Category Archives: dysfunctional

The Father Ghost of Jane Snitly by Matt Carlson

She had never really considered it. It was something that she’d just decided to do. One day Jane Snitly bought the auburn hair coloring treatment, went home, read the instructions on the box, locked herself up in the bathroom and one hour later it was done. She’d become a redhead at twenty.

On top of it all, she looked good as a redhead. It wasn’t the flashy bright red of some, but more classy, like Katherine Hepburn in the 50’s and 60’s. And so it was, she’d chosen this look seemingly out of the blue – thinking it gave her an aura of the beautiful actress. And yet, even while she looked at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t ignore the pressing images that assaulted her there…

It was a gorgeous Buick of light blue sitting outside on the street under the front yard maple tree  – to keep under the shade. It was a hot summer day in the valley. There’d been a woman sitting in the passenger seat. She was very pretty, quite well dressed and she’d come with her Dad who was now in the house. He was having a conversation with Jane and Jenny’s Mother. The two little blond girls were 9 and 12, Jane was the youngest; Jenny the oldest. The two little girls were intrigued with the woman but didn’t dare speak to her. They’d been playing jacks in the driveway.

Blue curling up smoke from the woman’s cigarette went into the tree itself – seemingly dancing with the leaves – and Jane wondered who she was: this silent friend of her Father’s. Jenny felt it too and the girls left long lingering looks in her direction while halfheartedly spinning and catching. Voices were suddenly raised within the house and Jane and Jenny knew what that meant: another argument between their Mother and Father. They’d known something was up as their Father had ordered them to ‘stay outside and play’ upon his arrival and that he’d ‘wanted to speak to their Mother alone.’ Hearing those words had created a stir in their young bellies, but they had no clue as to why.

The wailing coming from within was low at first: a kind of moaning. Was that human? They both wondered while looking simultaneously at the house where their Father was now exiting. He didn’t say anything to them except that he loved them and would talk to them soon.

Jenny being older asked,”Daddy, where are you going? Why is Mamma crying like that?” She asked while chewing on her fingernail. Her Father stopped and seemed to reconsider something. The woman in the car was watching intently.

“Honey, Daddy is going to go and live somewhere else for a while…. but I’ll come back soon and we’ll do something fun, okay?” This was a lie, of course yet he wanted to give them a warm fuzzy of some kind. A lie was better than nothing. And perhaps he’d made himself believe that his words were true. Jenny didn’t say anything and he got into the car and started up the engine.

The wailing from within the house went up a notch and Jane suddenly found herself standing in front of the running engine, standing in front of the car where her Father sat with a strange & beautiful woman. Jane knew what it all meant. He was leaving. Leaving their Mother; leaving them. Leaving with the woman with auburn hair. Her Father stepped out of the car and asked, “What is it Janie?” But a paralysis overtook the little girl and no words would come. “Honey?… Okay, I’ve gotta go now sweetie – move out of the way.” And just like that she did what was asked of her. Her Father drove away. The woman gave her a sad smile and a slight wave of a manicured hand.

“Don’t go Daddy,” she whispered as the car drove out of sight. She’d forgotten to breath for a moment and felt slightly dizzy. Jenny had run inside to see her Mother. Janie stood there for a long time. Watching, waiting, trying to figure out what had just happened. Her tears and the low moaning were suddenly hers. Her Father had left her. Had left her Mom and sister. Only a Father Ghost would remain now….

**** Explanatory Note:

Almost sixty years later, Jane Snitly (her name has been changed to protect her identity) would die of Emphysema at the age of 68. According to a certain psychiatrist, she chose this hair color because unconsciously she chose to be the woman that her Father left with. That means she wanted to be the woman he chose to be with. (To be the woman that her Father loved). At the same time, she also chose to be the Mother that her Father left. The woman scorned and angry. Probably too,  that both of these identities  co-existed subconsciously within.

