Baby-Daddy?

My past reached out and bit me in the butt again this week. I could not believe it. I admit that I have not been the best husband in the world. I put that behind me though and changed my life for good. I stopped screwing around and playing the field and all those things that I should not have been doing as a husband.

Admittedly I have had extramarital affairs. I have no excuse for what I did and you can say what you will about me because it is probably true. I refuse to dodge the beating when it is justified.

And I slept with a woman I should not have. I am not the only person she had sex with in this time frame either, but that is another story and yet all apart of the bigger picture.

About three months after our last sexual encounter this woman called me (while I was on the air at KOZZ) and told me she was pregnant. She said it was her deceased husband’s baby (he had died some months earlier due to a heart problem) and that she had it done through in vitro fertilization.

She also told me she was upset because her parents were angry with her for getting pregnant due to her disability which had worsened in the last couple of months. They felt certain she couldn’t care for a baby let alone herself.

As the time for the birth drew near, this same woman told my wife the same story she had told me about having had in vitro fertilization and that the baby was her long-dead husband’s. She also wanted to know if it was okay if I’d be the child’s God-father. I said I would.

When the baby-boy was born at St. Mary’s Hospital, I was one of the only two non-family members to come visit her in the hospital. Later I stood in front of a crowd of several people at a little Catholic church on Pyramid Way and swore that I’d be the ‘spiritual-guidance’ for her son should anything ever happen to his mother.

Within a 2-year period I would find myself moved up from God-father to being accused of being ‘Daddy’ to her child.

This came about after I was notified by a Washoe County Marshal that I was being charged with abandonment and neglect. Then these charges were modified to abuse because the child’s mother had roommates that hit him hard enough to leave bruise and other marks. He had been removed by Child Services from the home and placed in protective custody.

Up until then I was completely unaware that anything was happening with my ‘God-son.’ She never called or anything.

Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I’d get accused of such criminal misdeeds!

Paperwork shot back and forth from the Washoe County District Attorneys Office to myself and I had to go to court where I was fearful that I was going to be forced to go to jail for refusing to give-up my DNA. This is a matter of principle because I hold a birth certificate that says her deceased husband is the father of her child, not me.

And it is signed by her as well as a county Washoe County official on behalf of the State of Nevada.

Aside from her attorney, her parents were there in court with her. Mind you this is a 30-year old woman, whose mom and dad seemingly are holding her hands through this entire event. Plus the father is a Correctional Officer at the Susanville State Penitentiary. I was by myself and I felt very intimidated.

In the end though, that birth certificate turned out to be the deciding factor.

Once I entered that into evidence, the die was cast and her claim fell apart. No amount of glaring or posturing in the courtroom hallways could get beyond that simple piece of paper.

All charges were dropped.

That is until this week when an envelope arrived from San Bernardino County. I knew immediately I was in for another fight. Unfortunately, I knew it wasn’t going to be a fair fight or a simple instant replay.

Here’s the deal: twice in the last 5-months I have received two personal letters from this woman asking me to give up custodial rights to her child, so that her new husband, who is making good money as an engineer, can adopt the boy. The problem is that I have no rights to him and never did, so I realized very quickly that this was a set-up.

A sucker-punch was coming from somewhere and it finally landed in the form of this request for child support payments. I immediately drafted a letter and made a copy of the birth certificate mailed them both to the ‘Support Officer’ in San Bernardino County.

Now all I can do is sit and wait for the next move.

And the reason it isn’t going to be a fair fight is plain: the State of California is so frickin’ liberal that they’ll punch hole in that birth certificate and compel me to take a DNA test. I will refuse to do so of course because it is one of my civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Besides I am not the ‘Daddy’ to her son. She told me so, she told my wife so and she told Washoe County so.

UPDATE:  In June 2007, I was contacted via registered letter that I was not only being sued for child support by the State of Montana on behalf of Christopher, but that I had to submit to DNA testing at my expense. This also came with a second choice; to sign away all parental-rights.

While I did argue that I had no parental rights in this case as I was never Christopher’s parent, only his God-father, my attorney recommended signing the paperwork and surrendering my ‘rights’ regardless as to no do so would eventually lead to the possibility of bankruptcy. So here I sit — wondering: am I the father of Christopher or am I his God-father?

The question it seems has been rendered moot.

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Little House Books

I will never again tell anybody about the fact that I have read the entire set of Little House on the Prairie books. I am being teased like crazy over it and I am about ready to explode.

It was my third grade teacher who first read one of those books to me and then I was in the fifth grade when that teacher read the second book to the class. I have like them ever since.

Deirdre actually got the set from her Godmother, Mrs. Damm, who is also the same person who was my third grade teacher. She put them out in the rumpus room and they nearly got tossed out. I grabbed them up and

I have set in the barn where I sleep.

For me Laura Ingle Wilder has been kind of an inspiration on how to write in a very simple form. She keeps her word descriptions in a way that are understandable.   Her conversations are short and to the point and you don’t have to reread something catch what she meant.

But I swear, having told my English class this was a mistake.   They lau.ghed like I was some sort of fool and that’s exactly how I felt.  I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.

I am just afraid that this is something I will never be able to teach myself.

Drive’em Strange

Sometimes it’s all I can do
To keep myself contained
When I hear the wind howl
With its’ low echoed refrain.
To hear coyotes’ yipping whine
In the middle of moonlit night
Makes me sad inside and
Frightened for the night.
Who’ll keep them company,
The wind, the moon, cowboy?
When coyote leaves this earth,
The silence will drive’em strange!

