A Letter To The Scum Of The Earth

All we needed was THE ONE PAYCHECK people always talk about. The one that can make the difference between being homeless and having a place to call home. We had fallen off the cliff, and now we were trying to climb back up. We were ready to move mountains, and desperate enough to jump into the unknown -blindfolded. All we needed was one chance to make it all happen.

Millions of people live paycheck to paycheck, and we longed to be one of them. Long forgotten seemed the time when we had a savings account and credit cards to our name.

Time was running out. With only two weeks left before we would leave my friend’s place, we worked harder and longer. We sat for hours on the computer at night, trying to find solutions to our problems. We didn’t leave a stone unturned, pushing to find what we needed the most. First a job for my husband, then one for me, and an apartment or house that would allow us to keep our dogs, that’s all we wanted. A chance to prove to ourselves, and the world, that we were still a part of the society and not low-lives, who were sponging off other people.

Everything else would fall into place afterward -we were certain of it because it just had to. There was no plan B, no family to fall back on, and my best friend was no longer approachable.

I watched her more closely, and it frightened me. What I saw was so out of the ordinary that I wanted to drag her to rehab myself. I wanted to tie her up in a chair and yell some sense into her. I was afraid I could no longer count on her, scared that she would change her mind at the last minute, and back away from the promise she had given us.

Without the money we had earned in The Sausage Kitchen, and the loan we had agreed on, we would be dead in the water. I didn’t trust her judgment anymore. When I watched her with Kurt I felt so much anger in me. I wanted to talk to her so badly, but my hands were tied. The truthfulness I had in mind could come with a high price.

I promised myself I would tell her how I felt after we had left, but knew it wouldn’t be the same. I had become the friend I never wanted for myself, so torn and so afraid. Silence can come at a high price too.

Behind my husband’s back and without talking to anybody about it, or asking for advice, I phoned another friend, the one who had given me such a special welcome when I had called her after I had left our home. “You are such an asshole,” she had said when she had recognized me. The articulate, soft-spoken, and kind woman had shown me her love and concern, with her unusual greeting.

I still had THE RING, the one piece of jewelry people always admired. A set of three rather large diamonds, resembling the present, the past, and the future, given to me by the love of my life, when we could afford to make such generous gifts.

I never asked him how much he had paid for it, but noticed people always stared at it when I wore it on special occasions. I didn’t dare to wear it every day, it didn’t match with jeans and sneakers, at least that’s what I always believed, and so a precious piece of jewelry spent most of its time in a jewelry box.

I was hoping my friend would either buy the ring or perhaps would loan us money and take the ring as collateral, in case my best friend would change her mind. We needed a backup plan to put my mind at ease.

I called her, and we spoke for a long time -she did most of the talking. They had laid her husband off, and she was trying to find employment after spending years at home with their kids. I noticed the panic in her voice, and it broke my heart to hear the same sorrow that I felt myself. The one person, who I thought could afford to buy my ring had just informed me that she was worried about their financial future as well. Another one of my dreams got crushed by life. You think you get used to it, but every time it happened I felt the same STING in my gut. Like an invisible knife poking deep inside of me.

An hour later, I was back in the kitchen and stuffed sausage casings when my husband’s cell phone rang. I heard him answer and from the sound of it, I could tell the conversation quickly turned into a hiring interview. He was on the phone for a long time, and when he hung up, he had a job.

This time in Raleigh, South Carolina -eighteen hours away. It was doable. One sleeps, the other one drives, you switch, you rest a bit; you keep on driving. A few minutes later our housing ad was up in Raleigh and we started searching for rental places online. Everything we found at first glance was way too expensive but the city itself sounded like such a great place to be. We hoped a landlord would read our ad and then, finally, we would know where we would be moving to.

How quickly things had changed, now my husband had two jobs waiting for him. The one in Indianapolis was still on the table, it was our first choice. A landlord had offered us a house for one year. It was small and a bit over our budget. Two bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, no backyard which wasn’t ideal but alright. We would walk our dogs every day on the leash, which I loved to do anyway. The rental offer fell through when he emailed the lease agreement. The owner asked for a double deposit -perhaps she had misunderstood our ad?

Between phone calls and emails, we worked endless hours in the kitchen and tried to fulfill all the demands. The neighbors and most of our customers now knew that my friend would close The Sausage Kitchen, and it seemed they all wanted to get one last order fulfilled.

