Calvin told me his brother was going for a job interview this afternoon. (Sometimes, I need to get to a job interview is a way of asking for gas money, which is a way of getting money for... you get the idea.)
But this is apparently legit. His brother just got out of prison and hopes to get the first job of his life at age 58. Technically, it's his second job. He was hired at a steel mill as a young man and a week later the company shut down the mill.
After that, he thought, what's the point of working for a company? Next he worked for Spot and Steal, Calvin said.
The job interview is in the housekeeping department in a hotel.
I used to work housekeeping, Calvin said. He told me about a contest for the staff. The worker who could make up bed the fastest and pass the inspection would win $100.
He practiced all week perfecting his technique, popping the sheets so they'd drop in place and he wouldn't have to fuss with smoothing them.
He scared off a few competitors by letting them watch him practice. There was one guy he knew was fast who he'd eventually face, so he didn't let anyone know about his secret weapon.
In the finals, the two men were close as they completed one side of the bed. As his competitor raced around to the other side, Calvin unleashed the secret weapon, leaping over the bed.
The move saved him a second or two, but it was the surprise factor and the whooping audience that made the other guy hesitate just enough.
Calvin collected the hundred.
I've met a number of intelligent people at Peace House during my first month. Their full-time job, it seems, is to manage an overflowing mind, thoughts that race, memories that won't fade, pain that sends signals all night.
The words come in long streams or they come out of nowhere, as from the man who sat down and wrote this one afternoon.