One of the most frightening nights of my life, was when one of my brothers, who had been drinking, came home and threatened to kill the entire family. Ricky said hello to a jail cell that night...as he changed for the better...as the family would not tolerate his attitude and bad behavior, etc.
I had not seen Ricky in several years, and I knew he was having trouble with alcohol for many years. I had been told by my mother that Ricky had been living in the streets in Denver, as his life had turned for the worse! He came home to Albuquerque, New Mexico (where I live) to get help, and we, as a family, were ready to give him the help he needed!
It was my birthday (1989), and me and my wife had gone out for dinner, and we had just returned from dinner, when the telephone rang and it was my mother. She was hysterical and crying, as she told me Ricky had come home from Denver, and he and my father had a fight! She told me Ricky had threatened to kill the family, and she didn't know what to do. I told her I would be over as soon as possible!
It was about twenty minutes across the river to my parents house, and I couldn't get there fast enough! When I got there, I went in the front door, and everything seemed quiet, and Ricky was at the stove cooking something. This was a person that I couldn't recognize, as he looked like a hippie from the 1960's...wearing a beard; long hair; a moustache and quite dirty! But, as I looked closer...it was indeed Ricky to my amazement!
I quickly went over to my mother and asked her if Ricky had a gun, and she didn't know. My brother Rusty and Jimmy got there ahead of me, and I was glad to see them, just in case I needed a little help with Ricky, etc. My mother told me that Ricky had calmed down, after the altercation with my father. All of us gathered in the den to discuss the situation and what we could do.
The situation we all found ourselves was difficult and delicate...as we were dealing with the son of my parents and a brother. We wanted to make sure nobody got hurt, as we tried to figure out what to do, etc. The look and the strain on my mother's face said it all. she had worry and fright written all over her face!
It was February, and it was dark outside at about 8:00 in the evening. Ricky finished what he was cooking and he went into the darkened living room. He did not turn on the lights, and the entire time he was in the living room, he stayed in the dark, and this made it more diffecult for us. The living room was on the other side of a small dining room, and as we found out rather quickly, he could hear what we were talking about, and what we were planning to do.
A little light was shining through the living room window, and in silhouette, I could see him moving aroung and I had no idea what he was doing. All of us feared that he had a gun, so we had to be extremely careful.
"Are all of you talking behind my back?" Do all of you want to die tonight?"
Those were the words from Ricky talking from the darkened living room...as he broke the silence of the night...and a look at my mother's face, as she was scared to death, etc. We were all scared to death, as we had to deal with the voice coming out of the darkness! We couldn't talk to each other, because he would hear us. All of us remained quiet, as we tried to figure out what to do.
"Why are all of you so quiet?" Don't you want to talk behind my back?"
Again...the words from Ricky from the darkened living room! This was quickly becoming one of the most chiling nights of my life...as we all felt so helpless! If this was an ordinary person...not family member...me, Rusty and my brother Jimmy could have jumped him...taken him out...but this was our brother, and we had to be careful how we handled the situation.
Everyone in the den, started to whisper, and that didn't work either, as we quickly heard from Ricky...
"Why are we all whispering...don't you think I can't hear you? Would you all like to die tonight?"
We all remained quiet and stared at each other...what to do? I had a piece of paper in my wallet and a pen, and I wrote the following message on it for the others to read, and passed it around for my brothers and my parents to read;
"We're going to have to wait for Ricky to fall asleep. We can't do much else."
Everyone read the note, and all agreed! But, when would Ricky fall asleep? It was going to be a very long night! Nine o'clock came and went...and ten o'clock came and went and it was now going on eleven o'clock, and we all thought Ricky had fallen asleep...FINALLY! It was a very long and scary night, but I think we all made the right decision to wait it out! As not to wake Ricky...and get him upset. As the night finally ended...Jimmy and I went out the back door, and my parents went to bed.
The next morning, I called my mother to see if everything was all right and she said yes. She told me that Ricky was already up, and I told her I would be over in a few minutes, that there was something I wanted to say to Ricky, and I had to say it to his face!
A few minutes later, I arrived at my parents house, and I went straight to Ricky's bedroom, and I opened the door and said,
"If you ever threaten the family again...you're going to jail...do you hear me, Ricky?"
