Monday, October 5, 2020

Pandemic Journal, June 12, 2020


Pandemic Diary, June 12, 2020


As you can see, it’s the better-looking half today, Tommy. Orlando is all everybody wants to talk about. We’re getting serious about practice, and a bunch of guys are looking forward to drawing a full salary again. I’m looking forward to drawing a full salary for the first time. Excuse me if I drool in anticipation.


I want to talk about my boys’ groups. On days the team is out of town, I host an after-school session for boys twelve and thirteen. We do exercises, we play ball, and we talk. I’ve told them that nothing is off-limits for questions, but I reserve the right not to answer. And they all have the right to refuse to answer a question. I mean, it makes sense.


The talking is because they are each other’s only sources of information about what it means to grow up as boys and become men. Most of them have their mothers, some are raised by grandmothers or aunts, but there is a distinct lack of adult male presence in their homes. Of the few men in their homes, most are their mothers’ current boyfriends or pimps, or both. We have 26 boys, seven Hispanic, sixteen black, three white. Three boys, one from each ethnic group, have fathers in their homes, and two of them are married. Otherwise, it’s mothers’ boyfriends. And some were problems.


One boy, let’s call him Jordan, didn’t dress out for exercise or ball practice. I asked him if we needed to do things differently so he felt comfortable dressing out, and he wouldn’t talk to me. Then I watched him walking, and recognized what had happened. He was walking the same way Logan and I were after we were gang-raped our freshman year of high school. He was being sexually abused. I put one of the more mature guys, José, in charge, and ducked out to make a quick phone call. Twenty minutes later a friend who was a physician’s assistant and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker showed up. He and Jordan spent an hour talking while I directed the rest of the boys in enough confusing physical activity that nobody noticed Jordan wasn’t there.


At our usual closing time, Jordan still wasn’t back. Jamal, the PA, told me we had no choice. We had to report our suspicions to the police. Jordan had admitted what his mother’s boyfriend was doing to him when his mother was at work. I called Dick, the head of team security, and Jordan’s mother, Danielle. I told Danielle I was taking Jordan out for dinner and ice cream and would bring him home as soon as I could. I did this with all the boys, so it wasn’t something unusual.


Dick met us at the hospital along with a CPD detective from their Sex Crimes squad. The PA was in helping a doctor with the rape exam, and came out once Jordan was comfortable with the doctor. I let Jamal handle the detective, then sit with Jamal and the detective while he interviewed Jamal. Then, I took everybody out for an all-you-can-eat buffet that included ice cream, and drove the gang (minus Dick) to Danielle’s apartment. Dick had some paperwork to file with the police first.


We got Jordan home and the detective took over. “Ma’am, Jordan has been hurt.” After about ten minutes everybody was crying, and Danielle was apologizing over and over to Jordan. It was pretty clear this was news to her. The detective took a statement from Danielle, and the PA left. A minute later Darius came in the door and saw all of us in the living room. He identified the detective (not difficult, they all buy their clothes at Shop ‘n’ Save) and started yelling. The door behind him opened forcefully, knocking him to the floor, and he pulled out a gun. Dick had him disarmed and in a full Nelson in seconds.


The detective took Darius in, and I told Danielle that I would be happy to spend the night on the couch so she and Jordan would
feel safe. Dick, who’s a lot more physically imposing than I, made the same offer. Danielle agreed to Dick staying (would have been my choice, too), and I left. I called the detective and Jamal and closed the loop.


Darius was denied bail when it was discovered he had already jumped bail the prior year on a second-degree murder charge. The city attorney, up to his eyeballs in work, was happy when Logan showed up to be his free paralegal devoted to Jordan’s case. Darius got 25 years and everyone else slept well.


I promise you, most of the stories about my boys’ groups aren’t this sad. The next problem question was about if a girl could get pregnant in a swimming pool where a guy had jerked off earlier. I assured him she could, but only if she was having sex with a guy. The jerk-off had nothing to do with it. The following awkward question was about my sexuality, and I’ll let you know the details next time. See you in two weeks.



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