Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Diary Thirty Seven

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

June 18 Tuesday Day 280

The great Cola Theft Mystery continues. Ed McNicols came to me at 1:00, and told me that when he went to Vons between 11:45 and 12:15, someone had entered the canteen and taken two six packs of Diet Shasta Cola. I considered making a locker search of the kitchen dorms in response, but decided to wait and let Robert handle it in whatever way he saw fit.
At 2:00 I informed him of the situation, and he choose to make a locker search of the kitchen dorms, along with the lockers of all of the other in-house workers.
I reasoned there may be a better than even chance that Mr. Vasquez would search my room as well, so I began to wonder if my room could stand an inspection. I began to feel somewhat anxious and angry at the unknown person who had stolen the sodas for necessitating my wondering if my room could stand an inspection. I knew there was no contraband in my room. Well, hardly any. I had a few old Playboy magazines I had found around the residence stashed under my mattress (awaiting the proper time for disposal), and a few cookie wrappers in my wastebasket, but those items were nothing anyone should get excited about if found. I remembered that my bed was not made though. I hate it when my bed's not made (most of the time), and somebody catches me not making it.
Then I remembered Van Nuys, and I began worrying about somebody framing me again. After all, the perpetrator had probably used a master key to enter the canteen and take the sodas. That person could just as easily stick those pilfered six packs in my room using the same key... stick them underneath a pile of clothes in my closet maybe.
This seemed rather unlikely though. I am loved by all.
It seemed unlikely in Van Nuys as well.
I continued to worry.
Robert asked me to come upstairs with him to help check the kitchen dorms.
As we ascended in the elevator he said, "Your bed could stand a little making."
"Yes sir. I realize that. I was a little late this morning." And that was that. No itinerant sodas in my room.
None in the kitchen dorms either. Or the rest of the private rooms. However, seven Shasta's were located in Jack Crossley's locker. It was known to us that Jack consumed large quantities of the stuff. He likes to pop open a can or two while sitting on the toilet. The discovery of the Shasta's did not prove that Jack was the culprit. Jack is an unlikely thief. But who knows? Maybe he was trying to get a little five finger discount on his soda stash.
Jack had broken house rules by having said sodas in his locker though, and has been told to watch his step.
For the time being the case is closed.
In my opinion a theft of this nature will probably not reoccur. Whoever took the sodas is now aware that we are aware of it, and will take appropriate cautionary measures to avoid detection or apprehension, even to the point of discontinuing their nefarious deeds.
We shall see.
I got a positive for cocaine in a urine sample from one of the guys who had gone out on pass last weekend.
I wish him well.
I avoided Jill this afternoon, and spent most of the evening in my room reading another Whitney Strieber and James Kunetka novel. "Nature's End." A much more ambitious and detailed work than "Warday," concerning the Earth's environmental collapse in about 30 years.
I also watched "The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzi," ("Curse you, Bonzi!"), a pretty good picture really, despite itself.
As I tried to sleep I kept thinking about the next two days, and the long hours that were required of me. I found this line of thought unprofitable, and began thinking about girls instead, soon falling blissfully asleep.
As I slept I dreamt of Puerto Rican guys with German accents chasing me through the dark streets.

June 19 Wednesday Day 281

Now that the Great New Towel Policy has been initiated, all of the washers and dryers are so busy I can't get my laundry done. Whenever a washer does by chance open up, one of the kitchen crew materializes out of nowhere and grabs it.
I am now forced to devise a new, secret, effective laundry strategy.
Once again Robert Vasquez managed to have the day off when visitors stopped by. This will be the third week in a row now. I suspect he's getting inside information.
Actually, we've known they were coming for quite a while. This week it was a group of thirty two young people, high school and college students, from the San Jose Youth Choir. Presumably they were from San Jose, California, the place of my birth. They were here to sing for us during our Wednesday mid-week chapel service.
They arrived in a big bus, fifteen minutes late. The bus was blue. I immediately invited them to dinner (baked chicken), and the seventeen young ladies went in to eat, while the guys set up their equipment in the chapel (another example of male servitude to the dominate female race). Suddenly I became hungry and followed the girls into the dinning room .
They put on great show, singing their little hearts out for about an hour. Afterwards the guys of the residence took the opportunity to talk and become acquainted with our visitors, which they had ample time to do as the choir's bus would not start, stranding them here for about an hour. Good old Jack DeWilde finally got it going, and our merry songsters were on their way, perchance to visit us again next year.
Kathy the counselor, my one true love, canceled her scheduled appearance this evening, with the explanation that she would be here tomorrow night instead. I was heartbroken (and crestfallen) regarding this disastrous turn of events, but was able to placate myself knowing she would soon be here.
I await.

