Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Sad Strange Tale of the Girl With Red Hair (Part 2)

Part 1

It turns out he just wanted to talk. He wanted to declare a truce, end of hostilities, bygones be bygones. RJ told him in no uncertain terms to go fuck himself, that he was a piece of shit, and that RJ didn't talk to 'beaters.

This just made the guy even angrier - which is exactly what RJ wanted. He wasn't ready to be done with this guy yet.

The boyfriend showed up at the phase 3 house a few nights in a row, doing donuts in the parking lot, spewing gravel everywhere. One night he threw a brick through a window, with a note threatening everyone in the house. He claimed he was being stalked by Ranch Kids, and that he wasn't afraid to defend himself.

Then one night, he ran into Big John.

Big John was RJ's best friend at the ranch. A former member of the Folk, a Chicago gang - he was absolutely stacked, with a shaved head and rippling muscles; he looked like he could have been a pro-wrestler if he'd been taller. As it was, he was physically impressive. John had a bad coke problem and was prone to bouts of rage. I don't mean he got angry, I mean fits of utter rage that culminated in tirades of profanity, property destruction, and on rare occasions violence. John and RJ saw each other as brothers, which means they didn't always get along and nearly came to blows a few times themselves - but they always had each other's back. And while a lot of guys on the ranch were a lot of talk, claiming they were killers to be cool but then backing down anytime things got rough, John and RJ were the real deal. They were always ready for a fight. RJ popped some kid in the face once in a Wendy's just because the guy looked at him wrong. He took a lot of pleasure in describing exactly how this kid's lip split, how his nose started gushing like a geyser as he fell to the ground, the look of fear in his friends' faces as they looked over the other Ranch kids before running off. John was there - he just laughed.

In Phase 3, John ran with Little Don and Toomey. Toomey was a local drug dealer who had a house where he ran three operations - drugs, a barber shop, and a comic book store. The guys used to use me as cover to get drugs when I went to go buy comics - I'd stop at the shop for my fix, they'd head into the house for theirs. It was a pretty good system for them cause no one suspected anything out of my weekly comic run. I never went in the house, but the first time they walked out of it they talked about it like it was heaven. There had been a coke rock just sitting out on the table - to them it was like a diamond.

Little Don was a former Ranch Kid who had come back to Taos after taking off for awhile. The fact that Don and John ended up running with each other was a shock to the rest of us because they had been sworn enemies before. When Don had been on the ranch he had a dog named Mary Jane, a stray black and white pitbull runt that they had picked up off the street. This dog was the most amazing dog in the world - cute, loyal, ferocious - she loved us and we loved her. But when it came to other dogs, she was brutal - the tore the ear off a dog twice her size that tried to mess with her in town once. And then she'd sleep in our beds.

MJ used to be Don's but when he took off, he left MJ there. He said he'd be back in a week to get her and never showed up. John started to take care of her, and eventually she was his. He loved that dog, spent his stipend on her food, and looked after her. He wasn't the best owner, but he tried. Half a year later Don showed up to get his dog back. John refused. and Don wasn't happy. About a week before I got to the ranch Don snuck onto the ranch one night with a gun to try and get Mary Jane back. It was the very first story I heard.

But by now John and Don had buried the hatchet, and were working as side-men for Toomey - acting as muscle and drug runners. John was even dating Don's old girlfriend Tracy, who went from Ranch Guy to Ranch Guy to Ranch Guy. It made me sad, because Tracy was a nice girl and smart and could do so much better than being passed around by fuck ups and delinquents. But she never thought she was better than that, and that was the real tragedy.

I'd find the three passed out on our floor a couple nights a week. One time John and Don stole and pawned my TV when I went out to work. When I called John on it, he went into a rage and started screaming that I was a kike, and threated to beat the shit out of me. The ranch did nothing.

I bought a new TV.

John, Don, and Toomey were walking the streets of Taos one night when the boyfriend pulled up to them in his car. He knew John and RJ were tight and he wanted John to talk to RJ for him, to put an end to all this.
I don't know if he just tried to talk sense, or if he started mouthing off, but one of them pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the stomache.

Afraid for his life he took off and moved to the east coast, where he could never bother the girl again. He wrote a letter to the ranch telling everything that happened.

The ranch did nothing.

They claimed it was because they couldn't prove anything, but I think it was a combination of not wanting the hassle, and taking a very private side against an abusive guy.
Either way, they had succesfully run this guy not only out of town, but across the country, without consequence.

