Crazy Train

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Crazy Train

by Jennifer Sue

(A dark piece from my youth, contemplated but never done.)

Four police cars, a paramedic van, an ambulance, a fire rescue truck, and two fire police vehicles filled the circle of the cul-de-sac. The multicolored flashing emergency lights atop each vehicle were flashing illuminating the night. The result was a most macabre scene befitting a horror flick as the white, orange, blue and red flashing lights disoriented the nosy neighbors trying to walk through the crowded area. The more timid neighbors peaked from their doors and windows. The braver tried to get closer but the police turned them back. People kept going in and coming out of the Murphy home. The yelling and loud music that had been coming from the Murphy home earlier had forewarned the neighborhood that another blow-up was happening. Obviously this blow-up had escalated past previous examples. Finally the ambulance crew rolled the stretcher out of the house. A paramedic walked beside the strapped down youth making sure the IV bottle plugged into an arm did not dislodge. The neighbors recognized the boy as Ashton Murphy. What was unusual was the fact he was smiling broadly, something the neighbors had not seen the lad do for years. If he was injured, as the IV indicated, why was he happy? The weirdness only increased as the ambulance crew prepared to load the stretcher with the boy into the ambulance.


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It took all of Ashton’s strength to keep from crying. No sane person willingly walks into a forest at 6am carrying a 12 gauge shotgun! Not only was it fifteen degrees the sky was only just beginning to grey signaling sunrise! While he desperately wanted to simply turn around he knew he had to follow his dad so wearily trudged onward focused solely on the orange vest leading him onward.

The boy lost himself musing about his wretched life. His dad had been a star athlete in high school and college until he’d blown out a knee. Avidly following sports was as much a part of his life as breathing. Hunting and fishing were also at the top of his to do list. Ashton didn’t begrudge him his interests. However, he did begrudge his dad’s insistence the boy be an avid sports fan and had forced the boy to be every team available. Ashton was pushed and bullied to excel and as puberty approached found the idea of growing up to be like his old man an anathema. The more he was pushed to be an all-American boy the more he hated it. It was only fear of his dad that kept him going instead of rebelling.

Forty five minutes later, still lost in his morose musing, shivering and tired, the weary boy stumbled into his dad.

“Damn it, Ashton, stay the fuck awake,” Kurt somehow managed to snarl while whispering. “We’re here. Around sunrise we’ll hear shooting down the hill in that direction,” he pointed. “A few minutes later the deer will come out of that narrow valley and head right past us. Pick the one with the biggest rack and shoot it. Just aim for the body, at this range you can’t miss.”

“But what if I just wound it?” Ashton asked in a fear filled whispered.

“You’ve got a slug that’s nearly 3/4 of an inch in diameter and weighs 7/8 of an ounce,” Kurt explained. “You hit a deer with that, there is no wounding! Shit, you hit it in a leg and it’ll blow the damn leg right off! You WILL not miss! Do you understand, BOY?”

“Yeah,” Ashton meekly nodded.

“You’d better! Now stand behind this tree and keep your eyes and ears open,” Kurt sternly admonished as he headed to stand behind a tree ten feet away.

Ashton was glad the morning was so grey because it hid his tears from his dad. At least once a week all summer and fall he’d been taken to the gun club firing range to learn how to handle a shotgun. Hitting the inner circle 9 out of 10 times on stationary targets and hitting 2 out of 3 on the clay pigeons was considered extremely good for a 12 year old. It wasn’t the mechanics of shooting that bothered the boy, it was killing a cute deer. No way did he want to do that! But if he didn’t his dad would be furious! Sniffling he knew his only hope was that the deer didn’t come this way.

The waiting seemed to last forever. The sweat he’d worked up walking in his cold weather gear was rapidly chilling him as he silently stood and waited. Then he heard it. Distant pops that echoed up from the valley. Seeing his dad raise his rifle to readiness Ashton did the same hoping the deer wouldn’t appear. After a few minutes as his arms were beginning to quaver from the effort of holding his shotgun ready he heard faint sounds of leaves rustling approaching as the deer charged up the forested slope.

First to appear was a doe, then another doe, then a buck with 3 inch spikes, then another doe, then a buck with 6 points, then another doe. Ashton watched with wide-eyed wonder standing only 30 feet from where they nervously walked as they glanced downhill for the rest of the herd to arrive. They were so graceful and regal! Firing the shotgun was the farthest thing from his mind as he drank in the sight of the beautiful animals!

