In the spring Mary decided she wanted to make things difficult. The first thing she did was to stop having dinner with us. She was very moody whenever picking up Nicole. As soon as she arrived, Mary gave Nicole orders to get her stuff together so they could leave. It took me a while, but I figured out what Mary's problem was.
One evening in April, when Mary came over to pick up Nicole, she snapped out as she put Nicole in the car. There was evil written all over her face as she threatened to have me killed. I was at my kindest as I was every spring, summer, and fall around certain times. I looked at her, and in a calm and rational voice asked, "What is the problem?"
"You," she said in hysterics, "you are the problem."
"I don't understand. Why are you acting so evil and threatening my life?"
Mary was still in hysterics and practically crying. She answered, "What is it you two do every week? She hates you. She always cries on the way home and," she clenched her teeth together, "I am sick of it!"
"That's nonsense," I told her, "Nicole and I always have a great time together. There is nothing but love between us."
"I don't care, Louis," she said in the same manner as her last gripe, "she is always crying."
Nicole was in her car seat. I walked over and stuck my head in to talk to her. "Nicole, honey," I said, "is that true? Do you cry every time you leave here?"
She looked up at me with a sad face, "Yes."
Nicole started to cry, "Because I miss you."
I felt so bad for her. I wiped the tears from her eyes and held her hands, "Oh, honey, there is no need to cry. I'm always here for you. If you miss me and want to talk to me just ask mommy to call me for you. Ok?"
Her crying turned into gasps for air. "Okay," she said and started to calm down. I gave her a hug and a kiss and stood up to talk to Mary.
"Mary, she is only crying because she misses me."
"I don't care, Louis. She cries because she hates you and," again with the clenched teeth, "I can't stand it!" She got into the car and started the engine.
I could see where the problem laid. "What is the problem with you," I asked. "You are acting so evil. Nicole gets a lot of love from me and my friends. You should be happy about that, not jealous. I can't believe you're jealous. We are no threat to you."
"I don't care. I'm going home now, Louis. Good-bye." She slammed her door and drove off. I could see Nicole crying as we waved good-bye to each other.
My mother would always tell me, after she visited with Nicole, how much Nicole would talk about me. "You should hear Nicole talk about you," mom would say to me. "She says, I love my daddy, and my daddy brings me here, and my daddy brings me there, and I love my daddy very much." I was told she never stopped talking about me. Well, it did not take a genius to figure out what the mental problems were that Mary had.
If Nicole was telling my mother those things she was obviously telling her mother them as well. Nicole was now three years old and looked very much like me. In fact, she was the spitting image of her father and had the same mannerisms as well. Mary's mental capacity could not bare looking at her and seeing the face of the person who tossed her out thus creating a hatred for. Mix that with having to hear Nicole praise me and it was bringing her to the point of a mental breakdown. But there was also one more factor involved that I was yet to find out.
Back in February I had kicked out my roommate. (It is a long story that I would rather not get into.) I now found myself living alone in a 1200 square foot villa, paying all the bills, and getting nervous about living alone. I was positive the casino had bugged my home and tapped my phone. From the way I was being treated at work, I had a feeling that it was only a matter of time before Trump put a contract on my life. I felt alone and secluded. The bills were too much and finding the right kind of roommate would take a long time.
I decided to look for a new place with students who held the same philosophy as I did. I learned that Chris, the rhythm guitarist for Zeke's Choice, the band Kenny Q. also played for, was looking for roommates. He lived in a beautiful four-year-old house with three bedrooms, a full basement, and a large yard. Rent was one third of $900 a month and the band rented the basement to use for practice, so the bills would not be much. I took a look at it and decided to move in.
The band was named after Zeke, a beautiful mixed Irish Setter and Golden Retriever, who lived with Chris. I told Nicole that I was moving because I could no longer afford to live where I did and mentioned the dogs I would be living with. (There was also a puppy Chris had just acquired named Wolfgang.) Nicole wanted to see the dogs and the new place where I would be living, so on the same day of that last encounter between me and Mary described above, I took her over. She loved the dogs and my new roommate. She couldn't wait to start visiting me there.
Nicole knew I did the lights for the band. She also knew that each year the school held an Earth Day festival for the entire week. I told her about the one they had last year and mentioned it was great fun and if she wanted to go I would take her. She expressed an interest, so for months we had this planned. She also wanted to see the bands I enjoyed so much. I told her Chris' band was going to play on Earth Day and that I would take her there on that particular day. She was happy, as was I.
