Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Diary Ten

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

Again, I'd have a real problem going to war just to keep the price of gasoline low. A real problem.
I'm continously amazed at what is tolerated in this world, what our political process is helpless to do anything about, how selfish self-interest transcends the common good. Homelessness in the United States, overpopulation in the world, low birth rates in other countries, destruction of our natural resources. I'm amazed at these things. This is our home, the only one we're likely to have until (if) we colonize the solar system. But there are politicians on Washington who would trade clean air for themselves and their children, or let our planet suffer a runaway green house effect (like Venus) just to make a buck, and maintain their high standard of living.
Every time I see pictures in the paper or on television of joint sessions of Congress I'm reminded of the old children's program Romper Room. I don't know why.
I'm further amazed (are you amazed that I'm amazed?) that the various religions throughout the world, creations myths and fables invented by man, and used by him (or her) to cope with life's hardships, immaturity, and existential loneliness, can at the same time be used by ruthless individuals to gain enormous personal power in the guise of righteousness and piety, to cause the death of millions upon millions throughout recorded history.
Except for possible the influenza virus, religion is the greatest killer of mankind (and womankind). I wish we could do without it. I don't care for all of the blood.
It amazes me when people profess to be overly concerned with life after death, or use religion to condone certain destructive behavior. That tells me they live in some other time other that the present, which also allows them be immune, or unconcerned about their earthly conduct or life, expecting some reward or paradise after their dead. And that belief, no matter how sincerely felt, is based on nothing more substantial than mere here-say, whether from the Bible, Koran, parents, peers, or whatever. Is unsubstantiated rumors worth killing and dying for?
No. Any other answer borders on the hysterical.
We may very well exist after experiencing death, but certainly in no familiar way. The atoms in our body will survive indefinitely, but our personalities shall certainly cease to exist. Maybe there is heaven, but the way I've heard it described I think I'd have more fun in Hell than I would there. Maybe we do reincarnate over and over again throughout eternity, but eventually the entire universe, the cosmos, will run out of energy and die, what happens to our souls then? Maybe, if we die as martyrs, we will be transported to a paradise of milk and honey, and be serviced by a large number of virgin women (do women get the same deal?), but there is absolutely no evidence for any of these scenarios.
At some future date I will experience death, or so I'm told. I hear it is inevitable. I have no problem facing that reality, though it pisses me off. If it's inevitable, it's inevitable. One day it will happen. Until that day I shall be alive, and attempt to live each day the best I can. I probably consider death more often than most, which I believe also allows me to enjoy life more than most. Still, I can come to terms with the certainty that my personality will be destroyed after I die, and that I shall experience some form of an endless, dreamless, sleep. Using those terms I can handle death, for I sort of die each night when I go to sleep at night. One reason I write, and write using the form of a diary, is to preserve my personality after my inevitable death, which those who don't write, or appear in movies, or sing on records, don't get to do. Their personalities die with them. By writing I give death the finger, so to speak. Living this way, and thinking this way keeps me in the present. Those who worry, to the extreme, about what happens to them after death, and are totally committed to sacrificing their present lives, as to make their afterlife more agreeable, live in tomorrow. Those who live in tomorrow seem to want to spend a lot of their time and energy there, instead of today, which implies they care less about what happens today... where I live. Those who don't care about today (the world, their own lives, other people's lives, or whatever happens to anything, doesn't matter to them because they plan a greater existence in the hereafter), make me nervous.
Put more simply; religious fanaticism makes me nervous. Really nervous.
Those interested in the above diatribe who desire further information please refer to my next book, The World and How it Should Be, by R. Joyce.
The night crawler, Lee Jefferson, radioed in to report that somebody had locked themselves inside the Tujunga trailer, shouting to leave him alone and go away. We later discovered it was just the trailer attendant in there screwing his girlfriend.
Dr. Ed Reitz and I, quietly observed Reuben Smith, prevaricator extraordinaire smoking a cigarette down in the atrium. This was against the rules of course. We confronted Reuben in the weight room. We didn't write him up, only because both Ed and I were so thoroughly impressed by his natural ability to instantly fabricate such an intricate and outrageous story (to use the word "lie," would imply an inartistic endeavor), depicting the reason why it was so absolutely necessary for him to be smoking at that time and place. I won't repeat what it was he said as to do so would too much of an affront to truth, honesty, and the American Way.
I accidentally sprayed myself with some perfume that had been left over from gifts for a group of ladies Mrs. Johnson had shown around earlier. Rockoff kept telling me I smelled like a Belgian whore.
I got him to admit however, that he had no idea what a Belgian whore smelled like.
I don't know either. I imagine it would depend on the whore.
Mr. Vasquez safely returned from a trip visiting his niece in Upland. At least that's where he said he was. Lawrence Bliss suspects he is seeing a mistress.
A Scud missile was launched from Iraq into Tel Aviv today, making the Israelites exceptionally anxious. Astonishingly, there seemed to be no fatalities. I personally never use Russian medium range missiles. They just can't be trusted.
Before retiring, I shared a pizza with Tommy Bommarito, Dennis Brown, and Kevin Rockoff. Pepperoni and mushroom.
I left the T.V. on when I went to bed, listening to tales of destruction.
January 18 Friday Day 128
I slept in until nine-thirty, showered, dressed and went down to have lunch, then wrote for a while in the lobby.
My friend Warren Bahr came by to visit and collect some of his possessions. He's now living with his sister, in Palmdale. He's smoking a little dope (marijuana) now and then, he tells me, but is otherwise staying sober.
Marijuana is especially dangerous for me, because I liked it so much, and have smoked so much throughout my life. Pretty much everyday during the last five years. If I were to start smoking it again... well it's just like alcohol, isn't it? A mind altering substance is a mind altering substance, even if it's a mind altering substance. But if I were to start smoking again it wouldn't be too long long before I'd start drinking.
Warren hasn't made up his mind about coming back after his thirty day suspension.
I snuck upstairs and tried to catch a little of the news on T.V. News about the war. All the networks had gone back to regular programming though. It would appear the novelty of America going to war has worn off. Now it's time to re-anesthetize the nation with repeats of "Charlie's Angels," soap operas, and game shows.
At three-thirty I paid out the week's gratuity to those who wanted it (everyone). Don Erwin walked by and asked me what it was like in the world of high finance.
"The air is thin," I replied.
Near seven-thirty, I received a phone call from Irma, at the thrift store. She said, "Hello. Esta es Irma, de la thrift store. Vamos a poner Todo el dinero que esta aqui en la caja fuerte ahora en la noche, Solo que no tienen que llevarnos al banco... okay?"
