Cathy Eats Her Words

November 28, 2007

Day Fourteen

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Novel — jeanne @ 6:42 pm

Then it was Cathy’s turn again. Richard called her up, apoplectic. ‘Come and get your child,” he spat into the phone.

“What’s she done now?”

“She and her hillbilly fuckstain boyfriend absconded to the beach for the weekend, on my money, leaving me here to fix her computer for thirty-six hours straight, and costing me well over $350, and when I asked for a simple favor, they blew me off. I’ve had enough of this blatant disrespect.”

Cathy felt exasperated already. “And what kind of simple favor was this?”

He sighed. “I only asked them to stop on the way into town and pick up a few groceries so that Star would have something to eat the next day. That’s all. Dickhead was apparently all tuckered out from a rough day of self-indulgence, and couldn’t be bothered. Maybe he couldn’t wait to get rid of her.”

Cathy was giving Scootie a flea bath. The little dog stood in the bathroom sink, resigned, waiting for the moment Cathy would let go of her. She gave every indication that she would immediately jump off the counter, but Cathy wasn’t fooled. Scootie couldn’t jump down from that height, and would instead cower at the edge, shivering with the cold, until Cathy grabbed her again and put one body part at a time under the warm running water. She listened, barely, with the phone jammed on her shoulder. Scootie took up most of her attention, and Richard sounded more whiny than incensed. Maybe he’d already medicated himself past caring, and was just spouting a speech prepared when he was more upset. He didn’t sound upset. He sounded weary.

“That ignorant scumbag has proved that he has no interest in being a member of the team. And when I think that he has taken her to zero meetings since she’s been out of rehab, and encouraged her to lie about it.”

Cathy measured out some foul-smelling flea shampoo into her hands sand smeared it over Scootie’s back. The dog looked at her with pleading eyes. “I know, I know,” she soothed. Scootie thought No, you don’t know. You’ve never had that stuff in your eyes. You’ve never had to lick it off your fur. You’re a mean, heartless person, and I don’t like you.

“Add to that the dishonesty of taking money that was given to them for two days at the beach,” Richard continued. “Seeing that there was money left over, they chose to take a third day without asking permission, rather than returning on schedule as agreed, and giving me back the unspent money. Me, the owner of said money.”

“Mmmm, poor baby,” Cathy muttered, wondering if maybe Richard would think she was commiserating with him.

“This proves to me that this fuckface piece of shit hasn’t changed one bit. The moment Star moves off to Meth County with this scumbag, the moment she finishes probation, he’s going to lock in her dependence on him by feeding her lots more addictive drugs, and maybe even finally killing her.”

Scootie finally made a lunge for the edge of the sink. Cathy grabbed her back. She was slippery, and kept struggling. “Oh, come on,” she told the dog. Taking in what Richard was saying, she said, “You don’t think he’s going to get her addicted on purpose just so he can control her. That’s just too malevolent for a kid his age.”

But he did think just that. “I can’t be a part of it. It’s killing me to stand by and watch it happen.”

Cathy began the laborious process of rinsing her dog, sticking each little part under the water and rubbing the soap out of her fur. She resisted strongly any time her head got near the water, and Cathy had to struggle. “Well, what the hell were you thinking when you gave them money to go to the beach?”

She could hear him pull himself up. “I was under the impression that it might be okay for her to date that zit-faced piece of crap, because sometimes it seems like his heart is in the right place. But it has become eminently clear to me that not only is it not okay, but it is rather something to worry about.”

Cathy thought of all the supportive things Spike said when she was in rehab. Scootie continued to struggle, and finally Cathy gently pulled her entire head under the water. The dog acted like she was being drowned, and Cathy had to suppress a giggle. “Silly, you’re okay.” The dog responded, I should report you. Canine abuse! Murder! Oh, the stinging! There’s soap in my eyes! There’s water in my eyes! And up my nose! And you got some in my ears! I’m going to get an infection! She sneezed. “Poor baby,” Cathy responded, washing the soap from her neck fur.

