Flight of the Dodo - 15. Chapter 15
Poor Eddie, just when he thinks Life is on his side . . .
I pulled the bell cord as the bus went through the intersection of North One Hundred Tenth Street and Meridian Avenue North. I was still thinking about what happened at the Seventh Heaven Hotel and my proposed position as office helper in the personnel office and gofer for Mr. Ibrahim. I sort of felt like they were just giving me a job to satisfy E3’s desire for me to be employed. The bus stopped and I went to the front to pay my fare.
“Have a good day,” the driver said.
“Yes, thank you,” I said.
As I was walking down North One Hundred Twelfth Street to the North Park Tower apartment building, I saw an older woman, maybe a little older than Syl, in a window on the twelfth floor. She waved at me and I waved back. She was wearing a pink housecoat and had her hair in curlers. She waved once more and walked away from the window. I wondered who she was and why she waved at me. Then I thought that maybe we could become friends like Frank wanted to be my friend.
I went into the building and the man at the desk said, “Welcome North Park Towers, may I advise your party you are in the building?”
“What party?” I asked.
“Who are you here to see?”
“No one, I live here.”
“You do? What apartment?”
“Do you have any ID on you?”
“I have my employee ID card.”
“Let me see it.”
I took it out of my wallet and showed it to the man.”
“This doesn’t have your picture on it, nor does it have your address. I’m going to have to ask you to leave the premises or I shall notify the police that you are trespassing.”
I stood where I was, totally confused as to what to do. I lived in this building, but this man said I did not.
“Fine, have it your way,” the man said. He picked up the telephone handset, dialed zero, and said, “Police please … Yes this is Silas Goodman, guard at the North Park Tower apartments at North One Hundred Twelfth and Meridian Avenue North. I have a trespasser here and I want him arrested. Thank you, I’ll be on the lookout for the car. There, now, you’ll see what happens if you trespass at the North Park Tower apartments.”
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t figure out why E3 hadn’t called me in the morning to tell me I no longer lived at the North Park Tower apartments. Maybe something had changed today while I was at work. I didn’t know what to do and then I heard the siren. I suppose there was only one thing to do and that was to go with the police. Once downtown, I know I’d be asked if I wanted an attorney and I’d say yes. Then I’d give the officer E3’s business card and E3 would come to the police station. Hopefully, he would be able to figure out where I lived.
I heard the siren sound getting louder. Then it stopped and I looked out in the parking lot where a police car was parking. Two policemen got out of the car and walked toward the building. Hopefully, I wouldn’t get a panic attack, but, of course, that was a very real possibility.
“Okay, is this the perp?” a police officer asked.
“Yes, that’s him,” the guard said.
“Okay, you, turn around and don’t try any funny stuff,” the other police officer said. He came over to me and I felt him put handcuffs on me. “Is this your umbrella?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, you won’t be needing it where you’re going,” the first police officer said. “Hey, can you put this in the trash?”
“Well, if I have to,” the guard said as he took the umbrella.
“Come on, you, you’re going downtown,” the second police office said as he pulled me toward the door.
The other policeman held the door and I was dragged out of the building, down the front steps, and out to the patrol car. I thought about asking if they were going to read me my Miranda Rights, but then I thought they might hit me for talking out of turn. They practically manhandled me into the backseat of the patrol car because I was so tall and didn’t bend well because of my bad knees. The first police officer got in on the driver’s side of the patrol car and the second police officer got in on the passenger side and picked up the radio mic, while the first police officer started the patrol car and drove out of the parking lot in front of the North Park Tower apartment building.
“Central, this is Baker 23, we’ve picked up the trespasser at the North Park Tower apartments. We’re transporting him downtown,” the second police officer said into the mic.
“Did you remember to ID the trespasser?”
“Oh, crap, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Okay, you, what’s your name, home address, and phone number?” the second police officer asked.
“My name is Edvard, that is e-d-v-a-r-d, Oscar, that is o-s-c-a-r, Pedersen, that is p-e-d-e-r-s-e-n, my home address is 2168 North One Hundred Twelfth Street, Apartment 1105, North Park, Washington, 98133, and I haven’t memorized my telephone number yet because I just moved in last Friday.”
“Are you saying you live in the North Park Tower apartments?” the second police officer asked.
“I did this morning after I woke up and went to work, but maybe something has changed and I no longer live there,” I said. “The guard was quite insistent that I didn’t live there, so I have to assume I have been moved to an another address and E3 forgot to inform me.”
