Good morning campbellsworld visitors.
As most are aware, I’m working on the first book of my upcoming trilogy, Pathway To Freedom Broken and Healed and Book One How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (Second Edition) is due out sometime in 2020.
This morning, on this, the last day of Read An eBook Week I’d like to share with you an excerpt from the new book.
If, you’ve not read the original, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, you may buy it and my other work half-price by following the link provided after the piece.
I’d love to have your feedback.
If you’ve read the first book, and you’d like to comment on how it compares to this please feel free to do so.
Thanks for reading and blessid be.
A DOUBLE LIFE
BY: PATTY L. FLETCHER
1) VICTIM ADRIFT…
As summer continued, things began to get busy for me at work. It would soon be time for the United Way to begin its fundraising, and this would mean a lot of extra things for us. My supervisor, Lynn Sorrell, had always taken me to numerous events, where I helped with presentations about the organization and the work it does. Having Campbell would only increase what I could do.
One of the many events that we went to that summer still stands out in my mind. In fact, it was the source of the picture on the cover of the first edition of this book. The photo was taken at a picnic given for the Safe House, our Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter. Lynn, Campbell and I would be there, representing Contact Concern. I was honored to be among the participants. Combatting domestic violence was then and still is very important to me. At this particular event, there was to be a ceremony for the victims of domestic violence. We would be standing at the water’s edge tossing flowers into the water in recognition of the victims.
It was beautiful. I remember standing there at the water’s edge tossing those flowers in, with poor Campbell wanting so much to go into the water and rescue them. I also remember feeling in my heart that he was rescuing me, every day.
After what had happened at home, I felt a bit like a hypocrite standing there, but I told myself, “Donnie wouldn’t be acting this way if he weren’t under so much stress.”
I’ll bet you readers are yelling, “What the hell is wrong with you? How many times have you told victims who call your center not to ever justify what their abusers are doing?” But I couldn’t help it, and if you’ve ever been a victim of such a thing under any circumstances, you understand. Honestly, it was not until I started to write that I truly realized that Donnie was, for whatever reasons, being both emotionally and physically abusive to me. Oh, I probably knew it on some level, but I loved him so much, and like the victims we were honoring I was determined to love him through it all. I believed I caused his rages because I messed up so many things, and I knew that if I could just do better and love him more things would surely be alright in the end.
At any rate, the picnic was a huge success. It was wonderfully comforting to have Campbell at my side that day.
1) COVER UP…
A couple of days later, I was just snuggling in for an afternoon nap with Campbell and Celine Kitty when the phone rang. I’d just started to doze. I was so exhausted that afternoon I almost didn’t allow myself to listen to the caller ID. But I heard Drew’s area code come up, so I had to answer and see what he wanted. I was frightened that he was going to tell me that he couldn’t come after all.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Hey there, sleepyhead!” he called out cheerfully into the phone.
“How did you know I was sleeping?”
“Honey, you don’t think I had you as a student for nearly a whole month and didn’t learn something about how you sound, do you?”
Suddenly I felt a big knot begin to form in my stomach.
“Patty, you still there?”
“Yeah, sorry. Just waking up.”
I hoped he’d buy that. He’d certainly heard me that way enough during class.
“You sure? You sound a bit—I don’t know, out of sorts today.”
“Yeah, I’m fine, just tired. It’s been a busy week. Whatcha mean, wakin’ a girl up from her afternoon nap with her daawg, anyhow? “I teased. I wanted very much to steer the conversation away from me and how I was doing, if possible.
Drew had a somewhat annoying habit. He had a way of asking questions that you couldn’t lie your way out of. I hated that, because it made it hard to get by with anything. What with the emotional roller coaster I was riding I knew it would’ve been rather easy to simply break down and tell him everything.
“Well, I see you still haven’t done anything about your education,” he teased back. I laughed, and that helped to lighten the mood; and took the focus off me a bit.
“Since you asked,” he said, “I’ve called to let you know when I’ll be coming. I’ll be there on October tenth.”
I started the math in my head, wanting to figure out how much time I had to get things situated. It wasn’t just my schedule I needed to work on.
I hadn’t even realized he’d asked a question.
“Sorry. Drifted off again.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, sir. Sorry. What did you say?”
“I said, are you going to be working while I’m there?”
