People Narrate Their Beguiling Revenge Stories
12. No, Mom, It's Actually Called Kidnapping
“I had served in both the Regular Army and Special Operations Forces (SOF) community for just over ten years when an opportunity arose. It was an assignment in the middle of nowhere but was near what I claim to be my hometown (Military Brat). I would later find out that the job was horrible, but that has nothing to do with the story.
We had been in Small Town, USA for a couple of months.
We were pretty much settled in. My wife and I were not exactly prepared mentally though. Both sets of grandparents, specifically grandmas, had been away from their grandchildren since they were born. They were like flies at the house for the first couple of months. It was finally starting to subside when this happened.
I should mention that my mom is different. At least I think she is.
I have always been the independent type, and I rarely, if ever, call home. It’s not because I don’t love my parents or friends. I just don’t feel the need to talk unless I really have something to say. I feel less of a need to call my mother. Generally speaking, don’t expect a phone call from me.
Why? She is scattered and typically has nothing useful to say.
She likes to gossip, but she is the lady in the chain of gossipers that twists information and relays the wrong facts or tries to convince me of things. Typical phone calls from my mother are below.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Mom: Hey. What are you doing?
Mom: Remember Jim Bob?
Mom: Yeah you do. You went to the pool with him once while you were six months old.
When we lived in Germany.
OP: Sorry mom. I don’t remember Jim Bob.
Mom: Yeah you do.
OP: No. Mom. I don’t remember him.
Mom: Well he died. Thought you would want to know.
Dear Reader, this happens ALL THE TIME. I have spoken on the phone with her no more than twenty times in the last decade and at least ten people I don’t know have died. Unrelated, but this is our last conversation:
OP: (Groggy) Hey.
Mom: Hi. You sound sleepy. What are you doing?
Mom: Mid-day nap?
OP: No. It’s two in the morning. I am sleeping
Mom: FIRST NAME, MIDDLE NAME, LAST NAME… what country are you in?
Mom: What are you doing there?
OP: Army work.
Mom: I called to tell you that Random Lady who used to watch you wrestle in high school passed away. Just thought you would want to know.
Love you. Bye.
(I’m bad, but she worries. I have been injured in combat three times. I figure I will just tell her when I get back most times.)
Back to Small Town USA. It’s a Saturday. I am looking forward to having some time off. My wife was a swing-shift ICU Nurse at the time, and she was at work. I was home with the 2 YO, and the miniature human (6 YO).
It was just the men at the house. I had woken up, fed the humans, and plopped them down in the living room to watch Paw Patrol while I took a shower.
I get the Army essentials and return feeling refreshed from the shower. I conduct another inventory, but something is missing. Cake (2YO) is missing. He is a bi-pedal monster so I don’t think much of it.
I just ask Kelly (Mini Human/6YO) where his brother is. I get the typical shoulder shrug response. Great.
I now have 3,200 square feet of house to work with. I will systematically check the house either finding him in his room watching TV or exploring the cleaning products under the sink. The first sweep was unsuccessful. The second sweep was unsuccessful. I now enlist the help of Kelly to find the speed demon.
We are now about ten sweeps in and I am PANICKING. I’ve talked to my wife many times on the phone. We have had the ‘lost’ conversations. ‘Babe. I lost my car keys. Do you know where they are at?’ ‘Babe. I lost my Army thing. Do you know where it is?’ No husband ever wants to call their wife and say, ‘Babe. Do you know that bi-pedal toddler we have? Yeah, that one.
Do you know where it’s at?’
I was there though. The house we lived in was old. The locks on some of the doors were ‘different.’ Very old and some were complicated to open. Cake could not penetrate the front door. It just was not physically possible. This dude is Houdini, he was an escape artist. I was at my wit’s end. I had to call my wife.
The conversation went exactly how anyone would expect it to go. She was worried. She was hysterical. There was no way I would ever hold that, ‘#1 Dad’ coffee mug ever again.
I did one last sweep under the direction of my wife, but it was now time to hand in my man/parent card and call the police.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Lady: 9-1-1. What is your emergency?
OP: I lost my son.
Lady: Sir. You lost your child?
OP: Yes. I took a shower and now my two-year-old is missing. I have checked the house and he is not here.
Lady: What is your location, Sir?
Lady: What is your son wearing?
OP: Thomas The Tank Engine shirt. Blue. Diaper.
Lady: Where did you last see him…
I have a large bay window. Very Large. Something caught my eye. The reflection of sunlight that bounces of cars screams through the window when they pass or park.
A car had just parked in front of my house. It was my mother. Great. I am now about to have a Mom conversation and this is how it would play out in my head.
(IN MY HEAD. DID NOT HAPPEN)
OP: Hey mom.
OP: Remember that toddler I had?
Mom: (Unlike me) Yeah.
OP: Well. I lost him! Bye.
I am dreading the fact that I have 9-1-1 on the line and I am about to tell my mother the dreaded news.
Then I see it. What was ‘it’? Cake. My toddler. I kindly explain to 9-1-1 that I had found my human. Now I was only a bad father in the eyes of my wife and the entire dispatch center. I was seething with anger. I am a happy-go-lucky guy. Super calm. Even in firefights. I simply don’t stress out about much. This was not the case.
I go charging out of the house.
OP: WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?
Mom: (Calm and shocked). What? I just went to the grocery store.
OP: With my child. You took my child.
Mom: Yeah. I stopped by and asked if the boys wanted to go. Cake did.
OP: You stole my kid mom. STOLE-MY-KID.
Mom: (Chuckles) No I didn’t. I asked. Cake wanted to go. Kelly didn’t.
I told Kelly to tell you.
Side Note: Paw Patrol is like a trance for your kids. The goddamn rapture could happen around kids while watching cartoons and they are unaware. God forbid the cable goes out though. Then the real chaos starts. I am a warfighter with fourteen combat deployments. I have said, ‘Daddy doesn’t want to watch Barney for the 20th time today’ exactly once.
Some fights just are not worth it.
OP: You told Kelly!?! Did you tell my six-year-old to relay a message to me? You thought that would work? Did you make that message contingent on a toy, Because he didn’t know where his brother was?
Mom: Well I told him.
OP: Mom. You stole my kid.
(Then she said it.)
Mom: I am a grandma. I can take him.
OP: Mom. You stole my kid.
Mom: Oh. I just took him.
OP: It’s not called ‘took’. It’s called KIDNAPPING!
Mom: Oh I didn’t kidnap him.
OP: You walked into the house. Asked two children if they wanted to go. Told one to relay a message to me. WHY DID YOU NOT ASK OR TELL ME.
Mom: I screamed out. Thought you knew.
I lost my mind. It went on and on with her trying to convince me of her point.
I was not having it. I was beyond mad. I called my dad to get his opinion and he just laughed, ‘Grandma is in TRUB-ULLLLL.’ She was leaving anyway, I couldn’t kick her out. It didn’t even concern her mentally. She was oblivious to the gravity and severity of the situation. I was not done yet though.
It just so happened that this specific weekend was a four-day weekend for me.
I had the next two days off with the boys. My mom was unaware. She called on Sunday and asked what time I was dropping the boys off. Ding, Light bulb moment. We had just adopted a new dog that was crate training. Let us capitalize on this!
OP: Do you think you can watch the boys at the house so you can take Lola out? I don’t want her in the cage all day.
Mom: Sure. I can do that.
Great. Now my mom would be at my house from around 0600-1900. Even better. My dad would be at work as well.
My mom arrives at the house. Still oblivious that I was still angry. No worries. I now have 12-hours to work out my frustration. I depart the house and promptly arrive at her house. Find the spare key, and let me in.
I reorganize everything. I mean EVERYTHING. It didn’t take long to do the living room. I moved the couch. I moved the love seat. I move my fathers’ chair. The coffee table. The TV. Everything gets rearranged. I even move pictures from wall to wall and use sticky tack to hang them upside down or wonky.
Moving into a new place can be a hassle during military moves.
I love cooking. The kitchen and woodshop are my sanctuaries. It is such a pain to move into a new kitchen and get things where you want them. What’s not a pain? Reorganizing someone’s kitchen. Everything from top to bottom was reorganized. The power room was close to the kitchen so I put plates under the sink in the powder room and toilet paper in the kitchen draws.
Again, EVERYTHING WAS moved.
I work my way through the house ensuring that nothing was left untouched. The only room I didn’t enter was the master bedroom. I am one of three siblings. I was not interested or mentally willing to sleep in that room. I did however take great pride in her ‘Cricket Room’ to ensure that I moved everything. My last act of ‘screw you’ in the house was taking every single remote in the house.
TV, DVR, Cable, Lights… you name it. If it was a remote, it was now in my possession. I then returned home at the normal time.
The changeover was typical. She asked me how my day was and let me tell you, it was a satisfying day of work for me. She acted as if the kidnapping event never happened. Well, she was about to be reminded that I didn’t forget.
It was time to drink, play with the boys, and wait for that phone call.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Mom: (Remember. She is my mom. I love her. But she is ‘different.’) Were you at the house today?
OP: (Brain: Is she serious?) What?
