Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just Another Tuesday Night

Before the Ranch became a program, it had been both an orphanage and a genuine hippie commune. The actual campus was several acres of land and had tons of stuff on it - both newly built by the students and remnants from the past. There was a long dirt road down the side of a mountain that led you to the office area, made of stucco and adobe. Up the hill was the Phase 1 House - a large wooden cabin where your stay was initiated. Behind the house was the firepit, the greenhouse, and the garden - all surrounded by woods. There were two paths down to the barn - one took you past the Phase 2 cabins and what would eventually become a sort of rec room after I was gone. The other went past the new pig barn and the outdoor bathroom. There were abandoned buildings with an abandoned firetruck, a low ropes course and a high ropes course with a zipline (that I never went on), a weight room, and tons of open fields, trees, and space.

Two staff members lived full time on the Ranch. Vince actually had a house on the far end of the property where he and his whole family lived - his wife, two daughters, his niece Lupe, and his dog Mick. Vince grew up on the Ranch back when it was an orphanage that was actually owned and run by his family. At some point they lost the land after his father's murder, but he was back living on the property as the Ranch's official jack-of-all-trades. He always hoped one day he'd have the opportunity to buy the land back and while I doubt that will ever happen, I hope it does. The guys would think about trying to hit on Lupe, who was our age, but Mick was a good deterrent - a vicious rottweiler who loved Vince and his family, and was chained up every night in front of Vince's house. Walking alone at night one of the biggest fears was whether Mick was on the loose.

Keith lived in a cabin across the 'creek' from Phase 2. he was a large, large man with a thick white beard and a heavy lisp that made a really odd combination. He was a former Hell's Angel, misogynistic and unpleasant with a decent heart and few social skills. Sometime after I left he almost married one of the native girls but it fell through, which is too bad, but not altogether unsurprising. His way with women was never something to look up to.

So while Vince and Keith were both on the Ranch at night, and only a phone call away, they weren't on duty 24/7. But Phase 1 needed to monitored around the clock with a strict ten pm lights out curfew and a group of guys who made fucking up into an art form. A security company was contracted to watch Phase 1, and different guards would come in for this particular graveyard shift.

So no offense intended to my friends who work in security, but I've noticed after both this and working at the J that guard companies are almost always something of a mixed bag. You get a few really good, quality, responsible people who usually get transferred or promoted to better jobs and assignments very soon, or you're stuck with the dregs. It almost seems better to hire one person you can really trust privately to do the job, rather than deal with some of the useless rabble that can make up the guard service night roster.

One of the guards was named TJ, and he quickly became known as the 'nice' guard. It started with him just letting the guys out to get ice cream late at night, or looking the other way during board game nights. Occasionally he would let people stay up and watch a movie. Then he started dealing pot to some of the kids.

But it all really came to a head the night his 17 year old coked up wife showed up at about 2am with their baby.

She came to get in a fight. I'm not sure about what, but if you're 17, on smack, already a mother, and married to the dead end security guard selling pot to kids in rehab you probably don't need any extra reasons to fly off the handle. Holding the baby, lips white, she starts screaming at this guy about what a shitty husband he is, shitty father. She probably wasn't wrong. But all the commotion brings out the Phase 1 kids to see what the hell is going on, and my guess is they start to rag on her.

So she turns her attention to them. She starts screaming that they're all fuck ups with no future (pot? kettle - line one. turns out you may be black) and that their parents don't love them or they never would have sent them here. All the while the guys are cracking up and TJ is trying to calm her down. She starts throwing pool balls at them as hard as she can (and they hurt).

Then she starts to hit them with her baby.

No, seriously, I swear to god I wish I was kidding - she tried to hit them with her baby.

So Ranch Kids have seen a lot of screwed up shit but this is too much for them and they grab the baby to try and get it out of harm's way. It's bad when the drug addicts are saying, 'no this has gone too far.'
TJ says "stop, stop, you're going to hurt the baby."
And she turns to him and says "What do you care, it's not even yours."

That's when he either decked her, or pushed her off the hood of a car, I can never remember.

Obviously TJ was fired, and soon they'd get rid of the whole security team in favor of one private employee. I seriously hope that child was taken out of that situation and given some kind of chance at a healthy normal life, but I'll never know for sure. As for the Ranch - if anyone else but me was really phased by this, it didn't show, because the longest lasting effect of the night was that for a few weeks the guys would use her as an excuse for any beer bottles the staff found near Phase 1. It was open season for a little while.

Because the most fucked up part of it was that this was just another Tuesday night at San Cristobal.

7 comments:

Scotty said...

I'm serious. Someday, I'm going to find this ranch, and send you a picture of me pooping there.

Ozkirbas said...

I wouldn't do that, Scotty. Jason doesn't like poop.

AZWiner said...

EXACTLY!

Scotty is compiling a list of all the things Jason hates and plans on taking a photo that incorporates all of them at the same time.

effing ingenious.

David Pratt said...

He'll need a picture of Brett Ratner pooping on a midget while slapping a woman.

AZWiner said...

I was thinking it needs to be on a runway as well.. so the threat of a plane hitting him was enhanced...

Scotty said...

I'm going to email Uncle Kracker and ask him to put this all in his next video.

Daniel said...

man, i fucking hate brett ratner.