This blog is out of sequence.

1.
I want to write about The Little Dog.  Perhaps that’s all I’ll write about today.

Anyone who met me this past decade… will have met The Little Dog.  A slim, muscular, tan and white Jack Russell/chihuahua mix formerly known as Ziggy.  You’ll remember how he is: inquisitive and grumpy in equal measure.  You’ll remember the heart-shaped patch above his tail.

I found him on an unseasonably hot Californian Sunday morning at the Palisades farmer’s market after my 7.30am AA stag meeting.  He was forlornly caged with a collection of yappy dogs and puppies, all up for adoption.  He wanted to bite me the moment I met him and I could tell by the look in his eye that he trusted no one.  He was my kind of dog.   I was warned not to take him, he had been adopted twice before and ended up being returned to the shelter.  I took him anyway and we battled each other for the next two weeks until he realized he had run out of options.  He put up quite a fight.  He ran away and hid under the house for three days, he pooed on the carpet, he peed over everything.  He stared at me growling for hours then without warning, when he felt like it he would jump up beside me, his whole body pressed against mine, quivering with anticipation… but he still wouldn’t let me touch him.

The Little Dog is 12 years old.  Perhaps he isn’t Jack Russell old (they can live until they are 19) but he’s maybe older than I was told when I got him.   He has travelled all over the world.  Travelled to London with Jake on that ill feted trip, driven the French Riviera.  He has run off leash in Battersea Park, Central Park and the Jardins des Tuileries.  I was not the best or most responsible owner, I let him off whenever I could, wherever I could.   He has wandered in awe around the redwoods in Northern California, he has swum in the sea in Provincetown and the Mattole River.  He rolled around snowy Whitstable beaches.  He chased coyote with The Big Dog in Malibu, he dug holes in the sand on their private Malibu beaches and slumped into them… he enjoyed the love, lifestyle and freedom most dogs could only dream about.

There were times he paid for his independence: he was bitten by a clever coyote late one night as he was peeing in Malibu.  That night I broke my ankle trying to defend him and Robby had to call the vet and the hospital and generally do what he did best.   There was the time I left him with Jennifer and he went exploring.  The Little Dog limped home with a paw as big as my fist because a rattle snake bit him.  I rushed back to the Malibu vet from Long Beach in my F150 and there he was in his cage looking very sorry for himself.  But after everything… he survived another day.

As I sat in the LA county jail this Little Dog’s safety was the only thing I really worried or cared about.  Jason looked after him as I languished down town and given the opportunity I whistled down the phone so The Little Dog might hear I was not dead or gone or had deliberately abandoned him.  When I returned after 3 months he looked at me askance.  I could see him thinking, ‘I moved on from you.  I thought you were dead’.

Last week The Little Dog began to show all the signs of facial nerve paresis.  FNP is a dysfunction of the seventh cranial nerve, the facial nerve. This condition is evidenced by paralysis or weakness of the muscles of the ears, eyelids, lips, and nostrils.  The cause of this disease is impairment of the facial nerve, or of the place where the nerves come together, and it affects the electrical impulses of the nerves involved. Sometimes the ophthalmic system is affected as well, interfering with the function of the tear glands.   Most often these symptoms are evidence of brain cancer.

His droopy face, like he had a stroke, his wobbling gait.  It was very distressing.  I spoke to every American vet I knew had treated him and they prepared me for the worst.  The long weekend in France meant I couldn’t get to a vet until last Tuesday which turned into Wednesday.  Each day his symptoms got worse.  He sneezed  and fell over.  He cocked his leg and fell over.  He drools and his left eye looks dead.  He was lethargic and miserable.

Finally, I took him to the veterinary hospital near Annecy and a wonderful vet called Dr. Gay.  She scanned his brian and found no cancer.   No infection.  Nothing.  They suggested a head trauma he sustained in Toronto at the nail clippers might be the reason for his condition.  Or… a violent pull on the leash.  They told me it would take three months or so for him to get better, or maybe he would never look like he used to.  They told me to massage his face, irrigate his eye, and clean food remnants from his gums.

