Clarified with a family lawyer that actually no, New Mexico is not a common-law state which means unless my father decides to write these fuckers into his non-existent will, I'm fucking done with them the minute he cacks. My sister, for her part, went out of her way to clarify that she never asked me not to contest any will, she asked me not to be terrible because on the other side of the family, my aunt blew up relations for a decade by being a selfish shrew who decided that every single heirloom was something "mom wanted me to have." This was useful because it required giving her a backgrounder on why, exactly, I would presume that my parents would leave me out of any inheritance by default. She had never exactly internalized that my father took her on a shopping spree for her birthday and then forgot mine for six weeks the very next day. Or that the physical violence was always mine to absorb, generally as punishment for being engaged in conflict with her. Or that I had a job at 7-11 to pay for college while she had a dorm room and an apartment. It is possible that she's coming around to the realization that we grew up in the same house but different homes.
GR, for his part, had all charges dismissed except "receipt of stolen property worth less than $250." This carries a fine that my father will no doubt pay. After all, when SWAT broke down the door, he paid for that. I had a chat with the friend whose wife got a $2m settlement. He said his wife had arrested GR any number of times. When I asked him if GR was an informant, he went radio silent.
A secret I've kept close and off the Internet/phone has been a telephone conversation I had with my father in 2005 or so. There was much ado at the time about depleted uranium in Iraq and the cancer it was causing. My father did radiation dosemetry his entire career so I casually brought it up with him during one of our infrequent conversations. He was extremely scornful in a very J Frank Parnell kinda way. Insisted that the type and amount of radiation kicked off by DU was inconsequential. I said something about how there can't have been that many long-term studies and he said "Well you grew up with five pounds of plutonium in the carport and you turned out fine!"
"Wait, what?" Yes, I hear you. You are precisely echoing my own response lo those many years ago. "Five pounds of plutonium? Where... was this plutonium?" "In a jar on top of the freezer." "Why did you have five pounds of pluton - no, HOW did you have five pounds of plutonium above the freezer?"
He told me that he needed ionizing sources to calibrate his meters, and that a hundred grams or so of plutonium did the trick. Unfortunately he couldn't get more than 50g of plutonium without congressional approval so he just requisitioned 49g per week. Or month. I've forgotten the number. And my father is not the kind of guy to stop at what he needs. Better to get extra. And Los Alamos National Labs was an environment where you took your work home. This is how computers with nuclear secrets get found in meth labs.
This has always been one of those half-remembered, never-discussed aspects of growing up as I did. It seemed wise not to discuss the plutonium in the garage on social media, or with anyone I'm not close to personally, at which point I've discussed it two or three times in person. I've had recurring dreams for the past ten years about cleaning out my grandparents' farm and finding bits of missiles. Usually it's a Minuteman III. Sometimes it's an Atlas. Sometimes it's just an MIRV or two. There follows introspection about how, exactly, one disposes of a nuclear weapon you're not supposed to have because it's likely someone will question how it got there.
A person in the know, upon hearing of the latest misadventures, expounded on how it's probably not great that a dude with a penchant for tusks has ready access to plutonium. Which initially caused a great deal of hilarity, followed by some real soul-searching as to whether or not my father was kidding about the plutonium. Thing is? He's not a kidder. He threw an older kid in the pond when I was four because the kid wouldn't stop adding an "-ey" at the end of my name. His answer to most problems is violence and/or cheating. He has no respect for authority whatsoever; one does not normally take a 5-year-old past three locked DOE doors when one can't find a babysitter. And that "50g congress/49g requisition form" thing is peak LANL. There was a scandal for a while where it was revealed that roughly 50 people had put brand new cars on their expense accounts. My father had a yearly budget for parts that if he didn't spend 100% of it, it would be curtailed the next year so we'd end up with all sorts of weird shit around the house. Generally tools, but not always.
Presume PU239, the easiest PU to get ahold of. Doesn't glow, doesn't kick out heat, has a half-life of 24,000 years. 49g of PU239 is 2.47cc of plutonium. "half a pound" would be 46 requisitions for 114cc. It'd look like chunks of oxidized lead, and probably fill up about a quarter of a quart jar. That's a long way from criticality, by the way - I checked. I also discovered that five of the fourteen known criticality accidents were in Los Alamos, which is literally "oopsie we accidentally got 22lbs of plutonium in one place", twice with the same damn chunk of plutonium.
A jar with chunks of oxidized lead in it? I can almost remember it. That's my mind playing tricks on me, probably. PU239 does fundamentally fuckall to you unless you eat it (or accidentally gather 22lbs of it). Considering his whole argument is "radiation! Yes indeed! You hear the most pernicious lies about it these days" and considering he's a passive-aggressive office supply thief who worked at the health safety environmental division of Los Alamos National Labs for decades... He tracked satellites in college. Got to spend three months on the Big Island. Then Starfish Prime took out his satellites and his new ones could only be tracked from Thule, Greenland. So he got there on the last day of sunshine and stayed six months in the dark. He entertained himself with push-ups and stealing butter knives to sharpen and balance for throwing, one a day. His supervisor was an Air Force martinet who objected to his long hair so my father shaved his head bald and grew a fu manchu. He tells these stories proudly. Requisitioning 49g of plutonium just to have the plutonium? Yeah, he'd do that. A friend once gave me a jar of mercury because he knew I'd like it. He was right. Then it was time to move and I went "why exactly do I have a jar of mercury" and took it to the landfill to be disposed of properly. But it wasn't plutonium and I'm not my father.
And here's the thing. I've only ever had that one conversation. I haven't felt like revisiting it. I don't now. Could he have made it up to prove a point? Possibly, but not likely. Far more likely that there was less than five pounds of plutonium and he rounded up for effect. Could he have gotten rid of the plutonium? I suppose. Could he have turned it back in? Snowball's chance. He left HSE when his best friend got him fired for drinking too much, after his intervention failed. If it was plutonium requisitioned under HSE, and it would have to be, as soon as he was at ARG/NEST he never would have turned it back in... to HSE, anyway. ARG/NEST? I mean, that's pretty much their jam. Maybe it just... showed up behind the copy machine one day, like the hard drives.And now that I know I'm not written out of any particular will, at some point in my future I'm going to need to go look for a jar with 40-ish funny lead-lookin' chunks in it, up where the jars of bolts are, next to the lawnmower, approximately 25 feet from where I slept every night.
So at this point I'm kind of hoping the NSA is paying attention so that I don't have to deal with this shit.
My sister and I were talking about what the fuck we do now yesterday. She mentioned my aunt, who lives on the property. I said that she'd achieved her life-long goal of watching television all day every day but maybe her kids could help. My sister laughed and said they were in their own fucked up hell, too. I asked about the magnitude of hell; she said "not sure how to characterize it." "On a tusks-to-plutonium scale where are they?" She laughed. "Oh, just garden variety Jerry Springer shit."
I told her I'd pay a lot of money to get back to "garden variety Jerry Springer shit." My wife pointed out later that my own life is a long ways away from any of this, Springer, plutonium or tusks.
Be fuckin' hilarious of GR tried to pawn some plutonium tho