Sara Whitman

Manfriend, Mania and the Dead Puppy

Filed By Sara Whitman | July 08, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: animal abuse, bipolar mania, mentally ill, sick sister

I'm not sure where to begin... this is a story you won't believe. I will tell it as plainly as I can but still... you won't believe it. I wouldn't if I hadn't lived it.

Wednesday, the 17th, my sister called me in tears. She was again in tremendous pain and needed help. The next day, I flew down and met her at her primary care doctor's office.

We waited four hours for the doctor to come in and say nothing, that he did not have the results from the other doctor, and he really wanted to get going because he had a date with his wife that evening.

Um... Ok.

He then tossed out, after I, the lay person, had explained what the other doctor had told me, that she would have 18 months to 10 years to live.

Have a nice day.

Mind you, the other doctor had said it was very manageable and she could live the rest of her life with it.

The first spiral hit.

Now, I have led you to believe my sister was living alone. This is not true. She had a former boyfriend, good friend, never lovers, but very close man that lived in her house with her. For room, board, and cash every week, he lived there and cut the grass.

Yup. Cut the grass. Pretty sweet deal.

He couldn't take care of my sister in ways a normal roommate might- like go to the grocery store, cook a meal, anything other than the grass was out of the question.

He worked so hard, you know.

Manfriend, as I will call him, is from Georgia. In fact, my sister moved where she did because that's where Manfriend's family was. It's not Savannah, it's about thirty minutes west of Savannah- rural Georgia. He talks and talks and talks- all about himself- and really does little else.

Now, I grew up with Southern relatives, I grew up with hot humid nights, long drawls and co-cola's. I thought I understood the lifestyle.

I did not.

So picture me, sitting on the back porch, my sister inside, and Manfriend talking talking talking about himself when all I wanted to so was breath some fresh air and try to digest the news of the day.

I was raised to be polite. On day one, I was being stretched to my limit.

I was amazed this man never once asked anything about the doctor's visit or my sister's health, or... anything. Not even how my plane ride was. Zip. I have spent time with plenty of narcissistic people, but this guy really took the cake.

This pattern went on for several days. I would take care of my sister- cook, do laundry, make sure she ate, took her meds, and made arrangements to move my sister to Boston for treatment.

I thought the doctors were fine but not great. I wanted great for my sister and my sister wanted great, too.

Who wouldn't?

By Sunday, I could barely take one more minute of Manfriend. I was annoyed. I didn't want to hear anymore colorful stories about how he was really of Mensa intelligence, had killed ten people, was the meanest, biggest bad-ass biker dude that ever walked the face of the earth.

All stories intended to impress me, I'm sure, but since I clearly was not, he worked harder, and harder, and the stories grew more and more colorful.

I wanted to get my sister to Boston. We were waiting for a doctors appointment on Tuesday, to get all the records, set up insurance on Monday and then go. The only thing that was hard was my sister's two dogs and a cat. What to do with them? She did not trust Manfriend to actually take care of them.

Sunday morning, Manfriend got on his motorcycle and left. The whole day he was gone and we sat in glorious silence. I sat by the pool, read hundreds of piled up emails, my sister slept, organized papers to take... all was good.

I made my mother's potato salad, some grilled lemon chicken and a nice salad. The potato salad brought us back to a silly place of memories and laughter. We discussed the secret ingredient and wondered where our mother ever got the idea to put it in.

We were good. All good. Her pain was gone, she was sleeping better again. We were laughing.

That night, about 10PM, we were sitting watching a chef show on television. Up to the window comes Manfriend. He has something in his jacket and is grinning like a fool.

It's a puppy.

He's brought home a barely six week old lab mix puppy. My sister is gravely ill and he's brought home a puppy.

I look at him through the window and shake my head no. My sister starts to cry. We both go to bed without talking to Manfriend.

Next morning, I hear puppy in Manfriend's room playfully bark early. I go make coffee. My sister comes out and eventually, so does he. She says I need to talk to you in private.

It's been an hour since I've heard the puppy.

She tells him she cannot take this stress. He needs to stop with the crazed, nonstop talking- because at this point it is clearly manic- and he has to be supportive not destructive. He cannot have the puppy.

The puppy is dead, he says.

Where is it? My sister asks, horrified. If there is anything that is true about my sister and I both, we are animal people. Beyond animal people.

I killed it. You didn't want it. It's dead.

My sister starts to cry. He begins to berate her for having a "pea sized brain" and how he's done nothing but good things for her and she's too stupid to know it.

I can just leave if you want me to, he says.

Good. Go, my sister says.

And thus began the nightmare of a day with screaming, yelling, ranting, and this bizarre form of constant rhyming the Manfriend did when upset. I understood in that moment, he was actually mentally ill.

And probably dangerous.

I wanted to call the police. I am a suburban housewife. I have never dealt with a biker dude gone wacko who was carrying a gun. Did I mention the gun this former convicted felon was walking around with, proudly showing me it?

My sister said no, that would make it much worse.

She called his mother.

And she came right over.

Don't mess with Mama.

More later...


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Ok...as horrifying as that story is, on a number of levels that has to be the best kind of cliffhanger I've ever read.
Always go for the mother instead of the police. She's where the real power lies...
That's about all I can process given how dumbstruck I am by the puppy ordeal. I mean....god.

Tim Curran | July 8, 2009 9:57 PM

Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Textbook.

no question. I've known a couple in my life but none as dangerous as this.

Situation Normal:All F***ed Up SNAFU.
OMG I hope that your sister is ok and gets to see a real doctor soon. After you are all free and clear I hope that you report that nutball for the gun and for animal cruelty.

I was really admiring your sense of humor through all this until i heard the murder of a puppy and the manipulative berating of this "touched" individual. I immediately thought and still do that you have got to get the hell out of there as quick as possible. You know, perhaps when your sister is settled in laughing and reminiscing about your mothers potato salad and enjoying some serenity and love around her, she may feel healthier... Now thats a real cliffhanger! I hope you are able to get the affairs in order and go home.

first, did you ever see the movie Saving Private Ryan? Tom Hank's character is offered a rare beef sandwich after the beach?

we were both just completely in shock. To tell the truth, I'm still trying to shake it.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 9, 2009 1:29 AM

First rule, make sure you are safe. Second rule, Safer!

I'd comment on the doctor's manners, but this blog prohibits the use of profanity.

The only comment I can make on the manfriend is this: I've long felt that Americans should not reproduce unless they obtain a license to do so. I doubt his parents would have passed the IQ test.
It's a shame that Sherman's army missed his ancestors on their march to the sea.

I know how the story ends and let me tell you it gets worse. I'm glad you decided to share the story with us, Sara. I love the cliffhanger!