The Rat Bastard
The Rat Bastard really doesn’t deserve his own post, but he’s going to get one anyway. Maybe two or three. There’s a wealth of good writing material here. The Rat Bastard has a name, and it’s even a funny name that I can deliver a zinger of a punch line on, but in the interests of protecting the guilty, this blog will never mention it. The Rat Bastard was my boyfriend on and off, but mostly on, for a span of about two years of my life.
I met him when I was in my early thirties. He was singing in a karaoke bar at the time. I was picking up on a twenty-one year old named Curtis. The Rat Bastard introduced himself since he was sitting at the table with Curtis. And the next time I came into the karaoke bar Rat Bastard was there, and we struck up a conversation. One of the things that Rat could do really well was sing. If I had to make up two columns for his positive and negative qualities, one of the five or six items in the positive column would be, “sings karaoke well.”
Rat was unemployed and living in an ex girlfriend’s garage at the time, having moved to Austin from Kentucky after his brother and sister in law got tired of him sponging off of them. The thing with the ex girlfriend was supposed to have been a reconciliation. Since she was suffering from depression at the time, having just broken up with a man who cooked and sold crystal meth out of her house for a living and beat her up for a hobby, the reconciliation didn’t quite work out. I’m not sure why since I will give Rat points for being the better choice out of those two men.
Something I quickly found out about the Rat Bastard, on about our third meeting, was that he was a trysexual. By this I mean that he would try anything or anyone. He swore to me when we got serious about each other that he was capable of monogamy, and after six months of wearing condoms, we both got tested for HIV and shared our results, and I was on the pill. By this time, Rat had declared his undying love, one day in bed after sex. And Rat had also proven that he was capable of holding down a series of under the table, no taxes withheld handy man jobs and a temporary job providing information technology support to a large hospital network. He even had his own place! I was living the dream. I had a boyfriend. He was gainfully employed, he didn’t have AIDS, and even though he wanted to have sex with men, he wasn’t. Because he loved me. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?
Now, to be fair, there were a lot of clues that Rat provided me with that he was not good husband material. You may have already picked up on several of them. But wait! Just like with the ginsu knife, folks, there’s more! When I met Rat he was in his early forties, had been divorced twice, and his last significant relationship had ended about a year prior, a seven year relationship with a live in girlfriend. His first wife was a German woman that he knocked up while he was overseas in the Army. They had two children together, she left him for another man when he left the Army, and rather than pay child support he had signed away his parental rights when they were small. He was shocked and hurt one Thanksgiving we were together when he was uninvited to his parents’ house because the boys were going to be there, and they didn’t want to see him.
His second wife was a woman he met on the UT campus. I’m not certain how since Rat never took any courses at UT. This woman was a devout Scientologist. He always spoke very highly of her and said that she was a very good woman but that he felt that they were mismatched in terms of religion because he just didn’t share her passion for Scientology. This did not keep Rat from shoving a copy of Dianetics down my throat, so I’m not sure whether to put his lack of religious fervor in the positive or negative column. When the second Mrs. Bastard left him, she told him it was because she thought he was a criminal sociopath. For a long time I asked for greater explanation about why she might have thought such a thing and didn’t get it. Eventually he admitted to stealing from the register of a particularly abusive past employer, but he swore he had been only “borrowing” the money and had intended to return it.
The seven year live in girlfriend was something else. They had lived together in the San Francisco Bay area and for a reasonable amount of that seven years, had been happy. Towards the end, though, there were screaming matches and fights. He had lost a well paying job as a techie, and she was supporting them. According to him the fights just escalated to a point where they both agreed that it would be best if he would move out, and he went to go live with a friend in a seedy area of town and help the friend out with his medical marijuana business. There were things he kept of hers. One was a sex tape of the two of them. Have you ever watched your boyfriend have sex with his last girlfriend on tape? I have. He showed it to me. The other thing he kept of hers was a Polaroid of her, where she was severely bruised, battered and swollen. He said she had fallen down a flight of stairs. When I asked him why she would take a Polaroid of that and why he would later steal it, he never could give me an answer that made any real sense.