Mom: Did you stop by the house today. I think we were robbed.
OP: (Laughing. Robbed? Yeah. Robbers typically move your stuff around) Yes. I stopped by the house.
Mom: You rearranged the living room?
(My dad just gets home. During the conversation)
I hear my dad talking as he enters the house, ‘Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!’
Dad: (Still overhearing him). Karla. What did you do to the house?
Mom: I didn’t do it. OP Did.
She is oblivious still. Just looking at the living room. She laughs a bit, and we conclude the conversation. Now I am baffled. Oh well.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Mom: Where in the world are my pots and pans? There is toilet paper under the kitchen sink. Toilet paper does not go there. Goddamn it OP.
(Dad in the background) Where is the remote Karla?
I hooked everything back up. I just moved it. Things still worked.
Dad (Background): Karla. REMOTE.
My mother is now walking through the house. She arrives in her arts and crafts Cricket Room.
Mom: FIRST NAME.
MIDDLE. LAST. WHAT DID YOU DO.
OP: I reorganized everything for you.
Mom: Oh. My. God.
Dad: KARLA. KARLA. Where is the remote for the TV?
Mom: Where are the remotes?
OP: Oh. I took them. I called out your name. I thought you heard me.
She now explains to my father. Now there is hysterical laughter in the background.
Mom: I am on my way over.
She arrived at the house. I am willing to break bread and settle this.
Under one condition.
OP: All you have to say is you are sorry for kidnapping my child and you won’t ever do it again.
Mom: I didn’t…
OP: Ah. Ah. Ah. Do you want the remotes back? OP, I AM SORRY for KIDNAPPING your kid and I will never do it again.
Mom: I am sorry for kidnapping Cake and I will never do it again.
OP: Thank you.
Mom: What time are you dropping the boys off tomorrow.
OP: Ah? I think you should come here until you figure out where your pots and pans are.
Mom: See you at six. Love you. Bye.
And that’s that. Military life is different. Really different. I never thought in a million years I would live in my hometown and still be in the Army. It was great at times. I was totally not expecting all the things that come with living in my hometown after being away for over a decade. The grandparents wanted to make up for years of not seeing them, and they did. There were obviously some learning struggles. Karla admitted defeat and my dad eventually got his remotes back. Everybody won. She is still a crazy lady. I love her, but boy is she different.”
11. Want Family Time? Enjoy Being Jailed With Dad
“I was a Squad Leader, in charge of nine humanoids, at the time. We had semi-recently returned from a deployment from arguably the worst neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. I had received Aaron a couple of months prior to the deployment. He performed superbly during airborne operations, Field Training Exercises, and Live Fire Exercises. The kid was great; away or confined from civilization.
However, Aaron was nothing but trouble when he was free to his own devices.
We had a surprise urinalysis during one of our training exercises, and guess who ‘peed hot’? Aaron. He was a stellar Soldier though, and the entire organization fought to keep him due to the upcoming deployment. Maybe we could change him?
The deployment in Iraq was 15-months long. Longer than any other deployment I had been on before. There was a two-week Rest and Recuperation leave (vacation) for each Soldier during the deployment due to the length.
We decided who and when would go on vacation early in the deployment. We had planned for Aaron to go towards the latter half of the deployment in hopes of him maturing as a Soldier and human.
It was time! Aaron seemed like he had turned the corner and started to mature. He was no longer a, ‘Break in Case of War Only’ Soldier. His Team Leader (Direct Supervisor), myself, and the Platoon Sergeant (In Charge of 42 Humanoids) had sat Aaron down and counseled (talk) him on our expectations.
You see, Aaron had compiled a stack of cash due to the deployment. He was making more than three grand a month, and also Re-Enlisted and received a $20,000 tax-free (due to deployment) bonus. The kid was sitting on $50,000. We knew it, and boy did he know it.
Some background about Aaron. He was raised by his mother and they were literally ‘dirt floor poor’. Running water was not a thing at his house.
He grew up in the backwoods of North Carolina and Tennessee. His father was only sporadically in the picture. The Army was the only thing going for him. Now, this kid had cash, lots of it, and we were about to set him free into the world for two weeks.
The kid was let off the leash for two weeks. TWO WEEKS. Much to our surprise, he wasn’t arrested, or at least he wasn’t caught breaking any laws.
However, he had some stories to tell when he returned. Aaron ‘reconnected with his father’. Aaron ‘met the love of his life’. Aaron bought his dad a truck. Aaron bought himself a truck. Aaron bought himself a four-wheeler. Aaron bought his dad a gun. Aaron bought himself a gun. Aaron is broke again!
No worries though. We semi-expected this to happen. At least the kid was on the leash again.
Maybe we can work the crazy out of this kid over the next five months?
During re-deployment, we return home and return to our ‘normal’ Army lives. Months go by and we have no issues with Aaron. Then we have another urinalysis. There is no reason to expect anything, and Aaron is acting normal. We casually joke around about the last urinalysis and he exclaims that he is a ‘changed man’.
The next day at work Aaron is late. At least we think he is late. We ask his friends, but nobody knows where he is at. Now Aaron is unaccounted for with a Failure to Report. Do we continue to ask his closest friends if there is anything we should know? Nick, his closest friend, informs us that he just received a text in which Aaron stated, ‘Screw the Army.
I’m not coming back.’ Great, now this idiot is Absent Without Leave.
This is just a giant hassle now. There are certain things we have to do in this situation, such as ‘clear his room.’ The First Sergeant (big boss) and the entire Platoon Leadership go to Aaron’s room to inventory the remaining possessions, put them in storage, and prepare the room for future Soldiers. This is typically a mundane process.
Not Aaron’s room though. This kid was an odd cat. Evidently, he only packed the essentials during his hurry to quit the Army.
This list of ‘things’ found in his room went something like this:
XBOX X 1
Play Station X 1
Camera X 1
Fridge (full of what I assume to be clean urine specimens) x 1
Whips x Lots
Leather things x more than anyone should ever own
And SO MUCH BOOZE!
This list goes on and on with numerous things findings didn’t expect.
Months passed, we are now doing Expert Infantry Badge testing (large hands-on testing for some shiny metal) and I have my crew of three Soldiers. We get on the topic of Aaron during breaks and in-between testing candidates. Not only did Aaron hassle us with his departure from the Army, but he sent emails to the leadership embellishing war stories and dead-out lying about events. The kid wasn’t even in the Army anymore, but he was still making our lives difficult.
I wanted revenge. We wanted revenge.
Out of nowhere, Nick (Soldier), informs us that Aaron still talks to him via text. What? That’s great. Where is he? What is he doing? Have you seen him? We need to learn more. We coach Nick into finding out where he is. Start slow! Don’t make it too overt. It took three weeks of coaching to finally get them to link up together.
They met in a random town in North Carolina. Aaron didn’t want Nick to know where he lived yet.
Fine by us. We continue to orchestrate meetings in neutral locations until Nick is trusted enough to spend the weekend at Aaron’s place… in Charlotte, North Carolina. Great we have an address now. Then Nick drops a big one on us! Aaron lives with his dad and he is balls-deep in the family business.
You see, he ‘reconnected with his father’ because his father had just been paroled. His father became a self-made man after that. Aaron and his father were doing well for themselves financially. The family business venture? Yeah… it was an illegal substance!
Nick stated that he never wanted to go back to Aaron’s house again. He lived on a cul-de-sac in a not-so-good part of town. One would assume that neighbors would not be too keen on having a substance-making house in the neighborhood, but the neighbors were mostly customers so it worked out.
What did we do? What any good citizen would do. I called the Charlotte Police Department and informed them, in great detail, of our little situation. I wanted Aaron to pay for his sins. The lies he told and the hassle he put the organization through. Especially after we fought for him.
We didn’t want Nick at the house. Didn’t want him getting mixed up or worse during the raid.
Our idea was to have Nick meet Aaron at Dave and Busters (restaurant/arcade). The Charlotte Police Department would detain him at Dave and Busters and eventually turn him over to us, the Army! The plan worked incredibly and the Police were happy to oblige. They went the whole nine yards to help out.
We (Army peeps and plain-clothes cops) parked outside Dave and Busters and allowed Aaron to enjoy his last meal as a free man.
While we sat and exchanged war stories, and Aaron ate, the narcotics unit was raiding Aaron’s house. They were not too happy about the ‘family business’. His father was cuffed and stuffed. We were not done yet, we wanted to twist the knife.
Aaron was greeted by four plain-clothes cops after paying the bill. The look on his face was priceless. It became more priceless when he saw his old workmates and knew we set him up.
The icing on the cake. The narcotics unit brought his father to Dave and Busters so they could ride in the same car. The patrol car would take them both to jail.
I hope he enjoyed bonding with his father. The Charlotte Police charged him and his father with numerous felony charges. We were finally able to get him off our books with a court-martial and dishonorable discharge. They both went to jail.”
10. Friend Pranked Grandpa With Fake Taxes But He Got Even
“This happened in the early to mid-60s or so. And when I heard it for the first time I nearly fell over laughing. My Grandpa was a really hard worker and family man. He drove something like an old Chevy Impala back then. Grandpa had a really close friend who had worked with him on many of his jobs over the years. And so this guy knew everything about him.
