Who He Is: Griffin Moriority
I never knew that I could hate anyone as much as I hated my mother. If anyone ever had a good reason, I did. She was cruel and heartless. She told me, when I was a small child that I was no good, that I would never amount to anything and that I was a total misfit.
She told me that she was ashamed of me and that I was the reason my father left us. No wonder I was so mixed up and miserable all through my childhood. I thought myself ugly and not worthy of love.
The year I graduated from high school, I became a massage therapist at her command . Not my idea of what to do with my life. I wanted to be a rancher or farmer with cattle, horses, and a nice big barn. My life was always “all about her” and what she wanted.
After years of self doubt, I began to form a different opinion of myself. Something out of nowhere kicked in, the year I turned nineteen. When I looked into the mirror I no longer saw a misfit, I saw a young person with potential. I saw a young man looking back with a wide smile that covered his tanned face. Blue eyes that seemed warm and sincere. Thick blond hair bleached shades lighter by spending hours in the hot sun mowing half the lawns in Reno City. I was in fact a golden boy with Troy Donahue looks…BUT a Norman Bates mind.
My good looks, no doubt, come from my father’s side of the family. My mind and personality shaped by the devil himself through a monster called “mother”. She had no idea what her boy, Griffin Moriarty, had become. She thought that I was totally hers to do as she pleased and without mercy. BUT SHE WAS WRONG. I had become a real work of art. I had been such a good boy all my life. Now I was a man with pure evil on my mind. Yes, I was a man with good intentions that had gone bad. A monster, just like my mother, only I was not in full view. I hid behind my good looks and a loving smile.
I was now ready to destroy those who had wronged me. Sadly, the town of Reno City didn’t have a clue what lurked in the shadows of their small community. They only knew me as a quiet young man with a strange mother and that I mowed their lawns cheaper than anyone else would. They had taken advantage of me, but that time was over and done with. I would not be mowing their yards anymore. I had much bigger plans. How stupid these people of Reno were. Too dumb to know that one of their very own, was about to change the town of Reno City forever and not for the better.
She was wearing the same dirty housecoat she wore three days ago when she made us spaghetti for dinner. Tuesday was spaghetti night at our house. Wednesday night would be meatloaf night. No doubt she would have brown gravy stains added to the multitude of food stains on her grimy chest. We had a washer and dryer, but I don’t think she ever used them. As a kid, I washed my own clothes as far back as I could remember. I started doing most of the chores around the house, the year my father deserted us. He left one morning for work and never came back. He worked a few years at Winthrop Auto Repair Shop. He got alone fine with old Mr. Winthrop. Things changed when Mr. Winthrop became ill and his son Shelly moved to Reno City to help look after him. Dad did not get along with Shelly. He would come home ranting and swearing about how badly he was treated.
Regardless of how badly he may have been treated, I think it was my overbearing mother that drove him away. I had seen her beat him up on more than one occasion. Bloody nose and all. It didn’t take much to set my mother off. Most people stayed clear of her. It wasn’t worth the risk. She had one friend, Becky Wilder, that she used to hang out with when they both worked at Walmart as checkers. Something happened one day, and Becky never spoke to her again. My mother said she would never trust anyone ever again . To my knowledge, she never did. People, that is.
She did make friends with a stray cat she named Billy Graham. I never could figure out where she got the name until later on in life. I didn’t try very hard to figure her out, because I considered her crazy. It was refreshing to see that she was capable of showing emotion to someone or some thing. I was glad that Billy Graham got to sit in her lap at night. A place that I never remember sitting. As a young boy, I wanted nothing more than for her to show some affection and to know that she loved me.
When my father left us, we did have some difficult days financially. The thing that saved us was a piece of real estate property that my mother owned downtown Reno City. She rented part of the building to Brammert’s Shoe Store and the other side to The Palace Drug Store. Both had been solid tenants for a very long time. There was one small part of the building that had been renovated in to a Chiropractor office. Dr. Wells, a young man built his practice from the ground up all by himself. He was a tenant for about 3 years. The year I graduated from Reno High School, he decided to move his practice to Oklahoma City. I really believe the day he gave mother notice that he would be leaving in a few months was the day she came up with the idea of me becoming a massage therapist. She got the idea from Becker Wilder’s brother.
