Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Creepy Karl

To be honest, I had no thoughts about him at first. But one day, for some reason, I chose to watch Oporah, an episode where George Clooney was a guest, and for some reason I saw an uncanny resemblance to Karl.

Karl was an exceptionally kind man, who would go out of his way to help anyone in great need. 

Before you go out searching for McDreamy, here, keep in mind that I felt that there was something just not right about this man. Something about him screamed "creepy" to me. He began living with Monique at one time, and he mentioned how much he just loved the extra skin to be had. I had no opinion to give on the subject, but that is beside the point.

Karl really went out of his way to help me, quite often, and he expected so little in return. For some reason, I was ever waiting for that other shoe to drop. He gave so many favors, that I wondered when it would happen that he'd call all of those favors in for a huge request that I wasn't able to offer. Really, it was just too grand, what he'd do for a person.

One day, I made an exceedingly bad decision, which led to me leaving my car in an unknown driveway, out of gas. I had the money, but I simply forgot to refill the tank. It was an hour which I can only refer to as "after closing time." Actually, it was just before such time, and I thought for certain that I would be able to find a gas can at a local gas station, and fix my situation quickly. Lucky as I was to find a station that was open at such an hour, I was informed by the attendant that they didn't provide them. How absurd is that? I thought it was incredibly so, and my only option I could foresee was to leave my car in the driveway where I had left it and come get it in the morning.

I went to a nearby bar, where I figured I could call a cab, and it turned out it was closing time, and cabs were wanted everywhere. Therefor, it was very hard to get a taxi to come by. I waited along with a few other people. We were all willing to share any cab we could get, but none would come. It was odd, indeed, but for some reason, it just didn't happen. One of the people waiting, called a friend who was willing to take us all home. It was exceedingly kind of the person. I know I had my keys on me at the time, but I later realized that I must have left them in this person's car, because in the morning, I couldn't find them. How I found my way into my apartment, I'll never know, since I never found them thereafter.

I had to work at 11:00 am, and I spent the majority of my morning figuring out how to get my car back. I started with a taxi cab. I took it to where I had left my car, and sure enough, it had been towed. So, I took the cab back home, and what a waste of money that had been.

So, at home, I had no idea who to call to figure out where to find my car. My neighbor, Karl, had the answer, and even leant his phone, at which time I went through my phonebook to find the right few numbers, and eventually, I figured out where my car was and how much it would cost to get it back.

What a sweet man Karl was that day. In exchange for a simple pack of cigarettes, he was more than happy to drive me around town to get it all figured out. The first stop was the place of work, at which I was due to be in only a couple of hours. I retrieved my paycheck, and happily, it turned out that I had two waiting for me. I know this seems odd, but at the time, I was very good with my money, and had no immediate need for any checks that might have been waiting for me. So, extra happy as I was, Karl proceeded to take me to a cash store (it being a weekend, no banks were open), and I found a way to quickly cash my checks.

Then he took me all the way to the other side of town, where my car had been towed, where I showed them my proof of insurance and paid the fee. But, here is where I discovered that my keys were not, in fact, in my car, where I figured they must have been, and all the tow company could do for me, was tow it out of the lot into the parking lot across the street.

All these issues were just too much for me to deal with. Karl was ever so kind as to drive me back home, but he stopped at the convenience store, where I asked, "Why are we here?" He said that I owed him that pack of cigarettes. So, I bought a pack for him, and happy, he continued back home.

I was due at work, so all I could do was find a way to get to work. So, I took my very first bus ride to work. It was a crazy feeling to me, riding the bus, but I made it there.

While at work, I called my father. He had a spare key to my house and my car, and I asked him if he would get my car. I informed him that I had a can of gas sitting just outside my apartment, but he was kind enough to ignore it and fill the tank himself. I was so happy! Everything worked out so beautifully!

My father brought the car to my work and gave me the spare key, of which I made yet another copy for him.

