Friday, June 02, 2006

More than you wanted to know

I’ve been posting a lot of long posts here lately, but I need to focus on my J-studies tonight so I’ll keep it (relatively) brief. Here’s a little tale from my childhood that is as true and accurate as I can recall – I’m not embellishing for entertainment purposes. If it serves to do anything, it should further prove that I’m still idiotically honest when it comes to putting things in writing.

When I was the ripe old age of five, I decided to murder my parents. Before I get into the details of that, let me first mention that I have intact memories ranging all the way back to infancy, which are some of the strangest. I remember looking up at the world from the box my parents used as a crib and feeling things like hunger, but also being unable to express them in terms of language. Now those memories almost feel like peeking into an alien mind.

Anyway, I was no older than five when I decided the parental units needed to go. Both were abusive, although I won’t detail their abuses here and now. I don’t remember when this happened exactly, just that we were still in the house we occupied in Louisville, Kentucky that we left shortly before my sixth birthday. The point is, I knew I didn’t like them and they didn’t like me so they needed to go bye-bye. I didn’t care for my older sister either, but as she wasn’t in a position of authority over me, I decided to let her live.

I had already tried running away and discovered that didn’t work. My sister helped me pack a suitcase and laughingly wished me good luck. Unfortunately, I made the escape attempt when the female warden was at home. She screamed at me and told me to go to my room and stop being silly. Knowing the price for disobedience, I silently returned to my room and unpacked. Time for plan B.

At that age, I didn’t fully understand the possible repercussions for my actions, but I understood enough about death to know it would mean they would permanently stop, like a car with a broken engine. That suited me just fine, so I began to look for an appropriate murder weapon.

Knives came to mind first, although we didn’t have a decent knife in the kitchen. I snuck a cheap steak knife into the back yard, and practiced my stabbing on the trees. No good. The weapon twisted out of my tiny grasp if I struck with full force, and I knew I would be in real trouble if I hit bone. Besides, I instinctively understood that for this to work I had to kill the second one before they discovered that the first had died. Timing could be an issue, so I had already decided to finish both in their sleep. I didn’t think I was strong enough to kill one with a single stroke of the blade and I didn’t know about slitting the jugular, so stabbing was out.

I considered poisoning them instead. We had a little rat poison inside the cupboards, but I thought my best shot would be to introduce something liquid into their morning coffee. I didn’t understand the concept of dosages, just that things with the skull and crossbones symbol were deadly. If I had gone with this plan, I probably would have put a little of some chemical in their coffee and done nothing more than make them a little sick. Besides, most of what I knew about poison came from watching cartoons. I envisioned one of them taking a sip, comically grasping his or her throat, and then falling dead to the floor, and therein lay the problem. Unless I could get them to drink simultaneously, one would die and then the other would discover my plan and would likely be upset with me.

I spent my free time exploring the house for a weapon I could use, usually during the day. Father went to work (I still don’t know what he did for a living back then), sister was in school, and mother spent all day every day reading her Harlequin romance novels. As long as I was quiet, she preferred to ignore me unless she needed to work out some frustration. While doing the dangerous task of searching their bedroom, I discovered the gun. I later learned it was dad’s .357 magnum nickel-plated snub-nosed revolver, but I didn’t know the details at the time. I just recognized it as the solution to my problems.

I took it to my room and taught myself how to use it over the next few days. I always returned it before sister returned home, in case the parents looked for it at night. All I knew about guns came from cartoons and a few Westerns on TV, but I had the general idea down right – point and squeeze and the bad person drops dead. Perfect.

Lucky for me, the first thing I learned was how to open the cylinder and remove the bullets. I wasn’t worried about shooting myself (I was too young to be that smart), but I knew guns were loud and I didn’t want to alert mommy. I didn’t understand how the bullets could fit through the barrel since the back of the round had a flared lip which prevented it from slipping into the tube, but I trusted the manufacturers to know what they were doing. Note – I didn’t understand that only the front end of the bullet fired, I thought the hammer striking the round knocked the whole thing through the barrel and, if you could find it, you could retrieve the bullet and fire it again.

Meanwhile, while learning the art of the gun during the day, I spent my nights practicing sneaking into my parents’ room, quietly moving around, and selecting my firing position. I found the optimal place in the room in which to stand, close enough that I wouldn’t miss, far enough away that I could shoot one then the other in the chest without having to change position. Most importantly I could get in and out without them waking. Yes, I now know the thought of a five year old boy sneaking into his parents’ room to scope the situation as he plans their deaths is tre creepy. Fecking deal with it.

The problem was with the gun. Although I learned the best way to operate it (cock the hammer, then pull the trigger) the weight of the hammer cock and trigger pull was almost more than my tiny body could handle. I thought I could wait until they fell asleep, cock the hammer in my room, then enter and fire, but it was so difficult I didn’t think I could cock the hammer a second time before the remaining parent could reach me. I knew the noise would awaken mom (I had already decided dad would be number one, even though I liked him better – I thought it prudent to remove the stronger one first), but I didn’t understand that shock and confusion would slow her response. I had never seen her express those emotions. I believed I had, at most, three full seconds to get the job done if I didn’t want to face her response, which would be swift and brutal as usual. Even after practicing, I couldn’t get the gun ready to fire again in that timeframe.

