I had recently graduated with my bachelors in Psychology with an emphasis in abnormal and developmental psychology. I had been working 60 to 80 hours a week for the last couple years including trying to finish up the last year of my bachelors program. All this, the long work hours, the tremendous work load of eighteen credit hours per quarter, coupled with the fact that I was working with very violent, aggressive adults with developmental disabilities and metal illness, had put me in a somewhat fragile state of mind.
Just after my graduation, the company that recruited me transferred me to a group home that had one client. This guy was six feet tall, three hundred pounds of solid fat and muscle, and a very aggressive, very violent history. I had requested-no--I had pleaded that I be placed in a home with more passive clients, but, looking back on it, it seemed the administrator of this company was bound and determined to do me in. This administration felt I was the man for the job for I had already developed a reputation in the industry for being the guy who would, could and should be placed in charge of the behavior management program of the ultra violent and aggressive clients. Though I should have been granted my request, the administrator did not honour my pleas and I was placed working with Geoffrey.
The apartment that Geoffrey lived in was sparse; it had a couch in the living room, a mattress on the floor in the bedroom for Geoffrey, a kitchen table and another table that was used for Geoffrey's typewriters. There of course were a couple of chairs, TV, stereo and lamps. Geoffrey dismantled typewriters as a hobby. Why anyone ever let him near tools or heavy objects was beyond my comprehension.
Upon receiving this assignment, I was sat down by my administrator, the house management and the caseworkers and I was told my mission. My mission was to implement an aggressive training and behavior program. Hygiene, household care and maintenance, cooking, shopping and appropriate community interaction: these were my goals, according to the administration, for Geoffrey.
There was one contingency in the program, this glitch was Geoffrey's mother. Geoffrey's family was a very wealthy, politically influential family; connected to local and state government. Geoffrey's family had used the fact that Geoffrey had a disability and that he lived at home with his parents as a tool to manoeuvre their political careers. They had often used their son to win public sympathy and to leverage bills to gain state funding for the care of Adults with disabilities.
Geoffrey's family could afford a crew of people to tend their home and laundry and cooking. They even had hired a live-in caregiver to tend to Geoffrey while he grew up. This all looked really good to the community, yet, seemingly it had not done Geoffrey any good. Geoffrey's mother basically let Geoffrey do whatever he felt like doing. He ran amuck. He had some verbal skills, and definitely knew how to spit and swear. He was never taught to cook or clean or do any basic tending to himself or his own hygiene. He ate with his hands and drank milk out of the carton. He knew how to work the remote control on the television, and use the phone, and he also knew how to use his tools to dismantle typewriters. This indicated to me that he could have been taught many other things if someone would have just started early enough in his life.
His hygiene was very poor. What few teeth he had left he seldom brushed and staff was expected to wipe the feces from his seat after defecation if he so asked. He was a mess, and I suspect it was his mothers fault. She, not only, would not teach or discipline her boy, she would not allow his caregiver to discipline him either, and if he did not want to learn what was being taught he did not have to bother with it.
When Geoffrey turned 21 years old his caregiver passed away. Geoffrey, only ever responded slightly to this lady's discipline, and with her gone, he was uncontrollable. Geoffrey was not only uncontrollable but he was inconsolable. His mother, who had virtually neglected him by placating him with McDonald's food, decided that he was beyond her control. Geoffrey's mother decided that her long standing political convictions against keeping the disabled in state hospitals and for the keeping of the handicapped children at home had changed; she wanted Geoffrey out of her home. Besides she had other things to do; she had a political career to think about.
Geoffrey got committed to the state hospital. The psychiatrists sequestered Geoffrey for 90 days' observation. After the 90 days, Geoffrey had gone absolutely crazy. He had never lived outside the home; he had never been away from his now deceased caregiver. He had never before not been allowed to do whatever he wanted. He had never before not been allowed visits from his mother and her offerings of McDonald's food.
The psychiatrists had to sedate Geoffrey, he had become a danger to himself and others, and they had to restrain Geoffrey; strap him down and put him in a padded cell. Geoffrey was diagnosed as not only having a developmental disability, but also having rapid cycling bipolar disorder (a form of manic depression where the client cycles rapidly between depression and mania, often within a twenty-minute period) all this and schizophrenia (a loss of touch with reality) with a touch of antisocial psychosis (which made him dislike and distrust people and react to them violently). He was dually diagnosed; mentally ill and developmentally disabled: crazy and stupid. He had minimal verbal skills, no coping skills and virtually no community interaction skills or self care skills.
I took the time to read the psychological reports from the doctors at the state hospital and there were strong indications and suggestions that Geoffrey would not be in this horrendous condition had he received proper care and instruction during his formative years. It was too late now. He was hospitalized and spent a good ten years in the hospital.
His behaviors worsened so his medications were increased. The psychotropic medications, which are considered "chemical restraints". These medications do not cure diseases and seldom treat symptoms. These medications often just sedate physically or slow down the mental processes enough to make the person manageable. This is what had to be done to Geoffrey. He spent a good ten years sedated and restrained in the belly of the state hospital. This may just have been the best thing for Geoffrey.
After about ten years of this hellion being contained, Geoffrey's parents came under criticism by their political rivals. Their rivals made accusations of Geoffrey's parents: saying that these people claimed to be advocates for the disabled and for the disabled citizen's right to live in the community, but when it became inconvenient for them to have their son live with them, they quickly flip flopped on their conviction and hospitalized their only child.
In an attempt to stave off these political accusations, Geoffrey's parents decided to remove Geoffrey form the hospital. They began proclaiming that the hospitals with their padded rooms and physical restrain straps and chemical restraint medications were intrinsically evil. They proclaimed that the hospitals and their evil tools of oppression had to be stopped. They touted new programs, new psychological training programs that could easily replace the hated hospitals and their antiquated, inquisition like techniques and system of oppression of the developmentally disabled and mentally ill population.
Geoffrey was removed from the hospital and moved back into the home of his parents, temporarily, until they could place him in one of the homes of one of these new programs with the progressive psychologically based training programs, who employed college educated, trained, experienced "behavior management specialists." This is where I entered the picture. I was one of those skilled, college educated, trained behavior management specialists.
