This is the third installment of this story. Click the links here if you missed Chapter One and Chapter Two. The following story is part fiction, with non-fictional events included. This story is strictly for entertainment purposes only. It will be released chapter by chapter. (Message to the readers – My wife actually wrote this chapter. Enjoy!)
CHAPTER 3: THE SQUIRRELS AND THE NUTHOUSE
The sunlight of the morning began breaking into my bedroom window as I awoke to my phone ringing. I reached over to answer the phone and saw that it was my Grandpa. “Hello,” I answered in a groggy tone.
“Hey Johnny, you excited about the cookout this afternoon?”
“Yeah Grandpa, it should be a good time.”
I should have guessed what Grandpa was going to say next. “Well, ah… I got a couple of things that need to be done around the yard before we get the cookout going, it should only take about five minutes.”
I know nothing ever takes just five minutes. But… for the sake of not being called a “pussy” or “ungrateful bastard” I just agreed to get up and come on over.
When I got over there, Grandpa was out in the yard screaming and cursing about the squirrels that were chewing through his grill cover. “You fucking furry little tree rat bastards! You fucking ruined my brand new grill cover! God damn it all to hell!”
At that moment, I realized that Grandpa had his .45 in his hand. “Grandpa, what in the hell are you doing with the gun?!” I yelled.
Apparently it was loud enough that my grandmother heard me from the kitchen window. “Samuel,” yelled my grandmother as she came bolting out the back door like a tornado through a trailer park.
By this time Grandpa was fishing the bullets from his pocket and getting locked and loaded like a scene from Die Hard. “I’m gonna take care of these sons of bitches once and for all!”
Grandma, whose face was so red that I was worried about her stroking out, yelled back, “For God’s sake Samuel, put down the gun. You can’t discharge a firearm in a residential area! Have you lost your mind?!”
The thought of intervening occurred to me, but then I thought about how Grandpa had been acting lately. He had not been the same man over the past few months since he had been taking the Tren. How did I know that Grandpa wouldn’t decide he'd simply had enough of my shit and plug me right there on the patio? Still, I couldn’t just let the man go to jail for illegally firing his gun at 8:15 on a Saturday morning/
“Listen Grandpa, let’s just set some traps for them. You need to listen to Grandma on this one,” I explained as I watched him slowly start to calm down.
“You know Johnny, that’s not a bad idea. How about you run down to the hardware store and pick up a couple of them traps and when you get back, we will set them up and then get started on the few little jobs that need to be done.”
My grandma had disappeared into the house. I assumed that she didn’t want to witness what could have taken place. “Where the hell is your Grandma? Go inside and tell her to get you some cash out of the drawer. And Johnny, make sure you get the right traps, the good ones. Tell Tony you want the ones that will kill them when they get inside it!” Though I was pretty sure that they didn’t carry anything that offered imprisonment and execution, I just said okay and went on my way.
After a long day of setting traps, which Grandpa wasn’t happy with, all the while listening to him tell me what a brain dead moron Tony from the hardware store was, and all of the jobs that we had to do like pressure washing all of the concrete around the pool area and putting another coat of paint on the pool house, we were finally done.
“Grandpa, I am going to run home and take a shower before the cookout, but I should be back in about an hour,” I said while fishing my keys out from inside of my wet with sweat pocket.
“Alright Johnny, well hold on just a minute, I need to give you a few dollars before you go.”
“Grandpa, you don’t have to pay me for working with you today.”
“Jesus Christ, you think I’m paying you for your half ass labor? I need you to stop by the pharmacy before you come back over here and grab my jogging in a syringe!” I stood there shaking my head as Grandpa headed into the back door to grab his wallet.
Suddenly, I heard a loud commotion and what sounded like glass shattering. “SON OF A BITCH! KATIE!” Followed by their boxer puppy rounding the corner at full speed with Grandpa on her trail. Apparently, when my grandfather tried walking out the door, Katie ran into the back of his legs, knocking him down. Trying to catch himself from a full blown fall out of the back door, he attempted to reach for the counter but instead lost his grip and knocked his favorite glass lemonade pitcher to the ground with him.
By now Katie was across the street in Mr. Caprioli’s front yard. Mr. Capriolo was a dick! He was an old Italian man who only cared about his flower garden and that was it. He had owned a nursery in town for years before finally selling it and retiring to care for his own flowers and give everyone around him a hard time. He and Grandpa had never gotten along. Grandpa couldn’t understand how he was still alive, again using his favorite phrase, “He’s too stupid to live!”
