As I documented elsewhere, back when I was living in East Rogers Park in Chicago, my building briefly turned into a crackhouse, a memorable turn of events to be sure:

Like I say in that other piece, I did not initially see it happen because I was working as a live-in caregiver from April to October in 2013. I ultimately stopped doing it because the pay is lousy and the hours terrible; basically modern slavery. As Bukowski put it: “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.” Of course, there have been white slaves from the dawn of time, right until today, but that’s another can of worms for another time.


But back then, I had sent my resume round a few caregiver agencies on spec. I got a call from one I had registered with a few weeks before to ask if I would start work that night, Friday night, 6 p.m., live-in (you literally live in the client’s home 24/7, normally four or five days a week), straight through until the next Saturday morning, seven days straight, when they would have another weekend replacement ready. My hours after that would be 10 a.m. Monday morning to 10 a.m. Saturday morning. I had been looking for a live-in gig so I said sure, yeah, and they assured me they were my best pal and I was the best man for the job, and I said yeah, right, whatever.

I have found out, in the caregiving world, that if you get a call for a huge case the same day it starts, or with very little notice, they are just trying to scramble to find somebody to work it. They get a big commission for an employee working it (stealing 66% of what they are paid for the employee working, in my last rip-off gig), and don’t give a damn who does the job. Caregiving is a very sexist industry for men, (try being a white man in an industry where nearly everybody else is a black, Latino, or Filipino woman! A joy) and it’s much easier to find work if you are a woman, so I considered myself lucky I had gotten the gig I wanted so quickly. Not that I really wanted to work 24/7 five days a week in somebody else’s house, but, well, you know what I mean.

The client I was being asked to work with was a man of thirty named Mark, who was permanently consigned to a wheelchair; feet tied down because of spasms, couldn’t feed himself, the whole tragic lot. Not going to go into what was wrong with him; suffice to say, he’d received brain injuries as a child that had left him wealthy from a huge settlement paid out when he received them. He basically couldn’t wipe his own backside, but was still amiable, had a decent sense of humor, could have a beer (or two) and a conversation with you, and was pretty laid back. I very much enjoyed, and loathed, working with him, for reasons that will become apparent.


Anyway. I drove the twenty-five miles to the gig from my apartment in Chicago, finding myself in the wealthy, relatively isolated suburb of Palatine, marvelling at the silent, sterile, empty, beautifully kept street, far from the madding city crowd. I rang the doorbell, and the door was answered by a young Ugandan caregiver guy (young African men are big on caregiving – it’s in their family cultural tradition) named Benon, eyes red, agitated, clearly stoned out of his face. I was walking into a gig in total disarray. Mark had fired his now-gone housekeeper minutes earlier, and had been having a shouting match between himself, his housekeeper (whom he accused of spying on him for the company, which she was as she was a friend of his mother’s, but that’s another story), and the caregiver I was replacing, who had been fired for neglect of his disabled charge.

Benon was babbling at me, asking me to work four days so he could work three, and blah blah blah, and I just nodded and said yeah, right, whatever, having no intention whatsoever of doing this, and annoyed I had been thrust into the middle of a volatile situation where smiling diplomacy was the key. I introduced myself to Mark and went through into the kitchen to talk about the situation to Benon. When he told me he was from Uganda I actually tried to talk to him about some films by Ramon Film Productions, a crazy Ugandan film production company, to distract him and calm him down, get him talking about other, less serious things, and he, thankfully, left shortly afterwards.

He’d left a shitload of stuff for me to do, and I was pissed off at this, but I just told Mark to call on me if he needed me and got down to what needed to be done. His voice was really difficult to understand sometimes, as he stuh-stuh-stuttered and slavered, foam collecting in his mouth, arms jerking round as he did, neck twisting, but you could always ultimately understand what he was saying. There was apparently voice technology available to him which could have greatly aided vocal comprehension, but he said he didn’t want it. Fair enough.

I did a couple of loads of laundry and folded them, going into Mark’s bedroom to put them away. Instantly I saw several bra and panties sets hanging off a large mirror and I thought hmmm, got a live one here, scalps, bit fratboyish, but good on him, he’s still got a sex drive, not letting him be in that wheelchair stop him. I didn’t know where any of his clothes went, so had to dig through drawers and closets, and I uncovered a few Girls Gone Wild type DVDs, several featuring voluptuous black women.