That being the case,  the two inner personalities or roles were at constant battle with one another; that the Mistress hated the Mother and that the Mother within hated the Mistress…The Father reassures and helps in developing a sense of identity to children in a family. When a Father abandons his children or is absent, the child will constantly search out that Father image – an image that he or she needs in order to construct their identity. The child (and later on adult) will do this subconsciously, of course and unknowingly will set up repetitive failures with people, people that the unconscious mind will perceive as a potential Father image. This is called the Father Ghost. Many of us have a Father Ghost, though we don’t realize it. He hoovers there constantly and is played out within the people around us, especially family members or other potential father-type images. Because it failed with their own father’s, and is an unconscious functioning, it will fail time and time again. No matter if you are a perfect Father figure, the scorned child will find fault with you somehow. Until the child becomes consciously aware of what is happening (and learns to make a conscious effort to change) he or she will continue to destroy potential Father figures. It is something imprinted within and a vicious circle…Some people will find other ways of creating identity with the pathology of the Father Ghost haunting them. Some will choose to work in psychology, health services and even religion…Anything that will give them a strong sense of belonging and reassurance…

*** ‘A noted sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, is one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood. “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home,” he says. “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”  Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their children. It is important for professionals working with fathers— especially in the difficult, emotionally charged arena in which child protective services (CPS) caseworkers operate—to have a working understanding of the literature that addresses this impact.

Such knowledge will help make the case for why the most effective CPS case plans will involve fathers. This chapter lays out the connection between fathers and child outcomes, including cognitive ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behavior. The chapter also underscores the impact of the father and mother’s relationship on the well-being of their children….

THE IMPACT OF THE MOTHER-FATHER RELATIONSHIP ON CHILD OUTCOMES One of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children. A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother. Indeed, the quality of the relationship affects the parenting behavior of both parents. They are more responsive, affectionate, and confident with their infants; more self-controlled in dealing with defiant toddlers; and better confidants for teenagers seeking advice and emotional support. One of the most important benefits of a positive relationship between mother and father, and a benefit directly related to the objectives of the CPS caseworker, is the behavior it models for children.

Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships. In contrast, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., “the silent treatment”) are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON COGNITIVE ABILITY AND EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQ’s, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities.Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness. They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers.

The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. For instance, a 2001 U.S. Department of Education study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.13 Infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers (e.g., babies whose fathers respond quickly to their cries and who The Link Between Marriage and Fatherhood Caring, involved fathers exist outside of marriage. They are more likely, however, to be found in the context of marriage. There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which being the legal and social norms associated with marriage that connect a father to the family unit. That may also explain, in part, why research consistently shows that the married mother-and-father family is a better environment for raising children than the cohabitating (living together) mother-and-father family.

It is interesting to note that, contrary to stereotypes about low-income, unmarried parents, a significant majority—more than 8 in 10—of urban, low-income fathers and mothers are in a romantic relationship when their children are born.

Most of these couples expect that they will get married. One study found that more than 80 percent expected they would get married or live together. However, only 11 percent of these couples had actually married a year later.

Why they do not marry is an interesting question open to conjecture. However, as Dr. Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pointed out, it may be because these couples receive very little encouragement to marry from the health and social services professionals with whom they come in contact.

Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-being play together) are more securely attached; that is, they can explore their environment comfortably when a parent is nearby and can readily accept comfort from their parent after a brief separation. A number of studies suggest they also are more sociable and popular with other children throughout early childhood.

The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development. Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Roughhousing with dad, for example, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.19 Generally speaking, fathers also tend to promote independence and an orientation to the outside world. Fathers often push achievement while mothers stress nurturing, both of which are important to healthy development. As a result, children who grow up with involved fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them and more likely to exhibit self control and pro-social behavior.

One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self esteem.

In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior. In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of children. A caseworker who understands the important contributions fathers make to their children’s development and how to effectively involve fathers in the case planning process will find additional and valuable allies in the mission to create a permanent and safe environment for children.’


