Bambi comes up to help me with my place. I am disabled due to surgery on my ventral hernia. I have mesh inside my body, that the surgeons stapled in at the V.A. medical center. Bambi and Fred are behind on their rent, an older black couple. They are your inner city blacks, Americans, not the immigrants from Nigeria that are all over this ‘hood. Bambi and Fred are struggling, on disablity. Fred has a hernia like mine, but they said at Truman Medical Center they want to wait until he must have it done. In other words, incarcerated I guess. “Incarcerated” means the intestine is twisted or infected. It must be immediately fixed, or death can occur.
Bambi’s face is blotched with spots where she got the wrong medications at Truman. At one time poor Bambi was on dialysis because her kidneys failed. This couple, who has next to nothing themselves, have treated me more kindly than anyone, including my own family. This is not to say that my own family is unkind, but they are not local to me, and are struggling themselves. My brother’s neighbor got foreclosed on. The IRS is hammering my brother’s $400 paycheck. I like my family.
Bambi and Fred seem to personify the inner city experience. Bambi has been shot in the face, there’s a .22 slug in her lower jaw. She got shot after being put out of a homeless shelter, accused of stealing by the other women. She had a job at Church’s chicken over on 12th street, but they fired all the employees after a armed robbery, accusing the employees of colluding with the robbers. Her brother was murdered in his home on 54th street, they never found the killer.
Fred had an old Toyota wagon, very old, but it ran good. Well them punks cut off his catalytic converter, then, they stole the car! Poor Fred. That hernia, above his waist on his left side makes that squishing noise. Why is it the poor- always get crapped on even MORE?
They make their way from the pantries at the churches, and disablity. All sorts of things happen to them. Bambi forgets to put in the Food stamp application, and they cut off their food stamps. As we drink coffee, Bambi and I talk about the lady in the other building, who had two sons shot. Her baby son got shot, and her other son got shot down on 10th and Paseo about 3 months ago. Both of her boys died, what a horrible event. I didn’t know what to say to that poor woman.
She is a GREAT housekeeper. I only give her some cigarettes, $10 and a couple of roasts I had in the freezer. She sweeps through my whole crib, and boy is it ever a MESS. What she did was nothing short of spectacular, compared to the other people I’ve had do work for me. She did a huge pile of laundry and folded it, and didn’t cop the change like most of the street girls I will sometimes hire. Heh, those chicks will want $20 for just doing the dishes. Merry Maids will not even DO the dishes I don’t think.
Bambi really treats me good, cooks for me and brings me food, makes my bed for me, and picks up stuff for me because I dare not bend and tear the stitches out of my stomach.
These people are really well versed in URBAN SURVIVAL. Getting screwed over by the food stamp lady. Being the last hired, and first fired for menial jobs. They really persevere. Getting screwed outof their rights, in slave state of Missuri. Missouri’s employment law IS pretty much like a slave state. People get screwed over working menial jobs.. denied unemployment.. denied medical care.
I am in a fortunate position ‘cos I was in the Military. But that don’t make it right. WHAT did we DEFEND? WHO did WE PROTECT? I do not think that I was defending the people of the United States. I think I was defending the Capitalists of the United States. MONEY and GREED.
She talks about the pimps and drug dealers around here. She says: “don’t go with them ho’s. If she get behind with the dopeman, they will put it on YOU.” In other words, try to collect the woman’s dope debts from you. About 8 years ago, just such a thing happened, and a man was beaten to death in some apartments a few blocks west of here.
Today, she told me about when she was saying in the Shelter, called “Project Restart” on 12th street. This was in 2000 when they had that one serial killer roaming around. A girl named Del Shay was always out there getting picked up, and Bambi warned her. Sure enough, she got picked up by THE guy.. and they found her body out at Lee’s Summit lake, shot in the head.
Bambi stayed in a abandoned building for an entire summer one time. I believe her, because it is common around here. It is common to find people staying in abandoned houses.
Michelle, a street girl, got shot a few weeks ago. She is out there hustling again, after nearly being killed. Bambi I really like. She is the old style, hard workin’ and down to earth woman, that is so hard to find. So humble, and so simple. Fred can be a little rascally.
Just about everyone will steal. If not directly, then kind of, indirectly. BUT..they do not steal and lie nearly as much as corporate people. My old company is doing everything they can to beat me out of my workmen comp injury, for example. As far as crooks go around here, nothing matches the corporate weasels that I worked for. ANYTHING.. to beat a workin’ man outta his money. The corporations have these crooks called LAWYERS.. whose only job is to rip Joe the Worker off.
Bambi’s the only person I’ve met around here in 8 years that I trust. There is this simplicity about her that I like. The simple stories of the people around here remind me of a Donald Goines novel. There are many bad people in the world. In fact MOST of ’em are pretty selfish, but someone who is humble, helpful, and concerned with others really stands out.