Still yelling for Katie, Grandpa ran across the street to find Mr. Caprioli swatting at Katie with his garden rake. “You fucking mongrel, I’ma gonna kill ya,” shouted Mr. Caprioli.
I had followed behind Grandpa and was now standing beside him. I knew shit was about to get real when Grandpa began ripping his shirt and dog tags off that he still wore.
“You touch my fuckin' dog Dom and I’m gonna bury your wrinkled ass right here in your fucking rose garden! Here Johnny… hold my shit, I’m gonna settle the score with this shit for brains once and for all!”
I didn’t say a word, I stood there frozen holding Grandpa’s shirt and dog tags. What the hell was I going to do? Grandpa was in a fit of rage and when he got into these moods, we all knew better than to cross him. The only person that could do anything with him was my grandma. “Grandma, yeah Grandma,” I said out loud as I began running back to the house to get her.
When Grandma and I got back over to Mr. Carprioli’s, we saw Grandpa waving a pair of hedge shears around like some sort of medieval mace and Mr. Caprioli was holding his garden rake like the sword from Highlander. It was hard to tell what was being said because the ice cream truck that had been driving down the street had now stopped to watch the show. All I could hear was the melody of “Pop Goes the Weasel” and the occasional swear word. It was what I saw that was the most disturbing. Grandpa, bare chested began charging at Mr. Caprioli like Leonidas in 300 and just as the song on the ice-cream truck looped back to the chorus of “Pop Goes the Weasel” Grandpa decked the old man with the butt end of the garden shears.
My grandmother and I stood there horrified before running over to grab Grandpa off of Mr. Caprioli who was struggling to get Grandpa off of him. “Samuel, please! Come on, get the hell off of Dom! I think the boy in the ice-cream truck just called the cops!”
Looking half crazy, Grandpa yelled out, “I don’t give a good God damn. Let him call the cops. I’ll box their asses too!”
“Samuel,” yelled Grandma, “Come on, let’s go home. I’ll make you a bowl of soup.”
With that Grandpa stood up and started walking back across the street like nothing ever happened. Needless to say, Grandma ended up writing Mr. Caprioli a check to the tune of a grand to keep him from pressing charges.
After seeing that my grandparents both got back home without any other indiscretions, I left to go shower and pick up Grandpa’s prescription. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about any of the events that had taken place. Grandpa was clearly losing his mind and that Tren was to blame. How do you have that conversation? What do you say? “Hey Grandpa, I think you need to give up the Tren before you end up in the pen!” I didn’t know what to do but something had to give. Maybe I would talk to Grandma first and let her talk to him.
I finally made it back over to the house about an hour and half later. I got held up at the pharmacy because apparently you have to present an ID to pick up steroids and I had forgotten my wallet at home and had to go back to get it. When I pulled in I noticed that my parents and brothers and all of my aunts, uncles and cousins were already there.
As I walked through the gate into the back yard, Grandpa saw me coming and ran over acting all conspicuous. “Hey ah Johnny, is that my goods?”
“Yeah Grandpa, your prescription is in the bag.”
Grandpa shushing back through the gate into the front yard explained, “Take this in the front door, go to the basement and put this bag in the top file cabinet drawer and don’t let anyone see you. People wouldn’t understand.”
As usual, I did what I was told and headed to the basement. As I tried opening the top drawer of the file cabinet, it appeared to be stuck like something may have been hanging it up from the drawer underneath it. I pulled open the drawer below only to realize that it was filled with Hustler magazines, some outdated porn VHS tapes and a bottle of Jergens lotion. That’s an image of your grandfather that no one wants to have. I was sure that I was going to be scarred for life! However, I was right. There was a ruler that had somehow gotten wedged upright and it was preventing the top drawer from opening. I threw the shit in the top drawer and it went upstairs to join my family out by the pool.
My brothers and cousins were already swimming and having a great time. All of the adults were drinking their cocktails and socializing. My dad was telling my uncle about the sweet deal he had gotten on his new rifle. Grandpa had fired up the grill and was waiting for it to get to just the right temperature for the Italian sausages, which Grandma was preparing inside. Everything was going great. The weather was beautiful, especially for upstate New York. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was a warm 82 degree day. I was already tired from all of the bullshit that Grandpa had me doing the whole day but was happy to finally be able to relax a little.
Soon I could smell the sausages cooking on the grill and the cool water felt good. The early day woes had melted away. Grandma had turned on the music so the air was filled with sounds of Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock.”