I shrugged and put his underwear away in the drawer with the rest of the underwear there. No concern of mine, and I could only imagine how oddly awkward it would be to know your caregiver would know your taste in porn and such because you knew they would know about and see this stuff. But I also reasoned well, in his situation, reliant on other people for help, he wouldn’t have any choice anyway, which sucked in the dignity stakes but there was nothing that could be done about it.

And I’m telling you – and this is absolutely true (as is this whole story, except the names) – the first fucking thing I thought about when I saw those bras and panties and DVDs was the Australian adult comedian Jim Jefferies.


Now, there is a reason for this. I wasn’t thinking about him wearing the stuff, obviously – leopardskin thongs would probably not look too good on him. The reason I thought about him was because he does an amazing, heartbreaking half-hour monologue in his set, captured on his 2010 DVD Alcoholocaust, about taking a disabled thirty-one-year-old virgin friend of his that he has known since childhood to a whorehouse. My life has turned into a Jim Jefferies sketch, I genuinely thought, and I ruefully chuckled at the irony. (Whole thing is in the video below)

I met the amiable and hilarious Antipodean comedian a couple of times in Chicago, including having a drink with him after he did that whorehouse sketch, the first time he had ever performed it in public. The events in it had only happened a few weeks before. The symmetry in the situations did not escape me for one second. But there was a level of secret poignancy there, too. Here was this tangled-limbs helpless man, with sexual desires, young, virile to a point, but unable to go out and satisfy them himself. So he made do with pornography. I idly wondered if he had even had sex.


As it turns out, the answer to that question was yes; his father had taken him to a whorehouse when he was twenty-one. I learned this fact when, after a couple of weeks of getting to know Mark and test out his parameters, I showed him the very Jim Jefferies monologue (“It’s so nice to be a disabled sex puppeteer!”) just discussed, which actually made me cry the first time I saw it being performed live. I thought Mark might appreciate it and he did, and told me why. It was incredible – here I was having a late-night beer with this guy, and I had just shown him something that he could relate to in an incredibly intimate way; and not one other comic on the planet could have done this.

Once I jokingly mentioned being in need of a visit to a hooker myself and Mark fixed me with a wicked grin and said to me in a low, serious voice: “I can arrange that.” And he could, but didn’t (I didn’t really want it); he had done the same thing for another caregiver, apparently. He certainly loved when I took him out to a Twin Peaks restaurant and he would comment knowledgeably on the voluptulicious booties of the young women working there as I fed him his ice-cold, frosted-mug beer.

Mark had a white van that was like something rigged up by The A-Team. It had an electronic ramp that slid down out of the side when you needed to get him and his wheelchair out. Which was fine, as long as the ramp was working. It often wasn’t, so I had to get the metal hand-cramp ramp crank and unfurl it myself. Which was fine as long as it wasn’t raining, though I had to curse technology and get wet doing that a couple of times.

The whole setup with Mark and the van and his wheelchair was a bit dangerous, too. The wheelchair was supposed to be locked in with four clamps on the floor, but there were only two working. I really shouldn’t have been driving Mark round like that, but the company were a bit glacial for the first couple of weeks in getting it repaired, so I had no choice. One day we were out, us talking, me half-distracted, and Mark suddenly called out to me to turn right here! I jerked the wheel to the right and heard and half-saw Mark, out of the corner of my eye, toppling onto the floor to the left behind me!

I let out a screaming shriek that would have put Pavarotti to shame for scale, “MAAAARRRRKKK!!” and somehow jerk-shuffled the wheel round to the right…to find I had parked us up on the grass verge in the middle of a suburban day, right next to a shopping precinct! I whipped round and looked down at Mark, visions of having killed by him breaking his neck off the side of the van in the fall…but he was still alive! Thank fuck! No negligence charges! Christmas early! I set him back upright, him mocking me for my screech, attached the two working clamps, and drove slooooowly off the skidmarked grass verge, as if parking there was an everyday occurrence. Cars were driving by but nobody stopped and said anything, and we were never accosted by the cops, thankfully. Not complaining. 

