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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