from Chapter 28, pp 313 - 324: All of this Adam gladly did agree to do. So typical, too: Aprovechar Herry doing all of the talk, talk, talking –– and others doing all of the work, work, working! It wasn’t Herry doing the driving so that the Truemaier Boys could participate; it was Adam, fortunately himself quite the morning person any day anyhow, who did all of that early roundtripping and not, of course, the Daddee – Herry Edinsmaier at all!
I didn’t join in the walk portion that year thinking, naturally, that the Boys weren’t going to be there to enjoy the sylvan assemblage with any of us either. Poor, poor Adam. As dear as he is, Adam always seemed to operate as if Daddee – Herry Edinsmaier had already told me about all of these arrangements about which, of course, Herry had conspired to make damned certain to never tell me! Dr. Legion True hadn’t one clue that her Truemaier Boys might be there in Ames at this vernal hoo – hah. Not one clue! So, accordingly, I determined to just meet up with the rest of the Friends who, after the amble, would be gathering over at the Meetinghouse around 9 or 9:30 a.m. for the breakfast victuals. When I beheld the Boys coming up the driveway of the Meetinghouse, why, I ran outside, arms outstretched, to greet them I was soooo excited. And Mirzah, the first to get out of Adam’s car, likewise ran over to hug me, too!
Except that ... … Except that Professor P.M. Flunk, Quaker elder, got up in both our faces. And right now!
I mean the man appeared outta nowhere. Not even had he been in my peripheral vision; and even if Flunk had been there, I wouldn’t’ve, at that stage, thought him capable of what it was he then proceeded to do.
The doctor of mathematics’ philosophy dashed in between the two of us and faced me, his back to Mirzah, now forced dead in his little – boy tracks. Slowing, I turned to go around Flunk, my eyeballs still affixed on Mirzah, only to feel this incredible force about my neck and upper chest; it was shoving me hard backwards. P.M. Flunk actually had his outstretched arm and balled mitt solidly lodged on my breastbone. I was halted.
“No! No! That is not allowed!”
“O o o o!” I think to myself now, “what a woman – loathing shitload of fuckful patriarchal phraseology.”
“What?!” is only, instead, then and a bit breathless and rather high – pitched, what came out of my mouth.
“Hi, Mom!” Mirzah came around to my side but did not touch me either. P.M. Flunk removed his hand from its placement but not his wedged and blocking body from its.
“Heeey, Baby, this is toooo cooool! I didn’t know you were coming! O, I’m so happy to see you and Zane and Jesse,” who were both by now also standing right next to us three. “This is so great! How long can you stay? How was your walk?! I can take you back to 69th Street then! There’s a bunch of great food. When do we have to be leaving?”
“No! No! That is not allowed!” In front of his god (anyhow), Mirzah, Zane and Jesse and all of the other Quakers gathering, not to mention … in front of me … this Quaker elder, aaaah, androcentric asshole, by the name of P.M. Flunk and now flanked by spouse Agnes Flunk, PhD, Independent Scholar, claimed as his own King Herod’s patriarchal power of authority and control over me in the matter … of me … and … of my very own children. This, too, any freedom – loving independent (– scholar or not! –) can imagine, I have never forgotten!
As much as I’d considered Mi Sprision O’Revinnoco, M.D.’s inaction parentally and medically unconscionable, the Doctors Flunks’ action was, likewise, not only hardly at all Quakerly or anything, like say, spirit – led, … it was as well in no way conscionable. I have never forgotten it, and I have never returned to a man’s easter sunday anywhere, certainly not there either. Pre – arrangements had included Adam and P.M. and Agnes Flunk –– and, specifically, not me …
It had been the likewise folie – à – deuxing Flunk Intellectuals who chauffeured my Truemaier Boys back their afternoon’s 130 minutes’ haul to Herry’s at 1 p.m. and then themselves returning here to Ames, and none of these preparatory negotiations had included me in any way, except to especially keep me fully and ‘quite clearly’ … in the dark. The Flunks’ role was merely that of lackey – gofers in Herry’s inflictive fuck of bait and switch so as to the Boys to keep Dr. Legion True in hers: that of Invisible Mother. Herry played them. Herry Edinsmaier played P.M. and Agnes Flunk like the bobbleheaded marionettes they were, so dodderingly gaga were these two idiots over Herry’s impressive doctor title, his status in the community as a pillar and his elitist education as a physician. And …. likewise thusly, so oppositely repulsed by my judicial state as a nonmother … and apparently by everything else about me as well.
And they, the Flunks? They let him. They knew the opprobrious Truth about Herry, but they also knew how much … more … they themselves, as did rurally Midwest Mehitable, enjoyed and reveled in their own religion –– the one based upon their credo of aristocratic appearances and image management. So the cultured Flunks simply let the Good and Erudite Dr. Edinsmaier play them. Full – well functioning that –– and, as regards me, many a –– First Day in the astringently punishing scholarship that: while knowledge is power, the withholding of knowledge is … even more power!
Just four weeks earlier Margaret Sagely died on the 02nd day of March 1991, while on a personal mission of medical mercy to China for her belovéd people there. No proselytizing. None ever when Nurse Margaret went to China. Just gracious and helpful and scientific however she could be. Massive stroke. Seventy – two years young. Dead. Immediately. Cremated. Ashes back to the States. Another “other mother” of mine –– gone. Ashes like Frieda Chicken Guthrie. Ashes and gone.