“No, I’m going to fix it so I can take off the entire time you’re here. How long will you be able to stay?”
“Only from the tenth through the twelfth,” he answered.
I fell silent again. I’d hoped for a week. Of course I was extremely grateful for what I was getting, and I didn’t plan to complain, not one tiny bit. But I was disappointed just the same.
“Hey, lady! I’m talking to you! Pay attention!”
He’d turned instructor on me again, and I sat up, tossing back the covers sending Celine flying off the foot of the bed, trying desperately to clear my head.
“I’m sorry. I’ve just been really—”
“Yes, I know. You said ‘busy.’ Now, what’s really wrong?”
I sighed. “Well, I don’t want to say.”
“’Cause it’ll make me sound—well, ungrateful.”
“You and I have had this talk. The truth is always best.”
“Well, this is a complicated route,” I said. “I was hoping for a week to practice it after we mapped it out. I’m sorry. I…” I trailed off. I’d been right; that sounded bratty, whiny, and very ungrateful. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t mean to sound that way. You know I’m glad you’re coming, even if it’s just for a few days.”
“I understand. It’s okay.”
I felt a bit better, but suddenly wondered if I should let him come at all. What if I couldn’t keep all this stuff that was going on away from him? What if he realized how I was living, and what if he wanted to take my dog? I knew that was totally paranoid, but I simply couldn’t get it out of my mind. Honesty was so important to him. If he ever found that I was lying to him about things I knew it would cause serious problems.
“Patty, listen. You’ll do fine. We’ll figure it out. I’ll show Donnie what you need to do and the two of you will practice it. I have total faith in you. You’ll be walking back and forth to work all the time before Thanksgiving.”
I hoped he was right. The school was going to a lot of trouble and expense to send him down, and I didn’t want to have Drew’s time with me be a waste of money.
We talked a bit more, and I managed to stay on track. He asked me a few questions, and we made some plans. Then I asked…
“Drew, on the way to a grocery store that I walk to a lot with Donnie, there’s a red light that I have trouble with. Think we could look at it?”
“Yes. I’m sure we’ll have time for that, too. Stop worrying so much. You’ve always done that. But it’s all okay. Heck, you worry about stuff more than Campbell could ever worry a bone!”
I laughed. “I know; you’re right. I’m just—well, I’m a bit nervous about all this.”
“I don’t want you to be disappointed in me.” I was near tears and wiped angrily at them.
“Honey, I could never be disappointed in you. You’re doing a great job. Stop worrying so much. I promise, I’m gonna come down and we’re gonna have a great visit. Now talk to me. What’s up? What’s going on with you?”
“Aw, just work stress. Normal life. No biggie. Like you said, I’m a worry wart.”
Drew let it drop, but I had the feeling that this wouldn’t be the last we talked about it. That’s just how he was. He was kind and caring, and you couldn’t help but like him.
After we hung up, I tried hard to fall asleep again. But my mind was a whirl and it seemed that naptime was over, so I decided to get up and get the rest of my day going.
Soon plans for the United Way campaign were in full swing. There were to be health fairs, luncheons, and of course there were all the daily tasks to get done.
One afternoon, as I sat working out the schedule, I decided I’d need to send out a note along with the request for volunteers to take unfilled phone shifts. I felt I needed to start including a reminder about my upcoming time off in October in my emails to them concerning the schedule so that by the time it arrived, they’d be prepared. I sat for a moment composing it in my head.
Sitting there, trying to figure out the best way to send out all the information the volunteers needed and worrying about my situation at home, as was the case of late my mind went back to the night things had seriously begun to come unraveled.
One evening in early August after an unusually busy day at work, I’d been upstairs napping before supper. Just as I was waking Donnie had called. When I’d answered he’d said, “Patty? Get up and come down here.”
“Alright, I’ll be there in a minute, I’m…”
“No. Not in a minute. Now.”
The moment I’d stepped through the door, I’d known for sure something was wrong. The TV was turned off, and there were no noises of Little D.’s video games from the back of the house.
“What’s wrong?” I’d asked, sitting down in my favorite chair and lighting a smoke.
Taking a deep breath Donnie said, “The police were just here. I’ve been accused of sexually molesting a couple of the boys who were here at Little D.’s birthday party.”