Geoffrey, by this point had a tremendous reputation: not tremendous-good but tremendous-bad, reputation. His parents found it extremely difficult to find a home or company that would accept his application. The refusals stemmed not only from his history of behaviors and violence but do to insurance cost considerations. Even with the huge amount of state funding that came with Geoffrey's multiple diagnosis, it was just not worth it to these companies to risk the potential property damage and harm to staff and clients. Something had to be done and Geoffrey's parents knew it. He was destroying his parents' house and they could not keep staff. People would get hired as 'personal care providers' and often would quit before their first day was over with. They even had staff call the police on Geoffrey and file law suits against Geoffrey and his family.
Geoffrey's family finally contacted "Gresham Care Providers" (GCP). GCP was a company that provided care for individuals with multiple diagnoses. The company was failing though, due to several factors. Some of these factors included: embezzlement by the Chief Financial Officer, poor financial management by the Administrator and a generally low level of potential profitability.
Geoffrey's mom heard about GCP and solicited its board of directors. She convinced them to restructure their business organization.
They were to reorganize from a 'for profit' corporation to a 'not-for-profit' charitable entity. They would appoint her as the chairperson of the
supervising board of directors and in turn she would donate $500,000 dollars to the new GCP not-for-profit charitable organization; which she would
promptly write off on her taxes. Now the big contingency would be that she would continue to donate money, to the tune of $10,000 every quarter as long
as GCP would house and train, without the use of medications or physical restraints, her son Geoffrey. The ailing company had no choice but to accept
the offer. They just were not bringing in enough funds to stay afloat, and everyone on the board and in the administration saw this as a great way to
keep their jobs.
Geoffrey became a permanent ward of this company. Had I know the details of this whole arrangement, I would have never taken the job with this company.
Now that GCP had the money to stay solvent, one of the big tricks was to figure out who would want to be Geoffrey's housemates. The company and the caseworkers tried several different tactics. First they tried putting him in homes with people his same age and functioning level. Geoffrey terrorized those people. Constantly destroying their belongings and using intimidation tactics to get his way. He would threaten violence, and if that did not work he would start fights with them and beat them up.
The second scenario placed Geoffrey in homes that had very low functioning residents. These people were mostly non-verbal and who were confined to beds and wheel chairs. These folks were very vulnerable to Geoffrey's abuses and outbursts; they could not even defend themselves against Geoffrey's aggression. He ran amuck again; tipping over wheelchairs, pounding on the people confined to beds, then rolling them out of their beds. Continuing with his patterns of property destruction, obviously Geoffrey was not a good fit in these situations either.
The third scenario was to put Geoffrey into his own apartment, all by himself. This worked a little better. Geoffrey did not have fellow clients to abuse and the state ceased suing the company and Geoffrey on the behalf of the clients of the other homes.
I began working with Geoffrey just a couple weeks after they moved him into his own apartment. It was a two-bedroom apartment. One room was Geoffrey's and the other room was the staff office. The staff office had a heavy wood door with a dead bolt lock and a brace built so a 2x4 inch thick board could be placed across to keep the door from being kicked in. It was apparent that the doorframe had been built and rebuilt due to repeated breakdowns of that door. The staff office had one of the old indestructible Ma Bell telephones. Those of you old enough will remember these standard issue telephones; they were made of heavy metal and plastic and weighed about three pounds. This phone had been duct tapped together and had about 50 feet of cord.
The apartment had holes here and there in the dry wall where Geoffrey had kicked or punched or threw things into the wall. The furniture was minimal and broken, all doors except for the front door and the office door and the back door had been removed, which was a sliding glass door, had the glass removed, and had thick, shatter proof Plexiglas placed in it's stead. This Plexiglas was there because Geoffrey had repeatedly thrown things through the sliding glass door.
My first time visiting this home, I knew that life, for me, was taking a turn for the worse. It was made clear to me by management and administration that I was to work some sort of miracle on this fellow. I had seen the movie "The Miracle Worker" and was always impressed by the work of Anne Sullivan and the remarkable progress of Helen Keller. Somehow this was a little different, but for some ridiculous reason I was not about to back down from this challenge; this sense of duty or resolve in the face of overwhelming odds, may just have been an indication of my own instability.
Geoffrey was on probation. His antics and mischief at the other homes had forced the state to lay down the law. Geoffrey was not to get in any more trouble, or he was to be sent back to the state hospital for good. No run-ins with the law, no property damage, no violence, no aggression of any sort or Geoffrey's life in the community would be cut short and so would his parent's political career. I was told that due to Geoffrey's mother and father's political platform, Geoffrey was to receive absolutely no medications, absolutely no hands-on restraint and under no circumstances were the police to be called.
As the behavioral management specialist, I was to train Geoffrey using only verbal cues. For if Geoffrey got in trouble he would go away to the hospital. If Geoffrey went away to the hospital, then Geoffrey's mother would loose her political career. If Geoffrey's mother lost her political career she would loose her motivation to sit on the board of directors of GCP. If she lost that motivation, then she would resign her position. If she resigned her position, then the GCP would loose her donations. If GCP lost Geoffrey's mother's donations, then the company would not be able to stay in business. So many 'ifs' to take into consideration. So much responsibility to be place on the shoulders of a young graduate. The weight of the world, my and my peer's lively hood seemed to be in my hands,
Geoffrey was just returning home from an outing with the house manager to McDonald's whey I first visited his home. Geoffrey seemed fairly pleasant. He greeted me and repeatedly shook my hand. The house manager, Brian seemed tired and scared, a little jumpy. Every time Geoffrey would leave the room and re-emerge, Brian would jump and then laugh nervously, then shake Geoffrey's hand. I immediately interpreted Geoffrey's hand shaking as not being a friendly gesture, but as a form of manipulation and intimidation. I learned quickly enough that if one did not shake hands with this behemoth that he would get very upset, lunging at you, yelling "Hello!" and throwing his hands in the air. He would do this several times and then pleasantly present his had for a handshake. If one again did not shake his had he would lunge, yell "Hello!" several times and again throw his hands in the air, each successive time getting louder and closer.
It was not that anyone did not want to be cordial; it was just so obvious that Geoffrey's hygiene was very poor and that he did not hesitate to repeatedly, in public, insert his fingers into every bodily orifice available to him. After insertion, he would present his hand or fingers inches from your face and say loudly "See!" or "Smell!" or "Taste!" then he would exclaim "Yummy!" laugh maniacally then try to shake your hand.
