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Dancing With The Devil

In The Pale Moonlight

By Leeza CooperPublished 8 months ago 25 min read



I was fast asleep in an old dusty caravan on the rural outskirts of Sydney. My four children were tucked up fast asleep in their bunks. Their school clothes were neatly ironed and hung up for the morning, when I’d drive them to their schools.

It was a warm summer’s night in Sydney and I was fast asleep, having drifted off clutching a copy of the lives and sayings of the ancient Greek philosophers in my hand. At last I’d found it. It was a quotation from my favourite philosopher, Heraclitus, who was born more than 500 years before Jesus. I had been searching for this quotation for days, because it perfectly defined everything which was wrong with my husband, D. That is how I choose to address my ex husband in my story, by the first letter of his name. Initially I swore D stood for Dog, but then my love of dogs made me realize that thinking that way was doing one of Gods greatest and most loyal and loving creations a huge disservice. And suddenly, there it was, “A man’s character is his fate.”

D’s character was one of a charlatan, a thief, a weakling, a bully, a man-child incapable of growing into a fully-developed human being. The character he’d become, courtesy of the way his parent’s had brought him up, and the way he’d been indulged, where he’d never appreciated anything he ever had or was given, where he valued work for the power it brought him and the ability to control everything and anything he wanted, and now his loss of control would become his fate.

And as a result of his character, I and my children were living in a caravan, penniless and desperately trying to keep ourselves together as a family.

How it had come to this, in just a few short years since I’d been living the life of a multi-millionaire, is something which I’ll tell you about soon. But for now, imagine me, fast asleep, the mother hen in her caravan hen house, protecting her brood of chicks.

And then the car alarm next to my caravan suddenly began to scream. A thief was trying to steal one of the very last possessions I had, my car….the only way I had to drive my children to school and collect them, to buy cheap food to feed them, to scrape together enough money to buy electricity so that I could wash and iron their clothes, cook their meals and give them light so that they could do their homework in the cramped confines of the caravan.

But we were together. Before I’d taken care of five children, my four little ones and my big husband. Now I was only looking after my four. My man-child of a husband, had caused my financial collapse, the inferno which had taken my house and my clothes, my jewels and all of my children’s possessions…and as I was to find out, had denuded me of all the other things I thought I’d owned because he’d falsified my signature and robbed me of my bank accounts. Meanwhile, he was gallivanting around with his new mistress, once again being King Shit, while I was living in a field in a caravan and striving to give his children as normal a life as possible.

So how did it come to this? Why was I was living in a caravan? Well, after the horrendous house fire which consumed not just all of our possessions, but much of my hopes for a peaceful future with my children apart from D, we began to live a new life out of the suburbs of Sydney and in my beach house on the northern coastline of Sydney, about two hours from the centre. We moved to our holiday home having lost everything in what I suspect was a deliberately caused conflagration of our possessions. When we got there, I discovered he’d changed the locks on the holiday home, even though it was purchased by my property development company. I had to call the local police and locksmiths and have them replaced. When I got inside, I found that he’d stripped it bare. He’d taken all the expensive designer furniture, the cutlery….everything. Actually, there were just two things left in the home; a towel and some of my underwear, plus a card addressed to my husband, from his 24-year old bimbo, thanking him for a wonderful weekend, telling him….my husband….that he was the highlight of her year. I’ll never forget that card. Her name funnily enough started with C, and you can imagine how well that fit her character. These are the sorts of things I’ll never ever forget, even though now, but I can put it behind me.

So from the day after the inferno, I had to drive my children every single morning to their schools in Sydney, assuming that D was still paying for their school fees, and pick them up every single afternoon. I had to maintain some stability in their lives, and not putting them into a local school in the beach suburbs 2.5 hours away was the best move I could have made.

The night before school I would iron uniforms, pack lunches, and ensure that all was in readiness for a rapid and temper-tantrum-free morning. There would be no time for searching for socks and shoes, no time for breakfast, so everything had to be ready by the time I went to bed.

The following morning, I would get up in the pitch black at 5.00 and have the car fully stocked with the children’s breakfast, school bags, uniforms, my training gear for my lunch break that day, plus all my study gear, and even two dogs! I would carry the younger children over my shoulders, still asleep and into the car.

