Friday, July 19, 2002

Flashback Friday July Through December, 2002

The Girl Who (had a house, yet) Slept In A Mustang
Chapter 4

When we last left Daniel, he had been bailed out of jail by Xanna who, if the letters sent to the jail were any indication, was now his girlfriend, and deeply in love with him. She took him home.

It looked a lot like this
My greatest concern, after getting out into the free world was getting some sunlight, fresh air, exercise and eating good food.
The 155 days that I had spent behind bars, had me feeling like I was in the worst physical shape of my life, especially after all the honey buns which I had eaten -the ones that I hadn't traded for other inmates food trays.
Xanna took me hiking, my second day out, along a trail which ended at a waterfall which cascaded into a clear pool. I had an out of breath feeling for much of the hike, which was kind of disturbing.
A few days of rest and better food (my healthy diet) and I started to feel better. I started a jogging program, and was dismayed to find that the first mile that I "ran" took more than 8 minutes to cover.
Modou had given me my job back at the East Coast gas station. One of my fellow employees told me that she had heard that, when I had been arrested, I had held the police off in a three hour standoff using some kind of weaponry.Modou had no problem with the rumors, and actually promoted me to assistant manager. He thought that it was great that I had a house to live in.
Xanna bought a van, a Ford Econoline, 1983 model. She said that she had always wanted a custom van, probably planned to travel, and so she bought one.
It was to be the vehicle that I would use to drive the 29 miles to work and back. It got about 12 miles to the gallon, costing me 50 dollars per week..
Xanna and I and the two cats lived and slept together in her house, joined by Emory on the weekends. 
Our sex life could have been better; I was finding it emasculating to have a woman supporting me in any way, and I had pretty much been taken in by her, like a stray animal. This was not a turn on for me. I guess I am the anti-Tom in that regard.
She liked T-bone steaks, and so, almost every night, I cooked one on the grill outside the side door that we used to come in and out. She liked hers very well done. She liked them burnt to a crisp, actually.
I found this out one night after I had fallen asleep and left the steak on the grill. Pulling the blackened remains off, and lamenting the fact that I had ruined an eight dollar steak, I told her that I was sorry; I had fallen asleep and burned it. It was black and crispy. The edges of it were flaking off. It would probably make a crunching sound if bitten into.
She tasted it, and then told me that it was the best one that I had ever made.
I continued to work at the gas station, and to live 29 miles out in the country. The 45 minute drive and the 50 dollars per week in gas that the van burned were just concessions that I had to make for being out of jail.
I still had the trial coming up in October.
The State had amended the charges from "suspicion" to "Falsifying an application for a State license or ID card."
When I had gotten my Virginia ID, homeless and living right down the road from an animal shelter (and the elementary school) and had no real address to give the fine people at the DMV, I had given them the address of the animal shelter -amused over the irony that those people would take in stray animals and coddle them and feed them and shelter them, but if they were to find a human being camping on their property, the authorities would be alerted and the human being would be thrown into cage, like an animal. He would be fed and sheltered, but not coddled-
I  thereby falsified my application for an ID.
The charge carried up to 3 years in prison.
September, 2002
I tried not to stress out over the upcoming trial, but rather, enjoy life out in the country.
I set up a playoff type "bracket" and, starting with all 32 flavors of Fancy Feast cat food, I played them off, one against the other, giving each cat two tins and noting which flavor the cat finished first, and then promoting that flavor to the next tier to compete against another flavor.
Mr. Falls chose Ocean Whitefish above the rest. Mr. Mercury, Turkey Feast.
I went back to investing in the stock market, despite the roaming charges that I incurred on my cellphone in doing so from way out there. I started putting together a 2,500 piece jigsaw puzzle on a large table in the kitchen, and I bought a computer and resumed my long running study of UNIX shells and programming languages.
I had gotten my time in the one mile run down to about six and a half minutes, and life was pretty good, in general.
The First Occurance
Xanna and I  were in the hot-tub together. It was the middle of the month, when the nights in central Virginia chilled down to just above the freezing mark.
Steam was rising out of the tub in thick tendrils, reminding me of a huge witches cauldron. The stereo was playing softly. There were glasses of wine standing on the edges of the hot tub. We had just eaten an excellent meal. Xanna was floating next to me -the best amenity of all.
