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May 13, 2024

Patterns in Blood 32

By Lydia Manx

Seal Beach
Coastal Los Angeles County
The Present

So I looked at the men and asked, "Is all this making sense?"

I felt like I was just babbling gossip and guesses for them about Randolph and the rest of the Hagens. One of those weird places in my mind from where I kept pulling up more and more tales about them I hadn't even realized that were still stuck in my brain. Here I'd been living for years and I thought that I'd been leaving my past behind and all it took was some fear, a little stalking and suddenly there were a wealth of facts and stories spilling out of my mouth.

Paul nodded while Michael said, "Yeah, Alanna, they're all pretty damned screwed up in the family dynamics part of their lives." That was definitely an understatement.

Nodding I agreed saying, "Yes, they weren't what I'd call overly healthy, but it wasn't like I had much to compare them to given my own family." Or lack of, I mentally added.

"Go ahead, tell us what else you remember," Paul said. I saw that he'd begun to key things into his laptop. His laptop computer was one of the few items he'd run home for while we were getting ready to camp out in the house in Seal Beach. I hadn't anything from my home except my cell phone, purse and my head full of stories. The clothes I had on were all new and I'd tossed what I had what I'd originally been wearing since they had been filthy and somehow reminded me that I'd been spied on by someone unseen. Like new clothing was going to change that? I hushed the active voice in my brain that kept pushing me to think things that weren't positive.

I'd left off talking about Marge. I wasn't crazy about Marge before I'd seen her screwing Randolph. Knowing she'd been having an affair with my husband both before, during and after my marriage did nothing to further endear her to me. So I was trying to give Michael and Paul an even accounting of the family without coloring the descriptions with my anger or bitterness. That was far harder than I had figured it would be even after all these years.

Precisely I continued to tell them about the family. I'd heard so many stories from Randolph; I tried to figure the ones with the best possibility of being truthful. Marge didn't talk about her stint in private school, but I gathered from everything said that she was wild. Randa had thought by putting her in an all-girls school she would keep her contained. It didn't work, according to Randolph. He was allowed to stay out late since he was older than Marge. She was forever getting home hours after her curfew time. Marge would be 'grounded' but this didn't stop her. She would act contrite and then do whatever the hell she wanted to do.

Randolph told me that Marge had always skipped out of the punishments and generally ignored any of Randa's attempts to discipline her. From age sixteen on she was nearly uncontrollable, between her truancy reports, the malicious mischief claims and later her many DUI's. Driving Under the Influence charges covered more than just drinking and driving. She also would pretty much take any and all pills offered her, and that wasn't a good thing. Everybody pretty much told me that Marge barely scraped through high school. Money definitely crossed palms at that school to keep her as a student past her sophomore year. Most her friends, from what I had heard were local and the few that I'd met over the years were extremely wild.

My favorite in Randolph's family naturally was Randa. Randa Hagen was Randolph II's sister and a delightfully sweet human. She would have been about forty-nine years old if she were alive today. According to Randolph, my ex-husband, when Randa was sixteen she was pregnant with Marge. Randolph never said anything positive to me about his aunt/foster mother. He was extremely upset about her being an unwed mother. Very early in his life he felt she was less than effective as a person because of the high school pregnancy. Randolph thought that Randa's pregnancy proved she had no control over herself so he in turn allowed her no control of his world. Even though he'd lived with her during all those years he had little, if any, respect for her. All the stories he told showed Randa in a very poor light. She came off as gullible nearly to the point of feeblemindedness.

The one tale that stuck in my mind all of these years later involved Randolph and Marge when they were in their teens. Randa had asked Randolph to take Marge with him to the beach since Randa had some errands to run and she didn't trust her daughter alone at home. That alone told me tons about the dynamics of their relationship. It seems that Rachel was off somewhere and Marge was actually staying with her mom for a change. I gathered this wasn't the usual arrangement. It was like Rachel and Randa switched offspring, and were perfectly happy screwing up the other's child. Naturally Randolph claimed he was reluctant to take Marge with him. The reason he gave me was because she'd begun to actively flirt with any nearby male and cause friction whenever she went anywhere with him. Even so, Randa insisted that the sea air would do Marge some good since she'd been so ill. I didn't know that Marge had been ill, and Randolph confided to me Marge had really been hung over, yet Randa was completely oblivious to the symptoms. So Randolph and Marge drove down to a trendy spot along the Malibu shore.

Once at the beach, Randolph went surfing at Marge's bidding. Some of his school friends were surfing there and a few of them were catching waves and Randolph hated not competing so he was happy to jump in and show off. Marge assured him she'd be fine and sent him off to catch some waves. So for most of the day Randolph had little idea what Marge was up to on the sand while he enjoyed the good waves. I must interject at this point this was one tale where I thought Randolph was telling me the truth. My lawyer, Mr. Clark, found some other people who told Marge tales very similar to the one Randolph told me.