June 20 Thursday Day 282

I read in the paper this morning that Pablo Escobar, drug lord, one of the founders of the Medellin Cartel of Colombia, responsible during the 1980s for supplying the United States with 80% of its black market cocaine, was surrounded yesterday in his home town of Envigado. He had been running from the law for the last seven years. He's a hard guy to find. If I had three billion dollars at my disposal, and the inclination, I'd be hard to find too.
The Colombian police, by accident, almost had him three years ago. They raided a ranch looking for someone else while Pablo was hiding there. He escaped, running away in his underwear.
But now he's being brought to justice. Now he's in jail.
His jail sits upon a hill overlooking his old neighborhood, where he grew up. He must have a lot of close friends close by. Pablo is now forced to spend all of his time in a 1,000 square foot cell, equipped with antechamber, a bedroom with a walk in closet, and a "breath taking view of the Medellin Valley below."
At his insistence he controlled the selection of 40 "guards" which are posted inside the "jail." It was agreed the army and police would stay off the ten acre, forested facility, keeping outside the electrified fence.
He surrendered because the president of Colombia, Caesar Gaviria, made him a good deal, one he couldn't pass up. Under the terms of the agreement Pablo will never have to come to the United States to answer for all of the crimes he has been accused of here. That is what big time Colombian drug lords fear the most, to be brought to the United States. Perhaps they feel we will be unsympathetic to their plight. They probably belive that we won't place them in a jail as nice as they get in Colombia. They think that we would put them someplace where they wouldn't see the light of day for the rest of their miserable lives.
I can't say as I blame them for feeling that way.
According to the agreement Pablo made with the president of Colombia the most he will be facing would be 15 years "imprisonment." That's the deal other Colombian traffickers will get if they turn themselves in. President Gaviria made this offer so he could put an end to the violence directed toward members of his government instigated by the lords of drugs because the government was hunting them and giving them a hard time.
Pablo will only be 56 when his sentence ends, when he becomes a free man once again, when he has paid for his alleged crimes.
His alleged crimes include the assassination of a Colombian Justice Minister, an Attorney General, a newspaper publisher, and three presidential candidates. He is also said to be responsible for bombings within his own country which have left hundreds of innocent people dead. A jet with 200 people on board exploded.
And let's not forget the untold misery and wasting of lives in all of the countries around the world where his product is sold and consumed.
Gaviria describes Pablo's "imprisonment" as a major victory in the war on drugs. The article I read indicated there would be little to hinder Pablo from going right on supervising drug smuggling operations from his "prison," and that Colombia's cocaine output is presently at an all time high.
If I were Pablo I would stay right where I was, even after the 15 year sentence. At least I wouldn't plan on making too many trips outside of the country. He might find himself the recipient of an invitation, one he would find hard to refuse, to come see Disneyworld.