Becky had a brother that was a massage therapist, and he did very well. Mom figured if her brother could be a successful businessman, anyone could. When she started badgering me about her plans for me to become a therapist, I told her straight out that I wanted to go to agriculture school. My father had grown up on a farm, and he made it sound like a very profitable and pleasurable venture. I loved driving thru the countryside and looking at the cattle, horses and farmland. I also had a curiosity about old barns. There was something magical or maybe I should say haunting about every old barn I saw. If the property looked vacant or foreboding, it made the old barn all that more appealing.
Like everyone else in the community, I was afraid of my mother. I believed her when she told me that I would be on my own if I didn’t enroll in school and get my license. She said I could have the office that the chiropractor had occupied. I knew she was dead serious about the massage therapist thing so I enrolled in Platt College in Oklahoma City. I knew I would be homeless if I didn’t. It took about six months to get my license. When it showed up in the mail, I felt really sick to my stomach. Knowing I had to go through with it, I hung up the certificate and opened shop a week after receiving all my certification. I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything other than following mother orders.
It was good to have office space waiting for me, but I was very sad to see the chiropractor move. He was a great person. I talked to Dr. Wells many times when I went to collect the rent. He knew about the situation with my mother and how she made me feel. He advised me to go see Dr. Steve Maynard. At the time he was recommending it, I didn’t really feel the need to go. I just needed to grow a backbone. I finally decided to pay Dr. Maynard a visit after I threw Billy Graham against the wall so violently, he died a few hours later. I was able to convince my mother that the cat ran away. I told Dr. Maynard about the cat incident, only I didn’t tell him how the poor kitty died. After he died, I put Billy Graham in the trunk of my car in a shoe box. I drove out to country to the old barn. I dug a small hole inside the barn, then buried him. I actually felt power in my life for the first time. The cat had been a real problem, especially the litter box which I had to clean or endure the horrific odor. Now I would never have to smell cat poop again.
I got my first customer two weeks after my shingle went up. It was a high school kid with a sports injury. After that visit, my calendar began to fill up. I preferred sports injuries clients, but my day was spent mostly with older people with back and neck problems. Sometimes, my arms and hands felt numb at the end of a long grueling day. I noticed I was gaining considerable strength in my hands and began to feel like they were becoming weapons. One day, I was giving a back massage to this old lady, and I got too rough with her. She cried out in pain, and I realized I was having a vision of what I would like to do to my mother. I had been having those visions for years.
It started when I was only 10 years old, and my best friend Alvin had come to spend the night with us. To have a friend over was a rare thing at my house. Mother didn’t like company. But it was Christmas time and she finally broke down and told me that Alvin could spend the night, and we could play games in my room. Everything went fine until around 1 in the morning when Alvin got up to go to the bathroom. He got disoriented being in a strange place so somehow he ended up in her bedroom. My mother had just turned out the lights and was ready to climb into bed. As always, she was wearing heavy men’s socks up to her knees as if it was below 0. She would wear an old fur coat to bed on cold nights to help her stay warm. She said it help with her rheumatism. Poor Alvin, half asleep, saw her bulk form covered in fur and mistook her for a creature of some kind. He began screaming, “There’s a bear in the house! There’s a bear in the house!”
Both Alvin and Mom ran out the front door at the same time. In flight, she knocked over the Christmas tree along with a lamp. Broken ornaments and glass were scattered all over the living room floor. It took a few minutes until I realized what had taken place. Poor Alvin, I think went into complete shock. I guided him back to bed, but it took him a long time for him to stop crying. I felt so sorry for Alvin and for myself that I cried right along with him until we both went to sleep. I asked myself a million times, Why couldn’t I have a mother like everyone else? Soft, nice and normal.
I think that was the night that I really began to hate her. Dark thoughts began to creep into my mind and stay there. Some nights I only thought about doing away with her. I held this in check by telling myself, I will graduate from school and move on. But moving out on my own took money, and money was something I didn’t have or know how to get at the time. For one thing, I hadn’t saved any money, and I didn’t have any resources to pull from that I knew of. So I was stuck with her until I could make other plans. Plans that certainly could come to fruition, if I was clever enough.