But, this towing issue created a big problem. A towed car is exceptionally expensive, and all of this mayhem dipped into my rent money. I had my beautiful Mercedes of a car, but I had no money to pay rent. And, here came a huge cascade of not being able to afford anything. Suddenly, I became a person without proper means. It was the first time, and I wasn't accustomed to such a circumstance.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: The Zippo

I didn't always keep an entirely tidy home. I was never the tidiest of people, I'll admit. But I did have my moments. It is a fact, however, that it's much easier to keep a clean place when you are the only person making messes.

One day in my life, Chef Steve thought to be an exceptionally kind soul and gave me a Zippo lighter he happened to have. Just before that, I had found a very small Zippo which had eventually run out of fluid. I didn't know anything about lighters and how they required fluid, where to find it, or just how cheap it was to purchase, and especially how to go about refilling a Zippo.

I, for some reason, don't recall the terms of receiving this lighter, but it must have been agreed upon that one day Chef Steve would come calling for it, because eventually he did. I really don't remember this being the case, but I imagine I would have put up a bit of a fight, if this were not the case. The etiquette of gift giving would definitely have been a defense, otherwise.

Eventually the fluid ran out, but this was hardly a large issue. I'm sure I could have eventually figured out that it needed to be refilled and how to do so. But, at some point, I lost the golden Zippo, and had no idea where it was.

At some point, my home was a mess, and I decided to clean it up in a "spring cleaning" fashion. At the end of the day my home was impeccably clean, and I was proud of it. It turned out that the Zippo was found under my bed, and I placed it on my kitchen table, even though I was not able to use it at the time. It sat there, shining, being the only thing worth looking at in my entire home.

Jared, after Krystal had left, decided to visit on just this day when I was proud of my exceptionally clean home. I was happy to have some company, and I treated him to one shot of my stash of vodka, of which I also partook. Yes, just one shot.

I then said, "What the hell, let's go have a good time," and decided to take him to a new favorite dive of mine. Knowing he was nearly 10 years older than me (and he looked it), I didn't think it was an issue, but it turned out he had misplaced his ID at the time. When he ordered his drink, it was understandable that he was denied, not having his ID, but when I ordered mine, I was also denied. She thought I was already intoxicated. Sadly, this was a common occurrence of mine. Having only one eye, at that time my bad eye had a way of making me look quite loopy. I could have just taken it out and explained that this wasn't the case, but that thought didn't occur to me very often, and instead, I would become quite confused by the circumstance.

Since I had Jared with me, I figured we'd just leave and go somewhere else, and we did.

Something incredibly sad and somewhat ironic happened a week later. Vickie, the bartender just mentioned, died a week later from an accident involving a suicide victim jumping from a bridge above a freeway. I happened to be traveling on that freeway when it happened and it took two hours for me to make my way out of the situation. I was on my way towards an appointment to have a new and better eye painted and made. I had to call and reschedule the appointment since it took so long to leave that freeway. Since that particular eye was made, I never again had the issue of bartenders thinking I was drunk when I was in fact sober. It was a strange circumstance, and while she was a bit of a cold, hard kind of lady in general, I still liked her, and I attended her wake soon after. I don't believe Jared ever knew what happened.

After Jared and I were refused at the dive bar and had enjoyed one drink elsewhere, I decided that we should just hit the liquor store, since I was due to replenish my stash, anyway. We walked there since it was somewhat close, and I liked to walk to places when I could. At the time, I had a dog named Tibet, which I took along for the walk, and about seven or eight blocks away, we ran into another dog which we recognized as belonging to a house across the street from our apartment complex.

We knew who the dog belonged to, but he just wouldn't return home. He decided to simply follow us wherever we went. So, Jared took his belt off and used it as a leash for the dog, so we could bring it back home. About ten blocks from home was the liquor store, and I bought my glass bottle of vodka to supply me for the next few months. Jared was kind enough to offer to carry it home for me, but I shouldn't have obliged, because he managed to drop it in the parking lot, and it broke. Not having been a very cheap bottle, I was quite distraught over the situation, and I returned to the liquor store explaining the situation. Since they provided the plastic bag that the bottle broke though, they were ever so kind as to replace the bottle at no charge, warning against carrying the bottle carelessly. I decided to carry the bottle back home myself, and we managed to make it back with two dogs. We returned the labrador back to our neighbor and enjoyed a few drinks at my home.