He had a surprised look at his face, at what I told him, and close the bedroom door and I went home!
Ricky's biggest problem, along with being an alcoholic, was his bad attitude! Obnoxious and belligerent was also the problem, along with having a chip on his shoulder, and somebody was going to have to knock that chip off his shoulder! He probably got it all from living in the streets!
Everything at my parents house was quiet for about three weeks, and then it happened again! My mother called me again and she was hysterical and Ricky was drunk and out of control again!
I promised Ricky, that if there was another incident like this, that he was going to jail, and I had to keep my promise! I got Rusty on the phone and he said he would help me, as I would not be able to handle Ricky by myself! I explained to Rusty what we were going to do, and he waited for me to drive across town.
I got there 15 minutes later, and Rusty told me that Ricky was in the back bedroom, and that was perfect. Rusty helped me move a large lounge chair from the den, and place it in front of the back door, so Ricky could not get out the back way, etc. Rusty would stay at the front door, and not let Ricky go out the front door! I went back to the bedroom to get Ricky, and knocked on the door! He seemed like he knew what was going on, and when he saw me...he shot past me like a rocket!
He headed out the back, and when he saw Rusty guarding the back door...he turned around. Rusty and I took off after him, before he got away! The skirmish began, as Rusty and I tried to get Ricky back into the living room...and my mothers was crying and screaming!
This scene reminded me of the old television series, My Three Sons, whereby my mother's three sons were fighting in her living room...tearing the place apart...lamps came down...coffee table went over..."Call 911," I screamed at my mother!
"Why are you doing this...why are you doing this?" my mother screamed!
"CALL 911...CALL 911 AND DON'T ASK ANY QUESTIONS!" I screamed at my mother to act! This was before cell phones, so my mother had to call the police from the kitchen phone! Ricky was harder to handle than I thought, and Rusty and I both took a couple of punches to the head, as we wrestled with Ricky...he wasn't going to go easy!
"GET HIM DOWN ON THE FLOOR...GET HIM DOWN ON THE FLOOR," I screamed...as we finally pounced on Ricky and finally got him down on the carpet in the living room! My mother was hysterical to see her three sons fighting in front of her! "RICKY'S GOING TO JAIL...DO YOU HEAR ME"...my mother called the police, and they should be here shortly! We were all exausted from the scuffle, and we had Ricky down on the floor, and he couldn't move!
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang and it was the police. They came in and saw what was happening and put the hand-cuffs on Ricky...and I could see the hate in my mother's eyes... All of us were huffing and puffing from the wrestling match...and I thought my mother was going to go into the kitchen and start throwing pots and pans at us...after all...we almost destroyed the living room!
"How can you do this...how can you do this," my mother screamed at me! "Put your own brother in jail...how can you do this?"
The police took Ricky outside, and put him in a squad car, and we followed out in the front yard. I watched as the police put Ricky in the car, and tears began to stream down my face, and it was the worst feeling I ever had in my life, and I had wondered if I had done the right thing! I told my mother I would pick up Ricky the next day at the jail house and for her to go in and get some sleep.
After getting no sleep all night, I picked up Ricky the nexr day, and, as he got in the car, I could see that he had changed...for the better! I think by doing this, the chip was knocked off his shoulder, and his rotten attitude would change too, or at least I hoped so. On the way home, we said nothing to each other. When we got to my parents house, I stopped the car and said to Ricky;
"If anything like this ever happens again, you're going back to jail..do you understand me?" Ricky got out of the car and went into my parents house.
Ricky stayed at my parents house for over a year, and got the help he needed, and there was not another threatening incident out of him! He had been given a haircut; shaved the beard and moustache...and we bought him new clothes, and now he looked like the Ricky of old...tall, dark and handsome...just like his older brother!
Ricky continued to do better, and he got a job and worked hard to get his life back together. Obviously, we were quite pleased with his progress!
A couple of months later, I was having coffee at my mother's house, and we were reflecting on the jail incident, and I told her, that when I picked him up from the jailhouse, he had a look on his face as if to say, "I can't believe it...my own two brothers put me in jail...my own flesh and blood put me in the slammer!" Believe it Ricky...believe it...it's called "tough-love!"
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Copyright; 2008; Jerry Aragon/The Humor Doctor
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