I called the Hilton hotel, informed the manager about the closing as well. Things between us had changed, he now actually chatted with me and I enjoyed our conversations. I was no longer the stranger trying to sell him something but someone he liked to do business with. I gave him a short version of the actual events and mentioned our leaving. When he asked why we would leave, I explained it to him, left out a few details, but overall I filled him in.

“You can always come and work for me,” he said, and I almost fell off the barstool in the kitchen. I must have laughed. “I mean it,” he said, “I hire you in a heartbeat.” It felt so good, I totally forgot to ask him for what position he would hire me for. It didn’t matter, and I didn’t care. Plan B had just shown itself on the horizon.

The mobile home across the street was now empty after Ben had moved out as well. If I could get the job at the Hilton, we could rent the place and stay where we were. We could help keep the kitchen going, and have an eye on my best friend as well while living in our own place.

It wasn’t at all what we wanted, but it was something. The hotel was right beside a high-end mall, surely my husband could find a job there as well. The car situation was an issue, but that was two months down the road.

We talked about it. We didn’t want to stay so close to where we had once lived, and next door to my best friend and Kurt. Everywhere we would go, we would be confronted with our past and the memories of better times. There was too much history on every corner, but if we had to, we would manage. Finally, we had a Plan B.

I felt like a million bucks, which was comical. Together, we had $45 left. We were broke and homeless, and I was smiling like a fool! Sometimes I surprise myself. Who am I?

The next five days flew by. More phone calls, another housing offer in Indianapolis, which also fell through in the last minutes because he found another renter.

One minute our hopes were up, the next minute our hopes were crushed. Life’s rollercoaster and we were trapped in it.

More companies called and asked questions. Why are you relocating? When will you arrive? Can you come for an interview? My husband’s confidence grew and I loved to see him become his old self. His resume spoke for itself, and it spoke loud and clear. Our decision to send it out to companies that weren’t hiring ultimately paid off. My resume was on stand by waiting to be sent out the moment we would have a zip code.

By Thursday, we were still moving to Indianapolis. Raleigh was too expensive for us. We loved the city and everything it had to offer, but it was out of our league and we had to let it go.

I contacted animal shelters in Indianapolis, begged them to help me and it sounded like they were trying. Living in a motel for a couple of months was now the only option we had left. I was hanging on to the dogs against better judgment.

Friday morning another call, a company in Tennessee had read my husband’s resume, and they had an immediate opening. It wasn’t his dream position, and the pay was not even close to what he had been making in the past, but it was a solid offer.

Memphis, Tennessee, eight hours away. A shorter drive time meant we would spend less money on gas, it also meant we could easily meet my best friend somewhere in the middle, and get our little dog back after a few months.

We didn’t know much about the city, other than some of its history. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and racism, Elvis Presley and Graceland, blues and rock ‘n roll. We read up on it, looked at the houses and apartments, and to our surprise, we learned we could afford to live there. Tennessee had never been on our radar for various reasons, but now all of a sudden it had become very attractive.

Our housing ad went up in the evening, and we went to bed. The next morning I found an email in my mailbox. A landlord in Memphis offered us a house to rent, an older home with some flaws. He had liked our ad and had no problem with the dogs. Two pictures were attached. One showed part of a living room with key-lime green walls, the other a backyard. When I searched for the house online, I found it on a realtor’s page for sale. This guy was trying to scam us with the same old trick the “Soldier” had tried before.

“Oh hell, no!” I got so mad, smoke was coming out of my nostrils. My fingers flew over the keyboard and I did not hold back. I pretty much had it with people who tried to take advantage of us, and I let him know how I felt. I type around 74 words per minute. What I thought, landed on the screen -unfiltered in rapid speed. All my frustration, the hurt I had felt, my anger, my fear, and disgust, all summed up in one long letter to “The Scum of the Earth.” That’s what I called him as well.

It was early in the morning, I was tired and not in the best mood. I wrote and wrote, tried to explain to a criminal how I felt and how devastating losing all the money could be for people like us. I wanted to talk some sense into him, but was fully aware that nothing can ever change the mind of a person like this. I went on and on, and after I had typed a few pages, I felt better. I hit send and turned the computer off.

I had sent a letter to THE SCUM OF THE EARTH!

