© 2017 by John Smith
Address comments to John Smith at lionelstclaire@gmail.com

X-MAN, chapter 9

George called Xavier and told him, "Come over Friday; I want to talk to you."

When they met, George basically 'gave him hell' for not following up on some of the suggestions that he had given him. Xavier pleaded poor health and depression, but George gave him an ultimatum.

"No more procrastination or I'm not going to help you anymore. If you don't take action, you'll never get out of this rut you're in.

"We're going to meet again next Friday, and you're going to give me a progress report. I'll want to know all the places you've called, and every personal contact you've made.

"And this 'social worker' who's supposed to be helping you needs a kick in the butt! You'll have to get after her and make her do her job! If she's getting 'food stamps' for you, then where are they? The same goes for your ID; where is it?"

And then George gave him a new bus pass, and reminded him about church on Sunday, with the promise of lunch to entice him to come.

Sunday afternoon George sent Xavier a text-message: "OK, Monday, make some phone calls, make some in-person visits. Checkout the food banks near you, maybe visit places where you've already applied for work & let them know you're still available. Get after that social worker who is supposed to be helping you. Make the effort. I know you can do this. Remember, I will expect a progress report Friday."

George is sending Xavier daily reminders to keep his nose to the grindstone; checking out all the leads he has given him.

So they met the following Friday, and George was pleased with the work that Xavier had done. He encouraged him to continue making job applications and following up on contacts that could be useful.

G also reminded him to contact the social worker who's supposed to be helping him get food stamps & ID card - they could be very useful and make a difference in his life. He said, "now that you have a phone that works, communication shouldn't be a problem."

George had agreed to meet with Xavier on the following Wednesday, but had to reschedule because he suddenly got a chance to see his Great Niece, who he loves like a daughter. She had been very busy over the summer and they hadn't seen each other for quite some time.

But Xavier sent a text message that he had finally gotten his 'food stamps' and ID card so George was really happy about that. They would meet the next day and go over what X-man had been doing to improve his situation.

Here we go again - they had planned to meet Thursday morning, but Xavier sent a text that he wasn't going to make it; no explanation. George was glad that he at least let him know, so he wouldn't be waiting around wondering what was wrong - good thing he's not a 'worrier' as he won't automatically assume the worst.

Later that day, X sent a text asking if G was busy Friday. George already has some tentative plans, and will have to see how they will play out before he can agree to meet with X-Man.

On Friday, George had lunch with his good friend, Ed as they had planned. They liked to get together for coffee once in a while and catch up on 'guy talk'.

So George and X-man met Saturday morning, and X said that he had gotten a part-time job, so he is not completely without income. That was the reason he couldn't come Thursday. George reminded him not to quit this job unless he had
a better one lined up. He had made that mistake before, and suffered for it.

But then X dropped another bomb-shell: it seems that when he was 17 or 18, he was out "working in the fields" but they refused to pay him because he had no ID.

Since that time, he has approached them with an ID and they said they couldn't give him his checks unless he could tell them who he had worked for on that particular day. If they really needed that info, all they had to do was check their files, but they wouldn't do that.

George thinks it sounds like a scam and wonders how many other people they have done this to, so he's going to consult with a paralegal friend and see if there is anything they can do about it. He also thinks that if this is a common practice, there might be grounds for a class-action law suit to put a stop to this kind of behavior. This action could be helping a lot of other people, too.

Sunday afternoon, George sent Xavier a text message saying, "Monday & Tuesday you might want to visit the food banks in your area. later in the week, it will be too hot to do much of anything."

Monday, George tried to call his paralegal friend, and found the the phone number he had was no good. Now he wonders if the guy got a different number (unlikely) or did he leave the area - G will have to go by his office and see what he can learn.

George joined some friends for breakfast, and asked if anyone knew a lawyer. When he explained the situation with Xavier's' back wages, one of them suggested the Labor Relations Board, and then it occurred to G that there is a Farm Bureau right in the town where he lives. Surely they've dealt with this kind of thing before.

