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IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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Guns and Closure
My dad was a Special Agent for the FBI. Back in those days, we weren’t allowed to tell any of our friends what he did for work, just that he worked for the government, then playing stupid like we couldn’t be bothered to figure out what part of the government.

Anyway, he grew up in northwest New Mexico, where the people are as hard as the land. Had many siblings and essentially was a tough son of a gun. He refused to use the standard issue pistol at the time because the barrel was too long and wouldn’t be good in a scuffle, so he always had a Saturday Night Special tucked into a holster behind his back. He was not a man to be messed with: though not huge, he was mean and determined. He had a doctorate degree and when he left the FBI and after his death (more later) I heard from many people what a great guy he was, how classy he was, and what a damn good agent he was - I never knew that guy.

He was involved (I have gathered) in counter espionage, counter terrorism and narco-terrorism. He is reputed to have helped a Russian general defect in the early 80s, had one of the largest drug busts in US history and worked (I have gathered) on the mysterious cattle mutilation cases that plagued the US southwest for years.

At home, he was difficult. He had been raised rough and felt no problem giving you a whack with knuckle, belt, hot wheels track (they really hurt when you’ve just stepped out of a shower), the occasional 2x4 board, or a well-deserved kicking. He also was an expert in getting a small lock of hair, lifting it and controlling whatever child into coming where he wanted them. I admit to never wanting to be around him, be like him, talk to him, see him and shamefully would often ask my mom, “why did you marry him?” It was like nothing I ever did was good enough and he told me at three years old that I was too old for hugs, so it stopped.

This story is how I almost died and how I had a moment of pride in having the dad I did.

One late summer during high school I was coming home from two-a-day football practice. In US high school football, you usually start these up a month or so before the school year starts to condition and weed out the, well the weeds. So, I had to be there at 6:30 am, practice until 10:30 am, then home, then back for 2:30 – 6:30 pm practice. Summers in New Mexico aren’t as hot as some places, but it is the desert and you lost much of your water content. Plus, it was hard work and just plain sucked. I was usually picked up after the afternoon practice by my dad, who would usually ask, “how’d you do?” and I would grunt, which would make him mad, which would result in a good yelling and occasional fist.

One evening, I was walking the two miles home because he didn’t show up. I was hot, dehydrated, had on my football pants, cleats and was carrying my helmet and shoulder pads. I was muttering epithets the whole way. Then, it happened. I suddenly heard the screeching of tires, and yelling on the road behind me. Turning around, I saw two cars, speeding up and slowing down in order to stay in line. One of the drivers held a pistol out his window at the two occupants of the other car and was really pissed off.

This frightened me because people in my city, which is the largest in New Mexico and is known for people handling disagreements with chains, bats, knives and guns. Often, after the intended target was shot, witnesses were shot as well to clear up any loose ends. I freaked, looking around for any cover or concealment, but, hello! desert! There were some knee high juniper bushes, but by this time the cars had arrived and pulled into the street right in front of me. The guy that had been waving the gun leaps out of his truck and points his gun through the window, yelling and cursing up a storm. I could hear some “sorry man” and whimpering from the car, and was almost frozen in place.

It’s at this moment that I hear another car coming, look back, and lo and behold, it’s my dad in his “Bureau” car. I run in front of him, which pisses him off, but tell him “there’s a guy over there pointing a gun at two other guys and he’s gonna kill them!” It was at this moment, that my opinion changed of my dad. He told me to stand where I was, pulled ahead and parked his car behind one of the other cars. He stood up without haste or unnecessary movement, put his hand on his pistol and walked forward to engage the man yelling through the window.

In a voice that was as authoritative as it was calm, he told the man to put down his gun. The man, startled at my dad’s proximity, looked up and said, “who the hell are you?” My dad repeated, his right hand still on his gun, but behind his back, “give me the gun and let’s talk about it.”

Unbelievably, that’s exactly what the guy did. He flipped the pistol around, gave my dad the butt end and started explaining how he had been at a stoplight on his way home from work and these two guys pull up next to him. One gets out of the car and kicks his truck for no reason, then the other pulls out his pistol, points it in his face and says, “I’m going to kill you!” So man in truck ducked down (presumably shat himself) and drove the wrong way through traffic to get away. Then he got really, really pissed off. He retrieved his own pistol, which was much bigger than the thugs’ pistol and chased them down. Not the preferred way of handling such a situation, but it happens.

My dad called in police backup because such things are really not in a federal agent’s day to day jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the two thugs’ were conversing in Spanish about having consumed large amounts of cocaine, how they still had large amounts of cocaine in their car and how they had other weapons as well. Little did they know that dad was fluent in Spanish and was slyly listening. When the police arrived, they took all men into custody, got a warrant based upon the testimony of the nearby federal agent and made a huge drug and weapons bust.

What was really funny was that with all the guns they had in their car, the one they pulled on Mr. Truck Guy was unloaded. Idiots.

Epilogue: Not long after, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. They gave him only weeks, but he was so mean that he lived for months longer. Seeing this hard man who I had never known to have a cold or allergy screaming in pain, losing hair and wasting away changed us. No longer did I want to return the beatings I’d received. He became considerate to my mom and attentive to the kids who were still home. We began to speak as friends rather than as master/servant. Cancer is a terrible scourge that gets far too little attention from those who could do concerts and have telethons, but for me, it gave me perspective that my dad was a lot like me, just a few more years down the road, trying to get by the best he knew how. It also gave me a dad who I love, who was able to say he loved me and rescued me from the caustic, acrimonious self I was creating in me.

Length? about 11 months.
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 18:04, 7 replies)
Dunno what to say.
The things that made him such a good agent made him a hard man to live with.
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 19:01, closed)
It has given me empathy for what families of returning soldiers must go through
Luckily now there are many places people can go for help.
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 19:03, closed)
One of my dad's favorite lines: "you have to be good at backing up to be a good criminal or a good FBI agent"
when I learned to drive I spent many hours on it. I pride myself that I can go in reverse almost as well as forward.
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 19:04, closed)
That's a brilliant story, hope it makes it to the 'best of' so plenty of people read it.
(, Wed 25 Aug 2010, 19:46, closed)

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