Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Needle and the Damage Done


It seems many of this city's most despicable, lowlife junkies have shifted from the decrepit environs of Smith St to the Vietnamese-restaurant-lined Victoria St. They're everywhere wearing their adidas tracksuit pants with no accompanying top, and walking all fast and jittery. Often yelling at respectable people, motorists and each other.

I was loitering recently outside one of my favourite of these restaurants, waiting for Tex to arrive - he's always late yet I continue to arrive on time because, well, that's what I do - when this filthy piece of shit came marching along the street while his 3-year-old son drove a motorised toy car behind him. The following 'conversation' ensued:

Boy: Dad, can I please have a donut?

Dad (yelling): I already fucken told you I left my fucken wallet at home, don't you fucken listen to me?

Boy:
Sorry...

Dad: You're a fucken stupid little arsehole! How many fucken times do I have to tell you something you dipshit! I'll push you into the traffic and that'll fucken teach you!

Dad pretends to push boy into the traffic. He was out of control, just stopping short of physically assaulting the boy.

Boy has by now covered his ears with his hands to block out what is, it seems, a common occurrence.

Meanwhile I'm watching, wondering whether it was within my rights to walk up and punch the junkie in the face, grab the kid and run to the police station. I was so very close to hitting this guy. This poor kid (who will probably one day become his father - just as his father was, probably, once upon a time this poor kid) did nothing to deserve this treatment or this father. The Dad's reaction was so over the top, so out of proportion, that he could only have been either on drugs, or needing the next hit.

Eventually, Dad and Boy walk off and stop outside a house in an adjoining street. The Dad leaves the Boy parked in his toy car outside the house and disappears inside - for ten minutes.

A police car drives past, I wave it down and explain what had just happened. The police show some measure of concern and they go and talk to the Dad. After about 3 minutes they leave and that's that.

This (along with a story I read recently in The Monthly about a 7 year old girl called 'Ebony', who was so badly negelcted that she ended up dying in her locked and boarded-up bedroom fouled by her own faeces and urine) makes me look at my own 4 year old boy (who, at least for now, idolises me) and wonder how this kind of mistreatment is possible.

28 comments:

Alex said...

When I read about that Ebony girl last year, I was moved enough to save the article. Not many news articles have that sort of effect on me.

It was primarily this little bit at the end:

When police arrived, the couple's teenage daughters were playing on the computer.

"I had a little cry," one of them said, "but now I'm over it."


I think I might have shed a tear when I read that. Just thinking about the way that fucked up parents raise kids who turn into fucked up parents and so on.

WitchOne said...

I can't click the link. I just can't.

Melba said...

Bob, good on you for telling the cops. Bad on them for not doing anything. But what can they do?

I once was on a tram and saw much the same exchange. Father swearing at son, son not responding, not even looking at him, just keeping his head down. He would have been about 10? Fuck this, fuck that, but swearing at him. When he called him a little cunt (and I was sitting opposite) I said "now, hang on" (strange, old fashioned thing to say) and the guy piped down but gave me evil looks, then they got off at the next stop.

You're right. He was once a scared little boy, and still is really, inside. No excuse, so sad.

Perseus said...

Move to a small country town, Bob.

Yeah, many vote National and you have to drive 45 minutes to get to a dentist, but there's no smack and nobody locks their doors.

The sausage rolls are pretty good, too.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Good on you for doing something Bob.

Anybody with young children will know they can get a bit annoying but that level of abuse is unforgivable.

Leilani said...

It's incidents like these that break my heart.

Alex said...

Move to a small country town[...]there's no smack

Maybe that's true in certain picturesque coastal villages, but it's certainly never been my experience.

Puss In Boots said...

I'm fairly certain the small country town I grew up in was one of the major drug centres of Queensland.

I saw this sort of thing constantly. It's part of what has made me never touch drugs, and why I don't drink.

Lewd Bob said...

Good on you for doing something

Well thank you to Ramon and Melba for the praise but, in actual fact, I felt I should have done something more. I felt helpless or, actually, kind of stuck in an impossible position. It's obvious that me punching the guy in the head wouldn't have achieved anything (other than my own personal satisfaction) but, Jesus, it was fucking tempting.

Maybe confronting the guy verbally - like Melba on the tram - could've achieved something. Maybe he would've realised what a prick he was. Who knows?

WitchOne said...

Bob, I cry when I see things like that happen. I want to say something but I'm terrified, I want hold the child but it terrifies me to do so. I don't consider myself a person who is scared easily but violence, even implied violence, freezes me.

I go home and hold my babies extra tightly and scream silently in my head when they whinge about how harsh I am.

I spent some years in Moe. For drugs and violence, need I say more?

Cath said...

I feel for you Bob. It would be an awkward situation. Feeling compelled to do something, but clearly, him being as drug-fucked as he was, would have meant he would have had NO issue with beating you to a pulp. In front of his child. Moral high ground is all well and good, but one also has to consider ramifications to one's health. I think you did good, and it is hopefully up to the police to deal with it - and perhaps report it to Family Services.

Lewd Bob said...

NO issue with beating you to a pulp

Not that I'm in any way equipped to get into a fight, but I reckon they're usually cowards - like Melba's tram guy. I suspect confrontation might have scared him off a bit, which is why I regret not doing it.

Alex said...

I think cocaine is probably about the only drug that I haven't personally come across in rural areas. Heroin and I-can't-believe-it's-not-heroin have pretty much been a constant.

Bob, even kids who are abused or neglected tend to idolise their parents - at least until their teenage years. Punching the kid's dad out and doing a runner with him, would've probably only traumatised him further. Yeah, you could've said something, but the likelihood of anything positive coming from that are slim to none, I imagine.

