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by Axel Shillers Aldactone For Sale, As I got closer to my safe haven in late November, 1985, the official D.C. homeless shelter, my thoughts reflected on the first time I’d made this trek.

During June 1983, my first homeless year, Fritz, a seasoned derelict buddy, had introduced me to this refuge. Aldactone overseas, He’d shown me an old photo of where we were going.

“That don’t look so bad,” I had said, figuring it resembled an old dance floor with a huge staircase.

“Yeah, the picture actually don’t… It used to be a vintage hotel modeled after a European neo-renaissance design that was built to mimic a palace, Aldactone For Sale. It housed all the fuckin’ foreign royalty who schmoozed in this foyer before they visited the prez or congress. According to the old guy who gave it to me before he croaked, most of those aristocrats were looking for a handout from our government.”

The two-story structure, erected during World War I, was outfitted to accommodate temporary government offices during the Second World War, 20mg Aldactone. In ’82, it had been retrofitted by the feds to serve our needs.

Veteran vagrants dubbed it The Rat Palace. Aldactone For Sale, To call it dilapidated was high praise. The previous occupant, a government agency with the acronym ORMUR fell victim to Reagan’s budget ax during his first term.

Fritz had declared, “Yeah, Aldactone japan, us residents translate it as the Office of Rehabilitation for Mixed Up Rats.”

He had joked those were the ones that gnawed on our ankles while we slept instead of eating their regular fare—garbage.

“From outside,” he’d gone on, “it has the innocent and boring look of an abandoned boutique hotel of that era. Its cool architecture sure does disguise the hellish conditions inside.”

Portable partitions that separated offices had been removed, creating a common sleeping area. Double-decked wooden bunks lined the walls, Aldactone For Sale. Rows of metal cots filled the rest of the oversized bedroom. It resembled a third-world hospital ward.

Being a light sleeper, 1000mg Aldactone, I’d felt something scurry along my leg under the sheet that night. Hearing a soft plop on the floor confirmed some creature had checked me out. Aldactone For Sale, Not being predisposed to hysterical behavior, I’d still been unnerved.

I’d tapped Fritz, who had been seriously snoring on an adjacent cot, and whispered, “Hey… We got animals in here.”

“Shit yeah. Did you think I was kidding about the rats. Aldactone india, You need to tuck your sheet in. Unless you’ve got an open sore, they won’t bother you. They’re just curious.”

Women slept upstairs, Aldactone For Sale. A huge partition with several doors was installed at each extra-wide stairwell on both ends of the building leading to the second level. Each female was issued a key. Since many bums would have loved to have access, the ladies were warned to guard those keys with their lives. They were advised to hide them in their asshole, if necessary, 10mg Aldactone. Aldactone For Sale, While leading me on that initial tour of the building, Fritz also had pointed out some of the infrequently changed sheets and pillowcases that caused periodic lice infestations. Adding to the misery, he’d mentioned that many mattresses were stained and reeked of urine. A landfill in its prime smelled better. His final comment on this communal bedroom had been emphatic.

“It’s a great idea to sleep with your shoes tucked under the pillow. If you don’t, somebody’ll swipe ‘em off your feet or from under the bed even as worn and smelly as they probably are, Aldactone For Sale. The naive leave this castle barefoot.”

A kitchen adjoined the dining hall. Fritz had opined, Aldactone us, the vittles here tasted and looked like a mixture of canned cat food, curdled Camembert and chewy chitlins. As disgusting as that was, he’d also offered the resulting aroma aped year-old Limburger dipped in scorched transmission fluid.

The recreation room, furnished with several tattered and stuffing-depleted sofas and numerous rusty folding chairs, completed the first floor. Aldactone For Sale, A thirteen-inch black and white TV roosted on a wooden platform literally nailed to the wall. Although it perched precariously and threatened to tumble onto our heads every time a large truck thundered past the building, it sufficed as our sole legitimate diversion, 250mg Aldactone. Only a giraffe could change channels. A modified broom handle served as the remote.

