In the gargoylesque novel, The Dionysus Mandate, Lenny Schultheiss, AKA mort-rocker Doris Dahmer, has several flashbacks on his twisted path to redemption. This one (below) shows a sad estrangement between young Lenny and his distant, verbally abusive father.
A tall, gaunt man sat on a railroad tie. He stared down at the water between the ferries. Oil slicks undulated around bits of trash and debris. His waist-length black hair lifted lightly in the breeze. A voice from his childhood barked into his consciousness.The rôle of father and the task of fatherhood is a sublimely difficult one, especially today when "father" is synonymous with "dolt", "fool", and "know-nothing"; depicted as a Homer Simpson imbecile by prime time comedy writer stiffs.
“Lenny, damn it! Get your hands out of that filth, boy!” His father’s voice growled at him from a distance of two decades. “Don’t you have a lick of sense?”
“I was just lookin’ at it, Dad.”
The gutter in front of their house often carried a mixture of water and chemicals from the rusting steel-mills of his hometown in Pennsylvania.
“How can you be so stupid, boy? I think I’ll start callin’ you Doris. How’s that sound, Doris? Doris? Doris?”
His father picked up the family cat rubbing against his trousers. Then he cuffed off Lenny’s winter hat for good measure. The boy bent over to pick up his cap and watched his father walk away. The man caressed the cat as he walked toward the house.
“You love that cat more than me!” Lenny shouted toward his father’s back. “I hate him,” he said to his playmate.
Lenny’s father dropped the cat on the front porch and entered the front door, wiping his feet. “Play good, Doris!” he called back at Lenny. “Hee hee hee.”
The boy rubbed tears on the sleeves of a plaid winter coat. His young face settled into a stony expression. He followed his father’s footsteps through the dirty snow and returned, carrying the cat.
“Here,” Lenny said. He threw the cat to his friend. He cupped his hands and lifted oily water to his lips.
“Gees, Lenny, don’t drink that!” his playmate said.
Lenny looked his friend in the eye. “Why not? You think my father would give a crap?”
“Well, he’ll probably beat the crap out of you if he sees you do it!”
Lenny looked down at the water in his hands, then toward the house. He drank it. He fought back a choking cough and smiled.
“Ah! Just like whiskey. Let’s go. Bring the cat.”
They walked around the house. Lenny led his friend to their secret hideout between decrepit garages.
“You ever kill a cat before, Billy?” Lenny asked.
“Come on! Please, Lenny! You’re not really going to, are you?”
“How many ways are there to skin a cat?” Lenny Schultheiss grinned and took the cat from his friend.
“Lenny, baby! Come on!” A young woman’s voice called him back to the present moment. “We have to go! They’re starting to load the ferry!”
The man tucked his long hair back up under a cap and stood up. I can bury you, Dad, but I can never get rid of you, can I?
The Massketeers are all fathers. We claim no special expertise, no extra dose of faith, hope, or charity. But where and when we are now, we lay before our children (where and when they are now) our witness to Catholic truth, the deposit of faith, and our fealty to the Church that Our Lord died and rose again to found. May our fatherhood and faith be filled and the difference made up by the grace and merits of the Son, the Word made flesh. Lord knows, we can't do it on our own.