Perseus said...

There's drugs around my town. Pot, in particular. A lot of people here are casual joint smokers, and there's a fair few soaks. Other drugs may be purchased as well, particularly during summer.

Perhaps I should qualify my statement and say there's no junkies here. The scene which Bob depicts would be alien to this town. There's no drug-induced desperation. We have pretty close to full employment, and because everyone knows everyone else, there's a sense of community that leads to a certain level of safety. If someone robbed a $20 note from someone else's wallet, they'd be ostracised.

There was one bloke, originally a local, who came back to town for a few months with his girlfriend. Both were heroin junkies. They met in rehab, but had obviously relapsed. They were only in town for a few days but caused havoc in that time... particularly the girlfriend who took to entering people's homes and stealing alcohol. The boyfriend was agro, and spent much of his time threatening to beat people up.

I kid you not, the cops put them on a bus to Melbourne and told them not to return.

It was like a Western.

Alex said...

It sound like a nice place Pers, just very at odds with what I experienced in my younger days.

In a couple of the places I spent time in, the cops themselves were a major part of the drug problem (stock theft too, but that's a different topic).

Your house still got robbed by junkies, but it usually only took a couple of phone calls to find out who it was, and then there'd be blood. But because the communities were small, you still had to see those people and interact with them. Differences were grudgingly put to the side, the past got left in the past and people went on. Even domestic violence and sexual assault just sort of got overlooked or "forgotten about" or in some cases, even became the butt of jokes.

At any rate, none of these places were anywhere near large cities or the ocean, and they certainly weren't the sort of places tourists came to. There's probably not much of a comparison between your country town and my country towns.

WitchOne said...

Wow Alex! Did you live in Moe too??

Alex said...

No Witchy, I've never had the pleasure of visiting Moe. I did spend a couple of years in Cunnamulla though. Are they comparable?

Mr E Discharge said...

You bid the right thing, Bob.

There's no reasoning with an addict, they have no souls.

I had one try to attack me a couple of weeks back at a local restaurant.

I was sittng at table out front with a mate, this guy walks up and askes for money "cos he hasn't eaten for three days". Flat out smack freak complete with fresh tracks up his arm. I gestured towards a vacant table nearby and said "Sit Down".
SF:"What do you mean?"
Me: "Sit down and I'll buy you a meal".
SF:No, it's Ok, I'll get something later.I just need the Money".
Me: "I doesn't work that way, if you're humgry, sit down and I'll feed you if not fuck off".
SF:"What difference does it make?'
Me: The difference is if you need food, youve got it, but I won't give you one fucken cent to buy hammer.

At this point the guy goes postal and lunges at me. Fortunately my mate was ex SAS, and made short work of SF.

No soul. No future. The tragedy is the number of lives they take down with them.

Lewd Bob said...

If you like calling the junkie's bluff, Mr E, check this out.

I have a cameo in the final scene.

patchouligirl said...

perhaps report it to Family Services

Fat lot of good family services did for Shellay Ward, the little girl who starved to death at Hawks Nest. Apparently Family Services knew about her but failed to adequately follow up.

I don't know much about junkies fortunately but in Newcastle, Mayfield/Islington seem to be the main areas and you would think this is a logical criteria: close to public transport, cheap accommodation, the centerlink office, the hospital and presumably their dealers. Life on the razors edge indeed.

It is an interesting point - how much do you get involved? I've always been one to jump in to help but stop before I'm putting myself in danger (especially now with my son in tow). I had a go at a woman last week for something as minor as throwing a cigarette butt on the beach. It is ultimately up to the public to decide what is and isn't acceptable behaviour and to protect the innocent as best we can.

RandomGit said...

Next time you could buy them both a box of donuts. Kid gets fed, Dads mood improves with donut, maybe the kid goes to bed without crying for a night. But only a night.

catlick said...

Maybe that's true in certain picturesque coastal villages In my coastal village the druggies are special.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

That's a cracker of a short film, Bob

Melba said...

Yeah good film Bob. That WAS Harold Bishop wasn't it??

Had to be.

Liked your shirt and beard.

Where can we see your film, is it ready yet?

About getting involved; sometimes I can't help myself. Once in Italy I interfered with a young male who was haranging, abusing and intimidating his girlfriend. I walked across the road from where I was standing with my husband and three kids and stopped it with my English swearing and two words of Italian - "enough" and "children" (Meaning my children were watching.) I didn't want them to see it happening, we were waiting for a bus so couldn't move on. The guy didn't like it, started in on me a bit and then Clokes walked up behind me and started to do Italian gesticulations, and he stopped. Heaps of people around but no one did anything. I see red when I see people being bullied, who aren't standing up for themselves. Or can't. It can be a pretty stupid thing to do, I try to be as careful as possible.

I think being a woman, hopefully I'm less likely to get laid into, but you don't know. They're mostly bullies which means they are cowards, and they do it because they get away with it. But if someone's really drugged or drunk they're unpredictable. The guy on the tram was just a fuckwit and not drugged at that moment.

Alex said...

Melba, a lot can depend on what they've been taking, too. Getting into a confrontation with somebody who's full of opiates is a lot different from getting into a confrontation with somebody who's full of amphetamines.

Lewd Bob said...

I must point out, it wasn't my film, although I did help out on the shoot.

And yes Melba, I enjoyed wearing the flanny.

I will post my latest film at some stage soon, but need to delete credits for anonymity purposes.

patchouligirl said...

It is satisfying to watch the predator become the prey.

squib said...

That's weird, I missed this. Love the film, a superb bit of acting there, Lewd