Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Diary Eight

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

The doctors told him that he only has 20% lung capacity, so it’s a pretty serious thing if he comes down with a cold, which he has. To top things off, I don’t think Clarence is being completely honest when he tells me that he has quit smoking cigarettes. Every once in a while, in the bathroom, I will see him enter a stall, cough horribly a few minutes, then hear the flicking sound of a cigarette lighter being discharged. Hmmmmm.
By the way, Clarence is a lovely man, approximately fifty years old, who somewhat resembles a midget Einstein with red, frizzy hair. I doubt that he would dispute this brief description, especially since I don’t plan to show it to him.
Jack Crosley, the perennial deskman, shall make a return appearance. Temporarily that is. He will be helping us out until Mr. Vasquez can find someone to fill my position on the roster.
What Jack really wants to do is be a truck driving man. He wants to apply to the Dootson School for trucking.
Victor came back at three-fifteen. He was supposed to have worked the evening shift with Robert, and Robert was going to hold him to that, last night, or not. Victor did manage to disappear for the early part of his shift, and Kevin and I hung around while I broke him in, showing him how to be a perfect deskman.
No easy task.
When Victor finally returned, Kevin and I ducked out.
I ate a nice juicy cheeseburger with a fried egg on top at the canteen. Then I finished reading the “Choice” book Richard had loaned to me. I would return it to him tomorrow. The last chapter that I read (which was the second to last chapter in the book. I had read the last chapter earlier, as had been suggested by the authors. The last chapter concerned “values”) discussed death and loss. It was not depressing though.
The Rams losing to the San Francisco 49ers was depressing, so I went to bed. Tonight would be my last night in a five-bed dorm.
I hope.
December 18 Tuesday Day 97
I finally woke up, after Mr. Pandolfi smacked me a few times on my feet with his clipboard. It was five-thirty a.m. I slowly got out of bed, and begrudgingly went to the showers, then dressed for my morning shift.
I got downstairs just at six. Kevin and I had some breakfast, and then got behind the desk. Mr. Vasquez was already there. He had prepared yesterday’s paperwork the night before. We went over it, then went to the front office. He showed me who got what, described some office procedures, and stopped by Ed’s office to discuss some changes in kitchen personal.
Pretty cool.
Back at the residence I made a dorm inspection, picked up the counseling lists and posted them, talked to my counselor for a good half an hour, and screwed around until Mr. Vasquez came to relieve me at two-thirty.
I moved all of my stuff into Victor’s old room, which he had moved out of by seven-thirty this morning. I changed clothes, went to dinner and to my group counseling session with the intoxicating Jill. She sat right next to me tonight, but about half the guys in the group seemed to be hostile towards her, showing off their independence I guess, and I wound up not saying a single word throughout the session.
I wrote for a while in the lobby making myself available to Jill if she should need me.
Even though I am a client of hers I don’t think she realizes that I exist.
Mr. Vasquez took me on his evening rounds. An extremely thorough tour, I got to see the two apartments which I had never seen before. Very ritzy.
Then I went up to my lonely room, turned on my color TV to “Cheers,” made my bed, read a little of John Nichols, The Milagro Beanfield War.
Then went to sleep.
December 19 Wednesday Day 98
I woke up to the sound of slamming doors, and someone walking down the short enclosed hallway directly outside my door. I wondered to myself, since there was no one else there at the time, why someone would be making so much noise so early in the morning. I knew it had to be early because I had asked Wolf to wake me at five, and I had set my wrist watch alarm for five-twenty one, and hadn’t heard it sound off as of yet. I noticed more morning sounds; I thought I heard an unusual amount of activity in the distance, a muffled, busy sound. I turned over in my bed and reached for my watch that was sitting on top of the folded pair of light brown slacks I had chosen to wear the night before. I looked at my watch with the express purpose of determining how much more time I had left to snooze. My watch let me know that the impossible had occurred. It told me that it was six-thirty four a.m. My watch must have been lying to me, either that or a stray Christmas Elf had entered my room during the night and set my watch ahead an hour. I leaned up in my new bed and looked out my one window and noticed how light it was getting outside. My next move was to leap out of bed, grab my soap, shampoo, and razor, dash out my door into the semi-private bathroom I shared with Mr. Vasquez, Robert Collins the canteen man, and Don Erwin the maintenance supervisor, Warren’s boss. No one was in there at the moment. I threw off my nightgown and cap, jumped in the shower, washed my face and armpits, shampooed my lustrous hair, jumped out of the shower, cursed Pandolfi, dried myself, ran back to my room, got dressed for work, cursed Pandolfi, ran back to the single stall in the bathroom, smoked a cigarette, cursed Pandolfi again, flushed, combed my hair and shaved, returned to my room, came out of it again, walked to the elevator, took said elevator to the lobby to start my first seventeen hour shift as a lead desk person.
Pandolfi was nowhere to be found.
“Where’s Pandolfi?” I asked Kevin Rockoff. This was Kevin’s first shift also.
“Honey Glazed Donuts called. Said they had been out of business for a while, but now they’re working again, and want us to pick up some donuts.”
“Fuck Honey Glazed! Where’s Pandolfi? He didn’t wake me up!” It was now seven o’clock. My shift had started at six.
“He ate breakfast and took off.”
“Right. Call Frank Ortiz at the dispatch supervisor’s extension and tell him we just got a call from Honey Glazed and they’re back in business and want us to make a pick up.”
Kevin proceeded to do this.
“Frank said to get the duty driver to go make the pick up.”
“Great,” I said.
Our duty driver for the week, a short, rotund black man whose name is Lee Jefferson, was also our Night Crawler driver. He had worked last night until ten on his normal route, had already gotten up this morning at four-thirty to pick up donuts at Tastee’s, and now I had to ask him to get up once again to get some more donuts.
Not that we needed the fucking things, but we wanted to keep our donors happy.
I thought seriously about sending Kevin up to go get Lee, but could not bring myself to do this to him.
I went upstairs and approached Lee’s door with caution. I knocked. “Lee!”
I heard music from inside his room, so I knew he was awake. “Who’s out there?” he asked.
“Rick Joyce,” I said.
“Joyce? What you want?”
“Honey Glazed just called and said they had donuts to pick up.”
“Yes, donuts.”
“I already got donuts.”
“I know you did, but this is Honey Glazed, and they want us to pick up more donuts.”
“I already got donuts.”
What is this, Cheech and Chong?