“Dad, I think the grill went out,” I heard my uncle Mike say.
Grandpa went over to inspect it and was becoming highly agitated as he fumbled with the control knobs. “What in the Sam hell is wrong with this thing,” Grandpa said as he gave it a swift kick. Grandma piped in and asked had he checked the propane tank to make sure it wasn’t empty. “Gertie, do you honestly think I would have let the propane get low?”
Grandma just threw up her hands and walked away. Once her back was turned, my grandfather knowing she could be right, decided that checking it was a good idea. As Grandpa bent down and opened the door to the propane compartment, he let out one of the loudest “MOTHERFUCKER” that anyone has ever heard. We watched him quickly attempt to jump up but he hit his head on the side tray of the grill and fell back to the ground. It was at that moment we realized there was a squirrel inhabiting the propane compartment. “That’s it you God damn, son of a bitch, shit for brains, motherfucking tree rat… YOU'RE A DEAD SON OF A BITCH NOW!”
As Grandpa collected himself from the ground, he attempted to reach in and grab the squirrel with his bare hands. Reacting in terror, the squirrel latched on to grandpa’s finger and bit the shit out of him which resulted in the whole grill getting flipped over and Katie, seeing a golden opportunity, started helping herself to all of the sausages that were now scattered about on the ground.
Next we heard a sound come out of Grandpa that we couldn't identify. It sounded like a lion’s growl before it pounced its prey. The squirrel shot out of the grill and tried to run away only to find that it was blocked by my family who had all gathered around to help grandpa and see what was going on. The only clear path was straight to the pool.
No sooner had the squirrel landed in the deep end of their in-ground swimming pool, Grandpa had managed to grab the .45 which he obviously had stashed in the hidden compartment underneath the patio bench, and began firing. Everyone was screaming in horror and pleading with him to give them the gun
I heard my mother yelling for my dad to grab Joey, my little brother who at the time was also in the deep end of the pool in a toucan float… you know the ones that have the leg holes for the children who can’t swim? One of the bullets had apparently grazed it and the toucan and Joey were now sinking to the bottom of the pool.
For a second my dad hesitated out of fear of being shot. Grandma was crying and pleading at this point. “Samuel you’re going to kill the kids, please put the gun down!”
Instead of listening to any logic, Grandpa continued to fire trying to follow in the direction the squirrel was swimming. “Shut up Gertie, I have had enough of these bastards and I’ve had enough of your shit too! I don’t even know why the hell we’re still married!”
The rest of us that were in the pool had managed to get out and my dad had saved Joey. Realizing that desperate times called for desperate measures, my dad and two uncles tackled grandpa to the ground. Adamant that he wasn’t giving up his gun, he punched my uncle Frank in the jaw with his free hand. “Roll him over! Roll him over on his stomach! Richie, get his hand down and grab the gun!” Uncle Frank yelled.
“I’m trying God damnit, he won’t let go!” “Dad drop the gun,” my dad screamed.
Grandpa still wasn’t giving up. “You ungrateful sons of bitches, get the hell off of me before I beat all of your asses!”
Grandpa was not going gently into that good night. He was fighting my dad and uncles as though they were the Nazi’s he fought in WWll. Thankfully, the neighbors must have heard or seen what was going on and called the cops. It took four deputies, my dad, two uncles and a taser to take Grandpa down.
Everyone was crying and there was so much commotion going on that the cops were trying to calm everyone down. Grandma was begging them to take Grandpa to the hospital convinced that the medication that he was taking had caused this to happen. Meanwhile Grandpa is still yelling from the back of the police car where they were holding him. “When I get back home, you will all be sorry for this!”
One cop asked my grandma what kind of medication that he was taking and she couldn’t tell him because she wasn’t sure what it was called. I thought about it and against my better judgment ran to the basement and grabbed the prescription out of the top drawer of the file cabinet. I ran back up stairs and handed it to the officer. “Here sir, this is what he was prescribed.”
The officer looked completely shocked realizing that this eighty something year old man was on steroids. “Who prescribed this?”
My grandma, still sobbing, said, “Dr. Stevens did.”
“So you’re telling me that a licensed medical doctor prescribed your husband anabolic steroids,” asked the cop even more confused than in the beginning.
Grandma really looked confused. “What is an anabolic steroid? I don’t understand. Samuel told me that the prescription was supposed to help him get stronger and feel more youthful.”