My friend Donna very kindly took care of the vet bills.  It’s amazing just how kind people can be when there is a sick animal who needs immediate assistance.

The Little Dog no longer jumps up onto the bed and waits to be lifted, he is uncharacteristically fearful, he defers to Dude acknowledging his frailty.  The change in his personality is most disturbing.  I didn’t mind his change of physical circumstance but I really miss his exuberance, his tenacity… I miss my little dog.  Even though he lays peacefully beside me.

2.

Homeland Security visiting my house in Tivoli was the final straw.  They demanded my papers.  They didn’t have a warrant so I didn’t let them in.  I knew when they returned they would have what they needed to take me away.  It was time to leave the USA.  I had months ago transferred my property into a LLC, I signed a power of attorney.  I packed a bag, I organized the dogs with their appropriate travelling papers and I called my sister in Toronto.  Many rallied, they knew it was a dire situation.  I had lived on the outside of American society for a long time and the pressure was getting to me.

We heard they were picking up illegals on the subway.  They were racially profiling.  They were demanding papers.  I didn’t know if it was fake news or not.  I didn’t want to find out.  I took an Uber.

The Trump presidency unleashed a wave of domestic fear and terror.  Those who feel it most keenly: Americans who voted Clinton, black Americans and specifically aliens living in the USA illegally.  However, it needs stating: Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, are used to unleashing terror on others all over the globe, naively unaware they were just as vulnerable at home.  How many military coups has the U.S. directly aided… in direct contravention to U.S. law, if not orchestrated?   Under freedom-loving Obama, there were at least three — in Honduras, Egypt and The Maldives, all against elected governments.

The media screams impeach, the Democrats run from pillar to post like a plague of mice looking for safety.  One day FBI Comey is their enemy and the very next day… their best friend.   The most absurd argument, the most convoluted Democratic explanation for Hillary’s spectacular loss?  Hillary won the popular vote but the Russians lost her the election.  At no time do the these self-righteous Democrats ever take time to understand their part in this devastating turn of events.  Trump is the most american of americans, he is greedy, vindictive and narcissistic, he is the very essence of almost every american… perfectly distilled, taking his rightful place as their president.  And why will there be no impeachment?  Because that would require congress be interested in the rule of law.

As President Trump becomes more isolated and embattled, so he will become more extreme.  His friends will be the worst of them, those already isolated by public opinion and the liberal elite.  No one wants to work with this president, his staff and sphere of influence shrinks daily.  He is often described as a south american despot.  Yet, if he were deposed, impeached or crudely removed from office there will be unimaginable violence unleashed upon the USA, a civil war one hundred years in the brewing.   The liberal elite think if this happens their safety will be assured, but those to whome they entrust their safety are the very men and women who put Trump in power and watch with continuing glee as he strangles the establishment.

From the foothills of the French alps I look back at my time in the USA asking myself: why did I stay so long?  Holding onto a dream that things could be different… if only I held on a little tighter.

I knew if I left the USA I would be banned for a decade.  The U visa I had been promised when I sued LA County had not materialized.  Dark forces needed to be addressed.  I know how Americans exploit the weak.  An ‘opportunity’ in the USA is merely code for a vulnerability.  As millions became vulnerable after the 2008 crash so the rich luxuriated in taking whatever they wanted at bargain basement prices.

Unwilling to be subject to removal proceedings and the prospect of rotting in a private jail reserved for illegals I began my retreat.  I stayed for a week on a beautiful farm overlooking the Catskills.  Well equipped, comfortable but excruciatingly lonely.  I visited my Tivoli house a few times but only to pack a bag and oversee a renovation I knew I would never enjoy.

People said, your opinions on that blog will get you into trouble.

