The Gentle Man

by Mendon Fishers

Copyright© 2010 by Mendon Fishers

Romantic Story: The story of a gentle man forced into violence

Caution: This Romantic Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Romantic   .

I was suddenly awake, and covered in a cold sweat. I guess I had "The Nightmare" again but couldn't remember it. I guess talking to the "doc" had helped.

I knew I couldn't go back to sleep yet. The nightmare would only return.

I looked over at the alarm clock. It was 4:30 am. Almost time to get up anyway, so I might as well get dressed. Running a ranch started early in the morning and lasted late into the night. But I loved it.

I had 535,000 acres in the foot hills of the Rockies. My nearest neighbor was 50 miles in any direction. I'm sure of that fact because that is as far in any direction a person needs to travel to get to my property lines from the ranch house.

I went into my bathroom, shaved, showered and returned to my bedroom to dress. When I got all done, I looked like your typical cowboy. I was 40 years old, my hair had turned mostly grey, and my weight got down to 200 lbs from 260 lbs due to all the hard work on the ranch. My face had taken on a weathered look from the sun and the wind. Some of the women I had dated said I was really good looking in a rugged sort of way. I no longer resembled the man who arrived from back east 10 years ago.

Hell I didn't even resemble my Italian roots anymore.

But I was still alone. I just couldn't bring myself to get close to any of the available women.

Now that's not to say I didn't go into town to relive sexual tension. But I never found a woman I wanted to go farther with.

One of my ranch hands once told me, "If you wake up with the same hard-on you had a week ago, it's time to go to town." So I practiced what he preached. It served my needs. As I got older, the time between trips increased.

But I guess that happens to every guy.

I made coffee and took a cup into my office. I was planning on starting my day a little early. I flipped on a TV and tuned to a national news network.

I love my satellite dish. It allowed me to keep in touch with the world while still enjoying rural living, and besides my Dude Ranch Guests went into withdrawal without it.

This was a working ranch. We had herds of beef cattle; we bred horses, sheep and even a buffalo or two. After I had lived here about 5 years, one day a small family drove up my driveway pulling their travel trailer.

They asked if they could camp out on my property.

They scored a lot of points with me by just stopping to ask. Most people (inconsiderate bastards that they are) just set up camp without asking. I usually had to send one of my hands to tell them to leave.

I really don't know why I said "OK". Maybe it was the fact that they had stopped to ask, maybe it was the look of hope in their son's eyes, or maybe it was just the fact I had a good breakfast.

Whatever it was, I sent one of the hands to help them pick out a good spot that was near the stream and under the trees, but close enough to the main part of the ranch that electric, water, and the bathrooms were close enough to be usable.

Early that evening there was a knock on my front door. There was the son standing there with a huge platter of cookies.

He held them out to me and said," Thank you for letting us stay on your land. It's really nice here." I noticed his father standing in the shadows with a flashlight, for all intensive purposes, a proud father watching his son become a man.

The boy then went on to explain that his mother made the best cookies in the world and pointed out his favorites. I raised my voice so the father could hear me, thanked the boy, and invited both of them to join me for milk and cookies.

We had a good time; the little boy got me thinking about my own children.

It had been a long time since I had run away, never even taking the time to say goodbye.

The next morning I was working some of the horses in a corral near the main barn when I looked up and spotted the father and son watching me. I was due for a break so I rode over to the fence where they were standing. The boy immediately reached for the horse's head to "Pet" him. The horse I was on was a mean stallion that would bite anyone who got near enough.

I yelled at the boy not to touch. He jumped back and started to tear up. I really didn't mean to yell so loud at the boy and scare him.

I felt like a real jerk.

I got down off the horse, knelt down and explained to the boy about the horse biting and me not wanting him to get hurt. When I got all done, I got a hug from him.

I was feeling so bad, that I took him into the barn, and showed him a newly born colt that we didn't let outside yet. The mare was a pussy cat. She was as gentle as they came, so I let the youngster into the stall with them to touch the baby. He proceeded to ask me a million questions about the foal and her mother.

I guess I made a friend for life because every time for the next week, when I turned around the boy was right there next to me. The father apologized for his son's actions.

I said, "No problem, I enjoy the company".

As the week went on, I bonded with the kid. He was about the same age as my son. (My son lived back East, and I had not seen him in years.) I guessed the boy was filling a need I didn't know I had.

