Scylla the Rock

Scylla the Rock
Birthday
October 28
Bio
Rogue Soldier Bad Cop I always believed in redemption through violence until I became crippled and retired. Now I seek redemption through forgiveness. "...fear, that secret fear that follows every professional to the grave. Namely, that one day, out of a past so complex that he himself could not remember all the enemies he might have made, one of them would find him and demand the reckoning."-LeCarre "Men die and they are not happy"- Camus

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Salon.com
JUNE 25, 2011 11:05PM

Scoring dope and the unwanted dog

Rate: 30 Flag

"Once upon a time we try our laughter.

On the blackboard of pain"-E. Perkins

 

Alexander II, Alec (or Duece as I called him in our private joke) came home from Iraq in early 2008.  That he was suffering was obvious to his father.  12 or 16 or 18 months fighting in the Sunni triangle could make any hard man suffer.  That Sarah was still in Iraq did nothing but add to his pain.

So we talked.  Out back on our covered porch (rebuilt from Katrina), we would drink coffee or a beer and speak of war.  Those unspeakable acts one does to survive.  The pain of surviving whenst those you love have not.  Surreal to speak of the tactics of killing with your son.  He needed to vent, to release to let go of such guilt.  I directed him to the VA but he would never go.  Only to his father would he even admit such thoughts.

One day he came home with a puppy.  This tiny mewing thing, with eyes barely open, fit in my outstretched hand.  Alec swore that a girl he knew, who worked at the local animal shelter called him because they could not care for this litter.  They would be "put down" tomorrow or at least quite soon.

This dog whould not eat the "puppy chow' Deuce brought home.  So I beat an egg into a bowl of milk and heated the mix.  The dog lapped it all and then fell asleep.  We agreed to name her Scylla, from our shared favorite book.  I knew then, as parents do, that with college and work  for my son, I would have to do the yeomans work of raising this dog.

Then it came to me...to teach my son a lesson I would raise this dog as the most spoiled dog in America.  Though thru the next six or eight months I did teach Scylla, our Rottweiler Bitch, to sit and stay, walk on a leash (God we would walk seven to ten miles a day) and of course "potty training" her.  I took her everywhere;  Mass at seven then the gym until I was done then to Brother Thomas's for coffee.  Sit on my lap as I drove?  No problem.  Eat out of the fridge or off my plate?  Again and again please.  Sleep in my lap? Tear up the entire house? Whine and beg and then sleep with me hogging the bed?  I live for this dogs shit, so come on.

After so many months Alec gets notified that his unit is returning to Iraq.  Such is life in the Reserves and the National Guard.  But this is my son.  My only son.  And he does not want to return.  A long family history of war makes him feel shame.  I comfort him and then make my decision.

It does take some time to get anyone to sell this white, middle aged man a dime bag of pot.  So be it, it's done.

The next morning, over coffee I tell my son to make his seperate peace.  I toss the bag to him.  "Smoke dope, get fat, tell them you're crazy but don't go back.  Let some other father's son fight this war."

Then he is in my arms, no different then when he was a babe, crying.  I cry too.   6' 4'' and 185lbs and he feels  lighter then a babe.  We hold tight to eachother for eternity.  My son. my son.

A few months later and my son is dead.  Murdered.  After the Priests and the funeral I am left with cleaning up all his crap.  I donate everything to the Church.  Except his dog.  Bringing a dog to Hawaii is a mess of regulations.  Four months of vet detention is mandatory.  I pay this without a thought.

I fly this dog, this Scylla to me.  She is fine, though now I have an 80lb Rott Bitch who is spoiled rotten.  I did this.  Scylla's great joy is to sit in my lap whilst I scratch her butt.  I did indeed do this.  Even now, two years later I live for this dogs shit.  Beat me and abuse me and I love you even more.  This dog is part of my son and I can no more ignore her then I can my son's soul.

Though my finest day as a father remains the day I tossed my son a bag of weed.  I can never cry enough.

