September 16th, 2007


1.73.2 - The Lesser of Evils...

“Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't…”

[Locked from those who don't already know]

The devil I know? Metaphorically speaking, that could be any number of things. At the very basic, the most obvious choice, it could be Nicole Wallace. Just below the surface, there’s a darker side to the devil that comes in the form of my father. And even lower than that, lurking in my DNA, in half of my genetic makeup, lies schizophrenia.

Nicole Wallace is a woman who is so crafty, so manipulative, she manages to stay one step ahead of me. She knows exactly what to say to me to inflict the deepest cut. She’s smart, intuitive, and has learned things about me that not even my partner knows. She likes to exploit all of my weaknesses. She sticks her knife in my chest and works it, twisting it again and again, just to watch me squirm. She uses my family history against me in any way she can to further her agenda. There was one case where her agenda was to destroy my professional reputation, to knock me down a few notches and shake me up. She found a deadbeat dad, one man I already hated, and pitted him against me. She framed him for murder, knowing I’d rip into him. She then killed him, setting it up to look like a suicide. As far as the media was concerned, I’d driven him to suicide.

The man I grew up believing to be my father was emotionally absent at best, spending most of his days drunk. He liked women and made to attempt to hide that. He would often come home in the early hours of the mornings after spending the night gambling and in his drunken stupor, would wail on my mother for something she had done. Most times, he’d go after her for something as simple as just being concerned about him. With me, when he didn’t hit me, he’d ignore me altogether. I tried everything to get him to notice me, to give me the love and attention I craved. I tried basketball, hoping he’d come to the games, brimming with pride. He didn’t and I soon quit. I have no love for the game anymore. I tried church, being involved in it a lot as a young boy, but I soon realized God wasn’t on my team. I stopped believing. Then... he left when I was 11.  As I grew up, I figured it all out. Nothing I could do would make him love me.

When I was seven, I lost my mother. She was still there physically, but she had retreated into her mind, substituting reality for something else. I didn’t understand what was going on; I didn’t understand what schizophrenia meant or how that had anything to do with my mother. After my father left, part of me blamed my mother for driving him away. I wanted her to stop talking to the voices and do as my father asked. I thought... if she could just get it together, it would all work out. As I got older, I realized none of it was my mother’s fault, but instead, the fault lay within her genetics, her biology. Schizophrenia stole my mother’s memories, her grip on what’s real... her very essence. She still had most of her spark, but it was jumbled and backwards at best. The disease that forever changed my mother also lurks somewhere within my genetic coding, hidden deep in certain combination of base pairs. I, myself, have managed to elude the disease, and even though the possibility is reduced exponentially, the chance of my kids having the disease still remains.

So, as the quote goes, I should rather those evils than the one I met recently. In a sense, I do.

I often wish the name Mark Ford Brady had never befallen my ears. I wish even more to have never met him. He was a rapist and a serial killer as well as a major part of my childhood, quite possibly the reason for my very existence. He used to visit my mother, having the kind of relationship that would lead my brother to call him Uncle Mark. The story is convoluted and possibly lost completely, but something happened between Brady and my mother that would change everything. Nine months later, I showed up. My mother didn’t know who my father was and I still don’t know. The man was up for execution, but I wanted to do it myself. I had my hands around his throat, but doing so would make me no better than he was. He’s a monster, evil incarnate, and I can’t think about him without working myself into a state of near rage. My brother remembers him, but I don’t, as I was too little for the short time he came around after I was born. For this, I’m thankful, but even just the thought of the possibility of sharing half my genes with him makes me physically ill.

My encounter with the devil I don’t know is something I’ll never completely recover from.

Robert Goren
Fandom: Law and Order: CI
Word Count: 841