This is another one of the old traumas – dear old Aunt Francie has been dead for 14 years now. (Thank Heavens).
I write about her now, because this is, after all a blog of my life experiences, mainly those of the traumatizing variety. This will just further demonstrate how every single important person in my life has betrayed me in one way or another.
For most of my blog entries I have been using a skeleton motif, but for this particular entry I am going to use a picture taken from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, which were illustrated by the talentedly macabre Stephen Gammell. (Seriously, his work is awesome). I chose this picture, because, God help me, it looks so much like her.
My dear old Aunt Francie.
As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, after my mother married my first boyfriend and put me in foster care, where I was molested, abused, and used as slave labor, my grandmother and my Aunt Francie got together and decided that I would move down to TX to live with her until I finished high school. Wonderful.
I was not at all happy about this development, but I was 15 years old. I was still a minor and therefore had had no say in the matter, so, I went. My aunt lived many states away from where I grew up, and I only knew her very vaguely.
In 1980, when I was 4 years old, my mother took my half-sister and myself to TX for several months to stay with Aunt Francie. I recently asked my grandmother why we did that, seeing as how my mother was such a helpless and useless adult that she could barely function without her mommy. My grandmother professed bewilderment and heartbreak over the whole situation. She says that she does not know why we did that, she claims that she even begged my mother to not move her grandchildren so far away from her, only that she knew my mother was “having a hard time” and “needed a change”.
A brief segue about my mother – It’s true that she was having a hard time, because even though I was not yet in Kindergarten, I remember that my mother ended up in the mental hospital in Dallas, leaving my sister and I in the care of Aunt Francie. I also remember my mother scaring the shit out of me right before she went into the hospital; we were on a median with four lanes of traffic on either side of us. I was 4 years old. I remember her weeping and clinging to me and singing Smokey Robinson’s Being With You. I remember being quite alarmed by her strange behavior, to the point that I remembered the incident. Years later when I asked her what the hell that had been all about, she told me that having me with her was the only thing stopping her from hurling herself into traffic that day.
At any rate she cracked up off to the mental ward and left my half-sister & I in Aunt Francie’s care. I was very young, but I do remember 2 incidents in particular while we were in her care.
Incident 1: Aunt Francie had two children of her own, a daughter, Jeni, who was older than myself, but younger than my sister. Then there was her son, Chet, who was just under a year old and learning to walk. Aunt Francie’s best friend was a hairdresser to the hot shit rich and famous stars, or whatever passed as such in Dallas circa 1980. She was rich and super-glitzy! She and Aunt Francie often left us in the care of strange and careless babysitters (often gay men or stoned shitless teenagers) while they partied up the post-disco Dallas night life scene. This woman had a daughter that was my age. Due possibly to the long train of strange babysitters, her daughter had been sexually abused at some point. This kid was the one who taught me what genitals were and that boys are different. I was shocked – she advised me to watch the next time Aunt Francie changed Chet’s diaper, and that’s how I found out what penises were and what they were for. We were both 4 years old. The hairdresser’s daughter was teaching me in a very hands-on sort of way about masturbation and genitals and sex, I had no idea what we were doing… but Auntie came in and busted us and flipped the fuck out. She left the kid alone in the bedroom all day and made me sit on the couch with her and watch endless episodes of Love Boat and Fantasy Island. It was horrible. I knew we were being punished but I had no idea why. It was all very unpleasant.
Incident 2: Aunt Francie was a fan of the community pool and took all of us kids there quite often. There used to be a picture – lost now, as are so many things – of her in the pool, beaming up at whoever took the picture while I desperately cling to her neck in horrified dismay while staring at the water. Man I wish I still had that picture, if I did I’d just disguise our faces and post it. You can see that I am in abject terror. This is because when we were out in the deep water, way over my head, she obtained some perverse delight in whispering to me about how she was going to drop me in the deep and and let me sink or swim. She never did it, but she delighted in terrifying me. Years later when I discussed this with my mother and grandmother, they both believed that she did it because she was jealous that my mother’s kids had always received what Aunt Francie had perceived as “preferential treatment” over her kids, largely by virtue of being right up the street versus halfway across the country from the grandparents.