Kurt was furious. It was plain to see his son was mesmerized by the deer. Knowing time was short he took aim at the 10 point buck that just emerged from the valley.

Ashton’s mouth dropped open as he saw the huge buck step from the valley and look back down. It looked jusy like Bambi’s father! Suddenly everything changed. The serenely majestic herd began to scatter as the loud explosion resounded amongst the trees. The magnificent big buck simply dropped. “Noooooo!” Ashton screamed as he dropped the shotgun and ran for the buck.

Kurt knew he hit the big buck, it was so close he couldn’t miss! Not waiting he ejected the empty casing and slammed home another cartridge was he swung his 30.06 bolt action Remington 770 to the six point buck already leaping away. His heart leapt to his throat as he squeezed the trigger. The image of the buck was gone from the scope replaced by an orange cap. Instantly he realized his son was running toward the downed buck right... into the trajectory of the newly fired round.

In his distress Ashton didn’t even realize the 30.06 bullet knocked the orange cap from head as he pounded to the fallen bucked. Kneeling he saw the massive exit wound, big enough to put his hand inside the still bleeding but eerily still carcass. “Noooo! You killed him! You killed Bambi’s dad!” With that he threw himself onto the still warm furry body burying his face into the soft winter fur.

Kurt was relieved to see that somehow the bullet had missed his stupid son. The shot had been true and the 6 point buck was on the ground 30 feet from the 10 pointer. Quickly he retrieved Ashton’s shotgun and fired it into the ground.

Ashton recognized the sound of his shotgun and looked up to peer at his dad through tear stained eyes. Even with blurry vision he could tell his dad was beyond furious. At that point fear engulfed him as he realized how he’d screwed up.

“You stupid sissy son-of-a-bitch! I almost fucking killed you with my second shot,” Kurt roared.

“Huh? You just fired my gun into the ground,” Ashton squeaked out in confusion as he knelt with his arms still wrapped around the big buck.

“Jesus fucking Christ! That was the third damn shot!” Kurt shook his head as he stalked towards his errant son. “I was shooting at the 6 point when you fucking ran right through my sights! The damn bullet took your freaking hat right off!”

Ashton reached on top of his head, clearly startled to find his cap was missing! Looking around he saw the orange cap lying on the ground a good 15 feet from the path he’d taken to reach the buck. His heart climbed in his throat. Following the trajectory he saw the second buck lying dead.

“Get the fuck up,” Kurt growled as he reached down to yank his boy to his feet. “Take the tag off your licence and tag this one. YOU shot it. Do you understand, BOY?”

Ashton numbly nodded his head. As he looked on his dad stalked over to the 6 pointer tearing the tag from his licence to tag that buck. The boy slowly realized he had to claim the big 10 pointer since by law a hunter could only harvest one buck. Despite tears flowing in moments he had his tag on the big guy. As the sun rose he watched as his dad tied some rope around the smaller buck’s forelegs to drag it to an open area. Then his dad pulled his hunting knife from it’s sheath and plunged it into the deer’s neck Ashton thought he’d gone crazy.

“Get over here, it’s time you learned how to do this,” Kurt growled as he jabbed the knife into the base of the deer’s throat and began sawing down through the rib cage. Once he cleared the ribs he paused and turned to his son. “NOW, DAMN IT! I can’t believe what a freaking worthless piece of shit you are!”

The harsh words, like so many he’d heard from his demanding father in the past, cut into the boy’s soul. Ashton was too terrified to do anything other than obey. Like a man heading to the gallows he slowly approached with his head hung to avoid the angry glare of his dad.

“You see how I’m pulling on the skin to lift it off the guts?”

Ashton numbly nodded.

“Then you angle the knife so the point of the blade will slide under the skin but not any deeper. Next take your time and just cut the skin right down the center of the belly to the ass,” Kurt explained as he glared at his boy and held out the bloody knife. “Here. Take the knife and YOU do it.”

Ashton’s eyes grew huge and his entire body trembled. His hand refused to move to accept the knife.

“GOD DAMN IT,” Kurt bellowed as he reached out to slap his frozen son.

The sound of the slap sounded like another gunshot to Ashton and the impact on his cheek staggered him. Tears instantly flowed as he sucked by the sobs that wanted so desperately to emerge. Reaching up he touched his stinging cheek feeling the heat suffusing the area. Taking his hand away he saw blood on his fingers! He had been shot! Panic began to engulf him and he felt his pants getting wet.

Kurt looked at the growing wet spot on his sorry excuse for a son. “Mother fucker, what the hell is wrong with you! Why the hell did you just piss your pants?”