June 21 Friday Day 283

Robert called me last night to tell me he was in Upland visiting his grandniece and would not be back for his morning shift. He asked (told) if I would mind trading shifts.
I handled it well. Once again I found myself behind the desk in the early morning hours. Having just completed two 17 hour shifts I gave myself a little break and slept in until 6:30. While in the shower, getting ready for work, I heard the Major's melodious voice over the P.A. system. He was calling for somebody, but I could not hear who it was he was calling for because of all of the water in my ears. It was unusual for him to be calling here so early and I wondered what had prompted him.
I had forgotten about the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot. No one had taken it down and the Major couldn't park his car. That's what had prompted him.
Rockoff went over and took it down. As he did the Major noticed that one side of the long steel bar (the bar being the parking lots only defense during the long, lonely night) was attached to its support post by a coat hanger. He felt this to be inadequate. I'm amazed he hadn't know about this before. Of course it had been like this since I've been here. The Major promptly commissioned Don Erwin to come up with a more secure system of locking up the parking lot at night. Until then we've been directed to replace the coat hanger with a second pad lock.
Harold Eversley wanted me to show him how the ADx machine worked and how the testing was performed. Since Robert was not around, and it was Ed Reitz's day off, I didn't see any harm in doing so. I enjoyed it really, showing off my expertise. As it happened I had three samples to run, two of which were from kitchen personnel who had been on overnight passes. Rico was one.
All three samples were negative. They had as low a reading as one can get.
Harold seemed genuinely interested in the procedure, and thanked me for showing him. He took off while I stayed to perform some routine maintenance. Temperature check, pipette check, and a nice photo check. The temperature check kept failing on me though. This had never happened to me before, and it took me a while to figure out what to do. I prevailed. I eventually adjusted the air set temperature up a twidge, and got it to pass. End of problem.
Jim Docken's sister called me at the desk. We chatted for awhile. She asked me if her brother was still here. She hadn't heard from him for over three months and was very worried. I told her to stop worrying, that Jim had hooked up with Eddie Acuna and Hobart Rodgers, and so had a couple of companions to get drunk, destitute, and unraveled with.
Just kidding. I didn't really tell her that. I don't usually give out information about our clients, or our former clients, over the phone. But she sounded very distraught, and after all she was Jim's sister. So I made my voice gentle, soft, soothing, as I explained to her that it was none of her damn business what Jim was doing if he didn't want her to know.
Just kidding. I didn't really say that to her either. I must be in some kind of funny mood right now as I write this. I don't know why.
I told her I had seen him about a month ago, which was true, I had seen him about a month ago. I told her he had looked okay, and that he was wandering around. She sounded a little relieved at this bit of news, that he had at least been seen, and that he was still alive. I could tell she knew what "wandering around" meant. She thanked me and hung up.
One thing I told was not true. Jim had not looked okay really. He looked kind of like how I did when I first came here.
Robert relieved me at 3:00. I changed clothes and had dinner (deep fried catfish), then retired to my room to watch "Tiny Toons," on T.V. I fell asleep while watching "Star Trek, the Next Generation." I read out of the Bible when I woke up, and watched a movie about the kidnaping of the President, then went back to sleep.
This was my big and rare Friday night off.
I experienced a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, and sleep was welcome.

June 22 Saturday Day 284

My sister wrote Rockoff a reply to his letter. It was a nice, long letter. About twenty times as long and more detailed than any she had ever written to me.
I'm jealous!
In her letter she chastised me for typing my letter to her. She thanked Kevin for writing in long hand. She poured her heart out to him, telling her whole life story, and her deepest secrets.
All I ever get is, "Hi. I'm fine. See ya later."
Oh well, maybe this is the beginning of a new friendship. That's always a good thing.
I slept in this morning. After I woke I read for a while, then went downstairs in search of the elusive donut, but none where to be found. I wrote for most of the afternoon instead. I continued on into the evening as I worked my last shift of the week.
For me reading and writing about all of these different drugs has been quite an experience. It's as if I were saying goodbye to old friends. It had been nice. We had some good times, but now it was time to move on.
So long drugs! It was nice knowing ya. Hope I never see you again.
Yes... goodbye.

