The warehouse should have retired Miss Witt like state governments should revoke driver’s licenses issued to dazed coots who imagine they’re driving a bumper car when they get behind the wheel of their Olds. Though the aging CNA maintained good intentions and a friendly demeanor, her job performance had slowly but steadily degraded. Mr. Gold, the kewpie doll-sized administrator interpreted any questioning of Miss Witt’s abilities as a threat to his authority.
New patients regularly arrived at the warehouse from a hospital. The hyper-stupidity of the administration undermined efficient communication between the warehouse and the hospital involved, and a considerable number of ambulance attendants and cripplevan drivers were thieves. Often inductees appeared wearing only hospital gowns or the clothes on their back. And when fresh meat showed up packing one or more changes of clothes, there was an excellent chance some warehouse employee would swipe their wardrobe.
CNA’s routinely “borrowed” residents’ clothes in which to dress new arrivals who for whatever reason lacked proper warehouse attire. It’s safe to assume that people who collect scant urban warehouse paychecks are almost always simple-minded failures who never wielded any real authority in their previous dead-end jobs. Commandeering something as basic as a resident’s clothes without consent gave CNA’s the pathetic illusion that they skillfully controlled their environment.
One late afternoon I reclined on my bed, which was sequestered by a curtain hanging from the ceiling, while reading a book. I heard somebody knock at the door on the opposite side of the room, then immediately enter uninvited (I always hated that) and shove a sliding panel aside to reveal the closet next to the entrance. I heard the hangers rub against each other, the panel slam, and the door to the room close. Since a sub-CNA lackey always hung my half-assedly laundered clothes in the closet weekdays at this time I thought nothing of the intrusion. A few minutes later I marked my place in the book, got up and went to the closet to inspect my clothes for damage inflicted by the inept laundry staff. I had resigned myself to repeatedly finding large bleach stains splotching my dark garments. Frequently an article of my clothing never even made it back from the laundry room. I discovered no returned cleanish duds but noticed that a t-shirt and a pair of pants were missing. Miss Witt worked on my side of the first floor that day.
A black-and-white photo of two topless female performance artists below the bold-faced legend “Suckdog” adorned the front of the missing shirt. A friend had bought it from Lisa Carver but didn’t recognize her because she “looked and acted so normal.” The name “Suckdog” appeared across my friend’s substantial breasts whenever she squeezed into it. After enduring constant unsolicited and inappropriate comments from vulgar males every time she ventured into public wearing the shirt, she had given it to me.
I wheeled out of my room and into the hall. Because a few minutes had passed since the intrusion I expected that I would have to hunt Miss Witt down, but I found her right away shuffling up the hall while clutching my stolen clothes. Outraged, I stormed up to her and used no uncertain terms to demand that she return my clothes. She remained silent while her face twisted into an expression of annoyance. Then she shuffled double-time back to my room and disappeared inside. Fifteen seconds later she emerged empty-handed and made a beeline for Mr. Gold’s office situated off the lobby. When a staff member became angry or confused they invariably ran to Mr. Gold as a third-grader runs to their teacher. I ducked into my room to make sure that Miss Witt had returned the clothes, then headed to Mr. Gold’s office where I planned to present my case.
But Mr. Gold had already decided the outcome. He scolded me for “sassing” an elder and as usual advised me to “accept the reality of [my] situation.” While he bawled me out for “starting trouble,” Miss Witt stood beside his desk nodding and smirking like a favorite offspring. It never ceased to astonish me that a mealy-mouthed midget eunuch like Mr. Gold presumed to break my resistance to daily warehouse horseshit—the bloated asspilot had actually convinced himself that I took him and his feeble attempts to exercise authority seriously.
When I later considered the fiasco, it dawned on me that the sight of a clueless geezer or an equally clueless gangstuh wearing a “Suckdog” t-shirt would’ve greatly amused me.