckling “I’m sorry.”

 

 

 

My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 4

Turmoil And Change

 

A young woman is sitting patiently in the waiting area of a doctor’s office in East Saint Paul. She notices the putrid stagnant air of sickness lingering while she fills out a pile of paperwork the receptionist handed her. Mumbling to herself “Goddamned hippie chicks; their crazy hairdos drive me nuts!”

 

The tan metal door that appears to have been painted on the teal wallpaper with embossed silver floral design swings opens with a horrendous squeak. A nurse with a beehive hairdo, cream color scrubs and a pair of tan leather knee high designer boots, steps out and calls the young woman’s name. “Rose Brungart.” The young woman stands up, the two of them went down a tacky orange hall with Curious George painted everywhere. They enter a small room with faded apple green tiles, and an examination table with stirrups and a chair.

 

Rose sits on the table for almost an hour, finishing up the paperwork, and reading the October issue of old Rolling Stone Magazine. News articles about the death of Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Feeling overwhelmed from the overused bleach and low lit room ambience and getting annoyed, She is almost ready to get up and leave, suddenly a knock at the door and the Doctor walks into the room, “Hello Rose, How are you today?” Rose shrugs a little, “Well that depends on what you have to tell me Felix.” Doctor is looking over the paper work, “Well it appears that the cancer is in remission, and the abnormal growth seems to have disappeared.” Rose loses her composure, sobbing into her hands. Doctor sits confused “I thought this is good news?” Rose “I’m just happy, I was worried.”

 

“Rose, I’m afraid there is a downside to this.” Rose, cheerful voice “Couldn’t be worse than dying of ovarian cancer Doc.” Felix puts his hand on Rose’s knee “Your chances of having a child are slim to none given you only have half a set of ovaries” Rose looks at him for a moment, “Felix, it’s ok.” Rose stands up, puts her hand on his shoulder “You’re a good Doctor, Thank you for the wonderful news.” Felix tries to interject, Rose leaves the room before he even gets a word out.

 

Later that evening Rose is sitting at the dining room table with her arts and crafts box, doing cross stitch patterns, while she is waiting for dinner to finish cooking in the oven. She hears the lock on the door rattling and Stanley walks into the apartment. He sits down on the burgundy velvet cushioned, dark mahogany chest bench that he made for Rose the previous summer as a housewarming gift. He turns to put his large lunch box and thermos down next to him. Leaning against the wall, and reflecting, he takes a slow deep breath and bends forward, reaching, grunting, tiredly, unties his sawdust caked boots, picking them up and neatly sets them on the rain mat on the door side of the bench. Standing up he removes all his work clothes and tosses them into the wicker laundry basket sitting on the other side of the bench. He closes the cover and walks into the bathroom to shower.

Rose enters the bathroom shortly afterwards, gets undressed, slowly eases herself into the hot shower with Stanley. He is surprised and instinctively embraces Rose. “Guess what!” Rose grinning “What?” Stanley says while grabbing a handful of her butt cheeks. Rose chuckling “Hey now, wait a minute… I went to the Doc today.” After a few minutes of groping, “Well, are you going to tell me or not?” Rose wraps her arms around his shoulders “Felix told me I’m cancer free today.” Stanley responds by lifting her up, and she straddles him.

 

Rose gets out of the shower, walks into the kitchen naked, pulls dinner out of the oven, sets it on the stove top. She opens up the cupboards gathers up the dishes, and puts them on the table. Turns about, walks back to the bedroom to get clean clothes. Stanley already at the dresser, she sees him standing there still wet from the shower. She pounces him, knocking him down onto the bed, he starts laughing. “Hey now, go easy. I had a long day my back is sore.” Teasingly, Rose “I’ll give you something to be sore about!”