“What? What the fuck? Donnie, no!” I couldn’t wrap my mind around what he was telling me. Continuing, his voice shaking he’d said, “They served a warrant, searched the house, and took away all the computers, as well as video tapes, CDS and DVDS that weren’t labeled as having been purchased from a store.”
“So.” I’d insisted, “They’re not going to find anything. I mean the porn you look at is legal. Right?”
“Well, they did find something.”
“What in all hell are you talking about? What did they find?”
“Now, Patty, don’t go all to hell on me.”
“All to hell on you!” I’d shouted, squashing out my cigarette and leaping to my feet. “All to hell…?”
“Listen! A while back, while they were doing some work on mom’s house, Anthony came to me and asked if I’d keep a box of private things for him. He said he didn’t want them to get lost in the shuffle of the remodeling and so I put them on the top shelf of my bedroom closet and gave it no more thought. It appears to be a box of dirty pictures, and well… they might be of underaged boys.”
“You took a box of things without even knowing what was inside?” I’d asked incredulously. “You know what kind of fuckery your brother gets into. How could you be so damn stupid? Do you realize that you’ve singlehandedly given Leslie all the ammunition she could possibly need to take your son away from you? Not to mention that now they’ll have damning material to use against you for these accusations.”
“Yes, God Damn it! I know! You don’t have to stand there and make it worse.”
“Look, I’m sorry, but did you give any thought to Little D. and me? Did you think for one fucking moment that your fetishes just might affect someone besides you?”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that everyone knows you keep really nasty shit. Everyone, all our friends. The last time we broke up before moving over here, several of them went so far as to tell me I might’ve been better off without you.”
“What in hell are you talking about? What did they say?”
“They said they thought you might be gay, or at the very least bisexual, and to be quite honest, I’ve wondered about it myself for years. I mean our sex life isn’t all that great and…”
“So you believe these accusations?”
“I don’t really believe you’d hurt children, but I don’t know what the hell to think about these pictures.”
“Look honey. I promise. I swear, those damn things weren’t mine. Anthony brought them here and he asked me to keep them for him. I swear. Please? You’ve got to believe me.”
We’d gone back and forth with it for nearly an hour and finally I began to calm down and wanting very much to believe him said, “Well, I suppose I can see how you’d take a box of something someone said was private and just stick it away and not look inside. I mean that would be an invasion of their privacy, but…”
“What do we do now? I mean this is going to be in the paper and everything.”
“I’m hoping not right away. I mean they’ve not formally charged me yet; they’ve accused me, and they’ve searched the house, but until they go through all the stuff they took, they can’t arrest me, Maybe well, I mean I’m going to talk to Anthony and surely he’ll…”
“Really?” I’d said, giving a harsh laugh. “You think he will admit they’re his? I mean if they’re not legal… and even if he did, at the very least, they’ve got you for possession.”
“Listen. We’ve got something that needs taken care of right now.”
“What.” I’d demanded. “What could be more important than trying to figure this mess out?”
I was speechless. Finally I asked, “My job?”
“Well, more like my volunteer coordinator assistant position, but that affects your job.”
“What should we do? I mean if they’ve not charged you…”
“Listen. I don’t want to chance something getting into the paper before I’ve had a chance to talk to Lynn. He needs to hear about this from me, not by picking up the paper and finding out with his coffee some morning while yawl are sitting round the phone room having your daily huddle.”
“I suppose you’re right.” I’d agreed, and we’d called Lynn. He’d come over and after he’d heard Donnie’s story he’d come upstairs to my house where I’d been waiting and sitting down onto the couch with a sigh he’d said… “Patty, I’ve suspended Donnie. I’ve told him I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until the investigation is complete. But, if he’s formally charged, I’ll have no choice but to fire him. Do you understand?”
“Of course.” I’d agreed. “But, what about me?”
“What about you?” He’d asked. “You live in a separate residents from him. Unless you knew about his activity you’ve nothing to do with this.”
“But I do. I mean No, I didn’t know anything about any of this, but Donnie and I are getting engaged to be married. He’s asked me and I’ve said yes. He’s even been talking about buying me a ring, and if I do that, and people know about all this…”
“Honey,” He’d said gently, “if I were you, I’d hold off on that.”
