"Chick Magnet" in The Town of Llareggub

  • Sept. 25, 2015, 6:23 a.m.
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I saw Owen today, Sullivan’s boyfriend. He came over to the apartment and talked for a few hours. He ate a large cheesesteak sub from a carryout place down the street, the whole thing, which was miraculous, since he hasn’t been eating lately. He hasn’t been able to, he was telling us, because he’s been too upset. He’s been in emotional agony, and until a couple of days ago, in a lot of physical pain as well. He had a fractured rib and several other injuries…from Sullivan.

A little bit over two weeks ago, Owen and Sullivan were drinking moonshine after a funeral for one of their favorite priests, the monsignor who confirmed Sullivan and gave him his first holy communion early this summer. They were both sad. Sullivan saw that Owen was drinking faster than him, and felt this compulsion to catch up to him. Sullivan, with most of his daily motions, tries to keep up the same pace and movement synchronicity with Owen. He feels some obsessive need to eat in synchronicity, drink in synchronicity, walk, shower, sleep and wake, etc. For a while, when Owen had to work the night shift at the hospital, Sullivan insisted on going in with him, staying the whole night waiting for him in the doctor’s lounge, and acted like there was just no way he could leave the hospital for anything whatsoever, while Owen was on his shift. Eventually, one of the women who worked there got tired of dealing with Sullivan every time she went in the lounge, and complained, and Sullivan was asked to stop coming to work with Owen. But anyway…

Owen was drinking faster than Sullivan, and this alarmed Sullivan, and he gulped down his glass of moonshine as fast as he could to catch up. This action from Sullivan alarmed Owen, who really hates that compulsion Sullivan feels to do everything in synchronicity, and knows that Sullivan can’t drink a lot of liquor without going completely nuts in some way or other. Owen warned Sullivan that he should take it easy on the moonshine, and reminded him that he didn’t have to do everything at the same pace as him. Sullivan gulped down his drink and poured himself another, still trying to catch up to Owen. Owen told him he needed to eat something if he was going to drink like that, and put something frozen in the microwave for Sullivan. He needed to make a call to his father, so he called him and went into the other room to talk. Sullivan started making as much noise as he could, as he gets very jealous when Owen talks to anyone on the phone, even his family. He started banging on things, and then screaming really loud. When this didn’t compel Owen to get off the phone with his dad, Sullivan went into the room Owen was in and began screaming into his ear. Owen got off the phone momentarily and told Sullivan he needed to stop doing that. He asked him if he’d eaten and Sullivan said no. He took him to the microwave, took the food out, and handed it to Sullivan, and Sullivan took a bite and guzzled down some more moonshine from his glass. Owen went back to talk to his father, and he heard things being thrown across their living room, where Sullivan was. This did compel him to get off the phone with his dad for the night, and he marched over and discovered his favorite bowl, a bunch of decorative pine cones, pillows, jarred candles, and some other stuff sprawled across the floor.

Sullivan began yelling insults at Owen, and Owen told him he wasn’t going to take that kind of treatment, and walked to their front door, intending to leave for a few hours to get away from Sullivan. Sullivan got up and blocked him, told him he couldn’t leave, and when Owen still insisted he was leaving, he jumped on top of Owen, knocked him to the ground, and started punching him. Owen tried to get him off of him, and eventually made it to another room and called one of Sullivan’s friends to try to calm him down. Sullivan took the phone, but didn’t seem to make any sense. Eventually, he hung up and started screaming at Owen again and physically attacking him. He grabbed Owen’s glasses from his face and crushed them with his hands and then stomped on them until they were in shards all over the floor. Owen ran to the door and made it out of the apartment into the hallway, but Sullivan caught up to him. He tackled him and punched him a few more times, while Owen screamed for help. No one came out of their apartments to help, however. Sullivan wrapped his hands around Owen’s neck and began to strangle him. He strangled him so hard that Owen really thought he was about to pass out. Somehow, he was able to push Sullivan off him for a minute, and ran back into the apartment to try to reach his phone to call the police. Sullivan tackled him again and told him if he called the police, he’d just tell them where Owen hid his weed, and told Owen he would lose his job and his medical license if he did that. Sullivan took his phone from him and threw it against the wall. Owen dashed out and reached Sullivan’s phone instead, and Sullivan grabbed it from him and dialed the police himself, to tell them about Owen’s weed.

When Sullivan reached the police, he began screaming unintelligibly, and they couldn’t understand him at all. Owen managed to grab the phone from him and told them he was the one being attacked and that he needed help, screamed out the address, and then Sullivan hung up the phone. Sullivan continued to physically restrain Owen, and Owen kept trying to get him off of him. Eventually, Owen was able to get out the door again into the hallway, and Sullivan caught up to him again and tried to restrain him. Owen was able to get away, though Sullivan pulled so hard on his shirt as he ran off that it ripped off in Sullivan’s hands. Owen dashed as quickly as he could, shirtless and shoeless, down eleven flights of stairs and into the lobby of their ornate historic building. As he ran across the lobby, two policemen entered the glass doors and he ran to them, and indeed they were sent there to answer the 911 call from his apartment. The police report noted that Owen was out of breath, appeared to be in a lot of pain, had red marks on many parts of his body, and scratches all around his neck.

They questioned Owen for a few minutes, and then went upstairs to question Sullivan. Sullivan was slumped over on the couch when the police reached him. They questioned him, but couldn’t understand anything he was attempting to say back. They saw that Sullivan didn’t have nearly as many injuries as Owen, and they arrested Sullivan. He went willingly, but he couldn’t seem to stand very easily. He seemed incredibly inebriated. He was put into the paddy wagon, and he made a joke that his ride in the paddy wagon better not turn out like Freddy Gray’s. Owen heard him say that too. I find it strange that he was able to speak coherently enough to be understood when he said that. At some point that night, either while Owen was on the phone or before things turned violent, Sullivan wrote a slurred and nasty facebook post saying that Owen, by his full name, was not a very good Catholic like he wanted everyone to believe.