" Scylla was a romantic fool, it killed him eventually.  He was always trying to overpower his love objects with the breadth of his passion.  Every lover he ever had was unfaithful to him." W. Goldman

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My God, Scylla. Here I am, speechless, again.

You are the most incredible writer.

Rated.
I am so sorry for your loss. So glad you have that dog (and she you).
As hard as this is to read, it's so joyful in the comfort and closeness you have with your son. The tossing of the bag, who does this without the knowing look between you both. Scratch his butt and drive the way to the ocean and Iron Mike and I will sit shotgun. I ride beside you, write on.
#sorry. scratch your scylla the dog, it doesn't read right, I know you know what I mean ..
rita- I tossed this bag knowing that I was also the father that slapped my son beyond silly a year of so ago knowing that he had smoked dope. I don't know who was more surprised. I only know that I did not want my son to return to war.

I promise you that the Cobra is waiting. Top down, twin Lysome screw supercharer, nitros, 6 speed top loader and above all Iron Mike and Scylla sitting paitently in the back seat.
Scylla, You aren't alone in not wanting to send your son back to that Hell. You and I are the same age roughly and I have to tell you that I have tossed more than a few young men thinking about the military bags of weed. And when they have been told they can't join because they are testing positive for drugs... I smile and help them find a way to go to college and pursue other dreams that won't turn into living nightmares that will remain with them until they die.

*Gentle Hugs*
I am always so deeply touched by your posts.
And I am humbled by your incredible skill.
Thank you.
I honestly don't know what to say. Why was he murdered?
Mrs. Raptor-That we should teach every young man not to go to war. Our society still tells such young men that war is the experience that will make them men. We should have a small revolution to dissuade such foolish thoughts.
old new lefty-Alec was killed by a friend a comrade from Iraq. Why? I can only guess becuase young men do stupid things,
Hope to dream tonight of the Cobra and the island roads. Can I drive?
As Unbreakable said:
My God. This is heartbreaking.
rita, you can drive and double clutch but watch the surf that distracts me every day. But then you probably have a licsence and I do not. (another long story) Always your choice the Turbo Mazda or the twin superchared Cobra. I already know.
Thank you for such a song.
I'm right there with you in that revolution. You can bring your dog too!
Scylla, your writing is so incredibly strong ...and your voice so mellow. A striking and amazing combination, dear friend.

As always, you touch my heart. Much love.
Good to hear you tonight my friend, good to hear some of the things you did right. Tossing a bag to your son, holding him, spoiling a dog. All good deeds, we can do no more, sometimes the outcome is not in our hands.

Driving the Cobra sounds good but I think I'd rather ride these days. I just want to enjoy all the views.
This is such a beautiful, heartfelt, gut wrenching accounting of a father's love for his son...and for the dog you shared. I now understand more fully, the name, Scylla. I get it. Thanks for putting your heart on your sleeve here. The mighty heart of a man with an enormous heart for all that lives and breaths, loves and learns, carries the baton and stubbornly, reluctantly, passes it again, paying it forward, if you will. Your legacy of love and perseverance is brightly evident. There is an angel looking over you from beyond and another one who shares your bed. There are blessings here for you and a precious canine pal who worships your every move.
Dude,(Sir) you live in Hawaii, that's so gnarly, and I'm so jealous. Huh, huh,... hey bud......let's party.
Young men will continue always to fight and die for cause or country. Militaries depend on that. You were brave in your choice to see it his way -- a decision that fatherhood offers far less often. (I wonder how many fathers counseled their sons to go to Canada during Viet Nam?)
Rated
Your posts always make make me cry.
Keep spoiling that dog forever...and writing....
A terrible story told with great skill. I am y, sorry, sorry for your losing your son.

This hits home for me. My grandfather died 20 years after WWI from the lingering effects of gas in the trenches. My father brought home terrible PTSD from Okinawa. I escaped going to Vietnam.

Looking forward to reading more from you.
A terrible story told with great skill. I am y, sorry, sorry for your losing your son.

This hits home for me. My grandfather died 20 years after WWI from the lingering effects of gas in the trenches. My father brought home terrible PTSD from Okinawa. I escaped going to Vietnam.

