There's Something Bothering Daddy
by Barbara Lynn Terry
It all started two days after school let out for the summer. I was sitting in the kitchen, and the Braves were playing the Dodgers, or so my daddy had told me. He wanted me to watch the game with him. That was this morning. When dinner was over, my mother and sister went to do the dishes. I decided to clean the dining room. Daddy was not too happy about me doing "women's work" as he called it.
My Name is Lee, my sister's name is Leigh, my mother is Rose and my daddy is Ken. He never liked Kenneth, so he had asked all his friends to call him Ken. Our last name isn't important. What is important is what happened that night. I am fourteen years old. Daddy had ordered pizza so he had something to eat while he watched the Braves and Dodgers play. The game came on at seven, and the pizza came about ten minutes before the game started.
"Lee, I got pizza for the game, come in the living room. The game is just about to start."
"No thank you, daddy. I really don't want to watch the game."
"It's better than sitting in here with the women."
"No, daddy, I think sitting in here with the women is better than watching some stupid game where an idiot hits the ball with a stick, then runs around three bags called bases. Even Leigh can hit a ball with a stick."
"You watch your mouth, young man. Baseball is our national pastime. These games are important."
"Important for whom, daddy? You? What I can't understand is why you need to watch such a game and then get excited when one of the idiots hits the ball in to the stands. Can you tell me, please, what that is all about?"
"I should just...go to your room, young man, I will deal with you later."
I ran up the back stairs to my room and slammed the door. About five minutes later, mom and Leigh came in my room. I was lying on my bed with my feet hanging over the side and my head on my pillow, crying.
"Lee, honey, what's wrong?"
"Why does daddy think I am interested in those dumb games he watches? I don't like baseball, football, soccer, hockey, boxing or wrestling. Why do guys get so excited about all of that?"
"You talk as though you were separate from being a guy. You talk about them the way a girl would." I sat up and looked at mom. Mom looked me in the eyes for a few minutes, then all of a sudden it was like a light bulb had been turned on in her head. "Oh my gosh, you, you really don't know how guys think. Do you?"
"No, mom. I know how girls think. See mom, I have been afraid to tell you about this, but I have told my girl friends. They have been teaching me things a girl would do. Mom, I'm not a boy in here," I said, pointing to my heart. "I have been really sad because daddy wants me to be like him, and I can't." Rose hugged Lee.
"Sweetie, don't you worry about your father. I will handle him. You just be who you have to be. Leigh will help you, because quite frankly I don't know young girl's fashions. Leigh can also teach you makeup, and I think we will take you and get your ears pierced. Would you like that?"
"Yes, mom. Sis, can you forgive me for not telling you, too?"
"Yes, little sister, I can." Just then his father came in the room.
"What's this, a girls coffee clutch? You have some explaining to do, young man, and it had better be good, or I will tan that backside of yours."
"Stop calling me daddy. I am dad to you. Only girls call their fathers daddy.
Mom, Leigh and I all said "yes, daddy", together.
Daddy took off his belt, but mom and Leigh stood in front of me.
"You harm one hair on her body, mister, and you will have fun, alone, in a motel, with your head in your hands, knowing you left something desirable. Now, either you sit down and listen, or I swear I will let the police know you tried to kill our youngest daughter."
"Youngest daughter!" Daddy exclaimed. "You are out of your freaking mind! We have a daughter and a son, not two daughters."
"Oh really. Well, then I guess Shari is right. You are nothing but a narrow minded bigot."
"Who said that and who the hell is Shari?"
I stood between mom and Leigh.
"I'm Shari. Shari Marie if you must know."
"You damn little faggot, I'm going to tan that ass of yours so red you can't sit for a lifetime of Sundays."
As he tried to swing his belt, mom moved me out of the way, and daddy missed.
"So this is how it is. Well, two can play at that game."
He went downstairs and called the police and told them what had been going on from the time he had told me to watch the Braves play the Dodgers, to coming in to my room and being told by me, Leigh and mom that I am a girl.
"What!?! What the hell do you mean it isn't against the law? Isn't perversion against the law?" Daddy listened for a bit, then he said in to the phone; "well, no he isn't being forced, but he's a fourteen year old boy." Daddy listened again. "No he is not old enough to know his own mind." Daddy listened again. "No, he was the one who told me. I see. So you're not going to do anything?"
