The Ragin’ Canajun told me the other day that around the time he first came to the farm, Joe Dirtbag rented Captain Flimflam a plot of land that he was already leasing to a much more responsible tenant vegetable farmer: “He basically started a dogfight and then stood back and watched them duke it out.” As a result, he said, there was quite a bit of bad blood.
Once again, I couldn’t have imagined it. Every time I think I’ve maybe found the rock bottom of Joe Dirtbag’s lowness, I crash through a false floor into something even lower. I had assumed that the previous tenant farmer, whom I knew to be one of the few straight shooters hanging around the property, had given up because he was exhausted or couldn’t make the operation work financially. I had never imagined that he had been screwed over by Joe Dirtbag double-allocating a portion of his leased land to that endlessly story-talking scumbag. Everyone around there is lucky that the two of them didn’t come to blows, and Joe Dirtbag is lucky that the first claimant on this land didn’t sue the shit out of him for fraud and extreme negligence.
What it very much looks like to me is that Joe Dirtbag got hard up for cash and decided to double-book and double-bill the land. Remember, he’s the one who staged that bullshit tax revolt, which I’ve long had a gut feeling may have been the cover for the embezzlement of tax money owed to the city government. Collecting and remitting 5% of gross sales is too straightforward for a conscientious business owner or manager to botch, and they botched it, prompting Joe Dirtbag’s evolving assortment of cool stories for why the tax sucked/was illegitimate/was being poorly stewarded after its receipt/was unfair/the city council can suck my balls.
You just don’t put two tenants on the same plot of land and then run for cover while the flimflammer caterwauls at the decent tenant and gets him very reasonably upset. You just fucking don’t. There are only two ways something like that can happen: either the landlord is out to lunch or he’s running a fraud and then going full chickenshit when it blows up, because massa don’t like no blowback from the field honkies. The latter is without doubt a cause, if not the sole cause. Any minimally conscientious landlord would be taken aback to discover that he’d started a nasty land dispute by renting out the same plot to two tenants who were now on the verge of fisticuffs. That’s the kind of thing you try to resolve straight away, no excuses. Joe Dirtbag, of course, is all about excuses. #Boomers
The revealing backstory to this long-pole stirring of the hornet’s nest is that it happened a number of months before Joe Dirtbag’s May 2012 emotional meltdown, the one that has left me warm-homeless for most of the past nearly four years. He was pulling weird, senile-looking shit months before I sensed a real threat to my own welfare. Of course, I had no idea about that tax revolt bullshit until a couple of years ago, even though it was a matter of public record in the local papers and on the city government website all along. Sometimes I consider that the tax revolt may have been a one-off lapse of integrity provoked by severe financial hardship and business insolvency. Then I hear that Joe Dirtbag not only charged two tenant farmers for the same land at the same time but weaseled out of brokering peace between two men he had just gotten into a fight over his land. It all sounds less one-off.
A teaser on NPR the other day mentioned that Donald Trump always enjoyed luring his underlings on The Apprentice into fights. That’s exactly the same shit that Joe Dirtbag did with Captain Flimflam and Straight-Shot Luke, who never did a thing to deserve such a provocation. Except it wasn’t the fucking boob tube. It was real life. Is this Joe Dirtbag’s idea of keeping it real? What a fucking asshole. He pooled $15,000 of my investment money to finance that shit.
When I think about how Straight-Shot Luke ultimately caved over this mess, when he was 100% in the right, when Joe Dirtbag was 100% in the wrong, and when Captain Flimflam was also 100% in the wrong after being apprised of the existing tenancy claim on his plot, I feel earnest, heartfelt admiration for the likelihood that the wages of this same stunt in New Jersey would include Italianate orthopedic trauma to the legs. That is, screw over the wrong guido, get your kneecaps bashed in at nightfall. Vinny knows how to use a tire iron, you dumb kraut. And his cousin, also Vinny, knows how to bill your insurance carrier for the orthopedic surgery he’ll be performing on you tonight. That’s why he switched call with Dr. Ramachandran. Strong as an ox and twice as smart; Vinny ain’t dumb, and neither is Vinny. That kind of thing. This is a more delicious aspect of Mid-Atlantic Italian culture than the seven fishes, probably a lot more delicious, although I’ve never tried any of the seven. I’ve tried the heavy seven, of course, but I don’t mind it when the righteous kind of Italian deals with the wrong-us kind of Anglo-Saxon by simply getting heavy.
Why do I mention any of this unpleasantness? Because the back-to-the-land crowd in Oregon is teeming with the kind of people who won’t even call the cops or file suit when they’re victimized by obvious let’s-you-and-him-fight frauds. There are too many fucking pushovers around here. I honestly don’t care about the ethnic angle; I just wish someone would have the stones to stand up to scumbags who are fixing to start brawls among their tenants.
That’s one reason why I contacted the code enforcement office a few months ago. Somebody had to draw a line in the sand. It turns out that code enforcement officers actually took action on my complaint. The Ragin’ Canajun mentioned this to me in passing, by way of saying that he didn’t think any one would complain to the county again.
This means that Psychotarp’s story about the Housing Authority revoking Joe Dirtbag’s landlord authority was true, just jumbled. It infuriates me to think of Psychotarp’s credibility being impeached merely because he’s batshit fucking crazy, because he’s right about this and Joe Dirtbag has been lying to everyone within earshot. County officials with the authority to enforce a number of housing regulations showed up to remind those present (just the Ragin’ Canajun, if I understood him correctly) that Pot-o-Shit Friend’s old shack was legally uninhabitable. That was how RC ended up staying in a trailer that he said belongs to Joe Dirtbag (how the fuck JD paid for the trailer, or didn’t, is beyond me at the present time, pending whatever details float my way). His story is that he’s staying in the trailer for two weeks at a time. Whatever; it’s a huge improvement over the shack, and besides, that entire property won’t be properly inhabitable until a proper toilet is installed for the purpose of fully segregating humanity from the inevitable piles of its own filthy waste. This is a heavily populated part of semirural Oregon practically an entire human lifetime after rural electrification, and we still have tenants shitting into a communal hole in the ground.
And into trash cans, sometimes. What was it that the alte kacker told the young Dustin Hoffman? That the future is in plastics? Heh. The future, then, has come to pass, and to smell like ass.
Not talking about this filth doesn’t make it go away. Talking about it to code enforcement may make it go away, but maybe not. If this is the libertarianism of the American West, God. I don’t know what else to say. The masseuse I usually see in Redding has a client who comes in from a marijuana grow in Hyampom every two or three weeks to use the shower. That’s how gross regular country folk from the Bay Area are. The hookers can keep their little corners of Redding and Tacoma clean and orderly, but we hardly even have whores around here, and it shows. They’re too keen on cleanliness; we might come to feel a measure of shame in their presence, that they bathe regularly while we shit in trash cans.
Calamity Jane, pray for us.