Saturday, October 25, 2014

2079- Been back in tx. for a couple of days- and figured I’d give an update.

My friend Dirk got out of jail about 2 weeks ago- I wrote his story this year- and wanted to tell the ‘ending’.

Dirk has been a friend for many years- about 9 months ago he stabbed another friend- almost killed him.

At the time Dirk told a story- that frankly no one believed [I still don’t by the way].

He said Tennessee was beating him up- Dirk took a knife out and held it up- Tennessee fell on the knife- twice.

Ok- obviously this didn’t happen.

But- I visited Tennessee in the hospital and he told me that he was on top of Dirk ‘getting the best of him’ and Dirk stabbed him.

I think this was what happened- and even though the ‘fell on the knife’ part was a lie- yet it did seem to me that Dirk had a plausible self-defense.

Now- I kept Dirks dog at my house for the last 8 months- and had all his stuff- he trusted me to keep his bank cards and all- I moved money from his account into his jail account- he offered to at least pay for dog food- I told him I didn’t want a dime.

Now- his lawyer- a public defender- did go out of his way at times for Dirk- he met me at the pawn shop when I got Dirk's guitars out- Dirk was afraid he would lose them.

We did a few errands for Dirk [too many to be honest] and he would contact me when he needed to find a witness or 2- being I know the guys on the street.

I visited Dirk in jail- he called me- we kept in touch.

I would ask his lawyer ‘what do you think- what’s Dirk looking at’- he told me that because of the statement he made to the police- that it didn’t look good.

Now- Tennessee [the victim] did leave the state- he wanted nothing to do with it- so the state picked up the charges.

His lawyer would tell me that Dirk should accept a plea- they offered 6 years- on this charge he would have to do half before he was up for parole.

His lawyer knew I gave Dirk advice- so I would tell Dirk ‘I think your lawyer is good- I would listen to him’.

Now- the lawyer said they would never offer what Dirk wanted- 2 years.

In the end- he plead to a misdemeanor assault and got out on time served.

Dirk told me that his lawyer lied to him about a few things- and Dirk [like me] thought because the victim- who indeed himself told me that he was beating Dirk up- and he left the state- that how could the prosecutor go to court when the victim is not even there.

So- the lawyer tried to get Dirk to take the 6 year plea- then the 2 year plea- and came back 2 weeks later and he was out.

The lawyer was working with the prosecutor- I’m sure they did look at some of Dirks past- and maybe decided ‘together’ that the plea was ok.

The problem?

I was right- and Dirk too- the fact that Tennessee was gone- did indeed affect the case.

All during these months I talked to Dirk- did tell him what the lawyer told me- and thought Dirk should listen to the lawyer.

Then one day Tennessee’s brother came to the mission- he told me the cops were coming by every few days to find Tennessee.

I even told his lawyer that Tennessee was gone- as far as I knew.

So- I realized they did indeed need Tennessee- like I said- and I’m sure his lawyer knew it.

The last time I spoke with Dirk on the phone- before his trial date- I didn’t say the usual ‘take your lawyers advice’.

No- because I realized he was not being totally upfront with me- the lawyer- I told Dirk ‘if you are not happy with the offer- go to trial’.

He took the misdemeanor charge- and got out.

SATURDAY- I want to try and cover some of the stuff that happened back here in Texas when I was gone.

I got back Thursday and was going to take a few days off- but that never seems to happen.

I got with the guys Friday and today- and will try and tell a few stories.

I noticed when I got up today- I had a hard time walking- then after I cut the grass and sat down- I couldn’t stand up.

About 7 years ago I had an injury at the fire dept.- disc in the back problem [common] but it got so bad the last year on the job- that I finally had to get it checked [I always wait too long for stuff like this].

So- the back problem caused nerve damage to my right leg- and for a few months I couldn’t walk [there’s a name for it- I don’t remember].

When it happens your whole leg cramps- but not like a regular cramp- but much worse.

