Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zoo Keepers

Strong sexual content- use discretion.

I am three years old.  It is hot today, so I get to run around naked.  My stepfather is watching after me and it is his idea.  He is naked too.  So far, we have played lots of games with his elephant and my lion.  I always giggle when his elephant grows between my legs as I sit on his lap.  He makes it trumpet and I make my lion roar.  When I pet his animal, it grows warm and then the elephant lets out all of the water it has been holding in it's trunk.  It is my job to help my pet  release its load.  After, the elephant curls up and goes to sleep and I am proud that I am a good zoo keeper.

After I do my job, my stepfather wants to tame my lion.  He says it is roaring for attention and he will pet it.  I am getting bored and squirmy though and I want to play other games.  He shoves me off of his lap.  He is not happy anymore, but I don't really care so much.  I want to make a potholder with my bag of colorful stretchy strings.

He erupts from my room and down the stairs.  I think  I hear him rustling around in the kitchen.  I am sorting the stringy things that make pot holders.  I hope he comes back, because I don't know how to do this all by myself.

He comes back with a brown paper grocery bag.  He tells me I will have to put it over my head and stay in it for an hour because I didn't let him be a zoo keeper and I can't be the only one. I have been unfair and I have to learn how to do what other people want to do. What he wants to do is play with my lion while I wear the bag and I am not allowed to talk or move.  I survey all of the colors on the floor and remember how much I wanted to make my art.  I don't like the sound of his game.  I say I won't play it.  He says I most certainly will.  He is not being very nice any more.  I am feeling confused and when I feel that way at daycare, I just go away.  I turn to my cloth bands in an attempt to ignore him but I feel his unyielding arm swoop me up all at once.  His hold is crushing and I cry out.  He sets me down hard on the floor in front of him and forces the bag over my head and I am cast into darkness.

I know now that I will do as he says.  All of the other times we have played, I have been happy, but now my considerations are indistinct.  I have never felt this way before- I don't have a word for this sensation.  I only know, for the very first time, that I am not free to object.

A surprising flash of light explodes into the bag from below.  I recognize the sound of the camera.  I wonder what he is taking pictures of.  If it's the polaroid camera, I might get to see if I am good and stay still in the bag.  At first I didn't mind the dim nothingness in here, but now I am having a hard time breathing and I am confused as to where I am in my room and my head is spinning.  My skin begins to crawl with heat that makes me want to throw up.  I beg to be let out because I am suffercating.  He laughs at this, though I don't know what is so funny about it.  He will fix the problem.  He is going to get scissors.  When he comes back he tells me to cover my face so he can poke a hole in the bag.  He makes a circle for air and I feel  little better.  He has a new game too.  I have to close my eyes and he will put things through the hole into my mouth and I have to guess what they are.  At first I giggle when the fuzzy arm of my teddy bear touches my lips.  I guess correctly about the shoelace and I definitely know that the elephant has returned as it fills my mouth and again, I cannot breath. 

I struggle to pull away, but he pulls the back of my head deeply against him and I retch.  The violent crinkle of the bag is a thunderstorm in my ears.  All of my other senses are muted except for taste.  I know the elephant's musky taste more than ever right now.  He grabs at me and pulls me and pushes me, my body a rag-doll, until once again, the elephant explodes it's sticky contents onto my face.  Now the bag is still and I can hear my stepfather's huffing breaths.  And then he is gone. All is quiet. He doesn't come back.  I stand with the bag over my head.  I am afraid to take it off because I know now that he isn't always nice anymore. 

When he comes back, much later, he removes the bag from my body.  He tells me I am crazy standing there like that.  What am I thinking?  Silly girl!  Let's go clean your face before mommy gets home.  I will always do as he says now.  I don't want to wear the bag ever again. 


My stepfather had multiple prints of this photo made up and passed them out to friends and family. No one ever said anything- just a lot of those uncomfortable-but-not-willing-to-ask-questions  half-laughs. 

"The world of dysfunction is their hunting grounds and they manipulate their victims with kindness and caring forming an bond absent in the child’s life. Emotional blackmail is the most effective tool in the Pedophile’s arsenal. They target and isolate a child of dysfunction and shower them with the affection that their lives have been severely lacking. Once their victim has been sufficiently conditioned the Pedophile begins a series of inappropriate touching or other behavior that escalates. A fragile sense of self worth is exploited to coerce the child into participation and silence." This from a well-written and sourced article: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/life-lines-where-readers-write/2011/nov/27/end-silence/


  1. Wish we lived closer so that I could give you lots of hugs, my friend. How you have managed to write all of this, is beyond me.
    Much love xoxo

    1. The same way you do it, dear friend. Deep breaths and go! Hug. :)