Friday, February 18, 2011

"Not All the Crooks Are Home!"

Tule fog rolls in from the direction of the old Tule Lake bed,
 Sometimes it catches newcomers to the Valley by surprise, it’s said,
 Other times it creeps in silently, shutting out lights, dense and deep,
 Soothing, a cool mist on my face, a blanket of moist air that will keep,
 Temperatures from dipping down to freezing or it can be a silent alarm,
Reminding me it hides those who are waiting to do mental or bodily harm,

Becky completed her shift at the theater, after wiping the popcorn machine,
 The counter, the fixtures, and all the other things she needed to clean,
Gave a wave and left, not staying to talk because the fog was unusually dense,
 Visibility was getting worse, getting home quickly and safely just made sense,
I swept the lobby, checked the outside doors, and waited for the movie to end,
The front doors I closed as the last patron left, not wanting my time to extend,
Anxious to go, as soon as the projectionist appeared, I turned out the last light,
Wary of people hanging out or cruising the main street looking for a fight,
This night the fog had chased them all away, filling the emptiness with silence,
The fog was soup, blocking sight and sound, in every direction forming a fence,
 I shivered and said aloud, “This is creepy. Even the crooks are home.”
But how could I know I was wrong? How could I know one liked this foam?

Outside of town there were no street lights but a narrow unmarked road,
With visibility limited to twenty feet, it led the way to my abode,
I drove with door open and leaning out, hoping no cars came my way,
Tense and dripping with sweat, I pulled safely into my driveway,
Nothing could make me venture out into the fog again today,
But all along, I was so wrong.

Becky was not so lucky.  The fog was the beginning of her nightmare,
Someone waited for her in the thick gray night and she wasn’t aware,
Wearing a ski mask to hide his identity, next to her house he stayed,
The fog obscured him, but he wanted no chance to be displayed,
 He noted the pattern of her arrivals and had planned this for weeks,
He told no one what he was thinking, disclosure meant leaks,
 Fog was an ideal condition which suited his purpose, he waited to act,
Weather reports were noted daily, and he looked for one fact,
High pressure would bring fog, lifting the moisture from the ground,
It would make him invisible, and he was sure fog deadened all sound,
 He wanted her to be alone, although he could handle any guests,
 This was his first time and he was nervous, he didn’t want any extra tests,
 Tired of feeling controlled by the government and the people in his life,
 He was ready to overpower someone who could give him little strife,
He saw Becky working behind the snack counter but she didn’t notice him,
“This time she would! Maybe she would even like me,” but that was a whim,
 “No, it’s too late for that,” he thought. “She had her big chance,”
 Controlling her by fear had its excitement. He wanted to make her dance,
Down the street an empty house for sale sufficed as his base,
He studied her house plan once again, an exit ready just in case,
With careful planning of every detail, his crime would be hard to trace,
As he looked at his notes he was satisfied, everything was in place,

Becky arrived on schedule, pulled into the garage, and turned the lights on,
 She read for thirty minutes, took her bath, after the drapes were drawn,
The sliding glass door opened, right on schedule she put her cat out,
He pushed past her and roughly jerked her inside, before she could shout,
 A six inch blade pressed against her throat.  He snapped, “Don’t try anything!
Or you will be lying on the floor not able to talk or sing,”
I only want your cash so don’t do anything rash!”
 Relieved that this was a burglary, Becky had no thoughts of rape,
 He continued, “Put your hands behind your back. I don’t want you to escape,”
 He tied her hands behind her back and said, “I’d better blindfold you,
 You might cause me problems, no telling what you might do,”
 She heard him eating something in the kitchen and then he was back,
“Hope you don’t mind if I fixed myself a little snack,”
He rummaged through her dresser, “I’m taking a few things, dear,”
Something about the word he said, suddenly became clear,
 Dear! Her memory was jolted, the words reminding her of a man,
 Who bought popcorn at the theater and off to the side would stand,
He had called her dear that same way. She was sure he was the one,
His voice whispered, “Now, sweetheart, we’re going to have some fun.” 
“You said you just wanted my money,” she said in dismay,
“Shut up! I didn’t say you could talk! Be quiet and obey!”
“Don’t hurt me,” Becky whimpered, her voice sounding far and remote,
“I don’t want to hurt you.  Not another word or I’ll cut your pretty throat.” 
He secured her hands to the bedposts and left her blindfold intact,
 Her clothing was ripped off, she was naked but she dared not react,
 Quickly he was on her and thrusting while she endured the pain,
 Afraid he would kill her, if she screamed or cried it would be in vain,
 “You asked for it.  You acted like you were too good for me,
 I knew you wanted it, the way you dressed, it was plain to see,
 You could learn to love me, you know, and it wouldn’t have to be this way,” 
When he was done he said, “We could make love every day,”
 “Leave the blindfold on,” he cautioned, “I’ll be watching close by,
Follow my instructions, dear, or someone will have to die!” 
He could have been somewhere near but she struggled to be free,
After a few minutes when time stood still, finally she called me.