Daddy hung up the phone and went in to his and mom's bedroom. We all followed him. He took out his suitcase from the back of the closet, and packed all his clothes.
"You all want this to be a girls house, well, now you have it. I'm leaving. Shari Marie, my foot."
"No, daddy, I am not your foot, I am your youngest daughter. Why can't you just accept it that I am not like you and can never be?"
"When you get you get your growth spurts, and you stand six feet tall, you will be sorry you ever thought like this."
Me, mom and Leigh giggled.
"Go right on ahead, and think this is funny, but it will be me that has the last laugh. Remember, he who laughs last, laughs best."
"I will remember that, Kenneth. When you get lonely, don't come around here with alcohol on your breath, thinking I'm going to give you any bedtime favors."
"I wouldn't waste my time. There are plenty of girls out there looking for a real man." He dragged out the word man, like it was supposed to bother me.
"That would be grounds for a divorce. If that happens, I will sue for a bill of divorce and take every and anything I can away from you, for being a stupid, simple and narrow minded, asinine, homophobic bigot. Did I leave anything out?"
"How about macho? Something our son could use a lesson in."
"Which son is that, Kenneth? The one you are so desperately holding onto in your mind, or the one you are hoping you can have?"
"Stop calling me Kenneth! My name is Ken."
"Your name is Kenneth Andrew, and I don't think there is anything wrong with Kenneth, or with Andrew."
"Rose, Kenneth is a sissy name. There was this boy in college that the jocks all made fun of because his name was Kenneth."
"Was that boy, you, dear?"
"Go to hell, all of you."
He slammed his suit case shut, fastened the clasps and stalked out of the house to his car. He screeched the tires as he backed in to the street. It was a miracle that he didn't hit anything, or get in to an accident from an oncoming car. He screeched the tires again, as he sped down the street. He should have looked in his mirror, because as he was speeding, a police car had just turned on to our street and saw daddy going way too fast. They chased him for a few blocks, before daddy pulled over.
The officers had him breath in to this tube like thing, and walk a straight line.
Mom, Leigh and I went down so we could listen.
"So, sir, why were you going so fast?"
"So I could get as far away those three, there, as fast as I could."
"Why is that, sir?"
"Because that one right there," he said, actually pointing to Leigh, "is a faggot and wants to be a girl. He won't even watch a baseball game with me."
"So, you are pointing to this person here?" The officer asked.
"No, no, get your head out of your ass. That one next to her."
"I see. So tell me, sir, why did you call this young lady a faggot?"
"Because he wants to be a girl."
"What the hell do you mean, so? Has the world gone crazy? He's a boy, damn it, and he needs to act like one!" Daddy was shouting at the officer by now. The officer took out his walkie talkie.
"Squad 34, go."
"Need a wagon at the corner of Elm and Birch streets for prisoner transport."
"10-4 squad 34. I am sending wagon number 98."
"Sir, turn around and place your hands on top of my squad."
"What the hell for?"
"You are being arrested for disorderly conduct while on a public street. Do you wish to add obstructing and officer? Hands on top of the squad."
Daddy placed his hands on top of the police car, and the officer searched him, then handcuffed him behind his back. They waited for the paddy wagon to show up, and when it did, they put daddy inside, and the two officers in the wagon left. The officer then turned to us.
"Which one of you was he talking about?"
"Me, officer. He said for me to watch the Braves play the Dodgers unless I wanted to sit in the kitchen with the women. I told him I would rather sit with the women. That was when he threatened to beat me. He told me to go to my room, which I did. He came in the room later, and took off his belt. He swung it at me, but my mom, here, pulled me out of the way, and he missed."
"So then he attempted to hit you with a belt?"
"Yes, sir. The belt from his pants. He actually swung it at my face."
"Thank you." he wrote something on a paper and gave it to mom. "This is a show order. Be at the district attorney's office at nine in the morning. Your father will then be charged with child abuse and attempted injury by conduct regardless of life. Those are felonies that could get him ten to fifteen years in prison."
