I was washing my kitchen floors this afternoon and I thought I would add some ammonia to get the job done. As soon as the vapor went up my nose, my memory bank burst open. All at once I was back at the State Police Barracks in Middleboro, Mass, as a ward of the state, washing the floors with ammonia.
In 1963, I was surrendered to the Division of Youth Services for an undetermined length of time as was the custom with juveniles. I was on probation in three cities and I was due for a vacation. Even though the charge they got me on was based off a lie the kid across the street told them. Still, I was due.
I stayed at the Roslindale facility almost 3 months in a maximum security situation, before I met with the Mass. Parole Board and it was decided that I would be a “mess boy” at the state police barracks indefinitely, or, until they decided to release me.
It was October 4, 1963, when I arrived. I thought I died and went to Heaven. I had my own room, and one day off a week to go home and look for work for when I was released. These cops ate great, and I was going to eat what they ate. Plus, I had free Trailways bus passes.
I had a TV, a record player, sparse bedroom furniture and my own shower, all on the top floor of the barracks building. And I got worked from sun up to sun down. I cooked, scrubbed, waited on troopers, shined boots, sanded dredging boats and washed more state cars than I care to recount.
I was there when Kennedy went, and the Beatles came.
But did I eat. I had clean clothes, a nice room and they even paid me 50 bucks a month. I started thinking maybe hell would be getting paroled out of this place. This was better than home.
Then one night, when I was in bed, the door to my quarters squeaked open. It was just a big empty space up there. He was still in the shadows when I hit the light. It was a trooper. My first thoughts were maybe I left something amiss down in the kitchen.
He was tall, Scandanavian, very fair, and had a blonde crewcut. His tie was undone telling me he was off duty and his heavy boots scuffled as he moved towards me. He had a bunch of what looked like magazines under his left arm and he was eating a bowl of coleslaw.
I was in bed
He sat on the edge of the bed and told me to relax, his name was Marvin Pratt and he used to live in Somerville. Like me. (He did his homework) We made small talk for a few minutes before he handed me the books. They were extremely graphic.
They were the kind of graphic, full frontal, unnatural, illegal, sodomy heavy material that only a state cop might get from a bust in those days.
He told me to look at them. Take my time. Relax. I sure wanted to look but I didn’t need company. Know what I mean?
What happened next is still hard to comprehend. He reached under my sheet and grabbed me. A Massachusetts State Trooper, with a wife, three kids and a great reputation on the force and he’s gonna molest a kid he doesn’t even know, that’s been in the can for months and has no clue if I will go running to Captain Luciano? It still boggles my mind.
I won’t list all of his sordid attempts but, suffice it to say, this fucker went on the hunt. For the next eight months, he was everywhere. He would stick his finger up my ass while I was cooking, carrying dishes or walking down a hall way. This guy had no fear and he knew where I lived.
When I was returning from my day off at home, he would pull the Trailways bus over on Route 44, board the bus, find me with a flashlight, hand cuff me with my hands behind my back, pull me off and try to terrify me by driving 120 mph and massaging my crotch. While I was still handcuffed.
This happened almost every week and still, no irregularities were ever reported by Trailways.
Once, when I was home, I came walking down Paulina Street only to see him sitting on my front porch talking to my mother. She was thrilled to think they liked me at the barracks. Of course, I could never tell her what I was going through. She never had a clue. Until years later.
Shows you how dangerous he was. He knew, and I knew, that one word from him would have me back in Roslindale in lock down, right on time for supper. I was a criminal, he was a cop.
Still, he never got me. Once, when I started to cry in frustration, I saw that he hated that and would suddenly leave. After that, I could have won an academy award. I could cry on cue.
I called the Division of Public Safety a few years back and didn’t get any satisfaction. They told me it might be best if I just moved on. I did.
Every now and then I imagine I might bump into my pal, Marvin…without the coleslaw.