The Chaliceparents and I live in the same neighborhood, and like many families do, we swap around some chores. TheCSO does everybody’s taxes and handyman stuff around my parents’ and brothers’ house. My mother and I swap foods and baked goods every now and again. My brothers mow our lawn and my folks take our trash and recycling to the dump in their pickup every other week or so. Today was a trash day, and my parents had a young woman whom I hadn’t met before with them.
My parents are given to taking in various deadbeats, so I didn’t pay much attention to her. We’d filled the truck when my mother finally turned and introduced her to me as my brother’s girlfriend.
“Watch out,” I said. Out of respect for my parents, I didn’t say what I usually say to Oliver’s girlfriends which is “if he hits you, call the cops.”
She giggled sweetly, “People keep telling me that...”
“A hundred million Elvis fans might not all be wrong.” She laughed and nodded as if she understood the expression. So she’s not totally dumb. She had a keychain hanging off her jeans from a grocery story discount club. So she at least occasionally buys her own food. That alone put her in the seventy fifth percentile of Oliver’s women. Her clothes were clean and from better designers than I would have expected.
I’m wary here because the last girlfriend of Oliver’s whom I liked turned out to be a fifteen-year-old runaway, and not the one he was prosecuted for.
When my mother and I were alone in the kitchen, I finally said “So is she living with you guys, too?”
“Yes,” my mother said. “But she sleeps upstairs. I won’t have her staying with those boys.” (Item: Something like three of my brothers’ friends live in my parents’ basement at any given time.)
I laughed. “Well, of course, grandmother didn’t let me stay with theCSO when he visited either.”
“Oh she’s not going to be seeing Oliver for a long time,” my mother said blithely. “After all, he’s going to be in jail for two years?”
“Yeah, on those kiddie porn charges from his earlier arrest."
"He had another trial?"
"It was SO unfair! One of Oliver’s friends admitted that some of the porn was HIS, but the police officer said Oliver had downloaded the porn and the jury believed the policeman!”
(Item: Under Virginia law, it doesn’t matter if it is your kiddie porn, if it is on your computer, you can be prosecuted.)
My mother went on to detail various other unfair aspects to the trial, none of which she actually saw because she was a witness and thus kept separate. Her entire account sounded like my mother’s perception of the Chalicerelative’s perception, which might be pretty far afield from what actually went on. TheCSO and I are going to order a transcript of the trial.
Finally I said, “Umm… You guys didn’t invite me? I took off three days from work last year for those trials?” I typically find out from “google news” when Oliver has been in trouble since it picks up my local paper. But I would have thought SOMEBODY would have told me about a trial with stakes this high. I mean, I’m hosting a family brunch tomorrow and have been in frequent contact with my family in planning logistics for that.
“Oliver said this case would be a slam dunk?”
“Since when do you take legal advice from Oliver?”
My mother sort of giggled and shrugged and she and my father and the girlfriend got back in the truck and drove away.
Ps. Even if Oliver was to some degree railroaded, he is not a good guy and has been guilty of plenty of things he didn't get punished for, so this is not particularly depressing me. The toughest moment of the morning was when I googled Oliver Smith in google news, but forgot to add "Virginia," and was thus treated to news of all of the Oliver Smiths worldwide who pitch for little league teams in California, win golf tournaments in the UK and host fundraising dinners for ladies running for county commissioner in Tennessee.
Dysfunction kinda says it all. My sincerest sympathies.
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