Ashton numbly looked down to see the still growing wet spot between his legs. It was only then his frazzled brain registered he’d pissed himself. “I... I... I’m sh... shot... s... see,” he stuttered as he held out his bloody fingers.

“You stupid little shit,” Kurt shook his head in utter frustration. “I slapped you. My hand is covered in the deers blood. SEE!” With that he held out his still bloody hand.

Ashton looked at his dad’s bloody hand and shivered as he realized his mistake and utter humiliation.

“Now take the fucking knife and gut the damn deer,” Kurt brusquely ordered. “If you cut the organs, I’ll kick your fucking ass every step we take back to the truck!”

Ashton looked at his dad as if he was from Mars. However the unyielding gaze told him he’d better do what he’d been told. Awkwardly he took the knife. Swallowing the bile rising up his throat he pulled up on the deer flesh and placed the knife in the cut his dad had made.

It took a bit of effort but with stern corrections and a lot of cussing from his dad Ashton successfully made the incision. Then things got worse as his dad made him reach inside the still warm carcass with blood oozing from the long cut to grasp the organs and pull them from the body cavity. The wind pipe and gullet had to be cut free as did the nerve bundles and blood vessels. Ashton moved as if in a trance as he pulled the bloody steaming guts from what had been a living creature. Several times he had to wriggle both arms nearly to his armpits beneath the squishy bloody innards to sever connections. As he worked the guts out it often fell against his torso and nearly every time against his legs. The effort was intense and disgusting. Despite the cold he was perspiring heavily due to the effort and horror of what he was doing. Several times he wiped his brow on the back of his arm thus smearing blood across his face.

Once the 6 point buck was gutted, they moved to the 10 pointer. Kurt cut through the ribs then turned the task over to the clearly shocked boy who mechanically did as he was told.

As Ashton finished the larger buck, Kurt took out a camp hatchet and chopped a 2 small but sturdy trees. With these he built the frame of a travois, lashing the thicker ends together while tying the other ends with rope to keep them from spreading more than 4 feet apart. Between the small tree trunks he lashed smaller branches between them to form a base, Dragging it to the clearing he tied rope around the main lashing and fashioned 2 large loops one in front of the other. When Ashton finished gutting the second buck they carried/drug the body to the travois and heaved it into the center. The placed the smaller buck atop the larger. Then they tied the deer to the cross branches and drag poles. Shouldering their weapons, they stepped into the rope loops and began the long arduous trip of dragging the 2 deer back to the truck. Neither spoke.

Ashton had never felt so filthy. In addition to his humiliating soggy urine soaked pants, he was covered in deer blood. The rope loop was cutting into his shoulders as he trudged behind his dad hauling the travois. Upon reaching the truck Ashton dropped to the ground to rest.

Kurt unlocked the doors then started the engine and put their weapons in the gun rack across the inside of the rear window. After dropping the tailgate, he motioned Ashton back to his feet. Together they lifted and tugged the deer into the back. Once tied down Kurt motioned Ashton over to the edge of the parking area.

Ashton was too exhausted to question and went to his dad. Standing side by side they looked into the stream that ran by the parking area. Ashton quickly lost himself in the sparkling clear burbling water. Without warning he found himself lifted and flying through the air. “AHHH’” he screamed just before he splashed into the icy cold running water. It took him several moments until he gained his feet. By then he was thuroughly soaked and shivering from the cold. As he clambered up the mossy bank he angrily looked at his dad. “Why did you do that!”

Kurt laughed evilly. “You stank. You WERE covered in blood and you pissed your pants. There was no way in hell I was going to let you sit on the seat upholstery or smell up the cab. Get your ass into the truck.”

Ashton didn’t need to be told twice. Within a few moments he was seated in the cab with the heater blowing full blast. During the ride home Ashton sat in silence.

When they reached an area with cell phone reception, Kurt called the butcher he dealt with to arrange dropping off the bucks for processing. Ashton remained in the cab while the deer were off loaded.

Ashton had feared he’d dislike hunting as much as he despised sports. But just as with sports, he had no choice but to participate. Ashton sighed in frustration. His dad insisted he be an all-American boy when in truth the boy could care less about macho activities. Once more he wished he wasn’t a boy.

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Without a doubt Ashton had been traumatized by the deer hunt. It was the final nail in the coffin of the all American boy his father wanted him to be. As the days slipped by, he slipped deeper and deeper into a melancholy funk. At meals he barely touched his food. At school he sat in his classes like a bump on a log, neither contributing nor acting out. At home he avoided his parents as much as possible. When they did manage to get with him he answered their questions with shrugs, nods or head shakes.