"I'm sorry about all of this, officer. But, I had to let him know that I am not like him and never will be able to."
"You have nothing to apologize for, young lady. Also, don't think you are alone. There are many transgender people who are proud to be who they are. You just be who you need to be, and don't worry about what other people say."
"Thank you, officer."
"Okay, I will see you in the morning." The officer got in his squad car and left. We then went back to the house.
When we got in the kitchen, mom made us all tea, and we sat there drinking the tea and talking.
"Mom, why does daddy have to be such an ... uhm ..."
"Ass? Yes, well, I am surprised he is like that. He has demonstrated at college for the administration to allow a transgender support group to form on campus. During the demonstrations, he even said that people had a right to be who they are, and nobody had the right to tell them different. I am very surprised by his outbursts and his threats towards you. But, don't you worry, I don't think the officer will actually ask for him to be charged. I think he is just trying to scare your father in to accepting you for who you are."
"You really think so, mom?"
"Yes, dear, I do. Why don't we pick a good dvd to watch. Shari, what do you think we should watch?"
"A League Of Their Own?"
"Good choice. You go and get the dvd out, and I will air pop some popcorn."
I went to get out the dvd, and put it in to the dvd player/recorder. A few minutes later, mom came in with Leigh and we all sat on the sofa and watched the movie. After the movie was over, we all decided to go to bed.
"Little sister, I have a nice nightie you can wear to bed. That is, if you want to."
"Thank you, Leigh, I would like that."
"Then come on, I will show you how to moisturize your face, hands, arms and legs."
I followed Leigh to her room. She showed me how to use body lotion on my hands, arms and legs. She showed me how to use small pads to moisturize my face with. I did my arms and legs first, then I had to use two pads to wipe the rest of the dirt out of my pores. I had washed my face before hand, though. But washing your face with Caress, might make the skin soft, but it doesn't get all the dirt out of the pores. That is what the face pads are for. After moisturizing, and getting on the turquoise, satin lined, nylon outer layer, nightie, Leigh gave me a robe and a pair of velvet soft, pink bunny slippers.
"Leigh, these are your favorite slippers," I said, astonished that she would let me wear them.
"No, little sister, they are now your favorite slippers. You can keep the panties, the nightie, the robe and slippers. They are my gift to my little sister, Shari Marie."
"Thank you, sis," I said, giving her a sisterly hug.
Then I started crying. Leigh held me until I stopped.
"Only a girl cries like that when she is happy. Welcome to girlhood, Shari Marie." She hugged me, and then I went to my room and got in bed.
I dreamed about daddy, and how he had flipped when he found out that I would rather be his daughter and not his son. In my dream, though, he had actually hit me, and then told me to get out of the house. I ran out of the house, leaving the door wide open, and almost got hit by a car. I woke up with a start and saw Leigh and mom in my room.
"Honey, are you all right?"
"Yes, mom. I had a dream that daddy had hit me and told me to get out of the house."
Mom sat on the bed, and so did Leigh on the other side of me. They both hugged me, and then mom looked at me.
"Honey, your father is in jail tonight. Tomorrow we will go to the district attorney. When we get there and he talks to us, I want you to tell him about this dream.
Mom gently pushed me back under the covers and tucked me in. Leigh stood right next to her.
"Good night, sweetie," mom said, kissing me on my forehead. "Get some sleep now. There is nothing that can hurt you tonight." Leigh kissed me on my forehead, too.
"Good night, little sister. Don't you worry, because I will beat up any bogie man who tries to hurt my little sis." I giggled. I drifted off to sleep and slept through the night.
Part II - The district attorney's office.
When I woke up the next morning, the sun was shining, and there was a squirrel running across the yard. I went to get my bath. I put in a capfull of rose bubble bath, and got out of the nightie I wore to bed. I lowered myself in the tub and used the sponge to drip the water all over me, except my hair. I will have to wash it tomorrow. I finished my bath, and wrapped a towel around me, like I had seen mom and Leigh do. I went in my room to get dressed and found a surprise.
