The Green Man
It’d be easier to put this into some sort of disjointed poetry or verse and normally I suppose I would. This has all gone full circle; life, the universe and everything.
The Green Man was tipping off yesterday after the toothless Indian who wants to be world famous threw himself across a table and three or four people. He wailed into the back of one skinny kid who is Fragile X punching him and screaming unintelligibly.
The African staff member who was taking care of the wanna Maori warrior left him with another staff member to sort out the human cannon ball Indian. That left the Bi Polar intellectually disabled overweight diabetes suffering warrior to wail on the Green Man.
Just another day at work, I took my client and left.
When we returned a few hours later, the warrior hadn’t faded. He was holding a brick up to the face of the senior on the floor, threatening to kill him.
“I’ll fucking kill you!”
“Don’t do that mate you’ll end up back in the unit. Just put the brick down”
“There’s no room in the unit I already checked!”
He held the brick closer to his face as if to underline his point. A couple of us stood close by ready to pounce in case the brick made any contact.
The Green Man when I first met him was rapping some shit about something I’d never heard before,
“Gunshot Gunshot Foom
Murder on the 48th floor
He wore a Green Bay Packers hat, green singlet, green silk shorts hanging down to his arse crack, black socks (just for some contrast) and green trainers. Somewhere in there was a sense of style I thought. He rapped, he danced, and on a bad day… Well he screams in your face…
“I’ll fuckin’ kill you!”
“Mother Fucker! Sit down just fucking sit down!’ the staff member generally sits the fuck down.
“Now go away fuck off! Just fuck off!”
And so it goes. Yeah my job is stressful but at least the pay is shit. I guess I can drink and tell my friends about it, not that they’ll listen or that they’d care, or worse still give me advice.
Better not to shovel anything into the ditch of my already well formed opinions, but just nod and say “Uh huh, fuck that must be hard”.
Not everyday is like this, most days are a breeze of bushwalks and fishing, walking down beaches, driving around town, and perving at women. though strictly for aversion therapy; turning kiddy fiddlers into normal lecherous perverts who fancy women their own age. Healthy stuff.
Some days I work with the skinny pimply kid with the boney hands and elongated neck. I figured out a year or so back that kids with autism love trains for some reason, be it the order or the straight lines or just the fact that trains are fucking cool.
So together we made up a reward system so that me and boney go train spotting. If he hasn’t exhibited any behaviours that are antisocial or ‘dangerous” i.e copping a feel down green man’s loose green pants, or telling people he’s going to “fuck them up!!” or “smash you” or “do you want a fucking hiding” and then muttering under his breathe “fucking hate that cunt” or “fucking ho ha”.
Yeah he’s one of my favorites I guess, like the guy who when I first saw him (or rather his arse), all I could see was a hairy bum crack as he stood to climb out of the van. I thought, “here’s something the guys from this other centre doing brown eyes at each other out of the van windows”. Healthy intelligent shit. But no, the elastic in his track suit pants was just worn out and they fell down every time he bent over. Not a nice sight I think I’m scared for life, but like I said before it’s just as well I get paid so much to do this job.
The fact is I sent so many CVs to so many motorcycle companies I lost count of the interviews, hopeful to get an interview and down right rejections that I never had the courtesy of receiving from any of them for months.
It was getting to the end of summer (the 1st of March to be exact) that desperation finally set in and I sent two CVs to two separate companies dealing in Mental Health care. The months of hanging around home painting the house, weeding the garden and trying to write, finish to my life’s work wasn’t going well. I was staring down the rusty barrel of another winter.
The phone rang twice within the hour, one interview and one maybe.
I took what I could get and here I am and now a couple of years later I can write objectively about it.
There’s the guy who can’t really speak and communicates by spitting. He’s not to be left anywhere near the Smiley-Wanna-Be-World-Famous-Indian. The Smiley Toothless Indian who loses it when he thinks there’s “too many people” or too much stimulation for his senses to cope with.
Put them all in the small “open plan” kitchen that really wasn’t planned but just coagulated around the plumbing and you have a volatile mix. The country singing guy who’s got the mental age of a turnip and sings like one. He strangles the guitar and if Johnny Cash had a retarded son this would be him.
His voice goes up and down in pitch and since he’s been shown another chord he’s not half bad, he’s very nearly almost maybe bearable. Bearable that is if you’re stone deaf and hate music anyway.