I figured this would be one of the first behaviors that I would work on. I started by explaining that his hands were dirty, covered with germs and that it was impolite to present one's hands for a handshake if they were dirty. He seemed to understand what I was saying and also seemed to respond well to the suggestion of washing his hands. Geoffrey went into the bathroom turned on the water put his hands under the water for a couple of seconds shook the water off his hands, wiped them on his pants and ran back out and offered his hand for a handshake.
Knowing that his hands were still filthy, yet seeing this as not only a small victory but also a teaching opportunity, I praised him and shook his filthy wet paws. Now I had to wash my own hands. Seeing the teaching opportunity, I invited him to come watch me wash my hands. He said "Yes" followed me into the bathroom, watched me turn on the hot water, pick up the soap and lather up my hands, scrub vigorously, rinse and dry my hands with paper towels. I asked him if he would like to learn to wash his hands like I washed my hands. He smiled, and said "Yes" and began to mimic my hand washing technique. He turned on the hot and cold water, lathered his hands, mimicked my vigorous scrubbing, rinsed and dried his hands with paper towels. I thought that this might be easier than I first anticipated, and congratulated Geoffrey on a job well done. I shook his hand and walked out of the bathroom to write a quick note in the daily log.
As I wrote my note, I noticed that Geoffrey's right hand was down the back of his trousers furiously digging away. He saw me look up and exclaimed "I did good!" pulled out his brown fingers, thrust them toward me and yelled "Smell...Yummy!" then extended his hand as if to shake my hand. I calmly gave my explanation of handshaking with dirty hands and suggested that if he wanted to shake my hand he would have to wash his hands first. He did not look pleased, but went into the bathroom sufficiently washed his hands came back and presented his had for a handshake. I shook his had, went and rewashed my hands and went back to my notes. He hovered by the staff office door, right hand down the back of his trousers. He exclaimed angrily "I did good!" pulled his hand out and provided a fist full of fecal matter and hurled it at me. I ducked under the staff desk, and heard him exclaim "Yummy!" Then he lurched into the room wanting to shake hands. I quickly put on a pair of latex gloves and directed him to wash his hands. This was the end of our good report. He refused to wash his hands again, I refused to shake his hands and spent the rest of that first shift scraping and scrubbing fecal matter off the walls of Geoffrey's apartment. When the house manager finally showed up he listened to my detailed report and explained to me that I was not allowed to not shake Geoffrey's hand. I was distraught, and from then on always wore a pair of latex gloves, and kept 10 to 20 pairs as backup in my back pocket. Every time you saw Geoffrey reaching around back to dig in his trousers, you could see me reaching around back to grab a pair of gloves. I continued to prompt Geoffrey to wash his hands with limited success.
My next shift a new duty was assigned to me, and it was to teach this maniac to clean house. I explained to Brain and the caseworkers that perhaps this was just too big of a leap and that perhaps we should continue with his personal hygiene training. My suggestion was trumped by the authorities. Brooms and mops and sponges, cleaning supplies and a vacuum cleaner were dropped off at the home, and again I was left alone to implement the training. My supervisors insisted that I was not to do the cleaning myself, but I was to train Geoffrey and make him do the cleaning.
Geoffrey was very curious about the cleaning supplies. I explained that we were going to clean the house together. I was going to clean a small area and demonstrate the proper cleaning techniques and then I explained that he was to start doing his own cleaning. Geoffrey obviously was not thrilled about this new turn of events. Geoffrey spent the first half of the day throwing cleaning supplies and the vacuum cleaner at me, then the second half of the day he spent making puddles and piles of human excrement and exclaiming "You clean! Not me clean!"
I decided to call management and get outside support. The house manager showed up, saw the mess and decided that the best course of action was to take Geoffrey out to dinner at McDonald's and told me to clean up the house and we would try it again when they returned. "We!" I exclaimed, "We didn't do it today, I did! And now you are rewarding him with dinner!?" The manager assured me that this was standard procedure as per his mother's instructions.
The cleaning training episodes went on for the rest of the shift. Then for the next shift, management and caseworkers thought that perhaps they would have me do some community support and integration training with Geoffrey since the cleaning episodes were making a bigger mess then what was getting cleaned up. They thought that this would be a good way for me to build report with Geoffrey. I did not think this was prudent; Geoffrey had already developed a great animosity towards me.
Again, my suggestions fell on deaf ears and an itinerary was given to me for the following day. I was to take Geoffrey to the store, though I was not to buy him anything at the store. Then I was to take Geoffrey to a movie at a specific cinema. I was to let Geoffrey choose the movie that he wanted to see, though I was only allowed to let Geoffrey choose a "G" (children's) rated movie. Absolutely no movies with adult themes! I was not allowed to let Geoffrey buy snacks at the movie because it would spoil his supper. After the movie I was directed to take Geoffrey to McDonald's and order him whatever he wanted.
I was very leery about this whole episode. I did not trust Geoffrey's behavior in the community. The caseworkers and Brian the house manager assured me that Geoffrey was very well behaved in public despite how he behaved at home and that I would not have any real problems. I was doubtful and made the house manager and administrator give me emergency phone numbers, and their home phone numbers. He gave me his number and the number to the administrator. I received assurances that both Brian and the administrator would be by the phone if anything happened, and that they would be ready and willing to assist if anything, by chance, was to happen.
I was given an envelope with some cash in it and told to keep my receipts, and then was told that I was ready to go. I loaded Geoffrey into the company van, strapped him in and was pleasantly amazed by how well behaved Geoffrey was on the trip to the store. As we motored through town, Geoffrey giggled and pointed at different things, clapping and happily exclaiming "Lookie, lookie!" I was starting to relax a little seeing the calm and cheerful mood that Geoffrey was in. I was starting to relax, but I was not about to start letting my guard down.
We drove around for a while then headed toward the store. We parked the vehicle and went into the store. We walked around the store where Geoffrey acted like and angel; waving and shaking the hands of the employees who were quite accommodating. After wandering around the store for forty five minutes, we headed out to the car and drove across the street to the cinema. Things were going so well, and I was so looking forward to sitting and watching a movie.
We sat in the van outside the cinema and I read off the names of the movies that had the proper rating and asked Geoffrey which movie sounded good to him. Geoffrey exclaimed "Movies Shit! Terminator!" I knew this "Terminator" movie did not have the proper rating and I knew that I would be in big trouble if I did not follow directives, and I was not quite ready to loose my job just quite yet.