She sounded a tad exasperated as she repeated, "Vamos a poner todo el dinero de ahora en la caja fuerte y no hay necesidad que vengau a llevarnos al banco... tu entiendes?"
"You are ready for us to come take you to the bank, yes?"
"No! Vamos a poner el dinero en la caja fuerte so que no tienes que venir... No tenenios que ir al banco..."
"You are ready for the bank, right?"
"No! No guerenios ir al banco. Ta hablas en Espaniol?"
"No. I do not speak Spanish. I only speak English."
"No hay alguier que hable ingles? Oh, guiero decir, no hay alguier que hable Espaniol?"
I asked Clarence Bliss and Eddie Gillespie if either of them spoke Spanish. Negative.
"No," I told Irma, "no one here speaks Spanish. I'm sorry."
"Okay. We are going to put all of today's money in our vault. You don't have to come and take us to the bank. You understand?"
"Yes, I understand. You don't need to go to the bank, yes?"
"No. We don't have to go."
"All right."
"All right?"
"All right. Good by."
Later, I got into a little altercation with Lee Franklin, the night crawler. He was also this week's duty driver, and at ten, when one of the clients began to complain of chest and stomach pains, and requested to be taken to the hospital, Lee said he was too tired to take him. He asked me if it was all right if he could take him in the morning.
"Sure Lee. I'll just ask him if he could hold off his heart attack until you've rested a bit."
I quickly changed Lee's mind about waiting, and got our ailing client to U.S.C.s Medical Central.
After my shift I watched T.V., but there was no news of the war, so I turned out the lights, crawled into bed and slept like a dead, overworked and under appreciated log (coniferous).
January 19 Saturday Day 129
After writing in the lobby this morning, I got ready for work.
My friend Rudy Richardson came and picked up his stuff. He is now in the Veteran Administration's drug and alcohol treatment program. Good for him.
Still not much news about what's happening in the Persian Gulf. None that I can find, in any case.
I now list television viewing and the reading of escapist fiction as addictive behavior. When I compare the amount of effort required to sit down and read a textbook, or book of non-fiction (even concerning fields of knowledge I'm very interested in), to that of reading a Clancy novel say, the fictional book is at once more attractive and hypnotizing, and requires no effort.
I always get sleepy reading textbooks. I don't know why.
T.V. is rather self explanatory. Some, if not given proper nourishment, will die in front of their sets.
Things went well at work, until about six, the all hell broke lose.
First, a young kid by the name of Morgan, had his sexy girlfriend over for a visit. It turned out his urge to be with her was greater than it was to be with us. He was here only long enough to get a haircut.
Then Sam Varela came in to pick up his clothes after having gone A.W.O.L.
In the basement to get Sam's clothes out of storage, I passed Ray Burrows, an older gentleman, who told me he was checking out.
After getting Sam his stuff, I noticed that the guy who had been taken to the hospital last night had returned shortly after seven this morning. Apparently he survived. He had also signed out to the thrift store at noon, just as his roommate, Johnny George noticed he was missing a radio and some other personal items from his locker. This gentleman never returned to the residence.
Art Martinez then came in to pick up his six bags of stuff after he had gone A.W.O.L. We went down the elevator together, and he told me he had been mugged last night downtown, by a bunch of kids. It can be real hard out on those streets, for anybody.
Art is an older man, Hispanic, as his last name would imply. One of the few chess players that had lived here. He had gone A.W.O.L. after missing a bus.
Rapid Transit District.
Art's just waiting for the thirty day restriction period to end so he can return to the center.
Finally, Ray Valverde came in, after an afternoon out in the Park with some of his home boys, and blew a .16. He won't be feeling too good in the morning. He was really smashed.
He won't feel too warm tonight either. It's cold out there.
January 20 Sunday Day 130
I woke up and glance over my shoulder (I was lying on my stomach at the time) in order to glance at one of my three clocks (it's good to be redundant). Seven-thirty. I turned over and thought to myself, I can sleep a few more hours. Usually, if I don't have the morning shift I can sleep as late as I want. I closed my eyes, but could not go back to sleep. I idly wondered why it was that I couldn't get back to sleep, why I had this nagging feeling that it was important I remain awake. Then I remembered it was Sunday, and I had chapel to attend.
Funny how the mind works.
So I got up and fought my way through Don Erwin and Roger Collins for the shower. I dressed quickly, and was at the desk by eight-thirty.
For some reason Mr. Vasquez did not need me as an usher today, so I got to stay at the desk during the service. I spent this time wisely. I earned three canteen cards by drawing a hundred little squares, a hundred and twenty one actually, onto a standard eight and a half by eleven piece of white paper. In one hundred of those little squares, I wrote down the names of all of our current beneficiaries. All 87 of them. I also wrote down the names of the 8 employees who live in the residence.
All this was for a football pool.
We usually sponsor some type of tournament over the weekend, in addition to bingo, bowling, spades, and javelin catching. Dennis Smith has been put in charge of these events (I don't know why), and he is given 30 canteen cards to dole out to the winners.
The bowling alley was out of order, we were temperairily out of javelins, and no one wanted to play spades while the playoffs were on television, so I got the idea of a football pool. Dennis agreed that it was a good day, and said he would split his commission of six canteen cards if I got everything ready.
It worked like this: I had drawn a large rectangle with a whole bunch of little squares in it. On the west and north sides of the rectangle I wrote the numbers 0 through 9. The Raiders and the Bills were playing the first game of the day, so the 0 through 9 on the west side represented the Bills, and the north the Raiders. At the end of each quarter of play, the last number in the team's score accounted for the number of the winning row. For example, let's say the score at the end of the first quarter of play was Bills 21, and the Raiders 3. Where the rows 1 and 3 intersected, the person whose name was in that little box was the winner of the quarter.
Very complicated.
The above score was in fact the actual score at the end of the first quarter. Hobart Rogers, the bailer man (the person who ran the bailing machine, where the clothes that we did not use were baled and sold as rags), won the first round and three canteen cards. This would not be the end of Hobart's good fortune.
I recall the last week I predicted the Raiders would lose this game. I was wrong, they didn't lose, they were obliterated. The score at halftime was 41 to 3. Hobart of course, won once again. At the end of the third quarter the score was 48 to 3, and the final score, 51 to to 3. Out of a possible hundred possible last number combinations, Hobart's 3 and 1, won three times.