I walked away.
As I got back to the desk Kevin was announcing last call for morning devotions, so I went back upstairs to find out who was ducking. Al Leberthon was up there. I told him that he needed to be at devotions, something he already knew. He said, “So what are you going to do? Bust me?”
“Mr. Vasquez would,” I replied. “If he caught you, you’d be on restriction right now. I’m just giving you a warning this time.”
Al Leberthon’s a smart ass. I should have busted him.
By the time I looked through half the dorms, devotions had finished, so the second floor began to flood with guys getting ready for work, which kind of defeated the purpose of my inspection.
I went back down to the desk.
I came up again with our three diabetics, Tommy Bommorito, Reuben Perez, and Jeff Funicello, to let them get their morning injections of insulin. The insulin was kept in the sample room, where George Staub used to sleep whenever he stayed over night. The sample room is called the sample room because urine samples are stored in the refrigerator in there, right next to the insulin. On a table to the right of the refrigerator, rested what looked like an office photocopying machine. It was not a photocopying machine. It was however, a very sophisticated, $35,000 urine analyzer. Robert had previously explained to me how the device worked, and how to set up a urine sample run. He told me that throughout the years the Salvation Army had found it uneconomical to test for drugs other than marijuana and cocaine. This machine did have the capability to detect the by-products produced by the body when metabolizing any mind altering substance known to man, but marijuana and cocaine seemed to be the resident’s favorites, and testing for other drugs was very expensive.
The Salvation Army is nothing if not thrifty.
Of course, alcohol is tested for at the front door of the residence with the breath-a-lizer, a very sensitive and discerning device, making alcohol the most tested for substance here.
After the insulin had been dispersed, I returned to the desk. Mr. Schimmelle, who had become our lead janitor (only in America), replacing Mr. Rockoff who was now on the desk, informed me that we were in dire need of more toilet paper, which I would need to get across the street from warehouse supply.
I said to him, “Okay.”
I gathered up yesterday’s paperwork that Mr. Vasquez had left for me from the night before, and took it, and Mr. Schimmelle across the street through the warehouse, into the front office. Officer’s country.
I deposited the paperwork in the appropriate receptacles, took Mr. Schimmelle to see the supply person, Melvin Clark, and told Melvin of our plight, got our toilet paper, and returned to the residence.
My whole day turned out to be very much like my morning. People come to me with their problems and I either solve them, then and there, or direct them to, or tell them I will talk to the people who can solve them, at a later date and time.
And I do paperwork.
Mr. Vasquez took off for an appointment at the V.A. outpatient clinic in downtown L.A. The good folks at the clinic wanted to stick an endoscope down poor Mr. Vasquez’s throat for about an hour or two, and look to see what they could see. Cancerous growths maybe. Mr. Vasquez was not too thrilled about it.
I made a dorm inspection and selected the best dorm of the week, and the best bed and cleanest area. They all looked like hell. I sent my selections over to Clarence Orion so he could give out the dorm awards at chapel tonight.
When Mr. Vasquez came back later in the afternoon, he was about half anesthetized, but still managed to bust two guys coming in the residence with clothes that they had stolen from the warehouse. They were both given the boot and sent out into the cold, December evening. I felt sorry for one of them. He had taken two T-shirts.
“I was so stupid,” he said. “I worked for Frank Ortiz, ya know! I could of gotten a clothing order anytime.”
This incidence, and two voluntary checkouts, kept me in paperwork for a while.
After dinner, back upstairs for more insulin.
Chapel went smoothly. Clarence had invited a friend of his over to play his guitar and sing a few Christmas songs. Very nice.
I finished my paperwork, made the evening rounds, found out that while Jack was outside smoking a cigarette he had inadvertently stepped on a water sprinkler and broke it, so I wrote a maintenance work order to have it fixed.
Damned cigarettes!
At eleven O’clock, everybody was in who was coming in, so we closed up shop, and I, very gratefully, went to bed.
December 20 Thursday Day 99
Not very surprisingly, today was very similar to yesterday, although much more subdued.
Soon after Mr. Vasquez took off to do some Christmas shopping, Kathy from the outpatient clinic called for him. I told her that he had gone out.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “He must be feeling better then.”
Mr. Vasquez, much to his consternation, had discovered that he had left the clinic yesterday, with electrodes still attached to various parts of his body. He told me, “I kept finding them here and there. Found one this morning.”
Ed Reitz brought over a box of Christmas gifts destined for our counselors, and it was my great pleasure to hand some of them out. To Stacy in particular. She seemed genuinely pleased as she accepted hers, smiled and said, “I like presents.”
Barbara, and older counselor, who also works for the phone company (Pac Bell), asked me if I believed in prayer.
“Yeah, sure.”
“Then pray for this kid I’m going to go check on now. I only hope he’s still alive. You know how you can get so depressed, you aren’t able to believe that anything will ever change, or get better? His family has treated him like shit, and now it’s Christmas time! I only hope he hasn’t killed himself. I’m recovering myself, ya know, and throughout the years I’ve come to realize that no matter how bad you think you are, or how bad you have it, there’s somebody’s who’s always worse off than you.”
I wished her a Merry Christmas, told her to drive safely, and after work, went up to my lonely room and prayed.
December 21 Friday Day 100
Mr. Vasquez had telephoned last night while I had been on my rounds. He wanted me and Art Svensk, the relief night watchman (the eccentric looking individual I spoke of on my first night at the desk), to know he might be in late. Around midnight.
I had gone to bed right after my shift ended at eleven, so this morning I got up early to make sure Robert had made it back and started his shift. He had, and since I was up I pigged out at breakfast.
Later, Mr. Vasquez got really busy, so I took the paperwork over to the front office for him. That done, I returned to my lonely room for a little nap.
I woke up when Harold Eversley began pounding on my door. He wanted to let me know that I was wanted down at the desk. I said, “Thank you very much, Harold Eversley,” but it sounded like, “Ururrah airy much, Howwwy Urusly,” because I was still a little bit asleep.
Kevin Rockoff just wanted someone to relieve him so he could eat lunch. Not an unreasonable request. Mr. Vasquez had disappeared yet once again. He is a remarkable man really, and very good at what he does. However, he has a tendency to forget all about his colleagues at the desk in his extreme busyness (fogged brain), and if it were not for the graciousness of other desk personnel, the on duty deskman would never eat or be able to use the restroom. I can easily imagine Robert returning from an extended excursion only to find a bleached dry skeleton behind the desk to greet him.