“Who is this E3?” the second police officer asked.
“He is my father, Eric Orton Pedersen III. He is a partner at Pell Langley McCormick Grant Attorneys-at-Law at 807 Second Avenue, Seattle, I don’t have his direct line memorized, but it is written on his business card, which I have in my wallet.”
“Jerry, do you remember the last time Captain Elliot yelled at you?” the first police officer asked.
“I think it’s been at least a couple months, but damn is he going to be royally pissed this time,” the police officer named Jerry said. “Oh, well, as long as we’re on the freeway, we might as well take him downtown and fill out the paperwork. God, this is going to go over like a lead balloon.”
I knew they were swearing, but I didn’t complain because they were police officers. From what the police officer named Jerry was saying they thought they were in some kind of trouble, but I couldn’t understand why. If I no longer lived in that apartment building, E3 should know why.
“Baker 23, do you have that ID?”
“Uh, yeah, but you’re not going to like it,” the police officer named Jerry said.
“Baker 23, this is Sergeant Willis, what’s your situation?”
“Oh, shit, we just arrested Eric Pedersen’s son for trespassing at his apartment building,” the police officer named Jerry said.
“Is this the same son who was inadvertently almost arrested for prostitution a while ago?”
“Edvard, were you almost arrested for prostitution?” the police officer named Jerry asked.
“Yes, but I had a meltdown and ended up in County General,” I said.
“Central, Baker 23, he’s one and the same,” the police officer named Jerry said.
“Baker 23, this is what you are going to do. You are going to personally deliver the young man to his father, apologize for your error, and hope to God the man will see the humor in your actions. Got it?”
“Yes, sir, we got,” the police officer named Jerry said.
“How many days do you think we’ll get this time?” the first police officer asked.
“God only knows,” the police officer named Jerry said. “On the other hand, Madge has been getting on me to repaint the bathroom. I should have enough time for that.”
“You know, we didn’t follow procedure,” the first police officer said. “We didn’t fill out any paperwork.”
“It looked so easy, but God the Captain is going to scream,” the police officer named Jerry said.
They stopped talking and I just looked out the window at the traffic around us and the sights as we drove south on the freeway. It wasn’t too long before the police officer who was driving took the Union Street exit from the freeway and headed down toward Second Avenue where he turned left.
“Oh, there’s a parking spot. Hit the lights. We don’t want to get a ticket for illegal parking.”
The police officer named Jerry got out of the patrol car and came back to my door and opened it.
“Okay, come over here and let me help you out,” the police officer named Jerry said.
Considering what I had gone through being put into the car this went quite smoothly. Once I was out, the police officer named Jerry took off the handcuffs. I looked around and saw we were in front of the building where E3 had his office. I began to wonder if they were going to arrest E3, too, but why had they taken the handcuffs off me. Unexpectedly, this wasn’t making a bit of sense.
“Come along, Ed, let’s get this over,” the police officer named Jerry said.
“I don’t understand what is happening,” I said. “I thought you were taking me to the police headquarters.”
‘Come on, kid, let’s just get this over, okay?” the first police officer said.
I still didn’t know his name, but maybe that didn’t matter at the moment. They didn’t grab my arm or anything like that, so I walked along with them into the building. We went to the elevator bay and the police officer named Jerry pushed the up button. An elevator car came and they let me go inside first. I pushed the button for E3’s floor. The elevator went up, stopped, the doors opened, and we walked out. I went to the door to the office and opened it. I tried to hold it for the police officers, but they made me go in first.
“May I help you?” the receptionist asked. I didn’t know her. She was probably new.
“Yes, is Eric Pedersen in?” the police officer named Jerry asked. “We have his son.”
“Oh, yes, one moment,” the receptionist said. “Mr. Pedersen, there are some police officers out here with your son. No, sir, I don’t know what is about. He said he’ll be right out.”
I saw E3 come out of his door and he didn’t look very happy. He was probably going to be very mad at me for being arrested at my former apartment building. I tried to calm myself, but I knew I needed an anti-panic pill or I was going to have a meltdown.
“Ma’am, can I have a glass of water, please?” I asked, but E3 was right there and must have heard me.
“Miss Chambers, please get Eddie a glass of water right now,” E3 said. “Eddie, come on over here and sit down. No, don’t try to say anything, Where is that water? Oh, thank you. Here Eddie, do you have your pill. Good.”
I put the pill in my mouth and swallowed it with the water. I handed the glass back to the woman named Janice and then shut my eyes. I tried to empty my mind, but I was still upset that E3 was going to be mad at me for going to the apartment building where I no longer lived.