As I reached out of the water, into the frigid air, for my glass of wine, I watched the steam floating off my arm.
I took a deep breath and tried to let my mind go, as I exhaled. I was staring up at the country sky with its stars so clear and bright, letting my thoughts drift up into space with them. I was just at a point when I started to feel my mind "letting go," similar to the the way it had done, back in February, when I was offering a prayer of thanksgiving, in my hole in the ground.
Just then, Xanna spoke.  
Only, It wasn't her usual  voice that I heard. She had a  thick southern drawl, as she asked me in an accusing tone "Who are you thinkin' about? I know it isn't me! Your mind is a thousand miles away and you're thinking about some other girl, I know you are...I have a sixth sense about these kind of things!"
I was taken aback, both by the sound of her voice, and by the fact that this girl, who up until then had been sweet and soft spoken, smiling more often of late, though through clenched lips, and who usually always had something positive to say, was suddenly sounding jealous and suspicious. It was out of character. I had known her for almost a year at this point.
I assured her that I wasn't thinking about anything or one, just letting my mind idle and my thoughts float around with the stars.
She then, just as abruptly, calmed down and apologized, in the voice that I was familiar with. She blamed it on the wine. 
The incident made me wonder if she had a split personality. There wouldn't be another one like it until "the wine glass incident," about a month later.
Whose Wine, What Wine?
October, 2002
I was at the house. Xanna was at work. I had smoked some fish over oak wood on the grill and was ready to pour some wine to go with it.
After Taking a wine glass out of a kitchen cabinet, and placing it on the table in the hall across from the bookshelf with the witchcraft books on it,  I looked, but couldn't find, the cork screw.
I ran out to my car, and used one that I kept in my glove box.
Returning to the house with the opened bottle in my hand, I absentmindedly grabbed another glass forgetting about the one that was already on the table.
I was eating when she walked in, returning from work, and flew into a rage at the sight of the two glasses on the table, one of which was clean.
"Who did you have over, drinking wine with you!?!" There was no southern accent this time.
I was able to reason with her and eventually calm her down, explaining what had happened and pointing to the cleanliness of the second glass. 
Around this time Xanna had discontinued taking a certain medication which she only had to take four times a year and which had something to do with balancing her hormones. She did this, she told me, because she wanted to give me a baby, and one of the side effects of that medication was that it stopped her from becoming pregnant. 
The Terrible Towel
Incidents began to come closer together, like the contractions of a woman in labor. A few weeks later, "the towel incident" occurred.
I was at the house. Xanna was at work.
I stepped out of the shower into the frigid bathroom and noticed that there was only one small towel on the wall rack. I used that small towel as best I could, and then scooted to a closet in the old hall to get a second one to finish drying with. I hung both towels on the rack, after I finished.
Xanna came home and was soon ranting "Who did you take a shower with! It better not be that blond bitch!"
The Bitch Is Back
We now had a "blond bitch" living with us.
Xanna started to suspect me of cheating on her. With a woman whom she believed to be living in the very same house with us.
The other woman, whom she bestowed that particular title upon (after she found a strand of blond hair on the bathroom floor) was so adept at sneaking around, slinking from room to room and hiding in closets, the attic, and even the crawl-space under the house, that she was able to stay out of the sight of  Xanna (and myself, for that matter) day after day.
Xanna thought that we were carrying on a relationship right under her nose, right in her house. When she was in one room, the blond bitch would have hidden in another.
More than once Xanna suddenly threw open a closet door and rifled through the coats, hoping to discover her. She was never there.
She became frustrated.
She spent time investigating the attic, where she claimed to have found electrical wires that had been tampered with, as if someone had been pirating electricity to power a hotplate or a lamp. Someone blond.
She found similar evidence under the house, where there was a crawlspace with about a 3 feet of headroom clearance.
She started to do things like parking her Mustang down the road, when returning from work, then stealthily approaching the house when I was there alone, to spy on me. She had raked the leaves away from the house, all along its perimeter, giving her the ability to tiptoe from window to window without making crunching noises; trying to catch the blond bitch and I.
By now, I had had my day in court. The judge, after hearing me speak before sentencing, and telling him as much as I could about this whole story, said "I'm not going to put you back in jail, son."