The Closet Door by Joanie


The Closet Door by Joanie

‘Oh no! God – not another test-haven’t I had enough already? Oh well, I take a deep breath, shoulders back, pull up my boots and march forward!!! Let’s get on with it and over with…

I remember so many things  but I’m always saying, ” I can’t remember that”, “When did that happen?”…”Who was there?”, “How old was I?” So I’ve forgotten a lot of things, but oh! What I can remember…

Mother: shiny blue long evening dress, that special sweet good smell, loving arms, her smile, her reassurance and her giving… Her unconditional love and patience… Her utter belief in me. I will miss you and take you with me all the rest of my life; my best friend.

She doesn’t hear me very often anymore, she doesn’t even see me… Not even when I sit right in front of her and call her, “Mom, it’s me your daughter, Joanie… I love you.” Sometimes a soft, “I love you too, honey” ; maybe a little smile will follow.

Sometimes I want to shake her and say, “Hear me! I need you! Be there for me again,” but I don’t….and she won’t be there for me again.

Just before she really went away, she did hear me and I didn’t even say anything. She she just started telling me that we had to accept the things life sent us and that she didn’t like it anymore than I did, but we had to keep going…

Even though I know she’ll never truly be herself ever again, every time I go to see her, there is a little hope that whispers to me, “maybe today…”

Aw, but she’s free from this veil of tears – I hope- sometimes a smile hovers on her face and I make myself believe wherever she is, she’s happy now.

She shared her first loss with me and my sister, when Daddy went away. There was a redhead (strange that I used to color my hair auburn) he became enameled with and I remember my sister and I watching him the day he left – packing his clothes. We begged and begged him not to go. But still, there he was driving out the driveway…. And suddenly I dashed out in front of the car. He stopped and said, “What’s the matter Joan?” All I could do was cover my eyes and run back in the house.

Could I have ever done that to one of my children? No! No! Afterward I blamed myself for not asking him to stay with us.

Mom cried for months it seemed, then went to work selling yardage or dresses or something like that. We had become ‘latch key kids’. Nothing worse than a silent, dark house when you came home from school. When Mom was a bit sick and stayed home from work – oh the joy of coming home finding her there! Even the house smelled better.

I never forgave my Father, I know. Although, when I was going to get married I tried to find him through my aunt. He finally contacted my sister – not me….my sister.

But I got even when I was pregnant. Once he called from the bus station- but I didn’t want to see him so my husband went down and talked to him. So who got even with who? He did spend some time with my sister and her family but I just couldn’t or wouldn’t go there then.

Then came the time when he drank so much even my sister wouldn’t let him come into her house….and then he punishes us all and took his own life. In a dingy little apartment he hung himself on the closet door. He left an inheritance for my sister and I: 800 dollars partly hidden in some dirty clothes and partly in a pair of bedroom slippers on a closet shelf. The rest of his legacy is a feeling of horror for what he did, partly for an old drunk, regret and a loss that can never be found ever again.


Paris Times (N°10) The Borderline Nest by Matthew Carlson


Jie Jie (rymes with fly) Solla Bina and her “paralyzed” son “O”, were doing nothing in particular that day at Terre de Poux (the Land of Head Lice), the village she called home. They had eaten their BIO (health food lunch) of egg plant and tomatoes farcies (stuffed tomatoes) and fresh bread without glutten. She had made the bread herself and was pleased too of the current state of her affairs.

Her son had moved back home to Terre de Poux and that was a good thing. Now she had both of her grown sons with her and even her grand sons all living in the same place. With her eldest son and his (ughh!) English wife Deena (she looked like a blond Sarah Palin and wasn’t much brighter) Famous for her comment of : “I can see Russia from my back yard!” wouldn’t have made Deena laugh. She was an English woman who had a complex about being English, and had moved to France to be different in the eyes of all who knew her. Jie Jie detested her but had daily contact with her;  it couldn’t be helped. Her son needed pussy and he got it from her. Too bad kids were the final outcome, she could have really done without being called Grandma.

Though Jie Jie didn’t realize it she suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. She like her son, whom she had passed it on to thanks to her constant non validation of his emotional and early psychosexual development, were now using their twisted vision of the world to thwart “O”‘s ex.

