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Devil # 3

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.” Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

Okay, I was going to give this prompt a “miss” and went to the new prompt generator I’ve been using for the past few days.  I hit the button and was served up the two-word prompt: “Ill Devil”.  At first I read this as #3 Devil, and I must admit, I got a chill, because what I immediately thought about when I read the prompt was the third time I was in a near-death situation where I felt totally helpless.  What are the chances, I thought, that these two prompts would line up?  This must be something I’m meant to write about.  But then reason stepped in and I realized this prompt always gave an adjective and a noun.  What they probably meant by the prompt was ill Devil. (Changing the capital to a small “i” clarified the prompt.) But then I realized that ill devil described the occurrence I am trying not to talk about as much as #3 devil did, so I guess, prodded on twice by fate or coincidence or synchronicity, I will try.

I have written to a similar prompt twice in 2015, so probably most of you who read my blog have chanced upon one of those posts, but when I wrote to a similar prompt in June of 2014, I wrote a different piece and since I had few of my present-day readers then, I’ll mention that THIS is what I wrote.  It may not be obvious that the topic given in today’s prompt was what I was really talking about then, however, because it was a poem where I actually stood to one side of what I was really remembering and wrote about the subject as an onlooker rather than a participant.  I only alluded to the real subject, which is what I’m going to attempt to write about today. That real subject is Ted Bundy and how otherwise respectable women sometimes fall prey to such predators.  Okay, deep breath. I’m going to tell to the world something I have actually told to very few people. Yes, this is a true story.

Devil # 3

Nineteen seventy-something. In the bar with friends.
When you are in your twenties, the partying never ends.
It was rodeo season  and the big one was in town.
As one by one they ordered drinks, I couldn’t turn them down.
We were a rather rowdy bunch of teachers in our prime
Devoted in the classroom, but wild on our own time.

The bar was crowded hip to hip, the music barely heard
over the loud cacophony of laugh and shouted word.
It was my turn to buy a round. I struggled towards the bar.
My polite “Excuse me’s!” really hadn’t gotten me too far
when a guy appeared in front of me and moved the crowd aside
as though he had appointed himself to be my guide.

As I returned with eight full drinks, again he stemmed the tide
by walking close in front of  me and spreading elbows wide.
He smiled and then departed, back to the teeming mass.
Impressive that he had not even tried to make a pass!
My friends all wondered who he was. I said I had no clue.
Tall and dark and ivy-league, he vanished from our view.

This story happened long ago. Some details I’ve forgotten,
and any memories he retains, you’ll learn were ill-begotten.
I think we danced a dance or two. I know we talked awhile.
I liked his fine intelligence, his low-key polite style.
At three o’clock the barman’s bell commenced it’s clanging chime
and I made off to find my friends, for it was closing time.

Two lines of men had split the bar, lined up back to back.
Their hands locked and their arms spread wide–they moved into the pack.
One line moved east, the other west, forcing one and all
Either out the front door or towards the back door hall.
I was forced out the back way–out into the alley.
My friends and I had made no plans of where we were to rally

and so I walked around the block, sure that was where they waited,
but there was no one there at all–the crowd had soon abated.
I went back to the alleyway to see if they were there.
but all was dark and still, and soon I began to fear
that both carloads of friends had thought I was with the other.
I had no recourse but to walk, though I prayed for another.

I combed my mind to try to think of anyone at all
living in this part of town where I could go to call
a friend to come and get me and furnish me a ride
for 3 a.m. was not a time to be alone outside.
There were no outside phone booths and I lived so far away
I simply had to rouse someone, but what was I to say?

But since I had no other choice I thought I’d check once more
if any single soul was waiting at the bar’s front door.
And as I left the alley to be off to see,
I saw a new familiar face looking back at me.
It was my dancing partner, his face split in a grin.
It seems that he was going to save me once again.

He had asked me earlier if needed a ride,
but I had told him wisely that I had friends inside
and so I thought he’d left, but I could see he was still there.
Yet, ride home with a stranger?  Did I really dare?
And yet I had no other choice, abandoned as I was.
And so I said I guess that yes, I would, simply because

I knew there was just one of him and I was young and strong.
And he seemed kind, polite and gentle.  What could go so wrong?
His car was just a block away. Our walk was short and brief.
And when he pointed out his car, I felt a great relief.
For it was a convertible–and easy to escape
If I detected the first signs of robbery or rape!

He opened up the door for me. I got in the front seat.
But as he started up the car, my heart skipped a beat.
For from the bushes, two more men emerged and jumped inside–
one man in the backseat, the other at my side!
He pulled out into the street, though I protested so.
I didn’t really want a ride, so please, just let me go!

