The Mexican in the Bathroom (Continued from Issue Twenty-Three)
Weldon H. Sandusky
In the morning after breakfast Steve wastes no time contacting his old Air Force buddy, Greg—a man of about equal rank as himself though with the one essential qualification for what he’s about to set out to do, a law degree! With the Air Force’s advocate office he knows…
“Advocate Office, this is Greg.”
A A AH so!” Steve announces,
imitating their old saying from when they were stationed in
“Steve!” Greg is surprised.
“Greg, my dad is dead; I’m
“Man, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Heart attack,” explains Weldon’s son.
“Anything I can do?” Greg is direct.
“Yea, well, there is Greg.
As much as my father drilled me (though without a law degree), I
understand he has or rather had a law suit against the
“Right, I’m familiar with all that—mostly Federal law.”
“If you could get over here—cause I got all the documents: hospital records, physical evidence—tapes…--tonight, my father’s little apartment—I’ll direct you by cell phone.”
“Sure, sure. Steve. No problem. I’ll even pick up some dinner for us on the way. How’s that?”
“Perfect,” nods Steve as if Greg were there.
“You’re a saint.”
“How about just an angel.”
Greg hangs up; and, Weldon’s
son is secure in his success. He calls Vandenberg—Marybeth—and
then his mother in
“Hey.” Steve is almost drowsy from recollection.
“I’m on the Interstate headed
Steve laughs and then as a serious afterthought suggests, Original Crispy, Coleslaw and mashed potatoes.”
“Got it,” says the lawyer.
“Something to drink, your choice.”
He fixes the phone back in its cradle and begins to wait, tired of reading documents, deciding to indulge in a porn video selection from his father’s burgeoning collection. Momentarily…a woman is being dragged from a canoe into a wooded area and sexually assaulted—her underclothes gently removed like so many feathers and her lips kissed as if there were some love in the act. Ten or fifteen minutes into the movie Steve’s cell phone beeps… “Greg?” he says.
“No.” Recognizing the voice of his wife Marybeth, Steve quickly remotes the video for a second leaving only the white-black dotted screen of the T.V. on , and then, as well… “Yea.”
“The children miss you and I do to. Here’s Maggie wants to say something.
There comes a sharp, “Daddy!” They continue in a kind of staccato communication until at last Maggie, indicating she has scratched her knee returns the phone to Marybeth who, as well, desires the attention of the young father. In turn, Chuck and Colby get telephone kisses and ‘see you soon’ parting words. The phone dead now, the video history, and he waits for Greg. The apartment still seems to have the stamp of his father like some kind of document or, coldly, a gravestone. Steve returns to the table, seating himself like a naughty criminal delusional or perhaps with the flick of a button, violent.
As the evening progresses, Weldon’s son watches the clock on his dad’s makeshift desk until at last the footsteps of Greg coming up the stairs become audible as well as further Japanese fake martial art sounds. The knock and Steve opens the door like turning a page in some book. The men are military though such that the warmth of human kindness is quickly diluted by exaltations of possession—said property…one bucket ORIGINAL CRISPY KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN and though the colonel is absent and they are in the quarters of a dead man the chipper, thirtyish men have together a feeling, a nondescript rank in freedom like a whisper or the distant sound of a chain rattling on a flag pole.
“Sir.” Steve smiles like a memory.
“Whatever rights your dad had died with him. Except wrongful death; and, I don’t think he had a heart attack out of being declared insane twenty-five years ago.”
“How did you know,” Steve queries.
“Oh,” Steve says. “Big mouth,” he adds as a kind of rib, smiling half disappointedly in the news.,
“Unless, of course,…” Greg is quick to surmount the gloom, “Your mom stood in his shoes and claimed somehow her civil rights were at stake.
“But it was my father that got declared insane, no trial, no witnesses, hearsay evidence, a stupid ass appointed attorney-for-the-day.”
“Sounds familiar, like some neo-Martin Luther King , except in the area of mental health.” Greg is avidly combining Cole-slaw, mashed potatoes and chicken in grand mouthfuls.