“Oh my,” he would say.
Although Mr. Vasquez and I both have valid California driver’s license’s, Robert is the
only one authorized to drive the Salvation Army vehicles, because he is an employee. So when he works, he takes off all of the time and is usually absent from the residence, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed working with him. He was hardly ever there! That allowed me to do whatever I wanted while I was working, like drink coffee, read, run amok, etc. Now, Robert and I work what we called in the navy, port and starboard duty sections. Whenever he’s on, I’m off, and whenever I’m on he’s off. So I can still do whatever I want to while working because Robert (my supervisor) and I never work together. Sweet deal..
Except that now, I’m constantly hit up, full force, with all of the inquiries, phone calls, problems, and hassles that accompany this position, and I cannot escape from it as Robert does.
That sucks!
This is something I must see about changing. It would be so nice to be able to drive around a bit.
After lunch I showered, shaved, and dressed for work. Then I went to the canteen area and wrote until my shift began.
It was me and Jack tonight. I left him pretty much alone. He knows what to do. He made a deal with Mr. Vasquez to shampoo the carpet in the lobby, library, and elevator at around ten this evening. He’s doing it for extra canteen cards. Exciting stuff.
Work went well. I’m getting used to the new job and the paperwork, and I feel pretty secure when dealing with most situations.
I got a raise in my gratuity. Now I’m making sixteen dollars a week, for about sixty hours work, which works out to about 27 cents an hour (next week I’ll get seventeen!). Of course I also get room and board, and learn to live in sobriety.
Seems almost fair.
All in all I feel pretty good.
At seven-thirty I went out to put up the big steel bar that effectively stops vehicles from entering the thrift store parking lot after the thrift store closes. This is one of my duties. It sucks. The bar’s heavy! It was very cold tonight (at least for me, Southern California boy that I am), below 40 degrees F. I kept thinking about how nice it was going to be when I got back to the residence, and how nice it was that I had a residence to go to and wasn’t out freezing my shapely butt off in the Park.
I unlocked the As-Is Yard gate, entered and locked it behind me. I walked to the gate at the south end of the Thrift Store parking lot, opened it, and looked for the padlock I would need to secure the damn bar. I was hoping that it would be there because it was not in its customary location, on top of the key box back in the nice, warm residence. I had thought that Mr. Vasquez or Art Svensk might have left it attached to one end of the twenty foot long bar. It was not. It was no where to be found. Astonished, I said to myself, “God Damn.” Then I closed the parking lot gate, walked back through the As-Is Yard, opened its gate, crossed through and closed it again, hating the touch of the freezing metal, and walked back to the residence.
I looked around the office, but the padlock was not there, so I called Mr. Vasquez, who was up in the sample room, playing with urine. I asked him where the lock and chain were to be found. He said, “Oh shit!” Then he said, “I must have put it down somewhere and forgot about it. All right, I’ll be down in a minute.”
After a while he came down. “It’s not in here, huh?” He looked around. He said he would go look for it. He came back later and agreed with me, that it was not anywhere around. It had vanished.
He said, “Okay. We’ll have to put on a new lock. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I’ll have to get you a key too.” He opened one of the desk drawers and pulled out a lock with a key taped to it, pulled off the key and placed it on his key ring. Then he took the lock to the van (Red Shield 4) so he could drive around the block to the thrift store parking lot. He was tired of walking, I guess. I don’t blame him.
I thought that would be the end of it, but it was not. He came back in a few minutes, and said, “Where’s the key to that lock? I told him I didn’t know, “I though you had it,” I said. He grumbled, searched through his pockets and looked around for five minutes before saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. All right, I think I’m relapsing. This is what I’ll do. I’ll take the lock off basement cage and use that [apparently we were running out of locks by this time]. Here, take this lock and put it back in the drawer. Look around, will you. That key has got to be somewhere.” He went downstairs and got the padlock off the cage in the basement, then took off in the van again.
As I searched for the lost key on the office floor, Mr. Vasquez returned. He looked at me and smiled.
“You sat there and let me do this, Joyce.” He pulled out his key ring, on which the lost key was attached. I had forgotten he had put it there. So had he. “For awhile there I thought my Alzheimer’s was acting up.” He continued, “All right, I’m now going to put the cage lock back where it was.”
He did that, then took off in the van again. He was gone a good five minutes before he returned… again.
“You let me do it again, Joyce! Give me that damn lock in the drawer please. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! This hasn’t happened to me since I was fifteen years old.”
He departed once more, hopefully with all of the proper tools required to complete his task this time.
Finally, the thrift store parking lot bar was secured. We could all sleep a little easier tonight.
The thrift store parking lot bar, by the way, when secured for the night, is indeed locked to a cement post with said lock and chain… on one side. Due to some strategic conceptualizing on the part of Major Johnson, the other end of the bar is secured to a similar post… with a coat hanger. This of course means, in actuality, there is damn little to stop anybody from getting into the thrift store lot if they really wanted to, and even if they didn’t.
And how do I feel about expending so much time, effort, and worry into putting up that bar, each and every night? Stupid. I feel really stupid.
Such is life.
December 22 Saturday Day 101
I got up early again, mainly to see if everything was correct from the night before, and to answer any questions Mr. Vasquez might have. He asked me if everything was correct.
“Yes sir,” I replied.
Since I was up I had breakfast, then went to my room and watched some T.V. “The New Leave It to Beaver.” I dozed off.
I woke up to the sound of someone pounding on my door again. I hoped fervently that this would not become a trend.
It was Tommy Bommorito. He said that Mr. Vasquez was gone, and that he needed his insulin. I told him to take a hike, that I was off duty, and that diabetic comas were none of my concern. No, no, just kidding. We went to the sample room and got it. I had some lunch, then showered and got dressed.
Today we were hosting the block party for the neighborhood children. The party was held in the atrium. I helped out at the desk while Robert went down to oversee the festivities. The train was set up, piñata’s were bashed, and Frank Ortiz played Santa Claus to about fifty kids. Very nice.
My shift was rather boring actually, nothing much happening. David Earl, the fork left driver dude, was three minutes late getting back tonight, and I would have been within my rights to terminate him from the program for violating curfew. He had a good story, and I didn’t think terminating would help his program, and it was freezing outside, so I let him in. Maybe I shouldn’t have, I don’t know.