The African guy who takes the music classes thinks he’s fantastic. He actually encourages him and actively discourages anyone who tries to show him new chords. One day some one will smash the guitar over his head. But he’ll need to be big, because Jonny Cash’s retarded son is a big fucker. A big fucker who gets angry at anything. So much so that he has to write in a note book instead of swearing and cursing and bitching and moaning about the weather, the traffic or what some one just said about him playing guitar.
The African guy who has bullet wounds and dreads under his hat that he never takes off informs us all that he’s a prince back home; “King of Africa”. He’d never seen a bill for anything all his life and didn’t know what it was to have a job.
There’s the Queen of Rarotonga, property tycoons from Fiji dodging the tax man, exiles from Chile and two people with families back home in Tibet that they send money to.
An ex welder, from the UK who seems like he would have been a good fit as a London Bobby, Sales Representatives, an Ambulance driver, and a Mormon Priest among others. We work with computers that see the internet through a straw in an industrial area in the shitty part of town. It’s delightful and sometimes downright sad and others side splittingly funny.
We take the criminally mentally deranged and intellectually unable to enter a plea to the gym and build them into stronger, better, dumber sex offenders. We teach them literacy and numeracy, life skills so they know how to make Louise Cake (great for tempting children off the street) and we teach them how to play soccer (with little or no emphasis on the rules) After that, well they learn how to be independent by catching trains and buses, we even try to find them jobs in the community and the wonder of it is they hardly ever reoffend.
The fact that they end up with us for ten years for car conversion or burglary is a moot point but even the dullest of criminals must be able to figuire out it’s not worth doing all that time for relatively minor offences. The burglars, homeless, rapists, lookouts and drivers for armed robberies all seem reasonably timid once they’ve been with us for a while, stupid, big strong, but in the end just a little scared and bewildered about how the fuck their lives got to this point.
They are after all many of them children in adults bodies with adult urges and a child’s reasoning, reguardless of what they’ve done it’s hard not to like them and get attached.
We are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, the shit shovel, the miners at the black face covered in shit. When families phone the authorities in desperation saying they’re scared their son or daughter will commit a crime and they need something, anything , they are told there’s nothing for them, nothing that is until they stove mum’s head in, or show the neighbours kids their privates.
Last Christmas the guy who brown eyed me was looking forward to “Going home to the Islands” for Christmas. Because he’d been picked up homeless on the streets after offering sex to some one, he’d been arrested and sent to us.
His only crime, being homeless in my opinion. If he had a home, was better dressed and was better looking he may have got a slap in the face or maybe even a bed for the night. Instead he resides with us and he needs a judge’s permission to leave the country.
His face was long and drawn, longer than normal, his eyes blacker than I’d seen in a long time. He stood by the door in his bright island print shirt and shorts purchased especially for the trip.
“The judge says I can’t go to the Islands.” I almost cried, the anger rose. I swallowed it. What the fuck???
“Why’s that mate?” I asked calmly as I could.
He had no answer that made any sense, but it seemed that his mother and father wouldn’t agree to be responsible for administering medication should he need it.
From the fruit of your loins shall come retards and wards of the state. Some people just shouldn’t breed.
We drove him off to the shops and bought some coconuts. The Queen of Rarotonga who was from the same islands put a lay of flowers on his head as he stooped his six foot four frame down so she could reach.
The disappointment was written on his face for days, the residential providers too stupid, too entrenched, and too concrete in their thinking to send a staff member with him for a well earned holiday with the easiest client.
Their sympathy and commiserations pathetic institutionalized dribble; spoken to make only themselves feel better, before they drive to a warm home in a nice suburb with their cats and the dogs and the kids and horror of the news at six where it should be contained somewhere safe and well away from us out of our control.
I sometimes ask myself who really has the problem, our clients who are painfully honest or downright psychopathic liars. Or the organisations that care for them, so called charities without a charitable bone in their corporate skeletons, so disabled by their own rules and aversion to risk, in fact their abject horror at anything that might be deemed to be risky, that they won’t do anything different, try anything they haven’t done year, after year, after retarded fiscal year, till the so called “community based charities” are as bad as the monolithic edifices they replaced.
Sometimes I leave work on my motorbike and wonder why I don’t die or lose my license. The front wheel spends too much time in the air, the rear tyre gets a workout breaking traction skidding, sliding, screeching. I keep enough in reserve to watch out for the law and always have an excuse up my sleeve should I ever get pulled over.
“It’s like this officer, I have a really stressful job and the money is shit. Please go easy.”
And if that doesn’t work I guess I can always grab a brick hold it above my head and yell at the top of my voice ….
I’m gonna kill you, you mother fucker!”
I wonder if that’d work…..