On my bed was a turquoise dress, a white, full slip with lace across the breasts, a white pair of panties, with lace around the leg openings and waistband. There were stay up nylon stockings, and light blue pumps with a two inch heel. I smiled, as I got in to the lingerie. Then I stood at my dresser and put on a little face powder and mascara. Mom won't let me use eye shadow and eye liner until I am at least sixteen. That is the way it was with Leigh. Leigh is two years older than I am. When I turn fifteen she will be seventeen.
I stepped in to the dress, and zipped it up as far as I could without using a clothes hanger to zip it the rest of the way. There was a hook and eye closure at the top of the back, just above the zipper. I fastened that, got the nylons on, and stepped in to the shoes. Daddy is going to flip when he sees me. I brushed my hair out, and put it in a pony tail with tendrils hanging down on both sides of my face, and bangs. After I was dressed, hair brushed, I went downstairs to breakfast. It was only seven thirty, so I had time to eat and take my time.
As I started down the stairs, I saw a bright flash. Mom was at the bottom of the stairs, and took picture after picture. She took one of Leigh and I together, then she set it on the fireplace mantle and took a picture of all three of us. Daddy is really going to flip, when she shows that picture to the district attorney.
All I had for breakfast was a slice of jelly toast, orange juice and milk. I used a small saucer for the toast, and when I was finished, I rinsed and washed my dishes and put them in the dish rack to dry. By the time everybody was done eating, it was eight o'clock, and we had to get going. We made it to MacArthur Square, and parked as near the safety building, as we could. Then we walked to the elevator and went to the fourth floor. We went in to the district attorney's office and told the lady why we were there and showed her the show order.
"Yes, the officer just got here. I will show you in to the assistant district attorney handling the case."
She showed us in to an office and we saw the officer talking to a lady sitting at the desk.
"Hello, I'm Linda Hawkings, the assistant district attorney handling this case." She picked up the phone and told whomever she was talking to, that we were ready.
Another officer brought my daddy in and had him sit in a chair on the other side of the lady's desk, away from us.
"Good morning, sir. I have been given a request by the police department to have you charged with child abuse and attempted injury by conduct regardless of life, by use of a leather belt. Before I even get in to the details of the complaint, it is my duty to give you your Miranda rights, even though the police have already done so. Mr. Kenneth Andrew Bowling, you have been charged with verbally abusing your child, one Lee Adam Bowling, who wishes to be called Shari Marie Bowling, by yelling at the child, because the child didn't want to watch a dumb old baseball game. You have also been charged with attempted injury by conduct regardless of life, to-wit, by use of a leather belt used to hold up men's pants. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say now, will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, even in here, before any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you by the court, before any questioning is conducted. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?"
"Are you able to afford your own attorney?"
"Then I will give you one hour to phone an attorney. While you are doing that, I will talk to your family a little more. Officer take him and let him call his attorney." The officer escorted daddy out of the office through the same door they came in. "Shari, I like that dress. You look very pretty in it."
"Thank you, ma'am."
"Ma'am even. Yes, well, you may call me Linda. Now the information I was given by the arresting officer, said that you are transgender. Is that correct, dear?"
"Shari Marie Bowling. It has a nice ring to it. Now, I have already talked to the intake judge, and she assures me, that your father will not be charged with any crime. But we're not going to tell him that. What we are going to do is, write up a complaint and leave out certain key information, so that it can be thrown out on a defense motion to quash. Shari, I think a few days in jail, will make him wiser than he was when he was arrested."
"I hope so. He isn't a bad man, he is just a macho...uhm...well..."
"Fool. Yes, I quite agree. By the way how did this all happen?"
"Well, yesterday morning, he told us that the Atlanta Braves play the L.A. Dodgers in Atlanta, and that he wanted me to watch the game with him. Then after dinner, he told me to come with him in the living room, because it was better than sitting in the kitchen with the women. I told him that it would be better to sit with the women. Then I told him about my feelings about a dumb old game where an idiot stands and hits a ball with a stick, then runs around three bags called bases. Then I told him that Leigh, that's my sister, here, could hit a ball with a stick. He told me to watch my mouth because baseball was our national pastime. He said that these games were important. I asked him important for whom, him? Then he told me to go to my room which I did.