Kurt tried to brag up Ashton’s hunting prowess in bagging a 10 point buck on his first hunting excursion but Ashton merely hung his head and remained silent. In frustrated response, the man verbally lashed out at his ‘fucking sissy’ son.

Ashton responded by withdrawing deeper into his self isolation. While he didn’t interact with his classmates, he did watch them. Nearly all the guys were posturing swaggering macho jerks, exactly what his dad wanted him to be. There was no way he wanted to be like them! Most of the other guys were nerds who did their best to meld into the background. Again not something he wanted. A small fraction of the boys were so lacking in self confidence they were destined to be life-long targets for anyone. The morose boy had no desire to be like any of the boys he knew. Wishes that he hadn’t been born a boy were frequent.

As Kurt’s outbursts increased in severity and the insults more virulent, Ashton knew he was nearing the end of his ability to cope. He hated his masculinity and his life. Thoughts of taking his life grew in frequency and duration as he pondered painless ways to do the deed. But contemplating suicide never passed beyond thoughts as he didn’t want to die, he just didn’t want to be a boy.

If he didn’t want to be boy nor did he want to die, that left only one option. To not be a boy he had to become a girl. Once more he thought about his female classmates. The few tomboys held no interest for him. The snobby girls seemed to be much like the jock guys, shallow and self-centered. The nerdettes were simply feminine versions of the nerd guys. The only girls who peaked his envy were the girly-girls. They had freedom to laugh, to giggle, to blush demurely, to cry, to hug. They also had a greater selection of apparel, from jeans to skirts. They could dress and behave to match their mood. No one teased or bullied them.

With that decision he began to research transgenderism. It didn’t take much thought to realize his parents would never allow him to transition... unless he somehow forced their hand! His thoughts turned to plotting that route.

With that decided his morose demeanor faded as he became driven to find the perfect solution to his problem. The overwhelming saddness that had been upon him was replaced by a black, silent, grim determination. Without his parent’s knowledge Ashton picked up black clothing dye and dyed all his clothing black.

Kurt and Laura grew increasingly concerned and frustrated with their son. At first the fading of the utter sad hopelessness encouraged them to think he was finally emerging from his funk. When they realized he’d dyed his entire wardrobe black they were stunned. Two days later they were horrified to discover his shoulder length hair had been dyed black and his eyes sported distinct black eyeliner. The hopeless sad boy that had been so frustrating to deal with had been replaced by a determined goth boy who refused to even attempt to communicate with them. When they spoke to him, he’d simply look at them with a neutral non committal expression, never acknowledging he heard or understood. The frustrated parents yelled louder and more vehemently, with Kurt often slapping the boy off his feet. Ashton’s stony expression never changed. The frustrating encounters ended with Ashton being sent to his bedroom. Once there he locked his door and began playing heavy metal music at full volume until they would pound on his door threatening to gut his room if he didn’t turn it down.

Ashton played them, letting them yell and pound on the door before turning the volume down just before they reached the crossover point of kicking his ass.

The neighbors could easily hear the yelling and pounding heavy metal music. The sight of Ashton in his goth make-over only added to the unsettling mix emanating from the Murphy home on a daily basis.

Of course no one at school seemed overly surprised by the silent goth boy who responded to them with the same stony expression and non-response he used with his parents.

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Three months after the hunting trip, Ashton was ready.

After locking the door of his bedroom the twelve year old goth pried off the loosely attached door frame trim, then went to his closet. Reaching into the back he pulled out 9 boards, each 10 inches long by 6 inches wide by 2 inches deep. Carrying them to the door he put them down then went to his desk to pull out a phillips screwdriver and a bunch of 4 inch long decking screws. Returning to the door he laid out the boards and turned the screws into the pre-made holes until the point was an eighth of an inch through. The boards were numbered to match their spots on the door frame where matching holes had been predrilled. Numbers 1 and 2 were on the floor against the door, equidistant from each other and the corners of the door. The rest would be screwed into the door jam with 4 inches overhanging the door. Numbers 3 and 4 were spaced equidistant from each other, the bottom corner and the door knob. Numbers 5 and 6 were likewise spaced above the knob. Number 7was centered at the top of the door. Number 8 was located next immediately above the top hinge. Number 9 was centered on the hinge side of the door while number 10 was located immediately below the bottom hinge.

