Can I Get a Price Check on Restraining Orders?

I believe I have achieved yet another milestone in my career. I’ve led a pretty colorful career. I’ve met the Red Wings and the President in the White House, I rode shotgun in an F-16 fighter jet and stood on the slopes of Denali in Alaska. I can now add a new an exciting chapter to my life.
I have a stalker.
My stalker, I call him Arthur, doesn’t just dabble in it, he goes the extra mile and puts his heart and soul into his stalking.
I first talked to Arthur when he called my office looking for information about the National Guard. I asked him the usual questions and his answers sounded very good. Was he physically healthy? Yes. Did he have a high school diploma? Sure did. Did he have any law violations? No, sir. That sounded great so I made an appointment for the next day.
When I got to Arthur’s house (or should I say Shanty) I knew I was in for a real treat. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have sympathy for people with no money. Most of the time I fall squarely into that category. I feel bad for the less fortunate and downtrodden and understand that not everyone can live in a nice, large home. My question, however, is this:
How much does a freakin’ box of spic-n-span cost?
I prepared myself to enter and when Arthur answered the door I immediately knew what I would encounter. The term that I use for the state of cleanliness in homes like this is simply, “baptized in the funk”. If you ever want to encounter this lovely fragrance in your own home here is the recipe:
3-6 cups of cat urine.
A generous helping of body odor.
A shmutz of decaying food
A liberal amount of filthy carpet
A sprinkle of moldy dishes
Top off with copious amounts of cigarette smoke and garnish with fleas and/or mouse droppings.
Serve in a Muskegon Summer temperature of 80-90 Degrees.
The smell that results from this combination is impervious to Oust and Febreeze. In fact, this smell has no problem making Febreeze it’s bitch. If Febreeze was in prison, this smell would be the big, mean, Haitian drug dealer in the cell with Febreeze. I believe I have sufficiently beat this analogy to death.
I sat down on the dilapidated couch and was introduced to “Uncle George”. George appeared to be mostly catatonic. I don’t want to imply that George may have been abusing controlled substances but he smelled an awful lot like Pine Knob during a Foghat concert. (If you know what I am talking about hold up your lighter and scream for a “Slow Ride” encore.)
Since I was already there and had already been baptized, I decided I might as well tell Arthur about the Guard. Maybe, I reasoned, I could help him out of these surroundings. After all, I change lives for the better.  That’s my thing.
I talked to Arthur about the Guard and he decided he was ready to join. I had him fill out the preliminary paperwork and prepared to leave. Before I left I told him I was going to go get his police record check. Was he sure he had no law violations? Not even small traffic violations or a juvenile record?
Absolutely none.  At all.  Ever.
10 minutes later I trotted into the police station and handed the clerk the form for a police records check. That was the first and only time I have had a clerk look at a name on the form and laugh, police clerks not being known for their sense of humor. Her fingers danced over the keys of her computer and she came up with his record.
Did I want the record printed? Yes, please.
The entire record? Uh, yes.
All of it, to include the Juvenile, District and Circuit court Records? Sigh. Yes ma’am.
Are you sure you want all of it? Well…um…not anymore.
Did you want the records of all the times the police responded for Arthur’s attempted suicides? Um…what?
17 pages! The clerk actually had to refill her printer with paper. As the door was closing on my way out I was just able to hear her comment to her co-worker, “Wow, the National Guard is really scraping the bottom of the barrel!”
I sat in the car and read through the rap sheet. Arthur’s eight charges of Minor In Possession were a nice surprise. Not being a one trick pony he split it right down the middle with four booze and four weed. Although he didn’t have any violent crimes his trio of vandalism charges showed that he was a pretty artistic fellow and his multiple check frauds showed that he was rather persistent. His breaking and entering showed some ambition but it was his grand theft auto (the police charge, not the popular video game) that elevated him from the ranks of stupid petty criminal to that of stupid serious criminal. That one earned him 18 months in jail. Apparently I had missed the tether he was wearing as I explained the Guard to him and he confirmed to me he had never been in trouble with the 5-0.
I got out “Ol’ Trusty” (normal soldiers name their M16, recruiters name their cell phones) and called Art. I knew this call would require finesse and the inter-personal communication skills only a seasoned recruiter like myself could ever hope to possess.
“Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ Arthur!  Seventeen pages of criminal records?!?! What didn’t you understand about my law violation question?!?! You’ve got a f@#$%g Grand Theft Auto Charge on this sheet!!!”
“Oh, I forgot about that.” No kidding, he actually said he forgot he was in jail for a year and a half.
“Arthur, I have never been to jail but I am sure there are some things there that would make for a pretty memorable experience. I think I would remember bars, guards and man-rape.”