A memorial service was scheduled at a larger sanctuary in downtown Ames than the Meetinghouse’s front room so that her many, many friends who wanted to say goodbye to her could, three of whom … my Truemaier Boys. Herry had then, too, enticed Agnes and P.M., apparently contacting one or both of them to let them know that he, Ms. Fannie Issicran McLive and the Boys would all join the Flunks in one of that particular church’s pews –– which they so did do. Again, I had had no prior heads – up until I glanced over my right shoulder and there, subtly nodding and smiling back at me but not too widely the service being a sobering memorial for Margaret who now was basically a carton of carbon inside her simple, mahogany wooden urn up at the altar and all, … were Jesse, Mirzah and Zane. On his way out the narthex’s massive doorway afterward, Mirzah managed to maneuver himself so as to brush beside me and high – fived my right hand that I held close in and low down by my thigh whilst, poker – faced, he stared straight ahead of himself and exited to the street. No words exchanged. And then, yet again, my three Boys … were gone.
I closed the wobbly, wooden door of the booth in order to be able to hear something. My machine was temporarily shut down while I spoke on the telephone, but the rest of them were quite up, running and clamoring; it was as always very, very noisy. The phone booth was rickety, musty – smelling and darkened, there by itself in the far southwest corner of this warehouse – sized room which was the junk mail factory’s primary production floor.
“Legion, this is Agnes Flunk speaking to you.”
“Agnes?” The clock registered yet another hour and a half of afternoon shift left before I was to punch out.
“Yes, Agnes Flunk. I have had a telephone call just now from Des Moines.”
“What?! Who from?”
“Well, it’s about the Truemaier boys.”
“What is?! They’re okay?! What’s the matter with my Boys?!”
“Well, ah, um …”
“I said, Agnes, what . is . the . matter . with . my Boys?!?!” This woman was still another of those male – identified ditherers of whom in my World there are far, far too many and for whom I have no patience. None. Much worse yet is the fact that besides thinking herself a Quaker elder and terming herself an “independent scholar” who now and then when she feels like it from her bedroom computer writes books about odd, peculiarly narrow groups of workers or tribes, this woman calls herself a feminist, too. Now when certain of these types of DEhumans do this, then I truly am completely all out of any tolerance for them as well since their genre makes it sooo much harder for the rest of us DEhumans and true feminists, either female or male.
“Your boys’ll be at our house tonight if you want to see them one last time. Herry said he’d bring them all by our house and that you are permitted to come there tonight at 6:30 p.m. for 15 minutes,” came the official announcement back to me of exactly that premonition over which Jesse had soooo been agonizing just the Friday night before. Anxious and sad? Now I knew at least a little something about why his sense. The weekend over, and lo and behold on Monday afternoon, 28 October 1991, less than 72 hours after hugging Jesse inside our dark, cold Ol’ Black parked on an Urbandale sidestreet and wanting to weep over the dread voiced in Jesse’s fears and sorrow at leaving me and Iowa and never returning to us as a kid again, Dr. True was indeed right now being dictated to by a person whom I do not trust and by the type of woman whom I so loathe that I, my Boys’ own mama, would be “permitted” one last chance to see them all before they left for where?
“See them all before they left for where, Agnes?!”
“Well, now that isn’t information I have. And if I did have it, I wouldn’t be permitted to give it out, now would I? You already know that though, Legion, don’t you?” There are four – and five – letter names for women like Agnes Flunk, names not at all like “scholar,” but she isn’t worth expending any more effort nor expounding upon with any more time or descriptive words, let alone, worrying about folks like her. Nor is P.M. either –– except for the itty bitty bit part in which P.M. was yet to be seen acting later on that evening.
Ms. Phillipa Chance I hardly knew and then only as an overseer of my factory labor. I needed to leave work; but I, right then, just couldn’t think of how to explain in a short, short byte … why. My jobs changed soon after this 1991’s October –– both because the orders were decreasing and its temporary positions at the factory were being eliminated and because I needed more hours than those which had been available there anyhow so I have never gotten an opportunity to know this person. Recently I read in a wee local newsy rag where this woman was working alone one night at the county’s favorite BBQ take – out outfit and that Ms. Phillipa Chance had managed to salvage some of its equipment and to save herself before the tiny joint, like torched Twyla’s Salon and Barbering had in Urbandale, burned completely down.
Still I don’t know her personally and, then as now, if the woman’s ever had a child or kids of her own or not. I truly only knew of her from that mid afternoon of my beseeching her for allowance to leave work. As I remember acts of atrocity, I also remember actions of the opposite kind, and Ms. Phillipa Chance has always remained in my memory for the fact that her nature with me so fit her name, Chance. I exited the phone booth apparently as white as this sheet. My supervisor, Ms. Phillipa Chance, heard above all of that din, “My babies. He’s taking my babies away,” as I walked up to her small workspace countertop in the midst of the warehouse, not dazed as much as seething. And, as noticeably DEhuman, ... powerless.
No asking me “What?!” No asking me “Why are you talking to yourself and not back at your machine working?!” No questions at all as a matter of fact, and I never repeated myself. She looked at me squarely, no hedge, and replied, “Get outta here, Woman. Go! You are gone. We’ll just see ya’ tomorrow, okay?!”