Then he went to his stereo and pulled up a song, set it for repeat, cranked the volume as high as it would go, then hit play. The sound thundered out causing the windows on his second floor corner bedroom to vibrate. The walls, floors, and ceilings shook with the reverberations of the powerful beat!

“All aboard!
a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight (echo)

Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe. it's not too late
To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

Mental wounds not healing
Life’s a bitter shame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I've listened to preachers,
I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role

Mental wounds still screaming
Driving me insane
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I know that things are going wrong for me
You gotta listen to my words, yeah, yeah, yeah

Heirs of a cold war,
that's what we've become
Inheriting troubles,
I'm mentally numb
Crazy, I just cannot bear
I'm living with something that just isn't fair

Mental wounds not healing
Who and what's to blame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

Returning to the desk while the song played through the first time he opened another drawer to pull out the hunting knife he’d used to gut the deer. With his face devoid of any emotion he meticulously ran the blade edge over a whetstone honing the shiny steel to better than razor sharpness. In the background he could hear his father screaming at him from downstairs but Ozzie’s “Crazy Train”, which had become his personal theme song, blocked his words.

Pulling his black hoodie off he exposed his forearms. For a moment he looked at the what he’d done in the past. The stoniness of his gaze revealed his utter determination. The entire length of both forearms were covered in striations. The scars ranged from nearly healed white ‘speed bumps’ to fresh wounds weeping clear fluid. Slowly he picked up the hunting knife, twisting and turning it as he lovingly examined it while marveling that due to it’s sharpness it had almost effortlessly slit through the deer skin that fateful day. With a tight smile he pressed the tip of the blade against his flesh. For a brief instant his dull eyes sparkled before he squeezed them shut. Then he slowly but gently pulled the knife across his forearm imagining he was once more slicing the bucks stomach to reach the steamy guts. The scarred flesh on his forearms offered no resistence as it spread apart revealing the path of the blade just like a mule pulled plow opening a furrow in a field. Slowly blood welled up and began to trickle around the side of his forearm to drip onto his black pants. A wan smile formed on his face as he tilted his head back and breathed deeply clearly savoring the self-induced pain.

The door to his bedroom shook as his father pounded on the door. Being so close Ozzie’s song could no longer mask the angry words. “TURN THAT FUCKING MUSIC DOWN! DAMN IT, ASHTON, LISTEN TO ME! I’VE HAD IT WITH YOUR FUCKING ATTITUDE! WHEN I GET INSIDE YOU’RE GOING TO GET THE BEATING OF YOUR LIFE!”

Ashton smiled reveling in the fury the raucous music was invoking from his father while he continued to drink in the pain from the cut, reaching an almost orgasmic high only to have it fade as the pain dulled and the pounding on the door ceased. Keeping his eyes closed and with his hands trembling in anticipation he transferred the knife to his other hand. As the point of the blade bit into the flesh of his other forearm, a moan of near ecstasy escaped his lips. With even more deliberate slowness he drew the blade across his forearm, clearly relishing the pain while hoping to prolong it. When the cut was done he sat with his head back drinking in the pain.

The bedroom door shuddered under a tremendous body slam. Then another, and another. The heavy old door, assisted by the boards Ashton had screwed into place around the door jam, withstood the pounding. “YOU LITTLE SON OF A BITCH! WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU YOU’LL BE THE SORRIEST SON OF A BITCH IN THE FUCKING WORLD!” His father screamed in frustration.

Ashton gladly bathed in the anger of his dad and luxuriated in the pain from his cuts. It took another minute before he regained his senses. Looking at his forearms he smiled to see the bleeding from 2 inch long sixteenth of an inch wide cuts had stopped bleeding. Drying blood tracks ran about his arms. Feeling the spots of dampness the dripping blood had created on the thighs of his black jeans only added to his sense of success. Adrenalin was dumping into his blood exciting him and pushing him onward. Now pumped up, he had to move quickly to finish before his dad managed to smash open the door!

Standing up he undid his black jeans, sliding them and his boxers down to his ankles before kicking them off. Breathing heavily he sat back on the chair and spread his knees as wide as he could. Pointing nearly straight up into the air was his 5 inch erect pecker, the most despised part of his body! Reaching into the drawer he pulled out a 36 inch long rawhide shoe lace. Quickly he wrapped it one time around the base of his scrotum making sure both balls were in the fleshy sack. Then with an almost maniacal grin he yanked as hard as he could on both ends of the leather shoe lace. The pain was so exquisite it took away his breath, yet he never backed off the taut tension. It took almost 30 seconds until he could force his brain to carry on with his plan for freedom. With quick moves he tied the two ends into a firm knot. Looking down his penis was harder than it had ever been. Pre-cum was oozing from the horrid one eyed snake, looking somewhat like saliva bubbling from the throat of someone who was being garroted.

