Sunday, May 20, 2012


Kathleen George's thriller or mystery novel, Afterimage, has a lot of homeless references.

"A homeless man carrying about seven grocery bags of clothing, it looks like, ambles along. He probably has someone somewhere he drinks with."

Early morning run through a park:

""In the dim light, she saw bits of the colorful baggage that made bedding for the homeless men who preferred the park to the Light of Life Ministries." "Usually she ran later in the morning, when the men were waking--sitting up  and groggily letting the day in."

"One man sleeping,two men sleeping, two more, one more. One green quilt, one red something or other, two scrambled sets of rags. So colorful. Like India. Poverty and friendship. Whatever was at hand to cushion and wrap the body. Rain washed these bedclothes, sunshine dried them out. How did they feel? Have nothing, wait for a few bucks, get your drink or your drug, whatever you needed, ad experience what the rest of us miss--the grass, the earth, the birds, the sound of trffice, the sky. Well, in summer anyway, it seemed a possible way to live."

"Atone point she thinks, there must be a cuple under a bush far to her left, for she sees what looks like a woman's foot sticking out. Like something out of an Irish play, tinkers living under a bush. Funny to think of women living so much on the edge of things."

"...she thinks briefly of the people living outdoors with nothing but friendship and some drug or other to keep them going."

May or may not be about a homeless person: "The street was quiet except for a man with a shopping cart who was looking left and right with the practiced eye of a converter of junk to cash." Still see a man who used to sleep in one of the boarded up cottages, two doors down, roaming our alley filling a shopping cart with not so junky junk. Several people search the recycle bins, dumpsters, trash buckets for aluminum cans. One elderly lady walks her dauchsaund. She must have the disorder Katherine Hepburn had ~ shakes or trembles.

Finding a body, detective Christie thinks: "She didn't look homeless. She was not lying on a mass of newspapers and bags or on a quilt as so many of the homeless were."

After breaking up with a boyfriend, a woman tossed things she left at his apartment in a trash bag. As she tossed the garbage bag in her trunk she thinks: "Like a hobo, like a tramp, like one of the people in the park, necessities in a plastic bag."

Asked about treating alcoholics as a counselor, she says, yes, "A lot. A lot of druggies, too. Counselors wouldn't have jobs without them." He says "Neither would police. Eighty percent." "Police Academy taught them that alcohol was involved in eighty percent of crimes committed."

I do not know if the 80% figure is accurate, but having been married to a criminal alcoholic, I am guessing it is. A lot of his uncles were also heavy drinkers. His worshiped great uncle was an old drunk who had little respect for laws. The boys, as they were called ~hunters that lodged at the great aunt/uncle's home ~ drank, but could not say they were alcoholics.

They used to bring large cans of meat that their mother stole from the school cafeteria where she worked. They brought other stuff as well ~ forgotten, now ~ maybe large bags of oregano, boxes of powdered milk, pasta perhaps. I can not say the mother drank; never met her.

An alcoholic former brother-in-law moved on to using illegal drugs. He worked a lot, good provider as to material things; do not take him for being a criminal type, except for the drug use.

Ex-husband's brother got fired from a job after selling ad info to a rival grocery store. He drank, but not alcoholic; his second wife definitely fit that category and was the reason he bent rules to earn some side income. Criminal type? Not much, I would say.

Another long post. Yes, I would think that alcohol plays a large part in crimes. One, it lowers inhibitions, thus a person who would not be prone to steal, might shoplift while under the influence. Tempers flare, violence, fights, happen when alcohol is involved. Many fights turn lethal.

Gang members do drink and their lifestyle is all about crime. The homeless alcoholics and drug addicted that I knew, did indeed resort to theft to support their habits. Stealing, even from their homeless friends, was common. Many sold their food stamps and prescription drugs. Might be their criminal behavior led to their homelessness, more than drinking being its cause.


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