The little family stayed for a week. During that short period of time the boy managed to win over all the ranch hands that met him. We were all sorry when they left.

That fall I decided to start a dude ranch with a family orientation. There wasn't a lot I had to do. My ranch had six cabins with electricity and running water. I set the boys to cleaning them up, adding water heaters and anything else they needed.

My main house was huge. The dining room would seat 30 people; the living room was just as big. I also had a library filled with books on Western history.

So I guess I was all set. We'd just "wing" the rest.

I put a small ad in a vacation magazine back East that catered to families. I got a bunch of replies and a couple of deposits.

Not exactly a great start, but it was something.

As the time for the first guests to arrive neared, I called a meeting with all my staff. We decided what the customers would do around the ranch, what horses were even tempered enough for them to ride. What chores the guests could and would be allowed to do, and what the menu would consist of.

We had even cleaned up an old wagon and outfitted it as a "chuck wagon". Our plan was to take them on an overnight "trail drive" so they could get the real "Old west" feeling.

It slowly took off. After a couple of years we were booked solid all summer long. It was nice to have all the families running around. It made the ranch seemed lived in.

One morning as I sat, sipping my coffee, I started thinking about how I ended up on the ranch. It was a long and twisted journey.

I was a bookkeeper for my Uncle Vito. I worked in a small office over one of his restaurants. You may not think a bookkeeper was major job, but my Uncle was the head of one of the largest crime families on the East coast. I was in charge of all his money, both legally earned and "other".

I was well respected within the "family." On that fateful day, we had a small kitchen fire and evacuated the building. Since I couldn't work, I went home. The garage was open, so I just pulled in and walked into the side door.

The house was dead quiet.

I heard a slight noise coming from upstairs. For some reason, I grabbed my son's baseball bat from near the door, where he had left it, and went to investigate the noise.

I quietly snuck upstairs and walked into my bedroom, that's where all the noise was coming from. There was a site I'll never forget. I saw my naked wife riding a hard cock, and it wasn't mine. She was lost in the throes of ecstasy, begging to get fucked harder and harder.

Her eyes were closed and she was calling, "Tony make me cum again, I need it." My name was Sam.

I started across the bedroom toward them, when her lover turned his head and saw me. He looked at me and smirked. It was my enemy, Tony D'Amico, from another crime family. The look on his face, said it all. He was fucking my wife to humiliate me. He was rubbing my nose in it.

I really don't remember what happened next, but when the clouds of anger cleared, there was Tony lying in the bed with his head beaten to a pulp. I guess a 260 lbs guy with a baseball bat could do some serious damage.

He was dead.

My wife was on the floor, it looked as if I took the bat to her also, but she was still breathing.

I didn't know what to do next, so I called my cousin. He told me to calm down, get in my car and drive over to one of his businesses. He'd take care of the cleanup.

When I got to that business, I was put in a car and driven about 200-300 miles to the west where we changed cars and continued driving for the next two days.

We stayed in a small motel outside of Reno, Nevada for a couple of days.

I got my head straight there.

My handler explained that a cleanup crew, sent by my cousin, had made Tony's body disappear, and had tossed my wife down the grand staircase into the foyer. The crew wanted it to look as if she fell down them.

They then started the bedroom on fire to eliminate all sign of Tony's death.

The fire department found my wife at the foot of the stairs and assumed she had fallen down them trying to avoid the fire.

My wife's back had been broken when I had hit her with the baseball bat. The rough handling she received severed her spinal cord at the location of the break. She would not have any feeling from the waist down, she lost the use of both legs, and she lost all control of her bladder and bowels.

I had no sympathy for her after what she did to our marriage.

One of her doctors felt that her injuries could not have been caused by a simple fall down a flight of stairs and wanted to investigate further.

He lost interest in her and shortly after bought a new cabin cruiser. I guess some associates of my cousin talked to him.

My two children were with my elderly parents and doing ok. They were told that their mother had a boy friend and she was injured by him. They accepted that explanation because they had overheard phone calls between her and Tony.

They never asked to see their mother in the hospital.

My handler then tore my heart out. It seems that Tony's distant cousin was the Don of another crime family and he had placed a reward on my head. I couldn't go home again and I'd never see my children again.

On the last day there, my handler gave be a new briefcase. In it I found everything I needed to become Tom Martin.

Sam Pulmeri no longer existed. My life, as I knew it, ceased to exist.

