Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Theft by any other name...

     Many of my clients are excited to tell me when they've gotten a job. I'm often the only person who's ever said, "I'm proud of you." Because of this, they often strive not to hear me say, "I'm disappointed in you." Then there are the ones who have no concept of unacceptable behavior. Such was the case today, when I had the following conversation:
     'I lost my job.'
     'Well, I got fired.'
     "What did you do?"
     'They caught me eating.' (he worked at a fast food restaurant)
     "Eating the food you were cooking?"
     'Yeah, but I was hungry.'
     "So you stole food from your job?"
     'I guess you could call it that.'
     "Of course I'm going to call it that. When you take something that isn't yours without paying, it's called theft. It's a crime."
     'But they owed it to me 'cause I always pay for my food.'
     "No, they don't owe you anything but a paycheck...which you can use to buy food."
     'But it was bacon.'

How am I supposed to argue with bacon? I've got nothing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Excuse Me, but You IS One of Those People

     Early in my career, I got in trouble for calling a crackhead a crackhead. The thing about crackheads is that they know they are crackheads. On the other hand, there are some folks that fail to recognize their status in the criminal world. One example is the young, white "kids" (17-24 years old) with a marijuana conviction from an upper class family. They seem to have a sense of entitlement and believe they should be treated like their crime is a right of passage, glamorized by the Hollywood party types.
     The other type is the middle aged, white female convicted of either issuing worthless checks or forging prescriptions. Obviously, this overwrought housewife type with too much time on her hands from "Mother's Day Out" has succumbed to the stresses of choosing a new housekeeper. Thus, she has either self-medicated with illegal Lortabs or more shopping sprees than her weekly allowance could sustain. Needless to say, these ladies annoy my uncouth sensibilities.
     Pleasantly, I've had the opportunity to deal with a few of these dames over the last thirteen years. One in particular seemed to make a pastime of getting my goat (although I really don't think she ever realized it). Each of my clients must report to my office once a month. It's pretty simple. Come to the office, sign the log, sit and wait. The receptionist will notify me and I'll come fetch you from the lobby to make your monthly report. Well, one afternoon my office phone rang while I was sitting at my desk and I got this:
'Hey Ms. Best, this is so & so'.
'Yeah, I'm out in your parking lot. Can you come out here and see me?'
"Why? What's wrong?"
'Well, I know I have to see you, but I don't want to go in your lobby.'
'Because...I don't want to go sit in there with all those people.'
"All what people?"
'All those criminals.'
"Are you serious? You are one of those people. Now get off my phone and go join your fellow convicts."
     Yep, I love crackheads. They have no shame.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Does crazy know it's crazy?

I had to commit a woman yesterday. It started with her walking through traffic, talking to her wrist. She claimed to remember me from the days when I fed her in the black quarters of the Magnolia Plantation in Georgia. Ummm...she's white & I'm not that old. I recorded the ride to the hospital. Here's the transcript: (she uses unpleasant words sometimes)