Thankfully I had bought a huge H2 hummer several years earlier, fully equipped with five Individual tv screen systems, the best sound system you could ever imagine, heated seats and all the bells and whistles you could name; whatever luxuries a car could possibly contain, were there. The children would slowly wake up to the sounds of a beautiful Mozart concerto or sonata on the freeway and if they were still sleepy and needed more classical music with which to regain their awareness, I’d switch to the wonderful sounds of some Bach.

Then once the children were well awake, and needed some of the life-force of beat and rhythm, I would crank the system up to kick start their days on a positive note with tunes from Queen, Guns and Roses, Prince, and others.

We would all sing along without a care in the world, lost in another dimension. If there was one thing I could control within all the collateral damage, the madness, investigations and discoveries of all my evil husband’s abuse and frauds against me, it was to keep some kind of happiness, faith and essential equilibrium in my own, and my children’s lives. It was up to me to guide us all, to be the leader of the pack. Raising four children under 12 alone through the turmoil that my husband had caused would have to have been the hardest, best character building existence and thing to date that I have ever done in my life.

I was their only protector, their emotional healer, their financial supporter and their mentor. With zero family to assist, no mother, no father, no parents-in-law, I found unwavering strength within me to do the job of a small army. Most children of a broken marriage experience a divided home and often a lot of anger and resentment. But my poor children not only saw their father disappear, but at that same moment, they lost their home, their comfort and security, their clothes, their possessions and toys and familiar things. We lost our photos, our mementos…..everything. What they didn’t know, until they were much older, was that we’d also lost all of our money, our properties, and that we were suddenly homeless, impoverished, and utterly totally alone and adrift in the world. If the children had been anchored to a stable surface before, suddenly they were adrift in a sea of woe, through no fault or failing of theirs.

And it was hell on earth for me. Not just the loss of my property and goods and money….those can all be rebuilt and reclaimed, but suddenly I was a single mother, a bodyguard, an accountant and a lawyer to boot. I’d never been able to rely on D before, and if I needed advice and help around the house or with the children there were always professionals whose services I’d purchased without equivocation. Today, though, I was counting not just the dollars, but the cents, and so everything was on my shoulders. And you try fighting lawyers and bankers and officialdom without accounting or legal qualifications, especially when my well respected influential accountant husband D had convinced them that it was, indeed, my signature on the documents he’d forged.

But the long drive from the beach house, which I was trying so desperately to hang on to, would soon go to the bank due to his fraud. The bank was intent on repossessing everything. The drive took me such a long way from the holiday home to the children’s schools, but it was just a stretch too far. So there came a time, during my studies and exams to further educate myself in the health and fitness industry to make more money on top of the two jobs I was already doing, that I was too exhausted to drive the children for hours from home to school and back again. What to do? Well, I occasionally rented a caravan for the night. I didn’t mind, and I painted it for them as a real adventure, as though we were continually on holiday, except that they’d have to go to school each day. And as we were camped in a long grassy field on the outskirts of the city, it was a much shorter ride than from the far central coast beachside where we’d been living.

I would prepare the children’s meals on the small cooktop, set out their clothes and then, when they were settled, I’d finish cramming for the next day's exams. I was trying to tell myself everything was going to be ok, that I had a plan, that the universe had a bigger brighter future for us, and that I was focused and in control. My heart ached a little less every day for a husband that had vanished literally into thin air. He had never been a true husband or a father, but now he was totally non-existent in his children’s lives, a complete stranger. But it was worse than that, because of his financial lies and manipulations and frauds, we were all now on an enemy battleground, on high alert, geared up and guarded ready each day for another fight because of his misdemeanours.

And it was at this time that I was fast asleep, after reading my study notes when all hell broke loose. It was slightly after midnight when my car alarm went off like a firecracker piercing the night. From being fast asleep, I was suddenly wide awake, adrenaline pumping through my body.

Here we were, my children and I, in a secluded suburban caravan park, no one around to hear the alarm or care about our welfare, or lend me a hand against whatever it was out there.

I jumped up from the couch that I had tried to rearrange into some kind of a make-shift bed. My children came first, always. I didn’t need creature comforts; I only needed to know that my children would come out the other side of this nightmare emotionally stable and feeling loved.

The caravan was, of course, pitch black, but I stumbled in the moonlight to the kitchenette, found my way to the cutlery draw and pulled out the biggest carving knife I could find, the only thing I could think of to use as a weapon. I was afraid of what was out there, but not the usual gripping, immobilizing fear. That had been left far behind me, along with the ashes of my life on the day we all ran for our lives from our burning home six months earlier.

