N. calls me about once a day. He calls collect from Edmonton and I accept the charges. The number shows up as a local number. It might be a cell phone, but some long distance calls show up as local calls in call display. He called me on Friday morning at work. He knew the number.
He seems to have a good memory for some things. His mom always believed him when he used bad memory as an excuse for broken promises or unwillingness to accept directions and rules. I always thought he was pretty clever and that he had a problem of attitude, not a problem of ability.
He wanted money. At first it was just money for food but it became clear that he feels entitled to ask me for more. He said that that his plan is to get a job and the mall. He was suggesting that I should help him out by putting up a damage deposit on a room or apartment and sending him money for food and expenses. I said that my plan was that he stay with CFS and get a job and work for a few months and prove that he could live on his own before I would start investing in supporting that kind of plan. I reminded him that I had not agreed to pay for his trip to Edmonton or any part of it. I said I did not think he was really in trouble, and I pointed out that he has other resources.
He complains that his friends’ parents have been helping out and he says I am being a Jew. He has picked up some anti-Semitism as part of his vocabulary on the street. He also knows that slur gets under my skin and he uses it to distract me and to break up the communication. It appeared to me that he had an audience when he was making the call. I realized that he was starting to contradict the stories he had been telling Jan. He had told her he was alone, and that the friends who go had taken him to Edmonton had ditched him. As he got more angry with me he began to brag about how he had nearly succeeded in taking the car again. I had thought it had been him. He told me that he was with Cody again. He said that Cody’s girlfriend was pregnant. He said her name was Kristin. I said that didn’t change my thinking. If they wanted to get out of this spot, they would have to find their own way. When he realized that I wasn’t responding, he threatened me. I hung up.
Cody is a kid that n. started to hang around with last summer. Cody has addiction issues and a major resentment of his step-dad. N. and Cody reinforce each other’s sense of entitlement and focus one another’s anger on their dads. I checked in with Cody’s step-dad Mark who said Cody had mentioned a girl named Amber who had come up with some money for this adventure. Cody has run away to Vancouver and Edmonton a few times. The first time, he stole Mark’s Interac card. He has learned not to trust Cody too far but he keeps taking him in and trying to help him and Cody keeps burning him.
Cody and n. have worked out a little gigolo act. They hang around malls and meet girls who find them attractive. They are both reasonably good looking kids, and the girls find bad boys attractive. They throw themselves into a short relationship, and encourage the girl to run away with them. Sometimes it means the girl will cut school and sneak them into her house. Other times she will leave home with her own bank card, or her parents’ bank card, and finance an adventure.
I got another call from n. on Saturday, with a few variations. He didn’t seem to be playing to an audience and he sounded tired. But he still wanted the same thing. Money for today, to help him out. I asked him how Cody got home from his trips to Edmonton. He said he thought Cody had hitch hiked. He said he would still need money for food if he did that. I said I wasn’t suggesting that he should hitch hike or promising him to send money if he promised to come back to Winnipeg. I said if he needed help he would find it. He will have to work for the life he wants.
I don’t think he’s surprised that I don’t trust him. He gets angry and he identifies his anger as a response to my distrust, rather than a response to the frustration of his plans.