Strangely, almost as though it were a test of honesty, Chef Steve asked if he could have his Zippo back, just the next day. I had this Zippo in my care for at least three or four months. It was odd that he would just then ask for it back. And, like I said, I don't recall if this was part of the arrangement or not. But, it must have been, because I was more than happy to oblige. I knew where the Zippo was. . . right in the open, on my kitchen table.

When I went to retrieve it, however, it was not where I left it. I couldn't have used it and misplaced it, because it was out of fuel. I never touched it, and the only person who had been in my home since I had found it was Jared. So, I assume that Jared had stolen it. I would never in a million years put it past him. Jared was that kind of man. I believed he did steal it, and still do to this day. But, he denied it when I asked, and all I could say to Chef Steve was that I was positive that Jared must have taken it. I offered to buy him a new one, but he declined the offer. He just wanted the one he gave me. But, goodness! What kind of a person asks for such a thing? They're not that expensive!

The Zippo was never found.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Vampire Van

Sometimes the oddest things happen, and it's interesting to be on the other side of a situation. Almost like an observer, even though you are a participant. Here is an example.

If you recall, Nathan had two vans exactly alike outside his apartment. One day, he told me a story about them…or the first one, anyway.

I don't remember the story exceptionally well, now. It was about an accident which occurred on the Burnside Bridge. Somehow, a horrible, headon collision happened, and Nathan was quite traumatized by the situation. He walked away quite fine, but a young passenger in the other vehicle ended up in the hospital with some serious head trauma. It was a story that haunted him. He held back tears as he told it. 

One evening, I was sitting on my doorstep with a boyfriend I had at the time. This was before Daniel. There was no one else outside, and no doors were open. For some reason, the van that had been in the crash would reflect the street light in such a way that it would look like some kind of stone cold vampire-like creature was sitting in the front seat, glaring at me. If I let it, it would creep me out and make me shudder. I mentioned the vampire in the van to the boyfriend sitting next to me, and he asked about that van. I told him I didn't know about the second one or his apparent attachment to that make and model. 

Yes, I know it was a very personal story, but I chose to tell it. I spoke very quietly about the accident, in hushed tones, yet as soon as I finished the story, Nathan's door opened, and out his door he stepped. As he walked across the parking lot towards us, I began to panic within my mind. Somehow he must have heard me. As soon as I thought of a solution, my mind rested and I was at ease.

I smiled cordially, as Nathan stood there in front of us, smoking his clove cigarette. He looked up into the clouds in his mind, as he was wont to do when he spoke.

"Do you mind if I ask you a question?" He asked.

"Of course!" Was my response.

He asked me, "What were you guys talking about?"

I did think it was quite forward and rude, not to mention, socially unacceptable, but he was right to ask, considering what was said. However, I had already thought of my solution, so I used it, and it worked perfectly.

It so happened that we had only just come from the theater, having watched the movie Butterfly Effect. I mentioned that we were discussing the movie we just watched. I roughly explained the plot to him, in such a way that it sounded just like the story I had told about him. 

I felt very clever, of course. At the end, I threw this in, "Oh, and your van has a creepy vampire in it. Look!"

Nathan showed a sigh of relief, and also a sort of puzzled curiosity. 

What he said had me mystified for years. "I just had the oddest experience. Have you ever overheard a conversation and thought one thing was said, and then discovered it was something completely different?" 

I think I said something like, "I don't think so. Maybe. I don't recall."

Inwardly, my response was, "Yes, Nathan, I know exactly what you mean. You, in fact, did hear correctly, and I just convinced you that you heard differently." 

