Episode 14-Suicide Phone Rings & Episode Fifteen-Little Ricky Gets Kidnapped
September 30, 2009 Comments Off
Father and me sit at the real estate office again. We do not speak. I spit in my silver flute and I try to make audible flute sounds with my mouth.
The phone rings. Father answers it. “Beatie shush dat pipe!” Father swings his fist at me.
“What do you mean suicide watch? Yes, yes, of course Frata is going to be a little sad, but I can’t take dis anymore. The doctors, dey are the ones who make her sick. What do you want me to do? I can’t live like dat. No satisfaction for me. She is lika a box. No… I want out of the marriage!” Father’s finger rubs his forehead.
THREE WEEKS LATER
Father and me and sit alone in the real estate office. Again, we do not speak. I puff on my flute and can now make audible flute sounds.
THE PHONE RINGS:
“What you mean she’s out of the hospital? Dey discharged her? She’s not well. No, she cannot come back here. I cannot handle her anymore. Maybe her brother or sister can take her.” Father hangs up the phone. Father does not speak to me.
THREE WEEKS LATER
Father and me sit at the real estate office again. We do not speak to each other again. I also no longer practice the flute. It’s too hard.
THE PHONE RINGS:
“What you mean I am overdrawn in dat account? I have forty-thousand dollars in the bank. You mean the joint account? Yes, I have it with my wife. We are in the process of getting a divorce. Frata? She what? What you mean she took the money and left me two dollars? Dat is a joint account. She lives with her brother Larry now.”
FATHER MAKES A CALL
“What you mean she moved out of her brother’s house? How did she get an
apartment? Yes, we are in the process of divorce. Why would she take my money? How am I gonna pay the house payment? Dat dam crazy woman!” Father hangs up the phone. No, Father does not speak to me.
EPISODE FIFTEEN (Three Days Later)
LITTLE RICKY GETS KIDNAPPED
“Something may happen after dat school tomorrow,”
Father stuffs a banana in his mouth.
“Your mother…” Father says something else but his mouth is muffled with
“What about Mom?”
“Your mother might be picking you up from dat school.” Father swallows.
“What do you mean Mom’s picking me up?
Where am I going with Mom?”
“You’re going to live with her in dat apartment.” Father throws the banana peel in the garbage.
“I can’t live with her. How is she gonna take care of me? She can’t even take care of herself.”
Father closes the lid to the garbage. “I know dat. But the lawyer says she has custody of you until we go to court.”
“Dad, what’s gonna happen to me? She just got out of the hospital. You know she’s not well yet.”
“The doctors say dat they have to release her. They say dat she is stable.”
“Please Dad just meet me after school and I’ll go home with you.”
“I cannot do dat.” Father grabs an apple.
“I can’t, dats all. It’s something dat may not even happen so don’t worry about something dat may not happen.” Father takes a bite from the apple.
My stomach hurts. Dat something has thrown a rock at my belly.
TOMORROW SCHOOL TIME
I sit quiet in my sixth grade class, my face fixated on my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Fedlister. With his bald head and dark curled mustache. He stands in front of our class.
“Beatie, wake up. Focus,” Mr. Fedlister’s cornflower blue eyes light up like a flashlight. He points to me with a yard stick. I focus on Mr. Fedlister’s tight plaid, polyester pants.
“Beatie, since you seem to be in a different world than the rest of the class, can you tell us what deep sea creature no human eye has seen in its natural form?”
I think for a moment. ”A squid?”
“No, that is not correct.”
“No, Beatie, it’s a giant deep sea squid, not just a squid. If you didn’t have your eyes on my pants you would have listened and paid attention. You would have known the correct answer when the class discussed it earlier.”
With my head hung upside down, my legs hooked and locked around the monkey bars. I imagine I’m a bat who sleeps in a dark cave. I close my eyes. I try not to think about Mother and what might happen after school today. I’m afraid.
“Can I have a turn?” she asks.
My eyes open and center on the tip of Lorena’s nose. Her face still covered with a small gauze patch. She stands above me and waits for me to move off of the bars. A few months have passed since I mutilated my best friend. She keeps the patch on her face as if her nose is whole and its just ugly for no one to see but her. The scars on her arms and neck less prevalent now. I ignore her.
I can’t eat. I’m going to throw up.
I fixate my gaze to the front of the class, on Mr. Fedlister’s slacks again. I hear “The Star Spangled Banner” playing in my head. I hum a verse to myself. Oh say can you see by the stars early light…
“Beatie, pay attention here, right here not in your musical fantasy world.” My teacher points near the crotch of his polyester pants with the wooden yardstick. I continue my hum. For so proudly we hail… Mr. Fedlister’s blue eyes flash bright. He shifts his weight to one side and grabs the transparent tape off his desk with a free hand. He rips the tape into two sections. He walks to my desk fast and tapes my mouth closed in the form of an X.
“Now focus!” he says. I focus.
My heart moves fast like humming bird wings hovering around a dry bird feeder. I am scared. I can’t think. I’m going to run. I don’t want to see it. I’m not going to look. I do see it… Mother’s red Dodge Cornet waits for me across the street from the school. I walk slow. I know I can’t run away. I see Mother. She smiles at me and her hands wave. Larry-my uncle whom I hardly know sits next to her in the car.
“Hey Beatie what’s my cute little niece up to? I haven’t seen you in ages, man. Boy, have you grown.”
I pretend not to hear his question and kick a small pebble on the sidewalk.
“Mom, I’m not going with you.”
Mother is dressed in her white nurse’s uniform. Her starched bonnet a Danish windmill. Larry gets out of the car. Larry is short, skinny and greasy-looking.
“Beatie I have a surprise for you,” Mother says.
“I don’t want a surprise.”
“Come on honey, just get in the car,” Larry moves towards me.
“Mom just let me go home to Dad. You’re too sick to take care of me.” Mother’s gaze is soft. I feel she understands. She must know what’s at stake. I don’t back away from Larry and I don’t run away. I trust Mother to do what is right. Mother will do what is right. Larry grabs me and throws me in the Dodge.
Mother and Larry lock the doors. Mother starts the car and guns the motor with her nurse’s shoe. I try to make it to the window. Larry keeps pushing my face down on his lap.
“Let me out! You prick! You prick…”
“Stay down, Beatie. You’re making it hard on yourself.”
“Oh Shit, we need gas. I need to stop at the gas station,” Mother says.
“Let Me Out! Help Someone, Please Help!”
Larry is strong. He presses my face down hard. We arrive at the gas station. People watch the three of us in the Dodge. My body jerks like bacon sizzle in the blaze of sun.
“Help! Please Help Me!”
Mother puts the gas in the car and smiles.
“I’m a mental health nurse and my daughter is schizophrenic. We’re taking her to a hospital,” I hear Mother say to an old woman who pumps gas next to mother.
“I’m so sorry, I knew someone once who had schizophrenia,” the woman says to Mother. The woman stares at me. Larry has a death grip on my neck.
“I’m not Crazy!”
“Good luck to you,” the old woman says.
“God bless you and thank you,” Mother says.
We leave the gas station. Mother’s foot pushes the gas pedal hard. Larry squeezes me firm. God, I hate my life