(He will be henceforth known as Fred.)
Then one day Grandpa gets a phone call out of the blue on a weekend by someone saying they were from the IRS. This person knew all of his past work histories in such meticulous detail and explained that Grandpa owed an extra $600 in unpaid taxes from over a 4-year span. Grandpa was understandably sweating bullets as this was a lot back then, and asking how he could have missed something like that.
Then Fred revealed it was him on the phone all along. He’d placed a cloth over the phone receiver and spoke with an accent to disguise his voice.
Grandpa was understandably upset but laughed it off. Because my grandpa never really got mad back then. He got even. Back then Grandpa was quite the prankster. And if anyone pranked him, he pranked them back twice as good.
He knew just as much about Fred as Fred knew about him. Fred liked to drive fast everywhere. I think he drove an old T-Bird or something. He was the jerky type of person who acted like he always knew where the cops were, and could slow down before they can tag him for speeding.
Well, Grandpa knew the exact route Fred took home from work every day.
And at the time of the year this happened, it was getting dark fast. Grandpa then took the light of some sort and painted half of it black so it could not shine through the other side. Then he rigged it up so his car dash could power it. He then waited in a driveway along the road with his engine idling till Fred came blaring by in his T-Bird.
That’s when Grandpa peeled out after him. And since police used Impalas back then, Grandpa’s car looked just like a police cruiser in the dark.
Grandpa then held up the light he’d painted black on one side and began turning it back and forth so it looked like a rotating police light. Fred understandably freaked out because he thought it was a real cop and pulled over.
And now he was the one sweating bullets. Grandpa ran up to Fred’s T-Bird in the dark and threw open the driver’s side door, then ripped him out of his seat by his arm like a ragdoll while saying ‘I gotcha!’
Fred was in such panic because he didn’t know what was happening so much that he was just laying on the ground imitating a goldfish for a minute before his heart finally settled down enough and he let out a loud gasp. And when he realized it was Grandpa the whole time, he laughed it off and said he thought he was being robbed or kidnapped. But I’d say he learned a valuable lesson over who and how he pranks someone.
I later had my grandfather tell this story to one of my friends. And he thought it was absolutely hilarious too.”
9. A Revenge That's 15 Years In The Making
“This story is about me, my wife, my youngest son Bill, my oldest son Dean, my daughter Patricia, and my wife’s ex-husband (the Psycho). To clarify: when I say ‘Psycho,’ I’m talking about someone who has at any given time at least five active lawsuits going against various states, individuals, and corporations. He also once killed their family dog because it wouldn’t stop crying, and set fire to a neighbor’s garage after the guy annoyed him.
He didn’t just threaten my wife, he’d threaten the kids if she stepped out of line. It took my wife a long time to get the courage to leave him because she was afraid of what he’d do to her when she tried. This is when he drained the family accounts and kidnapped the boys (and it is kidnapping when a parent refuses to let the other custodian contact their kids).
She’d flown to Korea and managed to get one son back via the Hague Convention but the other was (by then) legally of an age where he could choose to stay with his dad, and did so. She took her daughter and son to a small college town for him to do high school in one spot. That’s where I came into the picture after I met her through a mutual friend.
I was just back from a deployment to Afghanistan and needed a place to stay, so I sublet a room from her. I enjoyed having actual home-cooked meals again, and she felt like her son Bill needed a decent male role model around. I bonded really quickly with Bill, her/our youngest. He and I got along great. His one blind spot was his dad and his brother.
About 18 months after I met his mom, Dean and Psycho show up in our small college town in Montana to ‘save’ Bill from us (he was turning 18, so it wasn’t exactly an act of courageous intervention so much as ‘hey living with your mom must suck and there’s no legal hold on you, so let’s get an apartment and party all the time). She had no idea of this plan until she saw Psycho randomly at a local shopping center.
When she called me in a panic because Psycho was in town, we swung right into the action.
We armed her up, locked down the house, and started burning the candle at both ends with lawyers from all over the country. Psycho lives like a ghost; pays cash for everything, has ID expired, lives month to month in trailers, etc. He’s off-the-grid as it’s possible to get, despite having pending judgments from FIVE different states.
This was the first time in years anyone knew exactly where he was. We had to take advantage of this opportunity.
My sister-in-law had previously sued him for defamation and won a hefty settlement that he’d never paid. My wife had also sued him for substantial back child support, which never materialized. There were a few other folks and state agencies who had grievances against him. We talked to them all.
Once we got everything in order, I staked out the small downtown area until I spotted him, then tailed him to a coffee shop. I had a process server on standby not far away (who was very excited to serve papers on a jerk like this and happily waived his hourly rate while waiting on my call).
Psycho got served with ‘everything’. Civil judgments, criminal charges, attorney fees, notice for unpaid taxes, you name it.
These were from other states, and they wouldn’t extradite for a contempt thing, but it meant if he ever got arrested or detained in his home state, he’ll face jail time. She also requested a restraining order in Montana so he could not approach her or get within 500 yards of her.
We couldn’t get him on the other stuff (extradition’s not something most states will deal with outside of felony offenses).
But we did get him to appear for the restraining order hearing. He’s the sort of arrogant jerk who thinks he’s smarter and better prepared than anyone in the room. So he showed up thinking that the court would be a great platform for trying to intimidate his ex on the witness stand and show the boys that he was right all along. (He’s the kind of guy who always acts as his own lawyer, and even signs paperwork as ‘Psycho, Esquire’.)
Among other things, my wife is extremely detail-oriented.
She had kept every threatening letter, every hateful email, every mocking text message. Years of emails between him and his (then) underage kids. A copy of the Hague Declaration. We had even printed out the entire 50 page manifest of the website he maintained, which was basically just a long tirade about how his ‘crazy ex-wife was completely obsessed with him. It was a couple of reams worth of evidence to sort through, so we did.
I am very good at analyzing huge chunks of information like that. So I took a few hundred pages of his written words and distilled it down to ten pages. I called it ‘Psycho’s Greatest Hits’. He showed up to court in jeans and a T-shirt with our two boys; we showed up with my daughter, my daughter’s fiancee, and our lawyer.
And we wrecked him in court.
Evidence, meticulously collated and filed. Evidence to support the evidence. Precise timelines and a full accounting of events. Our lawyer eviscerated him on examination. He blustered and panicked and our lawyer got him to confess to hidden income, intentionally violating parental rights rules and defiance of custody orders. (We used his own testimony in a civil suit later to up the damages he owed us well into the seven-figure territory).
Not to mention the fact that Psycho had no actual understanding of courtroom procedure and our lawyer ate him alive on every procedural violation.
My wife was terrified of Psycho trying to examine her on the stand. We’d prepped her for days, making sure she was ready. Up until the first question, she was still scared and not sure how she’d respond. Then he started talking and you could see the steel going into her backbone.
She wasn’t scared — she was mad. He opened up with his first question, trying to gaslight her off the bat:
‘Wasn’t it true that when we met, you had just failed out of college?
She stares him down – I’d never seen her look that angry. I don’t think he had, either. He fumbles — and then HE BLINKS FIRST. ‘… uh er… but… yes you were.’
She stood up to him like a boss and made him look like a fumbling moron for the whole examination.
Our entire family had spent days prepping and we ran circles around him while he interrogated us on the stand. He could not fathom how to deal with someone he couldn’t bully or gaslight anymore. Even when counsel objected to his questions, she’d answer them anyway because she wanted it on record, under oath, that the story he was spinning to the boys had been — and always was — a lie.
And she nailed it.
(I got some fun in myself; the judge was an Air Force general and I was an Army vet. When Psycho started bragging about his eighteen-month stint in the Navy as a barnacle scraper, we shared a look and I knew he could also smell something fishy on the story. I also went across the aisle during recess to talk to the boys, just as friendly and convivial as could be to show there were no hard feelings.
I plopped my butt on Psycho’s paperwork with my back to him the whole time. He just sat there and sulked).
There’s no specific threat of violence (albeit a lot of implied ones) so the judge awards a ‘no contact’ instead of a proper restraining order. The judge clearly really hated how he was hampered from actually laying something punitive on Psycho because of the lack of any prior successful criminal convictions and his weasely language.
We were trying to make a case for a criminal charge of electronic harassment/stalking but it just didn’t stick. So the judge leans over the stand and says ‘Mr. Psycho, let me be very clear: I would have you thrown in jail if the law allowed. There is only one person in this courtroom who is trying to cause grief, and it’s you. You are a poor example of a man and a father.
And if I see you in my courtroom again for bothering this woman, I will personally see to it that you see jail time.’
A few weeks later, Psycho manages to persuade the boys to request a no-contact on ‘us.’ THE SAME JUDGE WAS PRESIDING. He recognized the family name and said ‘I am not going to sit here and listen to a bunch of manufactured lies.
You two are clearly dancing at the end of someone else’s line. I thought you two were smarter than this.’ He denied the order, but we did respect Bill’s request that we not contact him.