To Richard she said, “Look, I know he’s not the lawyer we imagined her marrying, but he’s snot a bad kid. I think he’s been a good influence on her while she’s been in trouble with the law and in rehab. He’s encouraged her progress. I remember your story about Spike giving Star the drug test and yelling at her about jeopardizing everything they’d been working toward. Doesn’t that count for something?”

“It most certainly does not. That was just a smokescreen, something he did in order to get her back under his control, and out of ours.” Cathy dunked the dog again, and noticed that she’d started shivering. Fright or cold? She barely listened. “His encouragement of her missing meetings in favor of some good time or other is genuinely frightening, because both you and I know that these meetings are all that stand between her and relapse. His lack of support for getting her to these meetings tells me all I need to know about how their life will be together.”

Cathy capped the flea shampoo and reached for the baby shampoo, for that deep clean that leaves you feeling fresh. Any smell is better than flea soap. Scootie disagreed. “You know, that’s not going to be our problem when they get married. They’ll both learn, just like every young couple does, that life is made up of screaming babies and overdue bills, and they’ll just fucking grow up, won’t they?”

He paused to hyperventilate. “Not only do I not approve of her marrying him, but I will not dignify such a ceremony with my presence. I am ashamed to tell my own family about this turn of events. I do not approve of having this baby, and wish with all my heart that she would change her mind about keeping it while there is still time.”

Scootie struggled mightily, hoping that her slippery coat might hasten her escape. Cathy held on tight and soaped her up, winding her tail around her finger as she thought of what to say to Richard. “This is your daughter you’re talking about. I know you wish she could stay your little girl, but she’s going to grow up. And that means she’s going to make mistakes. Maybe you should look at it this way – she’s making all her big mistakes early, and life can only get better from here.”

He laughed dryly. “You have a seemingly endless ability to see the bright side of things. Well, I don’t. But I don’t care as much as it sounds. The child is dead to me. You may care, however, and maybe you can talk some sense into her. I’m done trying.” Cathy zoned out as he continued to rant. He got so stiff and formal when he was upset. He sounded like he was reading from a script. She could only listen so long, no matter how hard she tried to concentrate. “From influencing her to quit school, to the drugs, to the baby, I have seen this man do nothing but limit her options in life, right from the very beginning and continuing to this day. He has worked to alienate her from her family in every possible way. She can no longer avoid being an illiterate minimum wage slave with no future, living in a trailer park unless his family shits him another house.”

“Why do you blame him?” Cathy stuck the dog under the tap and started soothing the soap off her back. “She’s a big girl. She quit school herself, she got into drugs herself, she got pregnant herself. Okay, it takes two, but she’s the one who wasn’t using contraceptives. You should put more of the blame on her. In fact, I think she’s taking after her father more than following orders from her boyfriend.”

He overlooked that statement. He was on a roll. “Who flashed around the coke money to attract a robbery by one of his own customers? Who made sure that his home became a known drug location, and known to the police, not just in his own but in three surrounding towns, which ultimately led to felony charges for them both? Who has worked nonstop to damage her relationship with her family? Huh? And where was he when she was in jail and needed to be bonded out? Was there ever a hint from him that she was doing too many drugs? Or did he get the drugs for her, to increases her dependency on him? Where was he when she needed a ton of money to get help with the problems he created? Was he out raising money to help? Was he planning to help at all?” He was screeching.

“You’re beginning to scare me.” Cathy turned Scootie around and stuck her head under the tap again.

“She’s totally turned her back on us at the word of that pig. We are the only people who were there to love her and pick her up and set things right from her very firsts booboo, all the way up to getting her into a good rehab for help with her coke habit.”