Yes, I am aware that I behaved poorly on all counts, here. But, this is about what happened, and I make no apologies for my behavior. 

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Taffy

Once, I was sitting on my front step, and Monique was grilling a few links and drinking rum and cokes. She offered me some, and at length another neighbor came by. She seemed to know Monique, and not just as a neighbor, but maybe from some other pastime I wasn't aware of. I think her name was Tammy. Our first conversation is both memorable and vague, at the same time. I remember this instance, but I become quite confused when I try to work out the facts. For some reason I remember her name being unique and yet a familiar word. Yet, when I really think about it, I am certain her name was Tammy—Eureka! In writing this story, I have just this instant remembered her name. And I've been spending days trying to recall it, as I was sure I didn't quite have it right. Her name was Taffy. What a relief. 

Continuing onward, she seemed somewhat older. She would mention how she was getting old so fast, with so many regrets. There seemed to be one that consumed her, but she never spoke of it. Often, you could see her eyes drift off into that regret with her thoughts. But she was rather paradoxical. She looked older than she was, but then she seemed much younger than she looked. You really couldn't put your finger on which was right. 

She was 50, I believe. She did tell me once. Her hair was a beautiful dark brown color, but it was always wild, loose, and unkept. She spoke with a small, timid voice, and she seemed like a sad, tortured, childlike character, trapped inside this aged and used up shell. Miserable and wishing to scare away her memories and her past, she was always on some pill or drink, resulting in a loopy little lady, desperate for something beautiful or happy. She loved friendship, laughter, anything special.

One day, in the very early evening, I invited a crew of friends we had, to come over for a little party I was hosting. I remember the evening well. The sky had become green and unusual for this region. We were certain that a storm of cosmic proportions was on its way, but it never did come.

I had one rule. Everyone brought their own alcohol, and no one touched my private stash of vodka. It was a highly regulated stash. It lasted me a long time, and I didn't want the whole thing gone before my eyes. I couldn't afford to replace it that often.

Though not really invited, Taffy stopped by. I didn't turn her away, I had no reason to. I actually really liked her. But she did ask if she could have a drink or two. I made an exception. At the time, I didn't know that she was a pill popper. If I did, I wouldn't have acquiesced. I only gave her two drinks, and very quickly, she became not just intoxicated, but very loopy, faint, and not even aware of her faculties, let alone in control of them. 

Daniel remembers this next part as if he was there, but he wasn't. It is only because I told the story as soon as I returned, and we've recalled the situation many times since. 

When it seemed that Taffy was on the verge of passing out, my friend Chloe and I decided to take her home.

There was a much younger man, by comparison, who looked like a wild Native American sort, who had apparently moved in where Jared and Krystal had formerly lived. He was maybe 30-35 years old. It took some time before I realized that Taffy lived with him there. I never did know what their relationship was. Were they related, together, just roommates? I had no idea, though I was quite curious. 

For some reason, they would use their back door as a front door, so Chloe and I walked Taffy around to the back of the building and knocked on the door. The tall man answered and was exceptionally rude to us. As we helped her to a kitchen chair, I explained that she was a little intoxicated and we were bringing her home. He was quite angry and yelled at Taffy. "It's 5:00, and you're already stupid! What the hell is wrong with you, Woman?!"

Chloe and I exchanged a glance. We were torn between amusement at what was said, and pity for the lady. As we headed back towards the door, he yelled at us. "What are you two still doing here? Get the hell out of here!"

I had a habit of saying things that I shouldn't from time to time. This was one of those times. I turned and yelled back, "I'm sorry I brought her home, sir. Next time I'll just leave her on the floor!" I slammed the door behind me, and he instantly became an amusing anecdote at the party.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Monique

Monique was morbidly obese. Every day she wore a different moo-moo because, well. . . that was all that could be worn.

She lived just next door to me, on the left as I walked out of my own door. She seemed to live just outside her door, like the "neighborhood gossip," just watching everything that went on.

