(September 11, 2023) by Howard Diamond

This is the latest installment of a multipart story by Howard Diamond.
To view the whole story so far, click here.

Two Years Later on February 9

A few nights went by and again, Ruth had an extremely restless sleep, but at 4 am on February 9, it was different. All evening, she was receiving multiple phone calls telling her to,  “BEWARE THE STREETS. Tonight, the prank caller added, “REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU ALL THOSE MONTHS AGO. IT WAS VERY BAD THAT NIGHT AND IT WILL BE WORSE FOR YOU TONIGHT! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! BEWARE THE STREETS!” Every time, the call lasted only forty seconds or less so they could not be traced. After about a dozen calls, Ruth took the receiver off the hook and put it on her night table till later.

Twenty four months or two years ago on this date, Ruth was suspiciously attacked by the mystery man. Also, her young son, Gabriel was beaten up and died supposedly from the same man. Although she still has no recall of the incidents surrounding this, Ruth has been working diligently trying to remember with the help of Jane, her therapist. 

This particular morning at Hunter Mental Health and Case Management Center Office an odd package arrived with no return address, but draped along the entire outside was a computer written note. On the reverse side, it stated that this was an anniversary gift for Ruth Haines and she needs to know what is inside. All the collective members of professionals, Karen, Taylor, Holly, Frank and Steve were curious, but followed office procedures and did not open the small container. Of course, Frank did not agree and wanted to open it immediately because it might be a bomb. In a huff, Frank left to see some of his own clients.

Bigger questions arose. Who is it from? What are the contents? Where did it actually come from? No one saw it arrive, so how did it get to the office? Why was it labeled for Ruth? Since Holly was supposed to connect with her and Jane later, she took control of the situation. In the meantime, she had Steve speak with Jane regarding the strange, interesting gift. For the session later, Jane requested that Holly bring it when they convened. During the early part of the afternoon Holly met Frank at Forest View, the new clinic and started planning to do some training on how the two agencies can assist each other.

Ruth’s scary afternoon.

All morning Ruth tried to diffuse what transpired overnight. It was difficult,  but with her coping skills, she got through the morning. While eating breakfast, Ruth heard from staff that after prolonged leave of absence, Marty Sinclair is returning to Generations as Assistant Director of Housing, starting March 21. A delighted Ruth said for a change she received good news. Post breakfast, Ruth proceeded to take the necessary steps to get ready for work at 11:00 am for her five hour shift at the diner. 

As she was leaving her place, another message was heard from her answering machine mentioning, “BEWARE THE STREETS! I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. I KNOW WHERE YOU WORK. WATCH YOUR BACK. BEWARE THE STREETS!” She did not respond to the call and walked outside. Good thing, Ruth was getting driven to her job at the diner by a colleague. On route, she had separate conversations with Taylor and Steve where she informed each party what had happened. Taylor relayed the information to Officer Grey who assigned a couple of unmarked police cars and added additional police presence.

Holly and Frank continue to disagree 

From the time Holly and Frank encountered each other, they seem to argue about almost everything. One would say white, the other black, plus they had alternate ways of handling similar issues. At Forest View their continual bickering caused unnecessary stress for the new staff. Today was no exception. 

To begin with, Frank wanted to start the proceedings having a short video on Ethics; however, Holly thought a relaxation exercise was a better opener. Timing is everything. Already, Karen phoned Forest View and informed Co Directors, George Nelson and Maria Cortes to show an informational video about the policies of the budding clinic. Upon conclusion, about fifty employees had the opportunity to ask questions of George and Maria.

Much to Frank’s amazement, the orientation on policies was shown. While Frank was repeatedly murmuring under his breath about the choice, he reluctantly stayed in the room, grinned and sucked up to George and Maria. For the next conference, Frank again proposed a meeting on Ethics, but George only stated he would consider it. On the other hand, Holly spoke with Maria and requested a video or speaker explaining different work related relaxation techniques.

George, 58, stood six foot four and 220 lbs. with balding gray hair plus tortoise shell glasses covering his medium brown eyes. Maria, almost fifty three, a petite, thin, five foot two inch, Hispanic lady, who most days wore six inch heels, a long floral dress and a wide infectious smile. After the policy training, Holly and Frank divided the group into two and explained the duties of Peer Specialists. Most employees had never heard of Peer Specialists, but were willing to learn and ask questions. According to Holly the first afternoon at Forest View was eventful, but a lot of work remains. On the other hand, Frank was disappointed and decided to change the focus of the next training. He called to speak with Karen, but Steve said he will leave her a message. 

Holly, Jane, Ruth and the Box

Frantic Holly unnecessarily rushed back to her office. Steve had already sent the suspicious box to Pollock Officer Manager, Claire Jenkins, to hide until Jane asked for it. Also, Steve gave her a message from Karen to schedule a five way conference with Karen, Taylor, Holly, Frank and Steve. By the end of the week, day and time for the five to conference together will be determined. A list of Holly’s possibilities were given to Steve before Holly proceeded to Pollock Center. 