He spent the night in jail, and overnight, the friend who had tried to calm him down over the phone near the beginning of the conflict, Andrea, whom I’ve written about previously, about a year ago I think, called and texted both me and William, and messaged us on facebook. I’m so slow to check both my phone and facebook, so I didn’t get the messages until the following afternoon. William had called Andrea back in the morning, and talked with Sullivan’s mother, and had gotten his morning case called early enough to get to central booking in time to represent Sullivan in his bail hearing. Sullivan’s mom agreed to pay him $500 to represent Sullivan in that, though William refused the offer to be hired for the case itself, since he knows both parties involved, and honestly, he told me, did not want to represent Sullivan in this because he’s furious with him.

Sullivan looked and smelled atrocious, William said, and wasn’t making much sense when responding to the commissioner’s questions. He was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a baby chicken and a magnet next to it– “Chick Magnet”. What he must have been wearing during his altercation with Owen. He was having trouble answering questions like, “How long have you been a resident of Baltimore city?” and “How old are you?” He told the judge at the beginning of the hearing that the people who worked in the jail had been very nice and told him the court was going to do everything it could to help him out. William gave him the “cut it out” neck slash gesture then and a few times after. When Sullivan had trouble answering properly, William cut in and informed the judge of the answers for him, which he luckily knew by heart. Sullivan was lucky that he was arrested in Baltimore city, because he was only charged with 2nd degree assault. Would have likely been much more in other jurisdictions. Violent crime is so high in Baltimore city that the police are very reluctant to charge anything higher than that for violent crimes, even if something is particularly brutal. There isn’t much room in the jails, or in the court dockets. There are positions in the prosecutors’ offices, even, whose sole job description is specifically to go through and reduce the defendants’ charges wherever they can. Sullivan’s bail was set at $5000. Of which his family had to put up 10%, of course. It took a while for Sullivan to be processed, so he didn’t end up getting out until the middle of the night. His mother took him home with her from there.

I messaged Owen back on facebook the afternoon after the incident, and told him he could call me anytime, and gave him my phone number. He called me a minute later, and told me all the gory details in a frenzied and traumatized tone. I’ve heard the same story from him several times since, and he’s told it to William the same way a few times too. He had to go after about an hour because Sullivan’s dad was at the door and had to collect Sullivan’s things. Sullivan has a bail restriction set upon him that he is not allowed to be near or communicate with Owen in any way until the trial date, which was to be in mid-October, and is now in early November. Owen informed me that Sullivan has gotten into that crazed and violent persona several times during their relationship, always when he is drunk. Though he also said that Sullivan does not get drunk very often. He said that a few weeks ago, Sullivan, when shitfaced, went into the fridge and threw out a large dish of food that Owen’s mom had made for him earlier that day, because he was jealous. When Owen rushed over and tried to stop him, Sullivan punched him in the face.

In these two weeks that have followed, Sullivan has maintained that he thinks it was a fight between himself and Owen and that he thinks they are both equally responsible for what happened. He has maintained that he believes Owen was “enabling him”, as he keeps saying, by “encouraging” him to drink. He claims that on that evening, Owen was pouring him drink after drink and telling him that he’d feel much better if he drank more moonshine, and that Owen’s actions are to blame for what happened to both of them. We told Owen this evening what Sullivan has been saying. William showed him the texts saying exactly those things. Owen was shocked and outraged and said again that he never encouraged him to drink that night. He maintains that he was telling Sullivan to slow down and trying to get him to eat something. I believe Owen, because I know how Sullivan lies and manipulates constantly. I don’t think Sullivan understands the severity of what he did that night. I don’t think he’s allowed himself to take any personal responsibility for it, though he does talk often about how much he misses Owen. I’m unsure if Sullivan is even able to feel empathy for another person. I think another issue is that he has absolutely no respect for Owen. Though he may love him, and I do mean may, he doesn’t seem to care about Owen’s feelings at all, or his personal needs, like maintaining a normal healthy relationship with his parents. Heaven knows Sullivan spends a lot of time with both of his parents, but he doesn’t understand or respect Owen’s need or desire for that.

I don’t know how he found out we had tentative plans to hang out with Owen tonight, but two days ago he texted me and asked that if his bail restriction was lifted, if it would be okay if he came along to hang out with me and William and Owen. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just asked when his bail restriction was supposed to be lifted. He said he wasn’t sure. William said that these things aren’t usually lifted until the trial date, at earliest. He went on and on and on about us hanging out with Owen, saying in a bitter tone that he was happy about it, and also that we all needed to pray for his bail restriction to be taken away. It seemed kind of crazy. We told Owen tonight, and he looked worried, and said it would be too soon for him to see Sullivan. I didn’t check, but I kind of wondered if Sullivan wasn’t in his mother’s car parked with the lights off at one of the parking lots diagonal to ours, staring at our apartment entrance way all evening. Well, hopefully he wasn’t.

In case anyone’s wondering, at this point in time, and since about a day or two after the incident, Owen fully intends to take Sullivan back as soon as the trial is over. To live with him and everything. He’s agreed to not have alcohol in his apartment anymore.

I think, since the incident in question, I’ve been feeling kind of antisocial, kind of sad, a little bit stressed out. Though I really wish this wasn’t affecting me at all…

Last updated September 25, 2015

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