“It’s like my mother…” Steve pulls a wing from the bucket, “was the victim and my father took the rap.”
“Whatever,” says Greg, lawyer like conducting an imaginary jury with his hand. “Anybody can believe anything,” he suggest taking the photo of Steve, three, and his mother’s paramour, Roger, from the table where Steve has placed documents and other evidentiary items. “Your dad and you?”
“That’s not my father,” Steve interjects. “That was a lover. Ah, his name was Roger and my mom and dad got back together after all that.”
“Oh,” says Greg. “No wonder he went nuts.”
“Come on Greg,” Steve insists and adding promptly like a footnote, “If in legal terms my mother has to bear the cross of this litigation then so be it. Can she appeal the dismissal of his motion that there was a conspiracy in violation of his civil rights?”
“Either that,” says the attorney knowledgeably, "or file a new cause of action with just a new portrait of another victim of the same unjust mental health system. One, two, three, it’s done—same ball park, new batter or pitcher, however, you want to see it.”
“Here’s,” handing the lawyer some papers, the divorce filing and the later subpoena for child support, respectively dated August 23, 1979 and June 28, 1983. But look Greg! My dad mailed a motion to dismiss the subpoena on grounds of a conspiracy in violation of his civil rights, citing Title 18 the United States Code §241. His rough draft brief for the case alleges the Federal clerks office for the Fifth Circuit told him they had lost the §241 papers.
“Someone disposed of the goodies!”
“Yea.” Steve says. “He got arrested months later on entirely different facts, facts not dealing with child support at all but rather stemming from an altercation with a neighbor—Marjorie Hartnett and her mother, Mary, over where my father’s mother lived.
“Right ! Here’s…” Steve is excited nearly bumping the bucket with his hands “…the order of protective custody for my dad’s emergency detention alleging he threatened to kill Ms. Hartnett, threatened the life of then President Ronald Reagan and was going to get a gun and commit suicide.”
“Why would a disinterested third party get involved in a suit your mom and your dad’s brother had going, said CONSPIRACY?” Greg ponders studiously the Wills of Weldon’s mother and his aunt, Frances. Greg suddenly produces from his coat somewhere a Sherlock Holmes looking pipe that additionally blows bubbles, the two men roaring with laughter as well as regaining interest in the fried chicken. “It’s like the chocolate got mixed up with the peanut butter, ah, the child support with murder. Pretty daring thing to accuse someone of!”
Steve agrees, looking for evidence that’s not on the table.
“We got…” summarizes Greg,
“Come on Greg.” Steve is headed for his dad’s Mr. Coffee maker.
“Seriously Steve, fundamental
rights are the big thing in Civil Rights, not so much, well, “little”
but like abortion, the right to procreation, the right to die (assisted
suicide), the right to vote, the right to be equal and on and on
and on: “Is there??????” Greg triumphantly addresses both the imaginary
jury and Weldon’s son with a chicken leg held high, “… a right
to be free from getting committed to an insane asylum.” Greg drops
Steve looks at Greg and Greg at the table in the room where night birds and pool ball molecules once rode on waves that told a story about love in a HYDROGEN atom, and, where, too, Steve’s father drew pictures of incongruous naked people and watched pornographic videos. No guns, no missiles, no maps, just a theory, a theory of conspiracy. Steve, surprisingly like Franco Lopez, tilts to fart; Greg holding then a cup of fresh coffee, roaring with laughter.
Weldon graduated from Texas Tech University in 1968-a B.A. in English. He then got an M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree (J.D. l975) from the same school. Divorce followed as did commitment to, first, the private psychiatric hospital, Timberlawn, in Dallas, and , later, the State Mental Asylum in Terrell, Texas. Mr. Sandusky petitioned for habeas corpus claiming a conspiracy to unlawfully commit him existed in violation of his constitutional rights.
Upon release, Weldon got a job at Exxon/Mobil where he worked twenty years as a cashier-nightman. During August, 2005 he underwent open heart surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital in Dallas and have since been declared totally disabled. He has coronary heart disease.