If it happens when your out- shopping- whatever- you go down [I was worried at times if I felt it coming on].

So- when I retired I DID NOT TAKE A MEDICAL RETIREMENT- I already had 25 years in- and as the process goes for injury leave [which I never took before- only a few days out of 25 years] I just did it myself- by retiring the normal way.

Usually you would stretch it out [sue] and get some cash as a ‘bonus’- I never did this.

The city waited about 8 months before sending me my official ‘thank you for service’ thing- because they figured I would do the normal thing- and try and get money for the injury- it was legitimate- and job related.

But- I never did it- I also lost my health coverage- it was too much to keep [each city- and state are different- our collective bargaining agreement did not have a good deal when I retired].

So- I did have things I needed to get checked for- and treated for- till this day I have done neither.

Without going too long- I thought I got accepted with the VA a few months ago- and then realized they misread my income- and turned me down.

I gave them the correct retirement income- and was accepted.

About 8 months ago I had a letter from them- thinking I was in- and figured ‘might as well bite the bullet and go get checked- treated’ [for multiple things].

I opened the letter- and they said I lied about my income [I’m beginning to think that if you lie- about lots of stuff- it works out better!]..They went 2 years back and saw I had about 20,000 income from a sort of 401k thing that the fire dept started a few years before I retired.

I used it as a savings- and cashed it out in one year.

The VA said it was annual income- it was not.

As of now I have not even opened the last letter they sent- I’m assuming [hoping] they got it right.

So- when I woke up today with the old leg injury- I figured I’d go to the ER [big thing for me] and at least do something about the leg.

It would be covered under workman’s comp- the only thing I actually have for coverage- which only applies to this one injury.

As I sat at the ER- I started thinking ‘maybe I should tell the doc- take a look at his too- being I’m here’.

Then I thought ‘maybe I’ll ask him about this other thing’.

Then- as I sat- I decided to just leave.

This whole insurance thing has been an issue for me- I was with friend’s today- much healthier than me- they have disability- insurance- everything [and never really worked] so yes- it gets me upset.

But- as I hobbled out of the hospital- I had a few of the guys on that side of town call- and spent most of the day- yeah- doing ministry.

I texted the guys when I got to our halfway house- no one home.

Andy was in the Bluff- my side of town- and I just got home about 10 minutes ago.

A funny thing happened- when I went to see his brother David- who I do the halfway house with.

Jackie- his girlfriend- who knows me- said ‘John- you lost weight’ [in a month?] and she asked ‘do you have PTSD’.

David has it- and it reminded me of what someone said when I first arrived in N.J. - about manic depression.

I told Jackie I have multiple things- but because of the way the insurance thing worked out- and other stuff- I have not been treated- for anything.

Jackie said ‘you have it’.

Now- I bring all this up because I want to say that after I left the ER- and had a full day- with the guys- I felt good.

Are the  physical problems fixed- no.

But I dreaded [feared] having to start the process- now.

Some of the delays were not of my own choosing [I had- have? no insurance] now as time goes by you become desensitized.

I do want to cover some of the other stuff that happened when I was gone- but might do that in the next day or 2.

Some guys relapsed- but others had some great things happen- I will pick up the meetings I do soon- thought of maybe taking a few days off.

When I got back I thought ‘maybe I will cancel one’.

But found out that they don’t want to cancel it- so I’ll do it.

Today another ministry asked me to start a new one- on their side of town.

I told the brother yeah- but think I should wait a while.

Let me end with a funny story- my last night in North Bergen- I went to say bye to the crew.

I had a ginger ale drink in my hand- and as I walked away I said ‘hey Billy- you want to finish it’.

He said no thanks.


He never turns down a drink.

He said ‘oh- I thought it was Beer’.

I said ‘Billy- I have 22 months [I’ve been saying 20- but I was behind 2 months- I don’t keep track well] sober’.

Billy says ‘Yeah I know- but I thought because it was your last night- you were celebrating’.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots. visit- my radio shows.

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