Remaining free of prison for accidental client death, in the coming days I hooked up Mark’s Mac to his huge-screen TV in the living room. We watched Rudy Ray Moore and Richard Pryor stand-up, blaxploitation films, the BET comedy telly show The Game, and such. We had such fun nights, me feeding him potato chips as he sat and sipped his beer (he liked Bud, no real taste in beers!) or Mike’s Hard Lemonade from a straw with the bottle in his chair’s cup holder. Mark’s chair was a $40,000 top-of-the-range model, and I used to jokingly call him Robocop; the thing could stand him up and everything if he needed to pee, saving him some of the indignity of having to have me do that for him.

A few years before I met him, Mark had visited a ghetto massage parlor for a happy ending. There he had met a black hooker named Sandra, a real piece of work, like some skanky bottom bitch from an Iceberg Slim book.


She had been prosecuted for drug dealing, and had even been involved in a scandal involving a politician in the massage parlor; I saw the stories and her mugshot online. Well, she had seen an easy trick, an easy mark in Mark if you will, and had plied her snake-oil charms on him. He had fallen in love with Sandra and gotten married to her, and she, of course, had bled–was bleeding–him dry.


First I heard of her was the case notes emailed to me the day I started. All they said was that he had a ‘girlfriend’ and they had a caregiver-supervised ‘date’ once a week for a couple of hours at a place to be specified each week. I thought that was cute and poignant, in a naïve way, cos I had never met her, and thought it was cool that he was trying to maintain as normal a life as he could under difficult circumstances.


And just how difficult the circumstances were became apparent the minute I met his ‘girlfriend’ for the first time. I had by that point been briefed by his case worker on whom she was and sort of knew what to expect, but she still turned my stomach. Thirty-five, dripping crap bling, rail-thin, probably deep into drugs, instantly radiating bad electricity. I did not like her the minute I laid eyes on her. She had one tattoo on her neck from the old movie Dead Presidents of a guy wielding two guns, and another one on her right bicep of a black rose. Above the rose it said “LOVED BY FEW” and below it said “HATED BY MANY,” which may tell you something.

The first time I met her she was dressed like a skanky teenager in tight clothes, belly on display, and had on fake gold earrings that said, in letters 1.5 inches high, “TRUST NO BITCH.” How appropriate. You can’t even make this shit up, I thought. Mark, if you could only see what I see, man, it’s right in front of your eyes! But of course I said nothing, as I had just started the job, and I just… watched.

What happened was that every Monday he got his weekly allowance of $1,250, and we would go on a “date” to a local shopping mall, with us stopping off at a local bank to withdraw $1000 or more beforehand. The bemused and confused female cashier who often served Mark wondered aloud what he did with the money; I told her she would never believe it even if I could tell her. We would then go to the mall and wait for Sandra – and I mean WAIT. This woman was the tardiest fucking idiot I have ever encountered in my entire life. If she said she would arrive at 1 p.m., she would always – and I mean always – arrive at least forty-five minutes late. It got to the point where I would just work that into our schedules to save me from sitting fuming in a shopping mall thinking up ways to kill her. Forty-five minutes, ninety minutes – one time she was four whole fucking hours late and I just made Mark get up and go home, cos I had had it with that shit. She wasn’t pleased, but, well, who cared less about that?


I’m sure she was having fun making the two white guys, one of them rich, wait around on her regal skank self to turn up, but I sure as hell didn’t enjoy it one bit. Mark was quietly philosophical about it. Being in a wheelchair his entire life had given him a completely different sense of the passage of time than I had, and he was much more patient. And he was also head over heels in love with this leech – he really had the mental and emotional levels of somebody in their early teens, and was shockingly naïve. “I learned everything I know from movies,” he once told me. Well, where else would he have learned anything, growing up in such a sheltered environment?

Sandra would never kiss him, or even physically touch him, when we met up. For damned sure Mark was the easiest trick she had ever turned in her life. We could easily have gotten him laid every week for a mere fraction of what she was milking out of him. I “innocently” mentioned the lack of touch and affection to Mark, always trying to think of subtle ways to sow discord between them and try to make him think about their relationship.

