Freudian Slips: Before a House is a Home

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 29, 2007

Before a House is a Home

I cleared my throat of the remnants of lunch before I spoke to Beatrice Lilly Dungstone. “As you know, the Superior Court of New Jersey has declared you a vulnerable individual living in the community. Your house was condemned and this hospital is set to discharge you pending placement. What this means is that I am going to have to find you a new home to live in.”
Beatrice acknowledged, “I know I cannot return home, Joe.”
“I am glad you have accepted that. Now I cannot make promises but it is likely that I will be able to get you your own apartment. Since you are your own legal guardian, I need you to sign this release form.”
I passed her this razor thin parcel and a ballpoint pen. She looked it over from the prone position of her hospital bed. I fully expected a watershed moment but Beatrice stayed dry.
“Beatrice, I want you to read this form aloud to me and tell me what you think it means. I’ll explain anything you do not understand.”
She slowly read the document aloud on a third grade level. She tripped on only a couple of compound words. She looked up with winced eyes that signaled comprehension. She offered, “It means I give you permission to look for a home in the cooommunitttty.”
“Yes. It can be thought of as something that simple but let me paint a broader picture for you. Your choice avoids institutional care. This represents a brand new start for you in the community. A second chance at life. A shedding of the past. It means there will be paid staff to take care of you in an all expense paid apartment. Mindful staff to help you food shop, cook, and do laundry. Do you remember the horrible conditions you were living in before you were discovered? I am offering running water, electricity, a roof that does not leak ,a basement that does not flood, edible non-spoiled food in your refrigerator. Basically, your health, safety, and well being restored.”
My social worker brush stopped painting a picture for Beatrice. A dozen brush strokes of explanation failed to wipe the blank stare from her bedridden face. She covered her mouth with her hand before revealing motive.
“I am going to have to play hard ball here." she wagered. "Right here, right now, you got to give me $10.00 or I ain’t signing nothing.”
My dander raised. I could have squeezed all of my compassion in my roomy wallet at that moment. “I hold the keys to your new life and you are demanding ten dollars from me?”
“You got a point.” Beatrice relented. “Five dollars is my final offer.”

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"discharged pending placement" have u been to Cedar Hall lately?

10:40 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

anonymous,
no, this was community unrest. lol

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Joe! Why some mothers don't let go I will never know... "Place" B anywhere ~ anywhere "we" can help

For her peace of mind and mine avoid the hugh pitfall of KA and all will be well in time.

This bee is busy but never to busy for B

2:28 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

anonymous,
this sounds like a nursery rhyme.
my job is nothing but pitfalls.

11:54 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

O the joys of working for the state, I thouhgt u were worth more than 5bucks!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

mommanator,
From my single days, I recall that is what she said.

3:48 PM  
Blogger No1BigDaddy said...

5Bucks Joe you should have jumped at that, That is more than twice what I was tempted with.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

big daddy,
what was I thinking?

8:54 PM  
Blogger honkeie2 said...

hey she drives a hard bargin

1:34 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

honk,
She drives me crazy. he-he.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Pax Romano said...

A bargain!

Put it on your travel voucher!!

7:55 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

pax,
my travels IS what I write about.

8:54 PM  
Blogger e said...

blonde, senior moment here ....

I don't get it.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

e,
Despite gifted verbal skills, she was illustrating her handicap in conversation, ie selling her whole future for $5.00.

9:11 PM  

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