By Charlie G
I'm writing this while sitting on a 5th floor, outdoor smoking patio,
At Miami Dade College.
Over looking the bay, with a bridge hanging over it, cars making a Conga line to Miami Beach.
A cruise ship, the Imagination, is oh so slowly, leaving the Port of Miami.
It is really a beautiful view.
I've seen it a hundred times.
Never from this perception though,
From the patio of 'My" college, where I just got my first course,
Issues & ethics of counseling,
Or from this perception of life;
I held a child today.
For the first time in over twenty years.
I had stopped by the detox center where I use to work,
I wanted to show Rootie the cover we had picked for the first issue.
I see her more now, than when I worked there;. I worked the night shift, she was there in the day time.
She runs the place,
Her and her family.
Mom (The Queen Bee), brothers, sister in law; the whole family.
All in recovery. All helping a fellow alcoholic or addict.
My day started with a phone call.
Talking to a lawyer.
The man who owns the house I am leasing..
The man who owned the house I am leasing,
Though I had the option to buy it.
I found that out when a couple came to my door one night, a few weeks ago,
To inform me they were the new owners,
And I would be paying them from now on.
I replied, while standing behind the door in my underwear, one foot keeping the dogs in,
"I think not."
I explained that I had the option to buy the house,
Went and got my lease and showed it to them.
Putting my pants on first.
They told me it wasn't a problem, they were investors,
They'd be glad to sell it to me.
I told them,
"I think not."
I asked them why should I pay them,
which would cost me more,
Everybody has to make a living, I understand that,
But it's not going to happen at my expense.
Not when I have the lease in hand, pre dated, that I had the first right to buy the place.
They told me they would be back with the paper work showing they owned the house,
and we would talk then.
"I think not."
I said, again.
I wanted to talk with an attorney first,
"You guys understand, don't you?"
But they were cool, thanked me, and left.
I haven't heard from them since.
I DID, however, hear from Frank,
The man who owned the house,
He called to say he was sending some one by to pick up the check tomorrow.
"I think not."
I repeated my manta for the night.
I told him that the new owners had come by and asked for the rent.
"You sold the place, Frank, and now your trying to get rent from me?"
"Frank, your a hustler!" I told him,
Not without a little admiration. Never figured him, for that.
"No, um..,not at all..." He stammered,
Showing he wasn't that much of a hustler, no quick answer.
Boy scout & hustler's motto; Always be prepared.
"Frank, your a land shark." I laughed,
"I'm not mad at you. You tried, you got caught,"
"I'd have done the same thing in a previous life."
Frank knew I was in recovery, and trying to live a life based on spiritual principles...
Come to think of it,
He was a pretty good hustler,
Didn't care who he got, just get it.
He laughed a little & said he had tried to sell the house to me,
I didn't want it.
I laughed a little back, then said,
"I think not."
I reminded him what I had told him,
"I wasn't sure yet, it wasn't a worry,
I still had to the end of the lease."
After a few more pleasantries;
The house was in his wife's name before the sale, I had no options, sorry.
We hung up.
Talking with the original Realtor,
I found out a lawyer had contacted her about Frank,
Seems Frank really was a good hustler,
He got a guy, a regular working stiff, to use his name,
To somehow hold a $800,000 mortgage on one of his houses,
Then Frank sold it, too.
Leaving the guy with a mortgage that was so far out of his capabilities to pay,
Instead of the quick profit he expected for doing Frank a favor.
The lawyer asked if I could come down & give a statement,
Maybe even file a lawsuit on my behalf for the potential profits I lost,
If they could find Frank.
I wouldn't have given Frank any odds of getting away before today....
I agreed, right after I stopped by work to show my boss something.
Walking into the detox center,
I say hello to the fellas, Kyle & Burt,
The Burt & Ernie of the front office.
It looks like Fourier's North American Phalanx; guys & girls,
Laying on couches, in the early part of, or the worst part of,
Sitting at tables, working on lap tops,
Finishing their detox,
And outside by the water, sunning, smoking,
in the middle of their detox,
Not up & about yet, but,
starting to see...an end in sight.