When he brought it up to her she said that I had left a “stain” on him, and she didn’t want to get her clothes messed up by touching or hugging him! She was a fucking piece of work, that woman, and no mistake about it, with a bullshit answer for everything.


When she bothered to eventually show up, she would make bored, half-assed conversation about her useless life during the rest of the week. I mean, who knew what she was really doing, or how many guys she was seeing or screwing – she was still doing a bit of whoring. She would get something to eat with us, and sometimes raid Mark’s account even more to have him buy things for her. She bought stuff online without his knowledge with his card number, and he desperately tried to pretend he didn’t know who was making these purchases, trying to lie to himself about it. Her greed knew no bounds… then she’d just fuck off until next week with nary a goodbye. It was absolutely incredible, and I couldn’t believe it.

Coming from an affluent, comfortable middle class background, Mark was naïve as hell. When he married this symbiotic piece of trash she was getting, at one point, thirty fucking grand a month from him, stealing it all, doing who knows what with it. She filled Mark’s house with ghetto garbage, hustlers, hookers, thugs and thieves who took laughing advantage of him. They stole his 2000-strong DVD collection; painted his hardwood floor black for some reason; stole his Playstation and games.


They dealt drugs from the house (to the point where the sniffy, appalled whitebread neighbors complained to the cops – they were cold, anti-social middle classholes, so I thought this was kind of funny, but I could see their point as well), leaving guns and drugs everywhere. A previous caregiver complained about this, and a chair with bullet holes was found in the basement – for all his case worker knew, she said, there may have been a murder committed there, but they just threw the chair out.

They just generally trashed the place, having zero respect for the owner. Of course, Mark thought it was great, and that he was being a real gangsta, moving and shaking with the hos and and bros (he genuinely wanted to be black) when, of course, all the time they were just laughing at him, right in his face – they didn’t even have to do it behind his back, he was so blind and trusting and naïve.


These scumbags pissed on Mark’s parade until his beyond-distraught mother got the sham marriage annulled and a restraining order taken out on Sandra. With her gone the black idiot river stopped flowing through Mark’s house, but he now hated his mother for “ruining” his life and wouldn’t even talk to her. He called her controlling, said she was after his money.

He couldn’t see the bitter irony that he had, in his mind, traded one supposedly controlling, money-hungry woman for another. And his mother wasn’t, not by my reckoning; I met her a few times to see if I could try and build bridges between them, and she was genuinely devastated by the whole mess, as she had every right to be. Because Sandra basically said jump, and Mark asked how high? Well, not that he was able to jump at all, but you know what I mean. She controlled his life to an incredible and unbearable degree. Not that she was ever there micromanaging him or anything, nothing so tawdry as her actually ever spending any time with him, of course, but her hold on him was mental and emotional, pretending she loved him, and thus much more disgustingly and disturbingly insidious.

Every morning Mark would wake up and turn on BET (Black Entertainment Television) the moment he did. It was all he watched, and I was appalled at the constant anti-white stereotyping in it. I would get Mark up, shower him, shave him, brush and floss his teeth, wash his hair, get him dressed, do his range of motion exercises, get him into his chair, and then feed him breakfast. After breakfast he would go into his computer room and answer any emails with his joystick rigged up to float the cursor over a cyber-keyboard he could type on using the fire button to type the letter. Then he would turn on Candy Crush and sit and play it all day, except when shitting or eating, or watching porn videos.

He couldn’t even relieve himself with his hand, so I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been for him! Sitting in his living room reading or something and hearing hugely magnified grunts and groans (he always kept his computer up loud for some reason) echoing through from his computer room was definitely one of the more surreal, and oddly poignant, workplace moments I have ever experienced. He would then eat dinner, watch a movie (or The Game) with me, go back into the computer room, and then go to bed around midnight.

His computer, which was always left on, had a few rotating screenshots, nude and clothed, of Sandra. When I went in to clean, or for whatever reason when Mark wasn’t there, if I caught sight of those photos they made my stomach turn. She had flat pancake tits, of the type that just hang limply off some women. Probably sucked dry by years of nuzzling, sneering Johns. It felt intrusive going in there and seeing them, but sometimes there was nothing I could do.