Everyone was about ready to kill Hobart by the time the second game started. We had to put him in protective custody.
I took a little walk after the game.
There was another repeat "Star Trek, the Next Generation," episode on tonight, so to pass the time without fear of doing anything constructive, I read from Dr, Carl Sagan's novel, Contact.
I lost horribly at bingo once again. Then retired to my room to eventually fall asleep after watching, "Married with Children," "Monsters," and, "The New Twilight Zone," on T.V. The last thing I remembered, was thinking about how my mother had once told me she had met Rod Serling, the creator of the original classic "Twilight Zone."
"For your consideration..."
January 21 Monday Day 131
I slept in a little this morning, as I like to do on Mondays. I got down to the desk by eleven, and relieved Clarence Bliss for lunch.
I ate after Clarence returned. Half done breaded chicken patties. I sat next to Mr. Vasquez, who was already seated next to Ed McNicol; the morning canteen man. Ed, a quiet gentleman in his mid-sixties, with thinning white hair and a rather large paunch. Very unobtrusive. He quite possibly has the very best job around here (as far as hours go). Everyday he gets up at four-thirty (five-thirty on weekends), and mans the canteen from five to six-thirty. He sells coffee mostly.
That's all he does.
Everyday, seven days a week.
An hour and a half a day, and he gets his own private room, his meals, and twenty bucks a week. He makes more money an hour worked (almost a whole dollar) than any other beneficiary.
Ed and Mr. Vasquez were pondering the latest war news. More Scud missiles attacks into Tel Aviv and Saudi Arabia. So far Israel has not retaliated. Super amazing.
"What we should do," Mr. Vasquez ruminated, "is get all these dope fiends, gang bangers, and alkies, over to Saudi Arabia, set up a land attack, and make sure they're all in the first wave."
Mr. Vasquez is from the "Old School" of rehabilitation.
After lunch I walked up to Walnut Street in hope of going to the library to read Mary Chase's play, "Harvey." I soon found out that the library was closed today. I had forgotten that today was the day we were all supposed to be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, even though his actual birthday was last week.
It's more convenient for us living people to have your birthday always fall on a Monday, if you happen to be a famous dead person.
I walked back to the residence, feeling a little disappointed, and a little angry with myself for not remembering the holiday.
I got over it.
I walked past the building were I was once held captive by the Pasadena police department for most of a weekend shortly before I came to the A.R.C. I felt pretty good about looking at the building from the outside rather than being on the inside looking out. It felt even better to be able to walk away from that old, ugly looking building too. I felt a little sorry (not much) for the guards who work in there, who are actually much more of a captive than I ever was.
I wrote after returning to the residence, than farted around.
Ed Reitz discussed Israel's place in the current war during Bible Study. At least I think that was what he was talking about.
Afterwards I retired to the canteen and ate an egg and cheese sandwich while talking to Reuben Smith about his striving towards "blackness." Reuben and I both come from the San Fernando Valley, which is located to the northwest of the San Gabriel Valley, where Pasadena is located. Besides from that we don't have a whole lot in common, except we're bot slightly crazy. Reuben is very thin, about six feet tall, with a dark complexion. He has a quick wit, and is extremely bright, and very funny. He has a little problem dealing with reality though (who doesn't?). He refuses to watch horror, or science fiction movies because they give him bad nightmares. Anyway, Reuben told me that he has 50% American Indian blood in him, but he wants to be black, like Rico Montgomery, the other half of the famous Zulu brothers. Rico has made Reuben an honorary black man, you see. Reuben's now a "brother." He's also the only one around here that I know of who can juggle.
He's up to three bowling pins now.
I spent the remainder of the evening in my room, reading. I finished the Sagan book. Very good. I then read some of Concepts of Chemical Dependency, concerning addiction to tobacco. Then I decided to quit smoking tomorrow. Next, I watched a television program on channel 28, a local P.B.S. station, about the African Rift Valley. And finally, the last thing I did before I went to sleep, I read two chapters of The Milagro Beanfield War, about the ghost of a disembodied arm raking havoc in New Mexico.
January 22 Tuesday Day 132
My favorite day of the week! Sweet Tuesday.
Why, you may ask?
Well, I only work half a day, and I have the evening off. I like evenings off. I can go to meetings if I wish, or I can lie around and do nothing. Almost nothing.
I still have two meetings in the residence to attend. One of them of course, is with my one true love. Jill, of the flaming red hair.
She asked me (she's always asking me things) haw my week had been. I told her, "just fine." I told her that it had been a good week for me. It had been a horrible week for others, but it had been a good one for me.
She wanted everyone in the group to name some goals to achieve during the upcoming week. Something small, she said. Something that may help us to move forward in life.
Being the true alcoholic that I am, I gave her two more than she asked for. One, that I would continue to write everyday. Easy.
Two, to read the book that my counselor, Richard, had loaned to me earlier in the day. Also very easy. The book, Intervention, by our old friend, Vernon E. Johnson, is 111 pages. No prob.
Three, to continue not to smoke cigarettes. Decidedly the most difficult of the three, but now that's out in the open, and I've committed myself and everything, I may be able to do it. I hope.
We shall see.
Today I got to tell everyone who tried to mooch a cigarette from me things like, "I don't have any. I quit," or "I quit I don't have any." They all said the same thing back to me, "Again?"
Tomorrow morning I would discover that Jill had written down my three goals in the confidential counseling book. Now I'm on record. If I do manage to stop smoking I owe it all to Jill. What a wonderful and caring being she is for her to help me like that, without her even being slightly conscious of it.
It just goes to show...
Richard, my counselor, asked me today what was the meaning of my life.
I told him I'd get back to him on that.
After another rousing Step Study meeting, where I learned yet once again what the Third Step was all about, I wrote in the lobby, then made a mad dash for the supermarket to purchase a lotto ticket. I made my way to my lonely room upon returning, and watched a very funny Tom Hanks movie, "The Man with One Red Shoe." I watched this while reading the Johnson book.
One line from this movie has always stood out in my mind. Tom has just been struck down by an errant baseball, and is lying flat on his back on the field while Lori Singer and Jim Belushi look down upon him. Jim tells Tom to get up. Lori admonishes him, pointing out as seriously as she can, "This man has been badly beaned."
I guess you had to have been there.
It went to sleep shortly after the film ended, shortly after reading some more of the Beanfield book, learning of snake attacks, poultry be-heading's and bunny murders.
I dreamt of Arthur C. Clarke's great Ramon cylinder rotating as it hurtled toward the sun.