I opened the door to the caravan as quietly as I could, and stole out down the three steps. I saw in the brilliant moonlight that my vehicle was still there despite the alarm piercing the night with its screams. So I took a deep breath and tentatively walked the few steps up to the driver’s side door of the caravan, not knowing what to expect. After all, this could have been nothing more than a false alarm set off by a native animal, or maybe a malfunction with the security system. I was after all on high-alert due to all of our recent family death threats because of my estranged husband. At least, that’s what I prayed it was.

But no. From inside the car, I could see a dark shape moving. So I yanked open the driver’s door to be confronted by a tall well built man clad in a black balaclava, hacking through my steering lock with a mini saw! I screamed and he jumped out of his skin when he realised he had been sprung. My scream was deliberate, just to confuse and disorient him. But how he was going to react, I simply didn’t know. All I knew is that somehow I had to take immediate and complete control of this nightmare situation. I had to show him instantly that I was the boss, that I wasn’t in the least afraid, and especially that I was manic and totally unpredictable and could end his life at any moment by plunging my knife through his heart. The element of surprise was on my side, and I had to take it, I was afraid of what was out there, but not the usual gripping, seize the moment. I had to take that small window of opportunity and make something very powerful out of it!

So I screamed right in his balaclava-clad face, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, you bastard?” I was screaming like an insane harridan at the top of the loudest and most commanding voice that I could muster.

The knife was clearly visible in my hand, scintillating like diamonds in the light of the moon. He must have been truly terrified by the sight which confronted him. He looked up and saw a livid, wild, completely uncontrolled woman who was about to stab to death a car thief in the dead of night.

Was I scared? Of course I was! But I didn’t show it. Not a bit of it. One iota of weakness in my face or intent, and he would have had me.

Was the thief scared? Damn right! The one thing I had learned from all the abuse and crap from my recently estranged husband was that beneath the thin skin of an abuser and a bully, and even a sneaky thief like this one trying to steal my car, is a scared man-child, pretending to be a Mr Tough Guy, all loud and full of braggadocio, all mouth and no balls, all show and no go.

Right now, I treated this burglar with the same indifference, anger and contempt which I felt for my ex D. I may have lacked physical power, but because of the lessons I had learned from my childhood and marriage, I had gained street smarts and some really large balls.

I’d already met the devil, I’d already buried his sorry ass, and so if this pathetic excuse for a human being thought he could steal my only means of transport in the middle of the night he was seriously mistaken. I’d been trained by my father and knew as much about guns and knives as any Western gunslinger; I’d throttled a chicken for food, skinned and gutted fish, and gone head to head with an angry bull in a paddock. So I knew all about protecting my property. And my vehicle was a way of ensuring my children had a snippet of a normal life, and so there was no bloody way I was going to let this asshole of a thief take it from me. So I’d installed the best alarm system available and a titanium steering lock. The salesman had told me that with this kind of vehicle I wouldn’t need it, but what would he know? He had no idea of the hell I had been living in. If I had not put the crook lock on my car it would have been long gone by now. My ex- had taken the spare key to my car that he was trying to steal some time ago.

The burglar sat, frozen. I screamed at him again, just to widen the wedge between his fear and the thought that he could possibly fight his way past this knife-wielding mad woman, “I said what the hell do you think you’re doing. I’m going to cut your balls off, one at a time, if you don’t get out of my car this second.” Then I moved the murderously sharp knife closer and closer to his throat. But he didn’t move a muscle, he was utterly immobilised in fear. He didn’t try to run, he didn’t mutter a single sound. I had no idea what he was thinking, but I was thinking that I had to stay in complete control.

So I leaned forward even more menacingly. I was mad as hell and dressed in nothing but a short white singlet and my underpants with unruly long blond hair, so I must have been one hell of a sight! I had him stunned one way or another, I don’t know whether I had him turned on with my attire and dominating persona and I would become involved in another kind of trouble, or whether he was contemplating taking the huge knife from my hand and slitting my throat.

I reached into the car and yanked the balaclava clean off his head. If I was going to die I wanted to see who had been so gutless to take down a mother defending her offspring and her only means of transport.

To my horror, or maybe my relief, there sat my husband, as stunned as I was when I revealed his identity.