Cathy turned the water off and stepped away to grab a towel. Scootie crept to the edge of the counter and turned to look at her with big, beseeching eyes. Have you had enough fun torturing me now? What do you think you’re going to do with that towel? Noooo! “Every time you have anything to do with her you give her a mixed message. ‘Here, go to the beach on my money, you’ve been a bad girl?’ Actually, Richard, I’m beginning to think that you’re the one who needs therapy.”

“I’m angry because I feel that I spent eighteen years s of my life and God only knows how much money so she can marry someone whose biggest aspiration is to be a bail bondsman and bounty hunter, besides clearly being one of the most dishonest people I know, and his established lack of desire to be a team player. He will relapse, and he’ll take Star with him. I see no good at all in their future together. Her slavish obedience to him reminds me a lot of Charlie Manson and his gang of girls.”

Scootie lunged out of her grasp and sprang to the floor, falling on her face on the wet tiles. “Oh you idiot,” she said, bending down to scoop her up into the towel. “He’s just a kid, for God’s sake. They’re both just kids. They’ll grow up.”

“Don’t you believe it. Beneath that ignorant hillbilly veneer, Spike is the same drug-dealing thug he always was – just without the drugs – for now. If you believe him, since no one has been testing him. I find it hard to believe. Star is marrying her former coke dealer. The boy’s a drug dealer, and a heavy user, and has consistently refused treatment for his coke habit. And this indicates an eighty percent recidivism rate, I’ll remind you. Ninety-three percent for meth, if God forbid they’ve gotten into that.”

Cathy sat on the toilet seat, towel drying Scootie, who continued casting miserable glances at her. “What makes you think they’d be into meth?”

“It’s easier to get. And if we know nothing else about them both, we know that they always take the easy path. The path to hell,” he said bitterly. “They were arrested with thirteen guns, did you know that?”

“No.” Thirteen? Wow.

“A MAC-10 was one of them. It’s a machine gun. And they had an eighth ounce of coke on them. That’s a lot.”

“Star said there was hardly any coke in the bag.”

“Hah. An eighth was a week’s supply back when I was having a problem with it. And expensive? You don’t want to know. Spike happened to have let slip that they used that much every day, and had just sold off the bulk of the coke they had in the house the day before they were arrested. I could go on.”

“Oh, please don’t. Look, I’ve got to go now. Scootie needs attention.”

He went on like he didn’t hear her. “The biggest favor she can do herself and her family is to get that man out of our lives in a clear and convincing way. Then she can get back to rebuilding her options and have a chance at a normal life. If, on the other hand, she insists on destroying her life, please tell her not to look to me for approval of – or financing of – life-choices that I consider remarkably bad judgment at a minimum.”

“As you should.” Scootie was mostly dry on the surface, but was now shivering violently in Cathy’s lap. She put the dog down, and Scootie immediately ran around the room, pawing and leaping as if she’d been kept captive and was suddenly free.

“She turned her back on her family at the word of her ex-coke dealer boyfriend and future wife beater. I find this unforgivable, and while it saddens me, I will not back down like I always do. I have the right to think that all of her plans are a terrible idea, and that her boyfriend is still a scumbag, despite lip service to the contrary, and have the right – indeed the obligation – as a parent to say so.”

Cathy assumed that the unforgivable thing still referred to Spike’s not getting the groceries. How childish her ex could be. “So, do you want me down there this afternoon to get her and her things, then?”

He hesitated. “Well, she’s sleeping. I’d call tomorrow and see if I haven’t decided to give her one more chance.”

Scootie clawed at the door until the latch opened, and ran out of the room, wet pawprints scattering thru the door and into the hall. “Yeah. Okay. Whatever. Just keep me informed.” Tho she didn’t really want to be.

go to tomorrow’s writing

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1 Comment »

  1. […] go to tomorrow’s writing Leave a Comment […]

    Pingback by Day Thirteen « Cathy Eats Her Words — October 12, 2009 @ 3:00 pm | Reply


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