Looking forward to reading more from you.
Dogs have pre-ordained missions in life. I truly believe Scylla was sent to you through your son for a reason. Dog is love, after all.
Goosebumps all over the body after reading this. You are such a charming and powerful writer, Scylla. Hawaii always strikes me as such an incongrous place to feel so much pain.
Marathon Man was one of my favorite books and movies. There were rottweilers there, If I remember correctly.

Peace and strength to you, always.
Ouch. That was hard to read, but beautifully expressed. When my son was in the military I was never at peace. (Oh wait, now that he is back at home and living the college-boy life I am even less at peace...!) Anyway thank you so much for sharing your difficult journey.
I am left speechless and in tears after reading this after finally understanding what happened how it came to be. I'm glad you can finally write this and in doing so start to heal for those who still need you to be for them. Hug Scylla close and remember the good, the closeness of what was. I wish I could find the right words to say to help but maybe there aren't any right words..
Love to you my friend. In her own way, I think that spoiled pup of yours, saved you.

Btw, if she's begging to get in bed with you, you've done well! :D
I was holding my breath, "Please let the dog be a part of the process."
Good, good, good. Cry on.
Thank you for sharing the stories of your son. Wishing you comfort, Scylla the rock.
Every piece of yours makes me a better man, a more secure one,
knowing there are men like you in the world.
(Especially in Hawaii, where I'll see ya some day, old gimp).

I jumped into your little story headlong
as always--the writing is beyond electrifying, it sizzles
off the screen into my retinas with the speed of light &
then some...

You got me by the gut strings with the damn dog.
Knowing this is a Scylla piece, I immediately feared for that dog's
very life...

That flip of your hand sending the bag his way
was an act of grace. Human grace.

What a great man we lost, your son, I'll bet.
I am slowly delving into the details of his doom in
your backpages.

Hi to S. & Mike,that handsome devil.
I may move to an Haitian Taro Farm.
Aloha State. Hoo-has. What a big fuss.

Heigh-ha. heehaw. Hoarhound is Rx # breath mint
it's cough drop, and good for Whooping hack cough
Sigh.
Bless.
General Fuchs is addressed by James A. James A. was
(my name in war)
mispronouncing with delight (and it ain't easy) his boss's
General Fuchs's last name.
James- You are to kind to this old fool. Alec has a heart that is wide and loving replete with the gift of forgivness. (Excuse a father's pride, by the by my daughters are the most beautiful women on earth)

I never wanted him to go to war. None of our son's should ever visit war. I hate that Sarah went twice and is scheduled to go again. Know that I have tossed her that bag also yet her misplaced loalty to her soldiers has her returning.

Scylla the dog is safe and abusing me daily. She is sitting on me as I write this waiting for some fine butt scratching.

Iron Mike is well and is still "to fucking handome to live" he is breaking hearts all over the Island. Tough month for Sarah and now she is down to 85 pounds. I really have to get my shit together and start fattening her up.

Art James-Taro farming is a wonder here. A new farm is being constructed next to my brother's house.
Fuchs was begging for it. (the French) Soldiers do indeed tend to break everything down to it's basic form. General Fucks...wonderful.
I hope that one day you take al of your posts and turn them into a book.... You are an amazing writer. As much as it tugs at the corners of my heart, I am always looking for a new post from you. Thank God for dogs.... Sometimes the only affection I receive for days or weeks is from my animals.... Don't know what I'd do without them. Love & peace to you, dear Scylla.
Your writing, your story is awe inspiring. I love what you said to your son. You are a really fine powerful writer. And a great friend to that dog!
I forgot. I hope you are working on your book??????
No one and nothing will take this pain away

I recollected this poem from "CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE:

The life that I have is all that I have
And the love that I have is yours.

The love that I have for the life that I have, is yours and yours and yours.

The sleep I shall have the rest I shall have, yet death will be but a pause

For the peace in my years on the long green grass are yours and yours and yours
There are no words.

Love C
Having a dog is still the best ending to this story.
This floored me. Summonses up a world of love and pain and futility and redemption.