Just call me Big Papa; Opium’s the King Kong Vampire; They make slaves of Jesus, drugs do; And my friend Barbara, she hates men and she’s dead now; Her boy she’s raising, her daughter’s son, he came to me and said “that bitch is dead daddy”, I’m gonna get him, straighten him out, whoop him; A bounty hunter went in jail ‘cause he was riding round with a woman naked smoking crack; He loves the crack, he’s his boy; Saw mills a place the Russians captured first after they killed these blue guys wearing blue cuffs that was on our side marching their way to Southfield for salt to help people; The Russians killed ‘em and took their blue uniforms; Bonnie & Clyde was killed by Russians; Police Officers was going after the Dominican Republic that was trying to kill us; Do I look like Conway Twitty; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he was on a salary like my first husband; His daddy owned Ascot Oil called Old Cheyenne, a Comanche who was supposedly laundering money for people, dirty money; He was trying to help people, during a war, where everybody goes outlaw; Howard Hughes went broke; The Russians got all his money; Ya know he’s building planes and stuff; They say the richest man than him is the Morgans, ya know Morgan Towers; I’m getting that for a fishing site for Ascot Oil; My father & I named Ascot Oil, ‘cause Ascot raises racehorses down in Tennessee and his relatives, my husband’s Aunt Mary and them own Oklahoma, where the Indians live; You’d love it down there; They got these beds and if you’re drunk you stay in the beds, ya know til ya sober up, then they let you go; And I jumped on this girl; This black girl come up and I called her a n***; Well she’s gonna be a big hero; She said Indian; I got her down and they said let her go; And she went around all over Oklahoma playing that song Heroes Don’t Die; It’s a song about John Wayne, Big John; I like him; I don’t like the Eastwoods or the Schwarzeneggers; He took up for the Indians; Wore a patch over their eyes when they go in the battles, the Apaches; So he wore that patch cause they were poisoning them and that’s what that movie was about, True Grit, giving ‘em bad liquor; Anyway, that’s why he wore the patch on his eyes, ‘cause he liked the Indians; He went on their getting them white guys that was giving ‘em bad liquor and bad meat; But Cotten’s give ya white people white meat; Buffalo Soldiers, that’s a good name for them ‘cause blacks have nappy hair like buffalo; They rode out West; They raped and killed white women in the South; White men blew their brains out, knowing what’s happening to their wife and kids; Ya know then they’d blow theirs out; Shoot them ya; Angel Land, Sons & Daughters of the Confederacy; Ya and they was raping and killing them women and babies; Blacks, the Russians was showing them ‘cause they was taking the ones that was helping uniforms; They was trying to help the South and join with ‘em and march in on the South; Russians; And Gene Hackman knows who they are; He reminds me of the devil, don’t you; Meow; French Connection, that was about cocaine; Russians had already first got in France; Kennedys were Russians; And Boelyns were Russians hiding under different people’s names, different countries; The original Guinevere, she was a Russian and Marilyn knew that; The woman ya remember tried to tell King Arthur about her; And she wrote a poem, There’ll Never Be Another Camelot; Well my mother was in love with her cousin, Arthur; And my mother was full blood Indian; I got news for her; You’d love Mattie, my mommy; Little girls like you; She’d take a club when she walked down to Bourbon whorehouses; And everybody’s deathly afraid of her; Ya know, ‘cause all the Navy and everybody was around; She said “You mess with my younguns, I’ll beat ya to death”; She’d have her guns under her dress; She wore the long black dresses sometimes, like Mamie, her mommy, she was Scotland; But mommy was a Cherokee chief’s daughter; We got pictures of her; They look just alike; They got big noses too; Mommy was a dike, but ya know she went by the Bible, like the woman from Ireland, on the James from Another Time And Place; Paw won’t let me come home; And sixty days with Robert E. Lee; And Mr. Davis, our one-eyed President of the Confederate states; I was a spy who loved him; You ever see that movie?; So I could go home to the James and Paw; And Frank lives there, Jesus’ general I met, and Ms. Myers; And Ma’s free now; She’s over the island, resting now, in the land of magic; You ever read that book by Nora Roberts?; I will bring you these diamonds, he kept promising that, where she was at flesh; She said no and he kept trying to give her all this gold and jewelry; ‘Cause that’s her lady; Irish people tell the story about Nora Roberts wrote; It’s a true story, ‘cause she went there first, then she wrote the book; She’s from Ireland; She lives in New York now; I like the one about the ghost; I love it down here, don’t you?; La la; Ms. Carol O’Connor, I’ll sing you the storybook; Ya know the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?; Come with me if you wanna live; You remember that?; That’s you, Jesus said; I can’t believe I have arrived from the Old South; I wish Paw was here almost older; He had blue eyes at the Magnolia Plantation; Hey, he’s got brown eyes, that wasn’t Paw; I gotta find my real Paw; Blue green eyes; It was a good movie, wasn’t it?; The one that Arnold Schwarzenegger had; It’s about the love slaves and Terminator; The Russians did all that s*** to their face, then went off and defected; I can’t fight; She used to go with Burt Reynolds; She always laughs about it; I’m gonna get him and take him far away; He was the first knight all through Heaven in a lady’s honor; He got down there and God’s a big black n***; He was gonna kill the little white man; I love your car; It’s white; It’s my favorite color; In my white room, generals gather, like witches at white masses; You ever heard that song?; It’s a old 60s or 70s song; Oh man take a look at this; Clark, Frank, Clark, James River; Oh man take a look at me, cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon; Oh man take a look at me, when ya coming home son, I don’t know when, we’ll get together then; La la la; Winter is here again, oh no, I just snowed; And the grey speckled bird is a popple; When he’s ashes, ashes means he’s dead; I love the blue and grey colors; I’ve seen you before like Santa; You was blind then, but it’s okay now; Don’t forget to cut your hair; Okay Sampson, you can see now, huh?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh, I Shouldn't Tell You That

     I celebrated a friend's birthday last night...at the skating rink. Yes, seeing a bunch of thirty-something year olds on roller skates was pretty comical. I hadn't been skating since I was a kid. I expected the rink to be full of little brats and overheated teeny boppers. I was surprised to see adults. Not the parents, but actual adults there to make their rounds on eight tiny wheels.
     When we got ready to leave, I noticed an older man enter and sit on a bench. Well, he was one of my clients. As I walked up to him, he smiled and said, "I just flew in from Chicago." Okay, these folks can't travel without explicit permission and a typed travel permit. Suffice it to say, I had not given him permission to leave the parish, much less the state! His response to WHY he was in Chicago was, "Girls, women, good times, you know." Huh? No, I don't recall that in the travel brochure. I guess the look on my face brought him back to reality, because he blurted out, "Oh, I don't think I shoulda told you that. You look different!" Really, ya think?! I always find it amusing when they don't recognize me when I take off the uniform and put on makeup. He quickly recanted and said, "You know I ain't really been in Chicago. I know I can't go no where."
     As he pulled out his personally owned skates from his bag (seriously, this dude is 47 years old with NO kids), I asked him if he'd been drinking. At least he was honest when he replied, "You think I'd be flying if I wasn't drinking?" Ummm, didn't he just tell me he hadn't really been on an unapproved trip? So I asked him why he was drinking and why he was here on a Saturday night. He looked at me like I was crazy for having to ask and enthusiastically told me, "I really like skating!" I guess I should have seen that coming.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Can Count to Dog

Fa la la la la, it's Christmas time. All the houses I visit are decorated now. They've got trees & lights & stockings & blow up yard thingies. They've got presents wrapped under the tree. I have a solitary stocking hanging from the mantle...for my puppy. That gets us to the point of this tale.