I was outfitted in western style clothes, just a simple ranch hand. My handler introduced me to another ranch hand, and we got in his pickup.

We drove off to start my new life.

I snapped back to the present and started my day. This was a Monday and all the guests for the next two weeks were scheduled to arrive that morning. I walked into my office, turned the welcome sign on, fired up my PC, and started another Monday.

About noon, a limo drove up to the office. I was outside at the time. My first thought was these were going to some "difficult" guests, most of the ones that arrived by limo were. The back door opened on the limo and two teenage kids got out.

My next thought was, "Shit, two very spoiled kids with no parents in sight. Theirs would be a short two weeks". I was thinking of starting a pool with the hands on how long they would last before wanting to return home.

They stood around waiting for their luggage to be unloaded; I thought that they looked a little familiar. But my thought train was interrupted by my current customer's questions. By the time I was done, one of my helpers had checked them in.

At dinner that night I gave my usual talk about the ranch and what we expected from our guests as well as what they could expect from us. I reminded them that this was a working ranch and not a vacation spot that catered to every customer's needs. If they wanted a "spa" treatment, they were going to be very disappointed.

But then I assured them that we would bend over backwards to make their stay memorial.

I noticed that the two kids had found a couple of peers from another family and seemed to be getting along.

I might need to revise my estimate for their length of stay.

Because this was a working ranch, I spent most of my time actually running the ranch. Hands that were assigned to our dude ranch customers had to be people persons. They loved the customers and the customers enjoyed them. If they weren't explaining something, they were entertaining the customers with one tall tail or another.

About a week later, I noticed some noise coming from for one of the smaller barns where we stored hay and grain for the horses. When I investigated I found one of the teenage boys fooling around with one of the teenage girls.

While I understood teenage hormones, I also needed to prevent this behavior. All I needed was a law suit from the parents for a pregnant daughter.

So I "not so discreetly" cleared my throat. There followed the scramble to pull down bras and shirts, and button jeans. They weren't actually having sex, but they were close.

I was a teenager once myself so I understood where they were coming from. But on the other hand, I guess I was going to play the part of her father.

I gave the boy a really hard look and said, "Get boy!" I almost laughed as he ran for the door, bent over at the waist. I remembered how hard it was to stand up when you had an erection stuffed in tight jeans. (We'd have a good laugh when I told the hands about this that night.) I turned my hard look on the girl and told her to finish getting dressed and meet me in the study in the main house because we were going to have a talk. I turned and walked out of the barn trying to decide exactly how I was going to handle this.

I didn't have a clue how to begin. I never raised children let alone a teenage girl.

By time I reached the house, I decided that I'd use the "responsible adult" as a base for my talk with her. About 10 minutes later, she walked into the study. She was still crying.

I pointed to a chair across from me and asked if she would like something to drink. I got myself a soft drink as she shook her head no.

Trying to keep my voice soft and even, I tried to imagine what I would want someone to say to my daughter if the situation was reversed.

I talked to her for the next 35 minutes.

I guess I was getting a little carried away. I felt like one of those country preachers. I was in the middle of my "save your virginity for someone you really love" speech when she looked up and started studying my face.

Suddenly she said, "You've got my grandmother's eyes and grandpa's voice and mannerisms." The tears started flowing, "Are you my Dad, Sam Pulmeri?" I looked at her young face and saw my ex-wife's eyes staring back at me. I remembered a little girl looking up at me with those same eyes, holding her little arms up to me to be picked up.

I looked at her and said, "I missed you Danni." The next thing I knew, my daughter Danielle was sitting on my lap trying to hug the life out of me. We were both crying our eyes out with joy. This was the little girl; I never thought I'd see again. She had grown into a beautiful young woman.

For the next hour we just sat and talked. We discussed all our feelings. She never left my lap.

Eventually the conversation got around to my son. She said not to say anything to him until she had had a chance to talk to him first. She promised to talk to him in their cabin after dinner.

For the rest of the day, I wasn't worth a shit. I walked around the ranch with my head in a cloud and a silly grin on my face. My hands couldn't figure out what was going on with me, they knew that I hadn't "been to town" lately and wouldn't go near a guest.

The hands hadn't seen me this happy since they had fixed me up with a woman they called "The Sword Swallower" for a long weekend last year.