It was amazing, really. Anyone could just pull up a chair (and many did) just outside their door and watch. There was rarely a chance to be bored. Remembering back, it feels like it must never have rained or snowed. It did indeed, and I remember each one of those days. It was like the whole day was closed for business. 

Many times I would open my door and stand on the threshold, watching the broken gutter dump buckets of rain right on my door step. I would just stand there for the longest time, disheartened, but mesmerized at the same time.

Monique must have felt the same, because every time I stepped outside on a dry day, she would be sitting there on her chair, watching the small world go by, and exercising her voice loudly, quite often.

Many days, there was an unspoken competition of sound, the clash of music competing for the right to be heard. It would be warm and beautiful outside, and everybody's doors would be open, letting any wayward cool breeze find its way in.

Monique, around 45, with her light blonde, straight, long hair, would play her music at a reasonable volume. Then Gary would turn his louder, then Chef Steve, then Jared.

And the end result: no one could hear their own music, but they all wanted theirs to be heard. It was a huge clash of multi-genred noise.

Monique and Cats.

Monique loved her garden plot, but I never saw her in it. She would always mention how much she hated cats, because they would get into her garden. But only one of the neighbors had a cat, and her garden only had a few flowers. Nothing entirely worth writing home about.

When Daniel moved in, he had a cat. I didn't really want a cat, but I realized that this pet came with the man, and accepted the black cat: Dimitri.

Dimitri was old, and Monique didn't seem to even notice he existed. But one day it was my birthday, and our friend Mikey and his girlfriend both came over–my birthday was just a coincidence.

She'd had a job that day, which took her to a farm in the city's outskirts. There, she had found the tiniest little tabby kitten I had ever seen. She asked the farmer if it was his, and he seemed appalled by the fact that it was even brought to his attention. Knowing that the little runt would probably die in the wild, she brought it home.

She asked if I would take her, and I was happy to. I named her Lotus. But, Daniel had just bought me a black and white kitten for my birthday, which I named Guido.

So, we now had three cats, two of them kittens. Guido was spunky and a little skittish, and Lotus was sweet, quiet, and loved to cuddle. 

I loved little Lotus. Every evening, while Daniel finished up work, she would cuddle up at the back of my neck, while I read a book, or watched TV. I loved it.

Once I saw her up on the kitchen counter, but as she was so tiny, it blew my mind that she could jump that high. Then I remembered Zeela's little kittens that were always escaping. 

One evening, Lotus never came to cuddle up on my neck. I thought it was weird, so I looked around a little and never saw her. I returned to watching a show, before it was time to go pick Daniel up from work. 

I didn't have to. It was an easy walk. But, it was late at night, and I thought he'd appreciate the ride.

When we got home, he asked where the kitties were, and I explained how I hadn't seen Lotus.

We looked around, opened the door, called to her, and that is when Monique, sitting next door, informed me that I ran over her when I left. Apparently, she had escaped through the kitchen window. I behaved calmly and stoically. I grabbed a towel and picked her up, bringing her inside. Then, I broke down.

"How could I do such a thing?" I asked. I cried rather hysterically, for awhile, then I dried my eyes, we put her in a tin box, and we buried her out back, with a few words.

A few days passed and I began to eye Monique, suspiciously. I started to wonder if I had really run over my kitten, or had Monique hit her with a shovel. 

Come to think of it, she had threatened to do just that to any cat she found in her garden, just days prior. 

I began to loathe Monique.

And this is where my name began.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Ralph

His name was Ralph, and I can't for the life of me recall how I met the old man. I don't believe it was in the parking lot. Perhaps it was Zeela. It really is the only thing that makes sense, now.

Somehow, we discovered that we both were kindred spirits, old romantics who loved to read, drink vodka, and even watch Jeopardy in the evenings.

I was sad to see him go. He was somewhere around 60 years old, most likely on the younger side of it. He had a daughter, as I recall, all grown up, with children of her own. We would discuss the books we had read, as we'd sit in front of the television, waiting for the show. I would bring over some vodka, and dole out a couple of shots, or mix a cocktail or two.

