Posts Tagged ‘“My Name is Chantelle”’

Chapter 8 – Andrea

Posted: September 14, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags:

and

She sat in the dark at the kitchen table. Everyone was asleep. It had been a long day, but she wasn’t sleepy. She was never sleepy yet always tired. Tired for as far back as she could remember. She didn’t sleep so much as pass out for a few hours every couple of days. The meth kept her awake and the Valium helped her to relax  in the mid-morning when business slowed down as the men went to work or back to their homes.

But today, she was clean. Today she only drank coffee and soda. She would resume her habits tomorrow, but for tonight, she needed to be alert and ignore the overwhelming craving to numb her thoughts, her pain, and the endless images of nameless men who bought her for the hour or two that day. The images faded as long as she kept moving. She knew if she ever stopped moving, she would die.

She looked at the lit candle on top of the cupcake that she placed in the middle of the table. She purchased 6 cupcakes from the store the day before, but she only needed one, so she tossed the others in the garbage as she left the store. She wrapped the remaining one in a napkin and carefully put it in her purse. She was careful not to crush it as she walked home. She hid it in the back of the top shelf of the pantry behind a canister of flour. No one had ever touched the flour or even the top shelf in the 3 years she had been living in the house, so she was certain it was safe.

After everyone was asleep, she had gotten up and retrieved the cupcake and placed the candle on top of it. She lit it in the dark and sat back and quietly cried.

She never got to meet the child she had lost, but she knew it had been a girl.

To read the rest of the story, please join my patrons and supporters on my Patreon site. Only $2.00 a month. The best deal you’ll get all week!  https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis

Advertisements

Bankruptcy

What do you do when you find out your husband, the man you trusted your entire life to, has not only been cheating on you, but then cleans out all your accounts and leaves you broke and destitute?

If you’re like me, you get busy and make plans to take the son-of-a-bitch out. Quickly.

Seeing the look on the bank teller’s face as I waited for her to post my check made my stomach turn into a knot. It’s automatic as you see them look at your account, frown, do a ever-so-slight head tilt, and then look up at you with a plastered smile. That smile that they make them practice to give an air of calmness while waiting for the incoming screaming that they were afraid would happen.

“I’m sorry Ms. Caldwell, but your accounts have a zero balance,” she said. Her smile grew wider and stiffer.

I blinked. I blinked again and then did my own head tilt. “That’s impossible. There was plenty of money in there the other day. Are you sure you have the right account?” I asked and leaned over the counter to look. She quickly moved the monitor screen away from me.

She rattled off my information. It was correct. She had the right account but there was no way my checking and savings accounts were empty. A thought began to form in the back of my mind. I pushed it away quickly.

“What the fuck happened to my money?” I asked. “Where did it go?” I knew I shouldn’t have sworn and I knew she hadn’t done anything wrong, but this was the worst news I could have heard. I had managed to haul myself out of bed, get dressed, which was a stretch for me that day, and drive down to the bank. The fact that I had even put on a bra was a huge accomplishment for me with the way I was feeling and the shit my life had turned into.

She looked around the bank quickly and then signaled someone to come over. Her smile was back. She said I should talk to the Branch Manager. Another woman walked over with the same smile and said she could help me. She said “I can help you. Come with me and have a seat and I’ll get him for you,” but it sounded like “Oh-please-don’t-make-a-scene-and-be-a-psychotic-bitch-so-just-come-with-me-and-shut-the-fuck-up.”

I followed her into an office. She asked if I wanted anything to drink.

“Yes, gin if you have it. If not, vodka will do,” I said and sat down.

She chuckled “Oh that’s funny….”

“You think I’m kidding? Do I look like I’m kidding?”

“No.”

“Well?” I asked.

“I can get you some coffee or water…”

“Water, please,” I said and waited while she got it.

The office wasn’t very big but it was like every other bank office I had been in. Immaculate, efficient, and sparsely decorated with one oil painting and a few brochures on the table.

The branch manager came in within a few minutes, shook my hand, and sat down. “It’s nice to see you again, Susan. How have you been?”

I didn’t feel like smiling, but I couldn’t help it. Brad had been our banker at work since day one. Most of the employee’s, including myself, banked here and he was always willing to help.

“Not so good, Brad. Long story short, my husband and I split up and now I find out that all my money is missing. That’s how I’m doing,” I said. I could feel the tears coming but I refused to cry anymore. I had cried for 3 days. Enough was enough.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. All of it. Well, let me take a look at your account,” he said. I gave him all the information and prayed that while he looked, my money would magically appear and we would laugh about the mistake and how stupid computers were.

He frowned. We weren’t going to be laughing after all.

“Yes, I’m afraid that it’s true,” he said and moved the monitor so I could see it. He pointed to the transactions. One in my checking and one in my savings. Both accounts had been cleared out 2 days ago.

“Someone must have forged my signature!” I said. I knew that someone hadn’t, but I had to say it.

“No, I don’t think so. Look at this. This is the record of each transaction. Sam came in and cashed out each one. Here, right here, are his signatures. You see those?” he asked. His voice was full of sympathy and pity. That made me feel worse.

After going back and forth with Brad, I knew it was true. Sam had cleaned out everything and it was perfectly legal. It wasn’t right but it was legal. He was a co-signer on both accounts. He had taken all my money. He didn’t even leave me $1.00. It was insult added to injury.