There were a lot of little bullshit incidents like this. I remember that she dragged us all to a shitty little ghetto strip mall movie theater to see Robin Williams in Popeye, and her daughter got a Sugar Daddy, and even her tiny son got some Sugar Babies to slobber on (amazing the little shit didn’t choke on one). My sister and I? Well, what do you think? Nope. No candy for the likes of us. We were just to be damn grateful to even BE at a damn movie theater. I was only 4 years old but I remember these things very well. I knew even then that it was bullshit. My half-sister was 9 and when I lamented to her about the injustice, she told me to hush, because that’s just how things were.
By 1981 we had ended up leaving Dallas and moving to the state where I largely grew up. My mother of course, like a homing pigeon, was helpless not to return to her endlessly enabling mommy’s sweet, loving and supportive bosom. After this, I only saw Aunt Francie twice, during two separate week-long “vacations” that she took when she came up from TX to see the family. So from age 5 to age 15 – 10 years – I had only seen her for 2 weeks.
Due to these oh so tender memories, and the fact that I really did not know her very well (other than that she was a mean bitch!) I was not super happy to find out that at 15 years old that I would be returning to live with Aunt Francie again.
It went about as poorly as I had expected.
It was she who taught me about the wonderful worlds of substance abuse and beatings. My mother did damn near everything wrong, but one thing she did right was that other than cigarettes, she had no substance abuse issues. I’m not even how much of this is something that she did right, and how much of it she avoided only because she relied so heavily (financially) on her pseudo-dad, (my psedo-grandfather), and he wouldn’t allow it. He was “Grandpa” but grandma was a bit of a ho, so he wasn’t really, if you know what I mean.
I’m pretty sure the only reason my mother didn’t beat us is because she had a very different father than Aunt Francie did, and therefore she also a very different physical build. Aunt Francie was a great, snorting moose and my mother was a frail little bird. In a physical fight, I could have done my mother some collateral damage by the time I was 9 or 10 years old. I do often think her pathetic hollow-boned tininess is the only thing that kept my mother from being a physical abuser. If she, too, had outweighed me by roughly 200 pounds, like her sister did, I’m pretty sure that it would have been a different story.
Aunt Francie was a hard core alcoholic and a heavy pot smoker so I was introduced to those things right away. She also did the occasional line of coke. When she was plastered she would get verbally and physically abusive. Highlights (lowlights?) of my time with her include her making merciless delighted fun of me, calling me a fat retarded worthless cunt, while I was having what was pretty much paramount to a nervous breakdown. Another time, she forced her son and I into her truck when she was drunk, and deliberately drove around in a maniacal manner, with great deliberation and glee, in order to frighten us. Chet was saying things like “Mom, you’re drunk” and “Mom, stop, you’re scaring me!” and “Mom let us out so I can call my Dad! Please!” She was very amused by this. She found our pain and our terror to be quite hilarious.
There was also the horrible night that she got blitzed out of her fucking mind on a myriad of substances and she hauled me to the ballpark across the street from her house and made me roll around in the water sprinklers with her. I was not in the giggling hysterics that she was in, and was not real happy about getting dirty and sopping wet from head to toe, probably rolling in dog shit and pesticides and sports chalk to boot. She chagrined me for being a spoilsport, and bodily hauled me to the ground with her, and then rolled me right on top of her great and soggy girth like we were a couple of damned lesbians or something. Horror! And I had to pretend to be all “ha-ha-ha! love you! magical! awesome!” and caught up in her stupid happy fervor, because if I was a “spoilsport” I was liable to get a beating.
I suppose it could have been worse. Instead of rolling me on top of her, she could have drunkenly rolled on top of ME.
