“here’s a suggestion, have the money by tomorrow and there won’t be any problems”
If I bet on humanity
I’d never cash a ticket.
‘New Poems’; Charles Bukowski
…hand to my chin, I dream of
nothing while my lost childhood
leaps like a dolphin
in the frozen sea.
“like a dolphin”;
‘Sifting Through the Madness For The Word, The Line, The Way’,
Charles Bukowski (2004, Posthumous)
About Dean [name withheld to protect his mother].
I’ve been getting calls recently from a law office representing a collections agency. So, of course, I haven’t been answering the phone. Not out of apprehension and certainly not fear, but boredom. Everyfreakingtime I talk to these people it’s the same thing, I tell them I’m on Permanent Disability they tell me how proud they are to have convinced mothers on welfare — or “Welfare Mothers” using their terminology — to pay five bucks a month towards paying off a debt, so I should do the same. Then I remind them of how proud their own mothers must be they work in a place which haranges and berates single moms getting $600/month from the government to donate a bag of milk a month when, by law, those moms are actually — just like me — protected from collections agencies.
So last night, after a third call, I Googled the law firm and found all sorts of American-based discussion forums dating back to 2004. Ends up the Markham, Ontario (just north of Toronto) based law firm has been under investigation several times by the Law Society of Upper Canada with regards to 900-number telephone scams centred around haranguing American elderly couples into paying fake telephone billing debts. Basically they call you threatening legal action over a fake bill, and they keep calling until you send them a cheque. In most cases they called friends and family, getting their numbers through the original elderly person by asking for references.
Then, after getting these people to pay, sometimes more than once, between US$800-1500 they would use a phone scam — I’m not sure if this is still possible, but it was all the rage with scammers a few years ago — where they’ll sell long distance service using your phone number as a dummy. Of course the charges end up on your phone bill.
So this morning I got into Reporter Mode. Early this morning, before the law office opened, I called their answering service and got the names of the Associates and Lawyers through the company directory and Googled them. Then I made notes and called the Law Society of Upper Canada, which told me it’d take a few days to put together the information I was looking for, then made a list of questions based on what I could find and attached my tape recorder to the phone.
After putting on my best Reporter Voice, I called and asked for the Mr. Dude who had called and left the semi-inhospitable messages alluding to a mysterious “investigation”. After giving him the case reference number he asked my name and I took a deep breath — really — and got ready to read the speech I had prepared about how people receiving government cheques shouldn’t be taken advantage of… I’m fairly certain I had just the right tone of indignation and disrespect ready for him.
And that’s when he asked if I knew a Dean [lastname here], a dude I’ve known since high school. Thank The Christ it Totally had nothing to do with me. My friend, Dean [mother’s lastname withheld], needed some help coming off a crack habit last year so I gave him a place to stay… also I needed a second player for PlayStation’s “Ghost Recon”. Totally fucking cool game. Dean’s one of the sweetest, largest and most irresponsible people I’ve ever met or heard of. He quit school in grade ten, I quit in grade twelve then again in thirteen. The two of us, along with a rotating group of about ten other dudes, were baked for more than three years.
Over the past eighteen years Dean has conned and connived and borrowed thousands and thousands of dollars from people, banks and credit agencies. But never from friends, although he does owe our friends, E & R, a second hand portable stereo and he still has my collection of Led Zeppelin cassettes I forgot in his car back in 1989. So I told the “lawyer’s assistant” I’ve never heard of Dean [withheld here] and that was that. Apparently while in rehab Dean [here withheld] put me down as a character reference on some loans and school stuff — I knew about some of them, he wants to be a drug counselor… it’s where all the fine ladies are — and the loans haven’t been repaid… or even acknowledged.
Quick Dean ]insert heldwith[ Story…
Back in the day one of our favourite things to do after spending two or three days drunk and stoned was to fire off guns at barns and “targets” — this was pre-Internet, there was also Risk marathons, Hearts and drag racing tractors on the highway. One night we were bored with shooting the sheds, and targets are lame, so we thought skeet shooting would be cool. But we had no clay and no spring action arm to pitch things with. So five of us — loaded up with a sawed-off double-barrelled .410 shotgun, a pump 10-guage and 12-guage shotgun, a semi-automatic WW2 .45 pistol that randomly wouldn’t stop shooting and a .357 lined up on the pitch-dark lawn and Dean [withname held], all six foot six inches, 260 pounds of him, stood in front of us with a half-full plastic jug… with water, so we could see if we hit it. Dean [heldinsert here] threw the jug up in the air and dove to the ground… the jug flew in the air and we started shooting. We did it three times before it occurred to us Dean [zeppelinwith insert] could get hurt. So we tried it a few times with him behind us, so the jug — still not shot — came over our heads. The second time it clipped Tim [everyone thinks you’re dead] in the head which instantly sent the .45 into random-mode and blew off his last three rounds all at once into the shed’s roof. The coolest thing was the muzzle-flash from the .410, essentially a bird gun. Two feet of flame. Awesome.