One day, we started exchanging books to read. I would read them as quickly as possible, devouring any new information or concept I could get my hands on. Oddly, I don't remember any of the books shared, in either direction, except for the last one he left me.

One day, he told me that he was finally able to retire, and he was moving to the coast. I was quite upset. I had only just made this wonderful new friend.

I woke up one morning to find a package on my doorstep. Ralph had left me one last book to read, Timeline, by Michael Crichton. With it was a note saying that he enjoyed my company, to read the book, and there was no need to return it.

I hurried down to his place, two doors down. Ralph was gone.

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Buddha and Zeela

I met Buddha through my other neighbor, Nathan. I never knew a great deal about her. For the longest time, I wanted to know her real name. I thought she looked like a Ruth, Rachel, or maybe a Rebekah. I just wanted to be right. One day I was finally told, and since I wasn't right, I quickly forgot it. She had a young daughter, around 12 or 13, who not surprisingly, was named Zeela. Buddha was sweet natured and motherly. She was self-reliant and independent. The "pioneer woman" who could make anything happen.

Zeela was a free spirit, which I always assumed her mother could be thanked for. The world was her oyster, and she was going to eat it.

One evening, while I was watching Jeopardy with Ralph, a tiny little kitten ran through his open door and scurried across the floor. Ralph picked it up and said, "Isn't he just adorable?"

I agreed. I hadn't seen a kitten that small since I was 8, and the size ratio between the little kitten and me was a lot smaller then. Very soon, Zeela showed up at the door, asking if we had seen the little kitten.

Zeela told me that they had a whole litter of cute little Tabbies. I was curious, so I headed over to apartment #1 with Zeela. They had a gate on their door, and still the little things were escaping left and right. They offered to let me have one, but I declined. As cute as they were, I had no interest in owning a cat, and knew nothing about them. I had never had one.

Buddha's apartment was at the end, by the street, so there was much more garden space all around it.  All of the other apartments did have their own little garden plot on either side of the door, however. Nathan liked to take his food remnants and bury them in the ground. You might think, "Oh, like a compost." But, it wasn't like that, it was only remnants of fruits and vegetables, so that he would end up with a whole garden full of whatever he buried.

One day, Buddha decided to move out, and Nathan jumped at the chance to move into her place. I was asked if I would help out, and I happily agreed. It was the first time I'd ever been inside her home. And I soon discovered that she had a rather large python, which she kept in a basket. It was the kind of basket you might find at a flea market, complete with a matching lid, and maybe some red and blue zigzag pattern to show they matched. I thought this was an alarmingly odd place to keep a large snake, or a pet of any kind, so I wondered if perhaps it was only for the move. But, the place was not boxed up at all, and it was a disaster everywhere, so I wondered if they were accustomed to living in the jungle, maybe. They had some small food of some kind cooking on their stove. They offered me some, but, I have a hard time eating from other people's kitchens when I see the disaster that surrounds it. I politely declined.

Buddha informed me that she was a sideshow performer, as an acrobat, and something to do with that python.

Like I said, I knew very little about Buddha. These are just little snippets and windows into moments I recall. And this is even all that I remember about her. Yet, Buddha is Buddha, and she must have her spot, here.

Shortly after she moved out, she invited us to a house party, where she promised to show us her acrobatics. We attended, and it was a wild, interesting, hippie party, complete with a room containing many hand drums with many people combining their skills (or lack their of) to create a rhythm.

Outside, they served beer in those obnoxious red Solo cups, which I've always felt made drinking anything, not all that much fun. It even makes tasty things taste less tasty!

This was Buddha and Zeela. The breeze came along, picked them up, and carried them away.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Jared and Krystal

Jared once told me that he and Krystal were perfect together, on paper. I wasn't very familiar with the term, then. But, even in retrospect, I have no idea what he meant.