My homeless mentor had claimed the men’s bathroom was only cleaned monthly. It emitted a stench that had made me think it was rivaled only by a container of maggotized flesh, Aldactone For Sale. The two urinals and an un-enclosed, single toilet bowl were anchored to a chipped and cracked array of formerly white, hexagonal, inch-long tiles. Aldactone canada, The lone showerhead and both faucets on the two grungy sinks leaked severely enough to reduce water pressure. Taking a shower was a haphazard ritual.

One day, after I’d soaped up, the water trickled weakly. Aldactone For Sale, Suddenly, it had just stopped dribbling. It’d been cold more often than tepid, but that was better than the frequent, unexpected water cutoffs. During those times, Aldactone australia, I’d had to towel the soap off.

Olive green paint peeled off in flakes from the walls. Those chips often sporadically mixed with many scraped off the old pale yellow concrete floor in degraded adornment. The kaleidoscopic debris created, constantly rearranged by shuffling feet, was rarely swept up, Aldactone For Sale.

I’d had a suspicion asbestos was incorporated into the building. Its use was common in an earlier era’s construction methods. A street rumor had circulated that after an extended stay, some former residents complained they had trouble breathing. Aldactone craiglist, Although the outcome was still unresolved, one long-term resident had even gotten a lawyer to sue the shelter on contingency for causing his lung cancer. Aldactone For Sale, Dimly lit by poorly spaced, bare 25-watt bulbs, its dark corners were havens for scoundrels with mayhem on their minds. Rapes, strong-arm robberies and revengeful assaults were common in those shadowed areas.

One night, I’d kicked the crap out of some dude for trying to sexually assault a woman I knew. Her jeans had been around her ankles as she’d tried to fight him off.

Cele had yelled, “Goddamnit, Aldactone coupon. Help, Aldactone For Sale. Somebody get this asshole offa me.”

When I’d realized what was happening, I’d given the pervert an uppercut in the nuts from behind. The next time I’d seen him he spoke in a higher octave.

She had tried to thank me.

“I ain’t no virgin, but I’m still picky, particularly notioned on blonde guys like you. Aldactone For Sale, Come upstairs. Aldactone usa, I’ll show you some real gratitude.”

I’d been tempted, but I didn’t mess with heavyweights in their fifties, especially when their odor made me gag. I had tried not to sound ungrateful.

“Look Cele, I’ve had a tough day. Maybe some other time. Okay, Aldactone For Sale.

“Yeah…sure.”

Most of us hated to sleep at the shelter. We often got little rest because of Oscar—the overnight manager, Aldactone uk. Obviously, he’d been born on the down slope of a misaligned equinox. Totally bald, grossly overweight on a slightly under six-foot frame with a jute rug complexion, his semblance mimicked an out-of-shape sumo wrestler. Aldactone For Sale, We nicknamed him Ogre.

Weekdays, he prowled the asylum. 750mg Aldactone, During his shift, he patrolled the shelter looking for any transgression considered even remotely against the rules. An example of misconduct in Oscar’s eyes included talking to a member of the opposite sex. The regulation expressly forbade sexual conduct in such a case, but not just conversation. Ogre’s interpretation was a bit of a swerve, Aldactone For Sale.

As head night honcho, that sadist nitpicked at most residents until they stepped over his line. Retaliation was swift. The offender usually singled out for calling him a motherfucker or worse, Aldactone paypal, was herded into his office. Once there, Oscar repeatedly punched the pseudo-blasphemer in the stomach. Aldactone For Sale, It was a good place to inflict pain without telltale signs of bruising. Since few women could fight back, he was particularly effective against them.

One evening, a pregnant girl had challenged him. 100mg Aldactone, She’d grumbled, “Jeez, I cain’t eat this slop. My kid will wind up looking like you or Godzilla. I heard you got special food for us mommas-to-be.”

“Sure do, Aldactone For Sale. I keep it in my office. Come on in.”

This was her first stretch at the Palace. After I’d heard several screams and a shrill shriek, I regretted I hadn’t warned her. The next day, Aldactone ebay, she lost the baby. Aldactone For Sale, I intimidated him. Others had clued me in so my muscular, six-foot frame was prepared for his physical onslaught. Oscar wasn’t going to be the only snapping turtle swimming in ORMUR’s pond. Besides being a bit taller and burlier than he was, I also acted psychotically. Leering at him maniacally, Aldactone mexico, I made bizarre grunting snorts accompanied by an occasional, deranged howl. He wouldn’t come within five feet of me, Aldactone For Sale.

