Authors: Day Rusk
The Merry Pranked
The Marquis Mark
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The moral right of the author has been asserted.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents, other than those clearly in the public domain, either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Neither this book nor any portions of it may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the prior permission in writing of the author.
Cover design by Rhea Rusk
another’s perception of honor, for the first time in my life, I knew what it was to hate. And not just any hate, but the kind that resides deep down in your soul; a dormant beast that many will never awaken, while many others will have the misfortune of embracing.
The hate fueled me. Although I knew I should let it go, somehow, surprisingly, it gave me new purpose – defined the new me. That, however, was not really a good thing. I was pretty sure the hate I’d embraced, the darkness within my soul - was going to be the end of me.
And why not?
Wasn’t that how it should be?
I really had nothing to live for anymore.
My life was going to end in darkness, my soul surrounded by hate. If there was any consolation, I guess, it was that before I knew hate, I’d known true love.
considered myself racist, but, I guess...I am.
I’m a racist, even though it goes against everything I grew up believing – everything I am.
I’m a racist.
I cringe as I realize this truth, but nevertheless it’s right, as now, deep in my heart, I know it’s true.
It wasn’t always that way.
I grew up in a wonderful loving household. My parents, who I’ve only now come to truly appreciate, having shrugged off the blinders and conceit of my teen years, where I was sure I knew everything and they knew nothing, were somewhat progressive individuals for their day and age. They grew up in the Seventies and married in the early Eighties, a time of skinny leather ties, Flock of Seagull hairdos, and bands like Culture Club, Tears For Fears, and other assorted oddities. I believe at some point in both their lives they each owned pet rocks and, possibly, mood rings. In their day, their parents had already dealt with the issue of racism, in regards to Blacks—or should I say African-Americans to be more politically correct.
Can you call them Blacks today? Negroes? What is politically correct?
As a Caucasian male in today’s day and age, it’s difficult to know what you can and can’t say. Sometimes it’s just better to keep your damn mouth shut.
As I was saying, my parents didn’t see people based on skin color and they taught me and my sister and younger brother to do the same. Everyone was welcomed into our home, so long as they were invited into it by a member of the family. My parents trusted our judgment and tried not to judge, although I’m sure we made that difficult, especially when we started dating. Both my brother and I brought home the occasionally questionable girl – you know the type that dresses in such a way and acts in such a way that you’re not supposed to take her home to Mother - but it was easier for my Father to understand our intentions based on the...well, I hate to be rude, but rather slutty nature of the young ladies involved.
I said I was a racist, not a sexist. I’m sure once these young ladies navigated the turbulent waters that defined being a teenage girl and seeking acceptance and popularity they came out the other end intelligent and well adjusted young women. At least some of them; there were a couple that to tell you the truth I wouldn’t be surprised ended up wrapped around a pole in their all-together in one of the city’s many adult men’s entertainment establishments. That’s not to say there weren’t a few wayward males, also doing a lot of stupid things while looking for acceptance and popularity; and while some of them have found their way in life, I’m sure others have a less than impressive resume, and may even be considered failures.
I guess the point of all this is that during those teenage years, where we all believe we know everything, and everyone older than us doesn’t know shit, we experimented a little trying to find ourselves, which made it a hell of a lot harder when you consider biology had taken over and turned many of us stupid with desire and lust – awakening sexuality is not necessarily a friend to the average teenage boy. While puberty turned me and many of my friends into masturbating idiots, I would imagine it is during this time that teenage girls begin to discover the power they wield over us. They begin to understand the difference between the sexes and the fact that many of us – young male adolescents - are preoccupied with only one thing—SEX.
As I’ve alluded to earlier, my Father understood some of our dating choices, because he knew we were horny, and that in being horny, we were also temporarily insane. I can honestly say, that during my teenage years, I did care for and enjoy spending time with many of the young ladies I dated, but underneath it all, there was always that one unrelenting goal—trying awkwardly to get laid or at least cop a feel. No matter how much I enjoyed a girl’s company, or thought she was cool, nine times out of ten, I still wanted to see her naked and I still wanted to be naked with her—in the biblical sense, you understand. That’s why I say it was easier for my Father to understand my younger brother and my intentions when we brought a young lady home; despite the fact we didn’t acknowledge it, or even believe it, he was once young himself and driven by the same primal carnal desires. What made it hard for my Father was when my sister started bringing boyfriends over during her teenage years. You see, he knew that no matter how much that young man was interested in my sister, that underlying all that, what he really wanted was to see her naked and be naked with her. He was always polite to them, but I think that was only because he knew that my friends and I weren’t. We let anyone dating my sister know that if we heard of any attempts at hanky panky there’d be serious consequences—the word
may have been worked into many of those threats. I don’t know how effective we were, but my sister did get through her teenage years without getting pregnant; I should also point out that despite all my efforts during those high school years, I also got through my teenage years without getting someone pregnant; the truth of the matter was that despite having rounded many of the proverbial
on dates, I only hit one home run in high school, and that was a stupid move in itself –
but more on that later
. When it came to sexual intimacy, you could say I was a late bloomer, having not engaged in regular sexual intercourse until college, and even then, in my second year of college.
