The Last Confession: Chapter Five, “Who Am I ?”

My name is James Paul McCartney Esslinger, but my friends all call me “Mac,” and I am a husband of one wife, father to two children, and a prosecuting attorney for the county in which I live somewhere in these United State of America.

I am one of five children with an older brother who was the first born and a big sister who are each one of the only two natural children of our mixed race parents. Our Dad was an African American jazz saxophonist, J.J. “Big Daddy” Esslinger, who was bigger than Clarence Clemons and actually taught the “Big Man” to play the sax before Clemons met a skinny guitar player from New Jersey named Bruce Springsteen. Our mother was Ruthenian, that’s modern day Ukraine, and she was a drop dead gorgeous beauty who loved rock & roll and all rock musicians. Our Mom’s name was Judith Ann Sadorovitch before she married our Dad and changed her last name to Esslinger, not the biggest step up in last names. No one in our extensive paternal side of the family knew how an African American came by a surname of “Esslinger.” Some krout got a taste for brown sugar somewhere up the family tree was the best that we could all figure. But then again, the more famous Clemons clan hardly hail from Africa either, do they? My middle sister and I and our baby sister were all adopted. We were all the children of a drug addicted couple in New York City. Our mother named all her children after her favorite rock & rollers with the three of us adopted siblings given our rock and roll names upon our adoptions.

Our big brother was named Aaron Elvis Presley Esslinger. Our big sister was named Doris Day Esslinger. Hey, don’t laugh, the real Doris Day could really swing back the 1950s when our big sister was born. She wasn’t actually a rock & roller, but our Mom loved Doris Day! My middle sister is Suzi Quatro Esslinger, although she always wished that our Mom had named her after Linda Ronstadt. Whatever. Our baby sister is named Janice Lyn Joplin Esslinger. We’re a mouthful alright, but our Mom’s love more than made up for the baggage she handed us with our quirky names. To date, none of us have considered changing our names, even though our parents have been dead for about twenty years for Dad and ten years for Mom. Besides, my Mom always told me that she named me after Paul McCartney because he was the cutest Beatle of the five. “Five Beatles,” you ask? Don’t get me started. Our Mom knew every one of them . . . maybe even intimately.

We were all raised Roman Catholic like our Mom. Our Dad was a Rastafarian, but he loved our mother and took us to mass every Sunday. When he died, he left a huge hole in our family’s life. I was a devout Roman Catholic as a boy until I noticed the girls around me turning into young women. From then on it was a misspent youth of sex, drugs, and rock and roll until I was twenty and I ran smack dab hard into the Rock of the real live Jesus Christ, who I call “my possibly imaginary Friend,” that’s “Friend” spelled with a capital “F” to profess my faith in a God/Man I cannot see or prove exists. From age twenty on, I was and still am a “born again” follower of Jesus Christ, although not a very good one. But then again who is?

My teenage years weren’t all wasted. There were fun family times, like when we hung out with the E Street Band because of our Dad’s lifelong friendship with Clarence Clemons. I remember even suggesting a few lyrics to Bruce Springsteen during rehearsals, and he took a few of my suggestions and made them parts of his great songs. I may be the only person that Bruce Springsteen ever did that with. You know the first lines of “Thunder Road?” I wrote them about my then girlfriend and future bride, Maria, and how her “dress sways as she dances across the porch while the radio plays,” but Springsteen changed “Maria” to “Mary” and he wrote about Mary dancing to “Roy Orbison singin’ for the lonely,” because even back then everyone around us could see that I didn’t pay Maria the attention she truly deserves. “The Boss” also didn’t share songwriting credit with me, but that’s OK because I still feel slightly immortal every time I hear “our” song. Springsteen used to call me “Consiglieri” because I once said that maybe I’d become a lawyer one day. In fact, that may be the reason that I eventually did go to law school even though I had started out in my marriage with Maria thinking that I would go to seminary to become a missionary somewhere, probably in post-Christian Europe, which I never did do and always kind of felt that I had failed God and missed my calling because I just didn’t trust God to provide for our young family after we had our two kids if I went to seminary. Law school seemed like a more sure way to earn a living. Not exactly heeding Jesus’ call to “Follow Me,” huh? Oh well . . . what the fuck. And that’s another way that I failed God too. I let my peers influence the way I spoke and still do no matter how hard I try to break this bad habit. I’d most likely have made a lousy missionary.

Maria and I got married in 1980, and our first years with nothing but our love and faith in God and our extended families and our church families really were the best. Some people talk about their struggles in the first years of marriage, but that wasn’t us. We laughed a lot, had sex a lot, did other kinds of fun things together a lot, and lived out what the Bible says that a young man should do, “REJOICE with the wife of your youth!” When Jacob and Judith came along in our third and seventh years of marriage, even during the rigors of my law school, it was truly heaven.