Ashton’s heart was racing, he could feel the blood pounding in his temples in time with the driving beat of “Crazy Train”! He could even feel his chest shuddering from the tremendous effort his heart was making. The pain was still intense but had dulled to a solid throbbing. The scrotal sack, cut off from it’s life-giving blood supply was turning blue.

Then came a solid WHUMP from the door. Ashton knew his dad had retrieved an axe from the garage and was attacking the door. Knowing his time was limited he once more picked up the hunting knife, then scooted the chair so it faced the door. WHUMP! WHUMP! WHUMP! The axe bit into the door. When Ashton saw the blade finally penetrate, he turned a bit on the seat so a front corner was between his spread legs. Then he scrunched forward a bit until his dying ball sack rested on the corner.

“ASHTON! OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR NOW!” His dad bellowed as he took a breather from chopping. The only response was “Crazy Train” repeating itself. Fueled with anger towards his son, he began swinging the axe. WHUMP! WHUMP! WHUMP!

The hole in the door grew until it was big enough for his dad to angrily stick his head inside the room. “YOU LITTLE SON OF A BITCH! WAIT UNTIL...” then his voice faltered as he saw his son.

Nude from the waist down Ashton sat with a maniacal grin on his face looking at the door. One hand pulled on his numbed scrotum while the other held the hunting knife poised to cut the offensive portion of his anatomy off with one clean stroke.

Kurt took the sight in with a sharp intake of breath. He could see the scars and fresh cuts on his son’s forearms as well as the knife waiting to make the biggest cut of all. “ASHTON! WHAT THE FUCK! ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY?”


As the last lines of “Crazy Train” came around on the song, Ashton began singing along at the top of his lungs smiling crazily the entire time. “MENTAL WOUNDS NOT HEALING! WHO AND WHAT'S TO BLAME?” Ashton quickly drew the knife across the base of his ball sack just in front of the shoe lace. The pain felt wonderful! The cut was so deep it scored the wood of the seat. With the connection severed, he triumphantly raised the sack holding his ball in the air. “I'M GOIN' OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAIN! I'M GOIN' OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAIN!” With that he flung the severed scrotum at his father, striking him in the face causing the severed testicles to pop out and roll away.

As the song repeated once more, Ashton continued to loudly sing along rocking on the chair and waving the hunting knife in the air!

Kurt was gobsmacked. “Jesus fucking Christ! He’s gone off the deep end!” Hastily he pulled his head back through the hole. Turning to Laura he frantically spoke. “Call 911! Get the cops and paramedics here ASAP! He’s mutilating himself!”

“What?” Laura asked in wide eyed shock.

“DAMN IT WOMAN, CALL 911! NOW!” Kurt bellowed then began hacking at the door.

Meanwhile Ashton, giggling giddily, took the other rawhide shoestring and tied it as tightly as he could about the base of his erection. Almost instantly the blood engorged organ began to turn blue. As he nodded in time to “Crazy Train”, he drew the blade across the top of his pecker just in front of the shoestring. The pain felt exquisite! After savoring the pain for 15 seconds he made a second deeper cut at the same place.

Panting from his effort, Kurt looked back through the enlarged but still too small to enter hole just in time to see his son making the second slice across his penis. The blade bit through a vein and a short spray of blood was released as the turgid organ purged some of it’s pent up blood.

“ASHTON, NO!” Kurt gasped in horror. “Son, no, please, stop! Oh dear God, please stop!”

Ashton smiled blissfully as he made a third slice across his organ. More blood sprayed as the purple organ deflated a bit more.

Kurt picked up the axe and renewed his efforts to hack through the door before it was too late.

Finally the door splintered. One by one Kurt grabbed hold of the splintered boards and yanked them into the hall. Just as the size of the hole through the shattered door was large enough for him to push through, footsteps pounded up the steps and he paused.

In a swift glance the policeman saw the axe hastily dropped onto the floor, the hacked splintered door, and the sweaty desperate man poised to push his way through the door. The famed guitar riff of “Crazy Train” was blasting out of the shattered door.

Kurt nodded at the policeman and shouldered his way through the splintered door. Once in the bedroom he turned to face his crazed son, freezing in abject horror at what he saw.

