For the past few weeks I've had the honor of helping to write my father's biography. I think that's something I'll blog about soon. But the point at the moment is that I have been reading a huge stack of his letters to me and thinking about him a lot. He's kind of been around the house.
And right on schedule, as we polish off the story of his life, the killers show up. How apt and ironic. I got an email from brother Bil updating me that the "best crack cook in Denver" has launched an appeal to get his trial overturned. The prosecutor doesn't think there's even a remote chance that he will succeed, however the judge did give his position a hearing. The only other appeal by one of the infamous five killers didn't even get that far. The Victim's Advocate told me that inmates spend a lot of time submitting appeals that a panel of judges reviews. Usually they reject the appeal without even giving it a hearing. Kind of like the dark side of a PhD dissertation review.
Well this one made it past the first hurdle and I freaked. I do this from time to time. It isn't logical, it isn't controllable, it just has to be endured as lightly as possible. The first time was pretty soon after the murder. We lived in an apartment on the top floor and the landlady hired some guys to fix the roof. The guys who killed my dad were roofers. I spent day one of the repairs huddled in a corner of the living room listening to the roofers and crying and jumping at every boom. It felt like living in a horror movie and the blood smeared nightmare was slowly beating down my door. All day. The next day and every day after until they finished I left the house and sat at Starbucks. I also was particularly careful to check all the doors and windows at night for the next few months. Charley's response was, "They aren't the SAME roofers." Well, I know. Those roofers are in jail. The sentence for 3 of the 5 was life without parole. (Expected date of release: December 31, 9999)
This doesn't have anything to do with logic.
I am supposed to be informed by the Victim's Advocate office when something occurs with the killers, like an appeal or a parole hearing. I can't bear to NOT know, but whenever I get a letter from JeffCo Department of Corrections it's an automatic signal to order dinner delivered. I can't cook or do much of anything for the rest of the day but knit and watch romantic comedies. ("America's Sweethearts" and "No Reservations")
The second "episode" was almost a year ago. You'd think I'd be saner. He was murdered January 5, 2006. Get OVER it already. Our furnace died and we had a bunch of fully licensed, bonded, vouched for, insured and checked out guys come out to give us estimates. Charley went to work and Sam and I entertained them. This was hard.
They were all very nice, but then so were the killers. My dad knew them and gave one of them a giant clam shell big enough for a small Venus to stand in. One of the worst ways my Dad's murder has impacted me is that I am afraid to trust in my own instincts about who is nice and who is not. I'm always trusting new people and then fearing they are planning to sneak in and murder me.
I got through the estimate phase of getting a new furnace pretty well, not too crazy. But the day they were going to install it, I begged Charley to stay home and he pointed out, correctly, that I was being nuts. I felt the panic rise and called a friend who agreed to drop everything and come over. Then the installers showed up before she could get there and one of them kind of looked like the lead killer and crack cook! I showed him the basement and was once again back in horror movie mode. I called Bil and sobbed frantically, I called my friend whose sister was brutally murdered. They told me they understood, (which made a huge difference) my friend arrived, the furnace got installed and works great. And it's been almost a year and the Sears installers haven't returned to kill me yet!
Which brings me to yesterday. After all these weeks of calling up my father's ghost, suddenly I'm reminded of the actual people who killed him. And Charley is out of town. He doesn't get back until Monday. I seriously and calmly considered the fact that there is no real reason Sam and I have to leave the house until it is time to go get him. In fact, he could take a taxi home. I turned on the alarm and the tv, started a new knitting project and heated up left overs. We stayed up watching "Music and Lyrics" and "27 Dresses" until way past midnight. As we watched, I struggled with myself. We are out of milk and batteries. I really ought to go outside and buy more. We have a chiropractor's appointment today. There's mass on the weekend. The killers don't even know my last name or what state I live in and, honestly, if they did get out, the LAST thing they are going to want to do is find me. They are going to want to forget all about that January night. They are going to want to move on with their lives.
No good. There's just a part of me that KNOWS they are coming to get me. I wonder if prison is scarring them as much as they scarred me? It wasn't full blown horror movie, but I could hear the creepy background music getting louder.
Finally about 2 AM I went to the internet. Did you know that you can look up inmates and get their status? And a recent photo. The Darth Vader version of school pictures. All five of them are still firmly in jail for the moment. I thought one of them had been released, but she's still in there. The two who will be out some day have failed at least one parole hearing each. One of the killers who cried at his trial seems to have gained weight in prison. He looks a lot less like a weasel now and a lot more like a killer. The guy who got the clam still looks adorable. This seems so unfair. He's going to get out someday and charm someone else's dad.
But for now they are all in prison. I have a plan. I'm going to go out in the backyard and water my vegetables. If that goes okay, I'll probably wake Sam up and go to the chiropractor. I will not take along photos of the killers. I have this urge to show them off like a crazed version of grandma showing off photos, "See how much they've grown in six years? And look, this one's cut his hair!"
I will go to the store and buy milk and batteries. They are in prison. I am not.