“Okay, gentlemen, you’re on,” E3 said.
“Well, sir, a call was received that your son was trespassing at his apartment building,” the police officer named Jerry said. “The guard seemed quite insistent we remove your son from the premises. Unfortunately, we didn’t ID your son until we were asked by dispatch on the way downtown.”
“Going quite far against procedures?” E3 said.
“Yes, sir, we didn’t follow procedures at all, but the guard was quite insistent about your son trespassing and we took it upon ourselves to deviate from correct procedures. Is your son okay?”
“He’s close to having a panic attack,” E3 said. “Miss Chambers, will you please call for an aid car?”
“Yes, sir,” the receptionist said.
“Well, gentlemen, I’m sure your supervisors will have words with you about this unfortunate incident. Knowing how difficult it can be dealing with my son, I’m willing to let this go. Just remember if you’re called to that apartment building due to anything concerning my son, please tread carefully.”
I didn’t open my eyes, so I didn’t know if the police officers left. I felt something or maybe someone sat beside me, but I didn’t want to open my eyes. I knew I hadn’t taken the pill in time and I was having a meltdown. My body was shaking so much I was afraid I might do something inappropriate, such as wetting myself. I had done that before while having a meltdown, but I didn’t want that to happen today. I felt something heavy across my back from one shoulder to the other, but I didn’t want to open my eyes to see what was touching me. Then I realized I was losing consciousness. It’s like going to sleep while you are still fully awake. You can actually feel your brain undoing itself. It is something I wouldn’t wish on any normal person. I don’t know how much time was passing and then I felt someone touch me, but I didn’t want to open my eyes. I shut my mind against whatever was occurring to me.
I became aware that I was no longer on the sofa in the lobby of E3’s office. I opened my eyes and saw I was in a hospital bed in a ward of four beds. I was in a bed next to a window. It was still daylight and I could see a bulk carrier anchored out in Elliot Bay waiting for its turn at the grain elevator on Elliot Avenue. I wondered what day it was. I hoped it wasn’t yet Tuesday.
“Hey, Eddie, how’re you doing?” Erika asked as she walked past the drapery between me and the bed by the door.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
I watched her come over and move the chair so she could face me from the foot of the bed.
“Dad brought me down to visit you while he is over at the hotel where you work.”
“Oh, yeah, that.”
“Why so sad?”
“Well, I didn’t get the job I was supposed to because my IQ is too low. Also, I lost my apartment. I don’t know why I no longer live there or where I live now, but I was arrested by the police for being there because I don’t live there anymore.”
“What are you talking about? You still live at that apartment.”
“No, even though I told the guard I lived there, he said I didn’t and he called the police because I was trespassing on his property. But I don’t know why the police took me to E3’s office instead of to police headquarters. I know E3 is very angry with me because I was arrested for trespassing at the apartment building where I no longer live.”
“Jeez, Eddie, you’re so mixed up, it’s not funny anymore.”
“What do you mean by saying I’m funny?”
“Eddie, you aren’t funny and no one is laughing at you, but, you see, you get things all mixed up even though they’re not.”
I didn’t know what Erika was talking about, so I didn’t talk to her anymore. Also, not to encourage her to talk to me, I didn’t look at her. I shut my eyes and tried to empty my mind so I wouldn’t have to think about how everything had turned out all wrong for me in just one day. Then I remembered Frank was supposed to come down to my apartment later. I felt sad for a moment that since I no longer lived in my apartment, we would never be friends.
I don’t know how longer I lay in the hospital bed ignoring Erika, but eventually I heard E3’s voice, “Hey, Erika, how’s Eddie?”
“He stopped talking to me,” Erika said. “I don’t think he knows he still lives in his apartment. I think he’s confused because he was almost arrested for trespassing. How’d it go down at the hotel?”
“Not so good, it seems they came up with the idea Eddie could be their gofer. I told them that wasn’t going to happen. I really don’t know how Rabie got it in his head that Eddie is a simpleton.”
I opened my eyes and saw Erika looking out the window while E3 was standing at the foot of the bed looking at me. He smiled and said, “And how is Eddie now?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m confused.”
“Well, that’s understandable. You’ve had quite a traumatic day. First, having Rabie and that personnel manager decide you’d be more useful to them running errands around town than doing that banquet and conference job. And then getting fraudulently arrested at your apartment building by that substitute guard. Well, I got all of that cleared up.”