June 23 Sunday Day 285

At 4:00AM, I heard Alan Ladd, Barbara Stanwick, Rachel Ward (who I'm still madly in love with), Burt Lancaster, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Carl Riener, Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Fred MacMurry, James Cagney, Charles Laughton, Ray Milland, Steve Martin, Ava Gardener , Veronica Lake, Joan Crawford, and Vincent Price roaming around in my room.
It was that seedy detective movie, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," again. Having already seen it (and despite Rachel) I returned to sleep.
Last night Steve Miller left us. He had gone to Vons at about 9:20PM, and on his way out he asked Bill Raushemplat, who was working with me on the desk, if he wanted anything from the store. The Bottomless Pit asked Steve to bring him back a Nestles Crunch bar.
Steve came back at 9:45, passed the breath test, handed over a plastic bag with Bill's Crunch bar, and went upstairs. Bill meanwhile, found a receipt in the plastic bag for a pint of peppermint schnapps that had been purchased just fifteen minutes earlier. He showed me the receipt.
I finished up my writing for the evening, made my 10:00 rounds, then took a breath-a-lizer up to Steve's dorm, where I found him lying in bed reading a magazine. His test was positive of course. A.C.O./H.B.D. (Administrative Check Out/Had Been Drinking).
On his way out Steve asked Bill for a bite of the Nestles Crunch bar.
Bill said, "Here, take the whole fucking thing, man."
We alcoholic people foul up like that all of the time. I can't remember how many times Jan busted me for drinking when I shouldn't have been, all due to some stupid little mistake like that.
It's very embarrassing, believe me.
Steve didn't seem to harbor any bad feelings about it. He knew what he had done and accepted the consequences.
Most do.
He even offered to help me chase away three young hoodlums who were vandalizing one of the trucks in the As-Is Yard. I didn't need his help though. All I had to do was yell at them and they ran away.
I suggested to Wolf Panolfi, after he arrived, that we should aquire some guard dogs for the truck yard.
"We can't," he replied. "We'll get sued."
"Can you imagine," I quipped, "the stark, raving, terror, an unsuspecting vandal would experience once he caught first sight of the fast moving herd of thirty, to forty five starved and crazed killer Chihuahuas, leaping out of the gloomy night, headed straight for their jugular?"
"Chihuahuas," Wolf said, taking a deep breath, "mean bastards."
After chapel Robert gave Ron Collins and myself a ride to the Sunday morning A.A. meeting at the American Legion. Skip was there. He gets there early and helps set up the chairs.
Charity, one of our A.R.C. counselors, a young, beautiful black lady with two children, was there also. She had come to celebrate her sobriety birthday, an A.A. custom. Starting from the day of our last drink, we celebrate each sober year by taking a birthday cake at a meeting. Those celebrating the successful conclusion of 365 days of sobriety get to choose someone close to us to present the cake to them. A candle for each year is placed on top of the cake and lit, the presenter presents the cake to them, it is accepted, the celebrator blows out the candle (or candles) a brief speech is made by the celebrator in which they describe how they got through the year without taking a drink, and that's that.
After the last birthday is recognized the "Happy Birthday Song," is sang by all of those in attendance. All in all a very elaborate affair.
Charity was celebrating her fourth birthday. She told me my new haircut looked good, that it made me look very "yuppyish," and handsome. I told her that I couldn't agree with her. She said that as a friend of mine she had no reason to lie.
After she said that I of course fell madly in love with her.
She was nice enough to give us a ride back after the meeting. I went to the park for awhile, then returned to my room to watch half of the Marlon Brando movie, "The Appaloosa." About half way through half of that movie I went down to have dinner (leftovers).
I also watched a brand new episode of "Star Trek, the Next Generation." A two parter. This episode concerned Klingon love affairs, and the return of Lt. Tasha Yar as a Romulin. Interesting.
Later in the evening I watched, "The Mission," with Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro. A very beautiful and very sad movie. The director, Roland Joffe ("The Killing Fields") seems partial to creating films concerning man's inhumanity to man.
I stayed up a while after the movie, watching the half hour shows that come on late at night on Sundays. "Cheers," "Monsters," "Tales From the Darkside," "etc, etc, etc."
For some reason I actually began to form coherent thoughts while watching these programs.
Very unusual.

No comments:

Post a Comment