After the rare times as I run into such people, almost exclusively DEhumans too they are, I wonder how it is that they know, how they already know what was coursing through my heart and my soul after news like I’d just received. Had she lost a child herself? Had a besieged sister of hers needed to wage war and lost babies? Ms. Chance wasn’t old enough I didn’t think to be a grandmother, as was Grand Mehitable, who may have been mom to a tormented daughter and grandchildren embattled in ‘the court’ system –– with all of its functionaries there with whom the family, including Ms. Chance perhaps, may have had to deal, to engage, to clash, to fight, to come to legal blows –– from its judges to the attorneys to the family and child psychologists to those custody evaluators and guardians ad litem to the state’s family services’ division personnel to the cops and the drug rehabilitators and the alcohol abuse counselors to the battered women’s shelter workers to who knows who next. How had Ms. Phillipa Chance, with instantaneousness and urgency not to mention with nearly proven clairvoyance, known where I stood after that telephone call and how had she known with precision clarity, knife – like, what the cut of “He’s taking my babies away” meant? For all their PhDnesses and all of their assumed scholarship and theoretical Quakerliness, the elder Dr. Agnes Flunk along with her spicily mucked – up spouse, Dr. P.M. Flunk, parents themselves of two grown – and – gone sons, could certainly have both stood several lessons and to pass prelim examinations on Substance and Depth in Understanding and Compassion at Grace’s Listening College –– both of them tutored there then by one mighty brainy and … kind … Ms. Phillipa Chance, junk mail factory boss – lady.
I knocked promptly at 6:30 p.m. on the front door of the bungalow. Dr. P.M. Flunk opened it to an empty living room in which stood Agnes, gawping in judgment at me without so much as a weak smile. I knew there’d been a reason why I hadn’t sought to be present any earlier; she and that countenance of hers was it. No Truemaier Boys anywhere in sight. And no conversation occurring either –– which was just fine with me. Deaf as I am, I am never discomfited as are other persons by silence in such threesomes; and because of the particular and peculiar other two in our specific axiso’three, I was most contented to remain shut up … waiting. Waiting for the Truemaier Boys in the silence of the front room of the Flunk household. I had a helluva lot to think on anyhow so, doing that, I just stared at its floor, “What in the hell was Herry up to? Taking the Boys where? For how long? No wonder Jesse’d said what he’d said last Friday night! Yeah, something’d been goin’ down, all right, but what? What?!”
Around 6:50 finally a knock and in strode Community Pillar Herod Edinsmaier demanding to see Legion True, “Where’s Jesse?! Where’ve ya’ hidden Jesse?!” He was enraged behind such a carefully controlled to – the – Flunks’ mask. After all, Herry couldn’t very well call me Cunt or Bitch or Twat in front of them or Mirzah and Zane … now the two of them old enough to quite remember such Edinsmaier endearments for their mother.
With only my youngest and my eldest coming inside and over to me on the loveseat, I instantly knew then that Jesse had run, that he had jumped ship, that Dr. Herod Edinsmaier hadn’t the foggiest fuck of an idea as to where my middle child for whom he, alone, was custodially liable was, and that Hideous Herry totally intended to pin onto me the full whammy of all that this meant –– right down to, “ … if Jesse is hurt, You Cunt, why I’ll … ” in so many sidewise glares and smirkfaced squints. The brassy fact that we were all in someone else’s home, a situation for which then I ordinarily would take under great advisement to be courteous and rather respectful, I gave not two hoots for here at the Flunks. I couldn’t have given a flying, fuckable shit that Herry Edinsmaier, two Truemaiers and one True frenetically seeking any news of the whereabouts of her third baby had completely taken over a space which none of us owned, let alone, found familiar or, for that matter, particularly Friendly! “We’re leaving Iowa, Mom. Tomorrow. We’re leaving tomorrow,” Zane exhaled softly. Mirzah, at his side and now mine, too, was just nodding.
“I want her house searched! I’m heading over there right now! Come’n, Zane, Mirzah! Now!” Herry headed for the door and without so much as addressing me with any full first name or a surname even as, of course, is Herry’s usual shaming shunning of me anyhow, ex – Husband Herod hadn’t yet directly looked at the obviously indiscernible and, therefore, ... invisible … thing in that Flunk room which was … me.
“They’re welcome to stay here, Herry,” it was Agnes Flunk, PhD, Independent Scholar, of course.
“Sure. Okay. Good. Thanks,” and Herry turned to go.
“No! No! He isn’t there! Jesse isn’t there! Where is he?! Where could he have gone to?!” I was frantic and becoming so, too, were also both Zane and Mirzah now –– who, I rather suspected, knew all along that Jesse, was indeed, gone most missing and they just didn’t know what to do. Herry, for chris’sake, had done nothing to allay any of these two brothers’ fears and, now arriving in Ames and seeing me, Mirzah and Zane were altogether certain that Jesse was nowhere at all close by to us. “I’m calling the police and László.”
“That is not necessary. He’s at your house,” Herry finally glowered straight at me, that Stupid – Ass Heifer in the Flunks’ living room, although he still would not speak my name.
“No! I told you, he isn’t! I’m calling the police, and they’ll search my house to convince you. Then maybe we can get the true search for Jesse started. Don’t tell me. Do not tell me that you haven’t even called the Urbandale police yet, Herry?!” my voice was shaking I was so livid. Herry had not.
Herry Edinsmaier had driven out of two major metropolitan areas, Urbandale and Des Moines; 65 precious minutes he had traveled out of town and onto major thoroughfares and interstates and over 45 to 50 miles northerly and into another metropolitan area, Ames, in the cold and now also the darkness –– without even calling their local police first. Not only that, the Good and Wonderful Dr. Edinsmaier had driven out of the probable vicinity of Jesse’s disappearance two more of my children displacing them even further away than they already had been from their missing brother –– and all of this evil just to be able … to come after me.