I explained to Geoffrey that seeing "Terminator" was not an option and I read off the list of movies that were on the 'option' list this time with much animation and enticing explanations of the plots and characters in the movies. "Movies Shit! Terminator!" I ignored this outburst and reiterated the acceptable list of movies. "Movies Shit! Movies Shit! Movies Shit! Terminator!" Geoffrey screamed as he pounded his fists on the dashboard "Movies Shit! Terminator!"
"Geoffrey," I calmly explained "your mother will only allow us to see certain movies, and Terminator is not one of them. These are the movies we are allowed to see" I listed the movies, "Which one of these would you like to see?" As Geoffrey flailed about, pounding the dash of the van striking at me he screamed "Movies Shit!" over and over. I sat their quietly wondering what my next move should be. I pondered many things, during Geoffrey's ten-minute tantrum. Questions went through my head such as: "How best will I appropriately handle this out burst? How do I convince Geoffrey not to want to see 'Terminator'? Why did I not get a degree in Art instead of Psychology?"
My next course of action was determined for me. Geoffrey became still and quiet for a short minute then opened the door of the van and went shooting out across the parking lot. Though a small part of me really did want to chase Geoffrey down in the van, I knew that this was not the best option, so I Jumped out of the van and ran after Geoffrey on foot. He made a 100-yard beeline across the parking lot and without hesitation shot out into the street crossing four lanes of heavy traffic, nearly causing several accidents. I was in hot pursuit, trying to catch up to this man who, to my amazement, moved very fast and with remarkable stamina. He made it across the road narrowly escaping becoming a greasy spot on the pavement, and without a pause was rapidly closing the 100 yard gap between the road and the store that we had earlier visited.
I knew that I did not want him, in this agitated state, entering the store. I was following at about ten yards, hoping he would run out of steam. When he was within twenty-five yards of the front of the store, I sprinted with all the speed I could muster, and ran past Geoffrey to the front door. I spun on my heels and waited, crouched for impact. When Geoffrey reached the front door of the store he was utterly amazed to see me standing there waiting for him. He stopped, looked at me, turned, looked behind him, did a double take, looking again at me, spat and reached into the back of his trousers.
Barely able to catch my breath enough to speak I panted "Geoffrey, calm down." As Geoffrey removed his hand from his trousers, I thought with amazement, "How does this man so easily produce feces at will?" As this thought was still fresh in my mind, I dodged to one side as a large handful of feces made a dull 'thud" on the large glass door behind me.
Geoffrey and I were starting to attract a crowd at this point, and when a few people realized what it was that made that loud dull thud, some of them started vomiting. Geoffrey stumbled backwards stepping in, slipping in and falling into one of those puddles of vomit.
I stood there staring momentarily at Geoffrey, who had jumped to his feet, his hands covered in feces, his trousers soaked with urine and vomit and the smell of his own pungent sweat, I came to a realization that this situation, figuratively as well as literally, stank. I laughed to myself. Geoffrey spun around, stumbling back out into the parking lot leaving big brown hand prints on the windshields and hoods of the cars of the unfortunate shoppers as they tried to park their cars. He staggered to and fro hurling handfuls of feces every time I got within five or ten yards of him.
Delirious from being unaccustomed to such physical activity, Geoffrey threw himself on the hoods of cars, plowed through the gathering crowds, knocking over shopping carts as well as trampling small children. The whole scene was getting ugly and the mood of the crowd went from curious to angry. I attempted to herd Geoffrey away from the front of the store and the crowd while frantically passing out business cards with the phone number and address of our company's administrator, giving quick explanations that if they had any complaints or needed to press charges or file lawsuits for injury or damage that this was the person that they were to contact.
I manoeuvred Geoffrey toward the garden center of the store. The garden center was a couple of large tents with racks of potted flowers and trees, and eight or ten palettes of bags of composted manure and dirt. Once in the vicinity of the palettes of bags of manure, Geoffrey ducked down behind one of the stacks. He was exhausted. I could tell that he thought if he couldn't see me, I couldn't see him. Each time he would poke his head around from behind on of the stacks of bags, I would yell his name and he would duck back down out of sight. After five minutes of him peeking and me yelling and him ducking back down out of sight, I felt safe to make my way to a payphone. I made sure that Geoffrey saw where I was. I certainly did not want him to think that it was 'safe' for him to emerge out of hiding.
My initial instructions were to call management and my administrator if I had a significant problem. I felt that this situation could be considered significant. I dropped the coins into the phone and called the house manager. The phone rang and rang; no answer. I dialed again, no answer. I dialed a third time and still no response. I then dialed the phone number that the administrator gave me. It rang and rang and when I heard the line pick up, I felt a rush of relief only to have that sense of relief drain back out of me when I heard the voice on the other end of the line say, "You have reached the offices of GCP. We are out of the office until Monday. If you would like to leave a message and a number you can be reached at, we will call you back on Monday." All of a sudden a little voice in my head screamed "Phone numbers Shit! Terminator!" Then the message continued "...If this is an emergency please dial our emergency number..." and it gave the number. I quickly wrote the number down and called the emergency number. It seemed to ring endlessly then I heard a voice on the other end of the line, "You have reached the emergency number of GCP. We are out of the office until Monday. If you leave a message and a number you can be reached at, we will call you back on Monday."
The little voice in my head again started screaming "Phone number Shit! Phone number Shit! Terminator!" I quieted this voice and quickly looked in the phone book for the phone number of our administrator. Her number was not listed. I dropped some coins in the phone and called information and asked for her phone number and the operator informed me that the number was private and unlisted. I called the house manager again; ring, ring, ring, still no answer. I had one final bright idea. I looked up the administrator's girlfriends name in the phone book, and there it was, her phone number. I dialled, when her girlfriend answered, I asked for our administrator. There was silence, an endless silence then the same voice came on the line and asked who I was. I told her my name and my situation, and then more silence, endless silence. Then a very angry voice came bellowing over the line, "How dare you call me on the weekend! How did you get this number?! What gives you the right to call me?! How dare you get me involved with your problem! You know that I do not work on the weekends! Why didn't you call the emergency number?! Why didn't you call the house manager?!"
I assumed all these were rhetorical questions and started right into an explanation of what was happening with Geoffrey. I was mistaken. She actually did want detailed explanations to each one of her questions and comments. As I answered her questions about how I got the numbers, why I didn't leave a message at the emergency phone line, why I didn't call and talk to the house manager, I noticed that Geoffrey who had rested up, was now hurling 25 pound bags of manure at passing shoppers.