So, I chickened out. I was five and got distracted by other things, and by the time I considered killing them again I was seven, they were getting a divorce, and I better understood the concept of jail. The divorce got dad out of my life, leaving me stuck with mom. I considered killing her several times over the years, and even hatched another plan at age nine when I knew about the jugular, but I always convinced myself I would create more trouble than I would remove, so I bailed.

Do I feel bad about having those thoughts? No. I’m an idealist, and I think, bottom line, that good people should have long and happy lives, while bad people should suffer horrifying deaths, preferably at my hands, and those were a pair of bad people. The fact that they ruled my life didn’t mitigate matters, it only made them worse.

I kind of regret not making the five year old and nine year old attempts as they really had a good chance of succeeding. I wonder what would have happened to me later. Would I get the chance to grow up in an orphanage, a frequent childhood dream of mine? Or would I have been shuffled off to one of my parents’ siblings? I only knew the ones on my mother’s side, and they didn’t seem to be quite as bad as her, but still from the same rotten loins so I imagine it was a matter of degrees. Still, living with an aunt or uncle might not have been bad. If nothing else, they would have known the price to pay for abuse. “I can kick the crap out of this kid, but I have to sleep sometime. Maybe I’ll just buy him an ice cream instead.”

Did I say this was going to be short? :p


Saur♥Kraut said...

Fascinating! Thank you so very much for sharing this, seriously. Do you know how many abused kids share the same fantasies? The bright ones plan it out, as you did. Of course it's very rare that a child ever follows through with it, but (believe it or not) it may have been the therapy you needed at that time to deal with the abuse you were being dealt. This is very interesting.

Doug Murata said...

You did say it was going to be short. Liar! (I'm not going to comment on anything else.)

Kira said...

...well, you already have my email on this subject, Grant!

Angie said...

All I'll say is that I've been there and had the same thoughts. Luckily for me, I only had to think of getting rid of one of them. The other one would have thanked me for it...hell if I'd told her the plan she probably would have helped. Thanks for sharing, Grant. I don't feel like such a lone nut now :)

SJ said...

I had always wanted to do a Columbine style school shooting...why kill parents there are only two of them when you have so many strangers to choose from.

SJ said...

Jokes apart... I think my situation was the same as Angie's.

Ayako said...

Grant さんのコメント...
わたしと いっしょに けっこんを しませんか。



Grant said...

saur - thanks. From the e-mails I've received, this is not as rare of a situation as I had thought. Unfortunately.

doug - if it's too long, reset your screen resolution. :p

kira - if you disagreed with me, you're wrong. :p

angie - thanks to the Internet, we lone nuts can now band together.

sj - I also had Columbine-like plans, long before Columbine, but that's another post.

ayako - that's not a proper, roundabout J-style refusual.
ざんんえんな ですが つごうが わるい です。
I'm going to assume you were being sarcastic and therefore meant the opposite of what you wrote. =)

PBS said...

That was a very cool story, much better than mine where I tried to commit suicide at age five (must be something with that age!)for pretty much the same reasons. Even when I learned in church that suicides went to hell, I still tried to go through with it. Couldn't be worse than the hell I was in.

But at an early age YOU had decided that you were not going to put up with abuse forever! I admire that.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I wanted to kill my father when I was seven and I saw him beat up my mother terribly. I had a long butcher knife; my dad always kept the gun locked up or else I would have used that instead. My eldest sister found me and took away the knife. I was a quiet kid at the time, and it seemed to my family (3 other siblings--older)that my father's assholeness didn't really register with me; I never talked, never reacted. Instead, I planned.
Well, it didn't happen obviously and he died fairly recently of natural causes--believe it or not, we became friends.

Here's a better story: My husband grew up with a drunk for a father who'd beat his mother. However, his mother was no stranger to guns, so she bought a rifle and a shotgun. She gave the shotgun to the eldest son, not my husband, and she took the rifle. When he tried to hurt her again, she said that they both would blow his shit away. My mother in law was awesome.

Spider Girl said...

That was a fascinating post.

And more fuel for why I remain steadfastly child-free.

(Not that your childhood self didn't have good reasons to think this all out.)

Anonymous said...


Grant said...

pbs - I had my suicidal moments as well. Fortunately they didn't work out, although I still wish I had gotten away with the homicidal plans.

enemy - I'm glad everything worked out for you. After all this time, I doubt I'll ever reconcile with my parents. My father isn't interested in knowing me, and even if my mother made an honest attempt I could never trust her. I'm now whining, just saying is all.

spider girl - so then you're saying that, if you ever have children, you plan to abuse them? :p

anon - too bad. Maybe next time, sweetie.

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