Did I mention that she only outweighed me by about 200 pounds? Literally. I’m not wise-cracking.
She betrayed me in another way as well, but I was too young and naive to know it for years. I had never had access to MONEY before, like, wowie motherfucking wow! $ MONEY $ !! She worked at a place called Boot Town, which I shit you not, was right down the LBJ Freeway from Boot City.
Fucking Texans. *smdh*
On Saturdays I would work an 8 hour shift with her at Boot Town and she would give me $20. In retrospect that was $2.50/hour – pathetic! – but my busted-assed welfare family had never allowed me access to money before so I thought I was rich. Eventually, though, she started this bullshit – I was expected to pay my bus fare to school and buy my school lunch with that money. No more “free ride” as that bitch called it. Bitch!!! This left me no money for a little weed or for a cassette tape or even some fucking barrettes or sunscreen or whatever. Just… nothing. Fuck.
What makes this so infuriating is that a year or so later – after I had fled her, I graduated high school, and went back to the town where I grew up in order to spend some time with my grandmother, who was still, unfortunately super-glued to my mother. Seeing grandma meant pretending to play nice with mommy. Again, fuck.
I was going through piles of this and that & I found some papers I didn’t understand. I asked my mother, “what is this?” “What this is, dear”, she told me after examining them, “is paperwork showing that Francie was getting $750 a month from the state for taking care of you”.
Fucking goddamned fucking fuck! That bitch was getting $750 a month for my “care” and I was getting $20/week for an 8 hour shift – my Saturday, no less! – in Yee-Haw Country Music/Western Wear HELL, with which I was expected to pay for my bus fare and school lunches! God damn her! Seriously, if there is a God, may he damn her.
I don’t believe in musical tunnel vision, but I hate country western music to this day.
I know. I know where the money that the state intended for my “care” went. Lots and lots of beer. Lots and lots of weed. Cocaine, too. And yes, we mustn’t forget about Monte.
The first thing I’d hear in the morning at that house – “pssht”! The opening of a beer can. the last thing I heard at night?
She had a fat and horrible drunkard live-in boyfriend. Monte. She supported him fully.
Certainly with the money that the state was giving her to “care” for me! She paid for his truck’s gas, insurance and maintenance. She paid for his dog’s food and licensing and veterinary care. She paid for his food and care. She paid the rent and all of the bills. She paid for his beer and his weed and his cocaine. She supported him fully. All he ever did was lie shirtless in front of the AC on their big waterbed, stuffing his fat face with steaks and cheeseburgers and chips, drinking beer and smoking pot and snorting his coke, while watching wresting, M.A.S.H. and Perry Mason on an endless loop, on cable TV which, surprise, surprise, surprise, she had paid for!
Every once in a while Monte would lurch his great, hairy fatness up off of their waterbed and take some of Aunt Francie’s -er- “my”money to gas up his truck and take his dog out and go fishing and drinking with his good old boys. The only thing he ever did that was any good that I saw, was he hauled her off of Chet once, when she was beating the shit out of him. It wasn’t just me she abused, she abused her own kids, too. To the point that her daughter, my slightly older cousin Jeni, had already ran away from home and become some sort of drug-dealin’ bad bitch white version of a Gangsta Chola. Eventually, after I had fled Aunt Francie, my younger cousin Chet ran away from her too, to live with his father permanently until he graduated from high school. Custody rulings be damned, he said, he hated her and wanted his dad, and he’d claim as much in court if it came to it, he said; so she let him go without a custody battle. She just let him go. He was the third kid to run away from her and yet in her mind we were all ungrateful crazy asshole kids. None of it had anything to do with the common thread being HER. Oh no, of course not.
