Why this in morbid fascination? Well, the following question was posed to me less than an hour ago.
"Where do I report a dead body?"
I tentatively suggested the police, but in the least, the park employee would suffice. Any figure with authority, really. But the homeless people aren't big on authority figures. So I felt it best that I take care of matters on my own.
The initial tip off that something was amiss? Several members from the encampment were parading away from their makeshift homes, straight towards me. They usually don't cluster like that, and especially not all at once. Most typically, a mass exodus only occurs when there's police involvement, or if the city is trying to kick them down the line somewhere.
Of course, I cannot be ceaselessly roaming up and down the paved expanse, not with my restrictions currently set in place by the nursing home administration. I'm not even supposed to be where I am right now, much less being on a scavenger hunt along the breadth of the bike trail.
Hmmm.. there's an occupied tent beneath behind me… someone curled up in a ball. It might be Beeswax. Perhaps he's the unfortunate one. But I do not have direct access down and underneath the pedestrian crosswalk. Too many obtuse angles. Too many places to get stuck in debris and dusty muck.
If I were to guess, I would say the deceased person is likely one of the heroin addicts. There's a couple of smacked-up regulars biding their time halfway up the trail. Then again, the female has already been accounted for, as a result of my earlier eyewitnessing. Yep, her head wobbling to and fro, while also bodily swaying from a seated Indian style position.
It's not unusual that the male version wanders off, fixing on his fix, seeking out his (and her) sustenance. So neither one of them seems to be the currently expired victim.
There was that random guy last night, a one-timer, someone in rough shape sprawled out (himself and his possessions) atop my favored pedestrian perch. But he's left no trace behind.
Then there's Kelly, who I haven't seen in several days. He's the 65-year-old fellow nearing retirement benefits. He doesn't appear to be in great health, but he's got something the others do not - helpers and contributors in the vicinity, the kind that offer up food and water - maybe a gently used backpack. Of course, water is always the most important thing.
Two Dozen Minutes Later
Yeah, nothing along the midsection run (immediately adjacent to the freeway). Nothing and nobody. The junkie girl is gone though (now). As recently as twenty minutes ago she was sleeping face down in the gravel, left foot up in the air, five toes to the sky.
And there's nobody on the Route 51 crossover either. The City of Phoenix kicked everybody off the overpass just yesterday, or perhaps the day before. Way too conspicuous, I was told.
Heck, I was just going back and forth with a dedicated maintenance worker no more than ninety minutes ago. He shared quite a lot, including details regarding general operations and procedures. I may choose to share this information (if I feel it would interest anybody). It's interesting to me of course. Then again I'm easily interested. So why not? Just skip ahead if you prefer.
My A #1 Park
Changes are afoot. Yes, there are a few on the way - some imminent, some not (insider information procured from the City of Phoenix staff… off the record).
Dredging the Fake Lake at Roadrunner Park
There are now two very large areas of gravel and dirt (probably an acre's worth each, upwards of ten feet high), having been dumped on these grounds over the course of a month's time. Where did this dirt and debris come from? Well, I plan on answering that question.
Roadrunner Park. That's where. That's the origination site. Apparently, they are dredging up the bottom of the lake (which has filled in considerably over time), and they needed to dump the excess somewhere. And that's somewhere is here! So now there are these unnavigable mounds covering the northeast portion of the park (and for that matter, if you choose to imagine, they appear similarly shaped to burial mounds - the beginning stages).
But have no fear, the excess will be repurposed. The city is going to build a BMX dirt bike course somewhere along the freeway towards the back of the park. And I suppose I'm okay with that. Kids need things to do. Outdoors. Away from computer screens. iPhones. Tablets. You know what I mean.
But that means the Dog Park People will be displaced. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Multiple city sources (and the like) have confirmed what I've always known) that these canine crusaders aren't all that friendly, overall. Nope. And that perception matches up with the dictates of my cumulative experience.
It seems they are unhappy, constantly complaining, cigarette smoking, non-rule following folks who make everything difficult. Now again, these are the people who actually spend their canine time inside the designated fenced in area.
The dog people who roam the park proper (free and clear, with dogs leashed) are generally agreeable, friendly, and sometimes impressively conversational.
Anyways, they're going to move the fenced in dog park section to the Northeast quadrant, where the current piles of dirt and debris are located.
And then we discussed the girl. You know the one I'm talking about, right? The one that I thought was pregnant (whom I was told is not pregnant). Now, a host of random others are approaching me if she is pregnant. And now I'm not quite sure.
Things went horribly sideways last evening (for Vivian). From our of the shadows she comes up to me bleeding…
Ummm… I won't depict the graphic details. But due to the urgency of the situation, I sent her off to the hospital. Yes, something was very wrong with her. Fortunately, her boyfriend agreed. And it's a short walk. Ten minutes.
No news yet.
But I was disturbed as a result of our interaction (mainly, what I saw). So I called up the ex-wife and disturbed her, too… needing support and reassurance. Ugh. Poor girl.
After being hospitalized for six days, Vivian's been on a high dose of antibiotics for the past ten. Somehow (perhaps related), she mentally functioning and communicating like a normal person (versus someone with schizophrenia). So finally, after all of this time, I've had my first extensive conversations with her.
On a more lighthearted note, the maintenance staffer and I both made fun of the cyclists. The manliest men dressed up to the hilt, modeling the newest and most fashionable cyclist attire - you know, the skin tight nipple revealing butt crack enhancing clothing ensemble - the assorted primary color shapes situated in the ugliest incongruent way possible.
Mostly, these bicycle types are the most unfriendly of the unfriendly. There are exceptions - when there's a whole gaggle of them. A group. A team of them single-filing down the bike trail at dangerous speeds. They've got some sort of joyous camaraderie going, and thus, are more open to greetings, nods, and acknowledgments.
There's also this couple I see pretty much every morning. The female woman person smiles, nods, and waves as she passes me, while her husband / boyfriend fellow literally snarls at me. A snarling twisted facial expression with an audible gasp. It must kill him that his girlfriend / wife acknowledges me every morning in such a way. I mean, what's he got against wheelchair people? I suppose he could be jealous.
Now that I think about it, the love couple always models matching bicycle cycling outfits. That way, they are aerodynamic together. At the same time. Simultaneously. They are sleek and silky.
Or perhaps he's grumpy because he's older than her by twenty years.
Back to the Corpse
As of yet, no body has been found (by me, or anybody else). And neither have the rumors spread. I've been able to account for several from (and within) the encampment. Beeswax, Todd, Vivian, Fro Spaz, the Silver Car Twins, both junkie couples…
Kelly is missing. Then again, I was told there was a falling out. Some kind of marijuana conspiracy. But he's an older dude, so I hope it's not him. And then Jesse's been gone for a couple of weeks (drummer/musician guy). Apparently there was an angry lighter thrown, clipping Vivian in the forehead. Hence, he was excommunicated. And then apparently, he was apprehended for something else, then brought back to New Mexico on warrants. Extradited.
And I'm still waiting to find out what happened to Vivian. I'm assuming she's still at the hospital.
Our temperatures are bubbling back up to 117° today. I am absolutely done with this brutal heat (as are the unsheltered others). Although, we did have several days leading up to this heat event where it was under 110°, including two days where it was only in the 90s!
Oh, and the air conditioning went out overnight. Or else somebody turned it off in our section. So right now I am naked and afraid that this'll escalate. Nobody is claiming responsibility. Nothing is being said, nor done.
UPDATE: Nevermind. Fixed! Someone turned up the thermostat beyond the threshold.
Take care - and I'll let you know if anything happens with anything,