I finally got to the explanation of why I called and why I needed that 'support' that I was promised. My administrator assured me that she would be right down, and that I was to wait by the payphone until she got there. It took my administrator forty five minutes to drive the five or ten miles to the store. It may just have been the longest 45 minutes I ever lived. In the meantime the store manager had called the police. The police had arrived, talked to me, and then turned their attention to Geoffrey. The two officers were currently dodging handfuls of human feces and bags of manure.
When the administrator pulled up in her car, she casually drove past the police and Geoffrey and slowly pulled up to where I was standing. She started barking out questions: "Where is the company van? Why are the police here? How did you get my girlfriend's number?! Why didn't you call the house manager?! Why didn't you use the emergency phone number?! Why are you over here by the payphone and not dealing with Geoffrey?!"
I immediately launched into a quick synopsis of the ongoing events only to be stooped short and told to give detailed answers to the questions that were just asked. I stood there and gave the detailed explanations and answers and then the synopsis of the day's events. As I answered questions, and gave explanations, I watched those two police officers dodging fistfuls of feces and bags of manure and tried to imagine what The Terminator would do in this situation. I visualized The Terminator mechanically walking up to Geoffrey and with his mechanical, computer generated voice saying "Geoffrey-you-are-under-arrest-drop-the-bag-of-manure-and-come-out-with-you-hands-up." Then in my mind's eye I saw Geoffrey pelting The Terminator's metal body with globs of feces. Then I imagined the feces eating like acid through the metal and shorting out the circuitry of that Terminator. As I imagined this, as I was reiterating my story again to my administrator; the vision of The Terminator versus Geoffrey amused me and a smile must have crept onto my face. I came out of my shock driven fantasy to the sight of my administrator red faced and screaming and spitting out the words, "God damn it! What do you think is so funny?!" Fortunately for me this is one question that she didn't wait for a detailed answer on.
She drove up to where the police officers had retreated to their brown spotted squad car and without leaving her car she calmed the police officers concerns and convinced the officers that they were no longer needed. They left. I was beginning to get very curious how our illustrious administrator was going to help implement our training program. Fortunately throwing all those bags of manure had again exhausted Geoffrey and he was laying there on a pile of broken bags of manure. My administrator drove back over to where I was standing and told me that I was to wait right there and that she would be right back. About 20 minutes later my administrator showed up with several large bags of McDonald's food. She pulled up with the bags of food and coaxed Geoffrey over to the car. He got up, covered in sweat, human and cows feces, urine and vomit and climbed into her car. There they sat, the both of them and ate and ate and ate enough for several persons each. I imagined just how bad it must have smelled in that car and wondered how either of them could palate their food.
I stood there, because I was told to stand there. As I stood there I watched the two of them eat. While they ate, I continued to pass out my administrator's business cards to the steady stream of customers whose car or products Geoffrey had damaged or whose children Geoffrey had run down. I even gave a card to the store manager who had been standing there watching the whole episode. He approached me and sighed "So who is going to pay for all this?" I read for him the name on the card as I handed it to him.
After a while, the administrator, with Geoffrey still in the car, pulled up to where I was told to stand. She pulled up, and rolled down the window, a rush of odour rolled out of the car and I attempted to differentiate the smell of McDonald's food from the smell of feces, manure, urine, sweat and my administrator's cologne. I noticed the brown hand prints everywhere and a very pronounced brown handprint on the shoulder and hair of my administrator and that smile silently crept back onto my face.
My administrator, again turning red, yelled "Don't just stand there with that stupid grin, go and get the van!" I did. I slowly walked across the parking lot to the road. I walked down the road until I came to a traffic light, waited for a green light and slowly walked back up the road and then back to where the van was parked. I started the van, drove down to the light, waited for the signal and slowly drove back to where my administrator and Geoffrey sat in her car. When I pulled up Geoffrey and the administrator were feeding each other French fries. I shuddered at the thought of those filthy hands handling food, and that little voice in my head said, "French Fries Shit! Smell! Yummy!"
I loaded Geoffrey into the van, drove back to the group home without any excitement. Geoffrey spent the rest of the evening working on dismantling his typewriters. I stood outside the front door chain smoking until the next staff arrived. I filled that staff in on the events of that day and they filled me in on the fact that I should have never agreed to take Geoffrey out into public when the house manager was out of town. "Out of town?" I thought "Why did he say I could call if I had a problem if he knew he would be out of town?"
Just as I was getting ready to leave, I received a telephone call from my administrator. She had called to inform me that I was to implement a new training program. "Since Geoffrey likes working with tools, you are to put him to work fixing things, using his tools around the apartment. You are also going to train him to paint. You two are to paint the apartment." I was taken aback. I suggested that the rapid and repeated changes in the training programs might be confusing to Geoffrey and contributing to his most recent behaviour patterns. I also suggested that after the day's episode, perhaps it might be prudent to not attempt any training programs the next day. My administrator got really upset exclaiming, "Damn it, I am not paying you to sit around and do nothing. You are a behaviour management specialist, manage behaviours! You are a skills trainer, train skills! I already know you are a failure at being a community support specialist!" She told me where there was a five-gallon bucket of paint, brushes and tools.
I left work knowing that I was never going to mention any plans of repairs and painting to Geoffrey the next day. I was going to show up to work and just let Geoffrey watch T.V. and play with his typewriters. I knew that I would get fussed at by management and administration but at least it would be a calm shift. I was relieved at my decision. I was happy, almost giddy and this time when that smile crept onto my face I didn't get yelled at, and when that little voice started talking in my head I repeated what it said out loud, "Training Program Shit!"
I showed up to work the next morning to find the staff standing in the middle of the parking lot with the phone. I thought perhaps she was just talking to a friend and getting some fresh air. I just didn't want to believe that it had already started, Geoffrey's behaviours, that is.
I approached my fellow staff and cheerfully inquired about how her day was going. She whispered in a shaky nervous voice that she was talking to the administrator. The staff lady didn't need to tell me it was the administrator on the other end of the line, I could hear the administrator screaming and I thought I detected the slight smell of McDonald's and feces. My fellow staff person handed me the phone. I mentioned to the administrator that I was now on the phone. My administrator informed me that she had the overnight staff wake Geoffrey up two hours early so that she would have plenty of time to explain to Geoffrey all the chores, repairs and painting that he was going to have to do today. She then informed me that under no circumstances whatsoever was I to call her. If I had a problem I was to wait until the house manager came back into town at 8:00 that night. He was going to stop by and check on my progress. Then she finished the conversation with the statement, "Remember, under no circumstances are you to call me! Under no circumstances are you to call the police. Under no circumstances!" I now knew for certain that disaster was afoot.