Mr. Vasquez, earlier in the evening, had caught one guy drinking. That man blew a .14, so out into the cold he went.
I wish him well.
December 23 Sunday Day 102
A whole day off today! There are church services to attend though. And since I am now the lead desk person I get to be an usher and help pass around the collection plate. Oh boy!
The money that is collected during chapel does not stay here at the center. Mr. Vasquez makes a point of explaining that every week. This money also goes to help finance the Salvation Army’s imperialistic expansion into Eastern Europe and Madagascar.
Mr. Vasquez didn’t quite get around to turning on the chapel’s air conditioning/heating system in time, so it was 45 degrees in there when we walked in. Every once in a while the Major would get out of his seat to fiddle with the controls, as if his personal intervention would help things out.
The crisp atmosphere did tend to keep everyone awake.
The Major likes everyone to be awake. He has Robert take the names of those he sees nodding off, for retribution at a later time.
Afterwards, Warren Bahr and I walked over to the warehouse to check for water leaks from pipes that might have frozen and burst during the night. None were apparent. We turned on the furnace so the building could heat up a little before everybody came to work tomorrow. We did that because we’re nice guys.
As we were leaving Warren said to me, “Boy, I sure hope that water heater kicks in.”
“Why Warren, why? What will happen if the water heater doesn’t kick in?”
He just shook his head and walked away.
We went to the movies later, Warren and I. We walked up Pasadena Ave. to Colorado Blvd. A police helicopter was circling fairly low overhead. Pasadena police helicopters are painted red to keep them inconspicuous. Warren asked me, “Is that a fire department helicopter?”
“Police,” I answered. I had seen it everyday while living in the Park. It had done policish things.
We saw the film “Misery,” starring Kathy Bates and James Cann, and directed by Rob Reiner. The film was based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by William Goldman, who is a favorite of mine, although I tend to like his early work. The movie was good, fairly true to the novel. As I’ve already mentioned, King’s work typically is difficult to transpose into other mediums, such as film and haiku poetry. Much of King’s appeal is based on his ability to open a window into the thoughts of his characters (as well as all the scary, horrifying shit he can think up. I love him, but he is truly one sick, sorry bastard). In the case of “Misery,” 70% of the novel concerned the protagonist’s thoughts and ideas, which by their very nature are difficult to film. Implication, and obviously calculated physical gestures, or dialogue are almost always used to express this negation, and they almost always fail. A fine effort though, and a very good movie.
When we got back to the residence, Warren was immediately set upon by irate clients with complaints concerning the heating of the building.
“There is none, Warren, none what so ever, there is NO HEATING!”
“It’s fucking cold up there, Warren! A penguin would freeze.”
“My butt, Warren, my butt froze to the toilet seat!”
Harold Eversley asked for a shovel to get the snow out of his room.
Warren would say, “I’ve got to wait for Mr. Vasquez to go around with me to check all the thermostats.”
Mr. Vasquez, of course, was nowhere to be found.
There would be a Christmas presentation tonight at the Corps at six. I had had a taste of it already a week or so ago, at the Christmas party. Myself, Kevin Rockoff, Dennis Smith, and my old friend Rudi Johnson, got a ride from Ed Reitz, who had stopped by the residence to drop off some bread.
We arrived a half hour late. The show was very nice: boys and girls dressed up as church mice and cats, singing songs. The most engaging part of the show had never been rehearsed. Kids tripping over each other during scene changes. The children were not self-conscious at all about giving each other stage directions.
After the show there was a little get together out on the patio for those who had forgotten how cold it was outside.
My old friend, Capt. Strickland, from Canoga Park (my first ARC. Unfortunately I had really relapsed while there), and his lovely wife Pamela were there. She comes from Minot, North Dakota, a place I had thought was only used for government biological warfare experiments until she set me straight.
I called Mr. Vasquez at eight o’clock to ask for a ride back. Surprisingly he was there to answer the phone. He asked if we could get a ride from someone else, as he was still very busy. I told him that we could walk back, but he said no, that we would probably get lost. He relented, and said he would pick us up in twenty, or twenty-five minutes.
An hour later we managed to get a ride back with Rudi’s uncle, who had come for the show.
I went up to my room and watched “A Bundy Christmas,” on “Married with Children.” Then I wrote a little before falling asleep with the T.V. on.
December 24 * Monday Day 103
Christmas Eve!
The day before Christmas!
My day off!
I slept in a little, came down to the lobby around nine and wrote for a while.
My old roommate, Dennis Castle the night crawler man, and Ruben Perez did not make it back by eleven o’clock curfew last night, and were terminated from the program. Dennis however, was in the lobby when I came down, waiting and hoping that the review board would be lenient and let him back in. The review board usually met on Monday’s at one o’clock, but due to the holidays, it was held earlier today. As it turned out, both Dennis and Ruben would be allowed back, with 30 days restriction and their gratuity cut in half.
A short workday today, everyone would be off by two.
I went upstairs after I finished writing and took a little nap.
My little room is just a bit larger than some of my former closets. A rectangular affair, the walls, north and south, measure approximately ten feet wide, east and west, five. The east wall sinks into a closet, where most of my clothes, dirty laundry, and books are stored. The entrance is on the south wall, by the west corner. To the left of the door is a nightstand with a lamp on it that provides the rooms only illumination. The switch for that lamp was situated at the left of the door, half way up the wall. A good place for a light switch to be. A desk with three side drawers occupies most of the west wall. On top of that lies a very small ten-inch color T.V. The door bangs into the desk every time I open it. My bed lies alongside the north wall. There is a medium sized, rectangular hole in the north wall, with glass in it, just above my bed. My one window. My window looks out over the front parking lot of the residence. Not a bad view really. I can see who’s coming or going, what’s happening at the back of the warehouse, and the top of the mysterious Green Hotel.
Not that I spend a lot of time looking out of the window.
I do not.
The heating in my room works well. It can get nice and toasty in there. But when I lie down at night on my bed, watching a little television or reading, I can feel the cold of the night radiating from my window. That acts as a reminder of what it would be like, what it is like, to be living out there.
I took a walk after dinner, to the store and back.
I played some cribbage with Warren, and lost horribly.
I ate a big double cheeseburger with an egg on top, then I conferred with Mr. Vasquez, was briefed actually, on exactly what would be going on tomorrow during my morning Christmas shift.