After dinner, I was in my office trying to do some paper work, when the door burst open and a 15 year old whirlwind ran in shouting, "You're my Dad?" The next thing I knew we were standing in the middle of my office trying to hug each other to death. Sammy Jr. had grown into someone I would be proud of.

The next morning I grabbed the "special" cell phone, saddled a horse and started to ride out into the hills to have a private conversation with my Uncle Vito.

Vito's son answered the phone.

I said, "Hi Cuz." He hesitated a minute and replied, "Hi Cubby," with a smile in his voice.

The next thing you knew we were both talking at the same time like a couple of excited kids. When we finally calmed down enough to talk, I told him about my kids and asked why we were put in danger by them being sent out to see me.

My cousin explained it was his father's idea, and he would put my Uncle Vito on the phone. My uncle came on. He sounded old and tired, but there was the sound of genuine happiness as he talked to me.

It seemed that Don Angelo had died. He had left no one to run his empire, so the council had divided it up, the largest portion going to my uncle. My uncle had lifted the bounty on my head and it was safe to return home now.

I told him that I was established out here and just couldn't just leave everything. I promised to come home for Thanksgiving and would stay through the New Year.

I thanked my uncle for the gift of my children and explained that they would be staying with me until they needed to return for school if they wanted.

On my way back to the main house, the cell phone rang again. It was my cousin. He explained that my uncle was failing and these were probably the last holidays he would be with us. He said my uncle had cancer and it was terminal.

I promised I would be there for the holidays.

That night I had my housekeeper open up two of the extra bedrooms in the main house. I only used the master suite and had closed up the other six bedrooms.

The next day while my kids were out playing rancher, I had all their things moved into their new rooms.

They came running into my office yelling that someone had stolen their "stuff" later that day.

I just smiled and pointed upstairs to the second floor. "You guys moved", I told them They disappeared upstairs to inspect their new digs. After a lot of noise coming down from the second floor, so did they. They wanted to know why I had taken all the trouble to move their stuff when they were scheduled to go back east next weekend.

"That's what you think, "I said." I explained my phone call with Uncle Vito and that if they wanted, they could stay until school started. There were two very happy teenagers in that room They said the rooms were beautiful, but they wanted a few things from town to personalize their rooms. I tried to protest, but it was two against one, so I said they could take one of the pickup trucks into town tomorrow.

As I watched them head to town, I started having misgivings about letting them take a truck to town. I could just see the back of that pickup piled full. When they returned, the truck wasn't exactly full, but it's not as if they didn't give it the "old scouts" try.

I was told to keep out of "their" rooms until they had a chance to fix them up.

That was the last I saw of them for the next couple of days. They stayed very busy in their rooms. When the great unveiling finally arrived, I was marched upstairs, after promising not to peek, made to close my eyes, When I was allowed to open my eyes in each room, I saw the typical teenager stuff.

My son's room had all the wall posters of his favorite sports figures and a couple of car posters. Somehow he even managed to sneak a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Poster in the mix.

His sister gave the poster a disapproving look, and muttered something that sounded like, "Sluts" under her breath.

I kept my mouth shut; I really couldn't understand what she had to complain about. I kind of liked the poster.

When we reached her room, I could see the female touches. There was no doubt that this was a young woman's room.

As I looked around I could help but notice the large framed photo of me on her night stand just like the one on her brother's night table. My daughter's desk was also decorated with framed picture of me. As I looked at the photos, I realized they had all been taken of me here on the ranch.

I was told that my son and daughter both wanted my face to be the first thing they saw in the morning and the last thing at night.

I got one of those big lumps in my throat; I had missed so many years with my children.

Over the next couple of months, we talked. We discussed everything that had happened during the 10 years I was gone from their lives.

One night we ran out of things to talk about, so I was asked about their mother and why I left.

I had dreaded this moment from the first time we were reunited, but I had to tell them the truth. I talked about leaving work early that day because of the fire, finding their mother and her lover in bed, going into a fit of rage, recovering and finding that I had beaten their mother's boyfriend to death with a baseball bat and injured her too. I told them that I have regretted that moment of violence since.

I explained calling my cousin and him taking over. I told them about being given the brief case with my new identity and told I could never return.

My son looked at me and said, "I'm glad she went nuts and is in a mental hospital. I never want to see her again after what she did." My daughter just sat there and looked sad.

I made a mental note to ask my uncle about my "ex" when I visited and find out what was going on with her.