At Claire’s desk was Jane’s supervisor,  Lyle Sargeant, who had a short conversation about Jane’s next client, Ruth and the suspicious box. Not much was said because from the corner of her eye, Claire spotted Ruth coming from the elevator. So, Lyle mentioned that we will resume at another day and time. Also, he said he would be available until sixish in his office down the hall.

Without warning Ruth leaped to her feet. Beginning to pace back and forth plus naturally forth and back, too. Two times, three times, … her stride was getting quicker and quicker. Also, she began getting clammy palms plus sweat appeared on her face. After a few minutes, she raced to the bathroom, but found herself unable to go. What Ruth did was wash her face and hands with cold water to alleviate some of her perspiration. It really did not help with the present situation. 

When she exited the bathroom, Holly, trying to be compassionate, asked if Ruth was okay. She shook her head no, but she was shaking and was on the verge of fainting or collapsing. Claire noticed what was happening and brought Ruth a cup of water and knocked on Lyle’s door for assistance. While this was transpiring, Jane came to them and attempted to relax Ruth. Everyone did calm her some, so Jane was able to bring Ruth to room 310. In addition, she told Claire to have her Lyle and her doctor on stand-by. Holly remained outside the room to give Ruth and Jane some time to talk without her or the secret box.

In detail, Ruth explained the events of the past twenty-four hours. Most of these activities seem to be the markings of the mystery man. Also, Jane informed Ruth that Holly sent to the office a secret package with a computer written note. Jane buzzed on the intercom to Claire to give me the package, get a cup of tea plus please escort Holly to my office. 

A few minutes after all settling in, things changed. Like a flash, Ruth began to sweat profusely again. Without further prompting, she bolted out of her seat and said some things quite unusual. “Gabriel”, Ruth yelled!  “Where are you, Gabriel? Stop hiding from mommy, Gabe and please come here”. At this point, Ruth was confused, because she did not understand what she was asking. Furthermore, Ruth said she did not know any person named Gabriel. Several minutes later, she asked for Gabriel, again. Three more times in this session, Ruth wanted Gabriel to come to her. It was clear to Jane that Ruth was getting severely anxious which led to a series of panic attacks from the events of the past day.

Due to this being Jane’s last appointment, Jane gave Ruth an extra session to regroup and process. At this time, Ruth was relaxed enough and wanted to know about the package. So Holly explained that this morning it was received by Steve with an attached note.  No return name was on either the envelope or in the note, but it assuredly based on the envelope belonged to Ruth. Getting restless, Ruth wanted to read the note on the package. No one recognized the font used by the writer, but apparently was sent by the mystery man or his goons. It included his popular phrase directed to Ruth , “BEWARE THE STREETS“, that was used eight times within the note.

Against Jane’s advice, Ruth tore through the package. Black colored triple plied wrapping paper was covering a boy toddler’s outfit. Dried blood adorned the clothes along with a ripped name tag beginning with an O or a G. Then, Ruth began to cry and shouted the name, Gabriel. She did this a few more times, but until the last time, the name meant little or nothing to her.

Several more attempts were made by Jane to get information about Gabe, but no reaction was forthcoming as she had a blank expression.  Continuing, Ruth stated she was never married and had no children. Of course, that means nothing, but she kept insisting she had ZERO children. Seven years ago, Ruth mentioned she had relations with a drug dealer. She did not know or remember anything from the following. Casually and quietly a name came out. His name is Oscar. Asked to repeat, Ruth said, Oscar. 

(His name is Oscar “Scar” Young, five foot seven and almost 200 lbs. Around five years ago, Scar was sent to prison for a drug deal gone bad. Many individuals were found dead in the vicinity of Lake Town plus he shot and killed two cops. Through his so-called friends, the Police found that Scar was stabbed and died in jail). 

Again, getting agitated, Ruth was again yelling Gabe’s name. Relaxation techniques were used by Jane and became very successful for Ruth. Good enough that Ruth calmed down sufficiently so Holly could drive her home. Before leaving, Claire put the outfit in the box and put it in Holly’s trunk. 

When the session was over, Holly put the half asleep Ruth in her vehicle and dropped her off at Generations and made sure that she was in bed, safely. Finally, Holly proceeded to the Police Station to an eagerly waiting, Mary. She stated Officer Grey and the crime lab will do an investigation starting tomorrow or Friday. “To investigate a problem is, indeed, to solve it.”

To download a PDF of just Part 12 click here.
To download a PDF of the full story to date, click here.

Random Act By a Peer Specialist: PART 13 will be arriving here soon.
Howard Diamond is a Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island,  New York

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