I know I seem to be fixating on sex—possibly elevating its importance to the young male mind too much, but as I think back to those formative years, it did seem to occupy quite a lot of our energy and thoughts; probably more so than it should have. I guess my point is that despite this preoccupation with sex, my Father had also instilled in me a respect for women. Other than fearing the intentions of my sister’s boyfriends—I know he’d have preferred she didn’t date until well into her forties—he never treated her differently than my brother and I. She was included in everything, including labor around the yard, until she discovered she could use her gender to get out of the work.
When it came to education and the potential of what we could become in life he never discriminated; actually, based on the fact my brother and I seemed to have lost our focus after discovering girls, I’m pretty sure he figured my sister was his and my Mother’s only hope to bring future glory to our family.
It was this lack of discrimination and sexism that I grew up with. I saw it every day in how my parents related to one another. I was lucky in that my Father had done well for himself, allowing my Mother to become a full-time, stay-at-home Mom. I’d never questioned this until my teenage years when I finally asked my Mom about it, sure that she’d been forced into a role she really didn’t want. To my surprise, staying at home to raise us had been her decision and one she never regretted. In life we tend to take a lot for granted, which I’m definitely guilty of doing. Now, unfortunately, that she’s gone, I can look back at all the little things she did for us simply because she was there and available—things that may have seemed trivial at the time, but were significant upon reflection.
Mom ran the household, but that didn’t mean Dad was a slouch in that area. Sure, he worked hard, but he also found time for us. It was obvious my parents started a family because they wanted a family and were prepared to put the time and effort into it as required.
As I observed my parents and their interactions with one another, I also saw that Dad relied heavily on Mom and her opinions; they often spoke about business deals he was involved in, and he valued her input. It wasn’t uncommon in my household, growing up, to find my parents huddled together in conference, discussing matters regarding the household or Dad’s business. I’m also sure there was a lot more they discussed; matters that were private to them and of no concern to us. It’s only when you get older that you realize your parents are more than just parents, but also human beings with their own thoughts, hopes and desires.
Now, I know I’m painting quite a rosy picture here; it’s something I can’t help. They’re both gone now, and all I remember, or choose to remember, is how lucky I was to have them in my life. As a boy growing up, I hit the jackpot; I had friends whose parents paled in comparison to mine. Nonetheless, even though they kept most of their disagreements between themselves, and I can’t remember us seeing them fighting or saying a cross word to one another, there were times when they got on each other’s nerves. Hell, that’s only normal when you’re trying to build a long life with one another.
I remember the time Mom and Dad were heading out for a night on the town, and while backing the car out of the garage, Dad accidentally ran over one of Mom’s feet. He didn’t do any serious damage or break anything, but he did scuff up one high heel and was never let to forget what a bonehead move that had been. Over time, however, in recalling the incident, it became less to criticize Dad regarding it and more to tease him about it—a source of laughter for the entire family. As I always said to him, “If you didn’t want to go out dancing, but just wanted dinner and a movie, there are better ways to go about it.” His response was always something to do about my taking a long walk off a short pier. I told him I would as long as he was right there with me holding my hand. And so on and so on.
When I think of my parents I can’t help feeling nostalgic, but I’m telling you this with purpose, not simply to indulge myself. I grew up in a home with a family that wasn’t perfect by any means, but a family that somehow worked, and in that regard I believe it was as perfect as any family could be. My parents gave me the leeway to get myself into trouble and to make mistakes; at the same time they instilled in me values and a code of conduct that always kept me from taking things too far. They established boundaries that, in effect, kept me and my brother and sister from going off the rails and not becoming well adjusted adults. Together we laughed, cried and loved together, and it is because of that fact that my future hit me like a tonne of bricks. Maybe if you can understand where I’m coming from, my background, my concept of a loving family, it will make it easier to see why I finally did go off the rails when confronted with the absurdity of another’s concept of family, as well as their idea of right and wrong. And while I know I’m not supposed to judge, and that many will explain to me that I just don’t understand - it’s a cultural thing - I can’t help it, I’ve been judged and now I’m judging and have judged. We all do, yet only a few of us are willing to admit it. I’ve turned that corner and am ready to admit it.
But more on that later.