Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The following is a re-post from my homeless days and will be part of my Indie book. Critiques, comments and questions are welcome. I don't have to ask for kindness; I've received that in boatloads, row mates.


Here in Florida, one is supposed to have a valid ID at all times. For those of us who fled the ol' homestead in a hurry, with nothing but the clothes on our backs (which TGH promptly lost; another story, later) we can get a "referral" from Homeless Recovery of Hillsborough County to "The Shop," also known as "MHC," or Mental Health Clinic. With a referral and your smiling face, you too, can receive onw god-awful picture ID that bears no resemblance to anyone, or anything living, on this planet, or maybe even in this Solar System. We have to carry these IDs with us at all times, in the event that the Tampa Police Department decides to do a bit of sprucing up on Nebraska Avenue and starts hauling in folks for not having any type of ID. I am a proud owner of one of these things. We occasionally. . . okay, we frequently, find ourselves with little or nothing to do, no appointments to keep and no passers-by to pester, so we have to entertain ourselves.

One of the more amusing ways to pass the time is to show each other our Unity (MHC) IDs. This works best when a new batch of homeless folk have moved in and we can unveil these nightmares to our new house-mates. The people who take these pictures must have to go to a special school to learn photography to create these monstrosities. Some of these people end up working for the HARTline bus system, aka BUS WORLD and the truly gifted go work at the DMV, churning out little 3" X 5" cards of Lovecraftian horror for the State of Florida. O.M.G! These things bear visages from some kind of 4th or 8th dimension, a lรก "Colour Out of Space." We glimpse things not meant to be seen by man. They can not be unseen. I am truly doomed. As Ray Milland, who, after yanking his own ocular orbs from their sockets screeched, “I can still see!”

I, too am cursed. The fact that my left eye is still occluded completely is no protection from the actinic horribleness of these things. I can only gasp "Gaaahhh!" and pass on the offending document to the next victim with a bare scorching of retinas. Enough. What follows are actual pictures. Please be warned; you do not want to view these at work; you will get fired. Do not let the kids or pets see these pictures; the pictures may emit lethal fumes. Do not view around houseplants; the plants may combust spontaneously.

Actual Pictures, erm, depictions. Likenesses. Photographs would melt the innernet.


So, as you can see, it's hard to pick the worst ID ever.

Another way to pass the time here, is to beat senseless some idea or better yet, some incident that is current gossip. It doesn't matter if you have witnessed it, or just heard about it, fifty-seventh hand, or not. It's kind of like that game we probably all played as children, "Telegraph." One individual makes up some saying and passes it off to the next person. Reiterate the babble enough times, until the original saying or incident is not even remotely close to what was originally said or done and doesn't even have any passing resemblance to reality. Not that it ever did to start with. This is like Prisneyland, only with girls.

It usually starts with an incident, although it doesn't have to. Two guys had an altercation out in the back yard a few weeks back. The guy playing “diplomat,” who’s pretty mild, but a good-sized man, is trying to keep the two knife-wielding combatants at arm’s length and he's not succeeding. Just as the two, brothers by the way, Bennie and Mike fly at one another, their savagely whirling knives, tiny old Joseph, who, drunk as a Lord, as per usual, sitting 3 feed away on the cement back stairs, falls over on his head; splat!

Todd is now trying to break up a knife fight, while dodging flying knives; Joseph is lying on the ground bleeding. About a foot from this, Donn and Will are nonchalantly washing out a refrigerator that had been in their room and had some of the famous FSJ bedbugs living in it. They’re hosing it out, oblivious. The fight is getting desperate. The hosing goes on.  

This is about the forty-fifth time that day, that Joseph had fallen somewhere around the property. Barbara, also oblivious to it all, is sitting next to Joseph, and, apropos of nothing, also as is her wont, she asks Todd, “What are we all doing for the Fourth of July?” in her grating, foghorn voice, that carries to Siberia. Barbara is 4’ 9” and weighs somewhere around 350 lbs. She hasn’t had a bath since 1982 and she smokes like a fiend. 

I actually saw this happen, and thought nothing about any of it. My brain is too busy to ponder these scenarios and I don't ascribe any cosmic meaning to any of it. I am just trying to figure out if this is some kind of a pattern. Are humans really this random and bizarre? Do I belong to this? WTF? Huh? Buh? Dur? I might get depressed, or something. Anyway, this is what the curmudgeons on the front porch were discussing the next day:

Curmudgeon 1: I always knew they were up to no-good. I bet they were going to steal and sell that refrigerator.

Curmudgeon 2: Yeah, and Barbara got up and helped Joseph get up, but he fell off the porch, and then hit Morris with his cane.

Curmudgeon 3: Didn't Joseph fall off the porch earlier? Oh no; that's right he got caught pissing off the porch earlier.

Curmudgeon 1: I wasn't talking about Joseph pissing off the porch, but maybe he pissed in the refrigerator, and that's why Donn and Will were rinsing it out.

Curmudgeon 4: No, Joseph didn't piss on the porch; he got caught peeing on that tree in the back, with Bill and Walt.

(Repeat 87 times)

They all stare at the floor and nod sagely. They look wise beyond time; they are the seers of Nebraska Avenue. All they lack is a cracker barrel. But, no knives for whittling; someone might get stabbed. After the knife fight, the Tampa Police came and did a sweep, or looked under beds, or did a lights out. The world's problems solved, the incident correctly or incorrectly made indelible (for the next two minutes, or until the next rumor, verbal exchange or donnybrook occurs.) Ten minutes of this drives me inside to play Club Penguin. I can only stand so much wisdom.
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