The policeman was right behind Kurt. His eyes followed the horrified gaze of the man to the giggling boy. The boy sat scrunched as far back on the chair as he could get with his knees spread as wide as possible. The forearms, thighs torso and head of the boy were covered in dripping blood. The boy’s groin was weirdly bare except for two blood red strings tied to what looked like the stumps of the missing penis and scrotum. The giggling boy appeared to be happily slicing away at a bloody shredded hotdog. Then it dawned on the officer... it was what was left of the boy’s penis! The policeman shuddered then dropped to his knees as his supper surged forth from his stomach.

Four police cars, a paramedic van, an ambulance, a fire rescue truck, and two fire police vehicles filled the circle of the cul-de-sac. The multicolored flashing emergency lights atop each vehicle were flashing illuminating the night. The result was a most macabre scene befitting a horror flick as the white, orange, blue and red flashing lights disoriented the nosy neighbors trying to walk through the crowded area. The more timid neighbors peaked from their doors and windows. The braver tried to get closer but the police turned them back. People kept going in and coming out of the Murphy home. The yelling and loud music that had been coming from the Murphy home earlier had forewarned the neighborhood that another blow-up was happening. Obviously this blow-up had escalated past previous examples. Finally the ambulance crew rolled the stretcher out of the house. A paramedic walked beside the strapped down youth making sure the IV bottle plugged into an arm did not dislodge. The neighbors recognized the boy as Ashton Murphy. What was unusual was the fact he was smiling broadly, something the neighbors had not seen the lad do for years. If he was injured, as the IV indicated, why was he happy? The weirdness only increased as the ambulance crew prepared to load the stretcher with the boy into the ambulance.


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Ashton never lost consciousness until he was sedated for emergency surgery. The doctors who initially treated him were horrified by the self-inflicted wounds. But when they saw his forearms they understood the kid was desperate. There was no way to repair the damage to his genitals, which is exactly what the determined youth intended. They removed the base of his penis, rerouted his urethra and closed the wounds.

The chaos that ensued over the next few days was understandable. Kurt and Laura were utterly stunned by Ashton’s drastic actions. The school and neighborhood were equally shocked. The investigation revealed that Ashton had obviously planned his castration and penectomy in advance. The removed door trim and the boards screwed solidly into the door frame were clearly prepared well in advance. The myriad cuts and scars on both forearms had been meticulously covered by long sleeves in phys-ed classes. The leather shoelaces to tie off his genitalia and the whetstone to keep the hunting knife sharp were also obvious signs he’d plotted his actions. The mood and behavioral changes since he bagged his 10 point buck, thanks to hindsight, were glaring indicators something drastic was going on in his mind.

After the surgery when he awoke Ashton was disappointed to discover he was not in pain. Strapped down in a hospital bed he could only move his head. Looking about he realized he was in an area isolated by a curtain and there was an IV dripping into his arm. “Help,” he called out in a dry raspy voice. “Help!”

A nurse rushed into the curtained area, surprised to see he seemed wide awake.

Before she could say a word Ashton spoke. “May I please have a some water?”

Clearly the nurse was surprised to find the youth who had so brutally mutilated himself was speaking calmly and politely. “Yes, of course,” she replied and poured water from a pitcher into a cup adding a bendable straw before placing the straw to his lips.

Ashton drank a few quick slips, then a long one. “Thank you,” he smiled. “Please, don’t give me anything for pain. I WANT to feel it!”

Once more the nurse was surprised. The polite manner was totally juxtaposed to the request. “I’ll call the doctors and let them know of your request.”

“Thank you,” Ashton smiled as he lowered his head and seemed to wait patiently.

Of course the doctors listened to the nurse report her conversation, then they went to see Ashton where he repeated the request to be taken off all pain meds. One of the doctors was a psychiatrist and another a surgeon.

Ashton calmly explained he was not suicidal but had carefully planned his actions and had taken precautions to ensure he would not bleed out. That he’d prepared the boards to close off his bedroom door to make sure he had enough time to do the deed. That he had played his stereo at full volume knowing his dad would be furious enough to smash open the door so he’d be taken to the hospital. But most importantly that he destroyed his detested male organs. Since his parents never listened to him and insisted he be all boy, he had been forced to take the drastic actions he’d done to make sure he never EVER grew up to be a man. With a happy smile he told them while he may have been born male, it was a horrid birth defect. Now that he’d cut away the lie, he wanted the doctors to help him be the girl he so desperately needed to be.