As I conferred with him, Luis Carter, our duty driver for the week, came into the office and reported that one of the men he had taken to the Casa outside A.A. meeting was no where to be found when he returned to pick them up. A man who was still on his initial thirty-day restriction period. Robert and I asked him who that might be.
Luis said, “Your friend and mine, Rudi Johnson.”
This meant that Rudi, once again, was terminated from this program. He was A.W.O.L. he had generally fucked himself over again.
We addicts tend to do that a lot.
Until we get tired of it.
Or until we die.
Whichever come first.
As I’ve said, all I can do is learn from him, from his mistake. Not that being thrown out of here is a mistake in itself. Most people generally survive the experience and get along quite well without the help of the Salvation Army. But remembering Rudi’s history, he has relapsed, almost instantly, on the other two occasions he has left.
Who knows? Perhaps he bought the winning lotto ticket and is now on his was to the French Riviera.
In whatever case, I wish him well.
I returned to my lonely room and read some of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The part about Step Four.
December 25 Christmas Day Day 104
Christmas Day!
I had the six a.m. to two-thirty shift. I came down to the desk this morning to discover that we had had a mass exodus the night before. Four guys were A.W.O.L., including the guy I had saved a few days ago, David Earl.
The Shift went well. Major and Mrs. Johnson came over for breakfast. Afterwards, the Major called us up one at a time, and presented each of us with a $15 gift certificate for J.C. Penny. We also received a solid brass razor, a Christmas stocking filled with goodies, two different kinds of hair conditioner (you can never have enough), aftershave and cologne, and toothpaste. I got to help give out the gifts.
It’s better to give than receive.
We had tournaments! Spade tournaments, pool tournaments, and bowling tournaments. Let’s not forget about bingo! The merry making never stopped.
I lost at bingo.
After work I called my sister’s house in Bullhead. My mother had told me of my sister’s desire to have everyone over to her house to celebrate the day. There was no answer though. I hung up after four rings, before her answering machine kicked in, and the call charged to my mom’s credit card, which by the way, I have the number to, and use whenever I see fit. With her permission, of course.
I called my mother’s house collect. She answered and accepted the charges. A change in plans had been made, and everyone was at her house. My mother, my grandmother, and my sister were there, my mom and sister busy making dinner. My young niece Keri was not there at the time. I don’t know why. I told my mom about my recent promotion, if you can call it that. She seemed pleased. She hoped that I would soon get on the payroll. I get the feeling that she thinks everything will turn out alright for me as long as I have a job. She’s very big on being employed (everyone but her, that is). I don’t know if she would understand that a job, or the getting of one, is pretty much the last thing I have on my mind right now.
What do I have on my mind?
Funny you should ask.
Staying sober, day by day, is on my mind. Getting through each day as best as I can. ONE DAY AT A TIME. That’s all I care about right now. I may not be a shinning example of what the A.A. program recommends, but I try. And it’s working.
So far.
My sister and my mother both let me know that they liked and appreciated the gifts I had given to them for Christmas, and asked me if I could tell them exactly what they were supposed to be.
I did choose rather ambiguous gifts from the thrift store.
I advised they use their imaginations.
My sister asked me if we had real beds here at the residence. I could instantly picture what she must have thought it was like here. A large, dark, cavernous room, with rows and rows of cots, filled wall to wall with lonely, desperate, stinking, dirty men. Water buckets and mops here and there. People sleeping on cement floors.
Just like our modern, state-of-the-art jails.
I let her know that, yes, we had real beds. Even sheets and pillowcases.
My grandmother asked me where I lived. She suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Her mind has been stolen from her. I can’t imagine a worse fate. She can’t remember things very well, and gets confused and angry about it. When I told her where I lived she told me she had been through Pasadena a few times, and that she would probably not get a chance to visit here again.
She’s right of course. There’s no reason for her to come here again.
She’ll most probably never leave Bullhead City again. She has nowhere else to go, nowhere she needs to be.
I told her that if she watches the Rose Parade on T.V. on New Years Day, she could see Pasadena once again.
She said she would.
She will not remember the conversation I had with her three minutes after it was over.
She said that she loved me, and that she would pray for me.
I told her that I loved her too, and then we hung up.
I went for a walk soon after that. I just wanted to get out of the residence for a while, but it turned out to be much more than a simple respite. I walked through the park on this sunny and brisk afternoon. I remembered what it was like to live there. What it was like to walk through the Park while living there. With little hope, defeated, almost resigned to my fate. I remembered feeling imprisoned there. The parking lot where the Ryder rental trucks in which I had slept, was empty today. I thought that if I were living in the Park now I would have a tough time of finding a relatively safe place to sleep. I stood for a few minutes near one of the benches I used to sit at for hours, reading, drinking, smoking, and thinking. I did not wish to sit down.
Oh, how I missed the good old days.
It’s so strange, but part of me really did.
I walked up to Colorado Blvd. This is probably the only day of the year one will find it practically deserted. All the shops and restaurants were closed. The only place displaying some activity was the movie theater across the street from the old Salvation Army residence, on Delancy St. I remembered what it was like to walk down this street while I was living in the Park. How ashamed I been because my clothes were so dirty, and everyone else looked so nice. I had no razor to shave with, no place to go. Everyone else looked like they had nice places to go to when they finished walking around. I remembered being very hungry a lot, and having no money to buy food with. I remembered spending days in that movie theater, illegally moving from one movie to another, just so I could spend as much time as possible forgetting who and where I was.
I walked by the Hughes market, where I had been thrown out of on at least two occasions, for attempting to steal alcohol. I remembered the humiliation I had felt.
I walked across Green St. to the magnificent lawns of Ambassador College, to a large cone shaped tree. I don’t know what particular species this was. I looked at that tree for a while. I had once, not too long ago, spent an entire weekend hiding under the branches of that tree, looking at the happy and prosperous people walking in and out of the Hughes supermarket, being bombed out of my mind on gin I had stolen from the market even though they had told me they would call the police if they ever found me in the store again. I remembered the sprinklers being turned on in the middle of the night, and I remembered not caring about sleeping in the cold mud, not caring about what happened at all, whether I lived or died. I remembered waking up in a panic once while under that tree, near three a.m., reaching out for my bottle, wondering if I had any booze left, because I knew that if that bottle was empty, the booze that I had drank earlier would keep my brain awake, and I would be unable to reach the escape that sleep brought to me. That was the worst of things. But my bottle was half full, and I greedily drank what remained, and passed out again, to face my consciousness later at a more reasonable time.
