Welcome back to my writers room! This is the making of a book, people, it’s rough and unpolished right now, and you’re welcome to look in on the process, just don’t expect me to stop and circumcise everything so it’s pretty enough to put in your mouth. Okay, lately I have been pounding home the fact that for six years I paid child support to a man who didn’t have full custody of our child. That is a fact. And many of you wonder how that could happen. If you are a veteran family-law attorney, you know that weird shit like this happens in family court all the time. That’s because family court isn’t held to the same legal auspice as regular court. Also, divorcing parents are all seen as bickering idiots wasting the judge’s time whenever a custody case actually gets before a judge. Judges are important people, people, and God forbid your case ever actually demands they take time away from their importance in order to do their actual job.
But that said, it’s true family-court judges deal with real shit all day, like kids literally being prostituted by one of their parents, or being physically and sexually abused by a parent or the parent’s new spouse, etc., to the point where your case, although super important seeming to you, looks like a ridiculous douche problem to them if it gets to the point where they have to look at it, and even then they have devices in place to keep that from ever really having to look at it. Take the role of a guardian ad litem, who is a person appointed by the judge to make a recommendation on custody. You know, while the judge’s decision in constrained by, like, the law and stuff, and isn’t supposed to be made based on rumors and other unsubstantiated conjecture, a guardian ad litem, on the other hand, can base her decision solely on that if she wanted. And sadly, it is very rare for a judge to go against what the guardian ad litem recommends.
Okay I want to stop here to explain that when all this was happening, the custody bullshit, I was not the person then that I am now. Then I was just a confused, terrified groveling mess trying to do anything I could to protect my 4-year-old daughter – and I think we can agree that removing a loving mother from the life of a 4-year-old child is detrimental to that child – anyway, I was not then the person I am now. Now I am older, stronger, focused and fucking furious. But one thing I’ve always been is a writer, memoirist and humorist, right? So remember the frog-and-the-scorpion analogy? Where the frog agrees to give the scorpion a ride across the lake based on the scorpion’s promise it won’t sting the frog, but then of course the scorpion stings the frog? And why? “Because I’m a fucking scorpion,” says the scorpion.
Anyway, I am not always claiming to be the poor, kind-hearted frog here, people. I am not even claiming that the frog is kind-hearted at all. Sometimes the frog is a fucking asshole and it needs to be stung, and I am the fucking scorpion who has her stinger out, get it? Because what the hell did you think would happen? Tragedy plus time equals comedy, right? Well, the tragedy happened, the time has passed, so hence the fucking following:
Here’s an incident in particular throbs like an aneurism in my memory. It took place in a conference room in Cati’s law office after she’d submitted her first preliminary report that revealed her to be the duplicitous, incompetent figurative dick-sucking shit stain that she was. By this time my own attorney had already dropped any pretense she was supporting me at all, and was now just trying to get me to sign anything Cati shoved in front of me to make this case go away. (More on her later.) So here was Cati Diamond Stone, a 25-year-old inexperienced fool with no children of her own, holding court over a mediation session in the conference room of a law firm where she’d soon no longer be employed, and there I was, groveling, begging, apologizing (“I’m sorry I reported the physical abuse to the police!”), frantic, broken and terrified. In the middle of this came the moment when Cati Diamond Stone glared at me, puffed out her stupid chest and announced to the room that throughout her “investigation,” every time she met with me to talk about my daughter’s case, I always ended the meeting by talking about myself.
Okay, remember social truth? Because what she said was true, taken from context. My meetings with Cati always did end with me talking about myself. But here’s the actual truth with the context, in our update meetings Cati Diamond Stone always – always – as we were gathering to leave, would ask me about how my book and my film deal was coming along. So, Cati Diamond Stone, if you don’t want a meeting to end with a person talking about herself, then try not ending the fucking meeting by asking the person to talk about herself.
Okay, I would apologize for how fresh this all is, the hate I still feel for this woman. It’s been 11 years, but she tried to harm my child, people, and it took everything I had to keep her from harming my child, including growing the hide of a rhino, and spending every last cent I had because this young, starry-eyed, inexperienced fucking asshole lied to me, to the court, and to the judge, and created a crazy, almost insurmountable situation I had to fight against for the following six years. And when I finally did vanquish it, guess who ended up the most damaged? Not me, not my daughter, but the man Cati thought she was protecting.