A few of the permanent residents were scumbags. They ran a scam of brutal proportions. I had seen one ruthlessly batter a newcomer, using theft of the antagonist’s toothbrush as an excuse for the attack. I found out later that at the same time, in the sleeping quarters, an accomplice had rifled the hapless drifter’s personal effects, 500mg Aldactone. Aldactone For Sale, Frequently, the alleged stolen objects of the scammer were planted on the intended victims while they snoozed.

The Dirksen Senate Office building was around the corner. On a sunlit day, the U.S. Capitol cast its shadow several blocks away.

* * *

That late fall night, during a surprise blizzard—after all, it rarely snowed here before December—the wind chill plummeted below zero. Braving face numbing icy gusts while trudging through the stinging snow, I got nearer the shelter, Aldactone For Sale. 200mg Aldactone, The long hike from my favored heating grate in Foggy Bottom to Capitol Hill tested my resolve. While I pushed my grocery cart through mounds of slush and slid on the ice, I fell repeatedly. Despite only being several blocks away, I gave up, slumping to the ground. Just covered by a skimpy parka, I was almost frozen. Aldactone For Sale, I didn’t care if I lived or died.

As I lapsed into a cold-induced stupor, 40mg Aldactone, a police car stopped at the curb. Leaving his motor running, the officer climbed out and walked over to where I had fallen. After shaking me to see if I was alive, he said, “Hang in there, buddy… I’ll call an ambulance.”
I knew I’d die from hypothermia while I waited for one so I said, 50mg Aldactone, “W…wwait. I…I’ve h…had it. Itt…t’s two bb…locks to the sheltt...er.”

He leaned down and straightened my arm, Aldactone For Sale. Holding my wrist with his hand, he pressed his thumb tightly on a vein. After what seemed like an hour, he pulled up both my arms, lifted me to my feet, and said, “Put your arm around my shoulder and hang tight.”

“W…what about my cart?”

“Look, 30mg Aldactone, I’m doing you a favor… Don’t push it. Besides being stolen, I haven’t got room for it in the trunk.”

Despite having to also leave my meager earthly belongings behind, without another word, I complied as he half-dragged me to the cruiser. He slipped on the ice once, almost causing us both to fall. Aldactone For Sale, After opening the back door, he eased me gently onto the seat. 150mg Aldactone, When he gunned the engine, the rear tires spun for a second, and then found traction on a sanded patch of snow.

Half to himself, he muttered, “We’re not allowed to transport people, but you’d be history by the time Rescue got here. You have almost no pulse. You’re not gonna be on my conscience.”

I despised cops.

Mumbling under my breath, I said, “I bet I won’t, Aldactone For Sale. Not much room left in that brain for one of those.”

Forcefully, he asked, “What. Speak up now…Couldn’t hear you.”

It occurred to me that I ought to be grateful. He saved my life—such as it was.

“Thanks, man,” was all I could think of… I still existed.

As horrid as it was to spend time in The Rat Palace, one’s survival plan sometimes had to include lurid measures. After all, only we pariahs with an iota of hope persevered persistently against all odds.

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6 Comments

  1. leo post
    September 1, 2010

    loved it

  2. leo post
    September 1, 2010

    loved the story

  3. lee porter
    September 1, 2010

    interesting approach to a bio

  4. penny davidson
    September 1, 2010

    Insightful–from one who’s been there, and you know it!

  5. Bette Simpson
    October 27, 2010

    Axel, Great story. It held my interest.

    Critique: Your language is a bit too sophisticated for one in those circumstances…(on second thought, I may be wrong about that, it would depend on the subject’s prior life and education).

    Overall, I would like to read more….follow the subject through his recovery and relapses and into the present.

    Suggestion: Keep writing…you have a story to tell.

    PS Thoroughly enjoyed our conversation this morning at Columbia…

  6. Bette Simpson
    October 27, 2010

    Axel, I previously gave you my comments and critique, just received a phone call and have to run and pick up teenage granddaughter at school. Will try again later….

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