In the meantime, RJ and the Red Headed Girl kept fucking. She used to sneak up onto the ranch at night and bring the guys beer. They'd all get drunk, and RJ would take her to his room. I would say they got it on, but I'm not sure it ever occured to RJ that there was someone else in the bed with him.
RJ loved anal sex - he was a self described 'anal fiend,' and would talk endlessly about doing it with this girl. The guys were jealous, mainly because they weren't getting any and wanted a piece, but knew RJ was at the top of the pecking order and were happy with the beer. It was the first time I heard the phrase 'poop dick' - waking up to make breakfast one morning I was greeted by a smiling RJ in my doorway proudly exclaiming "I put it in her butt the other night and I haven't showered since, so I still smell like poop dick." It had been a good three days since she'd been over.

Knowing me, I'm pretty sure I didn't eat breakfast that day.

I always wondered how this girl felt, going from one terrible relationship to this. If she knew how the guys talked about her, if she knew she was being used, if she even cared. Or if she thought she was better off than before.

The last I remember of her was one night she snuck RJ and Travis off to the hot springs, where they were drinking and soaking. Eventually they got drunk enough that RJ and the girl started to do it right there. RJ was doing her from behind while Travis watched and drank, and he thought it was a riot at first until he realized he wasn't getting any. So RJ motions to Travis to come over. The way Travis reenacted it, he was like a snake - sneaking and crawling his slimy way over the desert rock until he was playing with her while RJ kept going at it. She was so drunk, she didn't notice until they high fived.
She screamed "What the hell are you doing?"
They just whispered, "Shh... it's okay, it's okay..."

The two of them telling the story, laughing, acting it out, finishing each other's words is something I will never forget.
I felt dirty for her.
I felt dirty just for being there.

I never saw her after that. RJ let her go when got bored, like he would. There were a lot of girls and a lot of stories. I was on the outskirts - usually in my room, or watching a movie, or taking walks with my friend Brad, that I doubt she knew me well enough to even remember me. I'm disappointed I didn't know her well enough to know her as anything more than this.
Because the girl in this story is barely a person the way it's told, just a prop. A sad, lonely human prop tossed around in a fucked up play with fucked up people.

RJ is married now. He has a daughter. I haven't spoken to him since I missed his wedding, and I cut ties with all but three people I met out there. I've tried to distance myself from everything about that place and all the things that happened, because I'm so scared that someone, anyone, will think that I'm a person like that. I wonder if he's changed, or what he thinks looking back on it all now laying in bed next to his wife with a daughter in the other room. But knowing the stories of his life, I doubt he even thinks about this one at all.

Her name was Carly. It came to me as I left work the other night, like a string I had pulled until it unraveled. A flood of other memories came with it. She spelled her name with a "K" at front or an "i" at the end - it was something different, but I can't remember which.
Karli the Red Haired Girl.

I'm not sure what the point of this is. I'm not sure there is one, other than that I remember it.
And maybe someone should, so there won't be any other Red Haired Girls.

1 comment:

Lexi from Pmac said...

First off, I'm really sorry you had to deal with that disgusting ranch, Jason. That's no place for anyone.Why I'm commenting though is that while her story is a sad one, and it's unfortunate that she goes from one shitty relationship to the next, at some point one has to wonder when personal accountability comes into play. And keep in mind I'm not totally blaming the victim, and there are certainly situations where it is out of a person's control (domestic violence in particular.)

I do feel sorry for her, and I'm not going to sit here and ask, "Why are you so fucked up? Why don't you stop dating assholes?" She obviously needs help, but those are her own demons to work out, and the last thing a person needs is a pity party, especially when nothing will come of it.

What is a person who reads this story to do? Get outraged for her, even though absolutely nothing can be done? She shouldn't be forgotten, but in the end nothing can stop that situation until she decides to stop it. And yes, I do feel as though a "victim culture" exists. More energy is spent "talking it out" to a therapist than actually dealing with the situation.

At some point the victim has to say, "It happened, and there's nothing I can do about it but move on." A victim needs to recognize the behavior that gets themselves into a particular situation and make an effort to change it(and what the red-haired girl is doing IS a behavior.) Behaviors can be altered, and I don't believe that talking about the issues with a psychotherapist is going to change learned patterns of behavior. Again, I'm not talking about all victims. This is addressed more to situations like this girl experienced. I realize this comment isn't very coherent, but it's late and I'm rambling. And hi Jason, it's Lexi. =P