“Is this going to keep me from getting in?” Smelly, deviant and now retarded. Arthur was the dumbass trifecta. The jack ass Hat Trick.
“Yes, Arthur this is going to keep you from getting in.” I quickly got off the phone and sat in my car, smelling of funk, surrounded by court documents and wanting the last 90 minutes of my life back. I drove back to the office, and tried to put El Turdo Deluxo out of mind.
A month or so later I got a phone call. Of course, it was Arthur. He was calling to tell me he was ready to join and wanted to know if I had figured out a way to get him in. I told him I couldn’t help him.
A month later he called to tell me he was ready to join and wanted to know if I had figured out a way to get him in. I told him I couldn’t help him.
A month later he called to tell me he was ready to join and wanted to know if I had figured out a way to get him in. I told him I couldn’t help him.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
This kid called me every month or so for over a year. He was never rude (although I was) and he never threatened to call my boss, his congressman or the papers. He simply called every month asking if I had figured out how to get him in. I started by patiently explaining that he did not qualify. I then started rudely telling him never to call me again and finished by either sending him to voicemail or telling him “no” and hanging up.
And then it just stopped.
For almost a year I didn’t hear from Arthur and started thinking maybe he had lost interest, moved away, or been killed by Muskegon’s finest in the course of a “tagging gone wrong”.
So, when my phone rang on Christmas morning, I was blissfully ignorant of what I was in store for. The phone did not display the normal “psycho” I had programmed for Arthur. Seeing a strange number on my phone on Christmas morning alarmed me somewhat. Only three types of people call a man on Christmas morning.
1) Family and friends with glad tidings for the Yule season
2) Someone with one hell of a serious emergency
3) Retarded felons trying to get into the Michigan Army National Guard.
I got number three.
“Hey Sergeant West, how did your Christmas go?”
“Who is this?”
“It’s Arthur!”
Silence
More Silence
I finally broke my silence with a bellow:
“How did my Christmas go?!?! It’s 9:00 a.m.! It’s still F@#$%g going!” He went and did it. He made me go all F bomb on the Lord’s birthday. That made me even madder.
“I just thought of you and wanted to let you know I am still interested in getting into the Guard.”
I hung up and shut off my phone. Merry Christmas Arthur, you sorry piece of festive crap.
In the middle of January I was in my office when Arthur walked in and wanted to know if there was any chance for him to get into the Michigan Army National Guard. Face to face. Right in front of me. An arms length away.
Now, there are times in life when we have an opportunity to choose our destiny. Anyone who knows me can tell you I sometimes need a Zoloft the size of a hockey puck. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve…and my pant leg, and the side of my shoe, on the back of my hat, sewn into the waistband of my underwear, you get the idea. I really wanted to start yelling, move right into screaming, and finish strong with one of my world-famous, WWF style piledrivers. Instead I took a moment and came to the realization that Arthur really wanted to serve his country. Sure, he was a felon. Sure, he was dumber that a box of hammers. But for all of his shortcomings, Arthur wanted to serve. Within a mile of my office I could probably come up with a thousand men Arthur’s age who didn’t care one way or another about service to their country. I looked at Arthur in a new light. Maybe I hadn’t been clear enough explaining to Arthur why he didn’t qualify.
So I sat Arthur down, gave him a Michigan Army National Guard T-shirt and spent about an hour explaining to him that although we appreciated his desire to serve, he was ineligible. I showed him the regulation and outlined where he fell short in eligibility. I pulled up the American Red Cross web site on the Internet and showed him that he could serve his country by giving blood and doing volunteer work. I thanked him for all he had done in his attempts to join the greatest military organization in the world. And in conclusion, I explained that if he ever called me again I would find him and beat him up. High school style. Punches to the face, kicks to the groin, the whole nine yards. I did it with a smile on my face and never raised my voice, and as I explained exactly how I would administer an FBD (Flint Beat Down) I saw realization finally enter his eyes. I shook hands with Arthur, wished him luck in all his endeavors and told him to get the hell out.
I never saw or heard from Arthur again.
The other day my recruiter buddy from Holland called. He was displaying his professional courtesy by asking me if I had a problem with him working a lead in Muskegon. He is pretty much my best friend so I never have a problem with him working people in my area.
“What’s this guy’s name” I asked him.
“Arthur.”
I thought about how this kid had stalked me for over a year. I instantly and vividly remembered the hundreds of phone calls and the anger, frustration and wasted time and thought about how much trouble my friend potentially had in store for him and said the only thing I could.
“Go ahead and work him, man. Good luck.”
After all, he is my best friend.

 

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