I went to visit a client this morning. He had reported a new address, so I'd gone to verify it and approve it. There were two cars in the driveway & a dead Santa and reindeer in the yard. Okay, not really dead, but the plug to their air blowers had been pulled from the wall, so they looked like festive victims of a holiday drive-by. The subject answered the door and directed me to the room he shares with his girlfriend. We had our usual, "Are there any guns or drugs here? Of course not ma'am." conversation. The girlfriend said this was her father's house & he was letting them stay here. All seemed good.

As I got ready to leave, I walked back through the living room to the front door. That's when I saw them...24 Christmas stockings. Yes, twenty-four, I counted them. I have no excuse for not seeing them when I came in, except that only three were in my line of sight when I originally entered the house. Three were hung from the mantle, two hung from a shelf, and nineteen hung from hooks on the wall. Stunned and dizzy from the swirling holiday twilight zone, I asked the subject how many people live here. He responded, "Oh, just the two of us...me and her and her dad (pause) and his wife." Ummm, I may be wrong, but I think that equals four. He's working on his GED. Isn't basic math a portion of that test? Of course, nothing he said explained the 24 freaking Christmas stockings scattered around the living room, and yes, each had a different glittered name on it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Am an Army of One

So sometimes I see old familiar faces. In my 12+ years at this job, I've seen many of the same folks come through my doors again and again and again and...well, you get the idea. Today was one of those days. I had a drunk revisit me. Normally drunks are pretty passive and not much of a bother, other than that whole, 'I don't really have a drinking problem' thing. This guy isn't too much different, except for that minor 'I need to be loved when I'm drunk' thing he's got going on. Okay, not to get into detail, but when he's drunk, he's walking a fine line to becoming a sex offender. Since I already knew about this, I was prepared today. During his intake, I immediately referred him to various counseling services. He wasn't happy about it. Apparently only me & the local PD & his neighbors & his prospective victims are aware of his inclinations when intoxicated, since he conveniently forgets all of his missteps.
When I had finished my portion of the intake, I delivered him to a clerical for fingerprinting. These ladies have heard all sorts of fun ramblings, blurtings, and unprompted utterances in their short exposure to our clients. I guess the clients feel "safe" when there's no longer a gun in the room. The clerical that processed this guy came to see me when she had completed his procedure, to share what he had told her. He announced to her that, 'I'd rather take on the Hun Army, cross the entire forces, than cross her' (speaking of me). Wow, I think I'm blushing. Maybe I should start wearing bars & stars on my shoulders. Or maybe eagles. What do ya think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's My Name?

     I don't make friends with my clients. I am polite, but not friendly. I am concerned, but not intimate. I expect them to say "yes ma'am" and call me Officer or Ms. or Agent. I have often said that if I don't invite you to my home for dinner, then you have no business calling me by my first name. Sometimes this is too much to comprehend.
     I was completing paperwork on a new case today. I introduced myself as his new officer. I gave him my card, with my name on it. I signed my name to his paperwork, with my name. Well, throughout our conversation, he called me by my first name. I corrected him. He did it again. I corrected him.
     Now, I knew he wasn't the brightest bulb in the ceiling fan. He needed a lesson on proper methods of brushing your teeth. I wasn't prepared to give him that. I told him he needed to return to a rehabilitation class in which he had previously been enrolled. When I told him the location, he got frantic and said, "wait, it's not where it used to be?" So I asked him where he was talking about and he named the SAME street I had just provided. See, he's either not bright or totally deaf or I may have slipped into Pig Latin, thus confusing him even further. Then I reminded him that he owes a fine. He said he knew it was due within a certain period of months, but then he got distraught. He wanted to know if the time period started while he was in jail. Ummm...no, I don't think the court thinks you're going to have the means to pay a $2,500.00 while incarcerated.
     So, after slow and methodically explaining everything, twice, I felt he was ready to leave my office and venture home. Maybe he could figure out how to do that, I mean, heck, he'd figured out how to get to my office. By the way, did I mention that when I'd gone to the lobby to get him, he didn't realize I was calling him, both of the times that I had called his FULL name. Anyway, as I was escorting him out of the building, he said "thanks Vicki". Well, I reminded him that he can not call me that, to which he responded, "well, what's your name then?" At this point, I really felt like just responding, "call me Ishmael", but I figured that would be lost on him. What do ya think?