Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spirited Away by the Government--A Homeless Rant

A typical day:  Because of budget cuts in the Fresno Unified School District, classes like kindergarten, which ideally should contain 12 to 15 students, often contain up to 30.  This means my day is less like teaching than gerbil control.  They gibber and demand and steal scissors.  One little girl asks me to tie her shoes and begins screaming because I'm not doing it right. She won't stop.  She turns an alarming purple.  Finally, her mother has to come get her.  "You need classroom management skills," the mother tells me.

At the mission that night chapel service consists of two octogenarians who play the cowbells to scratchy religious LPs and do the worst ventriloquist act in history (Have you ever heard a scary dummy screech "Jesus loves you! over and over while a toothless man moves his lips along with the dummy's clapping jaw?) Afterward, we trudge upstairs for showers and then pile into our military-style two-tiered bunks.  About 120 men stay in the dormatory while another 50 to 100 or so sleep on thin mats in the chaple downstairs.

After lights out, just as I'm drifting off, my bunky John says "At 3 AM they take me away."
    "Who?  Why?"
     "For the experiments.  They be putting me into other bodies and sending me to other planets and dimensions and shit."
     "That's interesting," I say.  "I'm usually awake at 3 because that's when the snoring and screaming (I'm going off a cliff!  I'm fucking going off a fucking cliff!") is at its loudest and I've never seen you gone."
     "That's because they be doing mind tricks on you too.  The other night they had me in a robot suit on another planet and it was just walking me all around the craters and shit recording shit they need."
     "Need for what?"
     "For the future space wars!"  He sounds very angry with me.
     "How do you know you're not dreaming?"
     "Listen to me, youngster."  He leans over and sort of cuffs me with a hard, scaly hand.  "Last night I woke up in a goddamn field in the frosty fucking weeds like I was a werewolf  waking up after eating sheep and people out alone don't know no better. Know why?"
     "No. Why?"
     "All of a sudden I was running down streets and alleys in some town I never seen and cops and dogs and police cars were everywhere.  People yelling at me to stop.  Lights flashing everywhere.  But suddenly it was like I was ten feet tall and I was jumping over those fucking cops and denting the tops of those cop cars and breaking the lights and tossing the dogs against the shop windows.   So I looked down and I had FUCKING DINOSAUR LEGS!  I had my regular body up top but down there I was like one of them Jurassic Park motherfuckers, backwards knees and big old claws and I could leap all over.   They tried to taize me but it didn't do no good.  Them dogs was whimpering and running away and then I started messing with them cops, running at them and smashing stuff.   Then I just went leaping away like Superman.  It was fucking wild!"
     "So the government was testing some new kind of technology, like in Avatar?
     "Avatar, shit.  This make Avatar technology look like something you find at the bottom of a cereal box."

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