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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis
last edited on Wednesday, May 24, 2006, 9:29 PM, Central Daylight Savings Time

The Lost Men

A story about the homeless

Jake Miller and his buddy Hugh Blessen walked out of the back storage house they were living in for about 18 months to face life on the streets. They fucked up! They didn't get a job, and they wouldn't shave or take a bath. They came in homeless to the home of Jay Dee Sr.  a crippled man, 76, confined to a wheelchair,  who,  because his three sons once knew these two men,  and his newly found faith in the Church,  decided to give them a chance by giving them both a place to live so they could get their life in order.  Jake had a problem with alcohol abuse and ever since teen age years was a regular at the carport back yard club house where there was a party going on almost all summer long 24-7. Some of the guys did pot though and others were taking harder drugs,  but many of us didn't even realize it.

Too fucked up our selves on pot and beer to give a damn!  And Hugh is highly addicted to speed and coke. It wasn't until now,  after a year and a half,  of lolly gagging and playing hunky dory days,  on and off of drugs and in and out of work that it was now the last straw. Jay Dee Jr. had to live in with his dad, who was now a quadra pelagic and take care of him 24 days a week ,  seven days a week,  but the perks were for him,  himself an x-alcoholic and drug abuser,  a home,  food on the table and even a job working with the Priests at the local Catholic Church on a day to day basis.  Yes,  he went to church every single day!  That's what his younger brother Tony found interesting and unusual,  but Dad would always argue,  "Better your brother goes to church every day than gets drunk off his ass and lands in skid row or the streets!"  Tony agreed that it was a better thing.  But the problem was Jay Dee Jr. was in need of a vacation of some kind.  The very last thing Hugh said when he was kicked out of the back house a few months earlier that spring was:  "I ought to put a knife in your back Jay Dee!"

That sparked an argument and later Jay Dee Sr. handed Hugh his walking papers.  Then several weeks later a phone call came in and it was the disturbed dumpster diving Hugh with a terrible story about a violent assault of two hispanics against a white man who was hanging out behind the shopping center near the trash dumpsters and the police finally took the poor man to the hospital and the two suspects were never found.  Dad decided to give Hugh another chance because he was almost certain he would be in danger living on the streets!  No Dah!

But,  this time it was different.  Jay Dee Sr. and Jay Dee Jr. (Bubba) asked them both to clean up their bathrooms and shave,  go out and get some kind of work,  even if it's just mowing lawns.  They just acted like it didn't matter since Jay Sr. told them they were out of here in a week!  And, yes,  Hugh Blessen was now Cussin!

Living on the street was nothing new to the 2 men because it was where they lived practically their entire lives!  But, living on the streets of Dallas is no picnic.  There are gangs and there are drug dealers all over the place.  There's a Crack house a block away from Jay's home and hundreds of dogs out on the prowl without tags and hunting for food because their owners,  who don't keep the gates closed,  also don't give them fresh food daily and as a result the dogs get hungry for fresh meat!

Hugh and his friend in poverty,  Jake,  were just 3 to 4 days away from hitting the streets.  What would they do?  Would they loose control and violently attack Jay Dee and his first born son Bubba?  That idle threat a few months ago still rang clear in Bubba's mind. Personally I'll be relieved when they're gone, so maybe they can get some help at a hospital for their psychotic mental states and their failing livers,  thought Tony,  Bubba's second younger brother.  Tony further wandered:  Will they cry the blues still one more time?  Would they try to get more sympathy from my Dad?

I should have sprinkled a generous amount of that ortho fire ant powder on the floor of the inside of the carport.  That stuff would stink them boys out faster than napalm!  It really stinks terribly and makes you want to up chuck!  But no.  Tony needed it for fire ants that were crawling all over the front porch and the cat food bowl where kinny kat lives and eats and sleeps.  Tony got a whiff of it as he shook the can all around the front and back porch and once or twice swore he had ingested some of it.  It rained for a few weeks and now the fire ants were back.  There's nothing in the world except fire that will extinguish those ants here in Dallas.

After several years Jay Dee Sr. died during a ruteen AngioPlasty and his heart stopped beating.  Nothing the surgeon did worked.  By now Tony's younger brother Kay Lee was in another city in a half way house,  and Hugh Blessen was living and working in Oklahoma on a farm and his friend,  Jake Miller still lived in the back yard car port that had been fully enclosed and furnished with an air cooler and a bathroom with a basin and a toilet.  He often helped out doing maintainance in a local Baptist church.  Big brother Jay Dee Jr.  was now occupying the house Dad lived in all these past years and now the memory of both Mamma and Daddy were left to us to remember in our own personal thoughts and their pictures still hung on the walls of the living room there. 