I’d started to object but he’d stayed my words saying, “Listen. If he’s truly innocent and this clears itself up, I’ll whole heartedly support you but…”
He’d let his words trail away, and I’d known, deep in my heart, Lynn was already starting to make up his mind.
3) THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS…
Sitting there, trying to compose an email to my volunteers, people who were so much a part of my life they felt like family to me, I didn’t know how much longer I could go on pretending everything was alright. If Lynn had doubts… But I had to force those things from my mind. Drew would be here soon and as much as I loved Donnie, Drew’s visit meant the absolute world to me and I wanted nothing to ruin it.
Just as I poised my fingertips over the keys to begin my email the phone rang.
“Hello? 2 1 1, how can I help…”
Donnie’s voice interrupted me, “Patty, the police are here. They’re allowing me to phone you to let you know they’re taking me into custody.”
My heart leapt into my throat and for a moment I couldn’t breathe. “What… What do I do?” I asked, my words, coming out in a choked whisper. “Donnie, what do I do?”
“Honey take a breath. Calm down, and as soon as we hang up, call my lawyer. Tell him that they’ve picked me up and have him come to the jail. We’ll be leaving as soon as they catch Rocky.”
“Rocky? What do you mean?”
“When the cops opened the door, Rocky took off and a couple deputies are chasing him.”
I suddenly felt like I’d been dropped into a very badly written episode of Cops. “Do you mean to tell me that they’re chasing that dog?”
“Yes, they can’t very well go off and leave him loose. I have to secure the house. Listen honey, I love you, don’t be afraid. I’ve got to go.”
And with that he hung up and for a moment I simply sat unable to do nothing more than hold the phone in my hand. When it began to buzz with a busy signal letting me know the line had disconnected, I put it back into the cradle and sat there at my desk, my face buried in my hands trying very hard not to fall apart.
When I finally got myself together, I made the call to the lawyer’s office. Then I pressed the intercom button for the conference room where Lynn was holding a meeting and when his voice came onto the line I said, “Lynn, I’ve got an emergency at home. I’m going to call the volunteer on duty after me, let her know that I must leave, and then I’ve got to go.”
He didn’t question me. We’d been waiting for just such a day as this, and to confirm he asked, “Are you sure Donnie can’t help you with this?”
Taking a breath to steady my voice so those in the meeting wouldn’t be alarmed I answered, “No sir. I’m sorry but he’s been detained for the evening.”
Pictures shows Campbell and me standing at the River’s edge tossing flowers into the water
Picture is of King Campbell wearing crown and Kingly robe.
Find my books, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life and Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye On Sale during Read An eBook Week at: https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1
The catalog goes live at 12:01 am Pacific on Sunday, March 1 and expires 11:59pm on Saturday, March 7, 2020.
Campbell and I hope you enjoy. If you do, Please review on Smashwords.
Thanks for reading our work.
Review of Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/02/25/bubba-tails-from-the-puppy-nursery-at-the-seeing-eye-tales-from-king-campbell-book-1/
For more reviews visit: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ . and see the “Reader Reviews” page.
robertawrites235681907March 7, 2020
Gosh, Patty, you have certainly had some ups and downs in life to share with your readers. A great extract.
PattyMarch 7, 2020
Thanks for reading.
I used to sit around bemoaning all the stuff that has happened to me and then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks!
I’ve survived these things so I can help others.
When I got a computer, and decided to write it was a long time getting to this point but now I’ve arrived I can’t stop.
There are lots of twisting dark paths in my journey, those already walked and surely more to come.
There are wonderful meadows of sun as well.
robertawrites235681907March 8, 2020
You are right, Patty. If there was no darkness, the sunshine would not be so wonderful. I shared your post about the Seeing Dogs auction on twitter and Facebook.
PattyMarch 9, 2020
The sunshine is bursting through my storm door and windows as I type.
I saw that you shared and so very much appreciate you.
Dr. Crystal GrimesMarch 7, 2020
Hi Patty, I read and enjoyed the first edition of this book. It sounds like this edition is much more detailed and personal. My heart goes out to you with gratitude and admiration for your courage to share all of this. It has helped me already, and I am sure it will give courage and comfort to many readers! Thank you so much for sharing! Blessid be! Crystal
PattyMarch 9, 2020
Thanks for reading this and for commenting.
It really is going to totally tell the story.
Hard though this is to write at times, it has also been quite healing.