That weekend under the tree was just before I moved to the Park. I was much better off in the Park. I at least, had my wits somewhat about me in the Park. Under that tree I had nothing left, and finally reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low, and glimpsed its emptiness and despaired.
While standing and looking at that tree a security guard from the college drove toward me in an electric cart, and gently asked me to remove myself from the lawn.
I moved on.
December 26 Wednesday Day 105
After I returned from my little trip through lousy memory lane, and after I lost horribly at bingo, I went upstairs to my lonely room, and while eating different flavored chocolate torts, I opened the last of my Christmas presents that my mother had brought to me from Arizona. I had opened one earlier in the day, supposedly from my grandmother… shirts of various, multi-hued colors. Very nice. So I had two left to open when I got back. One was again from my sister and niece. The festive looking package contained an organizer, a notebook separated into three parts. It has an address book, a note pad, and a three-year calendar. A pen and a check book calculator too! Very handy. I’m using it to write my Fourth Step. So ironically, the first entry into the note pad was about my sister, Cheryl, and all of the resentments I’ve held against her throughout the years, like kicking me out of her house the last time I was in Bullhead.
Of course, I realize that she was perfectly justified in doing so. I was drunk as a skunk the last time I was there. That doesn’t mean I still don’t resent it.
My last present to open was from my dear sweet mother. It was the mini-tape recorder that I had asked her for. I spent about twenty minutes learning how to operate it, and learn its operational secrets.
Then I tested it. I tested it on Mr. Vasquez. The first and only tape recording I have made on it so far goes like this:
MR. VASQUEZ’S VOICE OVER THE PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM: “may I have your attention in the residence pleeease! Tonight’s VCR movie is about to begin in the small TV room Tonight’s feature is: “The Fourth War.” On a scale of one to ten… a hefty nine and a half!” Voices in the background can be heard going, “Oooooooooowwwooooww!” then circles of laughter. “Thank you,” Robert ends.
MY VOICE: “See what my mom gave me for Christmas.”
MR. VASQUEZ: “Hummmmm, let me see. What is it?”
ME: “A tape recorder.”
MR. VASQUEZ: “A tape recorder?”
ME: “Yes sir.”
MR. VASQUEZ: “How come the wheels are going round?”
ME: “Because it’s recording.”
MR. VASQUEZ: “recording what?”
ME: “Whatever you just said.”
Mr. Vasquez squinted up his face as he whispered, “Jeeeesuusss.”
Today was one of my long workdays. I kept pretty busy, did a little writing. Mr. Vasquez and I made sure the chapel was nice and warm for tonight’s services. We got through the night. After work, I immediately went upstairs and went to bed. Shortly after five in the morning I’ll get up and do it all over again.
December 27 Thursday Day 106
I did it all again. Up at ten after five. Art Svensk, who is filling in for Wolf Pandolfi while he’s on vacation, came into my room and woke me. I said, “Thank you, Art.” He said, “We gotta get some traps,” and walked out.
I showered and dressed, smoked a cigarette, then went downstairs. I donned a pair of work gloves, and walked out into the cold morning air to take down the bar in the thrift store parking lot.
At devotion time, I checked upstairs for stragglers, and chased down Frank Dominguez.
I gave Ruben Perez and Tommy Bommorito their insulin, delivered the paperwork, and made a dorm inspection. Warren was sick in bed. He has the flu, he told me. More virus action. The cooks in the kitchen are delighted that Warren has the flu. I don’t know why. Every time Warren walks into the kitchen, Rico Montgomery rushes up to him, saying, “Warren! Everything’s working okay. Please Warren, don’t fix anything! Please!”
I am coming down with a cold as well.
One of the Major’s pet peeves is cigarette butts littering the parking lot out front. The men, when smoking, are supposed to stay near the two areas were ashtrays are provided. None do. I don’t. Ed Reitz caught me flicking a butt out into the street, and asked me to pick it up. I did. I felt like a fool. I told him I was going to quit smoking tomorrow. He seemed pleased.
I went out later and tossed another cigarette butt into the street.
Cool defiance.
Nothing much happened during the afternoon. Gerald Montgomery checked out of the program. He gave no reason. I wish him well.
I did a little writing.
At substance abuse we were shown a video in which Richard Dryfuss explained the perils of using and abusing cocaine. He spoke mostly of “crack” cocaine, the type that is smoked. I found it particularly interesting because I have never smoked cocaine. Others have told me that I was lucky never to have smoked it. Crack is extremely addictive they say. I’m glade I never did.
I once spoke with Mr. Dryfuss. He was in Santiago, Brazil at the time, probably filming the movie, “The Moon Over Parador.” I had had a hard time finding him. Everybody thought he was out by the pool at his hotel, but he wasn’t. I found him in his room. He may have been hiding. He said to me these words, “That’s me. I’m Richard Dryfuss.” I had said to him, “I have a person to person call to Richard Dryfuss, from the United States…”
I skipped out of the A.A. panel. I can do that with impunity now, because I’m a big time lead desk person. I don’t need to hear those persons drunk-a-logs. I remember mine all to well.
The night crawler driver, Lee Jefferson, and my deskman, Clarence Bliss, got into a little argument. They didn’t like the way each other spoke over the radio. Poor radio etiquette I guess.
I made my rounds at ten, chasing guys out of the weight room, bowling alley, and laundry room.
Ron Davis, who had been on a weeklong pass to visit his grandmother in Detroit, and whose pass expired this evening, did not show up by curfew, so I marked him as being A.W.O.L./A.C.O. (A.C.O. = Administrative Check Out, as opposed to V.C.O., Voluntary Check Out).
Art Svensk came in to begin his shift at a little before eleven. I asked him why we needed traps.
“For the rats,” he told me.
“There’s rat’s over in the warehouse?”
“Big ones.”
December 28 Friday Day 107
I woke to the sound of pounding on my door. It was Mr. Vasquez this time. He wanted to ask question about some of the paperwork I had done last night. He also told me that Ron Davis had come in this morning. His flight had been delayed, so he was allowed back in. Good.
I went back to sleep for a little while. I was a little tired.
I had lunch when I got up, then wrote in the lobby.
Mr. Vasquez had been trying to get a vehicle so he could escap… run some errand, but every time he picked up a key from the dispatch office, he would get himself involved with one thing or another, and dispatch would ask for the key back.
“Maybe they’re trying to tell you something, sir,” I offered.
