Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did I Win Or Did I Sin?

It's not uncommon to be picked up by some ad hoc truck to go do day labor and then have the employer never pay. They figure, "What can you do? Haha!" Who can you complain to? How can you exact any retribution at all? Their calculations tell them you can't. Most of the time it's too far away for you to even get back there even if you remember the way. So that, they figure, gives them a license to rape.

It's funny but I heard a couple of infamous Dallas radio rednecks discussing "the homeless" a couple of days ago. Truth is, the entire conversation was focused merely on panhandlers but their semantics viewed the two words as interchangeable. "Homeless", of course, is a term that encompasses women, children, disabled veterans and other victims of our presumptive "perfect society". But what was funny was by the time the conversation ended, the logic of their perverted minds had them describing the homeless to be "users". "They are just using us!" proclaimed one in righteous fury.

What a disconnected soul. Calling homeless people users is like a rapist claiming to be used by his victim. Conservatives truly do have dark minds. My solace comes in knowing they lace their words with their own destruction. My angst comes from the immediate suffering such vile commentary enables along with the fact their self-destruction robs us of what possible gifts they have to offer. It's a no-win situation that won't be realized as such until it's too late for everyone. Such are the beasts who surround me.

Knowing this, I am usually very careful who I work for and I put them through an internal vetting process before I put myself at their mercy. Their hard earned reputation is that of being guilty until proven innocent. Those without an established reputation I usually let my colleagues check out first before I commit myself. There are earmarks for both the good and bad kind of employers and it gets to the point where you can pretty much size up who's gonna rip you off. But the truth is, you never really can tell - and I forgot that.

I still say something doesn't add up about the guy, he seemed an established fellow. Bragging about his concealed weapon license certainly sent up a few red flags and his Christian bumper stickers were another warning sign. But I wanted some quick money and like anyone I tire of mistrusting all the time. Plus the work was in an area I was familiar with - a freaking perfect storm. Bottom line is, ol' Buzzcut Bob stiffed us and I got burned like I haven't been in a long time - which really put me in a spot.

My co-workers were mostly nonplussed by the scam and just sort of looked at it as the price of existence. A few made me smile as they exploded in foul mouthed anger but I knew once they erupted it was over for them. But I couldn't get past it. Part of me said let it go, another part kept picturing this guy ripping people off over and over with smirking impunity. This guys needs to be fucked, make him think twice about his dastardly deeds. After several days of going back and forth, I finally decided some people need to be reminded that when you play games, sooner or later you lose.

My account is still active with an online I service I used to track info on Debby. One thing it offers is a license place search and that's how I found fuckhead's address, which I saw to be within walking distance of a bus line. Yes, it would be a pain to get there and God knows what I would find when I did, but if things didn't look right, then what the hell, at least I tried and I could walk away knowing the fates had deemed it not to be. Turns out, though, the set up was near perfect.

I spent quite a while casing the neighborhood and I saw where I could approach the house and disappear from it quickly. It had been dark a couple of hours and I saw the notorious truck smugly parked in the street, scoffing at its houseless victims. I did a final check walking past the house one way and coming the back the other way to ensure it was all clear. I'd done all I could do so I decided to make my move. Purposefully, I walked up to a street side tire and slit the side with my box cutter. It was far easier than I expected it to be, so I did another. An then another - and then another after that. I wanted him to get the message that it would have been cheaper to pay us than to replace the tires.

I have to admit I was pretty damn nervous as I scampered onto my escape route and I'm sure I looked like the guilty figure I was. But I had counted on needing that anonymity and I made it back to the bus stop without the fickle finger of fate tripping me up. I had a lot of mixed emotions on the ride back - none of them good or satisfactory. It was a nasty business and engaging in that kind of behavior left me feeling raw and empty. I'd done this on the bet it was the thing I most could live with, but then I remembered my own axiom: it's not how you bet your life, it's if you bet your life that matters. Betting is not fun.

But I don't like getting fucked.

Some kid on the bus had the basketball game on his radio and I imagined Redneck Rip-off watching it also, cheering and rejoicing in the victory, enjoying the privileges of polite society and a sanctified home. And I wondered if he'd get that terrible feeling of separation that I live with when he came outside and saw his truck - when he found out he's not so much a part of society as he thought. How would he explain how his truck was singled out? Hey, bud, you didn't do anything to piss anyone off, did ya? Of course he'd answer "no", but the minute he does that he's no longer one of genteel folk but a committed predator. Yes, it's a good bet that most losers won't stand up for themselves but when they do remember one thing: we've got nothing to lose.

So did I win or did I sin? My deed left me feeling foul and dirty and if I had the good life with Debby I wouldn't stoop to such a thing - I wouldn't waste my time. But as a lost loner, the call to vengeance was too loud and I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is without that in my ears - not that I'm sleeping well now, peering over my shoulder half-expecting an angry truck to arrive. Monsters don't learn lessons, they just react. Now I have to live with a beast gunning for me even if I am the only one who knows it. I've told no one of my crusade.

Who knows, maybe I really was an instrument of God and a taste of retribution and rape served as medicine for the violator’s soul. All I really know is what I have to live with - and that's a life alone.

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