 

While in the through of love making Rose whispers in his ear “I want to adopt a child.” Stanley shocked, pushes her off without even thinking about what he was doing, “Wait… Adopt?” Rose tries to climb back on top of him stubbornly. Stanley pushes himself into sitting position, resting his back against the headboard, and just stares at her for a moment. Rose stares back, “Yes, We both knew I was never going to be able to have a kid after the treatment.” Stanley stammers from mixed confusions “But hon, the wedding, the plans for the house, we can’t afford to have a child yet!” Rose hugs him, using her feminist wiles to coerce him “Yes we can Tiger. If I have to get a job too, we can make it work” Stanley just sits there, back against the headboard, Grabs a pillow from the side, and shoves it behind him, and then with his arms wrapped around her waist,  she is sitting on top straddling him. Stanley is deep in thought while staring blankly in her eyes.

 

“I’m hungry!” while he nudges her off. He gets up off the bed , throws on his slippers and a robe, then heads out to the kitchen while deep in thought, flipping his fingers about in the air as if he is scratching invisible stuff from a check list. Rose throws on her nighty and follows him. “Can we talk about this?”

 

Stanley grabs the deep dish fried liver on baked mash potatoes and gravy, off the stove using a pair of brown hot mitts covered in orange and brown mushroom designs and puts it on the table, Rose reaches into the refrigerator and grabs the dressing and salad and a gallon of Kemps milk and sits down at the table across from Stanley. After saying grace, they eat their food in silence.

 

After taking the last bite of food off the plate, and washing it down with milk, “If we do this Rose, you know I will have to work longer hours, and take on new responsibilities that John Schroeder has been begging me to assume?” Rose nods with a glimmer of happiness. Stanley protests “I’m going to have to think about this. You are asking a lot, I am not sure about it yet.”

 

Rose stands up, starts gathering up all the dishes and cleans up the table. Stanley walks over to the stereo and puts a vinyl on the turntable, gently moves the arm onto the blank part. Listening to the snap crackle of the needle hitting the wear and tear edges of his overplayed favorite, The Everly Brothers, cranks the volume. He goes to sit back in his leg-kick lazy-boy recliner with aquamarine and beige designs. He kicks up the leg rest, leans back looking up at the Aphrodite hot oil rain lamp and watches the oil slowly drip down the wire glistening under the amber light. listening to Rose clean the dishes, Wake Up Little Susie playing and thinking.

 

Rose washes the last of the dishes and walks over to the chair seeing that he had his eyes shut and sits down gently in his lap. “How about this hon, We go to church this sunday, and we pray on it?” Stanley puts his left hand on her knee, and the other one reaches up and pulls her down to his chest, without even opening his eyes. “Ok, that sounds like a plan!” Rose and Stanley snooze in the chair together until the 10 pm channel 11 news comes on. Rose gets up and turns on the television, the last of the Hee Haw show was wrapping up. Gil Admundson the Anchor Man at WTCN News giving headline news about Vietnam war efforts, Violent Hells Angels incidents involving drugs and guns in South Saint Paul, Plane carrying Wichita State U football team crashes killing 30.

 

When the weather came on, Rose got up from the couch and headed to the bathroom before bed. Stanley gets up and goes to the fridge to grab a cold Schmidt beer, returns to his recliner and kicks up and watches the Johnny Carson show and Mash. After the shows were done he strolls back to the bedroom and slides into bed under the covers and snuggles with Rose who is already sound asleep.

 

A few months later Stanley walks into the house after an arduous day at work, without taking his clothes off at the door, he b-lines to the kitchen. Rose is sitting at the table with her embroidery kit open, see’s him standing on the carpet in his sawdust coated boots and dusty clothes, she jumps to her feet and walks towards him. In a haughty voice “get off my carpet Stan, you’re filthy!” grabbing Rose by her butt cheeks lifting her off the ground and smiling “Shroeder just gave me a $1.25 an hour raise today!” Rose squeals in delight and kisses him all over the face. Stanley trying to avoid the kisses “We can go to the adoption agency if you still want to!” Rose doesn’t say word instead she just starts ripping Stanley’s’ clothes off.

