“Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?” Saint Basil
When Kirby left, moving down the street into Greg’s house, after a year of living in our basement, after a year of getting him back on his feet, after a year of spending ten thousand dollars on the kid, he said he hated us, we were horrible people, and we had just been using him. When he left, he took his bulldog Louie with him. When he left, he left a godawful mess in our basement, too. He didn’t bother cleaning up after himself.
Greg is a friend of Brian’s, from way back when, just like Kirby. At least, they were friends of Brian’s. Greg’s is where Kirby went to smoke pot, while he was living with us.
Greg is half Greek and half American Indian. He was married for 5 minutes, but that’s over. He’s the kind of man who is always yelling. He will come to my house and start yelling.
So, I yell back, “You’re yelling at me in my own home? Why are you over here? Why do we have anything to do with you?”
“Make me stay cool,” he says.
He is re-doing his two-family house, where he lives upstairs, and he decided free labor would be better than paid labor. The free labor is Kirby. He started in on Kirby’s ear, telling him we were horrible people, and that he should move into Greg’s first floor suite. He could have the whole first floor in return for working on the house.
What an idiot! Kirby is not supposed to even be working. That’s why he’s on disability.
When we first took Kirby in, he slept all the time for a couple of months. Now he sleeps all the time because he’s exhausted.
“You’re going to kill him,” I said.
“What business is it of yours?” yelled Greg.
“You talked him out of living with us, where he was being well taken care of, where he was getting everything he needed.”
“I don’t understand,” said Greg.
“Let me tell you why I’m mad,” I said. “For such a good friend of Kirt’s, like you say you are, what you’re doing means he’s going to lose his disability, maybe lose his health insurance, lose his monthly payments, lose everything, because you don’t really care.”
Once Kirby had gotten his big back payment disability check, we were going to pay back our expenses for the past year, put in a new floor and kitchen appliances in his basement suite, and carpet our living room, so he wouldn’t have to hear us walking around upstairs. But Greg got into his ear, telling Kirby we just wanted to take all his money.
Kirby started to believe him.
We had been getting monthly checks for a few months and there were a few thousand dollars piling up. I sat Kirby down and told him we needed to open a bank account for him. He jumped up and started swearing up a storm.
I have told Greg that Social Security has been calling, they haven’t heard from Kirby, they want to know where he is, he needs to go and check in.
“I don’t care,” said Greg.
“What do you mean you don’t care?”
“I’m not doing that shit,” he said.
“I hope you’re happy with the decision you’ve made,” I said to Greg. “You’ve taken him away from people who actually cared about him, who weren’t going to work him to death.”
“This is my fault?” he asked loudly.
“Whose fault would you like it to be?” I asked. “Would you like to blame someone else? You just tell me, and we’ll go talk to that person.”
“I don’t want to fight with you,” he said.
“I don’t want to fight with you, either. Nothing more to say.”
I’m nervous for Kirby. He’s only got a few months to make it back to the Social Security office. You have to check in, you have to show receipts for rent, you have to prove you are alive. I feel bad that he’s too stupid to know better.
Thanks to Greg, he’s completely screwed Kirt over. All the rights we fought to get him, all the lawyers we talked to, all the offices and courtrooms we took him to, but Greg won’t do anything for him
Even the lawyer went to see Kirby, told him he needs to pay us back, but Kirby said no.
“They’ve taken everything from me,” he said.
He’s about to lose everything and all we can do is stand by and watch.
I don’t think Kirby’s in his right frame of mind. He’s gone off the rails and he’s getting sick living at Greg’s. He’s back to doing nothing else except lying in bed. I don’t think he’s doing much work there.
Brian went to Greg’s to talk to Kirby, to try to get him to go to the government offices, and get his food stamps card.
Kirby just screamed and went the other way.
I asked Brian about Kirby coming back.
“He can’t,” he said. “He had his opportunity. He’s not welcome back.”
“What if you see him on the street?”
“I’ll give him some money if he asks. But he’s not coming back here.”
“He’s going to lose everything,” I said.
“I can’t squeeze water from a stone. I can’t make Kirt do what he doesn’t want to do.”
He decided he was going to go see the lawyer we had gotten for Kirby and take our names off everything. We won’t be able to help him legally anymore. Brian doesn’t want the responsibility anymore.
He hurt Brian bad because Brian always considered him like another brother. In the meantime, Greg called to make an appointment for a haircut.
“No, you piece of shit,” I said.
“Aw, pookie,” he said, because we always called each other pookie. “I don’t know why you’re mad.”
“Pookie’s dead,” I said. “Lose my phone number.”
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.