My jaw fell open and I’m sure it stayed like that for many seconds. Ok, so I knew my estranged husband was capable of many things, but to find track us way out in the bush, with the single and solitary purpose of stealing the car from me and my children in the dead of night, leaving us stranded hundreds of miles from home, to actually be so calculating as to creep in the dead of night and do such a thing.... What kind of a bastard would do that?

I lowered the knife and straightened up to allow him to leave the driver’s seat. I was too stunned to speak. There was no fear in me now. I wasn’t confronting an unknown nemesis, but a pathetic excuse for a being, a non-person, and, as was said by Heraclitus, ‘a man’s character is his fate.’ I just wish I could have gone back two and a half thousand years and said to this amazing philosopher, “Y’know, mate…you were right all along.”

Now that I had discovered who the burglar indeed was, every single piece of fear vanished, left my body instantly, and now I was genuinely and utterly furious.

I could beat D every time with my driving skills, I was a mean shot with a gun, and I could out run him any day of the week. The only thing he did better than me was numbers, and numbers weren’t going to do him any good now, In fact, it was numbers that would shortly lead to his own demise.

I stood my ground and stared at him. He stared back, only I knew why he was staring. We were standing in the middle of a field, in the middle of the night, with a knife and dressed in the skimpiest of clothes, he had been caught stealing….yes this sleaze bag of a man-child was actually turned on. I knew him well enough to know the sights. It started in his eyes, then his lips moistened and then there were the usual signs that he wanted me badly…from his lips to lower in his body…it was obvious.. And it was all happening there, at that moment. He was well and truly crazed, thinking that I would entertain him in any kind of fashion, and sure as hell not in the middle of the night, in a field under the moonlight! No, he wasn’t going to be given the opportunity to try that again. I had already experienced one attempt at a sexual liaison by him in our local graveyard, in the dead of night, on my 40th birthday, after he tried to seduce me after a so-called make-up dinner following his affairs. Never again would I be so gullible, the only graveyard I would be stepping into from now on, would be on my terms, not his.

So I screamed at him, “You disgusting bastard. You spineless coward. You gutless piece of filth. What kind of a man leaves his wife penniless with no home, no furniture or clothes or food, and in the debt to the tune of nine million dollars after your bankruptcy AND tries to steal her car too!!”

With that, I ordered him to follow me into the caravan so I could show him the circumstances he’d forced upon his family. He sheepishly obliged and with his head down, followed me into the little van!

“Don’t talk. Don’t utter a sound. Just look at what you’ve done to me and your children,” I ordered. Once inside I pointed to the children spread out around the van in makeshift beds, shirts hanging for school, a small amount of food on the bench and no room for anyone to move.

“This”, I whispered, “this is our life now, thanks to you and your lies and utter selfishness. This is how we live, try to make do, try to survive! Here I am trying to support them, to study full time and get ahead, all alone with zero help from you or your parents…the children’s grandparents…and I have no mother and father to help me, unlike you. You go running to them when you’re in trouble. Who have I got? All I get is more grief, more suffering and more loss! And now you’re trying to steal my other car, the only way I can get all of my children to school? How could you sink so low?”

He just stood there; no words came out of his mouth. He always was a pussy when it came down to it, no strength of character, no guts, no commitment and no conviction – well, the conviction would come later. The only things that meant anything to him were status, attention, self-indulgence and self-righteousness.

“Listen carefully to what I’m going to order you to do. Don’t you ever call me, speak to me, contact me, ever again unless it's to hand over all the millions of dollars you’ve stolen from me. That’s what you owe me and your children. I don’t want anything of you or from you. I just want what you’ve stolen from us. Now leave. Go! Get out.”

Like a school boy finally being dismissed, he turned around and fled for the door. Any man whose backbone contained a single iota of decency would have fallen to his knees and begged for my forgiveness, for his children’s forgiveness. Any halfway decent human being would have held his children in his arms and never let them go.

As I watched him walk across the field, I remembered one of his excuses for all his affairs and abuse over the years, all his misgivings and shortcomings, his lack of respect, his blaming. He said to me, “Leeza, we just don’t get along.” That was it. We just didn’t get along! He said nothing about my loyalty, trust, respect, responsibility, caring, sharing, liabilities….nothing….just that we didn’t get along.

Every time he was caught out cheating, lying, or was just plain cranky at himself and the world, it was because he and I couldn’t get alone. My fault.

