March 30, 2014
Dad was in the store yet again, brandishing papers at Mom. He was attempting to get a property tax reduction from the town, and he needed a copy of her license and tax return since her name was still on the deed. Even if that was true, Mom wasn’t handing any information over to Dad given his history of fishy business. Instead she went down to town hall to tell them out that she didn’t live there anymore. I tagged along.
It was soon obvious why Dad brought this up at the last minute – the deadline was tomorrow and he’d already tried to file the forms without her. When the woman behind the desk showed Mom the forms Dad had submitted, Mom pointed out that it wasn’t her signature on them. Dad had forged it. “Oh, okay, I’ll make a note of it,” she said nonchalantly. I couldn’t let it pass without comment when she later said that Dad would still qualify for the basic exemption rather than the enhanced one he was trying to get.
“How can he qualify for anything anymore after we just told you he forged her signature?” I asked while standing directly next to Mom, but the woman just gaped at me and asked if we were together. “No, I’m just some random guy,” I answered sarcastically. She told me that she wasn’t a lawyer and that if I had a complaint I should go down the hall and log it with the assessor’s office.
I was nearly apoplectic. Dad forged a signature and submitted a 1040 written in pencil, and this woman was like “whatever” about it. Didn’t they have standards for accepting documents? If you went to the DMV and submitted a form with the wrong box checked they’d throw it back at you and tell you to go to the end of the line. What the hell did being a lawyer have to do with anything? Mom hustled me out of there before I went to town on the clerk (no pun).
Meanwhile Mom was pissed off that once again Dad was getting a pass. He was always getting away with shit, yet if it was any one of us we’d land in serious trouble. We stopped at his house on the way home and Mom wasted no time telling him he’d be getting a denial letter from the town and that she wasn’t submitting anything to them. I could see him getting hot under the collar, but nothing compared to when she confronted him about forging her signature. She even brought up the time he tried to open a credit card in her name. She only knew about that because the bank sent her a rejection letter.
Dad started doing his stupid little giggling routine, shaking his head and going “no… no… no…” That’s his tell when he knows he’s caught in a lie. And then he contradicted himself in the same breath by first denying faking her signature, and then asking what the big deal was? He also admitted that the tax return he provided was bogus too. He said he hadn’t filed taxes this year, or the last year, or the year before… and probably not even in 2002 when he told me he did.
Mom was getting nowhere with him, so she dropped a casual remark or two about how it might be time for her to file for divorce or a legal separation. That got his attention, although he was still doing his retarded head-shaking and giggling as we left. Mom thanked me for going with her, because he likely would have flown into a rage at her if she was by herself.
I visited Dad a week later and he presented me with something for Mom. He pulled a mini-cassette tape recorder out of his pocket. “It’s all set to go, just tell your mother to press Play.” I refused to accept it, shaking my head and backing away. He wouldn’t tell me what it was, which cemented my refusal. Knowing him he recorded a rant or something else stupid. I was tired of being treated like a messenger boy or a go-between – which I should have said – but instead I said that if it was from him, Mom didn’t want it.
Well. He jerked his head back and went “Ohhhhhh… she really is that sick, then?” I took that as my cue to leave. I turned my back on him and marched out the door with my blood boiling. I was further pissed because he called me over on pretense of wanting his roll of aluminum back, but pulled a bait and switch on me. And I didn’t understand why he didn’t give it to Mom himself when he’d already seen her in the store twice that day.
Dad was working himself into a rage again, and it came out a week later. We had just broken ranks after one our parades and Dad appeared out of nowhere. He charged over to Patrick and started berating him about “not going to see your grandmother until she was in her grave!” Talk about a delayed reaction, after she’d been dead for six years. Patrick just walked away, so Dad went after Shannon next.
Grandma wrote everyone checks for Christmas back in 2001, but Dad kept them all because he felt nobody deserved them. He finally presented Shannon’s with hers, 14 years late. She tore it into little pieces and threw them up in the air and walked away from him as well. Dad later confessed his astonishment that someone in a marching band would act like, public littering and whatnot. Yes, Shannon was the one acting unbelievably.
A few days later he left a St. Patrick’s Day card on the front lawn of Mom’s house. It was from 1972, sent from friends of the family to my parents and siblings. But Dad added his own message to it, scribbling on the inside cover: “Rip me up and throw me away! But I’ll be back. Hate is a sickness and you’ve spread it to the
kids children. Oh, how wonderful it sounds that you have forgiven – NOT!”
When the last parade of the season was over I drove my niece back to my sister’s house. We were almost there when I noticed a familiar-looking car going up and down the hills in front of us. It was Dad. I couldn’t believe it. I fully expected him to stop at my sister’s house but he kept going – probably because he recognized me behind him. Dude doesn’t miss anything.
I made sure he wasn’t anywhere in sight when I dropped my niece off. Shannon had been shielding her from Dad her entire life – sending her away before Dad came charging over a couple of weeks earlier, for example. I wasn’t about to let him screw things up. More likely he was lying in wait somewhere to drop off more shit. Shannon reported finding letters in her mailbox and shit dropped in her driveway.
The week before Dad returned the Tinky-Winky doll he’d confiscated from my niece when she was two – another item he’d been hoarding and hiding for 14 years. But he didn’t just leave it in the driveway; he attached obscene notes like “Enter through my anus.” Apparently he was of the Jerry Falwell school of thought, which was that Tinky-Winky was a secret gay symbol to brainwash the minds of America’s youth into accepting homosexuality as normal and healthy.
Right, and we’re the sick ones…