I had that one less thing to worry about; but Xanna was taking up the slack, by seeming to be gradually turning into a witch.
A Pair Of Paranormal Happenings
December was approaching.
It was a Saturday afternoon and Emory was spending it with us.
These times when he visited, Xanna was able to suspend her suspicions and put on a happy (for her) face, making things seem like there was nothing wrong -at least the things that were within her control. 
I was sitting at the table in the kitchen, working on the jigsaw puzzle.
Emory was in the room at the end of the hall, across from the main bedroom, where he usually slept -the one in which the lady had gone crazy and killed herself in.
Xanna was in our room, on the bed, taking a nap (not unusual for a workaholic).
From where I sat, I could see the entire hallway.
Suddenly, something caught my eye.
It was Xanna's body, coming flying out the bedroom doorway and landing on the hardwood floor with a thump as her head bounced off of the hard wood. It appeared as if she had been thrown through the doorway; her body limp like a rag doll, as if sound asleep.
"Are you alright, mom?" asked Emory, in a bored tone of voice, as if this happened all the time.
Xanna came to when she hit the floor. "Yeah, I'm OK; I was just having a dream," She said.
She didn't like to sleep alone in that house, I had gleaned at that point. I later learned from Emory that it was indeed not the first time that she had been thrown out of her bed by "something."
Whenever I would get out of bed to use the bathroom, she would come with me, then stand outside the bathroom door until I came out. She would then follow me back to bed.
She had a habit of sleeping with one of her hands resting upon my body, the way cats do, when they want to become aware of  you getting up to leave.
One night, during one of Emory's weekend visits, he was sitting in his room. he called to his mother in the same bored tone, saying that he had just seen someone looking in at him through the window. He said it the same way he might have said "It's raining outside."
I went outside to investigate. There was snow on the ground now (which had been shoveled in a swath around the perimeter of the house to allow Xanna to continue her spying). What I saw was a set of footprints, coming from out the woods behind the house and across the back yard and ending underneath the window of Emory's room. There were no returning prints.
I lived long enough in New England to know that a person can't walk backwards, placing his feet inside the tracks he made going forward, without leaving evidence of it. There isn't any margin for error, and snow falling off the feet in between steps would give the person away. These were a clean set of footprints that just ended outside Emory's window.
Someone's Playing Games With Me!
December, 2002
Soon, things were starting to move themselves around the house.
Xanna would regularly scream things like "Where's my onyx necklace?!? I hung it right here last night after I took it off! Now, it's gone!!"
She found the necklace, later, on the bathroom floor (where she had found the blond hair...)
Her wallet, which came up missing from under the drivers seat of her Mustang, was eventually located on one of the shelves in the old hallway (where I had gotten the suspicious towel from) between two folded towels  That was after she had gotten a duplicate drivers license and canceled out and replaced her credit cards etc.
Her fits of jealous rage were more frequent now, as Christmas was approaching.
She bought me a car, as an early gift, a white Jetta, which ran fine some days and stalled mysteriously on others.
If she got off of work before me, she wouldn't go to the house. She would park her Mustang somewhere along the way, often just down the road from the house. On cold nights, she would wrap up in the blankets that she kept in her trunk for that purpose. I would spot her car parked somewhere along my way to the house, wake her up and we would both go home together.
She continued to look for clues left behind by the blond bitch, follow me from room to room, and always do "the cat paw" thing when we were in bed.
When Can I See You?
She eventually bought a "voice activated" tape recorder at Radio Shack, as part of a plan to catch me and the blond bitch, which she placed discreetly under the sofa in the bedroom. If there was anything going on while she was away, she was going to capture the audio, and the blond and I along with it.
She showed up at the little booth where I worked that night, and slammed the tape deck down in front of me, proclaiming: "Now I have proof!! Let's see you lie your way out of this one!! I have solid evidence, now. Listen." She hit the play button.
The tape had on it, sounds I recognized; the bed springs creaking; and myself talking to Mr. Mercury, one of her two cats. At one point, the sound of rain through a closed window was audible, then there was a sound like a window sliding open whereupon the sound of rainfall got louder.
Other random noises were on the tape, which only ran for about 20 seconds, but, in the middle of it there was what sounded like the voice of a little girl speaking; saying first:
"Is she gone?," and then about 10 seconds later:
"When can I see you??"