Mr. Vasquez’s birthday was yesterday. He is now officially as old as the hills. I gave him one of my ties that I knew he liked. A red one.
As I wrote, I overheard him ask Kevin Rockoff for some white-out. Apparently he had dozed off while writing. He had intended to write the name Ron Collins, but it came out, Ron Collimorsss…
I began my shift. Mr. Vasquez finally got a vehicle and went to Tastee’s Donuts to place an order. We needed to actually buy some donuts, for New Years Day. Some VIP Salvation Army guy was coming to visit.
I gave my first new client’s orientation at six o’clock, whereupon I successfully orientated the new clients. No problems.
Dennis Smith’s father came to visit him. His father is a Major in the Salvation Army. Major Smith. He runs the Sacramento ARC. Very nice.
When Mr. Vasquez returned from Tastee’s, he directed me to page him when the ladies at the thrift store called to go to the bank. He would take them. I assured him I would.
Warren Bahr gave me some cold medicine. It would eventually keep me up until four in the morning. I think I’m getting hooked on it.
I want some right NOW.
Warren had lent Dan his bike to got to the mall, and while there, someone cut the lock and stole it. Someone long ago stole my ten speed bike too, a bike I had won in a contest at Disneyland. I hate it win things are stolen from me. That’s why I believe Buddha was wise when he rejected all possessions and worldly goods. He never had to hate.
Dan felt real bad about it. Especially since he had his own ten speed bike locked up in back.
The ladies from the thrift store called, and I went to Mr. Vasquez’s room and knocked on his door.
“Did they call?” he asked from the depths of his domain.
“Yes sir.”
“Why didn’t you page me?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t be sure you heard the page.”
“Yes I would have,” he said. “I’m one hundred percent alert.”
He came down a moment later. It turns out he had locked himself out of his room though, and had to use the master key to get back inside.
Storm clouds began to move in from the southeast. As they covered the sky, I read from the book, Counseling Adults In Transition. The authors recommend having a job in which ones mental abilities are taxed, or the brain will atrophy. I wholeheartedly agree.
At ten o’clock I made my rounds then read a little more until midnight. Clyde Foster, a young black man who worked in the kitchen, did not make it back by curfew. I hope he’s alright. I finished the paperwork terminating Clyde at twelve-eighteen, then went to bed.
Clyde spoke fluent German, having been stationed in Germany while serving in the army. He also had a girlfriend who lives in Germany, who often called him on Sundays.
Her name is Barbara.
December 29 Saturday Day 108
I was secretly in love with Barbara, even though I had never met her, or even talked to her. I thought it charming that she would call Clyde every Sunday, from so far away. I was once in love with a girl from another country. Australia. She had the good sense to dump me early in the relationship, and to go home and continue on with her life, free of a dead weight.
For that’s what I was. That’s what practicing addicts are. Even though they pretend to be successful, even though they may be able to maintain a charade of sanity, able to get through on a day to day basis, they are deceiving themselves, as I was. I lacked the ability to deal with reality, and made my own which included no one but myself.
We deceive others also, some who care deeply for us. Their caring and love cannot cure us. They get sick believing they can, telling us we aren’t sick, and letting us continue to deceive ourselves, thus living the lie as well. Accommodating themselves, molding themselves to something that isn’t there.
My Aussie lady, Janine Cory, did not have that sickness. She left me. She cared enough for herself, loved herself enough, to leave me because I refused to help myself, even though, at the time, I had an inkling of my problem. Our breakup was very painful for both us, as we, I believe, truly cared for each other. I hope she is doing well. I hope she is content. I hope she is fulfilled, and has found meaning in her life. I hope she can remember me with some kindness. For my part, my thoughts of her are always fond. Besides being a lovely and caring girl, it was through her that my eyes were eventually opened for the first time. Through her I received the first chance to get my life, although I would not actualize that chance, make good on it, for years to come.
After she left I started attending A.A. meetings (somewhat reluctantly at first), and first admitted that I was an alcoholic, and will always be one.
I have forgotten that many times. Or chose to ignore it, so I have relapsed many times. I needed to test the truth, the undeniable fact of my addiction, over and over again. To suffer a little more, again, and again, until finally, the suffering just didn’t make any kind of sense anymore.
Like a man who continues to stick his hand in a pot of boiling water, repeatedly, being badly burned every time. He tells himself that the next time will be different, that the water will be a little warm, but nothing he couldn’t handle. He tries again, and again, and again, until one day, his hand is so disfigured, he has endured so much pain, gaining absolutely nothing in return, that is doesn’t make any sense anymore. Even to himself! He who has spent a lifetime building a never ending supply of rationalizations and defense mechanisms that make it easy for him to keep on doing it. At some point it just doesn’t wash anymore, and reality hits him hard in the face, and I mean hard, really hard. When that happens, then the only thing that makes any kind of sense at all… is to stop.
Which is what I’ve done. Finally.
I wear a ring that Janine gave to me. It’s silver and has a black stone embedded into it. It’s simple and I love it very much. It’s the only piece of jewelry I own or wear. It comes from Australia, just like she did. I’ve worn it for over eight years.
At twenty till six, I received a call from the ladies at the thrift store. One of them told me they were a little concerned over there. Concerned about four guys who had entered the store, and loitered in the back. Jose Saucedo, a thrift store employee, went over to investigate. He noticed one of these guys pull what looked like a 22 caliber pistol from his pocket, and put it back in again.
They left without mishap after inquiring as to the stores hours of operations.
The ladies called me because they felt there was a distinct possibility that a robbery attempt might be made on the store as they were closing. It seemed to the ladies, and to me, that the perfect time to rob the place would be when it closed.
I told Mr. Vasquez, and he said he would go check it out. He is a very courageous fellow, although not too bright at times.
He later told me that he had scared himself silly by looking at his own reflection in one of the large mirrors placed in strategic locations throughout the store.
He did call the police, but no robbery attempt was made.
The police never did show up. They were much too busy harassing homeless people in the Park.
They did call an hour later, to ascertain as to whether we were still alive.
Lloyd Beacham, of TV channel changing fame (50 guys could be totally entranced, watching a cliff hanger movie, and he comes in and wants the channel changed), did not make it back by midnight curfew. Lloyd, a short, almost bald, black, irritating individual, did not take his program very seriously, I believe. Television viewing seemed to occupy most of his conscious thought processes, and he was quite adamant about exactly what it was he wanted to watch. And when. A professional pan-handler and two-bit con man by trade, I was not too broken up about his departure.