 

Stanley flops into his chair with Rose all over him. They take the little red bronco for a spin. Then a snapping sound followed by sharp cracking,  before the two of them can react the chair butterflies. Laying there on his back shocked, Rose sitting on top of him starts laughing, Stanley shouts “FUCK!” pushing Rose off him. “That was my favorite chair. FUCK!” Rose couldn’t stifle her chuckling if her life depended on it. “I’m sorry Stan, But I love you!” Stan looks at her, glances at the chair “Fuck it!” Picks her up and goes to the bedroom with her straddling him.

 

It’s a frigid day in February 1971, Stanley took the day off from work to go with Rose to the Catholic Charities in downtown Saint Paul. The two of them bundled up, and jumped into the dark factory blue Ford Fairlane, and drove 20 minutes into downtown Saint Paul. They stopped off at Mickeys Diner on 7th Street. Stanley’s favorite place to grab lunch while at work. Mickey’s Diner is a trailer car built in 1945 with silver and red Art Deco style. This is a landmark in Saint Paul, that ran 365 days a year 24 hours a day, family operated, and Stanley knew all of them personally.

 

They sat down in a booth and ordered food, and chatted about what they were going to do at the Catholic Charities. They finished up their breakfast, and headed up the road. They arrived at the south wing of the old Saint Catherine’s Psychiatric Hospital that was converted into the Catholic Charities home for wayward children. Rose a bit creeped out by the eerie red brick six story building, grabbing Stanley’s arm, “I don’t know about this hon, this place makes me uncomfortable.” He pats her hand “It will be fine babe, we are only here to inquire.”

 

The two of them walk into the building and are greeted by a woman in a light blue habit, “Hi I’m sister Angeline, how can I help you today?” Stanley looks at Rose as she clears her throat “We are here about the possibility of adopting a child.” Sister Angeline happily escorts her into Mother Superior’s office and invites them to sit down on the chairs. “Mother Superior will be with you in a little bit.” she turns to leave the office, “Can i get you some water?” Rose smiles “no thank you.” Sister disappears into the hall.

 

Stanley is admiring the craftsmanship of the dark rich mahogany desk, running his fingers along the intricate trims and moldings “Whoever made this desk Rose, is a true master of the craft. I’m going to get that kind of reputation some day.” Rose puts her hand on his shoulder “I have no doubt.”

 

An elderly woman walks into the office with a deep obsidian habit and a huge rosary wrapped around her hand. She walks around the desk and sits down. Looking at both of them “How can I help you today?” Feeling a tad relaxed, while looking at Stanley “We want to adopt a child.” Mother Superior “Very direct, I like that!”  Stanley, “This is our first child.” Nodding in recognition, Mother Superior pulls some paper work out of the desk drawer, lays them out on the desk, grabs a pen “What are you looking for in a child?” Stanley, “Definitely want a boy.” Rose is affirming “Yes a boy, and we want him to be a newborn.”

Mother Superior gets up from her chair walks over to the file cabinet and pulls out several files. Sitting down on the chair she opens each one of them, and pulls out one. “There’S a newborn boy whose mother was far too young to have a child, he was delivered in October of last year. He’s only 4 months old.” looking at the chart some more, shocked “He was born 12 pounds 3 ounces, oh my!” Stanley gives a shocked expression, “How old was the mother?” Mother Superior “Normally we don’t give out that information, but the girl was only 13 years old.” Rose reacts with awe “That poor child!” Mother Superior confirms it with the same sentiment.

 

Stanley, curiously “What is involved? Process, fees, so on?” Mother Superior cordially “Well first, you will have to go through an in depth interview to see if you are a good match for parenthood. Then Catholic Charities will appoint a Social Worker check out your home,  contact relatives and references.” Rose, rhetorically “So basically we will be under a magnifying glass.” Mother Superior in an affirming tone “Yes, we take the safety and well being of the children in our care with the utmost priority.” Stanley, still curious “What kind of fees are we looking at?”  deflecting Mother Superior “we will check out your work history, credit history, and see if you have any kind of complication in the legal.” Stanley bluntly “What Kind of Fees?” Mother Superior “when all is done it will cost about ten thousand dollars.” Stanley sighs, Mother Superior “However, healthcare and educational allowances will be given for the first 9 years.”