To be honest I am unsure why she took such good care of Monte (with my money!). She certainly wasn’t faithful to him. I love, cherish and adore the 80’s band The Cars and she ruined their song My Best Friend’s Girl for me. She was cheating on Monte with – of course! – his best friend, Tom. Imagine that? One night The Cars song came on the radio and she got all sickeningly coy and giggly, and she leaned her squishy, drunken fatness on me and whispered,”oh this is me and Tom’s song! Because he’s Monte’s best friend and I’m the girlfriend! Hahahaha!!” (As IF I needed to have it fucking explained to me why it might be “their song”.
Puke, fucking puke. I love The Cars but ever since then I kind of hate that fucking song. 😦
Then, lo and behold, came the day that Monte had a seizure on the floor in front of the fireplace. (This happened just a month or so after River Phoenix took a header at The Viper Room). We managed, collectively, somehow, to get him off of the floor and out the door and stuffed him into her truck. She sped off with him, to the hospital. I didn’t hear from her for days. It was three days later that a Boot Town employee finally confirmed to me that he had died. She couldn’t even be bothered to call home (or come home!) and tell me. I wasn’t a fan of the man but I had lived with him for a couple of years at that point so I wasn’t completely uninvested.
After Monte died she went into some sort of a grief spiral, she claimed, which I don’t understand or even buy, actually, seeing as how she was cheating on the man with his best friend when he died. I think she used this alleged “grief spiral” as an excuse to pretty much move into Tom’s house, leaving me largely alone at her house, much to my great relief. Chet was spending as much time as possible at his dad’s house. She started doing unprecedented amounts of drinking and drugging, even more so than usual. She managed to keep going to work, and she managed to get me to the surgery that had been scheduled for me at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas prior to Monte’s demise. They were going to attempt to graft bone from my hip into my face (I was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, aka a harelip).
Here is a photo of me that was taken at Children’s, I am just waking up after the bone graft. I blurred my upper face for the sake of anonymity.
Afterwards, even though I had just had a major surgery, she, for the most part, left me alone at her house for three days. She was spending her days and nights at Tom’s house – I don’t know if she was enjoying her newfound freedom from Monte or if she just couldn’t face the empty bed that she had shared with him. On my second day home after the surgery, she came home briefly – just long enough to fuck me up. She insisted that I take my medicines I had been prescribed from the hospital. I tried to explain to her that I was on several medications and that they had to be taken at different times staggered throughout the day… the instructions had been explained to me by my doctor at length… plus they were on the fucking bottles. I had already taken my morning meds and was not due my next round for about 4 hours. She was high AF as usual and was having none of what I was trying to tell her and just started pushing pills into my mouth. Into my mangled mouth, which had just suffered a very profound shock/trauma/surgery and was pretty much sewn together and being anchored by an experimental plastic shield. I was afraid that she would break something in my face or go into one of her rages and beat me, which I was even less equipped for than usual, what with having both my face and my left hip busted all to hell. So, in terrified defenseless dismay I swallowed the meds that she was literally forcefully pushing into my gullet, brutally pinching my damaged face all the while to force my mouth open, like Mama Fratelli did to Mouth in The Goonies.
After that she thankfully fucked off, back to Tom’s house, and left me with what is to this day one of the strangest and most sickening substance-induced experiences that I have ever had.
I have taken psychedelics that didn’t do near so much for me as whatever that mix/OD of meds were, on that day. I was waaaay out there, sure, I hallucinated plenty. But it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t “groovy”. It was fucking terrifying!
The blankets on my bed had become a sea of orange puke.
I was being slapped around by violent waves of it, helpless, adrift. In Nightmare on Elm Street 4, captured souls, their faces and bodies, push their way out of Freddy Krueger’s chest, stretching his skin but not breaking through with their faces, but only their arms. I saw a behind the scenes explanation of the scene and they did it with actors pushing their heads and bodies against sheets of a stretchy, translucent material, which is visually apparent. There is a bit of action beforehand, but the scene I am indicating specifically starts at 1:30 in the clip posted below.