They had no empathy towards anyone, had no idea what that meant. It was all about filling that forever empty void inside themselves. The word “integrity” had no meaning either as integrity was a by product of healthy emotional and psychosexual development. Since neither had ever experienced that development, the word integrity meant nothing.

They were very much alike in their respective personalites and in their profound dislike of one another, there was still some kind of connection and a great deal of complicity as they shared a similar vision of the world. Years ago, Jie Jie had tried to will away the newly attached fetus from her insides to no avail. The damn thing had to be born…It had happened so soon after the early (happy loss) of a second son, but when she fell pregnant again there was nothing else to do. She gave in to having O; she had had no choice.

Adding to the complexity of the situation  was in her own unresolved past childhood where her Mother hardly raised her, had never truly loved her. Lacking any mothering tendencies, her own Mother, a bitchy self loathing bitter woman,  had always managed (with very little money) ways of keeping young Jie Jie in all girl schools away from home. Her Father was an alcoholic, a depressed man, capable of violence without any apparent cause. He would at times just stare at her like some kind of strange household object that someone had dropped off by mistake.

Jie Jie felt abandoned her entire life and needed incessant validation from anyone who could give it to her. The constant invalidating of her own emotions, forced her to alter those emotions, forced her brain to take charge of them. She became an experienced manipulator, a kind of copycat of anything that might bring her more self esteem. A mask of what she was not. Inside it was like a devouring monster, constantly needing to be fed. No matter the consequences for others’, as long as she got what she wanted. But her appetite was never ending. It grew as she got older.

O was in his forties, a good twenty years younger than Jie Jie. The difference from her was that he knew he suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. At least three psychiatrists had diagnosed him. He had,  like so many other people with BPD followed therapy, but in his need to conquer and manipulate his therapists, well, it never worked out. In the beginnig it would usually be “Wow, such a terrific therapist” but when (or IF that happened – not all therapists understood the manipulative power of people with BPD) it would become the devaluating of him of that therapist: “She’s so stupid and never says much… or if she does it’s just like two words. I’m smarter than she is…”

O was at THE major crossroads in his life. But unfortunately didn’t really completely get that. Even now as he suffered due to terrible back surgery following the diagnosis of The Horse Tail’s Syndrome. All of his nerves from the belt below were being pressed upon by discs in his back that had slide down. They pushed onto this zone where so many internal messages are sent. For months, he felt little downstairs and had learned what it was like to wear diapers as an adult. Hard on’s were something of the past.

The usual stress and unbearable panic related to his recent break up with Gelledge, had already and for years been going directly to his back. Think a thought, get some stress, it would sink down there to his back. Nothing would come out of his mouth, he could’n’t get the damn words out. Those months of talking about non-violent communication and even doing work shops, had been no good to him. He could imitate the information like a parrot (his Mother was exactly the same) but could in no way apply it. Tools of emotional stability were necessary, tools that are developed through healthy emotional development, cognitive differentiation. You cannot build something on air.

O had assumed that changing jobs from being a graphic designer to a hynotherapist was the answer to his inner demons. It had helped him in many ways, but like his Mother he had no self love. You couldn’t find, learn to give and recieve love through a hypnotic tape. He didn’t know what love was. And he hated his Mother for that on some level, though he couldn’t remember all of the emotional stunting that she had done to him.

The constant lying and manipulation had started so young, too the regular trips to the public restrooms where he got off on old men sucking him off. It was a sexual release but also an emotional one. A narcissistic one. A kind of emotion validating of his immense and ever growing narcissisme. No one else mattered as long as his beast inside could be fed too.

The sequestering of his and Gelledge’s two black & brown York Shire’s Fing and Fong had seemed right somehow. After all, Gelledge had brought them over to the front gates of  Tete de Poux at his Mother’s, given to O, the day before his accident. Returning after the hospital, though O had hardly seen them much for months, but was elated to see them. They were a bit reticent however, their first person or caretaker was Gelledge, not O. The transition was not a smooth one.