Jared can be summed up in one simple word: slob. It was quite amazing, actually.  You would never think that the 32 year old man ever put on a clean shirt. But, in fact, he did. One great highlight of many a day, was to wake up as early as possible, so that I could be there to witness the first thing he might spill on his shirt. It rarely happened. One particular morning, he managed to get more cherry pie on his shirt than in his mouth. 

Then there was Krystal, Jared's girlfriend. She was a girl that always had some reason she needed me to drive her somewhere as a favor. Not entirely wealthy myself, I rarely did so without requiring a little gas money first. She was average looking, with medium brown hair, and a long, skinny nose, that seemed to beak out like a bird, slightly. 

Krystal was pregnant. She always was, all the time that I knew her. She wouldn't touch a glass of alcohol, for her baby's sake, but she did smoke quite often. This amused me. She also had a son, named Gary. I just found this to be the oddest name for a little two year old, but I did realize that even men named Gary were babies once. I pitied Gary greatly. He was a very sweat natured little boy, yet with no chance at a decent childhood. 

Jared and Krystal were crazy and wild, and often kept questionable friends for company. As often as I would hang around them, there were times when I knew I should stay inside. 

There was a time when one friend they had over was climbing blackberry bushes, without flinching, and climbing the roof for whatever reason he had. I soon found myself hiding behind the safety of my front door, and occasionally peaking out my window, to keep an eye on things. I was worried to death about little Gary being around the effects of such a horrible drug, but it wasn't me who eventually called the cops. Jared, Krystal, and their friend were arrested, and poor little Gary was taken into protective custody. 

I don't believe I ever saw Krystal or Gary again after that, but Jared did hang around for awhile before eventually leaving as well. 

There is an interesting story about who moved into their apartment next, but I can't for the life of me remember her name. When I do, I'll tell you all about it.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Chef Steve

Chef Steve is not very complicated, but his story is. Thinking of how to describe him is rather odd, because my description is based on someone only I know. I have a great uncle whom I saw a lot of when I was very young. My grandmother's brother was the sort who would always have cheap beer on his breath and ask me to sit on his lap. It sounds creepy, I know, but he wasn't actually that sort. Just one who liked to drink a lot and speak his mind while he was under the influence. This was Chef Steve, complete with the golden tooth, the kind they made for people of that age. He wasn't VERY old, however. Maybe 40-45 years. But he was scary in a way I wasn't to discover for sometime.

There is a common phrase which goes: you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

But, he wasn't ever an enemy, just someone whose enemy I knew I didn't want to be.

Yet here I don't know where to start. I suppose I should start with the fact that he had a concealed carry permit, and he kept a 9mm on him, unholstered (just tucked in his pants) at all times. He reminded me and everyone around him on a regular basis. But, what was frightening was that every now and then, he'd pull it out (loaded) to prove it.

Now, I never wanted to be that person he decided to put on the other end of his barrel, so I decided it was a great idea to be on his good side. 

But, the fact that he had this gun was information I didn't have for quite some time. But somehow, I still knew I needed to be on this good side of his.

Now, why I call him Chef Steve will be because he was a chef "of the culinary arts" as he loved to make it known, where he worked in the kitchen at the Pioneer Courthouse Square in my city. At one point he informed me how proud he was that he had become a Notary Public, and could earn $5 for performing such a service. 

But there is so much to say that is beside this point. So much!

This man was the first to introduce me to marijuana. I wasn't generally inclined towards drugs of any sort, and I had declined the offer many times in the past. But, at this time I felt rather safe with this man and felt okay with giving it a try. At the time, I was of an opinion that drugs that came directly from the earth and unmodified were worth considering. So, I gave it a try, and my mind could not compute. My head was instantly blown back onto the couch I was sitting on. I couldn't make head or tail of where my mind was. I was a girl who valued highly what was in my head, so losing the ability to think was difficult for me to deal with, and I didn't like anything about it. At one point, I realized that if I focused on one word related to a thought I had, I could retain the thought. So, I focused on the word "bird." Ironicly, I now remember the word, but no longer remember the thoughts it represented.