January 23 Wednesday Day 133
Another wonderful day here at the Salvation Army!
Another sunny, but crisp day here in Pasadena, California.
I began at the desk at six in the morning, and did the work day boogie.
Mr. Vasquez borrowed a car from someone and took off.
My counselor, Richard, came in to counsel the Zulu brothers, and dropped off another book for me. Man's Search for Meaning, by Victor E. Frankel.
I believe my counselor is trying to steer me in some direction only known to him.
I caught Rico Montgomery attempting to bring a very nice long, black coat into the residence, for his new married girlfriend, Tina. After hassling him for an adequate amount of time, I let him bring it in. I made him really begin to worry whether or not I was going to bust him for pilfering.
He kind of pissed me off by taking advantage of our friendship in that manner.
The management knows that there is a lot of pilfering going on. There's not much they can do about it. The guys are always stealing clothes, radios, jewelery, stuff like that. It is quietly tolerated, unless it becomes much too obvious, or the guys get too greedy, or they try to go into business with Salvation Army donations. It is now my job to bust those trying to bring stolen items into the residence. I haven't done so yet, but I imagine I'm capable of it. Mr. Vasquez is a Grand Master at it, as you may recall. Many a poor soul has asked themselves, why did I take those two T-Shirts I didn't need, as they sat on a sidewalk somewhere near the Park, on a cold, cold, night.
Later, To make Rico pay slightly for his indiscretion, I caught him by the phone again, talking to Tina. I asked him to say hello for me. He did. Then I asked him to tell her that I had a coat she might like, and that I thought she would look good in. That I had intended to give it to my sister, but that I thought she might like it more. I asked Rico to tell her that I would give the coat to him, to give to her.
He did as he was told.
We had a little graduation ceremony at mid-week chapel. Those individuals who had been in the program, and completed 30 to 60 days, were given little white cards with their name on them. For those of us with 3, 4, or 5 months, a silver card was given. Mine read: "The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center, Given in recognition of 4 months of sobriety, to Richard Joyce. Date 1-23-91. D.E. Johnson, Administer."
Very nice.
Thomas Bommorito came back from the dental school at U.S.C. Medical Center, with his lips as large as New Jersey. He had gum surgery done apparently, thus causing his lips to swell monstrously. Since Tommy couldn't use his lips to blow through the breath-a-lizer, I instructed Kevin Rockoff to stick the mouth piece up his nose and make him sneeze.
At seven-thirty two in the evening, I spotted Russell Burke coming out of the elevator. As he walked toward the T.V. room and canteen area, he spotted me spotting him. He lifted up his short arm and gave me a wave. "Hi," he said. As he continued on his way, he inquired, "How ya doing? How ya doing? You all right?"
My favorite counselor, and one of my true loves, Sylvia, told me that next week would be her last, for awhile. She told me that she needed to slow down a little, rest, and clear her head.
A great idea!
What a luxury!
She told me she had to find out where she's at. She said she would come back to us sometime in the future.
Abandoned again!
I feel so used and dirty.
At ten-thirty I walked into the library, and two minutes later, walked out with about ten hard cover books that would soon be in my room, never to be seen again. I snagged some Hemingway, Melville, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, O'Henry, the screenplay for "The Treasure of Serria Madre," a collection of masterpiece short stories, on and on. I asked Eddie Gillespie to remind me to never go in the library again.
After work I got my clothes ready for tomorrow, read some of the Beanfield War, then went to sleep.
As I drifted off I tried to imagine just what it would be like to enter the spinning cylinder.
January 24 Thursday Day 134
Another wonderful and glorious day here in Pasadena.
I must be in some kind of good mood.
Or sick.
Mr. Vasquez took off again early to take care of some business at the Department of Social Security. Now that he's over sixty-two, he starts to collect.
Art Dean stopped by. Art's primary job is to run the As-Is yard. However, he has now taken over for the departed Dennis Cunningham, and is our part time safety person. He was visiting us in the residence to inspect our restrooms, to see if they were safe. I asked him to be very careful in his new job.
"Art, the last four safety advisors either relapsed or committed suicide."
Reuben Smith demonstrated his juggling prowess for us in the lobby, with his brand new, mail order, plastic red, white, and blue juggling pins, that he got from "Juggling for the Klutz," magazine. He's pretty good.
I was peacefully minding my own business up in the sample room, when Ed Reitz called, and asked me to collect urine samples from everyone who lived in dorm 13, especially Clay Arnold. He let me know that he didn't suspect Clay (right!), but just needed a sample from him. I said, okay, no problem.
I went downstairs and took a look at the roster to see who exactly lived in dorm 13. Clay, three new clients, and Kevin Rockoff. I labeled up some sample jars, and gave one to Kevin. I thought to myself (why I do these things is beyond me) since Kevin is getting tested, why not test the rest of the desk crew, including myself.
So I went into the Major's restroom and gave up a sample. It wasn't hard. I felt a little awkward, or anxious doing this, thinking (remembering Van Nuys) what if the test screws up, or the machine makes a mistake. Reason overcame trepidation, as I felt the odds of mechanical or human error to be extremely low, I being one of the three human beings who would ever touch the sample. I got Clarence Bliss to donate also.
Ed called again. He directed me to bring a sample jar and marking pen to his office, immediately. I said, okay, sure.
Ed had gotten a tip from an anonymous source (Charles Parsons) that one of the employees in the large appliance shop had been trying to sell cocaine to some of our clients. Ernie Sens took the sample container that I brought, and got a sample from the suspect, then returned it to Ed. The suspect subsequently confessed, then quit.
The test results did confirm that he had been using cocaine and marijuana. One of the new guys had smoked a little grass before coming in also. We will test him again in a week to make sure his cannabinoid level has gone down.
Clay and Kevin showed negative. So did Clarence.
So did I, thank god. I was worried about using drugs unconsciously.
Hey, it can happen.
Ed had urine fever. He kept taking names from the roster, and asked me to get samples. He gave me about 16 names.
So then our little refrigerator upstairs in the sample room got chock full up with urine. A fact that fills our diabetic clients (who keep their insulin in there) with dread.
When Mr. Vasquez was shown all of the urine sample he would be required to run tomorrow, he briefly commented. I will not repeat what it was he said.
Mr. Vasquez told me that while riding on the R.T.D. today, he managed to lose one of his possessions... again. This time it was an overnight bag. He has a tendency to fall asleep while riding the bus, and may or may not wake up in time to get off at his intended destination. Quite often, it seems, as he wakes and rushes down the bus isle, frantically explaining to the driver that he has just missed his stop, he leaves his stuff on the seat. Hence, his lost possessions.