 I walked into my house, out of the fog, when I heard my cell,
I couldn’t understand Becky, she was hysterical, her voice rose and fell,
As I listened, her story began to emerge, about the knife,
About the rape and how he threatened her life,
“He was waiting for me,” she sobbed, “and grabbed me as I opened my door,
He put a knife to my throat.  He raped me!” And then she told me more,
“Becky, did you call the police?” But I knew the answer to that,
 She would have locked herself in a closet after retrieving her cat,
She was wary of the police and all the questions they would ask,
“I’m on my way, Becky.” By herself, I didn’t think she was up to the task,
I called the police and hugged Becky while they asked about her sex life,
 Whether I was the rapist, were we a couple in a relationship with strife,
Was there a reasonable explanation why she was up this late,
Maybe her date misunderstood while she was out on a date,
 Was it a case of payment and she refused to do sex,
Or was it simply a problem she had with an ex,
 The questions were accusatory though Becky’s eyes showed fear,
But the policemen began threatening me for trying to interfere,
They let me to take her to the hospital but even there,
The questions were invasive, it seemed no one cared, 
To the police, Becky didn’t appear to be hurt physically, so it was no big deal,
They could not identify with being traumatized as being an ordeal,
 They continued talking and joking until a captain came in,
 Suddenly they sobered and treated us differently then,
Becky was convinced she knew her rapist but he never went to trial,
Everything that was reported just went into a file,
Because Becky did not have cuts or bruises that could be easily seen,
 The opposing lawyers accused her of venting her spleen,
 “You’re trying to make something out of nothing,” one lawyer said,
 “A lover’s spat gone wrong, you could have made up instead,”

Becky was outraged by the way she was maltreated,
Sometimes I took her to appointments and discussions that were heated,
 But often she went with women who she thought understood,
 She petitioned and marched and did what she could,
 There was progress regarding rape laws but then there were some,
 Who fought to block any headway, each and every crumb,
In one state, a congressman presented a bill to change the terms,
Of the law regarding rape, thus opening up a can of worms,
 Instead of “victim”, the woman would be called “the accuser”,
Instead of being a rape victim, Becky was in the hands of an “abuser”,
Privately one person suggested changing the word “rape”,
To a phrase more suitable to gentile tastes, taking on a different shape,
Rape could be called “assault with a friendly weapon,” which is easier to say,
 Although it would not take the act of aggression and violence away,
Rape could be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony,
And wipe away years of progress gained through fears and agony,
As for Becky, she is much more cautious and doesn’t like to be alone,
She carries pepper spray, a non-registered handgun, and her cell phone,
She’s still recovering from reactions she received from people she knew,
She’s not completely healed and she hates that one person through and through,
And when the fog rolls in, she wants to have someone by her side,
 Someone who understands her stress and trauma and can confide,
Usually that person is me because I became Becky’s best friend,
I married her and vowed to protect her till the end.

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