I guess I needed closure because deep down in my heart I still missed her. I had to ask her, "Why." Summer ended before any of us wanted it to. The kids and I knew it would be almost three months before we could see each other again. We promised to call and email each other, but it's not the same as seeing their faces across the table or the room every day.

As much as I'd like to say it didn't, time just dragged. It felt like two or three years before those three month went by. My entire crew took me to the airport and started me on the trip home. They knew most of the story about my divorce and estrangement from my kids.

What they didn't know was about the violence and my ties to organized crime. They just knew I wanted to get home and see my children again.

I arrived back east before I was scheduled. I had told them I was due on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

I was a week early.

My guys couldn't stand me moping around the ranch, so then moved everything up and just about carried me to the airport.

So there I was pushing the button on the intercom next to the gate, where the cab had dropped me off. A very tough sounding voice said, "Yeah?" I asked if my cousin was home, was told "maybe".

"Tell him Chubb's here," I said.

Not two minutes latter my cousin was running out the front door, yelling to open the gate and let me in. The guards must have thought we were nuts standing in the middle of the driveway hugging and calling each other "four" letter words.

The next thing I knew, my kids were joining in on the hugging. (My cousin and I had cleaned up our language by then.) I looked up and saw my uncle in the doorway. He was in a wheel chair being pushed by a nurse.

He appeared to be a shadow of his former self.

I untangled myself from the mob of family members and went up to my uncle. I put my arms around him and said, "It's good to be home again. Thanks for making it all possible." I looked at his face and saw the tears forming in his eyes.

I whispered in his ear, "Tough guys don't cry, so I was right, you always were a wimp." His smile lit up his face, "Don't let my secret out." he said.

Later when we were alone, my cousin exclaimed that it was the best his father had looked in months. He didn't want to know what I whispered in his Dad's ear, but, "Thank you for making him a little happier." He told me.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with every relative and "family" member there. There must have been close to 400 people in that party house. My cousin thanked everybody for coming and talked about the upcoming year.

My uncle was handed the microphone, and he said a few words about how important "family" was. All the men stood and toasted him while the rest of the people there applauded.

I knew my uncle was touched, but as a hard guy he couldn't show it. I got up and walked over to him. I took his hand to say something when he snatched it back and said into the microphone, "I don't hold hands! People might think I was gay." That comment brought the house down.

There was nothing left for me to do but follow tradition and kiss him on both cheeks. When I got done I looked into his face and he was smiling from ear to ear.

I guess he had gotten the best of me.

On Christmas we only celebrated with immediate family. My uncle was too weak for anything fancy.

We spent New Year's Day in the hospital watching him slowly lose his battle with cancer. He died on January 5 in his sleep.

He left us peacefully. I hoped he would meet up with his wife who had died 6 years earlier.

When we walked into the funeral home a few days later, I was impressed. The entire establishment was being used only for him. The floral arrangements that were sent fill the entire structure and the people standing in line to pay their respects formed a line that stretched around the block.

Since it was January and cold outside, the people standing in line were given hot drinks and small warm sandwiches. I don't know who planned that consideration, but the mourners were thankful.

On the day of his burial, his funeral service was held at the largest church in the area. The Bishop himself conducted the funeral mass and the grave side service. The church overflowed with people as did the grave side service. I got a big lump in my throat as I watched his casket being lowered in the ground next to his bride.

They were together again.

Both my children stood at my side through all of this. Their eyes were never dry. My uncle was their alternate father for most of their years growing up after their grandparents died.

The children might have me back in their lives now, but they would miss their substitute father.

After the funeral my daughter was in a funk for a few days. When I asked her what was wrong, all she did was ask me a question, "Can we visit Mom?" I had hoped I would never need to see my ex again. The last time I saw her, she was having sex with my enemy. Here it was 14 years later and the vision of the moment was still fresh in my head.

I swallowed hard and I told my daughter I would make arrangements for the visit. I asked my son if he wanted to attend, "Hell no! I never want to see that slut again," was the reply I got.

I made a mental note to try and get him some help with these issues.

A few weeks later my daughter and I were pulling in to a state institution. I found out from my cuz that my uncle refused to pay for her care. He blamed her for all my troubles and had her declared a ward of the state.

She was warehoused in a state hospital with no effect care.

We were directed to a doctor's office in the facility. He was listed as her care provider.

