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Monday, August 13, 2012


"And I said: oh come on now, you know, you know about my debutante. But she said:your debutante just knows what you need---I know what you WANT." We may be stuck inside of Mobile---with the Memphis blues again. Or not. Yeah. We suppose so.


I've been informed by my correspondent that, in the second set of crimes, the subject of this post pleaded guilty to downgraded charges in a deal that got him fines and a lengthy probation.

I have several times been initially charmed by people who later turned out to be psychopaths, and only been saved from harm by my natural Yankee reserve and suspiciousness and a spouse who tends to be paranoid about everyone (and has influenced me somewhat).

Once, the psychopath was a 14 year old boy who was the golden boy of the neighborhood and I exclaimed to my kids what a great kid he was. They set me straight in no uncertain terms with a rap sheet of his bullying, cheating, drinking, cruelty to the weak, lying with a smile on his face, and ability to inflict pain without remorse.

I remember being shaken that I had been such a bad judge of character and so susceptible to the kid's all American friendly good looks, his flattery and seeming interest in making conversation with me (because the kid had been so polite to me, unlike most awkward teens). At the age of 14 the kid had figured out a middle aged woman's weakness which is that she is usually invisible, treated like a maid and a chauffeur, and so responds favorably to being paid attention to for a change.

Also, I remember thanking God that my kids were astute enough observers to have figured him out and not become his victims.

A few years later, one of my kids was on the train to her summer job and overheard the same kid whining to his father about his summer job, how much he hated it (an internship in investment banking). "Do you know how many other kids would KILL to have this opportunity?" Nuff said....

I'm not sure if it's odd, but my clearest two encounters with someone who might be a psychopath were as a child. I say might because I have no way of being sure (I'm a lawyer, not a psych).

One I'd bet on. He was a hoodlum by the third grade-- the two most notorious escapades was that he was picked up by cops in Memphis (80 miles away) in a cab with a pretty serious bankroll he'd accumulated by blackmailing other 2nd and 3rd graders with threats of being beaten up. How he got the local cab driver to take him to Memphis (other than that he could pay the fare) is beyond me. That kid was the terror of every boy in my school by the sixth grade, playing the big thugish kids off against each other (he was small) and using those kids to bully the others. Finally, he went to reform school, and I've only heard one story about what happened since.

The other one was in my neighborhood. Less flagrant, but he combined a major Eddie Haskell thing in dealing with parents with bullying younger kids in the neighborhood (weirdly, he's recently friended me on Facebook, and, when I posted something he thought was wrong, he made a point of noting he was older than me, presumably suggesting that gave him more authority. He's one year older). In one 8 month period when I was a sixth grader, in neighborhood tussles that would not have normally hurt anyone, he broke my arm, and then, months later, my brother's arm.

He left town (got a felony conviction as a manager of a fast-food place in another state) sort of drifted back. Without going into details, he's placed himself back in town at a level that I'd not have expected...

Many years ago' at a pub I ran into an old schoolmate that was travelling through town. He had a friend from his work with him and the three of us had some beers together. My friend had intended to continue on, but as he was getting slightly drunk and had a long drive ahead of him I convinced him and his friend to overnight at my house. All went well and in the morning they went on their way.
Some time later my friend, scared as hell phoned me to notify me that the charming, unassuming fellow that had been with him was a hardcore violent career criminal from a nationally infamous family of thugs and he had witnessed him gouge someone's eye out in a fight before he learned who this guy was.
A month or so later in the local paper was a story of the charming thug's arrest. He murdered a friend of his after a few drinks at the bar by shoving a short little penknife in under the ribs and severing a major vessel near the heart.

A Bear,


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