I was on call 24/7, and Mark would always wake up at least once (often twice) a night to pee. I had to help him, so for six months straight during the week I had not one unbroken night’s sleep. One night Mark woke me up and I went through to check on him, pulling the duvet back off his nude form when he told me he needed to pee in a plastic container…to feel something slimy slide along my right hand. Semen. “I must have had a wet dream,” he clumsily apologised, but I just shrugged and let him piss. Only time I have ever had another man’s ejaculate anywhere near me. Indignity is just something you put up with in that job, which is horribly underpaid, and you just reasoned that you were lucky it wasn’t you in the client’s state.

Random memories: cooking every morning for Mark, sausages and eggs and whatnot, listening and dancing and singing round the kitchen to the classic Pink album The Truth About Love. Spending hot summer days watering the bountiful plant explosions in the garden round the house, finger over the hose nozzle, fizzing splashy rainbows forming in the coolly spraying upwards-bound waterfalls. Hearing splashing from the public swimming pool at the back of the house late one night and watching two girls in their late teens splash like seals in the closed-pool water, having climbed over the fence for a refreshing swim in the humid balmy night. Remembering how dead the streets were at night, not a soul out, lit up like affluent dead doll’s houses, burglar alarm lights winking in ever-intruder-ready 24/7 sleepless vigil. A really creepy silent valium-tinged Republican crypt all round. Having Mark’s wannabe-male-model younger brother round and cooking them BBQ chicken wings as they got stoned and laughed and watched some entry in the Fast and the Furious serious. I had managed to get Mark’s brother Alan back into his radar, and was happy to do so, always trying to build family bridges. So it was not all bad.

One other thing we watched during dinnertime was the whole first season of Legit on my laptop. This was an American telly series where Jim Jefferies (playing himself) looked after his disabled pal in a wheelchair, Billy, played by DJ Qualls. It was unfortunately illegally downloaded, but it wasn’t out on DVD at that point, I just had to show it to Mark, and I thought the extenuating circumstances were mitigating. Mark loved the character of Billy in the wheelchair, and I could obviously relate to Jim’s character going on about wiping arses and such. One time I was wiping an old guy’s arse in a nursing home and he suddenly started shitting again, right on my hand. Fake tan! Nocturnal semen emission on my hand was the least of my worries! Luxury!


We used to repeat Legit lines back and forth to each other sometimes, with me calling him ‘Billy’ as a great private joke, and it was fun, rare moments of levity in a job that became increasingly difficult for me to do as the months wore on (my nerves).

There are two types of caregiver in this world: those who don’t give a shit about people and are in it for the money, and those who genuinely care about people and want to help them. I fall into the latter category, so seeing a harmless, incredibly naïve, trusting young man being systematically sucked dry by a piece of ghetto garbage (I don’t give a damn how poor somebody is, or what color they are, as long as they’re a decent human being) was more than I could stand and bear. It started to weigh heavily on my psyche, depressing the hell out of me, draining my faith in humanity.


If you’re trying to make somebody’s life better, and somebody else is there right in front of you undoing any good you might do, constantly, and the person they’re slowly destroying not only can’t see what they’re doing but actually loves them for it and will accept, masochistically, any amount of abuse because they want attention from a woman and are willing to pay for it because money means nothing to them… well… I think you can see the problem there.


And Mark was willing to be quite vicious with his tongue in defence of his lady fair! One time I was pissed off about the amount of time she had kept us waiting at the mall and mentioned it. He turned all rich-spoiled-brat on me and said “Don’t be such an asshole about it! We weren’t doing anything else anyway! When you’re here, you’re on my time!” Well, I am nobody’s fucking dancing monkey, and after he said that I pulled back from him a lot mentally and emotionally, partly to help save and salve my own mental health and emotions.

When your primary point of contact 24/7 five days a week is a severely disabled, severely depressed, emotionally and mentally immature man, who has no friends because he has driven them all away in his quixotic quest to be in love with a sociopath who is slowly tearing him apart… and there’s nothing whatsoever you can do about it except, initially, say well, he needs me, we get on well, and somebody’s got to do the job… it takes its toll after a while. 