My fellow staff member was already gone leaving me standing in the middle of the parking lot holding the telephone. I carried the phone to the windowsill, set the phone down and peered into the staff office. I noticed that the door on the staff office was shut, locked and barred with the 2x4. I also noticed that the doorframe was broke, bulging and splintered. I assumed that the last staff had locked themselves in the staff office and then climbed out the window with the phone in tow. I peeked in the front door of the house and it was a wreck, like a bomb had gone off. The furniture was turned over, there were several new holes in the walls, and there sat Geoffrey silently, calmly dismantling his typewrites.
I chose to not disrupt the beast quite yet. I crawled through the window into the staff office. I collected the phone cord and set the phone on the desk. Next I unbarred the door and pried the door open. The house was a mess. I hesitated even letting Geoffrey know that I was there, but it was too late, he had heard me open the staff office door. As I turned the corner there was Geoffrey standing there with both hands down the back of his trousers. He gave me a big smile, then pulled his hands out and offered his hand to shake. I quickly pulled on a pair of latex gloves and shook his hand. He calmly, without saying anything turned and sat down and started working on his typewriter.
He worked for a couple hours without saying a word. Lunchtime rolled around, I pulled out Geoffrey's menu, and fixed lunch. I set it on the table, Geoffrey put down his tools and pulled himself up to the table picked up his lunch plate mumbled something and tossed his plate against the wall and slowly started chanting; softly at first, then louder until he was screaming, "Food Shit! McDonald's! Food Shit! McDonald's! Food Shit! McDonald's!"
It was starting. I explained to Geoffrey that I didn't have the money to go and buy McDonald's and that we would have to eat what was available to us here at the house. This was not what he wanted to hear. He wanted the administrator or the house manager or his mother to step in and take him off to McDonald's. It was not going to happen today. It was just me and cheese sandwiches and canned soup. That was it, the fun had started, Geoffrey's fuse had been lit and the keg of powder was about to blow. I finished my cheese sandwich and settled in for the ride.
Geoffrey calmed slightly and I served another cheese sandwich and another bowel of soup, but promptly it became a piece of abstract artwork on the wall next to the dinner table. I waited about a half hour while Geoffrey chanted "Food Shit! McDonald's!" He calmed slightly again and told me he was hungry. I served him the rest of the soup and another cheese sandwich, and explained that this was all I was making for lunch and that I wouldn't be fixing anything more until dinner.
Geoffrey stared at the food with a sour look. He stared and glowered and stared some more. He grumbled slightly, under his breath, then picked up the sandwich and took one bite, chewed then stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. He chewed and chewed. As he chewed I cleaned up the lunch dishes and moved into the living room, standing a good distance behind Geoffrey. He chewed for about three more minutes then spat out the wad of cheese and bread into his hand and turned and pitched it at me like it was a baseball. It whizzed past my head hitting the wall with a splat, sticking there like a giant spit wad. That silly grin crept back onto my face. Then came the bowel of soup. Geoffrey the abstract artist had just created another masterpiece on the living room wall.
"Hungry!" he screamed "Food Shit! McDonald's!" He bolted into the kitchen and started rifling through the cabinets throwing cans of soup and boxes of noodles. Then he got into the lower cabinets and threw the pots and pans through the kitchen window. After the pots and pans, came the cooking utensils, the cups, the glasses, the plates and--finally--silverware. Everything that was in a cupboard or drawer was now lying in a pile outside the kitchen window. Next he started on the contents of the refrigerator. He swung the door open and began to empty its contents onto the floor of the kitchen. I felt compelled, ever so slightly, to remind Geoffrey that if he destroyed the food that there wouldn't be any food for dinner. He just replied "Food Shit! Food Shit! McDonald's!"
My motivation was low, I knew that there was really nothing I was allowed to do to stop Geoffrey, I had learned that verbal prompts were ineffective, and I certainly did not feel the need to lower myself to pleading. Out came the food, off came the refrigerator door. All in a pile on the floor of the kitchen with Geoffrey jumping up and down on the top of the pile screaming "Food Shit! Food Shit! McDonald's!"
Suddenly that silly grin on my face turned into a smile. I stood there with that stupid smile, with Geoffrey stomping away. His stomping slowed, his screaming turned to mumbles and he slowly made his way back over to his typewriters, soon to be lost in his dismantling. He quietly dismantled his typewriter while I did my logging in the daily log. As he worked he must have become hungry again. His chant "Food Shit! Food Shit! McDonald's!" had begun to return. It grew from a mumble, to a grumble, to a yell, to a scream and he was back in the kitchen in an instance kicking at the pile on the floor.
He noticed that I was no longer his audience and he ran up to me and exclaimed:
"What you think now, Bastard!? What you think now? Food Shit! Food Gone! McDonald's!"
With the stupid smile still on my face I told him what I thought. I told him that he had destroyed the food and the kitchen and had thrown the kitchen utensils out the window. I told him that I didn't live there and that I would eventually go home to a house with a kitchen and food. I told him that he had to live with his mess, that since this was his house he was ultimately responsible for the condition of his house. If he wanted to live where the food was destroyed, where the kitchen was destroyed, that was his choice.
For a moment, for a fleeting moment, it looked as if Geoffrey understood me. It seemed as if he realized what he had done, that he comprehended the consequences of his actions. He looked sorry, remorseful. He said "Geoffrey clean! Geoffrey clean!" went outside and started carrying in what he had thrown out the window. As he cleaned he mumbled and grumbled and started yelling, "Me no want clean! Me no want clean!" He then marched in and marched right up to my face screaming "Me no want clean! You clean! You job! You clean! Me no want clean!"
I looked at Geoffrey as he yelled and that little smile came back and that little voice inside my head came with it, "Me no want clean, either! Me no care if Geoffrey no want clean! Me no clean! Geoffrey clean!" I snapped out of it long enough to tell Geoffrey that I was not going to clean the mess and that if he wanted it cleaned, he would have to clean it.