I turned to go to the telephone which appeared in a nook past the grand piano, black of course, itself alone constituting most of what were the living room furnishings besides our carcasses. Seeing this direction of mine, again P.M. Flunk darted over to the corner as well and stuck his fakey, little power façade – like veneer between the telephone and me, lifting up its receiver himself. He swung it and the coil wide away from the cradle, frowned and pursed his lips at me because, assuming he was going to, I asked, “O, are you calling the police then, P.M.? I know the number,” which, of course, I did –– “239.5133.” Any mother does; we memorize the doctor’s, the emergency room’s, the cops’, the fire department’s. What can I say? I knew it stone – cold so I dictated it to him. He turned around, his dialing finger halted at pressing the digits; he soooo did not want to, I could tell.
“If you don’t, P.M., then I shall. Call them and tell them to send someone over to 6143 Havencourt and to do it right now.” P.M.’s nonverbal demeanor even Mirzah and Zane couldn’t miss. I thought, “Fuck him.”
Before heading to Havencourt, I motioned Zane aside and whispered to him, “Do you know where he’s taking all of you?”
“Ah, no, we don’t know. We just found out today when he came to the school. I think Jesse’s bolted, Mom. I haven’t seen him since this morning. Herry came to the school at noon. Jesse must’ve seen him coming down the hall or something.” Dr. Edinsmaier insisted, from the immediate moments of all of their birthings, that all three Boys only ever call him Herry –– never Daddy, Dad, Pa, Poppy, Pops or even the formal Father. Never. He taught them well; all three of the Boys only ever did call him Herry, too.
Herry, their arrested 17 – year – old, older Joy Toy Boy ‘brother’ who, through his violence of passive – aggression and abusive collusion with ‘the courts,’ lied and bullied just whenever the frickin’ hell he felt like it and was, now with the help of these same two Quaker “elders,” gutting the goddamn bitch –– again.
Mirzah finished, “Only thing we know, Mom, is that it’s tomorrow morning. We leave tomorrow morning.”
“O, m’god! And you don’t even know where you’re going?! And we don’t know where Jesse is?!
O, m’god! O, m’god!”
“Uh – uh,” it was Mirzah, only a month past 12 years of age, just searching my face with his.
“Okay. Okay. I’m thinking here. I’m thinking. I’m going over to Havencourt and do that thing, the obligatory search thing over there. With the Ames cops. Obliged to. Got to. László’ll meet me there.
I’ll tell ya’ all why later. Then, … then I’m telephoning the Urbandale police myself if Herry won’t.
I know their number, too. I’ll call them from there, from Havencourt. I won’t be back. O, m’god! This is it then. I won’t see you two again. O, m’god! Do you think Washington State or not? West or east? South to where was it you thought he once went off to down there? Ya’ know, one time to go work somewhere down there, Biloxi? No, not Biloxi. Where the heck was that?! O, m’god.” We were hugging and hugging and hugging. I completely ignored the two others, the Flunks. Herry was already gone anyhow. “I’ll find you. I will find you. I. Will. Find. You. I love you, Mirzah.. I love you, Zane.
O, m’god. And I’ll find Jesse, too. Tell him I love him.” Kiss. Kiss.
Arms undone. I was gone.
Herry’s manner in and management of his public rage appeared similar to Dr. Lionel Portia’s everyday face, the one Grace’s spouse used for all of Lionel’s feelings, anger or joy, … pretty much deadpan. As much as Herry loathed true work, he truly worked very carefully at concealing from the general populace and, in particular, its upper crust … the Edinsmaier rage. Often, even most often, he buried it, appearing placid and unruffled for months that sometimes lasted a year or longer; but when the rage was just beneath the surface as it was this evening, Herry took extra charge and effort to put on the outward countenance of calm and correctness and the presentation of “the one who is not only in the know but since he is, since he does know, then he is the one, therefore, next doing the correct and right thing.” This fairly much describes passive aggression in a folie à deux, this immediate folie then –– Highfalutin Herry with the high – flown Flunks.
The phrase also fits what Herod Edinsmaier provokes in rational people. His actions as a passive aggressor are provocation, and he so manipulated them, as did Mehitable, to whatever resultant outcome he desired. But a reasonable response from ordinary folks to the consequential upshots of passive aggression is one of frustration or disgust often to the point of us others expressing, in no calm way whatsoever, our aversion, our disgust, our anger and our disappointment. Hell, Herry’s aggression costs us others time, money, work, lots and lots and lots of extra, initially unneeded work that now becomes necessary, pain, huge disappointments, huge, often separation and incredible isolation as was to be the end result of the news this evening that all of my Boys, not just Jesse, would so very soon go completely missing from me. It is no wonder at all that the rest of us, dealt this shit and forced this fuck, act after its display and implementation from persons such as Dr. Edinsmaier the way that we do.
Only one gargantuan problem there is with us recipients and our reactions: we others are the ones who outwardly look to the cops, to the SpaChezResort Hotel Six Floor health care providers, to the judges, to the sheriffs, to the attorneys, to the child psychologists, to the custody evaluators, to the social workers, to the children’s services’ counselors, we others look like the aggressor because we do get angry. And we show it!