I’m generally a law-abiding person, but the one time I broke the law was to go to Bill’s high-school graduation. I told him I wanted to see him cross the stage, and I had his mom and sister and they’d like to sit in the way back.
He agreed to let us do it. That was the last we saw of him for a while.
(This is also the point in time where my wife and I went from being ‘close platonic friends’ to being romantically involved, but that’s another story).
SMASH CUT TO 18 MONTHS LATER:
We’ve moved to Bozeman and rented a really nice house, just the two of us. Our daughter’s married and living in Portland.
I assured my now-wife things would work out, and we made the best of having the house to ourselves.
Then I get a phone call from my dad:
‘Hey, I met your son the other day.’
‘Uh… yeah? He’s still up north though.’
‘No, he’s here in Bozeman! Do you know my best friend from college, Kevin? He’s going out with Kevin’s daughter Gracie.’
(Kevin was ‘Uncle Kevin’ to me when I was very little, and his son and I have been friends literally our whole lives.
Gracie was a very late-in-life oopsie who came into the picture about 20 years later).
So I call Kevin and we talk. NOT ONLY IS HE HOSTING BILL, BUT DEAN ALSO CAME DOWN TO BOZEMAN TOO.
Kevin’s the sort of man who mentors and molds young men. He’s done more than a few reclamation projects over the years. He tells me how much he likes them, and I give him a less adulterated version of the events of the last decade.
We find out that Bill had a MAJOR falling out with Psycho over how Psycho treated Gracie (shockingly, Psycho’s also a misogynist jerk). Also, Bill wanted to join the Marines, and Psycho tried to forbid him from doing it. Bill told Psycho to go shut up and move out of their apartment. After Psycho and Bill moved away, Dean followed his brother to Bozeman and rented a house less than a mile from where my wife and I were living.
At this time, my wife’s dad is very sick. I get word to Bill through Kevin that if he wants to see his grandad one more time, he needs to do it now. My wife stays at home for Bill’s visit to the nursing home, but I am there to mediate things. Bill and his grandad talk for about an hour and his grandad’s literal dying wish is that Bill finds a way to reconcile with his mom.
While they’re talking, I get to set the record straight with Kevin regarding The Story so far. I bid Bill goodbye, tell him I’m very proud of him for enlisting, and remind him that he can always call us if he needs us.
A couple of months later, Bill’s grandad is dying. No one knows how to get a hold of Bill because he’s in Basic Training and has very limited phone privileges.
I send a Red Cross message to him (figuring if he decides to be serious about the no contact, I’m the only one who gets in trouble).
Bill doesn’t call me, or the nursing home, or Kevin. He calls his mom. They talk for a long time and the phone call ends with him asking us to come to his graduation from Basic Training. At this point, it’s been most of two years since my wife saw him.
He’s a different man than when we saw him last, and it shows on his face. And he is 100% resolved to put things behind him and make amends with his mom and they just hug each other for a solid minute when we show up. We bring Kevin and Gracie with us and we have a little family reunion.
It gets better though. Dean is still around.
He’s not sure what to do with himself. He wants to keep the fight against his mom going but his dad dipped out of Bozeman so Dean is going to school, working a part-time job, and also trying to keep up an exhausting hate campaign on his dad’s behalf. Now, Gracie decides to get involved. Gracie is sneakier than all of us put together and decides to bully Dean into having a family again.
We hatch plans to start bringing Dean back into the fold. It’s mostly me taking him and Bill shooting, going to the movies, etc. Dean gets invited to every family meal at Gracie’s, and as a starving college student, he’s not going to turn down a hot meal just because his mom is gonna be there. It’s a little awkward, but everyone handles it so gracefully.
He gets a little friendly teasing about it and no one lets him get away with being a jerk.
This all culminates with Bill getting married to Gracie (best DIL ever, y’all). The last big hurdle for Dean is coming into our home, which we bought from my wife’s parents when they moved into assisted living. Dean spent a lot of summers there as a baby so there are some real mixed feelings about it for him.
It’s the day before Bill’s wedding to Gracie. I’m wrangling the groomsmen around, and we don’t really give Dean a choice; we drive to my house and get out of the car, and head inside. Bill and all the groomsmen are in on the plan. Dean’s hesitating on the front steps, not quite sure what he’s going to do. Like he’s not sure if someone’s going to pick a fight or if he will be welcome in there.
I clap him on the shoulder with a smile and say, ‘Dean, I’m only going to say this once. This is Bill’s day. Don’t ruin it by being a little girl. Go inside, hug your mom, then we’re all gonna smoke and drink on the back porch like a family.’
And that’s what we did.
That’s when the levee really broke. Dean started coming around to the house more often for family game night, then dropping by on his own.
We always fed him well and sent him home with leftovers. He started asking me for advice with life stuff, trying to fill in the blanks where Psycho had given him a bad turn of advice. Then he started reconnecting with his mom again.
I knew Dean had fully flipped the script, come Thanksgiving. He blows in the door like Kramer with a big grin on his face, the stress on his face going from 100% to 0% in just a few steps.
He admitted to me later that he’d spent the early part of the day with Psycho, watching his old man trying to hustle his Veteran status for a free Thanksgiving meal at a diner. I repeated what his mom had always said: ‘We’re always here when you’re ready to come back.’ We had him back 100%.
So as far as we’re concerned we’ve got everything we want.
We have both boys back and they’ve set aside a troublesome relationship with their abusive former father. But it isn’t quite done yet, and this is where slightly less abstract forms of revenge come into play.
Apparently, Psycho didn’t just enlist Dean’s verbal support in his schemes. He made Dean his co-conspirator and also made him do almost all the legwork. The legal paperwork, the defamatory letters, and websites, the lawsuits, all of it.
Dean had gone out and made amends with his aunt and uncle for his role in that and reconciled with the rest of the family over everything he’d done over the prior few years. I think he felt like someone needed to even the score.
Dean goes scorched earth. The thesis-size website defaming my wife and the extended family? Dean destroys it, trashes the backups, and scrubs all the accounts.
He even has it removed from search engines and scrubbed from a few prominent Wayback sites. All the encrypted email accounts? Contents archived stored offline, and then deleted. The various lawsuits? Forfeited and declared abandoned. He systematically demolishes over a decade’s worth of slander, libel, and illegal things that Psycho had put everyone through, and so thoroughly that Psycho has to rebuild his little empire of hate from scratch.
The icing on an already perfect cake — Dean admits he’s been ‘handling’ the cash for Psycho. Apparently, Psycho was so paranoid about the government that he made Dean the primary account holder for all those offshore accounts and all the gold investments. Psycho lost a pretty good amount to shady overseas investment firms, but Dean managed to protect a lot of it. I don’t know how much, and I don’t want to know how much.
He tells me this because he feels a little guilty about having the cash. It’s not like we need it; my wife and I are out of the red thanks to her hard work and extremely successful career. I advise him to use it however he sees fit. I can’t imagine anyone else would be more responsible with it than him.
So he buys an ‘investment property’ south of town, and it just so happens that it’s perfect for his struggling, newly divorced sister and her horses.
She rents it at a very modest rate, keeps an eye on the house, and the rest of us are doing improvements and maintenance on it. Now he’s off on his own adventure as a military officer in a very prestigious, very selective engineering program. My daughter owns her own business working with horses and my youngest son is an NCO and a real rising star in his division. The family’s well and whole again, and it’s because we always told the boys that no matter what when they were ready to come back, the door would be open.”
8. The Homeless Guy Works Here?
“I am a corporate headhunter of sorts. I entered the ‘family business’ when the reality of life slapped me in the face. I didn’t know it at the time, but it is the best decision I ever made. I spent my formative years growing up in the Midwest. There, I worked in the other family business which was the restaurant industry.
My family owned and operated two separate restaurants.
They were both ‘Mom and Pop’ style restaurants and were pretty successful. My parents decided to venture out on a limb though, and shortly before I joined the Army they transformed one of them into a Gastropub. It was outfitted with a hundred taps of booze and a higher-quality menu.
I was an adolescent and worked at both restaurants. The employees there were, and continue to be a second family.
I grew up washing dishes, clearing tables, cooking, and exchanging stories with the regulars. I enjoyed conversing with the regulars more than anything else.
That was my Sunday routine for years as a child. I loved working in the restaurant. I was excited for the one to change, but I knew it would lose some of the charms, and I wasn’t sure how many regulars would stick around.
Nevertheless, the restaurant changed and I eventually joined the Army.
Home was now an afterthought. I had joined the Army and started my adult life. I have always been the independent type. I never write home, and I would not expect a call from me; ever. I returned home shortly before my first deployment. After that, the speed of the Army lifestyle wrapped its claws around me and I took a nearly two-year hiatus from my childhood home.
I had just returned from another combat deployment. I was eager to go home and see my friends and family.
I decided that I would meet up with an old friend on my first evening in town. Nick actually recommended that we go to my parent’s pub. It was a Friday night, and the place would be booming due to the proximity of a larger university. I thought it was a great idea, and I was anxious to return to my stomping grounds.
I still had my post-deployment beard, and honestly looked like a homeless bum. I was out of give-a-damns regarding my overall appearance though. I was not dressed to impress.
