07 June 2007

Imagine a boot, stomping on a human face - Forever

Graphic 'Primal Scream' by Eric Drooker

These events took place a good few months ago but I just re-discovered this account I wrote after one of the players told me about it. Not sure what the point of sharing it is. Just so we are a bit more aware of some people's reality, I suppose...

Sunday. A 40-year-old single dad of an eleven -year old girl returns home. In front of his apartment complex are a group of three thugs who were evicted months ago but still hang out. He normally ignores them and steps around them but tonight he politely asks them to move out of their way,
‘Ask nicely.’ One of them says. He obliges, he doesn’t want trouble he just wants to get home. ’Please can we get buy.’ ‘I didn’t like the way you asked.’ Next thing he knows it, he is waking up on the cold hard pavement. He was whacked over the back of his head. While unconscious, the thugs stamped on his head and back. His daughter tried to fight them off. A frail old lady across the street intervened and told the thugs she was calling the cops and paramedics. Eventually, they stopped stamping. He was out cold for ten minutes. After awhile he stumbles up and goes, inside his apartment. The paramedics arrive soon after. Out of his mind and confused he refuses their help and they leave. The old lady convinces the paramedics to go back and take a look at him. They agree but say he has to meet them outside. Afraid to go outside, he grabs his gun. Seeing all the flashing lights, he thinks it is the ambulance but it is the police. They quickly apprehend him, as he is pretty much blind and crippled at this point. He then takes a second beating off, this time from the police. They find out he is licensed to carry his weapon but are still keen to charge him. ‘Menacing’ seems fitting. He is cuffed and carted off to jail without medical attention. The old lady offers to look after his daughter. The cops refuse. The man asks the police to call his daughters godparents to pick her up, the cops again refuse. His daughter is placed in protective custody. Now, he has to prove he is a competent parent before getting her back. Apparently, they think he is a gang-banger. Really, he is an awkward goofy middle-aged man, with a lame sense of humor. His glasses are too thick. He wears his pants too high. He has a DUI on his record from years ago, nothing else. He is a single dad, trying to raise a young girl. Later on, he will make jokes about the police thinking he is a gang-banger. No one will laugh. In jail, the police soon realize they can’t really hold him and decide to release him. By now it is about midnight. He asks them, how he is supposed to get home, given that he can’t see. They eventually let him call his little girl’s godparents. There is no one else to call. They pick him up and take him to the ER. Next day the doctors want to hold him but he can’t stop worrying about his daughter. He has to get her back. The doctors say he has to sign some papers, as if he dies they don’t want to be responsible. He does. Back at his daughter’s godparents’ house, he can’t stop saying his daughter’s name. He wants to sleep. They worry he won’t wake up. They go to Juvenile Detention Hall to find out where is daughter is. She is in emergency foster care. They will go before a judge the next day and he will have to prove he is a competent parent because of the police’s decision. Meanwhile, child welfare caseworkers are already investigating and asking the little girl’s teachers what they know. The teachers talk of a caring involved parent. They say he punishes his daughter by making her write sentences. Multnomah County has no case against this man and the judge will realize that very quickly the following day, as the father sits there, his back bruised purple, eyes swollen shut, brain rattled, possibly permanently. He goes to the pharmacy to get his prescription filled. Uninsured he can’t afford both the antibiotics and the painkillers. He chooses the painkillers. The pharmacist says, ‘Both or none. We can’t give you just one.’ He replies, ‘You mean, you get to decide for me, what I get to take?’ Eventually, a doctor prescribes him a cheaper antibiotic. While, he scrambles around making his house look presentable to the Child Welfare Workers, the same thugs who kicked his ass, sit on the same steps they did when he had returned home the previous night.