Herry’s calculated violence in his application of passive aggression was, however, of historic proportions. And when coupled with the vacuous, wooden demeanor on his face to the outside onlooker, nearly impossible to read if an untrained observer. I, on the other hand? I had lived this. With Herry I had lived this mother – fucking every single day for the 12½ years of legalized mawwiage to the thug and, ever more escalatingly, all of the days since the divorce decree became official midweek on 24 May 1989! Herry was so predictable to me by now. I didn’t need to read his face; I just knew what he would probably, most likely try to get away with next. Hence, why the very real need for me to not only be present at the search of my very own home, one done without any officially obtained search warrant! but I also had to have present at this specific search an Ames police official conducting a totally thorough search of it –– because Herry, in some future court action, would lie –– another imminent perjury. I needed to be able to defuse and to counteract the falsehood that the prevaricated scenario would morph into –– by overseeing at my own residence, right now Monday night, 28 October 1991, a totally thorough search. I had to preempt a strike against me in some upcoming court appearance of which I did not even know yet –– by, right now, leaving no shower curtain drawn and no corner closet exhaustively uninspected! Too, the scrutiny absolutely had to be performed by a methodical force which could perhaps act as a neutralizing one in daMan’s court! An unbiased third party I needed, a witness or testifier that would be … the cop! Right now in my throes of becoming geographically separated for gaaawd knows how long from all three of my Boys, I had to first be concerned about a future attack and cross by Herry’s Mr. Shindy Scheisser which would run something like, “But you really didn’t even go in the Havencourt condo, did you, Officer Pam?”
“Actually, that is not correct, Mr. Scheisser, I did.”
“But you really didn’t even go upstairs and check into anything or behind anywhere, did you, Officer Pam?”
“Actually, that is not correct, Mr. Scheisser, I did. Even though I had no warrant to check anything or behind anywhere! ! ! I still did. As a matter of fact, Mr. Scheisser, I checked everywhere and behind everything, a complete and thorough search, and there was not a goddamn sign there of anybody resembling a Jesse. There were, however, Jesse’s and his two brothers’ belovéd pets, Mr. Scheisser, all three of them. No! More than three. Her boys’ mama bird’d had babies. That’s how mother – fuckingly thorough my search was; I even searched the finch’s nest, too! Not just the DEhuman mother’s nest! Hypothetically speaking here, Mr. Scheisser, why wouldn’t a supposedly loving father, swiping custody of her kiddos, not also wanna take custody of her children’s pets?!”
“I will ask the questions here, Officer Pam! And you will do the answering, Officer Pam, and only the answering. Not the judging. I have no further questions, Your Honor, for this witness.”
This was the sort of future “anticipatory guidance” pediatricians tell parents about their growing children’s activities, actions and what to expect? No, this was the sort of anticipatory guidance, a medical term used daily in these doctors’ dictations after the well – child checkup visits of little kids nationwide, which I had to also employ in order to try to guide myself around and past the crimes of the older – brother Joy Toy Boy bully, Daddee Edinsmaier himself. In order to attempt to –– later –– save my own ass within ‘the court’ that Pillar Herry could so easily manipulate to his advantage.
I arrived on Havencourt. László had broken peripheral speed records, I thought, in order to get there.
He and Judd lived five miles out of town in the diagonally opposite direction of The Teacup, and he from the northwest then was there already when I drove up. So was Officer Pam except that she was a he, Officer Chris. Up to the door the four of us went, and I even invited in Herry; and had he entered, this would have been his first step inside the Havencourt condominium ever. He did not; he declined of course, and László decided to wait outside with him. I still have never figured out for certain when all of my tools came up missing from my two garage cabinets’ worth, but I don’t think it happened this specific Monday.
I believe Herry stole them all, but I now believe the burglary occurred at a later date, still yet another thuggish thievery of Herry’s to be realized –– just not on this particular 28 October. Because László, Ancestor in Training in Cinqué – style as well, was right there beside him –– standing in silence.
The search ended; Herry and Officer Chris both drove away from Havencourt Drive. László came inside then and sat down at our brown kitchen table as I proceeded to dial, from memory of course, the Urbandale police station. Waiting on the line for the correct person to take my transferred call, I told László that I had kissed Zane and Mirzah for the last time for a long, long, long time, that the Boys were to be spirited out of town the very next morning and that to where the four of us, in the words of Ms. Fannie Issicran McLive’s infamous and favored ‘scriptural verse,’ … “had no idea!” Where my 15 – year – old, 13 – year – old and 12 – year – old children were next to call ‘home’ was a secret –– even to them. Assuming, that is, that middle brother would be caught.
And I was never told that he was. And ‘caught’ is the correct verb, not ‘found’. I hung up the telephone for the last time around 1 in the a.m. of Tuesday, 29 October 1991, not knowing. By 4:30 pm that afternoon and off shift, I zoomed down to the 69th Street bungalow and pulled Ol’ Black plain as day right up into the driveway. There was nothing there. Nothing of evidence around the outside of the house and the property’s detached garage that my family of three Truemaier Boys had ever existed there.
I hauled ass off of 69th and out onto Douglas Avenue and careened westerly toward the Urbandale Police Station. The speeding was out of anger, yes, and certainly not out of any misperceived capability to catch up with someone, anyone. After 5 p.m., I could not enter its front door without having to first press the security intercom and summon someone to come unlock it and let me in. I blitzed by the doorman enroute to the dispatch window and was given there, by a very nice woman who of course knew nothing, the name of someone to call “in the morning.” So began a blizzard of queries to the cops, whether there in Urbandale or five states away or half a nation away or a full continent away –– it didn’t matter. Always, always courteous to me I proceeded to get out of any law enforcement authority anywhere not one shred of information on or about my very own babies whom I alone grew. Not one fragment of knowledge.