O had once again manipulated slowly so as things were not obvious. But from day one, he had decided (with lots of perverted discussions with his Mother and brother) that he would somehow take everything away from Gelledge. The dogs, the house, everything that mattered to Gelledge. O’s jealousy too had finally begun expressing itself. Gelledge had everything that he did not, was everything that he was not.

Gelledge had left for the summer to work in Italy. It was for this reason he had left the dogs with O. But then Gelledge had stolen money from O! Well, it wasn’t really a theft mind you, he had only transferred money from one account to another in order to pay bills. Bills that were in O’s name – though shared all of their bills together. And true part of the money really did belong to Gelledge as he had been paying too for that Life Insurance Policy where he was the beneficiary. But still, it felt like a robbery to O! Being Borderline, nothing could be in the middle – it had to be black or white! He lamented loudly and regularly to anyone who would listen to his story, to his lies. He had to somehow destroy Gelledge. After all he had abandonned O; he knew too much about how he fonctioned inside; was too much in his head; somehow he had to kill the thing that walked around now in his head.

Lying there on the bed, he heard a rucous and something fall. Jumping up and there was Gelledge running off with Fing and Fong in his arms! His Mother was sprawled out on the wooden porch.

She screamed for her other son Eddie who’s house was on the hill above her own, “Eddie! He’s stolen my dogs!”

O ran pretty fast for someone who was supposed to be paralysed. His canes, throwing them aside with intense anger. “You bastard” he screamed in French. “You stole my money, now you’re stealing my dogs!”

Gelledge sped quickly through the immense field before him, Fing and Fong in his arms. They were actually quite heavy. When O had stopped pursuing them, he knew it was not over. He placed Fing and fong on the ground hoping that the five month forced seperation of his beloved dogs had not broken their connection together and that they would run like the wind and follow him.

“Come on you guys, let’s go!” They understood instantly and ran as fast as Jack Russel’s; they got it that their Gelledge had come to rescue them! They ran and they ran as fast as they could. their persuers not far behind. His car wisely parked on the department road on the bottom of the vast field, so when they reached the edge, Gelledge picked them up in his arms and looked off to the right. Eddie’s old white van was bearing down towards them loudly. The pedal pushed to the floorboards. The two brothers intently watching Gelledge’s movement as he got to the edge of the field and began crossing the road. They breaked suddenly only feet away and O jumped out like a mad man yelling at the top of his voice. There were no signs of any disability as he ran towards Gelledge and the dogs. Gelledge was prepared with his key and in a flash had opened the car door and thrown them inside to safety. He too jumped in & slammed the door closed while locking it. O furiously arriving  just as the door slammed in his face.

O screamed and kicked the door and the window non-stop as Gelledge calmly and with purpose started the car. Gelledge thought the window would break as the force of O’s uncontrollable feet and hands crashed repeatedly against the side of the car. It was crazy – like a scene out of a movie. How could this be O?

“Fuck you Oliver”,  said Gelledge with force. He never once saw the madman’s face, never even bothered to look. It wasn’t about him anyway. Pulling the car out quickly he breathed a sigh of release. The van did not follow them. He looked at the dogs and gave them a reassuring hand. Would they try and locate him through twitter or google? In any case he had already shut off location services. He had come to rescue his dogs from the Borderline Nest at the Tete de Poux,  where they had been kept against their will. Kept away from seeing him. They hadn’t understood as to why they had been kept at Jie Jie’s with O.

Why had Gelledge been gone for so long? The dogs had had no clue. But now, it didn’t matter they were safe once again and in Gelledge’s arms…Lots of kisses and play time to be had together. It was as it should be.

Paris Times (N° 9) Crazy “O” in Provence by Matthew Carlson (fiction)

Sometimes against our better judgement, we get involved with people that are sick, perverted and have no idea of what happiness is. Neither do they want it. then there are people like myself, who do know, and who appreciates beauty and happy moments, can spread the joy to others.

Here is part of a fictional short story (with some fun added in) about a gay couple in Provence!