He's going to meet with X-man the next day and talk about what they might do.

George and X-Man planned to meet Thursday morning, but X was two hours late. He explained that his dog had gotten out and that his phone wasn't working right.

They went over a list of questions George had, like 'have you seen a doctor recently' and 'are you still working' - X was happy to report that he had seen a doctor, and that he had a better job lined up. He also said that he might have a lead on housing.

G encouraged him to follow up on that, but he had some mixed news, too. His paralegal friend was no longer around, but he had an idea to help get Xavier's back wages. He asked X to write an 'incident report' with just as much information as he could recall, so they could approach this problem from a legal angle. He said, "You'll need some documentation."

Then they went to the phone store to try to get his phone fixed, but the girl kept suggesting an 'upgrade' - they really try to sell more product if they can. X said that he had an old phone at home that he might be able to get working, instead. So G told him to try that and then they would go from there. It would be about $100 cheaper in the long run.

George checked his appointment calendar and said that they could get together the following Monday and get his phone situation squared away.

With that, they parted company as G reminded him to think positive, because things were starting to improve for him.

George had planned to meet with Ed for coffee Friday, but that got cancelled at the last minute, so George was casting about for ideas on how to spend his day, and remembered that he needed to pick a prescription from the drug store. On the way there, he passed by the local immigration office, conveniently located right downtown on Main St.

"Why didn't I think of that before," thought George; "they might have some ideas about farm labor and withheld wages."

So he went inside, up two flights of stairs (his arthritis didn't like that at all) and asked the girl if there are any lawyers there. She said, "No, we deal with immigration."

G told her, "Yes, I know that. That's why I'm here." and proceeded to outline the problem with X-Man's wages. She suggested the Labor Relations Board, and gave him a pamphlet with various rights explained, and it had their phone number on it. That is more info than G had before, so he was glad to get it and thanking the girl for her help, found that going back down the stairs wasn't nearly as bad as going up them had been.

Xavier told George that he was getting a place to stay, but needed help with the rent. Wanting to help him improve his situation, G willingly gave him the needed funds, with the admonition that he wouldn't always be able to do that. Then they discussed his various job opportunities and G made some suggestions that he hoped would help. They planned to meet again in a couple of days to go over things when they both had more time.

Xavier called and said that he was able to get his old phone working, and even managed to keep the same phone number, but wanted to know if George could help him pay his little brother for the phone. George said, "The way you talked, I thought it was one of your own phones, and this is the first I've heard of you having a little brother."

(George is beginning to wonder if this guy is trying to 'con' or scam him; sometimes his stories just don't ring true. Like the time he needed money for medicine for the dog, but when G was going to buy the drug instead of giving him the money, well the dog had died. He claims that he was kicked out of the house, yet it seems like he's always there, interacting with them. Then there was the time he needed Oral Gel, but his Mother had given him some kind of pain killer - that's sure not the mother he has described. He even told G that he might have the option of going to work with his father, although in the past he said his father was mean to him and didn't want him to work with him...some things just don't add up)

George hadn't heard from X-Man for a few days, so he sent a text message; "haven't heard from you; I hope that means you're working"

Xavier sent a return text stating that yes, he has been working, and asked if he could 'borrow' some money. - G replied that things are really tight this month and he doesn't have any to spare.

So now X-Man is staying with one of his sisters, (his dog is welcome there, too) and he also has a job. BUT he just sent a message that he cut his thumb to the bone.

George wrote back, "Get it treated properly; there's always a chance of infection. And you don't want to miss any time from work if that can be avoided."

Then Xavier sent a text saying that he was going to look for a better job, that he's tired of being on the 'bottom rung' and feels like he's worth more than that.

George replied that he was glad X-Man was finally feeling some self-worth. And he suggested that X think of where he really would like to work, and go there.