I told Mary that I was planning to take Nicole to the school for Earth Day that week and wanted to have her on Wednesday rather than Friday. She asked if I had school that day and I said no. Actually, that was a fib. I had one class from a little before eleven to a little after noon. I knew Mary would never allow Nicole to go if she was going to have to be watched by someone for an hour. Besides, it was none of Mary's business what the two of us did on our own time, just like it was none of my business what they did on theirs. Mary agreed and Nicole came over that Wednesday.
It was raining on April 24, 1991, so the festivities were held indoors. I picked up Nicole at D'Amato's parking lot and we went back to my place for breakfast (she loved the way I made scrambled eggies). Shortly after ten o'clock a very dear and trusted friend named Anne showed up and the three of us went to the school.
Nicole was shocked. There were booths up and down the hall, little kids her size, and a lot of people who knew me and showed Nicole much attention after finding out she was my daughter. She could not grasp all the attention she was receiving. She was wearing a shirt with her name printed on it and everyone would come up to her and say, "Hi Nicole." She must have thought she was the queen of the party.
I introduced her to my friend Venessa who had a booth where she and her partner were selling clothing and art stuff. Venessa was also giving hair wraps. Nicole saw her giving one to another girl and asked what it was. Venessa told her and asked her if she would like one as well. Nicole nodded her head. When Veneessa was through she let Nicole pick out the color string she wanted used in her hair. It was so cute watching her pick the colors while telling everybody what they were. Nicole knew I had to go to a class for a while. I waited for them to get started, gave her a kiss, and left for class.
I stayed about an hour in class and then cut out a little early to see Nicole. When I got there she was almost finished having her hair wrapped. People were passing by watching Nicole have that done and stood in line to be next.
Venessa told me what a good girl Nicole was the entire time. I thought it was funny because I had never seen Nicole sit still for any long period of time. Even when I brought her and her cousin to the circus she wanted to leave after a short while. The hair wrap took an hour to do, but Venessa gave it on the house.
Nicole wanted to see my classroom and I promised to introduce her to my professors. I took her to Laurie Greene's class--the class I had just come from. It was the end of the class, so Laurie would be able to say hi to her. We went up as the class was leaving and Nicole thought it was the neatest thing. And, like always, everyone there loved her.
The band could not play in the hall, but Chris and the other guitarist played acoustic while Kenny played the congas. We sat and listened and danced a little. People were coming up to us and telling Nicole how beautiful the hair wrap was and how nice she looked. Nicole just ate it up.
We walked around and looked at the other booths. She could now identify the Earth in a picture and knew what it was. I got her a small change sash she wanted and we saw some birds the National Audubon Society brought with them. Nicole got to pet them and liked that. We often went to the Brigantine Wildlife Refuge to see the birds. I was teaching her how to respect life and enjoy nature. After the sky cleared we played a little Frisbee outside and then left to go wait for her mother.
The moment Mary showed up she started bitching about how she was going to call the police on me because when she called the house we were not there. It didn't matter that 4 out of 5 of my calls placed to her house ended up with no answer.
When she saw the hair wrap she went off. The only reason she did not like it was because she knew it would remind Nicole of me. The moment Mary got back to her house she had her sister cut it out. They told Nicole that she would not be able to sleep with it in her hair, but I knew what those two were up to.
Mary was starting to give me a hard time earlier that month, so I began to tape our telephone conversations for Nicole to listen to when she got older. I got the idea from my mother. She told me she had kept a taped message Mary left on her machine one night when I was in the hospital. I never heard it myself, but mom said Mary was very nasty and evil sounding when she said something to the effect that she didn't want my family ever bothering her and Nicole again. My mother said every time Mary starts to kiss her ass and my mother starts to feel kindness towards her, she plays this tape to remind her of what an evil bitch Mary Ingemar really is.
That night I talked to Mary and Nicole. Nicole told me her Aunt Karen cut out the hair wrap because she would not be able to sleep with it. I talked with Mary and her sister and they both told me that Nicole told them she had a bad day. When I asked Nicole, she said that was not true. Mary got back on the phone with me and said if I ever wanted to see my daughter again it could only be at her house and that was it. She also said if it was up to her she would never let Nicole see me again.
Not being allowed to see Nicole anymore started to depress me. There was no way I was going to visit her at Mary's house with her father living only two blocks away. Mary always told me, when Karen was having trouble with Phil Maycott, if her or her sister ever wanted someone killed all they had to do was ask their father, Ray Ingemar. I even saw him try to kill Chris Balls on Christmas. With that in mind, I decided her house was out. I started to neglect my schoolwork and copped a bad attitude at work.