10 February 2012

...this is not where this conversation needs to be going...

Rat in Mary Ellen Mark's Streetwise. Watch a clip.

I had a suspicion confirmed today that many survivors of childhood trauma possess magical powers.

Let’s just call him Rat in tribute to Streetwise. I had heard about Rat as he had spent the day prior to our meeting punching himself in the face. We’d spoke on the phone several times and tried to arrange a couple of meetings but Rat said, he can only find his way around cities with lots of alleyways and Portland doesn’t have enough alleyways for him to move around in. I asked Rat if he needed a safe place to sleep because if he did he’d have to find my office anyway. Rat said he did not. So I went to find him instead.

“Where do you sleep, Rat?” I asked.

“Doesn’t matter, where I sleep. You don’t need know.”

“Fair enough but let me ask, are you keeping safe?”

“I suppose so… doesn’t really matter though.”

“Ok. So Rat do you want to sit down to try to work out a plan?”


I was a little nervous to sit behind a closed door with Rat based on what he’d told me over the phone about “taking fuckers out who won’t let me deal with my shit the way I want to.” So I decided we’d take things easy and let him dictate the course of the conversation.

I let him go off on many a tangent, not wanting to force re-direction, but in my mind I was saying to myself ‘this is not where this conversation needs to be going.’

And then Rat stopped speaking and looked directly at me with eyes that shone out from amongst his dirt stained skin and facial tattoos and he said, “I know you’re thinking this is not where this conversation needs to be going.”

“No, no that’s fine, man…” I stammered trying to reason but he knew I was full of shit.

“See what I did? I can do that you know… pick up on brain waves and shit… I’m a genius. I can catch things like that… energies or whatever.”

From that moment on I sat very still, didn’t take my eyes from his and I let him show me the most wonderful magic.