I am reminded of the time Zane ran away from home in Columbia –– and Jesse and I in that beige Shitbox Dodge had quietly followed behind him and his tracks. The cop then in the blazing heat of that July never truly ‘saw’ my little boy in his winter coat packing a long, skinny bundle that could’ve contained a rifle. Didn’t –– but could have. Zane had determinedly claimed that his fishing pole would permit him to survive ‘out there’ … alone. Although the policeman, Jesse and I so well saw, had looked squarely at Zane, the lawman never even stopped to inquire if there might be something rather at bit amiss with this scenario here.
“You have papers that say we can tell you if we know, do you?” the named individual on the post – it scrap asked me the next morning.
“Ah, no, I don’t have those papers.”
“Well, then, I’m awfully sorry, but I don’t know if you’re really the mother plus, anyhow, if you don’t have official papers, then I certainly am not going to say anything. Is that understood?”
“Can’t you even tell me … if … Jesse’s found and safe?”
“No. I’m hanging up now.” Click.
The night before until the wee dark hours of the early morning it had been the same with the police. And with Ms. McLive. Herry wouldn’t even come to the telephone to talk to me nor had Mirzah or Zane been allowed to answer the phone or take my calls. Ever before –– when they all were still sequestered in west Ames or existing inside that Urbandale bungalow. Mothers worldwide know this routine on a regular basis –– from the doctor to the teachers to the parole officer to the male – identified, maternal grandmother to the child’s commanding, milifucking officer. Not to mention, when there’s the colossal crisis of one of hers in trouble, hurt or missing, we still cannot get information. No way. No how. And if one is a noncustodial mother, why then it is a given that the backlash fuck – off will nowhere approximate a polite kiss – off.
Understand the standard measure that is ownership of information. Information is male; it is patriarchy and belongs only within all things androcentric. Smack in line with martin luther’s “… woman was no more than a machine to make babies for him with neither the need nor the right to …” … to know anygoddamnthing else! Knowledge is power and the withholding of knowledge is even more power. And from fat, old buddha, “ … a woman’s body is filthy and not a vessel for … the law.” The law? She soooo cannot! for chris’sake, have the least bit o’ knowledge, lest the fucking woman dare to think, dare to believe that she is entitled to actually possess some … power! Just ask Mehitable, the most male – identified of all – knowing, maternal grandmothers whom the Truemaier Boys have ever encountered.
Only weeks later did I actually know that Jesse had been captured and that not only was he all right but that he had fought the abductor and his continuing thralldom the only way he could think of at this last minute. A portion of the overture to Act Three had played out exactly as Zane had intuited. Zane and Jesse both possess to this day, sometimes even Mirzah too, the uncanniest powers of near extrasensory perception. I in no way believe in ESP nor in supernature and so doubt that, atheist that I am, I ever shall; but if I ever do, I’ll wager my believing will have to do with some event or situation spawned because of Jesse’s or Zane’s minds knowing ahead of time what was going to happen or their abilities, given just a very, very few items of information or clues, to piece together what the hell went down at a place and time far, far removed from them.
Zane was correct. Jesse had, from inside his seventh – grade classroom and out its window accidentally or uncannily looked up and watched Herry in the Humvee hurl past his building and haul into the high school’s front horseshoe drive just a block east, headed he accurately presumed, at midday on a Monday morning when Herry was usually long gone outta town since the early, early hours of the first workday to his “job” wherever the locum tenens per diem contract was for that particular week, … headed instead this noontime to Zane’s Principal Druid’s office. Excusing himself from the classroom and I’ve never yet asked him how, Jesse beelined to his locker, cleared it out as much as he’d wanted and managed to signal a friend whose name I don’t know. Indeed, it was around 12:30 or 12:45 when Jesse, out a side door unguarded on that Monday afternoon, exited off the grounds of the Metro suburb’s middle school. And disappeared.
Just as Zane in the Flunks’ front room had imagined to me Jesse must’ve done. I don’t know how he made it past adults, but Jesse’s darling and quite the athlete so perhaps he either just smiled and kept on walking, sack of locker shit and all, or he may have explained about needing to return something to or retrieve something from off of the soccer – football field out back. Like his independence or something. With backpack and some belongings then Jesse, at any rate, was gone quite missing by the time Herry next returned with already snatched Mirzah and Zane to the Urbandale Middle School to pluck Jesse out as well.
And instead of quizzing the school authorities or the local fuzz if Legion True had been spotted anywhere in the Boy’s immediate vicinity or not, Herry decided, one way or the other, that even if I had not been seen around, indeed that even if I had actually not been around, … he would still exploit the situation against me. Herry knew Jesse had jumped; and if his escape hadn’t been with me, then it was accomplished with someone else or carried out by himself. He knew. Herod Edinsmaier simply determined, with less than only a full day’s time left to Daddee’s getting done “for his family” all of the moving – away kinds of chores and last – moment minutia, to still choose to take out some of those remaining few hours several miles away and harass the mother – fuck out of Legion, the ex – Cunt and Present Bitch. While all that while –– permitting Jesse to stay missing and purposefully to not jostle and scramble together all manner of proactive functions and efforts to find him! To let Jesse stay missing to him, to me and to his brothers! That level of gruesome cruelty only one who has recognized and violently lived, day to day, with this passive aggression can predict and expect.
