This is one of my breakup stories. There were so many I wrote an entire BOOK about them. I can hear you laughing from here. So this is part 1 of this story, from my book His Dead Wife. It's a chapter called How I Got Over Freddy. Second part on Wednesday.
Freddy was doing time at Tehachapi for burglary and possession of heroin, and when he was discharged he asked if he could live with me. He gave me his parole officer’s number and I called. He said Freddy had been in and out of prison his entire life and it was doubtful he would ever make it on the outside without some serious support. I also learned that Freddy had had a wife once, and that she had divorced him after the first time he went to prison. He also had two sons, but Freddy didn’t know where they all lived now. Freddy’s parents knew but had agreed with his ex-wife to keep him out of his children’s lives because they knew nothing good could come of it. They were fed up with him because he had robbed them so many times that they had decided not to let him back in their house. His parents wouldn’t let him visit, he couldn’t see his kids ever again, and his wife had left him. Somebody had to help this guy. And of course I was just co-dependent enough to sign up for this tour of duty.
I told Freddy he could live with me but only if he never hit me again. And he didn’t. I wondered if I had said that when he was hitting me if he would have stopped then, too.
Freddy didn’t talk, rarely ate and was gone a lot. I was angry when I realized that he had paid more attention to me when he was hitting me. The physical abuse was easier to handle than the mental abuse. At least I could see the damage.
Freddy needed a job but what he really needed was to clean up. He had used heroin the entire time he was in prison but now that he was on the outside, he didn’t want to continue because it was an expensive habit. Freddy said it was cheaper and easier to get dope in the joint than it was on the streets and he had the track marks to prove it.
“You have to help me kick,” he said calmly.
“Ok.” I replied, also calmly, only I was pretending.
“You have to hide the knives, lock the doors and no matter what I say, don’t let me leave the apartment or call my dealer.”
That would really not be a problem since his dealer had showed up at our door only two days before. He had handed me a bag with a dead rat in it and said, “Tell your fucking boyfriend this is the only dime bag I’ve got for him until he fucking pays me. Got it, bitch?” So, hide knives, lock doors, dead rat in bag. Done. So done.
Freddy took all the knives and the phone and put them in a trash bag and gave them to our upstairs neighbor, a drag queen named Russell Richardson who went by the name Glamaruss. Then he made Glamaruss rope tie him to the bed. Freddy said it would take at least three days to detox, which was perfect because that’s how long it would take me to figure out how to untie the knots. A Maxwell House coffee can was Freddy’s new toilet.
He begged, he sweet-talked, he threatened my life but I didn’t untie him. At one point I got bored and asked him how exactly did he think he was going to kill me since he was tied to the bed? He called me a 'fucking whore' but based on my previous sexual encounters that had zero effect, obviously.
I didn’t leave the apartment for two days, afraid that he would die without me there. On the third day he stopped nodding off and sweating through his clothes and asked for orange Hostess cupcakes. At that point I knew he’d turned the corner because who the fuck would eat the orange ones except a cleaned up junkie?
Freddy started a job at his father’s chicken plant and checked in with his parole officer once a week. He would write me notes each morning and leave them on the kitchen table. “Dear Baby, I am going to pluk chikens. I took twenty dolars out of your walette to by chiken pluking gloves.”
Yes, I know; Love Is Blind and Has No Spell Check.
About three weeks after our homemade detox, I went to a pay phone to call Freddy at the chicken plant. Our phone had been temporarily disconnected since I didn’t have enough money to pay the last month’s bill. Freddy was taking more and more of my boutique paycheck to buy things for his new job.
“Freddy? Freddy who?” the woman asked.
“Freddy, the guy who plucks chickens for his father.”
“Sorry honey, no Freddy here. This is a car dealership.”
(to be continued)