“Well ma’am, they do but most people that take them are weight lifters, you know like bodybuilders and powerlifters. These drugs are illegal in most cases and I don’t quite understand why someone his age would be taking them.” Grandma stood there with a blank look on her face as she still wasn’t quite understanding what the cop was trying to explain to her. “Mrs. Scott, you may want to contact Dr. Stevens and have him explain the medication and why he prescribed it. I would be sure to tell them about his aggressive outburst.”, explained the officer.
“Fuck all of you,” we heard grandpa shout again from the police car. My family was mortified and in disbelief. They couldn’t believe what had just happened. Everyone was talking over one another in a panic and trying to figure out how they were going to get him the help that he needed. My little brother Joey was still crying and telling everyone that Grandpa shot him in the pool. That poor kid will never get over this and what five year old would?
“Listen, they are taking him to hospital and they will be able to figure out what is going on with him. We don’t know enough to pass judgement,” Grandma explained in a calm voice.
“Pass judgement,” yelled my Aunt Elaine. “Dad just shot into a pool full of his grandkids! He has lost his damn mind! What the hell is dad doing taking steroids in the first place?” It was obvious that she and the others minus Grandma knew exactly what the officer explained.
“Honey the important thing right now is getting him to the hospital and making sure that he hasn’t had some sort of stroke or nervous breakdown,” Grandma stated.
“Well he gave me a fucking nervous break down,” shouted my uncle Gary.
While everyone was still standing outside arguing about, the ambulance had shown up. The officers explained to us that it was best that we stay back and let them evaluate him and do their jobs. All the while Grandpa is showing his ass!
“There isn’t a Goddamn thing wrong with me! I can out-lift you, outrun you and work circles around your tired asses,” he so rudely told EMS, which happened to be two women. One was a small woman no more than 5’2 and 100 lbs and a little green in her profession.
The other was an older lady much larger and built like a brick shit house, who looked as though she was a seasoned EMT and had already had enough of his shit. “I need an officer over here!” The older one yelled out.
We could overhear the EMT telling the officers that they refused to transport him and that they would have to be the ones to drive him to the hospital. I guess Grandpa took a swing at the big one and called her a dyke. This was getting more humiliating by the minute. When Grandpa first told me about the Tren, I would never have imagined that it would do this to him. They finally drove him away. The last that we could see of him, he was flailing around in the seat still cursing like the sailor that he was.
Grandma was in tears yet again and went inside to contact Dr. Stevens. Everyone else stayed outside to clean up the mess that had been made. A few minutes later Grandma came out of the door and motioned for me to come inside. “Johnny I am calling Dr. Stevens and I would like for you to be in here when I talk to him. You are with Grandpa all of the time and you can help me explain what has been happening since he was prescribed this medication.”
After waiting on hold for ten minutes, Dr. Stevens finally came to the phone. “Mrs. Scott, how is Samuel?”, said Dr. Stevens in a cheerful tone.
“Well he has certainly been a lot better. We just had to transport him to the hospital by the police!”
“I don’t understand,” said Dr. Stevens. “What happened?”
“I’ll tell you what happened. In a fit of rage he nearly shot all five of our grandchildren who were swimming in our pool all because of a squirrel. His temper has gotten horrible! He is having these aggressive outbursts. He’s trying to fight people,” Grandma explained in despair.
“Hmm. Well… how much is he bench pressing?” Dr. Stevens asked.
“Well I have no idea,” said Grandma.
“Okay well how is his vascularity?”
Grandma was yet again baffled. “Well I have noticed that the varicose veins in his legs look worse and now there is a large vein on his head that bulges out when gets angry.”
No I don’t mean like that Mrs. Scott. You know his overall vascular appearance. Does his skin look dryer and veiny?”
“Dr. Stevens, what does this have to do with his violent outbursts?”
“Mrs. Scott, you have nothing to worry about, the outbursts are a mild side effect and will diminish quickly. The important thing to know is how is he sexually? Have you noticed a peaked interest in sex?”
“Okay, I don’t know why you are asking me all of the questions but I am starting to get angry. My husband acts like a monster because of a medication that you prescribed and all you are worried about are things that don’t even matter. Did you not hear me when I said the police transported him to the hospital to be taken to the nut ward?!”
“Mrs. Scott, I understand your concerns and I’ll tell you what, I will go over to the hospital and check on him personally.”
“Thank you and please let me know what you think after you see him,” my grandmother choked out.
