Chapter 1: Two Criminals

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I don't need to get into the emotional, psychological, or academic rationalizations. The best way at this point is to state it point blank and ask you to trust me on this one. If you choose not to, that's all right too.

My parents-both of them-were criminals. I don't mean "criminal" "evil" child abusers and the interplay between that trauma and my own psychological defenses. I mean in the most pristine un-encumbered definition. They were criminals. You'll see.

As for me, for the last year I've been plagued with a cognitive dissonance that has frozen my realty. It's there I feel it. I feel the creativity and the feelings but they are suspended. Suspended until this realization and all it's tentacles, work their way through my nervous system, my blood stream, my consciousness. Until the childhood schema — the idea that they were worthy of sympathy — not a negation of their actions but rather a rationalization — a childish non-analytical — unreasonable even-means to understand how I could love not one but two monsters.

Monsters and all their accomplices.

***

The light outside is promising rays of warm sun. That's early spring in New England for you. Cold, crisp outside but inside Dad's cutlass supreme the spring sunshine spreads warmth refracted through the windshield. Dad's cutlass supreme. Have you ever been inside a 1969 Cutlas Supreme?

Oh man. It's a cool car. I didn't know exactly what cool is but even a novice like myself recognized this new man my father had become. It's cliche now because I've written it so often...aviator glasses, side burns, dress shirt replaced by silk. Silk that clung to him...he'd acquired a handsomeness but he still had what mom called, nana's butt and chin. Evidence for genetics I suppose but even back then I could have told you they were mother and son...both cold and sociopathic with what appeared for no reason and to lack reason for such And what of me? I'd like to think I wasn't a psychopath like my parents...hard to believe that two such criminals could — I mean genetically speaking create a child with empathy. Correction. Three children. These two criminals created three children with empathy. Epigenetics? Hard to say, there wasn't much of a home life, more a cess pool I'd say.

Oh go ahead and judge — this is your time to judge. You don't know the whole story. You're eating your popcorn, at a regular pace I'm sure. There's not visible effect on your tempo or timing. There's no punctuation, it's one popped kernel after another. But you'll see. You'll see.

The car — let's stay with that for a moment. I'll let you know I've spent many many years — indeed all of my years? Likely. I've spent them all looking for truth. Mistake. Big mistake. I should have followed the lie (s). That's what I'd heard a journalist say. When I want to get to the bottom of things, I follow the lie.

I could chart it, all of the lies. Veins like an ant farm or botanical illustration. Yes the lies hold us below the surface of the earth. secure. As rotten as they were, they had strong roots. For my mother it was a tangled, chaotic system below the ground. They were wires crossed — neurons and connections or even some sort of adaptation, with the roots damaged in places and tangled in others. Yes, a living tree. Yes DNA...but really lacking.

Wait is that right? Yes I question because you'll see my old myths emerge, rising to the surface just slowly enough that you won't notice. No. Belief was that they were ill, to be pitied — they both were to be forgiven, nurtured, loved, and excused. They were both to be defended and my face — the mirror they most often consulted showed nothing but adoration — But, neither of my parents had use for children over 11 so my power of absolution lost potency. Still I was useful as a scapegoat and other things too.

The car, we are sitting in Mammoth Mart Parking lot. Both of us in the cutlas supreme. The car seemed to have a raised rear, just a little. Like one of the barmaids where he worked with on weekends — my dad the chemist. My dad the bartender. Yes they'd hold their bottoms just like that, a nod to the days of burlesque or even ballet. Some evolutionary mating signal.

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