Parental visitation was supervised. They simply had no concept of why Ashton did what he did. But they did understand they had to stop talking TO their child and begin talking WITH their child. Freed from his masculinity, the plucky youth did his best to explain his actions.

A lot of hours were spent in consoling. Both for Ashton and a lot more for his parents who simply could not fathom why their son had mutilated himself and insisted he was a girl. The shrink explained that he’d hated everything about his life. After the hunting expedition, the only way he could handle being a boy was by completely shutting himself down so he couldn’t feel how horrible his existence was. His entire life had become unending pain and agony. He’d emotionally locked himself down by going goth. However the lack of emotions became unbearable and the only thing he could safely “feel” was pain. The cutting on his forearms had been preparation for the final agony of mutilation which bizarrely liberated him from his life of boyhood hell.

It took a while for the parents to comprehend the hell their son had been living. But even then they didn’t understand that Ashton had never been their son. The child they visited every day refused to respond to any male pronouns or her former name. She steadfastly insisted her name was Ashley. Ashley smiled every time she saw her parents and insisted on sharing welcome and goodbye hugs. It wasn’t until Laura realized that she could not recall the last time she’d seen Ashton smile that the shoe finally dropped. Kurt was equally shocked by that truth. They had unwittingly abused their child thinking they were helping him mature.

Six weeks after that horrific night, Kurt and Laura brought their daughter, Ashley, home from the hospital. They understood the future would not be easy and at times would be downright nasty. But they also vowed to be honest and to love and support their daughter.

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Just not sure how to respond to this but it certainly reveals the degree of desperation for some. Ashley's desperation was certainly compounded by parental ignorance. Once again the solution seems to be education, education, education!


I can completely

sympathize with Ashley! For years I was Goth but not to the point of wearing black really. I was very quiet though and numb. I guess that's not really Goth then is it?

Taking a load of crap from my Daddy for years. First time my Daddy talked me into jumping off of our garage roof promising to catch me but he purposely failed to do that as he simply stepped back so I fell to my knees on the gravel. I was not quite two years old then.

Making this story short:

By the time I was thirteen I nearly shot him! He backed off being the tyrant then showing me more respect but not much.

The only time he told me that he loved me was when he was dying in 1973.

He knew I would rather have been female but he was too scared of the public eye to allow such a thing. He burned all the pretty clothes that my mother had made by hand with a sewing machine that was pedal powered before I was born. I sure did love those dresses! I was only three or so then and my mother was not strong enough to stand up to Daddy knowing that I would have been better off as a female.

Did I consider suicide? OH Yes, many, many, many times! But, seeing others hurt caused me to forget my own problems and I ended up listening and helping others instead. I suppose Mother Nature had other plans for me which I am so glad that she did!


Very intense




Wow. That's very intense. I clicked 'Good story!' because it's a good story, well told. Very compellingly told. Compelling story telling is always impressive, of course. It's all the more impressive considering the narrative technique you framed it in usually reads as dull and dry. Not here. Here, it comes through as a vitally necessary part of the pacing and the intense emotions. If someone was to compile a 'Best of Big Closet' anthology, this should be in it.

By the way, here's a gentle hug. A story like this is a reminder that we all can use more hugs. :-)


All too often...

Andrea Lena's picture

However the lack of emotions became unbearable and the only thing he could safely “feel” was pain. How sadly true.


To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine L'Engle
Love, Andrea Lena

Oh My...

Daphne Xu's picture

Oh my, oh crap, oh whatever the heck! I had to push aside my imagination when reading about the self-mutilation. Like Ashton, I didn't care for the hunting episode. Dad probably couldn't help being a horror to his son. It had to take something serious to yank him hard -- and I can't really see him changing much even after that. Change is so hard for someone his age, and someone like him.

Good story, albeit depressing and horrifying.

-- Daphne Xu

Born TG?

Daphne Xu's picture

It seems to me that Ashton wasn't born TG, and perhaps wasn't even TG. All Dad's abuse, all Dad's shoving toward hunting, sports, etc. probably made him revile boyhood and perhaps even turned physical pain into masochistic pleasure -- the ecstasy of the agony. The revolting success of being credited for bagging a deer shoved him over the edge.

With a friendlier childhood, where he might be nudged in a friendly way towards sports and the fun therein, he might have had no troubles being a boy.

"`DAMN IT WOMAN, CALL 911! NOW!' Kurt bellowed" -- his routine shouting could have caused a delay, with Laura not really getting the content or import.

-- Daphne Xu