No marriage is perfect, but as far as being a wife was concerned, I took my love, my vows, my beliefs and my family seriously, but in the end it was all to no avail.

After all these years I have to agree on one thing with him, and he is right when he says that we don’t get along, we don’t get along at all. After all, how could we, when our characters are so different? We have different morals and ethics, integrity and soul. We’re worlds apart.

I followed him outside and watched him walk away, head down and most probably disappointed with himself for not pulling off his latest theft. I doubt whether he was even thinking about the state his children were living in.

I did wonder how on earth he had made his way into the depths of the fringes of suburbia, so far late at night. How did he get here? I knew he most certainly hadn’t asked a mate for a lift, as he had already lost every single friend he had.

And then it all became patently obvious and clear. The moment I saw his cheap-as-dirt mistress, I understood perfectly well what had caused him to try to steal my car. She appeared out of the darkness when she didn’t see car lights coming towards her. His young 24 year old bimbo, the fiancé of our Lebanese business partner who’d sent his men onto my property to threaten and harass and possibly even kill me. She had driven him here in his 911 Porsche turbo, and now she was standing there, waving her arms and yelling madly at him for returning minus my car.

She wanted my car along with my life, she wanted my husband, my money, our beach house, she wanted it all, except, of course, for the children. And that was the reason he’d not seen them for years. She was very welcome to my husband, after all, why not here when everyone else had had him, but what I was damned sure she wasn’t getting again was my children's car.

She’d once manipulated my life so that she had taken possession of my personal car, an Aston Martin, months after my husband took my car to work one day and then just handed it over to her. I did everything to find it and get it back, but as fate would have it, I managed to reclaim it after the stupid bitch crashed it and took it in to be fixed. Then I was able to get it back. As the car was registered in my name, and hence I was the legal owner, I found the repair shop and informed them that my car was to be picked up by no one else, or there would be legal ramifications. From the look on my face, the owner of the repair shop knew that I was deadly serious.

How did I track down my stolen car? Well, I found out when my little girl who was 4 at the time, came home and told me some strange blonde girl had driven her to the shops in it. She’d said, “This is my mummy’s car,” but the young woman had said, “No dear it’s definitely mine. I was given this car by your wonderful daddy.”

Well karmas a bitch, and when he walked to where she was standing, she screamed at him and gave him the biggest slap around the face. I had to smile. I felt like going over there and saying to her, “Well, at least we’re agreed on one thing.”

So many times I had offered my hand to D when he’d fallen low and needed somebody to lift him up. I would always say to him, “We can fix this mess you’ve made, we can start again, we can sort your business reputation, your personal reputation, I can forgive you and build a new life together with our children.” But did he ever listen? Of course he didn’t. Because of his innate weakness, he always chose the darker path. I knew that it would end very badly, I saw it coming, I saw his demise clearly. I knew staying with him would actually have been the harder option due to his darkness, and playing with the devil, but I offered it out of love until the devil came to my home and burnt it down.

Now love was burnt beyond repair, dead, buried in a box, locked securely away in hell……and that is exactly what happened to D next.......

”When you dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight”

The pale moonlight means the dead of night, the witching hour, but there is a spotlight, because the joker loves so much attention. So, have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight is an invitation for the victims to dance with him (like the Joker did with Vicki Vale. But being the Devil, they probably won’t survive.)

I’d learned my lesson with reference to the D in Devil, and was more than happy to allow Vicki or M, or S or C to continue the dance. I had my own life to live.....


About the Creator

Leeza Cooper

Leeza Cooper, a devotee, artiste, creator of published literature & poetry; Studied Degree CU, founder/president of Wheels & Dolls SMC; raising funds for DV, lover of travel, nostalgia & anything vintage.

Ms Australia International 2023.

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  • David Milstein8 months ago

    Wow Leeza, that is all I can say, and I hope D was not named David as I am. I will say what does not kill you makes you stronger and you are the strongest.

  • J. S. Wade8 months ago

    Leeza, You are the bravest woman in the world. Your compelling story of survival speaks volumes about your character and heart. Heraclitus also said, “ You could not step twice into the same river.”. Your extraordinary life stands as proof. Thank you for sharing this most difficult remembrance. D does stand for devil and also for Demented. I’m happy you have set your own course. After reading this, “L” now stands for Laudable! Scott

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