Bird was what I took from that experience, and while I didn't altogether enjoy the experience, I didn't hate it enough not to try it again, sometime later.

But, more about Chef Steve. We, in the Schiller Apartments, lived a block away from a local convenience store. He must have made decent money, because once I had turned 21, he would pay me $5 to go buy him a very cheap beer. Steel Reserve was his brand. Black label. I did this often, and soon learned that he enjoyed drinking just this beer along with a few hits of weed, every night (usually outside), after work.
Eventually, I had a boyfriend (now my husband) who was with me, visiting Chef Steve. I had just returned from a beer run for him, and we all engaged in conversation. 

What happened next may seem as though I was, perhaps, a horrible person. But, hearing the whole story, you may realize that I simply took the most reasonable option.

Chef Steve seemed to be more intoxicated than usual, and whatever was said he, at one point, took out his gun in front of both of us, brandishing it frighteningly. We both (my boyfriend and I), we're not sure of the certainty of the situation at the time, and glanced at each other. The look we gave meant, "leave when possible."

There is no way I could ever remember what was said. What is important was that at one moment the conversation eventually shifted towards only my boyfriend, at which time I politely came up with an excuse to return home.

I did so at the most casual pace I could think of. I hid just behind my door, slightly looking out the window, with my phone in my hand, ready to call the police. 

Luckily, there was no need to do so. Eventually, my man made his way back to my place. But there was no end to the caution I used toward Chef Steve, ever again.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Chastity Cash

I know that a reader could never believe that this is the name of any girl other than a stripper. And they'd be right, but they'd also be wrong.

While I dug around my brain, trying to think of who I should introduce next, this one excited me the most. She's a simple and rather quick, but sad story.

Her name was Chastity Cash. I couldn't believe it myself, but such was her name. I loved her at first. She was much like me: spunky, full of life, and a great smile, but at least 10 years older. Sometimes we would just hang out in the parking lot, as many dwellers did, maybe imbibing one of Monique's whiskey and coke cocktails. And sometimes we would walk down the street to the little shop together.

I never would have guessed that she was a train wreck still waiting to happen. But apparently she was. What I found the most odd about her, was that I used to look at her and think to myself, "she could be pretty and very attractive, but someone needs to teach that girl how to dress." But, there is no kind way I could think of, how one could inform a person that they needed a makeover. But, I was certain that if she had one, she would be surprised at the attention she could get.

She used to dress in what seemed like oversized, hand-me-down, men's clothes. The baggy sweaters and you couldn't see that she had a waist. The faded black jeans, and you couldn't even see her legs properly. It was constantly on my mind, how I was going to break it to her. 

At the time she worked for a used car sales company and she even gave me her card one day, when she was proud of having been promoted.

Then, one day it happened. She was suddenly wearing proper girl clothes. But I thought she had gone to a bit of an extreme in that respect. She couldn't wait to tell me that she could now afford to pay her rent properly. She was now a stripper at a bar. In retrospect, I wonder if it was Devil's Point. My neighbors used to actually attempt to persuade me to work there in the most insulting way ever: they'll hire anyone.

Chastity was happier, and like many of my neighbors, would ask for a ride somewhere from time to time. I didn't mind, most of the time. 

Eventually, she was making enough money to afford to rent a house, so she moved. She visited once or twice and that was it. I never saw her again. She was simply an anecdote in my little book of funny stories. 

Then one day I received a very firm knock on my door. When I opened it, I discovered police officers there. 

"Miss Cash?" one of them asked. 

I said, "Excuse me? What can I do for you?" I told them my name. 

They said they were looking for a miss Chastity Cash. 

I said, "Oh! I remember her. You see, she used to live in apartment #4 on the other side. It's a different address." I told them that she had moved into a house, but I had no idea where.

Poor Chastity. She was dealt a sad hand in life, which began with her name.

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