So I hate this woman. I do. It’s the mother lion thing. The mother lion doesn’t protect her cubs by loving and forgiving the hyena who tried to eat them. So forgiveness is all fine and good, I guess, but I have not gotten there yet. Today Cati Diamond Stone is a public figure, I’m accosted by her face on billboards, TV, in magazine articles, and all I see when I look at her dimpled, pretty little vapid smile, is the same bitch who not only tried to take my daughter from me – a loving mother who did not drink, smoke, or do drugs, who’d been gainfully employed for 14 years with a steady job that provided medical and dental coverage for her child, who’d never been arrested . . . I mean, seriously, I cannot over-emphasize how boring I was – what I see when I look at that vapid face is a bitch who had reinforced my kids’s dad’s horrible behavior to the point where he thought this was good parenting.
I remember Cati’s home-visit with me and my four-year-old after she’d been assigned my daughter’s case. This was before I knew Cati was a monster, while she was still pretending to do her job and to have my daughter’s welfare at heart. During lunch over grilled salmon salad with pineapple salsa (I mention this because in her report to the judge, Cati eviscerated me for serving this to her, an adult, as though I would serve the same thing to my 4-year-old), Cati let it slip that the GAL from her own parents’ custody case recommended her father, and so Cati’s mother lost custody. And then Cati’s own mother subsequently became so demoralized by the outcome that she went away and never came back. (Cati herself told me this, so I’m going to operate on the premise that it is true.) Anyway, I don’t have to tell you how the color drained from my fucking face right then, do I? Because I remembered — right? — what she’d told me months earlier.
So I said to her, I looked Cati straight in her sparkly-eyed, evil-Disney face, and told her it made me really uncomfortable to know this, seeing as how she’d earlier told me she was so enamored with the guardian ad litem’s involvement in her own parents’ divorce, that it inspired her to become one herself.
Cati back-pedaled for about fifteen minutes, telling me not to worry, telling me that I reminded her of her own father in regards to the kind of parent I was. And now I know why she must have done this. I mean looking back I know she’d already made up her mind who she planned to support in this thing. And at this moment, in my home sitting across from me over a salad she would later tell the judge was worse than being served a big bowl of used condoms (practically), it was still early enough that I probably had a chance to flush her if I took it. So she lied to me right then. She told me I reminded her of her own father. That’s what a great parent I was, she said. So, thusly comforted, I allowed her to remain part of our case until it was too late.
This is why, people, if your GAL is acting biased from the beginning, you need to flush that GAL immediately for the sake of your kids. Even if the bias appears to be in your favor, because you don’t know if they’re just pretending to like you in order to lower your guard so they can continue to mine your life for easily misinterpreted nuggets to use against you (like a salmon salad, for chrissakes). And second, let’s say for a second that the GAL genuinely is insanely in favor of everything you do, even if what you do is harmful to the child. Just take what happened to my girl’s dad as a cautionary tale. He was led by Cati to believe that his horrible behavior was good parenting, so after the case was finished he increased that behavior a thousand fold, and eventually paid very dearly for it. Today my girl’s dad lives alone in a trailer over a thousand miles away in the middle of the desert surrounded by emptiness as far as the eye can see. So Cati, it was your job to protect the interest of this child, not to force your own childhood experience upon her, but you did. And the parent who eventually became demoralized, the one who left and never come back? It wasn’t the parent you thought it would be.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for the next episode in which I detail the magic formula Cati Diamond Stone concocted that opened an enchanted portal through which my ex was allowed to go back into my life post-divorce and hoover any remaining money he didn’t get the first time around. I’ll give you a clue on some of the ingredients: One lying, vampiric GAL and one idiot mother who indirectly invited the vampire into the house. That’s right people. I am not perfect. (Is that a surprise?) Anyway, I caution you, this formula is very effective, but it’s like the fucking cursed monkey paw, no matter how pure you consider your intentions, no good will ever come from using it, just keep that in mind. And Grant Henry, I haven’t forgotten about you, motherfucker, so just sit tight in that stupid store you just opened and sell some more made-in-China crap you call art, I’ll get back to you.
In the meantime, yes I am going there, below is a button you can use to tip me if you liked this installment. All proceeds will go to the publishing of this book and/or my evil plan to take over the world. THANK YOU!