 

Awhile later Rose and Stanley are signing papers, and writing a check for five hundred dollars to begin the process. Mother Superior stands up reaches over the desk with her hand extended, Stanley rises to his feet and grasps her hand firmly shaking it. “Good luck to the two of you, I hope everything works out.” Stanley “Thank you!” Rose and Stanley leave the office and head to their car.

 

Heavy showers on April 3rd, a depressing day, Rose is in the kitchen baking muffins, a knock at the door startles her. Grabbing the dish rag and wiping her hands, she walks down the stairs to the door and opens it. “Hello?”  A woman with two other people standing behind her “Are you Rose Brungart?” Rose a little anxious “Yes, how can I help you?” The woman “My name is Sandra Whitherton, I am with the Social Services, do you mind if we come in?” Rose steps back and motions into the house “Sure come on up.” The three of them enter the house.

 

Rose walks past the three at the top of the stairs and motions them to sit at the dining room table. “If you don’t mind I need to grab these out of the oven. You came unannounced.” Sandra “No problem, that was kind of intentional, we wanted to see what you do on a normal day.” Rose eminently “Well, not to sound rude, but that is kind of rude, don’t you think?” Sandra casually “Like I said, it is to see how you are in everyday life with out a charade.” Rose nods.

Sandra sets her satchel next to the chair, pulls out a huge file of papers. Laying them on the table “Rose, we have good news for you.” Patiently Rose looks at Sanra while she takes the muffins out of the pan. Sandra “You have been approved for adoption. You and your husb…” Rose interjects “Fiancee, we are getting married next month!” Sandra “Of course, fiancee, have checked out and Catholic Charities has the perfect little boy for you.”

 

Rose holding her composure over her excitement, “So what do i need to do next?” Sandra, “well do you have a room set up for the child?” Rose motions Sandra to follow “this way.”  The four of them walk down the hall to a small room, with tall ship wallpaper, brown shag carpet, and a bed. A toy box that Stanley made, filled with toys, and a tyco basketball hoop. Sandra smiling “Wow you really did go all out, this is impressive, you guys will do great as parents.” Rose gratefully “Thank you.” Sandra looking at her two escorts then back at Rose “Call Mother Superior up tomorrow morning, arrange a time to pick up the child. You will need to bring your checkbook, and you will need to come up with a name for the child for the birth certificate.” Rose looks at her curiously “Didn’t the biological mother name him?” Sandra “she did but we can not share that with you. It’s just policies” Rose curiously “Did the mother want to keep the child?” Sandra, hesitantly “Policies prevent us from going into great details, but I can share this much. The mother was devastated. She cried for days when she handed the baby over to one of the nuns. She returned with her family. There are accurate records for the child should he choose to seek her out in the future.” Rose replies “I am hoping that we are such great parents that he will never want to seek them out. But we will cross that bridge when it comes to that point” Sandra smiling “You will surely do well with this child. It was nice to meet you, have a great day” as the three of them gather up their things and exit the duplex.

Rose is so ecstatic, she got dressed, walked over to the walgreens to catch the number 12 bus to downtown, then hopped on the 16 to where Stanley worked. The bus dropped her off right in front of his work place. She gets off and runs into the building. She bumps into Mr Hanson, the foreman, “Hey Jeff, where’s my boy, I have something important to tell him!” Mr Hanson points to the far end of the building, “he’s putting finishes on a cabinet at the moment.” She pecks him on the cheek, and runs off. He smiles and shakes his head. She runs up to Stanley startling him,”Baby.. I got the most awesome news!” Stanley shocked, “What are you doing here?” Rose slightly winded “We got the baby, we can get him tomorrow if we want.” Stanley grabs her in excitement and picks her up off the ground and start hooting and hollering. The men in the shop stopped what they were doing, silence was like a drum beat, Stanley instantly picks up on the silence, and yells out loud “I’m going to be a daddy!” All the men start cheering and congratulating the two of them. Mr Shroeder comes out of the office, gets second hand news from one of the other guys after inquiring what was going on.  Mr Shroeder walks over to Stanley and Rose, “Darlin, you shouldn’t be here, but congratulations to the two of you. Now clock out and go take care of your business. I’ll see you on monday!” Stanley shocked with disbelief, “thank you Mr Shroeder, thank you so much!” The two of them walk to the locker room to grab his stuff, and they shuffle out to the ford and jump in. They head home.