Three O’clock Fight

Tommy was sitting in the bleachers enjoying what was left of the basketball game when Mr. Ferguson climbed up the seats and sat down beside him. It was unusual for the track coach to do such a thing and Tommy knew it. It couldn’t mean good news.“I got to ask,” the coach started, “did you give out any free tickets tonight?” He was talking about the fact that Tommy had been part of the group that had worked the ticket window collecting ticket receipts for tonight’s varsity basketball game.

Tommy frowned at the older man and answered, “No!”

“Okay then, did you accidentally on purpose put any money in your pockets?” Mr. Ferguson asked.

Again Tommy answered him, “No!” Then he asked, “Why, is money missing?”

“Yes,” responded Mr. Ferguson, “About two-hundred dollars.” With that the coach got up and left the bleachers. He walked out of the stands, never looking back at Tommy. The young man looked over at his girlfriend, Debbie who shook her head sideways.

The following Monday, word had spread throughout Del Norte High that Tommy had stolen money from the sales of the basketball tickets. This made him a sudden target of every athlete in the school. It was a constant barrage of words that soon escalated into a pushing match in Senior Hall.

This was between Tommy and Steve who had confronted Tommy in the locker room just prior to lunchtime. The war of word continued until it grew into an all out argument. Finally the argument became a shoving match in the hallway just as the lunch bell rang.

“You’re a thief,” Steve said.

“Prove it,” replied Tommy, “I wasn’t the only one working the booth and there were two teachers there too.”

Steve stood there for a few seconds. It was obvious to Tommy that he hadn’t thought of that and the revelation that a teacher could be just as guilty as a student was even more provoking. Steve put his fists up as if he were prepared to fight.

“My girlfriend was in that booth last night,” he finally said, “are you saying she’s a thief.”

Tommy smiled, “You should go ask her yourself.”

Suddenly he found himself side stepping a fist. Steve was bigger and he telegraphed his punches. Tommy just pushed him onto the ground and stepped away.

Then he said, “You don’t want to do this, Steve.”

Steve slowly got to his feet. He looked at Tommy and ordered, “Yeah, after school behind the dugout.” With that he walked away, an entire group of kids following behind him.

It was at that moment that Tommy felt very alone. He knew that he couldn’t go to any of the school administrators or teachers. He felt certain that they too must all think he stole the money as well. And he found he didn’t have anyone backing him up in the way of students or friends as they had seemed to have disappeared.

The clock moved slower than ever from lunchtime until school let out. Tommy walked down to the locker room and changed into his gym clothes. “No sense in trashing my regular clothes,” he told himself. Then he walked down to the dugout.

He was surprised to see the number of people milling about, waiting to see if the two contestants would show up and if they did, would they really fight. Tommy was there just seconds ahead of Steve. They met in the middle of a circle formed by the crowd of onlookers.

The two combatants moved slowly around, sizing the other up. Steve had a taste of what Tommy was capable of and did not want to fall victim to another embarrassing event such as the one in the hallway. He waited for Tommy to stop and then he would strike.

Tommy halted intending to pivot. He discovered that he had miscalculated Steve’s reach, when he found himself sprawled on the ground with a blood nose. He scrambled to get to his feet but his head was hazy and he found his body heavy. Steve was on him, kicking and stomping him without mercy.

Tommy rolled away from him as far as the crowd would allow him. He was able to get to his feet, but just barely as Steve rushed him with both fists. They slammed into his head and face with brutal force nearly knocking him off his feet again.

These blows though were not half as bad as the first one, which laid him flat on his back and cause his nose to bleed. He had regained his composure amid the hail of punches enough to start blocking and then counter-punching. His first shot surprised Steve so much that the senior had to back up 3 or 4 steps from the freshman.

Tommy moved forward and sideways, throwing punches at the older kid’s body. They landed solidly and they were causing pain as Steve let out gasps for air each time he was struck. Then without warning Tommy decided it was time to use his secret weapon.

He spun around from his right to his left, unleashing a back-fist punch that struck Steve on the side of his head so hard that even the crowd heard his jaw snap shut. Tommy continued to attack the stunned fighter. He struck with a swift kick to the other side of Steve’s head.

This blow sent him crashing to the ground. Tommy jumped on him and struck the older boy in the face with both fists several times until his eyes were swollen, his nose bled and his lips were cut open. Only then did Tommy stop beating on him.

Steve lay on the ground unmoving as Tommy rose up and backed away. The crowd that had gathered around to see the fight had become quiet. Tommy remained still, waiting for Steve to move and get up.

It was only a few seconds, but Steve did sit up. He looked around and then at Tommy. Tommy had his fists raised. “Do you want more?” he asked.

Steve mumbled through his swelled up lips, “No.”

“Good.” Tommy turned and started to walk back towards the school. He paused and added, “And by the way Steve, I didn’t steal anything!” He said it loud enough so everyone could hear him.

The following day of school as Tommy was walking down the hallway, Steve stepped in front of him. He had a large group of kids with him and Tommy figured there was a good chance that he was about to get jumped. Instead Steve handed him two one-hundred dollar bills. “It was my girlfriend,” he said.

Tommy handed them back. “I don’t want them,” he said, “take them to the office.” With that Tommy continued walking down the hallway, turning into the library. It was the last he ever wanted to hear about the money and he never volunteered to work the ticket booth again.