During my hallucinations, something very similar to that was happening to me, but the creatures were considerably smaller and les defined, there were a lot more of them, and they were breaking all of the way through, falling out of me (as opposed to just stretching the skin), falling off into the violently slapping sea of orange puke, to their deaths. Everything was spinning and the violent orange sea of puke was slapping me around helplessly and the wee creatures were screaming and dying all around me. They pleaded with me to save them. I could not, I was pretty sure that I was going to die, too. It was absolutely bizarre and horrible. I never want to experience anything like that again. Ever.
But my dear old Aunt Francie? She hadn’t fucked me up badly enough on the second day of post-surgical healing, no, not yet.
Just wait until you hear about day three!
I will eventually post another blog entry about my conviction that I have been used for experimental procedures on cleft lip/palate repair, not always with my knowledge or consent. To their credit, Children’s in Dallas did tell me that what they were doing with me was new and experimental. They cut bone from my left hip and grafted the bone into my face, on both sides of my bilateral cleft, in an attempt to secure the free-floating bone fragment that contained the roots of my two top front teeth.
I never purported to be a graphic artist, so don’t hyuk it up too hard at my shitty art. Here is a hasty representation I drew up in Miscrosoft Paint, in an effort to visually explain what happened to me.
In order to secure the bone graft they put this big horrible fucking plastic shield in my mouth – it went ALL THE WAY AROUND my upper teeth – front, back, all the way around the back molars. Like a cast. It was horrible and weird. It had all these damned holes in it and I had this damned little machine they gave me with reservoirs in it and tubes shooting off of it which attached to various holes around the thing. I was to alternately run warm water, diluted peroxide, or this horrible blue shit they gave me which allegedly prevented infection and accelerated healing through the machine, into the tubes and into the plastic cast-like shield thing encasing my entire upper teeth.
On the third day I had largely recovered from the prescription drug OD she had forced upon me so I hobbled my miserable way to the bathroom to attempt the procedure with the damned stupid fluid reservoir machine alone for the first time. I had only done it once before with a hospital aide’s assistance (right before heading home) but I was admittedly pretty loopy at the time.
I was in the bathroom, at the sink, trying to figure out that godforsaken machine and all of its damn instructions and color-coded tubes when she came home. Without so much as a word of greeting or explanation, she came snorting across the living room towards me like a mad bull. I didn’t know what kind of a bender she was on, but I knew I was in some sort of trouble, I had no idea why (I never did figure that out!) In stupefied terror I tried to shut the bathroom door against her advancing, raging form. Picture this: a slight teenage girl who wore size zero (!) Ropers (fuck those country western clothes!), weighing in at just shy of 100 pounds, hobbled and sickly, recovering from a major surgery, daring to try to close a flimsy bathroom door against a rapidly advancing and raging bull. Dear Aunt Francie, God burn her soul – I don’t know exactly what she weighed, but I would wager that it was easily in the 300 lb. zone. Easily. Maybe even 325. She was a big goddamned broad. Tall and wide.
Things went exactly as you would expect that they would. Maybe even worse.
The doorknob was at hip level, of course it was. So when she plowed into the door that I was trying desperately to shut, the doorknob slammed me, of course it did, directly in the hip that I had just days prior had bone chunks surgically sliced from. The massive pain and the overall accelerative force from having been slammed by the door knocked my ass all the way across the small bathroom and flat onto my back in the bathtub. I smacked the back of my head pretty good and she was on top of me in a flash, holding me down with her feet on my hair, while whacking me in the face with the still semi-tube attached machine, which was pouring its blue shit down my fucking neck and face and into my hair. All the while she was screaming some deranged bullshit about making sure I keep my fucking surgery clean and infection-free. Then she grabbed the open bottle of peroxide from where I had left it on the edge of the sink and doused me full on in the face and mouth with it. My eyeballs were burning and bubbling, my ears were bubbling, everything sounded like I had been transported to Rice Crispies Land. Even the creases of my neck were bubbling, I was coughing bloody, foamy peroxide bubbles through my mangled mouth. I thought I was going to choke or drown on peroxide foam. Later on, after the attack, I looked in the mirror and saw that the peroxide had actually bleached reddish streaks into the hair on both sides of my head, and my neck and my cheek were alternately peroxide bleached or stained blue streaks. I couldn’t turn my head or get away from her, I was flat on my back in a bathtub, she was standing with her feet on either side of my head on my hair, holding me down, she outweighed me by about 200 pounds, and I was injured and sickly to boot. She was ranting and screaming while alternating between hitting me and yanking and whacking at the machine which was still attached to me by tubes, and during the overall process – imagine my surprise! – she managed to break the fucking bone graft. I heard and felt it go. Crunch. In my head. In my face.