 

It’s Monday morning, the sun is just peaking up over the horizon, Stanley was restless in the middle of the night. Rose woke up noticing he’s gone and smells coffee, she threw her robe on, went out to the kitchen, Stanley is nursing a giant cup of black coffee. “Oh honey, you’re nervous about picking up the baby today?” Stanley drinks deeply, and just stares at Rose, trying to hide his nervousness and doubts. Rose, fretful “You’re not having second thoughts are you Stan?”  Stanley just continues to nurse his coffee staring at her.

Stanley’s thoughts are raging with an overdrive of what if’s. {What if he gets sick? What if I’m a bad father? What if my wife dies? What if he is a problem child? What if he has medical needs? What if I end up losing my job?} Rose picks up on his body posture. “Oh baby, everything will be just fine, trust me. We are doing really well so far.” Stanley puts his coffee down, kisses her cheek and walks off to the bathroom to take a shower, locking the door behind him.

 

Rose heads back to the bedroom, chooses her sunday best, and gets dolled up. Stanley comes out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist, and steam flowing off his body. Rose is shaking her head because she is already dressed, she can not help how she is reacting. She clears her throat and exits the bedroom as fast as her feet can carry her without going into a full run. Stanley is smiling because he knows exactly what he is doing. He dons his business casuals and leaves the bedroom.

The two of them walk out the front door, locking it. Then get into their trusted ford and drive off to downtown St. Paul. They stop at Mickey’s diner, ordering breakfast and a pot of coffee. Cutting into his country fried steak, “Rose, do you really want this child?” Rose looking through squinting eyes of annoyance “You know I do Stan, why the sudden change?” Stanley washing down his food “Because I worry about things, I am just curious if you thought it through completely.” Rose leans back in the corner waiting for Stanley to finish up his food. “I have been think about this for 5 months now, I’m positive Stan.”

 

Stanley pulls out his wallet, lays a 10 dollar bill on the table, and gets up to leave. Rose follows him. The two of them stroll out to the car, Rose grabs his arm “It will be adventurous Stan, have faith, we are going to be fine!” They get into the car, and drive 4 blocks over to the Catholic Charities building.

 

Arriving, parking where the car can be seen from the windows, they get out and walk into the building, and up to Mother Superior’s office.  Knocking on the door, Mother Superior in a cheerful mood “Good Morning, come, come sit down.” Stanley “Thank you.” He waits until Rose is sitting first before planting his bum to chair. “Are you ready to see your new son?” Mother Superior in an excited tone. Rose anxiously “Yes… Yes we are.” Stanley is nodding. Mother Superior presses a big white button on a small beige speaker box “Sister Angeline, bring the boy into his new parents.” A few minutes later Sister Angeline walks into the room holding a bundled up boy. Rose couldn’t help herself, she starts chuckling. “Omg he’s a watermelon!” Stanley starts laughing. “Hey now… “ He reaches out, Sister Angeline hands him the bundle. “Oh My Lawd he’s heavy.” Sister Angeline “He weighs twenty two and a half pounds now”
Rose, shocked “Good Lawd!” Stanley and Rose are looking into the boy’s eyes, cooing, the baby reaches up and touches Stan’s face, while smiling big, with a giggle, kicking at his blanketed cocoon.  Stanley is instantly attached, completely mesmerized by the brightest blue eyes he’s ever seen. Mother Superior is looking over Stanley’s shoulder, softly “What are you going to call him?” Rose replies “Oh, we haven’t really discussed it.” Stanley speaks almost as a knee jerk reaction “Joseph Bradley Alfred Derszcwski” Rose looks at Stanley for a few moments. “That’s perfect!”  Mother Superior “Saint Joseph the Patron Saint of Churches. That is a strong name for a boy.” Stanley replies, “I named him after my grandfather who was the first of my family on American soil. And Alfred is her father who served in the Korean war.” Mother Superior, “Well usually there is only one sur-name but we can write this on the birth certificate.”