"Mom and Leigh came up to my room and talked to me and that was when I told them how I wanted to live my life. Daddy came in my room a little later, and asked me what was going on. Mom told him to "leave her alone" and he got even angrier, and took off his belt. He doubled it end to end, and then swung it at me, but mom moved me away from being hit. He even called the police to complain, but I guess he was told he could be arrested for disorderly conduct. He packed all of his clothes in his suitcase, and stormed out of the house to his car. After he got in his car, he backed out of the driveway really fast, screeching his tires. Then he straightened the car out, and screeched his tires again. As he was speeding, we saw a police car turn the corner, and then the officer chased my daddy. Daddy pulled over about six blocks away from the house. He was really angry, and he started to take it out on the officer. The officer arrested him and called for a paddy wagon. When the paddy wagon left with daddy in the back, the officer who arrested him, came over and talked with us, and so, here we are."
Linda looked at mom and smiled.
"Does she ever stop talking?"
"Only when she sleeps." We all giggled.
Linda's phone rang, and she said to show him in.
"Your father's lawyer is here. Do you know who he is?"
"Yes, we do."
Jonathon Edward Banks, Esq., attorney at law, came walking in to Linda's office.
"Good morning, Mr. Banks. Your client has been a naughty boy. He wants people to live his way or no way. He verbally abused this young person here, and tried to hit her in the face with his leather belt he uses to hold up his pants. He is being charged with verbal abuse and attempted endangering safety by conduct regardless of life. I read him his Miranda rights, even though the arresting officer did it yesterday."
"I see. I will wait until they bring him in, before I start. You do know that you can't hold him if he pays his bail."
"Mr. Banks, we can hold your client for 72 hours without charging him. If that is the way you want it, I can arrange it."
"Linda, you are very formidable in the courtroom, but here, I can go over your head and get you removed from the case."
"Oh? Well, let me make a phone call." Linda called a number and all she said was he was needed in her office. About five minutes later, the district attorney-elect walked in. "Now, Mr. Banks, was there something you wanted to say to the district attorney?" Just then daddy was brought in and was seated in the same chair he sat in before.
"Mr. Bowling, have you had time to talk to your attorney?"
"Officer show these gentlemen in to the attorney/client conference room. Thank you."
"What was that about, Linda?"
"Mr. Banks didn't like me playing hardball. Apparently he is a softball aficionado." I giggled.
"Well, you do what you think is best. Ladies," he said, as he half bowed and then left Linda's office.
"Melinda, please come in here and take down the complaint."
A young woman, in a gray business skirt suit with a white shell and black pumps came in. She sat in the chair directly in front of Linda's desk. Linda dictated the language of the complaint, and then told the lady to type it up for her signature.
Ten minutes went by, and Melinda brought the criminal complaint back in to Linda's office. Linda looked it over very carefully, and then signed it. It was in triplicate, with the original for the court, the yellow one for the district attorney and the third copy for the defendant. Daddy's copy, as far as I could see, was hardly readable.
It was then that daddy and Mr. Banks came back in the office. Linda handed Mr. Banks daddy's copy of the criminal complaint. Mr. Banks looked at it, then he looked at Linda.
"This will never hold up in court."
"Well, we aren't finished questioning your client, yet."
"Ma'am, please, if you don't take me in to the court, I promise never to do this again."
"Mr. Bowling, do you know how many defendants say that same thing?"
"All of them. If I let one go, I have to let them all go. That would be a dereliction of my duty to protect the public."
"Linda," I said, in a pleading voice. "My daddy isn't really a bad person. I think what happened last night caught him by surprise and he reacted. Please don't send my daddy to jail."
Linda was trying so hard no to laugh, so she got her poker face on, and looked directly at daddy.
"Mr. Bowling, I will allow you to leave just this once. But if you ever do anything like this again, I will not only prosecute you, I will lock you in your cell myself. Do I make myself clear?"
"Go on, go home with your family, I am releasing you on your word that you will not do this again, and on the plea from Shari. Now, go on, get out of here."
"Shari, can you forgive an old fool for being stupid?"
"Daddy, you're not old. A fool, maybe, but you aren't old."
Everybody laughed, and as we turned to leave, I looked back at Linda, who just winked, with a smile.
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