Nick and I had arrived shortly before six. The place was just starting to fill up. I didn’t feel the need to get a table, so we decided to sit at the bar. I plopped myself down and then was immediately approached by Sandy.
Sandy is a phenomenal waitress and had been with my family for nearly 20 years. She was family. We exchange the normal pleasantries, but she was more eager to relay some information, fully knowing she would wind me up. I have a knack for nonsense though!
Sandy: See that tall bartender?
Sandy: That’s Mike. He is a jerk, and he acts like he runs the place.
OP: Sandy, I am a jerk.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he is a bad employee.
Sandy: He is responsible for running out all the old waitresses, and I am pretty sure he is giving away your parents’ cash!
OP: Okay Sandy. I will watch him.
I plop myself back at the bar and continue conversations with Nick. I really didn’t pay much attention to Mike. I knew my mother was happy to have him on the staff.
He was formally trained as a bartender and had very high reviews from his past employers. According to my mother, he ‘alleviated stress’ which is never a bad thing.
Nick and I proceed to order and catch up. We both order drinks and the Cajun chicken and Fettuccine Alfredo. We exchanged stories, devoured our food, and drank. Then we waited. Then we waited some more.
OP: Barkeep! Can I get a refill?
Mike: I will be with you in a minute.
He was semi-busy so I waited. Then I waited some more. He was with a group of three college-aged females. He had already completed their order. He had been talking with them for no less than ten minutes. This was no longer a business interaction. I was growing impatient.
Aside from Nick and me, there was only a handful of humanoids at the bar. The three college ladies, another couple, and at least four regulars.
That totals eleven humanoids, at a bar with a hundred taps, which means the bar is still pretty empty.
OP: Barkeep. Can we get another round?
MIke: (With a smirk.) I told you; I will be with you in a minute.
The place, to include the bar, was now starting to fill up. Other people were patiently waiting now. Mike was a statue. The only time he moved was to offer the ladies a free round of shots.
Mike was classy. I was not completely bothered by this until he gave them free shots of Top Shelf booze. This is not barring science. You give your free shots to paying customers. People who are going to contribute to the till. Furthermore, you toast with tea or water when a patron buys you a shot, then use those as future free shots. In the end, if done correctly, you are not giving away cash.
Mike was, and to make matters worse, he was doing it with a bottle that retails for around $150.
I was livid. Nick suggested I call my mom. I have been told, ‘snitches get stitches.’ Calling my mom was not an option. She is a kindhearted idiot. Really, Read ‘No Mom. It’s Called Kidnapping’ if you want to get a sense of how oblivious she is. Furthermore, I am a sociable jerk.
I am capable of dealing with problems. I may completely and utterly disregard proportionality, but I can deal with my own problems.
OP: Nick. Do you want another drink?
Nick: Yeah. If that jerk ever comes back.
OP: Don’t worry buddy. I got you!
I should mention the cops. Yes, the cops. It was a Friday, and this pub was well established. College kids drink. College kids, specifically ‘men’, are on the hunt for anything with two legs.
They are there for the good-looking ladies, the average ladies, and the swamp donkey or stable gator (Ugly Lady). The cops know this. So the cops set up a speed trap on the highway, across the street in the furniture parking lot, and merely wait for the post-pub shenanigans. Back to the story!
I depart my bar stool en route to the bar entrance. It was on the opposite side of Nick and me.
I lift the bar gate and proceed my way to the tap. Mike was oblivious. He was still enamored with the intellectually gifted and freshly minted 21-year-old crowd of three. (I am not saying every college kid is an idiot. I overheard their conversation though. These girls were dumb.) I pour Nick and me our drinks. I fulfill the order for one of the regulars and tend to the couple.
It’s all too easy.
I am in the process of making my way back out to freedom and I am jolted back by my arm. It was Mike. He is clearly aware of my presence now. I must admit, he was much taller than I thought he was. I was nearly dangling by my tiptoes, and I could smell the $20 bucks worth of free booze permeate from his mouth.
Mike: What do you think you are doing behind the bar?
OP: Getting drinks???
Mike: You’re outta hear man. (And then quite literally drags me to the door.)
OP: I’m not leaving man. I am going to go back over there. SIT BACK DOWN, AND FINISH MY DRINK.
Mike: Look idiot. If you don’t leave now I am going to call the cops.
OP: Call them!
Mike: LOOK! (Points to furniture store parking lot.) They are right over there.
OP: Mike. You’re fired!
Mike: (Laughing hysterically.) I am fired? Who do you think you are?
Mike then attempts to shove me through the front door. We are now making a scene and the hostess and head chef are now present. Mike is laughing hysterically. The chef is telling me to leave, and the poor scared hostess is dialing the cops.
OP: Don’t touch me. I am not going anywhere.
Let’s just call the cops and have them sort this out.
Although we were clearly on opposite sides of this little predicament, everyone agreed that calling the police was the correct answer. Dear Reader, it didn’t take long. I look through the window and see a beautifully lit police cruiser making its way to our location.
Well. Whatever, right? Mike, chef, and hostess get to the cops first.
They are explaining their side of the story which I must admit sounds pretty believable. Mostly because what they were explaining is EXACTLY how it happened. ‘A belligerent jerk took it upon himself to serve himself drinks.’ The story checks out. Meanwhile, the other officer put me in handcuffs for ‘everyone’s protection.’ Fair enough I suppose. I just wait patiently, until I get to explain my side of the story.
Imagine a circle full of mostly annoyed people, and two cops. Imagine one of them in handcuffs.
COP 1: Sir, did you go behind the bar and pour yourself a drink.
COP 2: Sir, you know you can’t do that right? It’s illegal.
OP: No. Not really.
COP 1: Sir. Yes. It is in fact illegal.
OP: Not if I work here! Not if I am an owner (I am.)
COP 1: (Addressing the group.) Is this true?
Group: NO! (Laughing.) He doesn’t work here!
OP: Why don’t we ask Sandy? She has been here for nearly 20 years.
She will vouch for me.
Mike now has an odd look in his eyes. The laughter has subsided rapidly.
COP 1: Why don’t we get Sandy over here.
COP 1: Ma’am. This guy is saying he works here. Is that true?
Mike/Chef: That doesn’t mean he works here. Just because a waitress says he does.
Sandy: Why don’t we just go to the office and look at the employee roster?
Mike: (The smirk has reemerged) Sure.
Let’s go to the office.
Our merry band of disgruntled idiots and two cops make their way to the office. It is now the moment of truth.
Mike: How are you going to get on the computer? IT IS PASSWORD PROTECTED.
OP: Can you please remove the handcuffs? I know the password.
COP: How about you just tell it to me, and I type it.
BOOM. That computer jumps to life.
We are now about to explore the bowels of the employee files. Oh! Well, look at that!
OP Brother 1
OP Brother 2
Mike: (Clinging on for dear life. Just looking for driftwood to stay afloat.) THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE HIM!
OP: Officer. Can you please remove my wallet from my back left pocket and get my identification?
They do, and now Sandy has my mother on the line. The cops would like to talk to her.
Thankfully, they kept the conversation brief. ‘Is OP NAME your son and is he an owner?’ YES!
I am now removed from the handcuffs. The cops kindly excuse themselves to allow me to run my pub. The reality of life now hardly slapped Mike.
OP: Mike. Like I said. You’re fired. Now get your things, and get out of here, OR I WILL CALL THE COPS. (I point) They are right over there in the parking lot.
Mike was stunned. The reality of what just happened, and karma cookie hit bit, had not yet been digested. The look on his face was priceless. The lights were on, the door was open, but nobody was home. It was blank dismay.
Mike: Please. I moved here from Chicago. I just bought a new house; a new car.
OP: Yeah Mike!?! Well, it turns out I don’t give a damn.
Get you things or… (Point to the cops)
Mike collected his things and left. I had a brief huddle with the rest of the workers that were currently there. I kindly explained who I was and that I am not typically always a jerk, but Mike rubbed me wrong. Then I did exactly what I told Mike I would do. Sat back down, and drank.
The fallout. Well, my mom was angry.
I mean really angry, and threatened to remove me as an owner. My dad is more rational due to our shared line of work. I convinced him to hire a company to audit the liquor. They did. Turns out mike was giving away nearly $700 a month in free booze. It was merely hidden by the success of the restaurant and the fact that my mother was too hands-off to notice. My mother would, later on, kidnap my child, according to the legal definition, so I think we are quite even now.”
7. Mom Tried To Destroy My School Project So I Screwed With Her Work
“When I was a Sophomore in high school (or Freshman? I dunno, it was a while ago), I was taking a history class. I live in a small company town (300 people at MOST live here year-round) and my high school only had two seniors in a class at a time for at least two years straight, so it is TINY. Almost everyone in this town is a staff kid, except me and my siblings at the time.
And it’s a very, VERY Christian town based around Christian Summer camp and religious retreats. Which was pretty hard on a closeted kid like me (I identified as a trans-dude at the time).
One way I expressed myself was to research and write a lot about LGBT history and rights in all the classes where it was applicable. If I cared about a subject, I would go HAM on the essay.