I cared about him, even if he didn’t care about himself – and hell, he was mentally and emotionally unbalanced anyway, with his little self-esteem being stripped away on a daily basis by trying to phone his parasite forty or fifty times and her never picking up. Occasionally she would pick up, bark “WHAT!!??” and then hang up. One time I heard her do that to him and was mad as hell about it. I went onto Craigslist and put an ad there, under the name ‘Vivian,’ the name of Julia Roberts’s whore character in Pretty Woman, that old bad-girl-gone-good bullshit fable.

Only that film’s schtick was reversed in Mark’s case, with the whore making him bad and depressed, and him not making her any good. The ad was for 400 DVDs for $50, and I put her phone number on it. I just wanted to cause the reptilian woman some annoyance. She was with us when the first call came through – “Some guy says he got my number from Craigslist, asking about some DVDs for sale! What a weirdo!” I had to stop myself from bursting out laughing, and went outside when the second of several calls started. It was a minor inconvenience, true, but at least it was a way for me to get back at her in a small way for what she was doing to Mark.

There were endless court dates for Mark to attend about the whole situation, where he would never talk to his saddened mother in attendance. His new loudmouth, disgusting greasy-haired, bulging-belly southern lawyer would waffle loudly about the love that Sandra had for his client and how they should be allowed to see each other, charging through the ass as he did so, helping Mark destroy himself so he could get a paycheck. I have rarely encountered such an ethically and morally bankrupt piece of shit as that lawyer, and the thought of him disgusts me to this day. Sandra would come along and would cynically muse on the “freaky-ass shit that be going on with them judges in their robes back there, they be all fuckin’ each other.” I figured she was the expert, what with her politician sex scandal, so nodded sagely. Why not?

Everything in Mark’s life was always about money. His wheelchair was broke and it didn’t get properly repaired for months. The pedals were knackered. I had to tie his feet down with bags made out of netting, stopping his legs spasming, then put a blanket over his legs when we went to go to the supermarket to disguise what I had done. I almost felt like I was indulging in some sort of weird client abuse, though obviously I wasn’t, and used to joke to him as he laughed that I could now put ‘tying disabled people to wheelchairs’ on my work resume.

The people doing the chair repairs were just fleecing him blind, and taking their sweet fucking time about it because they figured well, he’s got one of the most expensive wheelchairs you can buy, he’s got money, he can pay for unnecessary parts, and he’s not going anywhere, so we’ll just take our time with anything we do. And they did, until eventually a decent repair guy stepped in. Mark was used to this. He’d had it his whole life. I couldn’t believe an organisation could be so callous and cavalier about a severely disabled person – after all, it wasn’t like a wheelchair repair was a frivolous and unnecessary thing for him, so why the fuck take weeks to do it, and then not do it right?

But it was always all about money, which had done nothing but make Mark and his family miserable. I told him that money was the worst thing that had ever happened to him shortly before I left, because the squabbling and bickering I saw going on because of it was incredible, and depressing. His mother had, quite rightly, gotten his initial $30,000 a month payment whittled way down to $1250, because Sandra was (still) stealing it all, and was trying to get it whittled down even further by the time I left.

We knew that Mark’s only hope was for her to get that money stopped – the minute that happened, his ‘girlfriend’ would just dry up and blow away, cynical fake love disintegrating on a harsh and truthful wind. I could never figure out just how the Hell somebody could be so horribly cold and callous as to viciously exploit a severely disabled person like that, and I don’t care what kind of fucking life she had had herself, it was no excuse.

Her mother was apparently a hooker too, and had herself stolen $10,000 from Mark. She had been working as a ‘caregiver’ for him and had had a credit card send to his house, intercepted it, and spent $10,000 on fucking scratch cards at a 7-Eleven! Talk about setting your criminal sights high! They knew it was her who had done it, but apparently couldn’t get a prosecution because it was an open cash register she had bought them from, and they couldn’t pin down any one person to an exact time to say she had been served by them. Fucking ridiculous. But then again, that was the motto for the whole thing from start to finish – fucking ridiculous, with a side salad of fucking disgusting thrown in for good measure.