 

In the car driving to Stanley’s parents house, where everyone is waiting to meet the new addition to the family. Rose turns “Stan I think I’m going to call him JB for short.” Stanley nods while he concentrating on driving. “That’s ok, I’m probably going to call him tiger until he says he doesn’t like it anymore.” Trying to hold a burst of laughter back, chuckling.

 

They arrive at his parents house in Maplewood, a beautiful 2 story port wine red victorian design with white trims half way down the hill on Arlington Street. The house and detached two car garage are surrounded by pines and a wooden fence encompassing the entire lot.  Exiting the vehicle, Stanley goes to the trunk and grabs the baby bag which Rose bought the day before. Rose picks up JB and the two of them walk into the house. Immediately upon entering, not getting a chance to fully get inside, Beth, Ann, Louise, Lynn bouncing Jewels on her hip circle around. Cheerful Beth “Oh my saints! He’s a beautiful baby!” Louise affirming “Rose, you did our families good with this one, he’s gorgeous!” Reaching in and lightly scratching his cheek, Ann “He’s going to be a big kid!” Rose, chuckling “He came out almost a full 13 pounds!” Beth shocked “Oh The Heavens that poor girl!” Rose “That’s what I said!” Ann continues to induce smiles from the baby by scratching his cheek.

Stanley’s Mother Beth, a thin woman with a distinctive personality that matches her looks. Curly haired woman of  a second generation german family who survived the depression. Her bitterness about life in general is shrouded by her love and stoicism towards to her family. Stanley’s sister Ann a chubby dirty colored auburn hair woman who works for DataControl, a busy body and town gossip. The two of them walk into the kitchen together. Louise is Rose’s mother, thin and pale dark haired woman with thick horn rim glasses and frumpy grey single piece dress, a third generation german who fared well during the depression since she grew up on an army base, where she met her husband Alan.  Lynn is Stanley’s sister in-law whose personality is a little mousey. The three of them are standing there ogling over the baby. Rose “Lets get into the kitchen, I need to put him down, and I need a pop!” Stanley weaves through the women like a spindle through a loom,

 

z`

 

My Book: Minnesota Winters. Chapter 3: Innocence Lost

 

Innocence Lost

 

Sister Ann is walking Mary into her room, Mary is calling back to Frank “Daddy, why are you doing this? What did I do wrong?” Frank turns his back to her, and starts to tear up. Sister Ann and Mary disappear around the corner into the room. Frank glances over his shoulder, sees she is no longer in the hall, and walks down towards Mother Superiors office. Walking to the chair next to May and sits down.

 

Mother Superior is calmly explaining how Catholic Charities operates and giving May some options. “May, your daughter is under the best care here at Saint Catherine’s, we are minutes away from Ramsay County Hospital, she will be well taken care of” May interjects “Since we can not have the child aborted, we just want this situation put behind us” Mother Superior sadly responds “All children are God’s children May” May disgustingly replies “This child is a product of incest Mother Superior!” Mother Superior has a shocked look on her face “Oh I see”

 

Sister Ann walks into the office “Mary is settled in, I gave her a book and some food, she’s crying pretty hard. She is unaware of what is going on. She wants to know why she is being abandoned” Mother Superior looks at Frank “you haven’t told her?” Frank shakes his head. “Well this is interesting, I think it is for the best to let her know what is about to happen to her, psychologically it will damage her. She will experience pain like she never known, she will have a child come out of her, she is going to go through a lot” May sternly looks at Mother Superior “I don’t want Mary to see or know this child. Once it is gone, we want to move on with our lives”

 

Sister Ann speaks up “This child can not just have a child with out…” Mother Superior interjects while glaring at Sister Ann “May, your child will be under the best care. We will call you once she has the baby and you can come pick her up after she recovers” May nods and quickly jabs a question in “How much is this going to cost us?”