László stayed with me as I was on the telephone calling and calling and calling all night long and getting back only clicks and hang – ups from both the Urbandale police and Ms. Fannie Issicran McLive. The madam was so transparent that if László and I weren’t genuinely most worried about Jesse, it would’ve been hilarious! With every phone call, and there must’ve been a dozen at the least which I placed, all long distance, … with every one, the Next Cunt answered soooo ridiculously syrupy sweet and cheery –– herself modeling and very well mimicking Horrid Herod’s aggressive passivity, “The Edinsmaier and McLive residence, Fannie speaking. How may I service you?” Er, no. Correction. “How may I serve you?”
After about the second or third consecutive call of mine to the 69th Street number, it became crystal clear that Herry’s newest Next Cunt was taking her mother – fuckingest revenge in this manner but way, way worse than that: with her and Herry’s folie à deux operating at top speed in its so slickly slamming operatic duet again, there was the very real fact that she, too, was also … not … searching for … nor … finding my child!
Apparently around 10:30 p.m. that signaled friend of Jesse’s had attempted to flee his own residence with extra warm boots, a wool shirt, a poncho, a flashlight, some books and not only the canned goods, the pork and beans, tuna and corn, but he’d also remembered to pack the can opener next to the canteen and a couple of store – bought bottles of water. Perhaps it was the bulk of the sleeping bag and two blankets that gave him away to his mother, but Friend was discovered all right before he’d managed to exit their back door around about his bedtime on a school night. Kiddo ‘fessed. Jesse was holed up in a fort he had fashioned for himself somewhere in an urban forest not too far away. Late October outside in the city’s woods in the dark. Not exactly this particular ex – Cunt’s accommodations after all, but Jesse had bivouacked his own ‘home’ if Herry was –– again –– about to fuck with mine. And, of course, neither Jesse nor I nor Mirzah or Zane knew at all then of Herry’s affidavit – “pledge” to daMan, to daJudge, to Judge Sol Wacotler Seizor, to “never” take him away from Ames until he was 18, had graduated Ames High School and could choose for himself to where to be off exploring next!
Back into Ames and The Teacup and at or under the posted speed limit, I hunkered down at the brown kitchen table next to the telephone and tried to think of what to do. It was the evening of another day when another moving truck had yet again pulled up to my children’s lives and in the course of another couple of hundred minutes or so into it had been swallowed up all of the available stuffs of their childhoods. And in a vehicle following the van out onto interstates had been swept up and spirited several states away, as well, my three Truemaier Boys –– jettisoning them all over – again – somewhere between Ames, that Invisible She – Devil there … and the Deep Blue Sea.
Only weeks later did I know that Mirzah, too, had been captured. Mirzah, my little man of so, so many talents. From soccer to French to percussion to baking, actually making skilled use of, even at just five years of age, the nesting set of Pyrex mixing bowls, to entrepreneurial endeavors, especially ones involving the ‘investing’ of his money, to piano to volleyball to political leanings and leadings to keyboarding and computers just appearing on a very, very few kiddos’ horizons. Except in the form of Nintendo or the few Pacman or Pokémon games before those. And, most especially, and of a truly magnificent treasure to both him and to me, to his mighty fine art for making friends and establishing and maintaining friendships.
All of the Truemaier Boys possessed this wizardly craft. If ever I’d wanted to know who someone was, all that I had to do was query out loud to the thin air, “Who’s that?” Himself suddenly interested also, Zane at three, four, five years of age, would swiftly shift focus from whatever activity he was engaged in, slip – slide on over to the person in question, look longingly up at her or him and with pinpoint clarity and precise pronunciation the first time he would simply ask, “Who are you?” And then I, too, would know because Zane was so irresistible and, thus, always commanded by his wee, sweet presence the correct answer back!
I so worried about this trait in the Truemaier Boys though; it could be endangering to them all to be so open and unafraid to approach total strangers. It could save their lives, too; but it still concerned me so all throughout their little, little boyhoods. The Boys’ belovéd nanny, Rosemarie, loved to repeat the story of lunchtime one noon in the Hershey household when she’d served up food to the three of them. Rosemarie invented lovely themes, ideas and topics with every meal to foster in them amongst themselves not only camaraderie but also the finesse of fine conversation. During the discussion at this particular repast, she had asked each Boy to individually tell them all collectively assembled around the dinner table what he wanted to be when he grew up. First Zane expounded; then came Jesse’s discourse. When Rosemarie came ‘round to Mirzah poised in his high chair at the grand ol’ figure of a mere 2½ years in age, he paused and paused, eyelids scrunched shut with his right arm and fist doubled up under his little chin, elbow on the high chair tray –– just silent like Frenchman Rodin’s so – famous Le Penseur statue of 1902, thinking and thinking and thinking. Then when she and two brothers by their cocked heads and raised brows in Mirzah’s direction appeared to query him again … he finally opened his eyes, his little arm shot skyward from out its place under his mandible and, with set jawline and princely ceremony, Mirzah exaltedly proclaimed to all gathered therein, “Prezdunt o’da Knighted Tates!”
In the sixth grade now and eleven years old that Fall of 1991, things hadn’t much changed in this regard.