Shirley and Stacy were both here today. Shirley so briefly that I didn't get a chance to see her, or say hello. Stacy caught me reading the "Intervention," book. I told her what it was about. She kept saying, "Good for you," as if it was unusual for her to know someone who read books.
One of the men asked me why it was we were taking so many samples today.
I gave him a smart ass reply. "Well, let's see. Here we are in a drug rehabilitation center. WHAT DO YOU THINK? It's because we trust you guys so much."
Another then complained that this was a poor example of a Christian organization, because of all this lack of trust.
"Well, let's examine that hypothesis. Here we are in a residence that houses over a hundred alcoholics and drug addicts, proven thieves and opportunists. Birdsnatchers! You, yourself," I told the man, "steal the newspaper out of the library every chance you get. Don't talk to me about trust! The people I trust don't mind the tests."
After work I finished reading the "Interventions," book, thus completing one of my three goals for the week.
I watched the news, and discovered that today was the first day in a week that no missiles were fired from Iraq.
I finished a chapter from Beanfield, then drifted off.
January 25 Friday Day 135
Another wonderful day.
I got up after nine. I woke because I could hear Mr. Vasquez rummaging around in his room, making all kinds of noise. I don't know what he was doing in there.
I shifted out of bed and got last night's drawer money from my desk, opened my door, and confronted Robert.
His door was open. That's why I could hear him while he rummaged around, why I could hear him so clearly.
"Here's last night's money, sir," I said.
"Oh yeah. From now on, don't take over the "cash" receipts, because I've got the cash, you know. You just take over the "extra work" and the "I.O.U.s." I'll take over the "cash." All right? All right."
"All right. I was going to ask you about that."
"You all right, sir?" he asked. Had he been hanging around Rico?
"Yeah, I'm all right."
"You don't look it," he said.
So I went and took a shower and myself more presentable. Then went downstairs and wrote and read out of the Frankel book.
During my shift, I made Mr. Vasquez hand out gratuities and give New Client Orientation. It's not that I physically forced him, or anything like that. I just suggested that he do it in a way that made it difficult for him to refuse. I out-manipulated him.
Being an alcoholic, that's rather easy for me to do. Alcoholics are masters of manipulation. Except when they're trying to manipulate other alcoholics. That's why with Mr. Vasquez, I only get my way 50% of the time.
I doled out five dollars from my meager funds and gave it to Tom Rotsch. He was making a rubber band gun for me. I intend to give the gun to my beautiful little niece, Keri, for her seventh birthday. My sister, Cheryl, would truly love me for this. Keri is precocious enough without being armed. The gun would be customized. It would have Keri's name engraved on it, plus the words, "Secret Agent 6 1/2."
Tonight we hosted a graduation ceremony for students from Pacific Oaks College (which is located here in Pasadena), who had graduated from the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Including their guests, there was about 85 people in all. The graduation was held in the chapel, and the reception, in the atrium. The poor little yellow parakeet (Esmerelda) looked as if it were suffering a stroke. All the elegantly dressed men and women stood around its cage, commenting on how cute it looked, as it shivered in stark terror at all the strangers invading its normally quiet and peaceful territory.
Of course I appreciated all of the lovely ladies walking around. It certainly was a nice change of pace. One gets tired of looking at men all of the time. I sat behind the desk, on our one bar stool (observation platform), so I could have an un-obstructed view of the proceedings. I assumed a stoic expression upon my face, as if to say I had everything completely under control. I'm positive I dazzled all the females with my cool indifference and efficient manner (they didn't pay the least bit of attention to me).
Later, after all of the merry making had concluded, Roger Collins, the canteen man, must have thought I wasn't as comfortable as I looked while sitting behind my desk reading a book, and assumed I would be happier and much better off by listening to all of his personal problems, and about how inconvenient it was for him to fill customers cups with hot water.
After listening to him whine for about half an hour or so, I did two things. First, I realized what a pathetic existence this man led, how lonely he was, and how unwilling to change. Second, I stole four cups of soap powder from the canteen (two for me, two for Eddie Gillespie), as payment for being subjected to Roger's barrage of bullshit. One could consider this my first payment for therapy rendered.
After work, I retired to my lonely room and watched "Nightline," on channel 7. War news. Iraq has dumped massive amounts of oil into the Persian Gulf from Kuwait, creating a huge oil slick. This may muck up (literally) the desalination plants in Saudi Arabia, where that country gains much of its fresh water.
President Bush doesn't seem too worried about it though. Then again, it's not his country, is it?
I read for a while, then went to sleep. I dreamt I was approaching the final airlock to the interior of the great cylinder.
January 26 Saturday Day 136
I got up rather early today. I don't know exactly why. Maybe, the vague feeling that I could get more accomplished out of bed then in it.
I was hungry too, so I went down to breakfast, and was immediately sorry for it. I could actually feel the globules of fat coursing through my veins as I munched down my sausage and pancakes, which was vigorously saturated with thick maple syrup.
I walked to the supermarket and purchased a very nice birthday card for my soon-to-be seven year old niece. There was a picture of a unicorn on the card's face. A purple one (very rare).
Then I tried to buy some lotto tickets from the lotto machine they have there, but there was a problem with the printer, and the machine ate my two dollars. The clerk, who was a real live individual, was good enough to give me a refund.
I took this failure to purchase my tickets as a sign from God that if I bought my tickets elsewhere I would surely win. I walked to a liquor store, near the intersection of California and Fair Oaks, but that store was closed, and there was no other store near by that dealt in lottery tickets.
Maybe this was a sign from God that I was not destined to win today.
I returned to the residence and wrote in the lobby.
This turned out to be a bad move on my part. Mr. Vasquez was out on another of his journeys, and guys kept hitting me up for canteen cards, to issue clothing orders, and answer endless questions. Relatively soon, Robert returned and took over.
After lunch, I laughed in fate's face, and bought a lottery ticket from the now open liquor store.
I was in the shower when I heard my name called over the P.A. system. I ignored it.
I do most of my meditation while in the shower. Specifically while my dandruff shampoo is doing its stuff on the top of my head. This system usually works out fairly well. However today, Mr. Schimmele interrupted me by following up on the earlier page. He let me know that one of the guys who had gone A.W.O.L a few days ago was now downstairs demanding his possessions.
The odds that he would get a speedy response from any member of our staff were not in his favor.
