To the women who struggle with making these decisions
I want the boy institutionalized, Judge’s father told his mother. Try it, his mother said, and I will leave you.
His father, a U.S. senator, decided on a different approach: the Marine Corps.
When Judge left for boot camp, they didn’t hug, didn’t shake hands. There was no imparting of keen insights or wisdom, no fatherly advice. His father made one simple, finally-rid-of-your-fucking-afflicted-existence comment that came directly from his black heart: They’ll either kill you or cure you.
His father would have been satisfied either way.
Judge’s affliction had embarrassed them on the grandest of stages: Nixon’s second inauguration, when Judge was fourteen. When he turned nineteen, his senator father wrote the letter. The president said yes, he’d make his enlistment happen. A senator had this access, the Commander-In-Chief this power.
That was thirty-eight years ago.
Kill you or cure you.
… Judge waited for his bounty, a bail-jumping pedophile, outside a Shreveport, Louisiana Starbucks, a long way from home. Judge sat in the van, smooth-talking his K9 deputies, waiting for the guy to exit, wanting, praying the guy would run…
Judge had proved his father wrong. The Marines proved his father wrong. Win-win.
His father died knowing this. His father died horribly. Win-win.
Judge had Tourette’s. There was no cure, but they had an arrangement, this affliction and him. Win.
His full name, Judge Terrence Drury. USMC rank at retirement, Gunnery Sergeant. His current profession, bounty hunter.