Monday, August 07, 2006


It has been a life long fight that I think I have just about won. A “beast” within me that has wanted to destroy my life by pushing those I love away has reared its head time after time. Its existence is evidenced by holes in walls, dents in refrigerators, near road rage, bloody fights, and broken hearts. However, of late I have mellowed out, leashing the beast, but not quite caging him. I am in control now and only the worst of circumstances could ever loose him again.

The beast within first appeared on a playground when I was eight years old. An innocent game of “for keeps” “ringer” marbles complete with shooters, cats-eyes, and steelies resulted in a little disagreement and shoving. Before I knew it I was entangled with a fellow shooter and rolling around on the ground with a crowd of playmates gathered around shouting “Get’em”!

Besides my often-embarrassing over-productive forehead sweat glands, an easily bloodied nose cursed me all my youth. I could just rub a slight itch on the end of my nose and the blood flowed for several minutes. My wrestling partner rubbed across my nose going for a headlock and the damn broke. He immediately released me, finding blood on his arm and jumped up. I sat up and let the blood drip off my nose onto the ground.

Everything would have been fine and the beast would have stayed inside had he not pointed at me and said haughtily “Look! I won! I beat him! His nose is bloody!”

Someone laughed and agreed with him and the beast was born. I jumped up, catching the former wrestler by surprise. Before he could react I had him by the throat, on his back, and his nose slammed hard with my fist. The kid finally focused and then zoomed in on the drop of blood forming at the end of my nose. His eyes widened as it dropped right on his nose and I splattered it with my fist again. The second drop was followed by another blow and then another, splattering and mingling both our bloods all over his face and my fist.

For some reason, the third graders became aware that the boy was not breathing well due to the strangle hold I had on him. A couple of guys pulled me away and the boy sat gasping for air, much as I was, but for different reasons. I actually wanted to kill the boy and may have had something not moved the others to react. The incident scared me and haunted me for the rest of my life and every time I allowed the beast its freedom, I remembered and became even more ashamed.

I even used the incident in my fictional book some thirty-five years later (Chapter 2 – Cross+Hairs). It was frightening to me, as I wrote that such a violent true-life incident fit right in with the character of a serial killer.

It (the beast) is there, right below the surface, waiting to pounce in all of us. The difference between the true violent person and us is that we can control him. Some of us can learn how to and others cannot. The only problem is that it takes years to learn, in most cases, and bad things can happen before the lesson ends.

Gaining control of the beast is one of the great blessings of aging!


Marie said...

What gives me pause is that there are some paying a high price who didn't have buddies to stop them. . .there but for the grace of God we go.

Mushy said...

That thought has passed through my mine a lot.

Thanks for the link - I'm honored.

Fathairybastard said...

I think we all have a homicidal side of ourselves. Human animal nature. Instinct left over from back when we were at the bottom of the food chain, rather than at the top. Sort of thing most societies try to blunt with all sorts of social norms and rules of behavior drummed into us from infancy. I've often thought that the difference between most people, like myself, who occasionally have violent ideas about what we'd like to do to someone, and the folks who end up runnin down the road shirtless on COPS, is the voice of reason in our head, produced by that process of socialization. You get in a run-in with someone over some stupid thing, and the voice in our head says, "Oh you'd love to scalp that mother fucker, but you'd get caught. Forget it. It ain't worth goin to jail over." Some people just don't have that voice in their head, or they've got it, but the voice is also drunk or on crack, nullifying its usefulness. Some people also have the ability to ignore perfectly good advise, even from the voice in their head, and go on and do the stupid thing anyway. So, if you were lucky and you were well raised, you probably belong to the part of society that gets to laugh at the idiots on COPS. If not, well, life is for learnin.

Fathairybastard said...

That's right, I said scalp. I have a thing about that. If you ever hear about a rash of scalpings in Texas, with some son-of-a-bitch stabbed with a big knife and scalped while he was still alive to feel it, it was probably me that did it. I confess ahead of time. I've never done it or anything, I just have this feeling like it's gotta happen one day or another before I shuffle off this mortal coil. You know there's no shortage of folks who need it, bad.

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