This is the second part of Pufferfish’s story. It is probably triggering, so if you think you might be triggered, turn it off now. Pufferfish does not want to become a triggerfish.

In case you might think this is a “fish story”, let me assure that it is not. Pufferfish suffered an ordeal and although he still does not remember it all, He remembers a bunch. This story involves family incest. Yes, what a dirty word. We hate even the word, but it is the word. It has been kept secret all these years. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. It is too late to protect the innocent. Pufferfish is still 4 years old in this story. You may remember that in the first part of his story he was the subject of kiddie porn.

The setting was on a poor farm in Nowhere Town USA. Ma and Pa Perple lived there in penury. Their oil well had not yet come in like the Beverly Hillbilly’s so they were stuck there. The only way Grandpa Perple’s oil came in was in jars of petroleum jelly. They were Pufferfish’s Grandparents on his father’s side. They lived alone with their dog Lucky. We always wondered why they called him “Lucky”. I now believe he was lucky that he wasn’t a little boy in that situation.

Note to any perps who may be reading this to get a new slant on technique: Grandpa Perple’s special technique in child sexual abuse involved something he did with his mouth. This was enhanced because he didn’t have any teeth. So I highly recommend that you perps go out immediately and get all your teeth pulled.

My Mother and Sister and I went to the farm in Nowhere Town because Father was out on an assignment in his military service. To my sister, it was a pretty profitable time. To my Mother, well, it was living with the in-laws. To me, it was living with the outlaws. Although Grandma Perple was not an abuser, she was the kind of woman who had lived a long time with a guy who was not able to love and support her. Here is an example of their relationship. She sent him up to the little country store to get a cut of meat for us. What he brought back didn’t meet with her approval so she cussed him out and threw the meat out the window. We ate vegetables and chicken the rest of our stay.

Actually there were lots of amusing things for a boy to do. Chase the chickens, play with the goldfish pond (sorry, no pufferfish there), and explore the pasture or the attic filled with memorabilia. The bedrooms were full so I slept at night on a cot in the dining room. There was a pot-bellied stove in the corner which kept the room nice and warm. Grandpa Perple was making country hominy out of feed corn in a big washtub on that stove. He had to cook the corn for a long, long time (like weeks).

The problem came when it was bed time and the lights went out. Grandpa Perple instead of retiring to the bedroom with Grandma slipped his hand under my blankets where I lay relaxed and defenseless. He apparently had a practiced hand at fondling. He would slip his well-lubricated finger in my anal opening while doing it. This went on for perhaps maybe several months since we stayed there that long.

One day while the ladies had gone to the big city to shop, Grandpa Perple took me to the shed out in back. What he wanted was to anally penetrate me but not with his finger. However, the dimensions were all wrong and I threw one of my furious temper tantrums, putting a stop to the whole thing. So he did possess a degree of responsiveness.

Actually I was becoming a more and more depressed kiddo. I was retrogressing, which means that I was going backward in development. This was evident in my speech patterns (as I was told later by my mother). I went to breakfast one morning near the end of the stint and was quiet and sullen. Grandma asked me some questions which I wouldn’t answer. She was trying to be nice, but I wasn’t able to respond. She replied caustically, “What’s the matter? The cat got your tongue?” This kind of talk only made things worse for me. I was developing an eye problem called “strabismus” (caused by emotional problems as diagnosed later by an ophthalmologist). I had learned to dissociate as a defense mechanism. Thus I had split into a daytime Pufferfish and a nighttime sexy Pufferfish. The daytime Pufferfish didn’t know anything about the nighttime Pufferfish. My ability to trust had taken a great plunge.

Pretty soon the decision was made to go stay with my other Grandparents. Perhaps Pufferfish’s Mother was getting worried and suspected something. She was an intelligent woman although very absorbed in her own large problems and needs. Grandpa Perple never saw little Pufferfish again. Four years later he died a miserable death with the lung disease atelectasis. An ancient Hebrew proverb says: “Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air.”*

What can be said about Grandpa Perple? His own father died when he was 8 years old. His mother was unable to care for him and he was sent to live in a distant home. We can only guess, but he was probably abused in that distant home. He acquired an “addiction” that he was never able to break and that he in turn passed on. Judging from my father’s behavior, he must have abused him as a child also, perhaps beginning also at age 8. I know that my father had many problems and that he had a major breakdown when I was about 11. He became verbally abusive with me at age 7 – 10. This may have been because the sight of me was triggering in him a set of emotions that he “handled” by distancing himself from me and becoming verbally abusive.

*(Prov. 11:29 quoted from The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)