A is for Attitude…

…and Tomio Dubanowski has one. As a child of mixed descent, he came by it naturally. He grew up in an otherwise homogenous, rural, and redneck town in Northern California. Life there was rough – Turlock, the wild west, demanding and unforgiving. Tomio quickly became Tom – tough, scrappy, and the class defender of teased girls and other small boys his age. He learned everything he needed to know about life in kindergarten.

By fourth grade he was a thug at school, so different than the artsy, sweet kid he was at home. The principal knew him well, and he never had homework because he completed it every day while sitting in the office where there were no distractions. His parents simply did not understand the child he became at school.

Sixth grade was devastating, a year he would not have survived without attitude. It was the year he began to question his sexuality, the year a cousin came on to him because he recognized a kindred spirit. His attitude about it was defined on the last day he walked home with his best friend. It was early November. He and Robert, known by most of the students in his class as Basher Bob because of his amazing batting skills, were walking home after a game. Basher Bob had, as usual, amazed the crowd with his home runs. Tom slung an arm over his shoulders to congratulate him on a triple play that won the game, but he broke an unspoken rule. There was a definitive time to how long a man hug was supposed to last. Tom was late, very late in his release. Bob shoved him to the ground, kicked him, and ran off. They never spoke again, but words flew around the school, words like fag, and girlie and butt licker.

It was then he decided that the answer to his questioning was a truth he should hide from everyone, including himself. His solution was to become the scrappiest, no-holds-barred brawler with an attitude that spoke of quick fists, rough language, and all-boy obnoxiousness that sent the gentler students running, but set him straight with the jocks. It was the way he survived high school, the way he survived the Air Force, and was serving him pretty well now that he was a cop. Attitude with a capital ‘A’ was everything.

And then he met Jack….

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