The man behind the counter calls out “Case number 6-4-2-9-8“.
She responds and walks up to the counter to the man and he says “You’re late“.
“I know sir,” the woman then replies “I missed my bus. I really tried to be on time but you see my problem was today my uncle died.”
“We have a lot of work to do here and we don’t have any extra time to waste on people like you so please fill out this form and get in line.”
“Thank you sir” she says and walks back to her chair where she bends her head and starts filling out the long form and asks herself why he said what he said.
It just doesn’t seem at all right that they should treat people like this but I better start filling out my form because that next check I can’t afford to miss.
I often think to myself and wish that things were different and I were stronger and somehow he had not decided to leave and had stayed around longer.
Those nights alone when we were younger and Mommy was having fun on the town with her boyfriend, it was so easy for Jimmy and me to go into the bedroom to lie down and enjoy ourselves. When I got pregnant Jimmy left and I’ve never known know why. I gave birth to my son and ever since then I’ve just stayed behind to cry.
I remember Mommy in the bedroom with her boyfriends and they would laugh and joke and he’d stay until daylight and then leave. I’d hear them say “This is really good coke.”
After Jimmy left and the baby was born Mommy got arrested. I tried to find a job but couldn’t and then I began living with this guy who turned out to be a slob.
When I turned seventeen I was pregnant again and I had to drop out of school. I really shouldn’t have but with two kids what could I do? I feel like such a fool.
Now I just lie around the house all day and gain weight because I keep on eating and watching T.V. but it’s better than putting up with that no good bum’s beatings.
Sometimes different guys come by and we go in my room for some fun. We stay around not like Mommy used to. We try to be quiet and not to make much noise or sound.
I did get pregnant again by one of my friends. I don’t want my children to weep like I do so when we go to my room we’re not noisy and the children can sleep.
Food stamps seem to help a little bit though sometimes we trade them for money or pot or alcohol but I don’t use hard drugs. Sometimes these things seem to lighten our lot.
I’ve tried to work at various odd jobs but they’ve never panned out. If I do work and my case manager finds out he can reduce my benefits, the lousy jerk.
I’ve got to be careful if a boy friend comes over. The case worker will say he’s assuming the role and then my check gets reduced and I have less for my babies.
Once, a case worker tried to cut me back but I was able to stop him from that. The kids weren’t home so I took him to my bedroom when he came by for his chat.
I have to come down here to this office every six months or so. It’s a battle with these people here. They really don’t care about clients and treat us all like cattle.
Now I’ll just fill out this form like they ask. I need the money so I’ve got no choice. I hope my children do better than this.
With these people you don’t have any voice.
~ About the Author ~
Dr. Roderick T. Beaman is a board certified family osteopathic physician who practices in Jacksonville, Florida. He is a published poet, has composed a blues song and is trying to have his first novel published. It deals with the dangers of big government. He offers anyone who wishes to dignify the trash he writes with a comment, to do so.