Everyone decided the best thing they could all do was go home and wait to hear from the doctors. They knew they weren’t going to let us see him right now so there was no point in everyone going to the hospital. I think everyone just needed a mental health moment, a clean pair of pants and a nap. I decided to go wait at the hospital with grandma. I didn’t want her to be alone. I knew that she was having a hard time dealing with all of this.
When we got there my grandma went to the front desk to ask the receptionist where we needed to go to wait. “Ma’am what is your husband’s name?” the nurse asked in a sweet voice.
“Samuel Scott, he was just brought in about an hour or so ago,” explained Grandma.
“Okay give me a minute and I will look him up. You guys can have a seat right over there.” The nice lady pointed us over to a row of seats a few feet away. No sooner than we had sat down, the receptionist told us that she had a doctor coming down to talk to us. I knew then that this couldn’t be good.
“Mrs. Scott?” said a tall slender man in a white coat.
“Yes, I’m Mrs. Scott.”
“Nice to meet you, I am Dr. Davis, the head of our hospital’s psychiatric unit. Mrs. Scott, your husband is in great care. We are going to do everything we can to help him. Right now he is sleeping comfortably. We gave him a sedative to calm him down because he was being so combative. I have to be honest with you, I have never seen anyone his age that strong. It took quite a bit of our staff to hold him down for the nurse to give him a shot. I would like to ask you some questions though.”
“Okay,” Grandma answered.
“First of all, how long have you been noticing a change in his behavior?”
“Well it’s been a couple of months now since he’s been on the new medication and it all started a few days after taking it. I begged him to come off of it but he wouldn’t. He claimed that he felt better than he has ever felt and he looked ten years younger,” said Grandma.
“I see, so prior to this there were no mental health issues?”
“Oh no sir, Samuel has always been a wonderful man.”
“Very well. Okay I am going to investigate a little further and when Samuel wakes up I am going to perform a full psychiatric evaluation. Meanwhile, we are running some labs and I have set up an MRI. We are just waiting for them to come get him and take him downstairs. I will let you know as soon as we know more.”
Wow, Grandpa really was on the nut ward. I think my grandma was embarrassed. She just sat there with her head down most of the time and she didn’t say a whole lot. I didn’t know what to say either. How do you make someone feel better who just witnessed their husband lose his shit, nearly kill his family and get carted off to the nuthouse by the police? I decided it was best not to say anything at all. Just be there for her if she needed me. I could see that this was going to be a really long evening.
Grandma and I had been waiting in the downstairs waiting area for nearly five hours when Dr. Davis finally came back. As he walked over to us, I noticed a red tinged tissue stuck in one nostril and cut on his lip. “Mrs. Scott, I apologize for leaving you down here in limbo for so long. I wish I had better news for you. Unfortunately, we have had to restrain Samuel and give him more sedatives. We have admitted him and moved him to the east wing with the violent offenders so unfortunately visitation is very limited.”
“What!” Grandma and I both yelled out at the same time. “Is he okay, what is going on? Was it a nervous breakdown, a stroke?” gasped Grandma.
“No ma’am, it appears to be a horrible case of roid rage, a reaction to anabolic steroids. His lab work confirmed it.” explained Dr. Davis.
“Well how long will he be this way, can I see him?” Grandma asked as she struggled to wrap her head around what the doctor was telling her. It all made sense to me.
“You will be able to visit with him tomorrow but for right now, we just want him to rest and calm down. He is in quite a violent state. He did this to my face!” pointing to his bloody nose and busted lip. “Listen I can’t guarantee how long this behavior will last. We have to give the anabolics time to get out of his system but he should be just fine as soon as they do.”
Grandma sat there taking it all in and then happened to remember that Dr. Stevens was going to come check in on Grandpa personally. “Has Dr. Stevens been in to see Samual yet?” asked Grandma.
“No. In fact we have tried contacting him regarding the Tren that he prescribed but his nurse said that he had an emergency and had to leave town for a few weeks.”
I didn’t see that coming. Of course he left town. He knew that he was going to be knee deep in shit for what he did. Prescribing an old man anabolics, turning him from Andy Griffith to Jack Torrance in The Shining.
“Mrs. Scott, why don’t you and your grandson go home and get some rest. There is nothing you can do right now. I promise we are doing everything necessary to get your husband recovered as soon as possible.”
I took Grandma home and walked her inside to make sure that she was okay. While driving home I replayed the whole day in my head. Damn, I thought. I can’t believe Grandpa went this far. That Tren must be some powerful shit. Though I had to admit, he was a strong old bastard to fight off that many cops and his sons at the same time. That shit makes you the fucking Hulk!