I concluded that I had controlled myself all these years, but now she had gone too far, pushing me into becoming something I didn’t want to be.. I was sure she was laughing at me behind my back. Probably the whole town was. I hated being laughed at. I was now a man, not a boy. I wondered what the whole town was saying when they saw my shingle go up. Especially the ones like Bella Vaughn and Queenie, the bitch that owned a bar named after her.
I cut her yard a full summer for low pay. She told me what a good worker I was all summer long, then after the summer ended she accused me of stealing her lawn mower. I knew nothing about what went with her darn mower. I was lucky because Queenie didn’t have much credibility in Reno City . People thought her to be a scarlet woman, owning a bar and all.
Then, Bella Vaughn, the secretary at city hall was a total witch also. Bella was the first grown up lady that was really nice to me when I was just a little boy. She made me feel like I was somebody and capable of being loved. She would come by my house and pick me up for church. After Church, she would usually take me to this little café on Main Street and buy me a hamburger and a coke. Sunday was my favorite day. I use to pretend Ms. Vaughn was my mother. She was always smiling, and she smelled so good.
All this stopped the day Bella asked me who the two women were that had moved in next door to us. I innocently call them a vulgar name. I really thought that was their name, because that is what my mother called them. I had no idea that I had said a bad word. Ms. Vaughn asked me to repeat what I said, so I said it loud and clear. This time she knew exactly what I called them. Her face turned two shades of red. I didn’t know their last name was Curt, and I had no idea my mother was being facetious. The smile left her face along with her good opinion of me. I was now trash. She dragged me by the collar into the church restroom and washed my mouth out with soap. She immediately took me back home. I was poison after that.
She never picked me up for church again. That was really hard because I didn’t have but one other friend, and that was Alvin. I was lucky. He remained my friend until we graduated from Reno High. I felt completely friendless after Alvin left town three months after graduation. He up and joined the Marines because he was bored with living in Reno City. Now he was out there in the world making a name for himself, and I was still in the same rut following my mother’s commands. I felt like a complete failure.
What did I have to show for my life? Oh, I had a certificate hanging on the wall, but it was not what I wanted. I wanted to go to college, get a degree in agriculture and meet some nice girl and live happily ever after. I wanted kids to take to ball games and the movies. I wanted a pretty wife to come home to at the end of the day who didn’t use dirty language. I had always believed in respecting others feelings, but now I was beginning to feel that that life had dealt me a terrible blow. Nothing was fair. My feelings had become all mixed up.
I remember how great it felt to plaster Billy Graham against the wall. How invigorating it was to pick up his lifeless body and to know I had put an end to his crapping all over the house. These days I wasn’t feeling any guilt for my thoughts, so I decided I better make another appointment with Dr. Maynard and see what he could make of me. Surely he could figure me out in two visits. I didn’t tell the doctor the whole truth but who does! That was Dr. Maynard’s job to figure out if I was a psycho or just a poor trouble soul.
Dr. Maynard saw good in me. He told me to get interested in something like collecting stamps or old coins which I thought sounded childish. But he was the shrink and he should know if I was a bad apple. But instead he patted me on the back and told me to study hard in school. I must say I felt pretty smart pulling the wool over Dr. Maynard’s eyes. If I could fool him, then I could fool at lot of other people too. My darkest thoughts were becoming plans. Plans to do away with the likes of my obnoxious mother, hypocrites like Bella Vaughn and tramps like Queenie. Now the old barn was beginning to come back into play. Its isolation inspiring, a sense of mystery that was over whelming. I loved the thought of Billy Graham, the cat , dead and buried under a layer of manure. My mind fed on this thought. Tonight, after dinner, I would drive out to the barn and look things over.
The town’s gala was coming up and I needed to act quick. What a golden opportunity to find out what the good people of Reno City were thinking. I might donate a few dollars. Life was looking sweet for the boy who was finally a man.
A writing experiment