Marge had started to tease some 'lunk headed tourist' from the middle of nowhere to a nearly uncontrollable sexual frenzy. She was into toying with boys from a very early age. That certainly didn't surprise me much, given what I had seen. I'd seen her overtly flirt first hand when Randolph was off playing craps in Las Vegas and she was with some of her wild friends. Her aggressive nature was obvious to me when more than once I watched her rubbing her hand over a waiter's body while he simply was delivering a drink. She seemed to delight in getting any sort of a response.

Randolph finished surfing with his 'buddies' and had approached their laid out towels as the stupid young man was attempting to wrestle Marge further out of her scanty bathing suit. Randolph jumped in and fought with the tourist, blackening both of his eyes and jarring loose a few teeth in the one-sided brawl. Hell, it was more like a frenzied beating if the truth were told. It happened so quickly the kid barely had a chance to yell out. A lifeguard arrived when Randolph had decided to start kicking the boy all the way home to Tulsa or wherever. The young man naturally insisted he wanted to press charges. This was one occasion where Randolph had been unable to dissuade the lifeguard into forgetting the entire incident. The boy claimed he was related to a big well-known local movie producer and the lifeguard naturally had aspirations towards a movie career. Then the real cops showed up and weren't so ready to play with the baby producer-to-be. Randolph's air of superiority and self-entitlement went far and immediately impressed the police.

It was then Randolph cashed in his final chip by claiming the boy had molested Marge. As Marge was only fifteen at the time, and it soon was revealed that the boy was a tad over nineteen, nothing good was going to come of the 'he said she said' accusations. Thus, it would was going to be a charge of statutory rape that Marge would file against the youth -- in the normal world had any of that been true -- and the world was topsy-turvy that day for sure. None of it really mattered since Randolph added to the drama by saying that he saw it all but was unable to reach the shore before the attack. Then he explained that his uncontrollable rage at watching the perpetrator rape his cousin forced his regrettable fury and flying fists. All of the report taking and swearing out complaints on each other took them hours beyond Marge's curfew. In the end, Randolph had the police charging the boy with sexual misconduct and rape. Randolph remained free of any charges while the young man was dragged off to jail.

Once Marge and Randolph got home, they told Randa that Marge had been raped and they needed to retain the family lawyers on her behalf. No medical treatment was sought because everyone just protected Marge. Randa didn't question either of them, but put a call through to the attorneys on Randolph's say so. That began a long drawn out legal entanglement that Randolph personally orchestrated. Randa never queried the report, as far as I know, she got from the lawyers stating that nothing in any of Randolph's story checked out as true. Yet, even with the other witnesses opposing stories, the litigation continued. By the end of it, the young man served a year in jail and his relatives paid out almost a half a million dollars to Marge in a settlement award in the civil case they pressed. It turned out baby producer's son wasn't lying and his dad really was a Hollywood player.

Naturally Randa was shown, yet again, to be a gullible fool by Randolph's recounting of the story. He laughed over Marge's settlement and did tell me that he was pretty sure that Marge was lying. He hadn't seen anything when surfing. He knew that she'd caused no end of trouble for that poor kid all due to her overactive hormones and a heavy layer of spite. He snickered at his support of the claim, since the lawyers also worked their magic and got him a settlement for the 'horror of witnessing the rape'.

In my opinion, Randa knew exactly what had transpired but could see no way to change their path. Since she gave me all the clippings I knew she had some idea things weren't always what they appeared to be. She never told me who Marge's father was but I did ask Randolph. He said it could have been anyone since Randa was sexually active so young. I didn't see her that way at all. In the years I knew Randa she came across as very sensitive and soft. The portrait Randolph painted would've made her more coarse and harsh. She didn't bring anyone home for the family to meet and greet in the entire time that I'd known her. I have to add that at her gravesite there were no indications of anyone else having visited.

Before I fled, I did go back to see her headstone. It had been a clear day and the flowers I'd had delivered were long gone. I saw nothing that made me think of the woman, Randa, I'd known. All I saw was crypts, headstones and emptiness. I don't think anyone had been back since I'd last been there. I figured that Randa was long forgotten by the Hagens. I lived in hope that once I was gone they would forget me as quickly as Randa, but it seemed like I was definitely wrong. I looked at the two men and knew they were my only hope to get out of this mess.

"Okay, I have to tell you right up front that what I know about Wilson Drake Hagen is all only from family stories." Shaking my head I wondered at the Hagen family and their horrible secrets. None of this felt cathartic but more like I was trying to plug some holes in a sieve underneath a waterfall. I was getting more than I'd bargained for that was for sure.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2008-06-30
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