…since november fourteenth, 2006.
“You burn things when there’s no going back. How much of
yourself have you had to burn away to be
the person you are today? Because baby, my body
is ash and my mind is still smoking.”
I feel ya on not answering the phone with bill collectors . The ones I hate the most is when they have an automated service that calls you. It just tells me how important that this bill really is to pay. Don’t get me wrong there are the essential ones that I will listen to such as my utility company and cable company and the ones that make my daily living possible. Since I don’t have any credit debt I don’t pick up the phone when I hear a doctors collection agency anymore. There’s only so many times I can explain to these idiots that I don’t work and there’s nothing that they can get from me.
We do good in our house just to take care of our day to day without having to pay for a bunch of bills that if I lived in a wonderland like Canada would be taken care of for free. I couldn’t even begin to tell you when the last month was that we even had all our rent caught up.
Intoxication and boys with firearms — ya just can’t go wrong with a story like that, G.
Are ya sure we didn’t grow up in the same town?
I remember that phone scam, by the way. There was another shortly after that where they’d call and tell you that a family member was either severely injured or had been arrested; and that you had to supply them your phone number in order for the family member to contact you collect. Then they’d sell your number and badabing. A lot of people fell for it. Sneaky buggers.
Most of the phone scammers preying on your countrypersons are actually from Canada. We’ve been chasing them around the country and now most of them are now based in Quebec. There was a series of large busts about five or so years ago, but the scammers just set up a boiler room in another province or city and Quebec has its own legal system — which is even more archaic than English Canada’s setup — so I’m sure they’ll be there for awhile. Overall we’ve got crap laws when it comes to technology, especially Internet and telecommunications stuff. Property Law is so screwed up here there was actually, seriously, a scam — perfectly legal in Ontario until this past spring — where I could claim title on your house and sell it without you knowing. The first time you’d know about it would be when the moving trucks parked out front and the newbies were wandering around your backyard. And when you complained, the answer from the legal system was “too bad, so sad.” But there’s also hockey and Ice Wine so everything else just fades like white noise. Regular season starts next week…
The gun thing… I’ll write more about it, maybe on the next TISH Day, but one of our hangers-on back in the day was the son of a gun broker. Dude’s dad had a barn full of guns… assault rifles, machine guns, handguns — at one point he had a box of 9mm handguns just laying around on a counter top. It looked like The Matrix in there. There was also a proper, concrete, shooting range. Guns are, really, fairly rare in this country. Most farmers have a bunch, so this region is one of the more heavily armed areas in Canada. But nothing like the States, everything here is rifles and shotguns… except in this dude’s barn. Fully functional AK-47’s, AK-74’s, M16… even a bunch of old flintlocks we weren’t allowed to touch. Everything else was cool though. Freaking awesome.
As for the bills Bryan… thankfully the Collections People gave up last Spring — I was getting the auto-dialer about six times per week due to an outstanding student loan. The interest is still moving upwards, but they don’t call anymore. People on Disability, and I’m pretty sure those on Social Assistance, are off limits to them but most people don’t know or eventually agree to something just to stop the calls. All the other good stuff, Cable, Phone, Interwebbing, can all be turned off, but once it goes to Collection it’s off limits again. In Ontario heat/hydro are almost impossible to turn off even for the non-disabled laggards, and evictions based on non-payment of rent are freaking impossible as well… my step-dad owns a rental property and the couple in there three years ago went six months without paying rent, hydro or gas and there was zip-de-fuck all he could do… he can explain it better than I can, I’m a payer not a receiver, but he’s not the blogging type. I’ll ask him though. There are also harrassment laws which apply… if I had the brain power I would have kept track of the calls and hit them with that.
Video won’t work. But I think I know which one it is, which made me laugh in my head.
I keep getting calls on my work cell phone for some woman. I’ve now told them for the third time to stop calling-next time it won’t be pretty.
I’ve been Dean. It sucks. Except for the shooting.
Pingback: Be My Lithium Valentine « …salted lithium.
Pingback: Making Each Other Laugh « …salted lithium.