Although they may not have been able to actually come over to visit Mirzah at the daddee’s residence patrolled there as it was by Nottingham Sheriff McLive, Mirzah still made friends as easily as drinking pure water; and, of the collections of people he found himself within, one such group was the Extended Learning Program’s early morning class of ultimate conversationalists, the children there who participated in the Mock Trials project. By 7:15 a.m. since late August and early September, Mirzah had had to be at the Karen Farmer Elementary School two to three times a week and ready to rehearse the courtroom scenes for his group’s involvement in local and regional competitions. The kids at Karen Farmer’s had beat out several other elementary ELP mockers; they advanced to win the locals’ championship! So much so had the ELP sixth – graders won already that autumn that Mirzah, in two different mock situations, was slated with the other actors of his class to perform their two trials at the regional finals’ competition. On Monday, 28 October 1991, I can only imagine that as Mirzah left the bungalow around 7 in the early morning in the chauffeuring accompaniment of another competitor – colleague’s parent in order to get to the rehearsals on time, he was totally pumped for both of his roles, one as the criminal’s defense attorney; and in the second trial, Mirzah actually played the part of the defendant himself charged –– with murder!
The regional’s contest was not very far away at all. No one from Karen Farmer Elementary School had to travel any further than Des Moines’s own Drake University. Yes, further than the trip to school but not by much more than 15 to 20 minutes or so at the most; and there was obviously no need to carpool out of town or for any such planning as that necessary at all, one of the fine things about living in a bigger sphere with great opportunities. Out of Urbandale proper and into Des Moines officially a child’s parents would have to drive, but the Olmstead Center there at Drake was so close to Herod Edinsmaier’s suburban rental that Mirzah certainly did not think that he needed even to arrange a ride with other teammates to get there. Mirzah would just appear and meet up with everyone else –– right there at the Olmstead Center.
Perhaps from his Grandpa AmTaham and I’d like to think also from me did Mirzah learn and hold strongly and utterly to the precept that a person did not disappoint her or his friends. No way. No how. If one is a true friend, then one comes through for the rest of the posse’s others no matter what it takes; and until the morning of Wednesday, 30 October 1991, when Mirzah Truemaier awoke to find himself five states away and consequently failing to show up at the Olmstead Center of Drake University to uphold his end of the Mock Trial team’s bargain, he had not one time messed up on this … this how – to – be – a – true – friend deal, the most important of matters to him ever.
Dr. Herod Edinsmaier had succeeded in capturing Mirzah and by Herry’s subsequent imprisonment of him on the interstate and ultimately at their final roadtripping destination, had literally stolen from Mirzah the loyalty to his friends that he so prized inside of himself. The prize of the Mock Trial Project championship? O well, everyone knows what happens at such times as these. Whether at the mock trials’ competitions or at the city club’s softball game without enough players or with the default on the loan for the family’s next home or “the consequences of all of the other messes he visits upon her when he leaves her home” as John Stoltenberg quotes, the word is –– forfeit. Mirzah’s school friends left the Drake University’s Center and returned to their classroom activities at Karen Farmer Elementary without accomplishing one performance because, without its key and starring actor, there was no performance. And according to the Project’s rules, because of this dazzling absence then, the forfeiture of any ranking of the team’s standing in the competitions –– was required!
What I have never been able to justify, coming at this specific October scenario with Mirzah in The Opera from Herry’s possible perspective, is how he could have done this to Mirzah. I mean why?! Why not just wait one fucking day –– more –– before leaving town?! The realization of just the friggin’ timeframe alone of this heinous action consternates me! Blows me clean frickin’ away it does. Even if Dr. Edinsmaier had had to be at work elsewhere, which I soooo do not believe was the case at all, why the fucking hell did Herry – Daddee dump the way that he did … this horrific mess on Mirzah’s spirit?! One day longer is all!
Then, Herry could have hired a freakin’ truckdriver for the Truemaier Boys or the household’s moving van –– or for both! –– if Ms. Fannie Issicran McLive wasn’t up to any of it herself! And fuck –– Herry for himself? Shit! –– Herry could’ve taken a goddamn airplane out of Des Moines to said destination of new job five states away, could he not have?! I know. I know. This planning was work –– the work of parenting. And Herry loathed it. Herry had always hated all manner of the preparing and of the arranging that it took to help make everyone else’s lives –– ordered! Only his own life was of importance enough to warrant any such of his own labors and time. And in that own life of his, he so wanted, too, to make damned, friggin’ certain that I was fucked. If Dr. Herod Edinsmaier, Pillar, personally saw all of my Boys out of town, then he personally saw to it, also, that I, at my end, was indeed mother – fucked in possibly –– at all –– trying to stop him from doing so. Despite the irony that there is in all of the weeks and weeks and weeks of preparing and of arranging that it must’ve taken Herry Edinsmaier to keep so secret his impending plans for his own life, still so great was Herry’s neediness to know the Pussy, Legion True, was completely fucked that this is the only explanation which I can come up with as to why Herry Edinsmaier committed this slash – and – burn on Mirzah Truemaier’s so – prized loyalty to his friends. It never should have happened.
* * * *
My life was and wasn’t fucked. Herry would have, I am thinking, been disappointed to know. To know that he had not quite finished the task of that. I did commence rocking again; that I did do. And it was, once more, so cold, … November now; and as in previous years, I did not start the furnace’s pilot light to even begin to be able to turn on the heat source. That alone would save me $15 a month, just its pilot light unlit. It was back to 2 percent milk, baked potatoes with butter for main and only course and bananas with sprinkled sugar crystals on top for dessert. Sometimes a certain molar acted up in the upper right. Sometimes to the point, in fact, of forming an eruption which I could not only palpate in my cheek from the outside but could also visualize it enough orally in order to be able to actually drain its pus on the buccal aspect of the mucosa and reduce it completely. Till –– of course –– the next time the abscess ballooned out.