I told that Mr. Schimmele to tell this man that he would have to wait for either me to finish my shower (and meditation), and get dressed, about an hour or two, or for Mr. Vasquez to return from yet another sojourn.
I began work early, allowing Robert a little extra time off before his two long days.
The first part of my shift concerned a lot of paperwork and making up bundles of canteen cards. Later, Mr. Vasquez would once again demonstrate to me the intricacies of the urine analyzer while running some of the samples I had collected the other day.
I am pleased to report that my body, my temple if you will, is virtually free of any trace of cocaine and cannabinoids, though later filled with jalapeno cheese bread covered in real butter, that I made for myself and Eddie Gillespie.
I also secretly transported a fudge brownie up to my room, where I consumed it slowly, piece by delicious piece, bit by bit, while watching, first an episode of "The New Twilight Zone," then "Dracula," the T.V. show.
I then fell asleep, amazed at what actors will do to work. I guess if I were really starving, I too would start biting people on the neck.
January 27 Sunday Day 137
Up early for chapel.
I wrote for a while in the lobby, after chapel, then donned my yellow swimming trunks, grabbed my radio, blankie, and Frankel book, and headed to the park to catch some rays.
I forgot about it being around 60 degrees Fahrenheit at ground level. With the windy, cold gusts, I shivered and shook, and raised goose-bumps all over my sleek, super sexy body.
So I came back from the park a little earlier then I had originally intended. The Super bowl had already begun, Buffalo and the New York Giants. Buffalo was supposed to have blown New York away, but in the best Super Bowl I can remember seeing, the Giants won by one point, 20 to 19.
I actually cleaned my room later in the evening. Vacuumed and everything. I also arranged all my books.
While I was doing this, I watched T.V. "Married with Children," and then a comedy show, guest hosted by Victoria Jackson, one of our great contemporary gymnast poets, and a lady I've been secretly in love with for years.
I placed Keri's rubber band gun in a box, along with some pink finger nail polish and cologne. I then sealed it up, and got it all ready to be mailed tomorrow. After watching a very sexy episode of "Monsters," concerning satyrs, I went to sleep so I could be 100% alert for my big day in court.
January 28 Monday Day 138
My big day in court!
I didn't feel like getting out of bed at first, but I couldn't go back to sleep so I wound up just lying on my side, sort of, with my legs twisted in a ninety degree manner, staring at one of my three clocks, watching the seconds tick off toward their infinite goal. I scooted over, more and more toward the edge, until the pull of gravity forced me out the bed and deposited me unceremoniously upon the floor.
Then I was up and running.
After a hearty breakfast (hamburger drenched in gravy, over toast, known throughout the world as "Shit on a Shingle"), I moseyed up to the court building, at 200 North Garfield, an approximate 20 minute walk from the residence. I sipped coffee from a Styrofoam cup while moseyed. It was an overcast and cold morning, but I enjoyed the walk, liked looking at all the other pedestrians, all the pretty ladies going to work rushing toward their destinations. Mornings can be such a special time, the promise of a new day entices. I can recall very recently when I had been forced to take long morning strolls like this, when I did not enjoy watching all of the different people. I envied them. I envied them because they had somewhere to go and I did not. I arrived at the Municipal Court Building shortly before eight AM. I was to have appeared here last September 14th. Of course, I was experiencing my second day at the center on September 14 th, riding around with Larry in a Salvation Army truck.
At eight-thirty, the door to Division 2 opened, and about thirty people were allowed to come inside. We were first shown a video tape movie in which a big fat judge welcomed us to the Pasadena Municipal Court and explained our rights as defendants and law-breaking evil-doers. We were not provided with popcorn. The video lasted about ten minutes, after which we were directed to room 106, directly across the hall from the courtroom. I explained to the lady who worked there my situation, at which point to instructed to come back at two PM, as the court's computer was currently down (not functioning) and she could not presently schedule my hearing. I said "Okay," and left.
I was headed back to the A.R.C. when an idea came to me. That happens occasionally, ideas coming to me that is.
I looked behind me, in the direction I had just come from, past the courthouse to the library. I realized that it was now eight- fifty three, and the library would open in seven minutes, at nine. I decided to go to the library and read Mary Chase's play, "Harvey."
Which I did.
By ten-thirty I had finished reading the first act, when Wilson finds out by reading in an encyclopedia exactly what a Pooka is. I put the play down, and returned to the residence for lunch.
I was sitting with Dennis Smith in the dinning room when Reuben Smith (no relation) sat at our table. Reuben began to eat his lunch. For reasons known only to Reuben, a knife is the only dinning utensil he ever uses. While eating we discussed what we thought we were accomplishing while here at the center.
"Nothing," Reuben said.
"You're learning how to juggle," I countered.
"You're learning how to be black."
"Also true. I'm just about ready for my first armed robbery," he said enthusiastically.
"But what are you learning about living in sobriety?" Dennis asked.
"Nothing. I'm cured."
"So you feel that you don't need to learn anything more? That you know all you need to know?"
"So now you can just kick back, take life as it comes, to vegetate. Expend no effort
"Yes. No brain, no headache."
"You have no ambitions?"
"Hey, I'm just glad to be here, pal. Just hanging out. What about you, Mr. writing a book on paper without lines, and how about you, Mr. Major's son? Let me tell you something. You know how to tell when you're getting old? No? When older ladies start looking good, that's when."
By this last statement Reuben was attempting to infer that Dennis and I were wasting our time here as well, that we were not gaining anything by staying here, and that we were quickly growing old within the confines of the program. Dennis and I could say nothing to that. Older women were starting to look good to us.
On the way back to the courthouse I stopped at the post office, which conveniently happened to be on my way. Once there I mailed my birthday presents to Keri. $2.40. Then I returned to the library and finished, "Harvey."
Back in room 106 the computer was now on line (working). The same young woman earlier spurned my attempts to repay my debt to society, now was able to retrieve my case number, and was free to tell me they were one judge short today, always an embarrassing predicament, and that I would not be able to be heard until tomorrow. She asked me to please come back then.
It was nice of her to ask me to come back tomorrow, I thought. Much better than being hauled off to the old pokey to insure my appearance.
I went back to the residence and took a little nap.
I read for most of the evening, as there were no cute counselors to harass. I finished the Frankel book, which in my opinion postulates that those who feel they have a purpose, a meaning to their life, have a distinct advantage over those who don't. And that suffering has value, in and of itself.
I also began reading, once again, Getting Better, by Nan Robertson. Very interesting.