Enjoy 😉

Paris Times (N° 9) Crazy “O” in Provence (a story of fiction) by Matthew Carlson

“O” was short for Oliver, after the tree. But in french the sound “O” is also “eau” (water) , so a play of words too. O loved visual things, that’s why he had finally settled on graphic design after art school. It was also because it was the only thing he understood. It was a way to live out his emotions, because otherwise there wouldn’t be any expression of them.

Hard times had fallen on O, but he had no one to blame but himself. He had planted the seed of miscontent and made it his M.O. : his way of dealing with everything around him. It had to be conflictual. It was all that he knew. Or conflict with no words at all. The mask. He had learned that from his alcoholic Dad and evil Mother Jie-Jie. She had accidently killed her baby boy fetus just before getting pregnant with O. How could she have known that that giant vibrator would damage her unborn kid? True, she didn’t want to have it, the first one already had been too big! And then before she knew what happened, she got pregnant again. She tried to will it away but it was of no use. O was born during the summer and she felt stuck, sticky and hated being a Mom again.

O had made considerable progress the last few years living with Gelledge. They had bought a house together in a small village in Provence and though the inheritance that was promised from Gelledge’s family never arrived, they did the best they could with what they had. At least the inheritance from O’s deceased Dad had come through. Gelledge had pushed for O to invest together as the money was being spent without any consideration. O didn’t like to count his money, only spend it.They had named the place, Le Pin Pasteque (the watermelon pine tree) after a certain time and were rather good at organizing parties in their countryside ruin of a house. Gelledge had bought a wooden chalet and they put it up together. When O had had the first of his many Borderline Personality attacks, Gelledge had thrown himself into rennovating, adding on two large rooms in wood and getting tendinitus all over his body. He paid for it with over three years of physical therapy. O didn’t seem to notice.

O stood by most of the time, saying nothing and doing almost nothing. He was able to do gardening, since it fit into his conception of visual pleasure and though it would never be Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s beautiful garden, it was okay on some level. The rest of the house, he could do little. There wasn’t enough money, so why even try? Though he did get persuaded to do the kitchen counter with a sink in it. He even had a little fun doing it. But their arguments between the gay couple were often and there never seemed to be any solution. O had absolutely no idea of what a compromise was, being Borderline well, it could only be a black or white answer.

Of course through the early years, Gelledge had no idea he was dealing with someone suffering from BPD (boderline personality disorder) and questioned himself numerously over the years to make sure it wasn’t HIM that was crazy. Upon seeing on Google the profile of someone with BPD, he too a huge sigh of relief. His lover was written all over those pages!

When O had left their home after too much water under the bridge, he said he was going to stay with his Mother. Gelledge never knew if this was the truth as O always lied. Once even during one of his hospitalizations when Gelledge visited, one of his “tricks” was there. Surprise! The guy apparently came regularly to cut O’s hair. That of course was a final straw, but Gelledge was an accepting person and also considered O’s emotional state. He really believed that O could turn himself around and become someone better. And too, O had taken care of him with his HIV woes.

Fast forward into late 2014, O had completely lost it. One week before Gelledge was to leave for a summer job in England, his back gave out suddenly. Strange the timing…The day after Gelledge had left him the dogs for a few days so that they could re-acquaint themselves with him. They hadn’t had any contact for a couple of months.

Laying in the hospital, only morphine could calm the pain. And it felt great. Jie-Jie of course was there, she would take care of him….and the dogs. She was a parasite in life. She always longed for what she didn’t have and with that, would do her best to get what others’ had, no matter the cost. Her son O was born too soon after the accident and besides she never really wanted kids. It was just something you had to do back then. She would have much preferred to be with a woman, her husband wasn’t what she had wanted. But it became something practical.

She had never cared for her son’s lover. Something about him grated on her nerves. She could never figure out what it was, but she knew he had something that she didn’t. So holding on to Fipus and Freedom seemed to be a good choice, though she had said when offered a Jack Russel years before that she preferred French Bulldogs. When they rushed O into the hospital, she didn’t bother to telephone Gelledge though their relationship had been on it’s eleventh year. She didn’t feel like it.

