Bang the DrumI’m worried about Mike. I’ve been noticing he’s been having a lot of problems lately. I can see that he’s trying really hard, like on that diorama he made for history class. He put in so many hours setting up a recreation of the Battle of Duck Lake. He painted his old G.I. Joe action figures to look like the the North-West Mounted Police, and his Star Wars figures to look like the Metis Provisional Government soldiers. Han Solo as Louis Riel and Chewbacca as Gabriel Dumont! What an imagination on my boy! It was really inspired.
But he used watercolours and it was raining the day he took it in to school. All of his work was washed away. He said all the kids laughed at him and teased him about playing with dolls. He was in such a foul mood when I got home that night. He was kicking furniture and slamming doors. He told me, “everything I do and everything I try, it never works out!”
I said, “Mike, it’s just one thing. It’s just high school. You’ll get through it. But if it’s really bugging you, maybe you should talk about it. You’ll feel a lot better.”
Then he screamed at me, “Just leave me alone! I’ll figure it out!”
I hope he does. It really breaks my heart to see him torturing himself like this.
Glass Eye by DRAWN SHIP

I go down to Mike’s room to see if he wants to shoot some hoops in the park, like we used to do. I think maybe if we do some of the things we’d once enjoyed doing together, he might open up to me, let me know what’s going on. I knock on his door. He doesn’t answer. For once he doesn’t have that obnoxious thrash music blaring. There’s no sound at all. I knock again and say, “Hey, Mike!” Nothing. So I open the door.
He’s sitting on the edge of his bed staring at, I don’t know, the wallpaper, I guess. There’s a faint but obvious whiff of marijuana in the room. I say his name again. Nothing. So I shout, “Mike, Mike!”
He jumps up and says, “What, what’s the matter?”
I say, “What’s the matter with you? I’ve been knocking on your door and calling your name. It smells like dope in here. Are you smoking dope in the house?”
Then he says, “No, mom, I’m not on drugs. I’m ok, I’m just thinking, you know? Why don’t you get me a Pepsi?”
Kathryn Calder – Who Are You? by killbeat music

This has gone too far. We have to confront Mike about his behaviour and convince him to get some help. We go into his room. Mike’s just sitting there, blank and shut down. It’s like he’s only got two settings anymore: Off and Raging Anger. The room absolutely stinks of weed and, I don’t know, rotting cheeseburgers? Phil pulls up a chair and sits down. “Mike, we need to talk to you.”
Mike says, “Okay, what’s the matter?”
“Me and your mom,” Phil says, and it’s the most attention he’s paid me in weeks, “we’ve noticed that lately you’ve been having a lot of problems, and you’ve been going off for no reason, and we’re afraid you’re going to hurt somebody, and we’re afraid you’re going to hurt yourself. So we decided that it would be in your best interest–”
And then Mike just loses it.
“Wait, what are you talking about, we decided? My best interests? How do you know what my best interest is? How can you say what my best interest is? What are you trying to say? I’m crazy? When I went to your schools, I went to your churches, I went to your institutional learning facilities? So how can you say I’m crazy?”
Phil shrugs and looks at me, as if to say, “Well, I did my best. I’m outta here.” But no, I’ve had enough. I’m putting my foot down.
“Who am I to decide what your best interest is? I’m you’re goddamned mother, that’s who. I’m not going to apologize for being an engaged parent. That’s my job, and your job is to goddamned listen to me. You want to talk about the hypocrisy of the drug laws? Fine. Let’s talk about it. Let’s have an enlightened discussion on the societal harm caused by puritanical prohibition. But understand this: You are 16 years-old and it’s 2:30 in the afternoon on school day. There is no acceptable reason for you to be so stoned that you can’t even hear your mother call your name from three feet away. Get your act together, young man. I have made every effort to be here for you, but at some point, the responsibility is on you to at least take my hand when I reach it out to you. And get your own goddamned Pepsi.”

Emmet Matheson is a freelance writer who blogs at A Bulldozer With a Wrecking Ball Attached. You can e-mail him at: bulldozerDOTwreckingballATgmailDOTcom