As I left the USA I felt a huge weight lift off of me.  Anyone who escaped tyranny and oppression will relate to this.  Americans don’t care who leaves the country, they only care who comes in.  The Niagara Falls border has a concrete conduit along which one leaves.  As we exited that fascist gutter I began to quake.  I could feel freedom opening up before me.  An unexplained joy… a joy I hadn’t felt even as I left the LA County Jail.

I came to understand the day I left LA County I merely exchanged one jail… for another.

I’ll write more these coming days about my flight, the day the police raided my house and the long-term implications.

3.

3 weeks ago Mary and I walked the dogs through the ancient royal hunting grounds that wraps around Paris, near Sevres.   The view over the city: just as I wanted it to be.   The Little Dog was curious and nimble, Dude’s back legs gave him problems but he keeps up valiantly.  Mary knows every house in Sevres, the history and occupant of each.  At the end of her street there is a huge verdigris statue of Leon Gambetta.   He died here.  He had one eye, like my father.

My father.  My father was the focus of so much last week and the week before that.

I arrived in Paris early Sunday morning from Toronto where I had been staying with my sister, Natalie.  We met for the first time last week.  How many different feelings one has when one meets ones long-lost siblings.  I stayed at her house for 10 days.  She was kind and helpful.  I met her daughters and fell in love with my niece Kathleen, Natalie’s eldest who has a marvelous boyfriend with a superb art collection.

When we were on our own in my sister’s car we talked a lot about my father.  Her relationship with him.  How disappointing, violent and cruel he was.  Like his other wives, Natalie’s mother ran away from her abusive husband.  She secretly had passports made, she found money for flights to Canada and when she landed changed her identity and the identity of her children.  She abandoned a relationship with her own parents to save her kids from being abused by my father.   As teenagers she finally told them the truth about our dad.  Despite protests and dire warnings both Natalie and her brother Mickey wanted to meet him.

father and Natalie

They didn’t have to wait long, our cousin Keyvan always searching for family members chanced upon Mickey who had reverted to his birth name of Khazaei.

When Natalie and Mickey contacted my father he was overjoyed, Natalie had always been his favorite he said. Natalie and Mickey travelled to Europe to meet him.  Our father pretty much ignored Mickey and overwhelmed Natalie with gifts.  When they were on their own he asked Natalie to choose between her mother and him.  He offered her a luxurious life, endless travel and shopping… on the condition she never saw her mother again.

Natalie’s mother had bravely escaped the prison my father called a marriage.  Of course, Natalie said no… she wouldn’t make any such choice.  This infuriated my father.  They were staying in a hotel in the South of France.  He became violently rageful and smashed every piece of furniture in his hotel room.  He had the mother of all tantrums because his daughter said no.  Natalie told him she was leaving and never saw him again.  She confirmed what I had heard from others but it was still very difficult to hear.  Why is it so difficult?  Because I feel as if he is in me.  The dark soul.  The complication.  The anger.

As my father lay dying he wanted to punish his children for not dying.  Thankfully he was too weak to beat them.  Days from his death of pancreatic cancer my sister Rebecca refused to do his bidding, as she left the hospital room he tried to throw something at her but was too weak, she looked into his pathetic face and smiled.  He could no longer punish her when she dissented.

Enough.  It was hard to look at my sister eye to eye because of him.  I felt embarrassed by him.  Like I was him.  She is a strong and beautiful woman.  She had a wide smile and long black hair.  When we talked about him (our father) it was easy to ask a million questions but I often didn’t want to hear or acknowledge the answers.

My father’s story is part myth and part psychological horror.  Kuros Khazaei existed in a netherworld of violent gangsters and naive girls.  He opened clubs, coffee bars and shopping malls.  He sold fake antiques to Saudi princes… he wore beautiful clothes and drove expensive cars.  If he hadn’t been so utterly vile his story would be worth repeating.  If he hadn’t been Persian he would be as famous as the Kray twins.   At the end he could not lift his gold lighter to throw at his youngest daughter in a final act of violence against the children he claimed to love.