After a very long wait, my daughter and I were escorted into his office. I found us face to face with a Pakistani who spoke broken English.

He had a patient folder in front of him that he explained was my wife's patient history.

He had another pile of patient folders on his desk. It was about 18 inches high. I asked if they were all his patients, and he replied, "Yes, we are short handed." At that point my daughter started asking questions about her mother. As I listened, I knew that he didn't have a clue as to who this patient was.

I asked him a very direct question, "Does my wife still take her daily run?" He answered in his heavily accented English, "Of course." At that point I grabbed my daughter's hand and squeezed hard so she would not blow up. You see her mother was paralyzed from the waist down and had been that way for 14 years. Running was not on her menu.

I asked if we could go on the ward and visit her. He called an orderly and we were escorted to her ward. We identified ourselves to the head nurse on that ward and asked to see my ex.

The nurse was very nice and knew all about my ex. She explained that she was completely withdrawn. She hadn't said a word in almost 12 years. She had paranoia and had closed off the world to protect herself.

She then escorted us to the day room for this ward.

My wife was beautiful. She weighed about 110 lbs and stood 5' 6'. When she walked into a room, every head turned to look at her. But that was t least 10 years ago.

Today she weighed around 300 lbs, had stringy, unwashed hair and was confined to a wheel chair. Her face had that blank, faraway look that the mentally ill can only have.

My daughter walked up to her and started talking. I could tell nothing was getting through. My heart went out to my daughter, she was trying so hard. She wanted her mother to recognize her.

I was walking over to my daughter to give her some support, when my ex's eyes turned to me. There was a momentary glint of recognition before my ex started screaming at the top of her lungs and thrashing her arms around.

Two of the orderlies grabbed her and the duty nurse administered a needle to her.

I don't know what was in that shot, but it knocked her right out.

The duty nurse said that was the first time she had reacted in the 5 years she had been assigned to this ward. She took our information and promised to call me if there were any changes.

We left that hell hole.

In the car on the way back to my uncle's compound, my daughter broke down and cried her heart out. I promised her I would look into having her mother moved to a private care facility near the ranch. Yeah I was a softie.

That way my daughter could visit my ex and see that her mother received treatment.

After returning to the ranch, I started my search. I found a facility about 100 miles away. It was very well respected in the mental health community. I paid the place a visit.

I liked the place. The doctors and staff seemed very professional and caring over their charges. I sat with the head doctor, the doctor who had helped me limit my nightmares many years ago, and discussed my wife's condition right down to her first outbreak in at least 5 years upon seeing me.

While he didn't like her violent reaction to me, it did prove that she was partly aware of what was going on around her. He liked that.

We made arrangements to have her transferred to his care. And I called my daughter with the good news. She cried.

A couple of months went by, when the doctor called me and asked if he could have a photograph of my face. When I asked why, he said, "I'll explain later." So I sent him an 8x10 I had made from one of the pictures my kids took.

Between visiting colleges for my daughter to attend and moving both kids out to the ranch, I forgot all about my ex-wife and the picture. So I was surprised when my ex-wife's doctor called and he asked if he could talk to me face to face at my ranch.

I agreed and we made an appointment for him to visit.

It was a nice spring day when the doctor came out. Since he rode, we decided to visit one of my high meadows and just enjoy the view. On the way out there we made small talk. Once there we dismounted and sat in the grass.

He told me that they were making progress with my wife. Her weight was down about 100 lbs and falling off her like crazy. She was starting to take notice of her appearance and was asking the nurses to brush her hair. Of course she still doesn't speak, but she will point to a brush if she wants her hair done.

He then dropped a bomb on me.

If my ex was shown a picture of me she started yelling, "He's going to kill me too" and would go wild. She usually had to be sedated to get her to stop screaming. He wanted to know if her fear of me was founded.

He then just sat there and looked at me, waiting for me to speak.

I thought about what to say and made my decision. I'd tell him everything. I asked if what I told him was covered by doctor patient privilege.

He told me to give him a dollar and then I would be his patient. The money changed hands.

I began by telling him that I was raised in an organized crime family. The Don was my uncle, and I was his trusted bookkeeper. I knew everything about his "business". I knew where the money came from and where it went. I had lists of every cop, politian, judge and the general individuals taking bribes.

My wife knew all about my "job".

