April 14, 2015: D.J.
Human skin is amazingly elastic. I nearly twisted a man’s head off of his neck yesterday and his skin didn’t tear.
I’d never really thought about it before. I mean, I watched the little girl’s head spin around in The Exorcist, just like everyone else, but it’s a movie, right? The skin of that little girl’s neck never tore. Neither did this guy’s. Well, at least not until fragments of his smashed skull poked through.
I think I now know how a mother bear feels. She and her cub are wandering through the forest minding their own business when suddenly some hunter or hiker comes between her and her offspring. She has no idea as to that person’s intentions. They look strange or threatening to her so she just does what comes naturally. She protects her cub … and rips the hiker or hunter to shreds.
The bruin’s reactions are instinctive … visceral … as were mine. Somewhere, far into the inner reaches of the human brain, there remain animal reflexes that can be activated by events rarely contemplated in what was modern society. I suspect, over the last several months, we have peeled away several layers of civilization that softened and slowed those reflexes. Today, as demonstrated by my recent actions, those reflexes now rest much closer to the surface of our being … sharpened and coiled, ready to strike in a flash like a snake.
I’m rambling again. Freaking Alzheimer’s.
D.J.’s OK. Although, he’ll probably never look at his old man the same way again. Another great big chunk of innocence lost in this nasty new normal. No kid should have to watch their dad kill another man.
Let me re-phrase … D.J. is physically unharmed. There’s no way he’s OK … probably won’t be for a long time, maybe never.
I’m ready to swear like a drunken sailor with Tourette’s but I’ll spare you having to read it.
D.J. and I got back about four hours ago but I’m still pretty high on adrenaline. He’s resting. Thank God.
You know, there were a couple situations, back in the old normal, where I gave some consideration to what I would do if any harm came to D.J. Strangely enough, this all played out pretty closely to what I imagined … maybe because I had given it some consideration. I can only imagine if I’d done this back in “polite” society. Most likely, I’d be sitting in jail awaiting a murder trial.
That’s how screwed up our society got before it crashed. A kid was kidnapped. The dad located the kidnapper in a nearby home and killed him. The dad was put on trial for murder. I can’t recall now whether or not the dad was acquitted but I think he shot the kidnapper from outside of the home where his child was being held. The prosecutor wanted to string him up as a result.
Man, I’d probably fry if the old legal system was still in place. I can hear the media going on about the dirt bag that I killed now …
“He was just starting to turn his life around ….”
“He was a good guy. The circumstances just pushed him over the edge. He couldn’t help himself.”
I’m going to put down my pencil and go take a few deep breaths. I keep breaking the lead.
OK, I’m a little calmer now. I went for a run. The cool air of the spring evening helped clear my head.
This was an ugly thing.
True to form, D.J. apologized for going back alone to the location where he’d spotted the trash. We’ve had a rule from the beginning that no one goes anywhere alone. I broke the rule too. I went after him alone. Neither one of us was thinking clearly. D.J. was focused on satisfying his curiosity and I was focused on doing something … anything to find him.
We’ll never know if things would have turned out differently if D.J. and I had both followed the rules. He may still have been kidnapped if he’d taken Janelle with him and we might never have gotten him back if I had waited for someone else to get up, get dressed and go with me.
None of that really has anything to do with the new normal. Kidnapping has been around for thousands of years. Rules have been around … probably as long as kidnapping – maybe longer.
Rules were made to be broken.
The key is … knowing when to break the rules and when to follow the rules … and recognizing that breaking the rules will most likely bring consequences. There is absolutely no way that a set of rules could be drafted that would address every potential scenario. However, if one chooses to break the rules, one should face the fact, in advance, that one may have to suffer as a result.
In the back of my mind, I knew that going after D.J. alone might get me killed. Deeper still in the recesses of my brain, I also knew that we both might end up dead as a result of my decision. That knowledge was buried deeply under my desire to find my son.
Right or wrong? I don’t know. All’s well that ends well, I guess.
I’m not going to go into all the details of what happened. Suffice to say, I found D.J. and his kidnapper in the house to the south – where I suspected they would be – and … remedied the situation … reflexively.
The only silver lining that I can think of … we now have an early-80’s Toyota pickup that runs on propane.