31 thoughts on “A Letter To The Scum Of The Earth

  1. Even reading your amazing stories I feel like I am on a roller coaster. You were living on one!! I can’t wait to hear where you land. It’s incredible that the scam artists are just sitting there waiting to prey on vulnerable people at their lowest moments. Painful memories, I’m sure, but I’m so glad you’ve been willing to share with us, Bridget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear friend, this is not the third comment of yours that doesn’t show my reply. Either I am doing something wrong, or it is WordPress.

      The way we deal with scam artists by basically doing nothing will bite us in the rear sooner or later.

      Like

  2. Wow! 😳 I keep wanting to read more when I come to the end of one of your journey posts….
    I’m glad the job offers were slowly coming in! For the both of you! Must have boosted your confidence at least a bit. Though I’m sorry about the next scammer, indeed what scum!! I have family living in Raleigh, NC. Not sure if there’s more than one Raleigh as you mentioned SC… But it would have been a coincidence if it were the same place…. I’ve been there once for a week back in 1996/1997…😊 I was very much overwhelmed by the big mall I’ve seen there! 😂 But I digress….
    I’m very eager to read more. Obviously you did land on a place with job(s) and I also hope all the dogs are with you. 🐾 Or were with you, as I’ve forgotten how long ago this all happened.
    I do fear for your friend, sliding down that slippery slope…. I really hope she’ll recover in the end.

    Like

  3. “Millions of people live paycheck to paycheck, and we longed to be one of them.”

    This is such a powerful sentence, especially whenever you read about “paycheck to paycheck” in the news, the media is highlighting how dire that situation is. You painted the entire backdrop by flipping that concept upside down.

    I like to think the scammer squirmed in his seat like never before when he saw your letter.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree, you should definitely consider making this a book. You have a wonderful way of writing and you have said many times the story writes itself… I certainly wish you luck! Now, if there was just a way to get rid of scummy people like that. I do imagine writing that email felt pretty good!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are writing the bones of the book. Each episode adds more and this particular one is a fine example of the frustration one can feel upon realising you are possibly about to be scammed again. Once you have reached the end, the skeleton will be complete and the fleshing out and clothing can begin in earnest. It is there in places already, but the passion will have been freed up enough to allow you to bind the story together well as a whole. Keep the story idea in mind 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Each time you taunt us with that little bit more, but I don’t want to get to the end of the story because I’m enjoying it so much. You have a definite talent Bridget, and Betty is right, in that there is a book here! If you ever want a beta reader, or editor, my daughter is very keen to do either/or/both!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Just the other night I was sitting in my chair and I wondered how I could find a beta reader. A neutral person who would read the ‘book’ and who wouldn’t mind telling me the truth about it and there you are.
      Peter, as for your daughter reading or editing, I might take you up on it. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  7. A difficult read that strikes close to my heart. “The Scum of the Earth” are tireless in their work of preying on the hardworking poor and those in vulnerable situations within our communities. Homelessness in Los Angeles and across our state has gotten out of control during the pandemic. We like to think that we are in control of our lives, but there is so much uncertainty that is beyond our control.

    Like

    • I am watching the homeless situation here and in California closely. We have so many empty malls, why, oh why can’t we come up with a solution? It stinks, it stings, it makes me so angry. I am still collecting bras for homeless women and every time I go to a bra fitting I come home drained, emotionally and physically. So much suffering in this world and you don’t have to go to far to find it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been waiting for this next installment! The time for you and your husband to leave is getting closer and closer. (This is a self-imposed deadline – right?)

    And it sounds like your friend is deteriorating more and more bit by bit. I’m afraid for her. It seems she can’t overcome the blows life has dealt her – for whatever reason. Sometimes a spirit is just beaten down too much. It’s easy to think “Buck up”, but sometimes a person just can’t.

    Your persistence provided you with options which began to surface during this time. It probably felt good writing the letter to the scum of the earth, but other than that it probably didn’t have much value then. People like that are incapable of empathy, I believe. Did you keep what you wrote to the scum of the earth? If so, you might want to include it in the book and/or movie!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The deadline had been set by us. April and May at a new location, would give us two months before we couldn’t drive our monster truck anymore. Two months to find a solution to make it back and forth to work and perhaps find another vehicle.

      The sticker on the license plate would expire at the beginning of June.

      My best friend fell more and more into her addiction and nobody was stopping her. Everybody, including myself enabled her.

      I agree, some people are not capable of empathy and I pity them. Writing to the scum of the earth had felt good. A blank screen listed to what I had to say. 🙂

      I am writing a book am I?

      Liked by 4 people

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