This did not bode well with Geoffrey. As a matter of fact this angered Geoffrey. He glared at me and screamed, "Me show you! Me clean!" He stormed out the back door without opening it, knocking the sliding door off its tracks and breaking the frame that held it. He picked each item up and with all his might threw the items back in the kitchen window. I was amazed at just how thorough his clean up job was. Every last pot and pan was launched back through the kitchen window and back onto the pile on the kitchen floor. Geoffrey stomped back in and stared at me. Just stared. I stared back. Geoffrey said "I show you, I clean! McDonald's, Movie!" I calmly told Geoffrey that yesterday was movie day and that today we were supposed to fix things in the apartment and paint the walls. He looked at me like the suggestions I was making were absolutely ridiculous. He stared, he glared, he turned red and a strained look came across his face and he stuttered, "I fix! I fix! I fix you!" He reached into the back of his trousers, still with the strained look on his face. This look and the reaching were my cue to make myself scarce. He produced yet another fist full of feces and began adding to the soup and sandwich mural he had started at lunchtime.
I stood outside the front door with that silly smile while Geoffrey splattered the walls of the living room. That small voice in my head returned and this time it was saying, "Artwork Shit! Artwork Shit!" I laughed to myself. I wondered if things could get any worse. I was without any control and Geoffrey was out of control.
Geoffrey was done with his artwork momentarily and was currently just standing there panting, fuming, sweating. I peeked my head in the front door and mentioned to Geoffrey that the walls would have to be cleaned before we painted. Geoffrey screamed "I clean! I clean!" and started putting holes in the walls. He used his feet, he used his fists, he used his head and the whole time screaming "I clean! I clean!" He kicked, he punched, he banged his head on the wall, he screamed. And the little voice in my head said "He clean! He clean!" and the silly smile on my face was joined by a twitching eyelid.
When the tantrum subsided, I wandered in the front door, stood in the living room, looking at the feces and destroyed drywall. I looked at Geoffrey covered with sweat and urine and feces and the fine white powder from the broken drywall. I then suggested that when he was done cleaning the furniture would have to be moved away from the walls so we could paint. Geoffrey, cross eyed with rage screamed "I clean! I clean! McDonald's!"
I responded with, "No McDonald's today, today we are to fix and paint."
At that point, being fresh out of feces, Geoffrey reached for the first thing he could grab, which was a vacuum cleaner and threw it at me. It hit the wall and fell into several pieces. The next items thrown at me were the pillows off the lounge chair and couch and then he attempted to throw the lounge chair and the couch, but only managed to turn them over. Frustrated at the fact that his attempt to throw a couch made me laugh, he picked up the coffee table and threw it, then the end table, then the lamps, all three of them. All these items either fell short of hitting me or I scooted out of the path of their trajectory. Next came the chairs from around the kitchen table and the table itself. Then the stereo speakers, stereo and the television were made airborne. All these things lay in a pile around me, broken, unusable, and destroyed.
There I stood with that damned stupid smile, left eye twitching, and a small voice in my head saying "Job Shit! Job Shit! Terminator!" I took a deep breath and suggested to Geoffrey that if he was done with the living and dining room, perhaps he should prepare the bathroom for painting also.
To my amazement, the painting went rather quickly. Geoffrey went straight to the five-gallon bucket of paint, peeled back the lid, carried the bucket into the kitchen and emptied the content onto the pile on the kitchen floor. There you have it, the chores assigned to Geoffrey and I was done. What a great sense of accomplishment! Though the chores were done, the excitement wasn't quite over.
Geoffrey was still upset and still had a lot of energy, and I still had a couple hours left in my shift. I stood there for a couple of minutes and thought: "We had lunch, 'fixed' things in the apartment, 'cleaned' and 'painted.' All this done before dinner!" While I stood with a stupid smile and a twitching eye, assessing a job well done, I turned to Geoffrey and asked if he was ready for dinner.
He responded with "Dinner. Dinner McDonald's." I of course had to explain that McDonald's was still out of the question. We had no money and no transportation. We would have to choose from food that was already in the house. I climbed over the debris and found the one can of food that wasn't covered with paint. This was a very large can of beans. I showed it to Geoffrey, "Here we go," I said, "Beans, we will have beans for dinner." Geoffrey was not pleased, not pleased at all. "Beans shit! McDonald's!"
Geoffrey snatched the can of beans from my hand and ran out the back door with it to the adjoining apartments. Using the large can of beans, he smashed the kitchen and bathroom windows as well as the sliding glass doors of the three adjoining apartments. He returned, still with the can of beans in his hand. He pushed past me and out the front door. Once out the front door, Geoffrey launched the can of beans at the closest car. The can careened off its windshield. By this time Geoffrey's neighbours were coming out of their apartments, visibly shaken. Several of the neighbours had approached me and asked what I was going to do about this situation. My friends, the stupid smile and the twitching eye were still with me and the voice in my head was screaming, "Job shit! Job Shit! McDonald's!"
I tried to explain to the neighbours that my hands were tied. That I was not allowed to sedate, I was not allowed to restrain, and I was told specifically not to call the administrator and I was also given very specific instructions not to call the police. All I really could do is talk and watch.
As I spoke with these neighbours, Geoffrey was running up and down the parking lot pounding on the hoods of cars with the can of beans yelling, "Beans shit! Beans shit!" Fortunately one of the neighbours had the good sense to call the police. Apparently the police were quite familiar with Geoffrey; they sent a sergeant out to the apartment to answer the call. When the squad car pulled into the parking lot, Geoffrey ran up and started smashing the flashing lights on the police car with the can of beans. Geoffrey then ran into the apartment.
The officer exited his squad car and approached me; we stood together in the middle of the parking lot. Saying nothing, he offered me a cigarette and we stood there silent, and smoked our cigarettes. When finished the sergeant called out "Geoffrey!?" and that can of beans came flying out the living room window toward the officer and I. The can of beans bounced to our left and came to a rest on the far end of the parking lot.
The Sergeant walked back to his squad car, radioed his dispatch said something, then walked back to where I was standing. He offered another cigarette and as we smoked I gave him the rundown of what the weeks and days events had been. By the time the cigarettes were smoked five more squad cars had arrived.