While I was reading I was also watching a stupid Chuck Norris Ninja movie. I mean really! As with every Bruce Lee movie ever made, all the bad guys need is a small hand gun and the protagonists are history.
I worked some on my Fourth Step, and read a little Beanfield, then turned out the lights.
The T.V. news told me that some of Iraqi's Air Force seem to be defecting to Iran.
I went to sleep, dreaming of nothing in particular.
January 29 Tuesday Day 139
Well, well. Up nice and early. No court today (there had been no set appointment made, so I was not actually making a second "failure to appear" offense), and back to work.
Nothing unusual this morning, except that I noticed Tommy Bommarito was a half hour late for breakfast. Later I would learn why.
At morning devotion time, Kevin Rockoff went upstairs to find out who was hiding out. He found Joe Leberthon lurking around up there. Joe is a tall, lanky, pimply faced, gumby horror. Disturbingly repugnant, self serving, deceitful, manipulating, and totally concerned with only one thing: Joe Leberthon. Throw in, more than a little clever, he has been living here longer than I have, has disregarded every rule and regulation, continues to do so even when caught and warned that further offense may result in termination. . How he has lasted this long I do not know. He has been busted and officially disciplined only once, resulting in a ten dollar loss in weekly gratuity. His reaction: "That's fucked."
Kevin reported Joe's indiscretion , and I filed it away for future reference.
Why didn't I write him up? An appropriate question, dear reader. I didn't write him up because I didn't need to. He would be leaving here soon enough. Mainly because of old Joe's sociopathic, belligerent attitude, the Center (Major & Ed Reitz) had finally had enough, and had come to the conclusion that it could no longer do anything for him, and had given him two weeks to find a job and get out.
Joe was history.
When I went upstairs to give Tommy Bommorito, Ruben Perez, and Glen Merril their insulin, Tommy related why he had been late for breakfast.
He had experienced a diabetic reaction. When Tommy's alarm clock went off this morning, his brain and body did not have enough sugar, or food, to work properly. This situation resulted in Tom acting more stupidly than usual, almost helpless in fact. Tommy does not remember much of what happened. Dennis Smith had to fill us both in.
Dennis told me that everyone in dorm 41 was woke at 5 o'clock by Tommy's alarm. He said that Tommy's alarm was of the beeping type. A particularly annoying beep, he says. Dennis, who describes himself as mildly grumpy in the morning, looked over in Tommy's direction, and saw Tommy leaning up on one elbow, staring with glazed eyes, idiotically at the alarm clock. After a few moments Tommy's bedside lamp came on, seemingly of its own accord, throwing harsh, white light throughout the darkened room, which further awakened and infuriated his fellow dorm mates. Tommy blinked his eyes in response to the sudden illumination. He was trying, unsuccessfully to turn his alarm off, and then his light.
By this time Dennis had had enough. He was mad. He couldn't understand what Tommy was doing, and his apparent irrational behavior was really pissing Dennis off. To calm down somewhat, and to escape the constant, never ending BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, of the alarm, Dennis got out of bed, left the room, and went to the restroom to smoke a cigarette.
After several minutes, sure that that the alarm would by now be silenced, Dennis returned to his dorm.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Tommy was just as Dennis had left him. Still trying trying to figure out how to turn off his alarm, looking as perplexed as a three year old in an algebra class.
Incensed, Dennis grabbed the nearest thing at hand, one of his heavy work boots, and rushed over to the befuddled Tommy. Tommy, still lying on his side, looked up innocently from his alarm and his glaring night light, at Dennis's hulking form (Dennis could be considered by some as a large individual). Tommy pathetically reached over and picked up the offending device, and handed it toward Dennis. Perhaps, Tommy thought, Dennis would know how the contraption might finally be made to cease the blaring, and persistent, BEEP, BEEP, BEEPING.
Dennis did indeed have an answer.
He smashed it with his large cumbersome boot. The alarm flew out of Tommy's hands onto the floor.
He smashed it again, this time managing (through a sweeping side motion) to disable the table light, the beeping continued until the alarm was disconnected from the wall socket.
"I didn't think it would end, even after that," Dennis told me.
Dennis was totally unaware of Tommy's medical emergency, until Tom was finally able to dress and make it downstairs to munch down a large box of sugar Frosted Flakes.
After Dennis apologized he admonished Tom. "Next time, Burrito, you're going out the window."
Curtis Carter told me this morning that a hypodermic needle could be found in a beige coat in Joe Leberthon's locker.
Ed Reitz and I, later searched Joe's locker and found the needle. Joe is not diabetic, and is a known heroin user. We spent an hour looking through the rest of the stuff, but didn't find anything.
Ed took the needle with him, and left.
Mr. Vasquez relieved me at 2:35, five minutes late. I went up to the laundry room and retrieved my clothes from the dryer that they have in there, took them to my room, and put said clothes... away. I changed quickly into my running shorts, donned my Micky Mouse radio headphones, and made my way to the park. After a couple of laps I was destroyed, so I walked (slowly) over to the mini-mart and bought a pack of Pall Malls for Mr. Schimmele. Then I returned to the residence for a well deserved shower.
I wrote in the lobby until Jill arrived for our group counseling session. She was late too, but anybody as infinitely beautiful, wise, and as wonderful as Jill is can be as late as they want. I don't care.
We discussed the goals that we had set for ourselves last week. She asked me if I had continued not to smoke. I said yes, that I had. She said that I had had a good week, and moved on.
That felt awfully like the, "That's nice," my mother gave me when I told her I was writing this manuscript.
Later, I was standing in the resident manager's office talking to Robert, Kevin, and Clarence Bliss, when Jill walked in and asked if Dudley Spittler still lived here.
"Not for a year and a half," Clarence reported.
"You're kidding," she replied.
"No. Been gone for a while," Clarence continued. "One day, about three years after I'm gone, you'll come in here ask whatever happened to that little short guy with the wiry hair."
Jill does do that a lot. She gets a little spaced sometimes (who doesn't?). Last week she asked where Dan Aspell was (sights still aimed at his brother, I imagine). I explained to her that he had been gone for about two weeks now.
It's not her fault though. She hadn't been around over the holidays, and besides, we alcoholics and drug addicts come and go.
As I walked through the lobby, on the way to my room, I passed Joe Leberthon with all of his possessions in hand, waiting for a ride.
I wish him well.
January 30 Wednesday Day 140
I was a little run down today. Tired. Maybe because I didn't eat anything yesterday.
