Cold Call From Stan- Intro to Roady Series

This is a phone conversation between Tyler and his Step-father Stan.

Stan– You need to come home.
Tyler- How did you get my number?
Stan– Off of your mother’s phone, what do you think?
Tyler- Your house is not my home and I don’t want you calling me any more.
Stan– Your mother is in the hospital.
Tyler- (pause). What happened?
Stan– Car accident. She’s had surgery.
Tyler- Is she okay?
Stan– Well enough but she’ll be in the hospital for a few days and she’ll need to not do any work. Least that’s what the doctor is saying.
Tyler- How did it happen?
Stan– She’s been blubbering that I shouldn’t tell you but how am I going to ‘splain why you’ve got to come home.
Tyler- (pause). Was she high?
Stan– You guessed that one fast. How did you know?
Tyler- I’m not coming back.
Stan– Just a week.
Tyler-I’m not coming. Don’t you remember you told me to ‘get the hell out of my house and don’t come back’?
Stan– Yeah well we needed you to help support the family but you thought leaving was better, left Linda Wheeler, to do what? Work your ass off being someone’s lackey. You know Linda married Jake Stille? Could have been you. Everyone thinks you’re an idiot.
Tyler-Tell mom I hope she gets better soon.
Stan– Dammit Ty, your brothers need you. How am I going to take care of four kids? I’m working now, twelve hour shifts.
Tyler- Not my problem.
Stan– You get home and clean up this mess your mother made or I’ll be sure that she pays for it. You understand me?
Tyler hangs up.

Interview with Tyler

This fictitious conversation is between Ashley Mann a journalist researching for an article about patrons of “Feed Our Souls” (FOS) homeless shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ashley : Tyler, tell me about the circumstances that brought you to FOS.

Tyler: I was hungry. (Laughs)

Ashley: (Laughs). That’s a good reason. What do you think about the process to get a bed?

Tyler: I’m not staying overnight. I have my car.

Ashley: You know the shelter is a warmer place than a car, safer too.

Tyler: Is it?

Ashley: Yes. (Pause with an unwavering stare)

Tyler: I’m sure that’s true but I’m fine with my car. It’s my space. I’m not good about sharing.

Ashley: You said you’re twenty-two. How long have you been living in your car?

Tyler: Two months, wait no maybe three.

Ashley: Are you working?

Tyler: Lost my job. My roommates kicked me out. Well actually I left. I wasn’t going to let them pay for my place even if they would have floated me.

Ashley: So FOS is there for you while you’re between jobs. What happened that you lost your job?

Tyler: I screwed up. Worked for a builder. I was learning a trade; you know brick work, how to put up walls, windows, a roof. But I partied too much. Came to work hung over, still drunk and almost got one of my co-workers killed. I was fired which I totally deserved.

Ashley : Not easy to admit.

Tyler: Yeah, but when I looked around there was no one else to blame. Not sure I’m over, you know, almost killing someone. Sobered up fast but my references were shot.

Ashley : Hard to find a job without a good word from someone.

Tyler: Damn near impossible and it didn’t help that I’m not cut out for working at a fast food place or the dollar store.

Ashley : What about family?

Tyler (sarcastic laugh) Don’t have any.

Ashley : No family? You’re an orphan then?

Tyler: Not exactly. My dad died when I was eight, but Mom remarried.

Ashley : And…?

Tyler: Stan doesn’t want reminders of Mom’s old life, tried to drive me out, but I had to finish high school at least, wanted to go to college. Yeah, that was a childhood dream.  And I have a sister but she’s in jail. I don’t think Stan even knows she exists. But that’s the way Mom wants it. She has her reasons.

Ashley : No aunts, uncles, grandparents?

Tyler: I thought this interview was about FOS.

Ashley : Yes, right. Sorry. It is but the background of FOS patrons helps us understand the support that might be needed beyond a bed and a meal.

Tyler: I don’t need support. I just need something to eat now and again.

Ashley : Of course. That is our main purpose.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based on the character in “Kill Words” by Clare Graith. Tyler’s blog can be found at (launching soon). FOS is a fictional homeless shelter. Ashley Mann is a fictional journalist. Any resemblance to real people and places is coincidental.