There’s nothing like good food to soften the blow of yet another head-on collision with yet another difficult situation.
For nearly two months now, as I’ve been dealing with living in my shitty little dingy basement dungeon of a room, feeding shit on a shingle to the local street punks, walking alone to a scary neighborhood by the stockyards in south Omaha to cash a check with no ID and getting a ride back from an off duty cop who takes me by a place very near my room where “white boy” me better “NEVER BE CAUGHT AT NIGHT”, working as a scab on that toxic pitch and tar roofing crew in Kansas, getting kicked off that roof by union guys with clubs and then loosing my job after getting frostbite (and almost loosing my big toe) while working on a different roof here in Omaha, shooting beers with the street punks and “Crazy” Allen, watching him puke up a gallon of restaurant pickles, stopping him from fighting that high school wrestler dude, NOT joining him and the gang in their scary “let’s go break glass” or their even scarier “let’s go mug people coming out of the gay bars” excursions, walking three hours to north Omaha with Allen to see his alcoholic childhood non-home and his crazy violent racist outbursts, crying alone as I sing a cheesy Dr. Hook song to my dingy basement dungeon ceiling, walking around downtown Omaha and it’s late night street non-life in my big, dark, hairy specter costume, encountering the wildly fun fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show … etc, etc, etc… as I’ve been doing the best I can in my survival mode way of dealing with this Omaha life (including distractions, waking… etc…) and then there’s the group of scary dangerous Hell’s Angles next door to where I am now… all this time, Maria has been dealing with Fred.
As I eat Maria’s delicious plate of beans and rice, tortillas and hot sauce, I listen to her explain why she needs my help “Getting rid of Fred.”
As I eat and listen, I try and imagine how hard this whole thing must have been for her. As I’d been experiencing all of the above, in my youthful narcissism I had never even given Maria and her kids one single thought! Dang!
Once Fred had made it clear that he was done with me, once he’d secured a job and some friends his own age and (as I was about to find out) in a similar situation… I had simply gone my own way. “Without so much as a by your leave” (to use an expression I’d heard on Monty Python… heh).
As I eat Maria’s delicious food, I listen and begin to find out something of what SHE has been having to deal with.
I find out that Fred lost his job at Brandeis Department Store nearly a month ago. His big and important job as “head of security” for that big and important store. Had this also just been one of Fred’s lies? Like his big and professional rock band he lured me here with? These past several weeks, in my youthful narcissism (and my survival mode) I had also not been giving Fred even one single thought.
Now that I was listening to Maria and what she has been having to deal with, my thoughts about Fred are finally facing a head-on collision with her perspective. Maria’s experience of Fred. I’m finding out a lot today.
I find out that Fred has been stringing Maria along with a big lie all this time as well. She’s not saying what exactly, but my adult self can easily imagine that it may have even been marriage. My naive, nineteen-year-old midwestern farm boy self here in February of 1979 had no idea, but it was obvious by Maria’s manner that it was some despicable thing. Something that was of course part of yet another self-serving scammer scheme Fred had cooked up and that Maria was no longer swallowing.
I find an anger rising within me as I find out more about Fred. As I find out more of what Maria has been having to deal with because of Fred. It’s an anger I’m not really familiar with. An anger that my adult self can now see makes the coming head-on collision with despicable Fred, almost inevitable.
To be continued…