 

Mother Superior pulls a bunch of paper work out of the desk and lays them out in order. She explains the expenses and what is involved. Frank is silently sitting there teared up and desperately wanting to get up and leave. He makes and attempt to grab May’s hand for some comfort. May pulls it away to grab the paper work unaware of how he reacts. May looks at the total and in a shock state of mind “Twelve Thousand dollars! Are you out of your Christ loving minds?” Mother Superior is offended by the comment, but remains stoic understanding the situation.

 

Frustrated and emotionally charged he stares at his wife with helpless feeling as his eyes start to tear up, an epiphany hits him like a punch to the gut, he jolts to his feet and walks around to the back of the chair. Standing there trying to hold back the potential onslaught of endless tears, jaw is pulsating as he stews, hand is clenching the chair like he wants to whip it against the wall. Shaking his head, starts casing around the room mulling over the thoughts mumbling, returning to the chair, stops and looks at May again “Seven kids, a large farm, and our son is in Vietnam, school just started” his voice starts to quiver “We can not afford this May” May reaches over to touch his hand, nodding at him, mouthing the words in silence to him “I know”.

 

“Sir, calm down please” Mother superior with worried concern, “There is the option of handing her over to the state as a ward, the expenses will be covered.”

 

A loud smack echoes the room as Frank smacks his hand on the chair, blurting out loud “Like fucking hell, We will sell the goddamn farm!” He abruptly turns around to walk out the door, as he steps through the threshold into the hall he says in a sullen and angry voice “Sign the damn papers.” disappearing around the corner.

 

Walking into a quaint little room, no bigger then a jail cell, walls white, with a single cross hanging over the bed. A lamp sits on the table with several books, and a tray of food uneaten. He sits down next to Mary, reaches over to her wraps his arms around her pulls her inclose and begins to explain to her what is going on. “Mary you’re twelve years old, you are old enough to understand. …Those stomach pains that you feel all the time now, the reason why you gained so much weight in a short amount of time, it is because you are about to have a baby.”

 

Confused in total shock and disbelief, choking through sobs “What? Why? You don’t love me anymore? You have to lie to me because you’re going to abandon me here?” Frank trying to keep his tears back, “No baby girl, this is a place where young mothers go to have their child. We are not abandoning you, this is for a short time until you give birth.” Baffled “How can I have a child?” Frank loses his composer and starts crying holding Mary tight “Just trust that everything will work out baby girl” Sitting with her while she cries herself to sleep, rocking her through his own tears and grief.

 

May arrives in the doorway, shocked “You Didn’t?” Frank gets up and lays Mary in the bed, and pulls the covers over her. With out a single word, The two of them walk out of the building, and get into the truck. They both sit quietly for a spell. Frank speaks up in a quiet tone “I don’t care how it happened, I care about my baby girl, you will not disrespect me for loving my child, do you understand me May. I won’t have it. I will do as I see fit” May responds with a grunt and silently looks out the window as Frank starts up the truck and pulls away to head back home.

 

Half way through Saint Cloud, they pull into a McDonald’s drive through and order lunch. After paying for the food, they drive a few miles outside of town and stop at a rest area to eat. May grabs Frank by the elbow, and she breaks down. The tears flow like a torrent river, and the sobs almost sounds like she is choking for air. Frank sits back in the seat trying his damndest not to lose his emotions too, he puts his arm around May and pulls her in close, sitting silently he lets her cry.

 

Frank whispers “We will get through this May”

 

May composes herself, “I think we have to sell the bar.” Frank looks at her shocked “That was your dream! No we can mortgage the farm.” May shaking her head “No Frank, we can not, I used the farm as our collateral instead of the bar. We can sell the bar, pay off the farm and the rest”

 

Frank becomes very upset, pounding the steering wheel in pure rage “I swear to God if Tom ever returns I’m going to put a shot gun to his head and pull the trigger!” May slaps Frank hard and starts crying again.

