I went to sleep last night hoping to recall at least a few details about how this entire adventure ended, or even to get a better grasp on when it ended.
I did not.
So in today’s post, I’m going to simply write of anything I can remember. Anything at all I can manage to make out among the flotsam and jetsam floating about in the murky mind-fields of my memory of those days (weeks?) after (during and around?) that crazy, stupid decision to put a bunch of powder up my nose with my crazy friend, “Crazy Allen”.
At some point I was kicked out of my dingy little dungeon of a basement room and Allen let me sleep on his couch for a few days.
In an earlier post, I’d said that I’d paid rent on that room for February, with the last of my pay after being let go from the big industrial roofing company that had originally hired me as a scab and sent me down to Topeka, Kansas to work in the toxic wind-blown pitch and hot tar, on the roofs of several buildings at The Osawatomie State Hospital.
I’m pretty sure I got all that right. That and…
That I got laid up with frostbite in late January, from working on that cold roof on some high school in Omaha and almost lost by big toe. That my boss gave me the last of the cash he owed me (perhaps with a little extra) and said not to come back for a while. That me continuing to have no ID would be a problem and that they didn’t have much work till spring anyway.
So at some other point, I found a job at a small family-owned Italian place called Mama’s Pizza. I can’t recall if I got that job before or after I got kicked out of my room. Probably after.
I worked at Mama’s Pizza through the end of March or so. Like I said, Allen let me sleep on his couch for a few days but let me know it was only for a few days. My friend then told me that he knew someone who would let me sleep on his couch until I could raise enough money to get a place of my own again. I don’t remember much about the guy but I do remember this…
He was a racist asshole!
Right from the start he let me know that I was now living “Across the border between the white and the black part of Midtown… and we’re in the bad part so watch yourself.” This guy was proud that he had a “racist dog” too. It was a very large Saint Bernard that he said “hates n!&&@rs more than I do”. I really didn’t want to live in this guy’s house but, I was desperate so what could I do?
Well… I could go home. And I did, but first…
First I worked at Mama’s Pizza and tried to imagine getting myself enough to get another place of my own. The restaurant owners were nice people. They had hired me with no ID so I was very grateful. I hated that I had to steal food from them.
It wasn’t so I could eat. The woman who hired me (Mama?) had made it clear that I could eat all I wanted while I worked. I stole food for the asshole who’s couch I slept on. Once he found out where I worked, he demanded I bring home the ingredients for pizza and the other dishes I was learning to make, and make it for him or… “or you’ll be out on your ass.”
Most of the employees at Mama’s Pizza were high school students who couldn’t work the daytime hours during the week, so I was hired as the prep cook. I was taught to make all the sauces, the meatballs, pizza dough and grate large quantities of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I liked the job. I liked having the whole place to myself while going through my daily routine.
After everything that had happened… it was quite comforting to HAVE a daily routine.
I think I’ll write a little more about that tomorrow so until then my dear reader, this will have to be…
To be continued…