When I was five years old, the bishop stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what Father Horne did to you." I kept the secret for 40 years. Today, I babble. - ke

In 2012

City of Angels Blog will be at http://cityofangels12.blogspot.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dream July 4th that wakes me up at 2 AM so I write it down and post it

I'm accompanying (friend*) to a meeting with the archdiocese in a Beverly Hills, CA, office buioding. She’s going there for something to do with a pedophile priest lawsuit.

We get to this auditorium and sit in theater like seats with other people who are there to conduct other kinds of business with the archdiocese.

One of the known pedophile priests is in the auditorium wearing a janitor's uniform and carrying out work around the room, emptying trash cans, things like that. Behind me sit two women with a very Midwest middle class look to them, and soon the priest-janitor sits next to them. (His name in the dream is something like Michael Phelan.) He knows the two Midwestern women and I overhear their conversation.

The women are cooing to the janitor-priest, with very honoring tones in their voices, and my friend and I roll our eyes. Then in their conversation I overhear one Midwestern woman say, “So we'll meet you at two o'clock and all go to lunch and the movies together.”

I turn around and holler to them, “What's the matter with you, are you crazy?”

The two women bristle and Father Phelan in his blue janitor jacket kind of sinks down in his seat.

I scream at the women: “Do you know who this guy is? Do you know why he’s not a priest anymore?”

The two ladies shake their heads "no, we don'tn know" and I turn to the shrinking Father Phelan and holler louder: “You mean you didn't tell them!?!?!”

He shakes his head no so I turn to the two Midwestern ladies.

“He’s Father Michael Phelan, a pedophile priest from San Francisco, and the reason he’s not up there being a priest anymore is he raped- what was it Father? Fourteen little boys?”

Father Phelan nods, the two Midwestern ladies are shocked. Their body language says they don't want to go to lunch and the movies with the Father Phelan anymore, and I continue my tirade.

“The only reason Father Phelan is here now in this cushy job doing maintenance in a Beverly Hills office building is because the Mon-SEE-gnors arranged it.”

I say, “Monsignor” like the syllables are three separate words, with loud and drawn out emphasis on SEE, so it's “Mon-SEE-nyor” and while I'm saying the SEE part I take on a pansy frilly gay man queen tone to my voice, so it's Mon-SEE-nyor like a sneer, like all the anger and frustration and shock and rage I've been feeling now for about five years at these people is all summed into that one word. Indeed I wake up with a start soon after and I'm repeating over and over again in my head, “Mon-SEE-nyor” "Mon-SEE-nyor" in that same sarcastic tone. It's that word and all the rage when I say it that makes me feel I have to turn the light on and boot up the laptop to write this dream down, in my head I'm still hearing myself in all that rage saying, “Mon-SEE-nyor, mon-SEE-nyor.”

But that wasn’t the end of the dream.

I'm standing over Father Phelan. (I don't believe there is a father Phelan anywhere in the documents among the ten thousand or so American priests who’ve been credibly accused of raping children, but that's the name he had in the dream, sort of a generic pedophile priest.) As I stand over him, I'm like The Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid, now risen from my place at the bottom of the ocean and coming into full power, towering over Father Phelan raging at him.

“You didn't bother to tell them?"

He squeaks out the words, "Well by law I don't have to. The bishops took care of it."

I shout, "I don't care what the law says. Screw the law, these are real people here. From now on you have to tell them who you are and what you did. You don't make plans to go to lunch and a movie with innocent people not letting them know who you are and what you did.”

Father Phelan is now curled in a fetal position totally depleted because as I stand over him, my voice alone has the power to deflate him. In my hands I'm holding this golden thing, sort of like a Holy Grail, and I'm threatening to hit him over the head with it, just threatening enough for him to end up beneath me on the floor, shaking and frightened. I say again, “This is not about what you can get away with under the law. These are real human beings. You have to tell them who you are and what you did.”

Father Phelan shakes out, “Yes, I will.”

I leave with my friend and we're crossing the street to go get coffee. I'm wearing a business suit, about a size two, and tucking my hair into a hat, noticing in a mirror, "I look a bit like Faye Dunaway." And we laugh. (When I woke up I had this certainty that when I wrote down the dream I had to include that detail: I suddenly was in a size two business suit looking like a movie star.)

The dream continues. I'm writing notes in a little notebook, which makes me feel professional and competent again, like I'm doing what I should be doing, and I say to my friend, “Man, I can’t wait to write this whole story.”

She turns to me and says, No, I'm not sure I want you to write it now, and I'm thinking, oh no, not again, as I don't know how many times this happened when I was doing the blog. I'd be in the moddle of working on a story and the person I'm interviewing suddenly doesn't want to do the story anymore.

I say to her with the same determination I had when talking to Father Phelan (but not the expressed rage) and say, “What do you think I did all this research and got dressed in this suit to come down here with you just for the fun of it? We had an agreement, I was going to write your story, that's why I'm here.” She's still a little hesitant.

I say, “Look, no one will know it's you. I’ll change the names, dates, details, so no one will know it's you. But this story has got to be written.”

She agrees, but we don't seem to be friends anymore.

And that's the dream. I woke up thinking, I’ll have to write this down in the morning, but then realized by morning I’d probably forget the dream, so instead fired up the laptop and wrote it down.

Now posting it here at the blog because that's what I do.

City of Angels Blog is dark, or on hiatus, for a few more months, but don't be surprised if in 2012 we are up and running again.

*Friend in the dream looked a bit like the woman who drives me to the grocery store once a week from the local Senior Center. Not a survivor at all, not a friend either, just a generic person who showed up in a dream...

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