(And here I have to beg off and say I’ll finish this story tomorrow.  Right now my heart is pumping and my head throbbing as though I’m re-enacting this whole tale physically as well as mentally.  I’m totally exhausted.  Why I decided to write this in rhyme I don’t know. Perhaps I thought it would be easier, or more fun or more lighthearted, but there is simply no way to write this from any other frame of mind but the terror I felt that night. So, sorry, but I will resume tomorrow. You all know that I’m here telling the story, so be assured that the worst didn’t happen…but the story is by no means over, so join me tomorrow for the rest.  I, for one, could really use a drink, but it is only 1:40 in the afternoon so I’ll find some other means of escape.)

To see the conclusion of this poem, go HERE.

If you’d like to try out Jennifer’s new prompt generator, go HERE.

26 thoughts on “Devil #3

  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    Don’t worry. Rhyming or not, the sense of ominous danger comes through loud and clear. I have been here — or emotionally here, if not physically in the same place — and I know intimately that sick feeling of danger and helplessness and fear. I would like to never ever revisit it, not even in rhyme.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Nichole Wells

    Reblogged this on topicgenerator and commented:
    You’ve taken my breath away. I feared for you at every turn. I’m glad to know that the worse didn’t happen, but I will be back to learn the rest of your story as soon as you post it. I wish you well. I hope you’ve found an escape for the time being.

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  3. janebasilblog

    What you are doing takes courage, and I know how hard it is to relive horrible experiences in this way. But opening old wounds, and letting the light in, although painful, tends ultimately to be healing. The difficulty with rhyming is that you end up spending longer agonising over the subject.
    The more people talk about their abusive experiences, the less at risk others become.
    Thank you for sharing. I hope to read the rest of this tomorrow.

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  4. angloswiss

    I can feel the terror and fright in this piece. In my younger and first year in Switzerland something similar happened. I was in a bar with friends in another town, was offered a drive home to my town and was stupid enough to say yes. I was so naive. In a lonely place he stopped the car, and I got hysterical. I was so hysterical that he drove off again. At the first opportunity at the traffic lights I jumped out of the car and walked about half an hour to thr trai station where waited and caught the first train back home early in the morning hours. The foolishness of youth and believing thing your should not believe. You learn things and it never happened again. Perhaps it was my fault for being so gullible. Thanks for writing this.

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  5. Pingback: “The One Who Got Away” Devil #3, Part II (Conclusion) | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  6. Joe

    This post angers me. It sickens me to think about how barbaric men can be. I’m also saddened that this sort of thing continues to go on every day. I read the comments from your readers and my heart sank. Then I got to thinking of all the men who might have suffered similar experiences. Women are not the only ones who are affected by the patriarchy that is world wide. If you ask me, patriarchy is the biggest problem the world has to face. I’m happy you escaped unharmed, both in this story and in your Naive in Africa story. However, I wish you never had to experience this in the first place. Thanks for sharing this Judy. I think I’ll re-blog this.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Joe. In my life, I’ve known more supportive, gentle men than the self-centered horrors depicted in these few writings, and I know that in being expected to go to war, that men have traditionally faced horrors as well. I am thankful every day not to have been born into a culture where women are traditionally at the mercy of whatever men dictate. If you haven’t seen the film “The Patience Stone,” I highly recommend it. The subtitles are horrible but the message gets across visually. An incredible film. “Change doesn’t come through guns-it comes through culture, and women change the culture,” says Atiq Rahimi, director and co-writer of “The Patience Stone.”

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      1. Joe

        Hi Judy. I agree that there are plenty of supportive, gentle men. There’s a paradigm shift happening and more men are waking up every day. I just get frustrated because it is such a slow process. Thanks for the tip on The Patience Stone. I will definitely check it out.

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    2. lifelessons Post author

      Joe, I think I’m going to post your letter and my reply to you. I would love to have more people see “The Patience Stone” and then to hear their discussion of the film. If you can get beyond the horrible subtitles–and in places I was grateful for the humor they infused which appropriate or not, helped to lighten things up a bit–this is one of the best films I’ve ever seen in terms of getting a point cross that you had to dig for a bit.

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          And thanks for reblogging mine, also. You gave rise to a lot of thinking on my part. I showed this film to friends two nights ago but hadn’t thought to talk about it on my blog. I put in a link to your website as well. Thanks, Joe.

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  7. Pingback: Devil #3 | What I Gotta Say About It

  8. Pingback: The Patience Stone | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  9. Pingback: Beyond "The Patience Stone" Part I | What I Gotta Say About It

  10. Pingback: Beyond “The Patience Stone” Part II | What I Gotta Say About It

  11. Pingback: Beyond “The Patience Stone” Part I | What I Gotta Say About It

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