I go into Rootie's office, taking the cover we'd decided on for the first issue,
Of the recovery magazine that I've been asked to be editor of.
As I entered I see Rootie, holding Ruthie,
Her infant niece.
Now, I may be biased, but I swear,
If Gerber saw this baby,
This baby would be Gerber.
She smiles, says "Hi", and tells me she has something for me.
A patient had mailed a tip, which is split between techs, nurses, cooks, housekeeping, etc..
"You have $40 coming," She said.
She looks around, then turns to me and says,
"Here, would you hold her for a second?"
I froze. I had,
About this moment.
"Um, I, I haven't held a baby in awhile, Rootie." I stammered.
"Have you ever ridden a bicycle?" She laughed,
"You never forget!"
Then she placed this beautiful baby girl in my arms.
I stood there, then,
She reached up and grabbed my glasses hanging from the front of my shirt.
And something broke inside me.
A good break.
I lifted her into the air, blowing into her stomach.
Rootie smiled, nodded, and turned around to get my envelope.
When she turned back, I gave Rootie, Ruthie, and took my tip.
I held her for only a moment,
But it healed a lifetime.
What Rootie gave me was priceless.
I tried to tell her.
She wouldn't hear it.
"God had you come in when you did," She said.
This is the same lady I spoke to about working there, after going through her place 6 times,
Failing to get sober.
She spoke with her mom, & they gave me a chance.
They've helped me to stay clean & sober.
This is a lady who exemplifies what is living the principles of recovery.
She got clean, and started a business, helping fellow alcoholics & addicts,
Giving them a sober start in their fight to reclaim their lives.
What everybody should know about alcoholics or addicts in recovery?
We have a conscious contact with a 'Higher Power'.
We try to help another human being,
And do the 'next right thing.'
Because helping someone else, helps us.
The world should live as we do.
It would be such a nicer place.
I left work, heading to the lawyer's office.
I got off at the wrong exit twice.
Wasn't even mad. Just smile at myself in the rearview mirror, and get back on I-95.
I want to say I was drunk from a God Shot, but that sounds to,
Rough (?), for the moment when I held that baby.
So I'm calling it a 'Penny Miracle.'
Because as little as a new found penny can seem to someone (Rootie, giving me the baby to hold),
To someone else, it can be a very pleasant surprise (Rootie giving me, the baby to hold!)
When I got to the lawyer's office, I gave my name, and sat in the waiting room.
A minute later the door opens, and a vaguely familiar face comes out, hand outstretched,
"Charles? Charles Griffith?" He booms.
"Yes." I say.
"Do you know Ben Kuehne?" He asks.
"He was my lawyer." I tell him, now a bit confused.
"Charles! It's me, David Tucker!"
"I was Ben's partner when he was trying to get the Governor to release you from prison."
Out of all the lawyers in Miami, I get one of my lawyer's partners.
I couldn't believe it,
I could believe it.
"Boy, I remember your case! It was on the agenda every morning."
"Small world, hey?"
After we finished, David took me to see one of his partners,
A contract attorney.
Part of the deal when Gov. Chiles & State Attorney Janet Reno let me out of prison,
Was that any profit from a book or movie on my life, would be donated to a children's hospital.
I want it to go towards 'Joy's House', a recovery house for women & their children.
The dispute is that I was given 6 years of probation when I was released,
It would be dropped if I completed 3 without getting into any trouble.
It was dropped after 3 years.
So, if the probation is satisfactorily finished, can I use any money from my story for 'Joy's House',
Instead of donating it to a hospital?
Can I make something, good, grow from this,
With my hands,
Instead of just giving it to someone and saying,
"Here ya go, do right with it."?
Ben Kuehne, the attorney who freed me, said I need a contract attorney.
And here I am with his old partner, and his old partner's, new partner,
A contract attorney.
They are going to look into it for me, to see if they can help.
They are not sure (I didn't have the papers with me), but,
Shit happens to get you to where you are supposed to be.
Now I am finished, and getting ready to go home,
Would I trade this day sober,
For the best day ever high?
I think not.
It really is a beautiful view from up here.