 

Frank rubbing his cheek “If it wasn’t for him, this wouldn’t be happening. Of all the kids, why did we get cursed with one like him!”

 

May doesn’t stop crying. Frank gets out of the truck, runs to the outhouse, does his doody. Returning to the truck he stops at the artesian well pump, lifting the red painted iron lever up and down until the water flows, he rushes up front to wash his hands off, and splashes some cold water on his face and vigorously tries to wash away everything from that day, puts his face under the faucet and drinks until the faucet stops.

 

He jumps back into the truck, and they ride silently the rest of the way. Occasionally May lets out a heavy sob, the tears keep flowing. Frank is deep in thought, until they pull into the driveway. He looks at May “I’m selling all the cattle, and going back over the road again” With no objections May just nods in agreement. Both of them exit the vehicle and slowly walk into the house. Frank goes to the fridge, grabs a handful of beers and walks out to the barn.

 

An hour later he strolls into the house, eyes are swollen, his knuckles are bleeding profusely. He yells into the house calling for everyone to come to the dining room. After a few moments everyone is sitting around the table. With a monotone voice “Mary is sick, she is going to be gone for a while. There are going to be changes around the farm. Big ones!” Nana speaks up “Frank, what’s wrong with Mary?” Frank quickly responds with heightened agitation “She’s sick Ma, that’s all you need to know!”

 

May with her puffy red eyes, and flushed cheeks, and looking like she aged 10 years in a single day, speaks up seeing Frank is about to start losing his composure. “We are going to sell all the cows, and Your father is going to be going back on the road again.” Marc speaks up “What’s going on?” Junice interjects “Shut up Marc” Bonnie punches Junice in the arm and whispers “Shut up” Junice slaps Bonnie across the head and sits back down.

 

May looks at the kids “stop it right now!” Kenny speaks up “If we are in trouble with Money Pa, I can give half my paycheck to help out with the farm” Marc enthusiastically “I will too” Frank shakes his head. “That is your money, you save it for college or a car. We won’t have any of that!” May nodding “Our options are limited, sell the cows and Frank goes over the road, or I sell the bar. Right now since the bar is our primary source of income atm, it’s the last option”

 

Kenny and Marc walk away from the discussion onto the porch. Frank looking at them angrily wondering what they are up to. The boys come back a short time later. Marc “How much is each head selling for then?” Giving a curious look at the boys “just about five hundred twenty five give or take” Kenny blurts out “We’ll take Bernice, The Red face bull, and the pregnant heifers” Baffled “What you boys on about!” Frank scratching his chin. Happily, Marc goes into his usual long winded reasoning “Bernice is our milking cow, The bull is the sire, and the two heifers we can start from scratch. We have a combined total of 2500 between the two of us. We worked over time at Bjerges and did side work for the farmers before we quit Mr B’s. We want to buy 4 cows” Frank can’t help but to laugh “My boys… My boys…” and starts tearing up.

 

“Wait a damn minute… You quit your jobs?” Completely bewildered, May starts to get upset. “What the Hell do you think you’re doing?” Kenny shrugs away her comment “When you took Mary down to the cities, Mr B. said my services were no longer needed, and after asking him why, he told me about a rumor going around town about our family, and that he didn’t want to be associated with that kind of image. He said it will hurt his reputation.” Marc interjected “That’s when Kenny told me to get in the car, and that’s when we left. We actually picked up our last check this morning. He was nice enough to toss an extra 300 in for each of us. He said he felt bad and had no choice. Fuck the old bastard”

 

Frank angrily jets around the table to Marc and smacks him across the head extremely hard. “You will not use cuss words in this house, or in front of women EVER!” Marc fell over the table face down, Frank not realizing how angry he was smacked him to hard. Marc starts to cry and slides off the table falling into the chair like a cloth slipping off the counter. “I’m sorry pa”

 

“Doesn’t change what he is and what he aught to do” Nana speaks up loud “That’s enough out of you young man, that’s no different then saying it the way your brother just did.” Kenny shrugs “Don’t care, he’s an ignorant jerk, and glad to be away from him”