I had another, final argument with Mark. I made some minor disparaging comment about Sandra (I can’t believe I held my tongue for as long, or as much, as I did) and he started shouting at me (as he would do in his teen-tantrum-alike way if you disagreed with anything His Lordship said – he could be a real snotty prick sometimes, but he had a good excuse in his disability and mental illness), not for the first time, and I wasn’t going to take it anymore.

He told me to watch myself and his voice got low and threatening, basically threatening me with physical violence from Sandra’s thug life pals, without explicitly stating it. At that point I knew I couldn’t stay any longer and handed in my notice. The whole situation had become utterly unbearable for me. I could have enriched this young man’s life so much if he had just let me, but he didn’t care to, didn’t care about himself, didn’t care about literally anything at all except the evil worthless cunt stealing his life cent by nickel by dime by quarter by dollar by the thousands of dollars.


I told him I liked him, which was why I couldn’t work with him, as I couldn’t stand to see the vampire hanging off him bleeding him dry anymore. I also told him I would show him my respect for him by never coming round to see him again, like a couple of his ex-caregiver pricks did who just wanted money, or their gas tank filled, or to borrow some piece of equipment they would never bring back again.

One of the ex-caregivers he talked to on Facebook was a child molester who had been prosecuted for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy! I reported this scumbag parasite to Facebook and his account got deleted, which was one less way for him to keep in contact with Mark. Another was a guy who came and sold him drugs. I cottoned on quick after Mark pissed himself in his chair after the guy left, and he was wasted out of his face. Thankfully the guy never came back again, cos I didn’t want to have to deal with him.

On the day I left I sent the ghetto queen a text asking her to give Mark his life back as she was slowly killing him. Of course, I received no reply. Nor did I expect to, I just wanted to finally say it to get it off my chest. Wanted to say a lot more too, but there would have been no point. She wouldn’t have listened to a word anyway. She was just glad to be rid of me, as she felt threatened by me as I could see through her shit. I’ll be glad never to see her again in my life.

So I drove back to Chicago through Arlington, past the Arlington Memorial Park where the fucked-up school shooter Laurie Dann is buried. Then on through Des Plaines, home of the McDonald’s First Store Museum (confusingly, not the first site of the fast food shithole to open), over the I-55 Bridge that John Wayne Gacy (I once worked beside a woman who had done a CT scan on the notorious serial killer scum, but that's another story) had dumped some of his tragic victims over, and eventually back to violence-flecked East Rogers Park an hour later.

I emailed Mark’s mother a couple of years ago to see what was happening with him though, of course, they were still not talking. He was not living in Palatine anymore, and she hoped he would eventually stop being angry with her. She told me that a new judge in his case was basically giving him enough financial rope to hang himself, making him justify where his money goes and why he never has enough for small stuff like meds he needed to keep him alive or anything else for that matter.

Ludicrously, I had to loan Mark money occasionally myself, because often he literally did not have even a single dime in the bank – Sandra had taken it all! His mother was hopeful, though not overly so, because she had been going through this shit for years, hated by her confused and clinically obsessed mentally ill son for trying to help him. So who knows.

A coda. During the first few months I was at Mark’s house, I bought bits and pieces of garden furniture from Ikea for Mark’s back garden patio. I had hoped that I could get it all assembled and we could have his friends and family round for a big barbeque if things got better for him and he mended some fences. It was also a good way to constructively spend some money without Sandra getting her hands on it. Summer slipped steadily away and it never happened, obviously; the furniture is still, to the best of my knowledge, sitting in his garage waiting to be opened and assembled.

I would love to get a call from Mark one day, in that distinctive, difficult-to-understand voice of his (you have never experienced the deepest meaning of the word “poignancy” until you have heard a man who can barely speak try to sing along to Highway to Hell by AC/DC on the radio in his van), laughing whilst saying Sandra is gone, his family are all with him, and asking me across for a beer and a burger and a laugh.

It will never happen. But I would be there in a heartbeat if it did.


(This is an old story of mine from years ago, rewritten and slightly updated. All the names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent. No parasitic whores were harmed during the making of this production)