FRESNO TIMES (chapter 6) by Matthew Carlson

It was autumn in the San Juaquin Valley with the usual dead, wet leaves of yellow, orange and brown on sidewalks. On the roads, in the gutters too. Sometimes on car roof tops. Leaves hung on for as long as they could, one last breath of the wind and a fluttering ballet to the ground. It was a reality show of Madame Butterfly. A morgue in the dirt, maybe some dog poo among dying blades of grass alongside shelter seeking insects. The fog had rolled in once again.

Outside on the road in front of 2036 Maple street, low beamed headlights appeared here and there swirling behind muffled blankets of grey. Joanie smoked her Saratoga Lights’ ciggarette while sitting at the dining table. It was nearly 7:00 a.m. Next to her a romantic novel ‘I Killed My Husband’ and an empty plate which had earlier housed 2 slices of darkly toasted bread with butter. She sighed thinking about the accounts payable and her other responsabilities at the Sheraton Inn and the stupid General Manager who was on a power trip. She was glad to think of her other collegues at work who were also her friends. She didn’t divide people up in categories, people were people whether she worked with them or not. She liked people to be real, not fake. She detested superficiality.

She coughed, straightened her skirt and decided it was time to finish putting her face on. As she did her eyes, lips and then her hair with a good dosing of hair spray, she continued to cough. It was not a light polite “excuse me” kind of cough either, it was a deep raking cough that racked her in the bowels, twisted her body into a bending position. It tore at the insides of her throat. Little did she realize that emphysema had already taken root in her once upon a time pink lungs.

From the bedroom, her four boys could hear her. Her coughing noises were like an alarm clock, something they had gotten used to hearing. Many conversations had been had over it. But Joanie would just get mad and reply that it was her choice to smoke.

Gelledge, her number three son was listening to her racking cough from his bed, but only wanted to sleep some more. He was so tired… and then he remembered the incident  in his bed yesterday. An incredible erection in his underwear and then without barely touching himself, an explosion of white cream. What a great feeling that had been. Once again it had been amazing. At eleven years of age, he had already known what it was, well pretty much, but certainly hadn’t understood the implications. Now at thirteen, that part of his life was a sailing ship on the high seas. The fact that once again he had been thinking of Danny King’s muscular build and tight butt didn’t seem to register yet. Neither the fact that his regular ventures to ‘borrow’ his brothers’ porn magazines hidden under his bed in the next room. Lots of titties and snatch shots of course…and the women were all beautiful too, but Gelledge knew instantly what he was searching for, and it wasn’t snatch.

When he discovered the series of photos named Box Car Bertha in OUI Magazine, it was too fantastic to believe! Some guy named Jan Michael Vincent naked: with blonde hair and a slender muscular build. It was masturbatory heaven in a skin magazine. And then there had been a second guy with dark hair too on another page in a train car next to Bertha, shirtless and in jeans, but then naked too.

it was “lust” at first sight and occasional visits became daily ones’ to his brothers’ room and those ‘hidden’ magazines….

Paris Times (chapter 2) by Matthew Carlson

PARIS TIMES (chapter 2) by matthew carlson

Vignette-de-dossier-Musee-des-arts-140x90_block_thumbnailAs spit like rain landed upon the rooftops of Paris, Patches Phukett lay in her bed, cell phone cupped in her gnarled hands. The voice of handsome Guy explaining how Maxine was ill and wouldn’t be coming. I stood at the door listening as my morning sentence was being read: I would be getting Patches up or else she would continue lying there…. ! (Gads!) Of course my mature self just said “Do it” and went on its’ merry way, but knowing the bad charachter that was Patches’, I knew before having that first cup of coffee that there would be an ensuing battle of some kind. Patches had major control issues where the people around her became her marionettes. I had to quickly implement a plan!

“So listen up Patches, ” I said using my 7 of 9 Borg voice. “There’s no problem. I’ll get you up, take you to the bathroom, get you comfortable and something to eat, but that’s it. I won’t be doing the millions of duties you normally require. Just the basics. But you’ll be comfortable, relieved and have something to eat.”