Eventually she lurched off of me and fell to her bed, for the first time since Monte’s demise. She didn’t do anything so simple as go to asleep, no, she passed out, blitzed out of what was left of her mind. Per usual. When I was recovered enough from the pain and shock to be able to move again, I had a grim struggle trying to lurch myself back upright and out of the tub, which was no easy feat, given the copious amounts of pain radiating from my poor, smashed hip. I barely made it to the toilet before I vomited explosively, through my mangled pulp of a mouth; a foaming mixture of blood, peroxide, and blue shit. I hobbled my miserable way to her bedroom, and I stood over her inert and thickly snoring bulk for a while, burning, hating. After a bit of that I wandered into the kitchen, seeking something – maybe something to bleed into or some ice or some frozen peas or something for my busted face and aching, abused hip. Then I saw the cast iron frying pan. I looked at it for a while. Then I went back and looked at her unconscious bulk for a while, and thought about that. I thought very, very seriously about that.
I sat in the living room and I listened to several tracks off of Pearl Jam’s album Ten, and I thought about it for a very long time. I thought to myself, “Well, my bone graft is clearly fucked, and I am in a great deal of emotional and physical pain, and I feel like I might puke again. I am actually very seriously considering bashing her fat fucking head in with that frying pan while she is passed out, unconscious. I am only 17 and there is physical evidence that she assaulted me and fucked me up pretty badly, so if they catch me (of course I would run) I would probably get off with just a few years in a women’s correctional facility. I guess at this point smoking that little bit of weed that I hoarded away for an emergency will be ok. At this point the weed won’t be the thing that ruins my surgery, and if this isn’t an emergency, what is?”
So, I listened to the rest of Ten, and I smoked the weed, the best I could through my bleeding and mangled mouth, and through that ridiculous and cumbersome and now entirely useless plastic shield surrounding the entirety of my top teeth. That was the day that I became convinced that marijuana, in moderation, is not a bad thing. It eased the crunchy, squishy pain radiating from the center of my face to a bearable level, it chased away the waves of nausea, and more, it restored my ability to reason and ultimately it kept me from introducing that frying pan to her rotund and drooling head.
I really, really wish I could get medical marijuana.
She forced me under actual threats of a severe beating and/or death, to tell the surgeons at Children’s, who obviously wanted to see me for follow-up appointments and stitch (and cumbersome plastic shield!) removal and whatnot, a semi-complex lie about how the bone graft broke. She instructed me that I was to tell them that of my own volition, and with no coaxing from her or from anybody else, I had decided to take it upon myself to do my cousin Chet’s job and feed the two male German Shepherds that lived in the back yard. These large and enthusiastic dogs allegedly got so excited that it was feeding time that they jumped up on me, slamming my bad hip and knocking my slight and sickly frame face-first into the corner of their doghouse, which broke my bone graft.
