Some shirk mothering for selfish reasons.
The first year of taking care of Lacey was nothing but joy and feelings of compassionate love but suddenly Stacey felt she needed to get out of the house. She felt held back and imprisoned.
The last year she had been a saint and her parents thought she was a good mother even though they insisted she find a job. Stacey complied with her parents by getting a job at an all-night pizza joint a block away from TOTEM.
Helping to make pizzas, running the delivery phone, and checking customers out at the cash register gave Stacey a small feeling that she was doing something of value and getting back into the world but she felt a nagging, a tugging call to go dancing and drinking — to party again.
The temptation to go dancing and see friends at TOTEM became overwhelming one Saturday night and Stacey made plans to call in sick to work. It was easy lying to her parents and she left the house wearing normal work clothes.
Stacey packed a devilishly revealing black mini skirt and heels to go dancing in her car. The skirt would fit nicely over her tight shorts. She was a master at changing quickly in her car and removing her work clothes without exposing any skin worked too easy.
Her first night returning to TOTEM after a year felt like nirvana. Familiar bouncers and bartenders greeted Stacey like a homecoming queen. She partied and tasted the life every party-girl craves and missed since Lacey’s birth.
The next year disappeared like a shadow fading into the rapid descent of dusk. Stacey could not account for much except her small raises at the pizza restaurant and tons of partying. Stacey’s parents were raising her daughter.
It was common for Stacey to go to work six days a week from five in the afternoon until 3 A.M. so grandpa and grandma entertained and taught Lacey while mom was out. Many times Stacey didn’t return until noon the next day or was sleeping until early in the afternoon after a late night of work.
Stacey’s parents nor her daughter knew she was partying at TOTEM during a great deal of those ‘Work’ nights.
Paula Berman was no one’s fool.
After hearing the details of the Stacey Nino case 10 thousand times every day on every TV news program her mind was made up. Adding to her judgment ubiquitous headline posts screamed at each online search — Lacey Nino’s mother was a murdering, scamming, lying bitch.
Found dead, Lacey Nino, lay in a dumpster in a field intended for the development of apartments just 3 miles south of Paula’s house.
The land had been cleared of trees and shrubbery and then marked off with wood stakes lining an area of nearly 25 acres for the new apartment complex on Econlockhatchee Road. The quiet area’s only structure, an Orange County Fire Department south of Curry Ford road in East Orlando.
A dumpster was the first piece of the coming complex to be located at the building area but construction was halted a year ago. The current need for a new apartment complex in the area had been axed and the developer decided not to take a chance with building due to the horrible economy and lack of prospective tenants.
One Saturday morning teen-agers were dirt dogging their ATVs through the small mounds of dirt in the cleared field where the apartment complex would have been erected. Being responsible and somewhat conscious of keeping the ecology of the area clean, the teenagers decided to throw away their Monster energy drink cans in the dumpster.
Getting close to the dumpster the young men smelled a rancid, putrefied stink. They associated the smell with death. The contents of the garbage container fascinated the three intrepid off-road performance freaks. Looking in the dumpster proved to be the most disgusting and yet in a weird way, for the teens, the most rewarding surprise of their life.
Lying in the bottom of the nearly empty dumpster was a ripped open trash bag with the partially eaten remains of a young girl exposed for whatever eyes or mouths happened upon her. The most startling and maddening sight was the vulture ripping into the girl’s lifeless stomach area and then choking and gulping the intestines inside its fowl maw.
The teens found themselves in a comatose stare watching the bird devour the girl. The reality of the moment only lasted seconds until the angry vulture, having been interrupted, shrieked and flew away.
Cell phones were quickly retrieved from their truck. Police and parents were called. Soon every local news agency had a van and crew at the abandoned dumpster in east Orlando.
Three 17-year-old boys reached local and national notoriety but the disgust of their find would haunt their dreams for many years to come. Dealing with their exposure to the actuality of the cruel natural process of bodily decay and feeding vulture left a harsh mental imprint.
Perhaps more daunting and mentally taxing was the barrage of interviews each young man continued to give for more than a year after finding Lacey Nino. They were paid nicely for their accounts however the money could not compensate them enough for their trauma.
The previous segment of this story M.I.L.K Continued can be found here: