After a few weeks, I was running short on extra cash to help Martin secure food, a place to stay, or crack. So, I told him I couldn’t give him any more money, but I would help him get in touch with some agencies who could possibly give him assistance to secure a job and a place to live. Since I was under the impression he was a medically discharged veteran, I contacted a few organizations that could be of assistance to him, told them his story as I understood it, and they all sounded very willing to help him. He just needed to contact them and give them a copy of his DD214 discharge paper to get the process started.
I should have recognized the first whiff of barnyard potpourri when he didn’t know what a DD214 was. But, being the protagonist in Gullible’s Travels, I didn’t pick up on the obvious warning sign. Anyone who ever served one day in any branch of the armed services knows immediately the importance of that piece of paper.
The very next night at about 10:30 as we were laying in bed watching TV, the doorbell rang, and there were frantic knocks on the front door. We were startled by the disturbance, and I was a little angry that someone was stirring up the dogs and kids who were all finally quiet. My wife went to the door to find Martin bawling on our front porch. After a few minutes, she left him on the porch and came back to tell me that his mother died and he needed me to drive him to Jackson right then.
I don’t know about y’all, but once I get in bed, I’m not easily persuaded to leave my nest.
After she informed him that I wasn’t agreeable to his demand, he asked for $50 to get a ride to Jackson from his cousin that lived in Port Gibson. As usual, I didn’t have any cash and was not willing to get out of bed to go to the ATM. She told him that I’d talk to him the next day, and he needed to leave.
The next night as we were eating dinner, he knocked on the door. I knew it was him, but sent one of the kids to the door as I prayed for a miracle.
Lord, please let it be anyone but Martin, but if it is him, please let him be here to tell us he won $500 million at the casino today and is here to give me a few million of it for being so kind to him in his moment of need (of crack).
I begrudgingly went to the front door. Jesus obviously wanted me to stay humble because it was Martin and he was still broke. He needed $150 because the hospital wouldn’t release his mama to the funeral home until he gave them $150. I felt bad for him but had to tell him I couldn’t give him anymore money because I still had to feed my family. He started bawling and snotting and slobbering about his mama being in a freezer in Jackson and I wouldn’t help him and he didn’t know what to do.
Seeing a grown man crying his sinuses out over his dead, frozen mother got to me. I told him to stop leaking on my porch and to come back the next day after I got home from work. I would talk to my wife and see what else we could do to help him but I wouldn’t promise him anything.
He blubbered thank you as he backed down the steps and disappeared around the corner. I was thankful to be done with that for the night, but still wanted to help him. My wife and I discussed it, and the next night after supper, I gave him $50 more and told him he’d have to get the rest elsewhere. He thanked me and promised to be back in 2 or 3 days to get back on the yard work he’d been neglecting for the past 2 weeks.
…to be continued