To read the rest of the story, please join my patrons and supporters on my Patreon site. Only $2.00 a month. The best deal you’ll get all week!  https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis

 

 

rail

There are many angels among us. The underground railroad still exits. It’s primary use is salvaging women from the men who hurt them, beat them, kill them and exploit them. Jane is on the run, scared and only knows to go to her pimp. After all, it’s what she was raised to do.

Only 3 people knew where the shelter was and Robert was not one of them. He would call his mother and set up a time and place for the woman to arrive. She would be whisked away and no one knew where. Getting the woman was only a small part of the process. Once she was put in a car, she would be driven to several points in which, each time, she was moved to another car for a minimum of 5 stops. Not one of the drivers knew anything other than where to pick the woman up and where to drop her off. Disposable cell phones were used and the route changed frequently. Before getting into the first car, the woman handed over her cell phone. The battery was taken out and the phone disposed of. She wasn’t just running from an abusive man; she was running from and leaving behind her life.

Now he had to call her and tell her Jane had run. She would be upset and somewhat angry at him even though it wasn’t his fault.

He sighed and dialed her number.

“Robert, where is she?” she asked. She didn’t even bother with “Hello.”

“Mom, I’m sorry, but she ran,” he said. He was a grown man but now felt like a petulant child that his mom was scolding. “I made sure she had cab fare and the sergeant had the address to give the cab driver, but she wouldn’t listen.”

“What do you mean the sergeant had the address? Why didn’t you make sure she got in the cab? I had someone waiting for her all afternoon. Not until the sun began to set did I have her leave the coffee shop. What was so important that you couldn’t talk to her yourself?”

Robert couldn’t help but chuckle. After all these years, his mother still believed that there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. She had instilled in him that failure wasn’t an option or a choice. She also didn’t understand that a judge cannot be talking with defendant’s or becoming too familiar with them.

“Well, Mom, it’s a bit of a long story…”

“Robert, it always is. You know damn well how skittish and scared these women are. Promise me the next time, you get her to me.”

“Yes, ma’am, I will,” he said because chances were, Jane would be back in a courtroom again. They always came back unless they died. From what he had seen of her, she would surely be dead soon. He prayed that she offended again and he could get her to safety before her pimp or the streets murdered her. It was a waiting game of which would happen first.

The rest of the chapter continues on my Patreon site. I do hope you’ll join in. It’s $2.00 a month. An amazing deal! https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis

 

 

13775939_10154419102853628_4075369557919475460_n
As I continue to write my book and publish it online (check it out and follow along at: https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis), I am struck by how natural and easy it is for me to talk to people and conversely, how difficult it is for so many other people.

Why is this?

Short of someone actually physically assaulting you, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

They insult you? So what. You’ve insulted plenty in your life.

They make fun of you? Yeah…again…so what? You’ve done that too.

They scare you? Walk away then.

They disagree with you? OH MY GOD! HOW HORRIBLE! Lock them up and throw away the key.

I remember when I was doing extensive work in the criminal justice system. One thing I needed was help and 99% of the time I’d hear “Yes, I’ll help you but don’t make me go with you in there. I’ll help with mailings or phone calls or even a few bucks, but…no…not…them.”

I’d sort of pause for a moment and look at them.

“Why? What are you afraid of? Another human being? You’re perfectly safe. In fact, you’re safer in there than out here, so what’s the problem? Looking at a student scares you?”

No one could ever really answer my question, so I began to realize it wasn’t the environment (though it is different). It was the fact that they would have to look at another person and take responsibility for them.

Holy hell, what was I thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking and it’s this – that it would be fun, different and I could learn and see “the other side” of things and maybe…just maybe…make a difference.

That I would get out of my comfortable and boring life and stretch my wings and abilities and DO something.
DO something. Not talk about it. I couldn’t handle another conversation about the latest TV show or how difficult someone’s life was because they couldn’t afford to take another vacation or buy the latest phone or car or whatever crap they were worried about.

So I went and now I’m writing about it. I’m remembering as much as I can and I see that on some level, I miss these women. I’m finally at the part of the book where I’m introducing some of them to my readers. I’m struggling with how to describe them so the reader feels they know them and are standing in my shoes.

What did these broken and horrible people do for me?

Well, that’s pretty much what the book is about, but in a nutshell, I can tell you that I learned as much from they as they did from me.

Last I heard, my program was pretty damn successful. 5 years after completing my stint, I heard back that not one of the them was a repeat offender. All of them got out, went back into society and behaved themselves.

The secret?

First of all, I had some great data and help to give them. You can’t get anything done without the correct tools.

Secondly, and I think the most important, is I listened to them. I did not try to change them. I sat down and heard every word they said. I did not coddle them. I did not allow them to be victims. I pointed them in a better direction and let them make their own decisions.

Thirdly, I pulled no punches. I ran a very tight ship, made the rules clear and never let anyone abuse those barriers. I even brought in a whistle to use if they stopped listening to me.

Sitting with the broken is tricky. You cannot allow yourself to get pulled into their crap, which they created, and sympathize and go along with their justifications. We are the ones who build our own traps and we’re the only ones that can unbuild them. Kind of cool and kind of sucks.

You’re the only one that can fix you but it’s almost impossible to do it alone. I tried and it almost killed me emotionally.

We all want everyone to listen and understand us, but how often do you do that for another? Huh? When was the last time you took the time to just sit and listen to someone and not judge them or tell them what they did wrong?
If you want to fix you, first go help fix someone else. Trust me, you’ll find that you’re really not that broken.

You just think you are.