My counselor, Richard, came by and dropped off another book for me to read. Eric Fromm. All about the advantages of living with a humanistic and spiritual bent, rather than materialistically. A way of life that seems to have gone underground recently. The books looks to be filled with a lot of Zen stuff, so it should be interesting for me to read. I've already come across some a couple of neat poems by Basho and Goethe.
An average day.
The Major came over for lunch, stopped by the desk and asked Kevin Rockoff a question.
"Kevin, do you know anything about, or have any idea, why there always seems to be a puddle of water in the middle of the driveway out there?"
Kevin did not give the correct answer to this question (which happened to be that there was a depression in the driveway that collected water, and because of the overcast weather, the collected water does not evaporate until after lunchtime), probably because the correct answer may have appeared flippant. However, always trying to please, he gave the best response possible.
"Why don't you, Kevin?" the Major asked, now realizing the ridiculous nature of his original question, and pulling Kevin's leg. "Why don't you know about that puddle?"
Tonight was birthday dinner night for all those who celebrated their birthday in January.
"I'm not going!" Tommy Bommorito told me. "I feel I should be able to do whatever I want to to do on my own time. Besides, I feel very uncomfortable wearing a tie. It feels like I'm being strangled." Tommy was referring to the fact that birthday dinner with the Major was mandatory, and Sunday chapel dress code applied.
"Well, Tom," I replied, "that puts me into an awkward position."
"Why is that?"
"Well, because it's my job to make sure that you go, and if you don't go I'm required to write you up, and I don't want to do that considering you're a friend of mine, and all."
"That's okay," he said with a lisp. "You have to do your job. Besides, I want you to write me up as a form of protest."
He eventually buckled under the constant pressure, and came to dinner wearing a three piece suit.
Unprincipled worm.
Shirley, for a second week in a row, managed to dash in, counsel a person, and dash out without my being able to say hello, or anything at all to her. Maybe she's afraid that her obvious lustful feelings for me may surface during a verbal confrontation.
This was counselor Joe's last night of counseling. I haven't mentioned Joe before. Male counselors bore me.
All in all, Joe was a nice guy though. He said goodbye to me, and I told him what a pleasure it was to have known him, and that maybe I'd see him again at Glendale College. I hope I do.
And of course, I wish him well.
January 31 Thursday Day 141
I wake up alone in my room. There is no sound. I got out of my bed and go to the bathroom, shave, walk into the shower alone with my thoughts. After applying my Head & Shoulders, I sit in the fold down shower chair covered in white vinyl, breath normally ten times, trying to clear the fuzziness in my head. I pray. I thank the Lord God, whatever he, she, or it may be, for another day of life and self-awareness. Another day of sobriety. Twenty four hours free of the effects of drugs and alcohol. Twenty four hours of clear thinking, of living in reality, and again, I find myself amazed that it's alright, even good, to be sober. That I can manage. That I can deal with reality on its terms, while feeling free and content. I feel my life may begin to have some purpose now. And that is something. I pray for the strength and guidance needed to get through this day, again without having to drink or use. To seek knowledge of God's will for me.
I pray for the health and well being of my family. My mother, my grandmother, my sister, and my little niece, Keri. For my family's long time friends as well.
I pray for a quick and peaceful end to the hostilities in the Persian Gulf. A stop to the killing on both sides. An end to the hatred, greed, and religious intolerance. I pray for an end to strife and oppression throughout the world, indeed throughout the universe.
I pray for the knowledge, ability, and patience to maybe help, if I can, other people, other fellow travelers through this thing called life. Specifically, to help others to be free of the constant tyranny of addiction to drugs. For others to gain a glimpse of what I can see.
Wishful thinking?
Maybe so.
So what.
I say to myself, Amen, and then open my eyes, get out of the shower, dry off, and get dressed for the day.
I close and lock the door to my lonely room, walk down the short hallway that leads into the bowels of the residence, and once again, enter into this world.
February 1 Friday Day 142
The only thing vaguely interesting that happened in my little world yesterday was that the A.A. panel did not show up.
Two very attractive female cocaine addict types did, for the C.A. meeting. They walked into the dining room, and found the usual four or five coke addict type guys waiting for them, they then walked over to the small TV room, where they found about fifty alcoholic type guys impatiently waiting for the A.A. panel type people to show up, and asked, "Anybody want to come to the C.A. panel?"
The next thing I saw was the two tight jeaned ladies walking back to the dining room followed closely by about 20 previously unknown cocaine users.
And Art Svensk did not show up for work. I waited for him, hoping that he had just overslept, but he never came in. I couldn't go to bed incase there was a fire, or other emergency. And someone had to stay up in order to do the early wake ups, or else the kitchen crew wouldn't get up to make breakfast. I couldn't call Art, or Wolf Pandolfi for that matter, neither had telephones. Clarence Bliss, who stayed up with me for a little while, did call the Green Hotel where Art lived, but the night manager there said he had never heard of Art.
At about 2:00AM, I began to think that Art might possibly be in some kind of trouble. Muggings are not unknown in this area. I woke Mr. Vasquez, and informed him of the situation. He told me that Art may have quit his job without telling anyone exactly when his last day (night actually) would be.
Robert said he would relieve me at 4:00AM.
So I found myself with a little extra time to read and write.
Robert relieved me at 5:07.
I finally made it to bed at 8:00, and slept peacefully for two hours, until Mr. Schimmele knocked on my door, letting me know that Kevin Rockoff needed some more bus tokens, and (as usual) Mr. Vasquez could not be found. I asked Jerry to tell Mr. Rockoff, that I had already given out the last of the bus tokens, and that was that. It now being lunch time, or close to it anyway, I stayed up to catch a bite, naively expecting to return to bed afterwards.
By now Robert had returned from wherever he had been, and I stopped by the office to see how things were going.
Total error on my part.
He thought it would be a good idea if I helped him conduct a locker inspection, which was only fair I guess, since I had told everyone there would be one today. Half way through the first dorm Robert was called to the desk. A gorgeous, young, female, technical representative from Abbott Laboratories had come to explain some things about the urine analyzer. Before he left, Robert told me, "Carry on."
So with only two hours rest I got stuck inspecting 90 lockers, on Robert's shift, while he was chatting up a pretty blonde.
Rank has its privileges.
Much later, during the end of my shift, Jack Crossley came down to take Art's place. Nobody had heard from Art all day. I was showing Jack the keys he would need to use during the night when Art walked in.
"I guess I should have called," is all he had to say.
I went to bed and finally got some rest.

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