Patches scowl disappeared behind her cell phone with a frantic gnarled finger quickly tapping (with minimal success) on her tiny keyboard. “You sure you don’t want to go to the toilet?” I asked again. “Usually that’s the first thing people want to do in the morning when they wake up.”

“Not yet, thank you.” She replied.

“Okay. Tell you what, I’ll come back in 20 minutes, finish my breakfast and then if no one’s coming, I’ll get you up, take care of your basic needs. At least you’ll be comfortable.”

“Okay,” she replied again still puching away at her keyboard staring at her phone.

True to my word I returned in twenty minutes.

“Okay I’m ready Gelledge,” she said as I appeared in the doorway. ” Can I tell you something before we begin?” My Borg impression had really worked! She knew she was not going to get away with pushing me around.

“Yes, of course. What is it Patches?” I had all the cards in hand, or so I thought.

“Can you put some cream on my feet?” I had images of doing that with gloves on and immediately I responded.

“No, Patches. Like I said, just the basics. Later on today, you can ask whoever it is to give you that foot rub…” A little voice told me that I was being mean, but to give in now would be my undoing! I had to hold on to my borgness, (or volcaness)…Otherwise I would be a victim to her every demand and for the entire day! I had not signed up for any of this.

“But usually they put cream on my feet and then you have to…” I cut her off with a lip zipping motion. I was already annoyed and had seen this behavior too many times to get suckered in one more time.

“Let me remind you Patches,” I said, “that I am not your employee, that I am here doing this as a friendly service. I’m not one of your ‘slaves’. I’m only helping you because you need it. All of the things you’re going to ask, well don’t. Unless,  it is something vital, of course.”

There was a moment of silence. Patches had little experience with people putting her into place. And the word “no” was not something that people said to her.

“Ready?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she answered looking at me with wide eyes.

I pulled her gently by the legs hoping to slide her down lower onto the bed hoping to then sit her up in a sitting position. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” she screamed. “No like daaat gurggle blrggggg” she half screamed half garbbled a second time. Aware that she might be in pain, but also Knowing her strong skills as an actress I quickly moved to a second attempt by trying to sit her half way up by holding her in a sitting position. She screamed again even louder.

“It’s not like that!!! Go get the LIFT person,” she said. I had already put her to bed on numerous occasions and it was obvious that what needed to be done was by following the same steps in an opposing manner. But Patches Phukett had over the years developed a rigide, concise method which could not be bended or altered in any way. There was only her way.

I felt her stress and said:  “Patches, you know I’m here to help you. We’re just going to do the opposite of when I put you to bed. I’m gonna lift you up and put you back into your chair.”

“But that’s not the way we do it,” she repeated. “Fuck,’ she yelled.

“Yes, I know that,” I said.

“But today, it is. Unless you would rather stay in your bed. My eyes and head tilt implied the obvious. “Tomorrow you can do it the regular way. You’ll have to just trust me.” She was cornered and she knew it.

So quickly I pulled her into a sitting position &  all the while she screamed and battled with her legs rigidifying and cursing me under her breath. “The lift person,” she uttered with shakiness, her eyes fluttering almost into a faint. ‘Almost’  being the key word. (Remember: a very good actress). Once she was sitting up I wasted no time into transferring her into her wheel chair. She spitted and spoffed, her eyes now doing rollar coasters, her spactic muscles unrelenting into ZOMBIE-like straightness for no apparent reason, other than that she was being forced to relinquish control. The maladie that was hers’, between body and brain –  some dire need to control all things:  big and small. Any other possibility would not be, could not be considered.

As I rolled her into the living room to then brake her wheelchair into a stopping position, then bring the famous ‘metal barred-human-lifting-device’ that would place her onto the toilet, she couldn’t help but try to regain control, “Telephone” and then “Slippers…these aren’t the ones I wear during the day!” and then “My pills. I need my pills”…(and then) “The stereo, music…”

“Patches,” I said taking a deep breath. “Let’s just go to the toilet and focus on that for now.”

The fun part was about to begin…imgres