“The guard said I didn’t have proper ID. If I had an ID card with my picture and address on it, I might not have been arrested. Do you think I can get something like that?”
“You know, that’s a very good idea. I’ll look into that.”
“When do I get out of here?”
“That’s up to Dr. Kaiser. She said she’d be down to visit you in a few hours.”
“And then where will I go to live?”
“Your apartment, of course.”
“But the guard had me arrested for trespassing.”
“Ed, the man was a substitute because the regular guard who knows you was taking a sick day at home. That’s all been cleared up. You still live there.”
“Good, because I met a young man who wants to be my friend. That is good, yes?”
“Yes, Eddie, that is a good thing. Is he nice?”
“I don’t actually know that. He gave me a ride down to the hotel because that is where he parks. He was coming to see me tonight, but, of course, that won’t happen because I’m here and not there.”
“Well, maybe you can get together after you go home.”
“Yes, and then he can drive me to work in the morning.”
“Uh, about that. I’m sorry to say, but you won’t be working at the hotel anymore.”
“Did I get fired?”
“Uh, no, not exactly. You see, Eddie, I think that job running errands is a little beneath you. You should be able to do more work than that.”
“But I’m stupid. My IQ is only 73.”
“Where’d you get that idea?”
“My IQ isn’t 73?”
“No, you probably don’t remember being tested at Meadow Point, but the school district psychologist said your IQ was 129. Or something around that. Honestly, I can’t remember it exactly, but your mother should remember where she put the paper they gave us.”
“Is 129 good?”
“It is very good. Of course, the only problem you have is your mental illness.”
“Yes, it always comes down to that. So I’m supposed to be smart, but my mental illness makes me dumb compared to normal people.”
“Yes, I guess you can say that. Oh, by the way, because Dr. Levinson didn’t get written consent for your ECT treatments, his insurance company agreed to pay three-quarters of a million dollars as a settlement. Do you think that is sufficient?”
“Yes, that should be okay. Will the money be added to my trust fund?”
“Yes, the insurance company will send the check to our brokerage and I have advised our broker of that fact. Anything else?”
“If I’m not going to work at the hotel, what am I to do?”
“For the present time, I suggest you start reading.”
“Reading what? I don’t go to school anymore, so what should I read?”
“I’ll get you some magazines and, of course, there are books at the library.”
“I don’t live close to the Foundry Ridge library . No, wait, there’s a library over by Fir Forest Park. Let’s see, I live on North One Hundred Twelfth Street and Meridian Avenue North and the Fir Forest Park library is at Northeast One Hundred Seventeenth Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast, so I have to walk one plus two plus four plus five plus seven blocks. Let me think about that. One plus two is three plus four is seven plus five is twelve plus seven is nineteen. Okay, twenty city blocks is approximately one mile. Oh, yes, that will be just short of a mile. I can walk that easily. You know what? I just did that arithmetic in my head and I’ve always thought I didn’t know how to do arithmetic with numbers over ten. Now that I’m smart, I guess I can do that, now. Oh, well, I can go to the library by myself.”
“I could get Gloria take you. She lives in Lake City, so she isn’t far from where you live.”
“That’s okay, I should be able to do it on my own.”
“Well, I’d better be going. I’ll call down here later this evening to find out about your discharge from the hospital, I’ll have Gloria take you home.”
“I’ll need new clothes because the people in the emergency room cut my clothes off me again. I don’t know why they keep doing that, but it must be a required procedure.”
“I’ll have her bring you some clothes.”
“Good, well I guess it is time for you to leave and get Erika home to do her homework.”
“Okay, Eddie, I’ll see at your apartment. Come on, Erika. How about dinner at The Dog House?”
“Daddy, that great!” Erika said. “Eddie, I’ll see you later.”
“See you, too,” I said.”
“Do you think I could come over to your apartment sometime?”
“Yes, it is okay with me, but you should get permission from Syl, first.”
“Yeah, like that’s going to happen.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll try to bring Erika and Em most of the times I come over,” E3 said.
Erika waved and I did, too. I felt a little sad they were leaving me, but they couldn’t stay forever. I decided to empty my mind and not think of anything, but my mind kept coming back to the fact that I was actually quite bright. Then I remembered that I had added up the distance from my apartment building to the Fir Forest Park library in my head. That proved I wasn’t as stupid as I kept telling myself. I decided I was going to do everything I could to act smart. I was going to read magazines and books. Then maybe sometime in the future I’d be able to get a real job.
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