Law school was tough though, one of the hardest things I’d ever done in my life. It was the only time in my life when I could not get an “A” in a class if I had wanted to do so . . . and I wanted with everything in me to get good grades. However, I “graduated in the top of my half of my class,” as I used to like to say, because it sounded better than saying that I graduated in the bottom half, which I did. This meant that the big firms weren’t interested, and the only choice I had upon graduating if I was going to practice law was to “hang up my shingle” and start my own law office or take a government job if I could get one, which I did, and it was to prosecute crime.

And in the five years that I did that before my boss tossed me the shit case of Marcos Duendes’ Attempted Murder, I was sick of what I was doing, but too deep in debt to quit. When I got the Duendes case tossed into my lap, I was already juggling two other big cases along with a killer case load of regular crap crimes. I’ll likely tell you about these other big cases during the course of this book too, but suffice it to say, they each one left scars on my soul that have never healed and most likely never will this side of Glory.

One of them was Jesus Delgado, pronounced “Hey Zeus,” in Spanish, but that pronunciation didn’t hide the fact that the most horribly evil man that I ever prosecuted was named, “Jesus!” Jesus had molested his ten year old step daughter for years and threatened her with murder by immolation if she ever breathed a word. He even showed her the two dead bodies of a man and a woman shot full of holes and bloating in the hot sun with flies buzzing around their stinking corpses in a field just across the border in Mexico and told her that he had done that and would do the same to her entire family if she ever betrayed him. He’d also already twice impregnated her older teenaged sister who he raped when she was ten years old and then carried on a kind of affair with him because she hated her own mother so much for marrying him. Both times the older sister told her mother that on two separate occasions that two different boys in her class had gotten her pregnant about a year apart and then each of them had moved away with their transient field worker families. Both times the mother believed this bullshit or said that she did. The family just added these two babies to the bunch of about a half dozen children, some his, some hers, some theirs.

Jesus Delgado was finally charged with his crimes only because the young teenaged victim that he was terrorizing risked everything to tell her mother when she saw her rapist molester step father beginning to groom her younger sister who had just turned ten. This courageous young woman who was not much older than our own daughter was so terrified of her murderous molester step father that she visibly trembled and then peed in her pants the one time that we brought her into the same courtroom with him. Jesus saw what happened and slightly smiled while looking right into his victim’s brown eyes that were welled up with tears. I pled that case out to twenty years flat time in prison for the then fifty three year old Jesus because I couldn’t be certain that our terrified teenaged witness would hold up on the stand under the ordeal of the face to face confrontation required by the Constitution of the United States.

I hated myself for doing that deal, and I prayed that Delgado would die in prison, but he didn’t. I don’t know whatever became of him after he was released and deported to his native Mexico, but I hoped that his major drug dealer friends murdered him in some horrible way even as I prayed for his soul like my possibly imaginary Friend tells his followers to do. My detective in that case told me that if he ever saw Delgado again in the United States that he would personally empty his Glock into him, and that thought gave me some comfort.

Another case was a re-trial of a former coke addict who murdered his girlfriend and her three children, including their infant son with a tire iron by methodically bashing out their brains in the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms of their small apartment because the mother of three wouldn’t give her junkie husband her hard earned paycheck to spend on drugs. This was a death penalty case, and the trial court had granted the murderer, Alfred Cornelius Copeland, his petition for post conviction relief of a new trial on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel because the public defender was drunk everyday of the trial, which a lawyer is not supposed to be, but considering that the defendant had confessed not only to the police but to three family members at three separate times to the murders, the best and most sober defense attorney in the universe couldn’t have done any better with the case. Eventually, our state’s attorney general’s office took over the prosecution when our county office discovered a potential conflict of interest but not before I had digested nine banker boxes full of files, secured and prepared a demonstrative trial exhibit showing all the chronology and willful steps that Copeland took in committing the four murders, and I did all this under the pressure of a sixty day speedy trial deadline. But worst of all was when I had to meet with the shell-shocked grandmother of those three beautiful children who was the mother of Copeland’s murdered girlfriend and explain to her WHY the asshole of a judge . . . only I couldn’t say that . . . had granted a new trial to the monster who ripped out her own soul and had utterly destroyed it, as well as promise her that I would do everything in my power to win justice again for her and her murdered children.

Life at home with a man under this kind of extreme stress was horrible. It’s a miracle that our own family survived those sometimes terrible times.

[Disclaimer: None of this really happened. It’s all made up, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.]

2 responses to “The Last Confession: Chapter Five, “Who Am I ?””

  1. Susan Hessinger Nelson Avatar
    Susan Hessinger Nelson

    just my imagination. .running away with me

    1. Right YOU are, “Suzi Quatro,” OR our Rasta Daddy would call you, “MBBD!”😎

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