(One essay was 15 pages I think when the minimum limit was 2.) My teachers loved it.
In History, we were asked to pick a movement and make a physical project to display it. This was the first and only time we got to pick a subject in the class of our own volition (we had four classes each day, it was a block schedule, so courses lasted like a semester at a time) and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
I began to put together a design and research for the LGBT Rights Movement in the U.S. We ordered food that we can’t get at the small Store, so we had plenty of cardboard. I put together a hollow-triangle shape with two sides covered in different bits of trivia and art. I also stuck on some hand-made Pride flags at the end. I was immensely pleased with the final product.
My Lil 14-year-old butt sat in our living room putting the project together at last for the next two days before the project was due. Our super traditional Christian grandparents were over that weekend and they were… Quietly displeased about the project. I was super happy and I was eager to talk about it. No one tried to tell me off for the project, but they did make some homophobic comments and I knew they were trying to gauge how much I genuinely felt impassioned towards LGBT people in general, not just their history.
It really hurt to say it was just ‘I think it’s neat’ which isn’t unusual for me.
But my Mom had made a misunderstanding when seeing the Project info. She thought I was going to present it with a whole script to my five other classmates when in reality we were just gonna set up our projects around the classroom and look at them as a gallery.
But she wouldn’t take that information. When our grandparents left and went back home, she took me aside and said ‘show me how you’re going to present’ which I obviously had not prepared. I tried to explain this but she told me to do it anyway. So I did.
I got less than halfway into the timeline, at some point getting around to how there’s science verifying transmen and transwomen’s identities and how dysphoria was now registered in the DSM when my mom started saying I couldn’t present this to my class.
I asked why and she said that she ‘had friends’ with ‘these illnesses’ and that I needed to stop talking about them like this. (She’s mentioned like TWO lesbian friends who she isn’t actually very close to and blames one’s childhood abuse for that friend becoming gay.) I tell her that being gay wasn’t a mental illness (and it hasn’t been since 1973) but she says, again, that I cannot present this as is.
I keep arguing with her until the REAL reason she was so upset with this comes through;
‘I have friends with kids in that class! I don’t want them to hear you talking about this!’
All of my classmates’ parents were staff and my Mom was trying to get a job (she decided to sell her salon business cause California business laws are horrific) here at the Camp.
She was worried that my presentation and support of LGBT rights would ruin her reputation in the community.
When I told her there was no way I could make a whole new project in the 12 or so hours I had before the project deadline the next day. My mom tells me that she’s going to destroy my project. I go to bed angry and crying.
At school, I mention this to my History teacher, who is not pleased by my mother’s behavior, as she was really looking forward to seeing my project.
I was well known as an artist (I had been doing digital art for about 4 years by that point.)
At lunch, I go home (we’re allowed to leave the school campus during lunch break) and my Mom tells me that I’m not going to get to present, that she is going to throw out my project, and she doesn’t CARE that I’ll get a 0 for the project (which was super weird with how often she pressured me almost violently into getting straight As.) It’s two complete weeks of hard work and effort that I was SUPER PROUD OF and also tied to my own personal identity even if she didn’t know it.
I’m a blubbering, sobbing mess by the time I get to school and I’m also kinda annoyed. I sit down in History and everyone is absolutely confused (aside from my twin sister) on why I look so upset. I burst out and explain my Mom decided she was going to destroy my project and I was a mess.
My History teacher, however, pulls me aside and explains to me that she managed to protect my project.
I am a blubbering grateful mess to her as well. (I came out to her as an LGBT member about a month later in a different course she was teaching. She was incredibly accepting and friendly to me.)
But at the time, after experiencing that loss, I was MAD and I am full of spite. My mom tries to excuse her behavior as looking out for me and all the usual things she would say to me after I was upset with her/she was upset with me (gaslighting anyone?).
And it worked for about two days before the spite simmered above the weird sense of guilt she managed to imprint in me that this would make it hard to get a job. But I had a new plan.
With a revitalized passion, I decided I was going to make as much LGBT+ stuff as possible on school time, for school grades, and all while following school instruction.
I wrote as many essays about gay rights and issues as possible, wrote a gay romance for a creative writing class, made a character openly gay in a horror short story I had to write for a different class. Everything I could fit LGBT+ stuff in, I did.
Music playlist for Hamlet? The artists are all openly gay/bi. I openly defended LGBT people against my classmates (maybe you shouldn’t have made me attend that debate class, Mom).
Every open house I would display my Gay and LGBT stuff for everyone to see (it was worth the anxiety attacks) and I did my best to encourage people to see it and did my best to get parents to look at my work (which I did my best at so they would struggle to find anything negative to say to my face that wasn’t openly bigoted).
I did my best to keep these things away from my Mom’s awareness, which mostly worked out well. I also made a lot of ‘I’m not straight’ jokes discreetly to my sister but that was just me being gay and silly. I also bought myself a bow-tie and wore it whenever I was going to an event where staff would be and always tried to keep my hair and clothes as gender-neutral or masculine as possible, unlike most of the other girls at my school who were beacons of femininity (and super-duper pretty).
My mom volunteered to help with the camp that she wanted to get hired at. She volunteered all the time and was always pushing for employment. I can’t guarantee this was because of me and my actions, but it was at least a year and a half until she was finally taken on as part-time staff (but only for one summer) and I made some great teacher relationships, made some homophobes uncomfortable, and I’ve got another school year left in this high-school to keep on doing this. I know this is petty but I run on spite and she’s given me a lot to fuel my passion for things she hates over the last decade.
My current plan is to sneakily tape pride flags all over the school (we’ve been given a very wide open space to work in) on relevant LGBT holidays (Lesbian Day for example).”
6. Moochy Friend Adds Me To A Robo Call List? Guess You're Fired
“My mom has this tendency to attract… shady people. They’re always fun to hang out with when I’m with her, but never someone I’d hang out with one on one, or even trust to leave alone in my home. They almost always have some reason for the hustle, like a bunch of kids, but never want to do any REAL work. Instead, they mooch off of whoever they see as an easy mark.
One of these people is ‘Sally.’ Sally has 4 kids, all from different dads and she does whatever she can to keep the kids from the dads unless she needs a sitter. Sally refuses to get a real job, and instead bums rides, cash, smokes, and whatever else she needs that her small amount of support and public funds won’t cover.
Now, this is going to sound snobby, but I’m in a higher tax bracket.
My husband and I married when I was 21. We focused on my education and his career, and when I was in my early 30s had 2 children. We waited until we were financially stable, his career was secure, and I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. Basically, we worked our butts off for the first 10 years of our marriage and saved so that we were debt-free and owned our first home by the time kid1 was born.
My mom introduced me to Sally not long after my 2nd was born. We had moved to our current home, which we bought for an insane deal since the bubble had burst. Seriously, this place would have been a good 100k out of our range if the bubble hadn’t burst and my husband hadn’t received a hefty sellout for a company he was a founder of.
Since we don’t really NEED the money from re-sales, anytime my kids outgrow something, I give it away. We didn’t have money when I was a kid, so my view is that I should give my gear to someone who was in a similar spot. Everything from clothing to toys, and baby gear. I try to find people who I know really need the stuff, and they always get first dibs.
Sally was the person I was doing this for at the time. I gave her a collapsible stroller, baby pens, car seats, bouncy gyms… you get the idea. I basically gave her a couple thousand in used stuff because I knew she needed it.
Well, it started feeling less like ‘helping out my mom’s friend’ and more like I was being hustled. For example, we invited her kids to my kid’s birthday party, and she insisted we allow her son to blow out candles too because my son and her son’s birthday were just a few days apart.
Another time she scolded my kid for drawing on his jeans (washable markers) because it would hurt their resale value. So, I began the slow process of cutting her off because I don’t do drama like that.
So, Sally moved across town. I didn’t hear anything else from her for a couple of years. One day, out of the blue, I get a text from a number I didn’t recognize.
It said, ‘Hey, it’s Sally. I’m working at a booth at the fair getting numbers for roof bids. I’m putting everyone I know on my list so I can make my quota and leave for the day. You don’t have to buy, just tell them you changed your mind.’ I called my mom, she got the same message, and she hadn’t heard from her in a couple of years either.
Within the week, I started getting robocalls from a roofing company. The first few, I just let go to voicemail. Then one day I answered. They started their pitch and I told them that not only did I NOT sign up but that their employee had sent me a text telling me what she did. The woman on the phone was shocked and annoyed. She asked if I had proof.
I told her I had the texts to back it up, as did my mother who was also getting calls. She sent me her email address and I sent her screenshots from both of us. That’s when she told me that the list she had was one they distributed through a network of home improvement companies and that I’d still get calls, but she’d make sure I was off the next list that went out the next month.
About 3 days later, I got a text from Sally that she had been written up and that I was a jerk for turning her in, and how I was taking food out of her kids’ mouths. So yep, guess who got screenshots of that text too? I got a follow-up email saying that they had fired Sally and that if I received anything else from her, they advised me to call an attorney for harassment, but they could do no more. Neither one of us has heard from Sally since.”