I told this story as instructed, and my surgeon, who was a woman, I can’t remember her name but she was lovely; she took me into a small closed room and wiggled her eyebrows at me for a bit and then she asked me if I would like to tell her what REALLY happened to my hip and to my bone graft. By that time, I had already had it demonstrated to me, and very well, by the court and foster systems of NY State, that “telling an adult!” wasn’t actually the thing to do. Unless, of course, you wanted to end up even more badly fucked than you started. I was less than a year away from being 18 years old and I had no desire to get fucked back into a social services/child protective/foster home sort of a situation. Again. So, I played dumb and she had little recourse other than to heave grievous sighs of disbelief, and to profess her trustworthiness and disappointment to me, and to let me go.
I only lived with that Aunt Francie bitch for another three weeks or so after that. I could barely fucking walk again (from the double hip trauma) when she wanted me back pulling 8 hour shifts at Boot Town. One final horrible day I remember her debasing and demoralizing me nonstop, even calling me a worthless, stupid cunt as we got in her truck to head to work. I had midterm exams coming up and was desperate for the day off to study. She would not give an inch. Finally I had to evoke the recently deceased Monte’s name and take the risk of mentioning how disappointed he would be if he knew she was making me put work ahead of school. His big rule was school before ANYTHING.
She was livid but she relented and said I could do a 4 hour shift – a half-day. I could leave early to go study. She was abusive and derisive and threatening towards me all the way to work, but as soon as we got there she put on her shit-eating happy face for the sales floor and warned that I had damn well better do the same, or else. That was her big rule – everything might be a festering shit-pile in reality, but at work we were shiny happy people, no matter what. On that day she broke her own rule and was being monstrous to me right there on the sales floor. The fact that she was breaking her own big rule like that and acting out at work frightened me, badly. During my break at work I called my friend from school and lamented to her about the escalating abuse. She had already been telling her mother (whom she still lived with, although she had graduated high school the year before me) about my situation for weeks or months at that point, and she told me that when I was off work, they’d come and pick me up, and we’d go to Aunt Francie’s house and get as much of my shit as possible, and that I could live with her in her bedroom until I graduated, which was to be in about 5 1/2 months.
So… I went to live with her but I wasn’t able to endure it until graduation. It was horrible. I’ll detail that particular unsavory mess in a future blog entry I will call Homelessness Part 1 and when it is written I will link it HERE.
Once she figured out that I was still going to the High School every day, she left me alone. This surprised me some but in retrospect I suppose it is because, well, why would she interfere with me or report me as a runaway? That may have cost her that sweet-ass $750/month. So, she kept her mouth shut and she left me alone. I never saw her or spoke to her again. I’m sure she collected that $$ for months after I was long gone, right up until I turned 18.
When she died 8 years later from cancer, I heard about it from my grandmother. I didn’t delight in it, I wasn’t upset or saddened by it. I simply did not give a shit.
I’ll wrap this up with a final note that will explain this entry’s title. At some point during the time that I endured her abuse before I finally fled, Aunt Francie “treated herself” (likely with the money the state was paying her for my “care”) with a fancy leather jacket from Boot Town. She found herself to be quite amusing when she donned the jacket and called herself (and also insisted that we all call her) “The Franz” (a parody of “The Fonz” from Happy Days). However, Chet and I privately delighted in calling her other clothing-related nicknames. We only ever said them in giggled whispers to each other of course, we never let her overhear us; it would have meant a beating for one of us or both, for sure. She didn’t always spring for expensive clothes for herself. The area we lived in was littered with shitty little Mexican strip malls, selling the shittiest and cheapest of wares. For some reason, Aunt Francie purchased two matching summer shorts sets at one of these places… one of them a brilliant purple color and the other a flashy, traffic-cone orange. They were absolutely hideous… tacky doesn’t even begin to cover it… and as I have stated, she was a big broad. So, Chet and I, we called her “The Great Pumpkin” or “The Great Grape” depending on which colored set she opted to wear that day, of course.
One day, not long before before Monte’s demise, I had opted to drop a hit of acid. On that day she looked to me like those things in Pink Floyd The Wall. Sometimes I think I saw her true face that day.
She was a monster.