Drama in The River City
Jeeze. My life is a breeze compared to my friend I'll call Lainie.
She's 41 and her brother Junior is 40.
Their parents are Lola and Ken, each about 65-years-old.
I've known the whole family for almost 20 years. We all live in the same general area.
Last year, Ken, a retired aircraft engineer, avid gun collector and strong, silent type announced to his family he was a woman trapped in a man's body. His intention is to undergo sexual reassignment surgery after a suitable course of hormone therapy and open crossdressing.
Lola, whom I've always thought was kind of butch (ex: she plays drums in an Oompa band) totally freaked out about Ken's announcement.
So did Junior.
Lainie, who's gay, was thrilled with the announcement.
She came out to her dad with great ease. He hardly noticed- I presume he was too preoccupied with the new Spiegel for Ladies catalog.
So, Lola started getting angrier and crazier about Ken's quest to become a female and she immediately started divorce proceedings.
Junior, a rather petite male with an alcohol problem, sided with Lola. In fact, Junior seemed to take Ken's news as a direct affront to his delicate masculinity. His wife is a devout Christian who has denounced her father-in-law as a satanic sexual deviate.
Needless to say, they will not allow Ken to see his innocent young grandson, Jack.
Sensing her dad needed extra emotional support, I was brought into the picture to socialize with Ken, who now dresses as a woman most of the time and refers to herself as Patti.
Patti looks a lot like Ken except for the pointy bras and floral capris. She now has a companion called Toni, also a transgendered male. Though they take a lot of effort to pass as women, their masculine looks make for an unfortunate visage aux deux.
The divorce was a nightmare.
Lola started showing up in court with a cane and an oxygen tank, though she needs neither in real life. Junior flanked her like Fredo in The Godfather, trying to look tough and sneering despite his diminutive stature and high pitched voice.
Junior remains relentlessly hostile toward his father, and since she took Patti's side, Junior also loathes Lainie.
Junior wangled a power of attorney from his mother, which led him to believe his father's half of the community property was his.
Many fights have ensued since then, most prominent being Junior trying to appropriate Patti's vast gun collection. Patti prevailed in court, storing her vast arsenal in a tasteful armoire.
Because we all live within a small distance from one another, we frequent the same neighborhood coffee shop. Lainie takes great pleasure using her fancy digital camera to take mini video clips of her mother while she's eating. Lola likes to call the police and make scenes in the coffee shop, demanding they arrest Lainie for harassment.
They never do. She hides her little camera.
Now that the dust should have settled, Junior seems to be drinking more than ever.
Liquor, his crazy Christian wife and furious mother have emboldened him, turning him into an habitual stalker.
He seems to spend most days and nights calling Lainie and Patti and hanging up when they answer. A trap has been put on both lines to put an end to his antics.
Also, he drives his aged gold Buick Century past both their apartments with great frequency, slowing down to shoot dirty looks whether or not anyone's looking.
Last night I was at Lainie's apartment, and as I left, hovering in the circular driveway downstairs was Junior in his big Buick with the lone headlight shining menacingly toward her stairway.
As I drove away, the Buick zoomed past me.
I decided to follow him for a few blocks just to fuck with his head.
He was all over the road, definitely drunk and probably armed, so I quickly abandoned the pursuit and drove home.
I called Lainie when I got home and she was downstairs with the police, filing a report. I got to talk to the officer and describe Junior's erratic driving in my best reporter's narrative.
Though Lainie finally has one parent with whom she shares emotional closeness, the prize has been hard-won.
Junior will probably end up getting arrested for harassment, driving while intoxicated and carrying an unlicensed, concealed weapon. That'll likely result in some time in the pokey. I doubt that will further endear him to his father.
Lola has, in the process, had a serious heart attack because of the stress she's put herself through, and she could drop dead at any moment.
Patti should be enjoying her new-found freedom, but she's having to be hyper-vigillant about her crazy, drunken son and vindictive ex-wife.
This could all be solved if everyone would just mind their own business.
Codependency, alcoholism, guns and rage have fueled this monumental family feud.
All this because an old man has decided to live out his life on his own terms. It seems the whole family has collapsed because one person decided to drop the facade.
Ridiculous, isn't it?