5. Being A Leech Doesn't Get You Everything
“I used to work at a large CPR facility where I honestly loved what I did, but a few people there, including the owner, made it unbearable to work there.
The owner had hired a 40 something-year-old guy he’d met in the grocery store parking lot as an AED salesman. No one liked him and everyone told the owner not to hire him. He ended up being one of the most arrogant, entitled, racist, and discriminatory men I’ve ever met.
He was the only ‘older’ guy in the office as most of us were in our 20’s. This guy kissed the owner’s butt like no other and somehow managed to get the title of ‘Director.’ Titles meant absolutely nothing at this place, but he let it get to his head, sticking his nose in things he had no business in. This caused a lot of problems considering he’d been working there less than a year, only knew about AED sales, and would try to medal in my work as Training Manager.
My job was high stress, required a lot of organization, and no one else knew how to do it properly other than my direct supervisor who didn’t have much time to help me out herself.
This ‘Director’ guy finally messed enough things up in not only my department, but others too, and got enough complaints that he got ‘demoted’ to ‘Director of Sales’ (DOS) only.
One day in a daily morning meeting, DOS sits down looking all stressed clearly wanting one of us to ask him what was wrong.
My supervisor reluctantly asks him and the following conversation goes like this:
DOS: I’m just so stressed out. I’m trying to get this Child Heartsaver class organized for this client, but I can’t get the CPR instructors to cover it. The class is in a week and I don’t have the contacts.
OP: Wait what?? I don’t have that class on my calendar.
DOS: Oh yah. I didn’t tell you.
OP: And why is this the first time I’m hearing about this??
DOS: Oh, well I was selling her an AED and I didn’t want to do her a disservice by having the DIRECTOR just transfer her to some other person in the office.
I was fuming at this point. Keep in mind I had an incredibly busy week and knew if this didn’t get resolved, I would be the one to get in trouble as this class fell in my wheelhouse.
OP in a very serious tone, in front of everyone: With all due respect, you are the Director of Sales. By not transferring her over to me, you WERE doing her a disservice.
I had never seen DOS so red in the face. None of us had ever put him in his place before. I knew he’d go and try to run to the owner and ‘tell on me’ and I was right.
I heard him sitting down in the owner’s office and heard whispers of my name from DOS very shortly before the owner started yelling at him.
There was only one thing the owner liked more than butt kissing. His company’s image and reputation. If that class didn’t go well, which it was going to be, this could mean a lost client and my boss wasn’t having it.
I soon saw DOS walking into his office like a scolded puppy and shortly after I got a raise for my hard work.”
4. A 6th-Grade Revenge
“So I’m a 6th grader going to 7th soon and the school bully was known as a ‘player.’ I have never been in a relationship so I thought I was safe. My sister, who is in 6th grade, didn’t know he was a bully and started going out with him. This was nonsense to me. So the bully and his friends were bulling me making me the laughing stock of the school.
After school ended I went home and started scrolling on social media and guess who is on my recommended. Bully’s sister is in 7th grade. A light bulb appeared over my head. I followed her and I private messaged her and we started talking. And after a week of being the laughing stock of the school, I come and take the victory. Bully’s sister and I started going out.
A 6th grader going out with a girl in 7th. I became the most popular 6th grader for going out with her. I really didn’t care about the bully anymore. Bully became the laughing stock of the school and I earned the nickname of ‘the girl magnet.’ Anyway. Bully’s sister and I started getting closer. We would talk a lot. I mean even the teachers knew but didn’t say a word because the bully was a jerk to the teachers.
So bully’s sister would come out and we would talk and walk around together. I won and the bully lost. But the story hasn’t ended yet.
Right before school ended my sister broke up with him because she figured out that he used to bully me and I’m pretty sure the bully was crying for her to come back. Cringe. My sister was happy I was seeing his sister and that bully was the new laughing stock. My sister was dumbfounded that she had been in a relationship with a bully.”
3. Homophobic Stepmom Made Me Suffer So I Signed Her Up For Newsletters
“When I was 14, my biological father got together with this woman who we’ll call Chris. The first time I met her was when she texted me and asked me what color I wanted my room to be painted, as well as claimed that she was my dad’s significant other and wanted me to friend her on social media so we could connect/talk to each other.
Now, I had NEVER seen or heard from this woman until this point, but because she had a picture of her and my bio dad together I decided that she was telling the truth so I friended her. Naturally, when my Mom found out she was ANNOYED (not at me but her) because she had never heard of this woman before and was probably scared that she would try to groom me or influence me to do bad stuff.
So my mom contacted my bio dad, who we’ll call ‘Tommy’, and Tommy verified Chris’s claims and confirmed that they were together. But my mom was still very mad at her and said that Chris had better hope that she and her never meet etc. etc. and I got a big ‘ol lecture on the internet safety and the fact that photoshop was a thing and that I needed to be more careful because Chris could’ve been lying to me.
Fast forward to me being 15, I was sent to go live with Chris and Tommy because I was dissatisfied with my home life and told my real parents as much + my biological dad had finally decided to take me in so I had to go anyways because it was in the divorce paperwork that I was to go live with Tommy during the summer until I turned 16 and could decide who I wanted to live with permanently.
When I got to Chris’s house, things were fine for a while but eventually, it all started to break loose once she started to show her true colors as the step monster from the underworld. Some of the things that she did include:
- Told me that she would make her family disown me because I didn’t want her to post my pictures on social media due to the fact that I didn’t know any of the people she was friends with and she was making me uncomfortable.
Chris said that she was doing it to ‘show me off’ to her family members so they would ‘know me’, and that if I didn’t want her to do that then I must obviously not want to be a part of her family. We played Monopoly afterward to calm her down.
- Wouldn’t let me go to school for an entire week and threatened to not let me go to school if I got grounded because the school was online and she hated online school.
And when I wasn’t going to school, she was making me and my brothers do nonsense school ‘activities’ but we weren’t learning anything because there was 0 curriculum which caused me to fail a major test I had at my school. After all, I wasn’t able to do my schoolwork. I contacted my teachers when she threatened me and told them to call DHS if I wasn’t in school which she flipped out about.
- Cared a lot about her reputation, and used social media to keep up appearances.
- Lied to me a lot about the dumbest things and tried to force me into staying with her by trying to manipulate me into saying that my real parents were abusive, but failed.
- Told me that she was gonna make me go see a pastor when Tommy went on a homophobic tirade towards me and I wasn’t receptive of it, because I was being ‘rebellious’, and tried to take pictures of the tissues I used with her phone because I cried a lot during Tommy’s rant and I used multiple tissues to dry my eyes up.
- Basically threatened to kick me out, throw all of my possessions out of her house, and make me sleep in a tent in her yard if I ever burned her microwave- accidentally or on purpose.
She did it because I made a joke about putting food in the microwave and it exploding and bursting into flames. Don’t ask me why I did this particular joke idk myself but I do know that I was trying to be funny at the time. I’m also mildly autistic and have trouble with social interaction so… (Chris also knew that too btw but either didn’t care or used it as an excuse in an attempt to treat me like a 6-year-old.).
- Constantly lied to my mother that I was having a good time with her when I wasn’t and tried to make me out to be a bad person towards my mom and got mad at my mother when she wasn’t receptive to it.
- Knew that I was most likely gay because my mom told her before everything hit the fan.
After all, she knew that I was questioning my gender and wanted Chris to be sensitive about it. Chris said that it was fine and that she wasn’t homophobic but she most definitely was. I say this because after Tommy’s ‘tirade’, I wasn’t allowed to touch my brothers in even the slightest way and even enforced it with them. Sure, the rule existed when I was first there but was even more strongly enforced after it was basically confirmed that I was gay due to the fact I refused to fall for Tommy’s nonsense.
- Refused to let me babysit my brothers despite me being old enough to do so, which again happened after I was basically outed as gay.
But nothing, and I mean NOTHING came close to when she lied and said that I looked up gay videos and other nasty things on her cellphone and told my bio dad that I did it.
Probably because I told her that I was excited to go home to my mother when she asked me, and it resulted in me having to call the police on my bio dad because he threatened me.
After I called the police on them, I was forced to do my schoolwork in the living room, and I was only allowed my laptop after Tommy woke up and gave it to me, while he and his wife watched me (both took turns) to make sure I was only doing my schoolwork.
During this time, Chris would try to start drama with me by asking me why I hated her so much, guilting me for ‘making her babies cry every day’ because they missed their mommy even though she was gone for a good decent chunk of the morning during the week to go see them, and trying to catch me using electronics when I shouldn’t have been and even tried to set me up by leaving electronics in the living room alone with me (my cellphone, computer, etc.) and then leaving the room in an effort to manipulate me into using them.
Thankfully though, I fell for almost none of it and I was able to, from right under their noses, communicate with my mother the stress and some of the danger I was facing and used my laptop to look up my rights in case I was forced into going to court. I was able to do so by using my computer during my school hours, and adjusting my position so that Chris nor Tommy were able to see the screen.
Because I told my mom of some of the danger I was facing, over the coming weekend she talked with my biodad and me, and she basically forced him to come to a truce with me under the guise of therapy for me when I got back home and that if I really did do it I would probably confess to the searches when I got home and didn’t feel threatened all the time to which Tommy fell for.
