What the Raven Saw

raven in a tree

Speed kills

Another phone call from darkest Arizona, though I was glad at first. I hadn’t heard from the guy for months. Except for the fact that the few checks I sent got cashed, the last checks, out of my own pocket just to help him out, I wouldn’t have known he even was alive.

The inheritance is gone. His Social Security started last month and he’s already broke two weeks before his second check. He’s in the hole for overdue utility bills and tried to pay them. Doesn’t know how to game the system, plead for time, seek assistance, do what everyone who’s ever been there in that way has done. He owed $118 on the electric bill. He bought a money order but never mailed it. Didn’t fill in the “Payable to” line, either, and someone took it. “Someone in my house,” he says. So far there’s “a woman” and some other someones, or maybe she’s the one. There were voices in the background and he wasn’t using his own phone.

middle child

Baby brother Robbo and the perfect symbol of an eventual middle child

As I write he has no water. That’s because he hadn’t paid the water bill, but this was temporary and he had a chance to get caught up. Before he got around to that however, “someone” turned the water on. His water. Someone in his house who wanted water broke the seal and wrenched the thing back on until the water cops got wise. I wonder who the someone is. Now they want a $350 deposit before they’ll even talk to him. No drinking, bathing, washing dishes, or flushing the toilet in the ole singlewide. In Arizona. In the sun. I hope he’s paying the homeowner association fees. Does it even matter?

There’s some kind of trouble with his food stamps. (Of course there is, it’s Arizona.) According to him, I have to tell someone he owns the house and also say I’m not sending him the $400 monthly subsidy I was before the old lady died. What is this, some kind of time warp? I stopped doing that a year ago or more. And if he can’t prove he owns his trailer, which he does, then the wheels ain’t coming off this thing, they never got put on.

“I love you, Johnny,” he signs off the way he always does. But someone’s going to set him up or put a bullet in his head unless an angel intervenes.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • M.J. August 7, 2013, 9:21 AM

    Ah, siblings, aren’t they a mess! Our parents enabled them so long and then we inherit them after they are gone. I know the guilt eats away with you. Be strong! You can lend a horse to water, but you just can’t make them drink! Be comforted in knowing there are some of us out there in the same boat. Just keep paddling! I wonder how did we make it, sitting in the same house all those years!

    • JHF August 7, 2013, 9:43 AM

      The other two are doing fine, as was another sister before she died. The middle one ain’t so lucky, and my leverage is gone.



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