I told him about arriving home earlier than expected one day and finding her in bed having sex with her lover. I wasn't really too upset with her. I could just divorce her. But her lover was a different animal. He was my enemy. And he looked at me from under her, and smiled as if to laugh at me. His expression told me that my wife meant nothing to him. She was just a way to mock me with his power.

I told the doctor that at that point I lost it. I started beating him on the face with a baseball bat that I suddenly found in my hand. When I came out of the rage and could think clearly again, I found my ex's lover dead in the bed. His head was destroyed. My wife was lying on the bedroom floor, unconscious but breathing. She showed marks on her body of having been hit with a bat.

I did not remember having hit her.

I then explained that my cousin arranged for the cleanup. I was put in a car and driven away. Eventually, I ended up here.

I told him that they made my wife's lover's body disappear, and tossed her down a flight of stairs to make it seem as if she had fallen. They then set the bedroom on fire to hide any signs of the murder. The house was almost completely destroyed by the fire.

He then sat there a long time, thinking, before he started talking again.

He said the blind rage was understandable. The loss of any memory of my beating the man to death was probably a defense mechanism used by my brain to protect me from the horror of what I'd done.

He then asked me if that was the only time I used violence on another human being and if I had nightmares or blackouts since.

I explained that my uncle had made me their bookkeeper because I wasn't "wired" for the violent side of the business. My uncle always called me, "The Gentle Man." I never hurt another human being and I did not have nightmares about the killings that I remembered, but every once in a while I woke up screaming.

He explained that I had probably buried the whole thing deep enough in my sub-conscious that it wasn't affecting me. Normally he would attempt to bring up the hidden action so I could learn to deal with it, but in my case, it would best be left alone.

He did outline a list of symptoms and make me promise to call him if any of them occurred.

I then discussed with him my son's damnation of his mother, and asked what to do. He asked me to bring my son into see him some time so they could talk. He'd handle the my son's anger.

We left the upper meadow, both lost in our own thoughts. When we got back to the main house, he asked me to stay away from my ex-wife until he told me otherwise. He wanted my daughter to visit her mother as often as possible. He said it would be good for both of them.

We parted in silence, both of us in deep thought.

My daughter was in her junior year and my son was a freshman. He was studying agriculture with his eye on going in with me on the ranch; my daughter was a pre-med student. She said that she had plans to be a "shrink" eventually. But it took many years to of study to become one. She said that seeing the way a good doctor had helped her mother is what made up her mind.

I started to notice that every time I talked to my daughter, I heard all about what she and "Bill" had done. Pretty soon that's all I was hearing was "Bill" this, and "Bill" that. I wasn't the dumbest father in the world, so I suggested that she invite him to have Thanksgiving dinner with us and meet the family.

I wanted to check him out and make sure he was good enough for my "baby." About an hour later I got the call to set an extra place for Thanks giving dinner, and could he stay in one of the spare rooms for the week as his parents were going to Europe for the holidays.

I was no fool, I agreed.

When Bill and my daughter showed up I was pleasantly surprised. Bill was a very pleasant and polite young man. He was about 6' and 190 lbs. He had sandy hair and brown eyes. He was also a premed major, but he wanted to be a surgeon.

My daughter said he was cute, but I for one never looked at another guy and thought, "He's cute." I'm just not wired that way.

Anyway, I liked him and though that he was a good catch for my daughter. I also noticed that their eyes never left each other for the next two weeks.

They had "it" bad.

They followed each other around the ranch much to the enjoyment of my hired hands. I kept getting called, gramps, and asked if I need to borrow a couple of dollars for a reception.

You get the idea.

On Valentine's Day they got engaged. A date was set for an August wedding.

Soon I found myself standing in the foyer of a local church waiting for the bride to show up. As I got more and more nervous, the priest leaned over and whispered, "They're always late, don't worry, she'll show up." She did.

As we were walking down the aisle, I noticed a wheel chair at the outside of the first row of pews on the bride's side. I also spotted my friend the shrink, sitting with a woman in the front row. I was so engaged with walking the bride to be down the aisle, that I gave them both a pass.

When I did the "hand off" of my daughter at the altar, I turned to take my seat. Imagine my surprise when I found myself looking into my ex's eyes. I felt my daughter's hand on my arm, and she whispered, "It's OK Daddy, I invited her." I took my seat next to her. I expected her to start screaming at any minute. My friend the shrink just gave me a knowing smile that said, "It's OK, she'll be good. Just don't get to close".

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