However, Chris was definitely very mad about it because after the truce, my brothers came back from staying with their grandparents and my bio dad told me that I wasn’t allowed to be alone in the same room as them for prolonged periods of time and told Chris as much too.
But despite this, she would try to sabotage me by frequently leaving the room to leave me and my brothers alone together despite knowing that she wasn’t supposed to do that, and tried to have me sit right beside my brothers in the same car and probably leave us alone when we were alone together and separated from the other adults.
This didn’t work though, because I was on guard and when Chris tried to leave me alone with my brothers I simply went to my bedroom until there were adults present again. And when she tried to make me get in the car to sit right beside my brothers even though we weren’t even close to leaving yet, I declined and ran away from her to go talk to the adults nearby which left Chris very dumbfounded due to the fact that she thought I was going to take the bait.
Due to all this, during the night right before I left and I was going to go to bed, she wished me goodnight and said, in a bitter/venomous tone that it ‘was fun’, and by doing so basically told me to never come back/return to her home. I went to bed, happy that I was finally going home and during the next day I flew back home where I was reunited with my real parents.
However… I became very embittered towards Chris, and when I remembered the smugness written all over her face telling me that everything that happened while I was there was ‘fun’, I became enraged and decided that I wanted some payback of my own towards her.
So naturally, I looked up Chris’s real name to find her email and other personal info, used her work email that I found to sign her up for gay content and a bunch of newsletters, remembered her address and used it to sign her up for printed Scientology newsletters/junk that you would receive in the mail (of which she would be unable to stop), among a bunch of other things that will probably leave at least a few pieces of junk in her mail each and every time she goes to collect it, and registered accounts for various websites under her name using both her email and her home address.
It’s been 1 month since that happened, and she hasn’t contacted my parents about it so I can only imagine what happened. But I know for a FACT that it probably wasn’t good because I signed her up and registered accounts for her on dozens of sites, plus I, again, signed her up for freaking SCIENTOLOGY newsletters. So those people will probably NEVER stop harassing her until she moves away from her tiny trailer park or she gets to the bottom of the junk mail. (Which she won’t because she’s very tech illiterate so…)”
2. Won't Go To College? We'll Take Your Stuff
“So back in 2010 to 2012, at the tender age of 23 – 25… I moved up to a larger town in Idaho. I was raised in a sheltered city, one of those small Idaho towns, where your parents knew if you had done something wrong, let’s say a day before you did it. It was that small, and everyone knew everyone. Anyhow, I am an individual with Aspergers and ADHD, so I don’t have the best time doing stuff, not because I am lazy or stupid…
Autism is hard, heck getting my thoughts down to type this is hard, but I don’t have the Anger Issues that normally come with one or the other.
My parents, we’ll call them MOM and DAD or just Parents, they are not entitled, but they have their moments… they are not Karen or Kyle level people, but again MOMENTS, and also are very old school and can be a tad religious.
So I move up to this Bigger town, get put in a res-hab program, ‘a living program with an agency and ‘Structure’ for people with difficulties living on their own’; the first place I live, I have an Old Man with wheels and a less functional person, but smart, as roommates… this goes on for 6 months, and could cover a different post altogether, anyhow I was there till I move to a more permanent place (Been here 10 years almost I feel old).
My Parents have been talking to me about going to college, and since this is a college town, it is perfect. They talk about getting me a laptop and some grants for this school. I want to go into Massage Therapy, Robotics, and Blacksmithing (a person can dream)… there is only ONE LITTLE PROBLEM… They want $16K Per Term, and I have none of it, Screw THAT….
my patients had always told me I can get a Summer Job to pay off College… and in my mind, I am wondering, ‘what on earth jobs pay out that kind of cash?’ So I drop out of that.
So up to the point, I hear about the tuition charges and such, and books cost like $500. I have been in this ‘Program’ and the Que (Q?) Director Lady, we’ll call her Hedi, like from that NCIS show with LL Cool Jay in it, she had the haircut for it…
MOVING ON, Hedi was one of those people who said one thing and did another… always telling me she was going to put me on a diet, and whatnot never did anything about it. She gives me a choice and says she will support that choice because we both know I can’t afford that, and I tell her ‘I am not spending the rest of my life paying off school…’
Parents hear it, they come up, take my PC, PS4, TV, the works, even try to take the internet (It wasn’t mine at the time), and leave me with no internet on my phone too.
And say ‘Till you get into school, and start doing better, we are going to hold these for you.’ I was first shocked, stunned, and complied with ‘just handing my stuff over’ because I didn’t know any better… and I WAS UPSET… the crying kind of upset, because I can’t hold my emotions back, always had a hard time with it. I know next to nothing about law at this time.
Hedi came over, after hearing about it from the staff… and a multitude of Spies… I won’t go into detail on her right now. She was annoyed and told me I had rights, and that what they had done, was technically THEFT and EXTORTION… and that we could go to court with it. I said ‘Sure, let’s use that as a threat and see if they give my stuff back,’ so she did.
Parents retort with ‘Guess we’ll see you in court then,’ and then like 2 days later return my stuff, without going to court. I am not sure how Hedi did it, or if my parents just realized/read up on the law, but we didn’t have to go that far… and we are still on good terms, and there was a happy ending here.
I didn’t have to go to college, and I am not entitled, I just refuse to go into debt… the other reason I didn’t want to go was a little thing called ‘COMMON CORE’, basically you spend 12 years of your life going to school, and then the system is like ‘Oh you liked that well here is MORE.’ Yeah, no.
I never did get that laptop, and the laptop is a story for another day…”
1. How I (Almost) Single-Handedly Collapsed A Boy Scout Troop
“Back when I was in third grade my dad asked me if I wanted to become a cub scout (junior Boy Scout) because all of my friends were in it. Of course, I said yes and it truly was an amazing experience for me and everyone else. Once we were old enough we became real Boy Scouts and every year more people would join our troop.
Last summer our troop won a trip to West Virginia for a week to spend at a summer camp, but not everyone was able to go. I got lucky along with my ‘friends’ Richard and Sam (not their real names).
Most of the week was pretty uneventful, however, we did meet up with other troops and Richard became very close friends with a kid from one of them.
Richard was an alright kid, but as he got older he slowly became a ‘popular kid’, peer-pressured others into doing what he said, and was just an all-out jerk. After Richard started making a lot of friends he started making them all bully me, it wasn’t really anything physical, just verbal but that all adds up when there are 10+ kids making fun of you for eating breakfast, but it was tolerable I guess.
The worst thing that Richard did was he took his bug spray and a lighter he snuck in and burned our tent on the final day, not to the ground or anything but if one of the oblivious adults looked inside they would’ve noticed.
After we came home from that trip, that same week Richard moved away, I’m not sure where but with the way he was acting I think he knew he wouldn’t have any consequences afterward.
Around the same time that Richard left, a new kid joined the troop, I’ll call him John. I had known John for a while now and was surprised to see him join the Boy Scouts. He and Sam became very close friends as the weeks went on.
In February I invited one of my other friends to also join, and the same week that he joined our troop was going on a camping trip.
Since we live up north going on snowy trips happened all the time and most of the time they’re really fun. I need to mention that Sam’s mother was in charge of our merit badge work and John’s father became the head of our troop. On this snow trip, my friend had to leave early for a family reunion so we had to take his tent down earlier than we normally do.
During this trip, most of the adults were helping other troops get ready for a sled race which is what this camping trip is known for, so while my friend and I were taking the tent down we were unsupervised. At this point in life, we’re more than old enough to not be under the eyes of an adult for most of the time and Sam and John also knew that.
About a minute into taking it down the two of them walk over to us and start harassing us, it started with just name-calling and whatnot but eventually, my friend shouted back, and then it all broke loose. I don’t remember who, but somebody threw a punch and hit my friend in the nose. They then started throwing ice and sticks at us but we eventually finished putting the tent away and I saw John’s father so I walked up to him and asked him to just talk to his son.
I’m not the kind of person to rant and complain about stuff but even I knew that I needed to tell somebody. But the only response I got was ‘just go do something else OP.’ And then I just snapped, whatever thread was keeping me in this troop had broken, I was done. The minute I got home I told my parents that I wanted to move to another troop because of how they treated me.
I didn’t go into details because I didn’t want my parents to worry about me or whatever.
One month later and I joined a new troop that was a lot closer to me, the people in it are nicer and the adults actually care about the kids. Until recently that’s how I would’ve ended that story but something interesting happened. My dad got an email from one of the parents asking him to convince me to go back to my old troop because neither Sam nor John could lead a troop.
My dad knew that wasn’t going to happen so he just ignored the email. Because John and Sam couldn’t lead the troop, fewer and fewer kids joined it and it slowly died out. Do I feel bad? Kind of. Did they deserve it? Definitely, I’d been putting up with their stunts for years as they faced no punishment for it. But I think the hardest part about leaving was knowing that these people I’ve called my friends since third grade never were my friends, they were just getting close to me to learn secrets and use them against me.”