Chapter 10, Nina's Art: Plate 7 - Fact and Fiction

People are talking all over. Nobody can believe the news.

I do because my little story has a lot in common with the tragedies of the day - obsession, misplaced love, the lurking specter of drugs. We both even end up in court. On the same day, if you can believe it! Of course there are differences.

For one, the news is real. I'm just a cartoon. Another is that I can tell you the truth. That's me with the cheese burger and that's my famous Westside, Democrat, Feminist lawyer pinching some of my fries as we discuss my case at Barney's.

It's some case. A Single, non-relative male, suing for custody of somebody else's child. Basically I'm trying to get custody of Mat from his Mom, Rachael. Counsel says it's a slim bet. May have to go all the way to the California Supreme Court.

Everyone suspects my motives. Before she would even take the case, my lawyer insisted on a battery of psychological tests to make sure I wasn't some kind of chicken hawk or worse. It's okay. I just want to be Mat's dad and I don't want to have to marry his crazy Mom to do it.

The funny thing is that I'm not really fighting Rachael, She's out of it, lost on the rock. She doesn't know what's going on. In fact, she doesn't even show up most of the time. I'm fighting the system. Ain't that always the case?

The State seems to think Mat would be better off in a foster home or some other institutionalized nightmare than with me. I've become a minor cause, as if it were the paternal instincts of males on trial or some assault on the myth of Motherhood.

Well, let 'em rally.

All I know is that I came down to Los Angeles from Berkeley drained and empty. The idea that I might want a child was the furthest thing from my mind.

Now look at me, all tied up in affidavits and depositions and happier than I can ever remember.

Why is it that I never seem to know what's really good for me? It took Nina's Art to turn me on to the truth – Nina's Art –Nina makes Art with people and I am her latest masterpiece. That's probably the real difference between me and the headlines. I have Nina's Art, her magical, musical chairs of family and friends which placed a little five-year old named Matthew in my life.

Matthew, a little punk who started by stealing my best pen and ended up stealing my heart, has given me the best truth, that best purpose in life, not get love but to give it.

When I was downtown filing my case, I saw the media circus goin' on at the other end of the corridor. I start thinkin' to myself about friends, values, demons, drugs and how you'd work all that into a trial.

What's the truth? Who's really guilty? Maybe I can't tell you the truth after all. Maybe I can only tell you my truth. I don't know. I'll let my lawyer handle it.

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