I do wish him well, though. I have the feeling we have not seen the last of Lloyd.
Earlier I had walked outside to smoke a cigarette. I was not standing anywhere near one of the ashtrays. While standing there, minding my own business, I saw something moving in the bushes at the far side of the parking lot. It looked for a minute like a huge, gray rat, but as it moved out onto the sidewalk I could see that it was an opossum. It swaddled out into the middle of the street, stopped, looked back at me and wrinkled his nose (or her), and continued on its way until it disappeared into the As-Is yard.
December 30 Sunday Day 109
After church I enjoyed a good cup of coffee in the canteen, then wrote.
It was a beautiful day in Pasadena. Not a cloud in the sky and no smog to speak of. Kevin Rockoff and I took a little stroll up to the mall on Colorado Blvd. I purchased a Levis Strauss wallet with my gift certificate, $14.49. We then roamed through the mall taking in the scenery.
It during this time that I discovered the secret of feminine beauty. Much like enlightenment, it came to me in a flash. A lot of people believe it has to do with the woman’s body, or face, or appearance, or various aspects of the “female façade,” but it doesn’t.
It’s very simple really.
But on to other things.
Kevin has a mail order romance going on with a girl named Vicky, who lives right here in Pasadena. They’ve never met. They know each other because Kevin answered an ad in a local singles column, and received a reply. They have talked on the phone several times, and plan to meet after the New Year. While I was in the lobby writing today, Kevin composed a letter to Vicky (who I believe is a nurse), and kept asking me to spell different words to him. I’m the last person he should be asking for that. Anyway, we stopped at the greeting card shop in the mall and Kevin picked out a card to go with his letter. The card read, “Don’t open this until you’re in the mood.” On the inside was printed, “It didn’t take much, did it?”
We also passed a video shop. There was a working camera pointed toward all of the after Christmas sale shoppers, and Kevin and I looked at our stupid, grinning faces for a while, the walked back to the residence.
We walked back through the park. We saw Lloyd Beacham there, with a quart bottle of beer in his hand.
I won a game of bingo tonight, and got two canteen cards for it.
Then I watched the Sunday night VCR movie, “The Hunt for Red October.” This was the third time I’ve seen it. It is based on the book by Tom Clancy. By coincidence, I just happened to acquire Clancy’s latest book, A Clear and Present Danger, last night.
I went to my room and settled into bed at around midnight. My TV was on, and I was watching an episode of “The New Twilight Zone,” on channel seven. The episode concerned a small town whose occupants, one by one, were going crazy. Outside help was called for, and a doctor was sent to help find the cause of this mysterious outbreak. No biological reason could be found, but those afflicted could infect others it seemed. The doctor traced this “illness” back to one person. This person was a researcher, an archaeologist, who had discovered the true meaning of life, much like I discovered the secret of feminine beauty. All this man (who was quite insane) had to do to drive others mad was to reveal the meaning of life to them. To whisper it in their ears.
It worked every time.
December 31 Monday Day 110
This morning I slept in a tad. By the time I got up it was lunchtime.
After lunch I wrote in the lobby. It was a regular workday, so it was relatively quiet there. Mr. Vasquez was running around like a beheaded chicken, trying to get things ready for a few Colonels and Commissioners who were spending the night. Because of the Rose Parade, the Major says, the Pasadena ARC gets very popular one day a year.
I wrote and read for most of the afternoon, getting through the first two hundred pages of the Clancy book.
Tonight being New Year’s Eve and all, we played bingo. Five canteen cards a game, but I lost every time. Horribly.
I went upstairs to my room, and then came back down again. I went out to the As-Is Yard. It was dark now. Paul Wisely and Dennis Smith were stationed near the entrance waiting for people to come and park their cars there at ten bucks a shot. Those people who parked there would of course, then walk up to Colorado Blvd., and wait for the Rose Parade to begin in the morning. Turning our As-Is Yard and thrift store parking lot into a money making venture, was Mr. Vasquez’s idea, as it was during the Do Da Parade. It probably would have worked yet once again, and made a lot of money for the Salvation Army’s imperialistic expansion into Greenland and Ethiopia, if the Pasadena police hadn’t blocked off all of the entrances to Waverly Dr. and Del Mar Blvd, effectively isolating the center from the rest of the civilized world, and ruining Robert’s business aspirations.
Amazingly enough, there was one car in the As-Is Yard. It had gotten through the police barricade somehow.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I walked through the As-Is Yard, into the thrift store parking lot, where my friend Warren Bahr and Johnny George stood watch. They had three cars! Warren was standing outside, while Johnny was seated inside a shack, dressed in winter clothing, had covered himself with a sleeping bag, sitting in front of an electric heater, while watching a miniature television set.
I continued up to Colorado Blvd., to see what I could see. Traffic was heavy on Fair Oaks going north toward the parade route, and sparse headed south. The closer I got to Colorado, the more crowded and louder it got. Warren snuck up behind me, riding his ten speed (apparently he had pilfered another one). We walked the rest of the to the boulevard together.
It was a madhouse. People everywhere, up and down the wide street for as far as the eye could see. Traffic was heavy and slow, and it was probably a good idea to have your window rolled up, as the folks standing around on the sidewalks had a tendency to throw marshmallows in the vehicles, and shoot streamers of shaving cream onto the windshields. Most had brought their own lawn chairs and sleeping bags, and at nine p.m., it was already hard to find a place to sit. Lots of people, lots of police, lots of pretty girls, lots of craziness and noise.
I stood around and watched for maybe five minutes, as I smoked a cigarette. Then I returned to the residence.
I went up to my room again, then came back down. I went out front to smoke a cigarette, just as Commissioner Rader and his family arrived. I think he’s in charge of the Salvation Army in the western United States. He seemed a nice enough fellow. They would be freeloa… utilizing both of the residence apartments tonight.
I asked Robert to tell Wolf (who had returned from vacation yesterday) that I would leave my room unlocked, and he should come in to wake me at four-thirty.
I read in my room until eleven-fifty three. Then I went to my bathroom and smoked my last cigarette. After inhaling my last lungful of smoke for 1990, I extinguished the butt at exactly 11:59:59.
I then returned to my room and looked out of my window, and listened to the crowd on Colorado Blvd. Go wiiiiiiiiiillllllddd!!!

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