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Joey and Pauline Maldonado had given the manager of a run down apartment building fifty dollars to hold a place for them for the beginning of March. On February 20th they showed up with a truck load of furniture. The rooms were filthy. The walls needed paint, two windows were busted, the refrigerator was broken and the lights were out. Rose, the manager, gave them a break, even though they were more than a week early. static electricity online games She was new. She let them unload their boxes and plastic bags in the empty rooms.

Rose later maintained they were only to store their things until the rooms were ready, but Joey and Pauline settled in without lights, windows, a refrigerator or paint. Joey and Pauline stalled Rose on the rent for a few days. Joey found a job as a dish washer at the White Spot on Colfax and he swore he would be paid in a week. He told Gary, the owner, that the check for the first month’s rent was in the mail and Gary, who should have known better, let him slide. Two weeks later Gary ordered Rose to evict the couple.

“See, me and Joey knowed they wasn’t going to do what they said about the windows, so we told them they wasn’t going to get the rent until we got them fixed. That really pissed off Rose, so she turned off the electricity, and ya know how cold it gets here at night. We even had some snow a few days ago and me and Joey almost froze our asses off, excuse me, but ya know what I mean, Mr. González?”

González how to reach the owner. González had been through this routine before and it tipped the scales in favor of Joey and Pauline. He cut and pasted together a pleading that raised issues of implied covenants, express promises, invasion of privacy, and constructive eviction. He demanded not only the return of the original fifty dollars but punitive damages as well. González could be creative when landlords tried to fool with him.

And Donley did. He told González about the all night fights between Pauline and Joey. He talked about screams from the apartment, blood on the door, and the cops who took Joey away for chasing people down the hallway with an axe. He told him about the lousy fifty bucks and that the two had knowingly moved in without any lights. He said they had heat and gas and cooked something that smelled up the building like burnt horse shit. He ended by telling González he would see him in court and they would learn then who was awarded punitive damages and “attorney fees, González. How would legal aid like to pay me a couple of thousand because one of their smart ass lawyers defended a frivolous case?” González knew legal aid would not like it, not one damn bit.

“Man, those p-people are crazy in that place. gas tax oregon They barge in whenever they w-want, they threaten me and Pauline, they cut our damn extension cord we had plugged in to the outlet in the hall so we could have some f-fuckin’ lights. They’re animals, man. I hope we can just let the judge know about all the shit that goes on in that p-place, because I know a lot, man. That bitch, Rose, ya know the manager, she’s a damn dealer. She’s always tryin’ to sell some shit to us, ya know, grass or some snort, even some m-m-meth. That’s half the reason why they’re f-fuckin’ with us, ya know, we wouldn’t b-buy any of her crap.”

“No way, man. Joey ain’t like that. Joey was arrested for domestic abuse. You know how it is in Colorado now. They take away the husband for domestic abuse, throw him in jail. I told them I was all right.” Something burned in González’s stomach. “But he don’t bother nobody, except me. Gary’s lying if he says Joey was arrested for hasslin’ other people. Joey’s only into domestic abuse, and that’s all.” Her words trailed off.

“Look around you, Donley. The courtroom is packed. Judge Kerso is still on the 8:30 returns and it’s already 9:45. He’s up there giving lawyers hell for not knowing their cases should have been assigned to Courtroom 9-H. electricity cost las vegas He’s only warming up. It will be 11:00 by the time he gets to us. And sure, he’s going to tell Pauline and Joey to move their junk, but I’m going to convince him that you rented a place that doesn’t meet the Housing Code. He’s likely to order the Health Department out to your place just so they can close you up for a while.”

“No, but he sure as hell would rather be there than in this courtroom listening to all this bullshit. electricity inside human body His old habits are going to take time to break, Donley. You know we’re going to be here until this afternoon, which means a simple eviction will throw off his whole docket today. He won’t like that, especially when I let him know we were willing to move out if you hadn’t been so stubborn about trying to get some money out of these people. You ever hear about blood out of a turnip?”

He loosened his tie, shut the door, and turned on his radio. Music from The Blasters asked him if he was going to have a time tonight. He nodded his head to the beat as he waited for calls from clients stuck in crap up to their elbows. They would continue almost nonstop until lunch when González escaped for some green chile and a beer at Joe’s Buffet on Santa Fe.

Charles Luévano was a big, muscular Chicano in his late forties who had spent more time in prison than his age would allow, or so he said. González had seen his record and he was amazed at the list of burglaries, hold-ups, assaults, drug busts and bad checks. How many crimes can one man commit in one life? González guessed that Chuck was free because he was stone crazy, loco, “a few problems with my head.” You had to be a little insane to survive on the streets.

“Mira, ese. I got to have something done, m-a-a-an. Those white devils in the housing are going to spray my place for cockroaches, and I ain’t got none, man. That spray only kills me. It don’t do nothin’ to those bugs. They been around for a million years. What do those honkies know about killin’ those bugs? My system won’t put up with that stuff, man. I’m allergic to that spray, it screws up my lungs, makes me cough. Shit, man, that shit will kill me before any of those goddamned roaches kick. They just sprayed last year and what happened? Not a god damned thing, except to me, man. I’m disabled, a ward of the government, they can’t do this to me. They know how bad I am. I got a bullet in my gut.” He lifted his shirt and showed González the scar. “And they want to spray with some poison that will just jack me up, m-a-a-an.”

“You know me, man, I’m an old tecato. I seen it all and the chotas know it. They’re out to get me for years. gas and supply locations They got snitches all over the projects, watching me, trying to get me to do some really funny shit. Out of nowhere, they come up to me and try to sell me shit man, shit like I ain’t seen for years, shit that even the goddamned mayor can’t get, and they want to sell it to me, man, me.” He thumped his chest with the palm of his hand and González jumped at the hollow sound. “Why, ese, why to me all of a sudden? Because they got me labeled a career criminal. Shit, I ain’t no career criminal, man. I ain’t got no money like a career criminal should have. If I did would I be talkin’ to legal aid? Hell no. I’d be talkin’ to some fancy defense lawyer, but my jacket says career criminal, m-a-a-an.”