On street corners of Oak Cliff,  where you go to buy your milk and bread,  there will be days when you can not avoid being confronted by a beggar.  The problem with all of this is the simple fact that most of them are hard up for some kind of illegal and dangerous drug and worse,  many of the dealers in the local area are ready to provide them for a price.

You live and grow up in a city long enough and you can learn to read the writting on the walls.

People holding signs as they stand for hours at the overpass of Hampton Road going North at the inner section of Stemmons Freeway is just one example of the strife happening every day in the city of Dallas,  Texas.  Jay Dee Jr.  unfortunately had to go to jail again recently because of getting back into drinking again and worse,  driving under the influence.  He lost his job as a Eucharistic assistant in the Mass at the local Catholic church he has been a long time member of due to the fact his alcoholic history and subsequent arrest and jail time served just about eleven years ago was enough to make the head Priest mad enough to eliminate him from the activities there all except for collecting aluminum cans and this made him very depressed so he went from being sober for many years while looking after Jay Dee Sr.  to spending a day or so in City Jail just to wind up on probation for two years.  What kind of example was he setting for the man who lived in his back yard garage?  What kind of  life did he expect to live knowing that he had to spend two years sober and go to AA and to pay thousands of dollars in fines just to stay out of jail? 

The lost men of Dallas are all around us.  When you think about it,  they are a lot like us.
They exibit the behavior of soldiers of foreign war suffering from PTSD,  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,  from grief,  alcohol or other chemical addiction and homelessness.

They never began life that way!  They became lost men from the day they gave up on life.

Then if nobody sees them maybe they will just dissappear?  God wants us to help.

Tony tried to call up the Mayor who was R. K at the time and told him that he believed that if all retail stores that sold alcoholic beverages were told to stop selling it then there would be an immediate drop in the crime rate and a drop in the number of automobile deaths and there would definitely be less people being fired from their jobs.  Nobody from City Hall cared to return his e-mails or his phone calls so he decided to just give up.  That's what everyone else seems to have done.

But in a few sentences on line Tony put his thoughts to his web site personal home pages and blogged his feelings away in hopes that eventually someone would take time to read it and be moved by it.  In the mean time,  Tony worked hard every day to maintain his own sobriety.  You see,  Tony,  next to the youngest in the entire family,  was once an abuser of drugs and alcohol and every day he prayed to God to give him strength to do the right thing and so far,  for six years he has not touched a drop of beer or any other alcoholic beverage and for six years he has not taken any drug that was not prescribed to him.

That is not easy to do when you come from a family where your younger brother and your older brother both abused alcohol and drugs and when you live in a city like Dallas where there are drug houses all over the city and alcohol sold in every retail store that lies North of the Trinity and West of Mt. Creek Lake.  In light of the fact that Oak Cliff is in the dry state it don't mean that it doesn't have more than it's share of bars,  called clubs,  that let people drink until they are beyond legally drunk too drunk in fact to drive a car home and in the spaces between these clubs and gas stations and houses and parks are a few well built churches where people all have the chance to pick one and attend!

It's as if the churches were not so much too large for everyone but that nobody has taken enough notice.  The times Tony got to hear a good sermon either in church or on tv  were few and far between but very uplifting to him.  The fact that his friend Jake Miller was a very enthusiastic Christian believer was one very good thing for Tony.  People like Jake helped give him faith in the power of God in man and the fact his younger brother Kay Lee was not attending church any more but begging on the streets of Oak Cliff unshaven,  dreshed in shabby clothes and speaking in a slurred voice made him nauseated with sadness for his brother's sake.  Tony's younger brother,  for all intentions,  had become one of the lost men.

It had become the most serious issue in Tony's heart.  What do all the homeless people have in common?  Is it alcohol?  Street drugs?  is it poverty?  Or could it be mainly a result of a life crisis,  a tragedy that has hurt them so deeply that they begin to deteriorate and hit the deepest level of humanity,  life on the streets.  Is it a product of a society that has lost it's soul?  is humanity dead?  Is there no hope for the homeless,  the drug and the alcoholic abusers of America?

The sky seems just as blue to every man yet I often in spite of blue skies above,  feel as dark as night inside my very soul.

What a heavy burden Jesus has on His shoulders just with the many many minds gone from alcohol poisioning and drug abuse that causes so much sorrow.

to be continued................




 



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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis








 
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