Geoffrey had quieted down and was dismantling a typewriter with a very large screwdriver. The police had assembled and were looking to the or direction. He suggested that I be the person to first enter the apartment since I was familiar to Geoffrey. I was to go in and suggest to Geoffrey that he come out peaceably. I took about three steps into the front door of the apartment. I cleared my throat and said "Geoffrey, the police are here and want you to come out without any problems." Geoffrey replied by picking up the skeleton of a typewriter and hurling it at me then turning back to the typewriter he was working on. As he threw the typewriter at me he screamed, maniacally, "Police SHIT!" then followed that with a pathetic moan "Police shit, McDonald's"
The typewriter that was thrown at me hit the wall and remained stuck in the wall at about head level. When the officers saw this they came charging in climbing over the piled furniture, stumbling over the broken lamps, TV and stereo equipment. Geoffrey, upon seeing the officers turned with his screwdriver in hand and crouched, poised ready for the wave of uniforms. The officers made a semi-circle around Geoffrey as he lunged, stabbed and slashed at the officers.
The officers pulled out their batons and in a flurry of sticks and uniforms beat Geoffrey down. Once on the ground the officers struggled to contain him, roll him over and put handcuffs on him. It took all the strength that every one of the five officers to subdue this berserk. Once subdued, they drag Geoffrey kicking and screaming out of the apartment and stuffed him in the back of a squad car. Once in the back seat of the squad car, Geoffrey started kicking on the inside of the windows. This angered the officers. They opened the car door, pulled Geoffrey from the car, strapped his feet together and ran a strap from Geoffrey's ankles to his wrists. There Geoffrey lay, tied like a pig, flip flopping on the pavement like a fish, screaming "Police Shit! Police Shit!" A paddy wagon was called and when it got there the five officers picked up Geoffrey like he was a 300 pound sack or potatoes and tossed him into the back of the paddy wagon and slammed the door shut. You could hear Geoffrey banging and screaming in the back of that box.
I climbed into the front seat with the officer and we started driving across town to the State Hospital. I was intrigued by the number of McDonald's restaurants we passed on our way to the Psychiatric Hospital. Every time we passed a McDonald's I would look through the grate at Geoffrey and with a silly smile and a twitch in my eye I would say, "Hey Geoffrey, there's a McDonald's." And every time I would say this Geoffrey would start screaming and writhing and I would start to giggle.
Once at the hospital, a team of doctors and orderlies came out, extracted Geoffrey, fought him into a straight jacket and wrestled him onto a gurney and then strapped him to the gurney. The gurney was then wheeled into a padded room and locked to the floor. Once secured, Geoffrey was given a huge dose of sedatives and then a second huge dose of sedatives when the first dose didn't work.
There I was, waiting for all the paper work to be done to have Geoffrey committed. I had the forethought to bring the house daily logbook with me. I took the time, and took advantage of the silence of the hospital waiting room to fill out the daily log. I detailed the events of the day including all the exclamations made by Geoffrey. I included all instructions and all the chores assigned to Geoffrey. I did not, though, make any reference to that silly smile, the twitching eye or the voice in my head, which was now saying, "Geoffrey Shit! Geoffrey Shit! Unemployed!"
I signed the last of the paperwork, got my copies of the commitment papers, got copies of the police reports, wrote a quick two week notice of resignation and made my way to the nearest bus stop. I got back to the group home just about thirty minutes after my shift was over. When I arrived at the home, the house manager and the administrator were both standing in front of the group home, scratching their heads and with their mouths hanging open. I showed up, walked past them grabbed my coffee cup and was on my way out when they asked me what happened. I handed them the staff logbook, police reports and the commitment papers and said, "It's all in here. I would love to stay and chat, but my shift is over." I got in my car and drove off leaving them both to their reading.
I never heard from either of them again. I never was given a call for a new assignment, though I never expected that call. I did keep in contact with friends who also worked for the company and kept tabs on the repercussions of Geoffrey's hospitalization. Geoffrey's weeklong rampage, the rampage that culminated in his arrest and his subsequent hospitalization was the final straw as far as Geoffrey versus the State was concerned. He was permanently interred in the state hospital for the mentally ill. He was deemed a menace to society and a danger to himself. The chances are good that this man who was never to be restrained or medicated, spent the better part of his life, restrained and heavily sedated.
The house manager, Brian, ended up quitting GPC after testifying against its administration and getting a position in a theatre group as a thespian, doing Community Theatre. I heard that he was a shoe in for the part of 'Lennie' in a production of Steinbeck's' "Of Mice and Men." He ended up living a comfortable life on the Oregon coast.
The administrator, she and GCP ended up being audited by the state authorities. The authorities found glaring company policy breeches; pertaining to not only Geoffrey's case but also many other resident's cases. The authorities also found breaches and violations of state and federal laws that bordered on human rights abuses. She was charged personally as well as the Chief Executive Officer of GCP. These suites brought on by the state and federal agencies permanently tarnished her reputation in the field making it impossible for her to find equivalent employment. With the fines piling up and the threat of prison time pending, she was forced to find work in a local warehouse. The agency itself was placed immediately under state receivership.
The mother of Geoffrey ended up resigning her position as chairperson of the board of directors immediately upon word of her son's interment. Oddly enough, and through a twist of legal irony and an oversight by her lawyers, Geoffrey's Mom was forced to continue to make her financial contributions for the life of her son.
The political opponents of Geoffrey's mom had a heyday with all this, noting the inconsistencies in his mothers political platform concerning the care of the developmentally disabled and mentally ill as well as her involvement in the company that had to undergo a state and federal investigation, and conviction of charges that were quite embarrassing as well as criminal. All this was brought to the public's attention including her leadership of an organization that subsequently was taken over by the state for mismanagement. She battled for a long time spending a great portion of her family's money trying to clear her 'good' name and salvage her family's political career.
As for me, I was an emotional wreck by the time this all played out. I ended up packing up my belongings and moving out to the woods with my dog. We--my dog Gumbrau and I--spent about six weeks camping at a state park that had natural hot springs. I spent most of my time wandering the trails and busying myself picking up litter and cigarette butts and lounging in the hot springs. Having been so stressed and traumatized, I found myself every couple of hours in the depths of sobbing jags that would last up to twenty minutes.
I must have been quite the pitiful sight to the day-trippers. Picture me wandering the trails picking up cigarette butts and sobbing. I would often hear people say thing like "Now there is someone who is concerned about the environment!" or "Look how upset that man is about all the litter!" Campers and day-trippers would often leave food and money and donations of bags of dog food at my campsite. I eventually pulled myself together and came back to town and re-entered the work force. I never was very good at working behaviour management again, and I never did like the smell of McDonald's.
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