As single parents, we often find ourselves at the mercy of others, because we can’t always do everything by ourselves. This article was previously published on Yahoo Contributor Network, but situations like these continue to arise for a lot of us and so I offer it today in the hopes that you will pay attention to your own inner radar that will alert you to these types of evils.
In compliance with many of our laws, all of the names in the following stories have been changed to protect the guilty. All of the stories, however, are true.
Trickster Estates was a manufactured home community that provided beautifully paved roads, a large clubhouse, and a pool. When you purchased a home from them and asked them to be forthcoming about how often the rent went up, they lied. They didn’t want you to know that they brought in over $600,000 a month in lot rent.
Every year they raised the rent $25 per month, affording them an additional $25,000 every month. Of course, management didn’t tell you the rent was exorbitantly high, and they didn’t tell you that they raised the lot rent every year. They waited until you lived there a full year before they sent the new lease. By that time you were stuck, because your salary stayed the same but all of your expenses increased. You couldn’t afford to stay there, but you couldn’t afford to move either. Living in Trickster Estates would remind you of the song, Hotel California, "You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!"
After having been lied to about the increases, and by paying so much lot rent, people could no longer afford to live there. Many senior citizens, duped into believing they were making a safe investment, abandoned their homes and ran to friends and relatives to save them from the greed. Trickster Estates lost the lot rent, but gained a new home to sell. And the taxes? Those were paid by the home owners. With more money in the pockets of management, because with only ten people on the payroll, you can imagine they each didn’t make $60,000 a month, owners and management had more money for investing and shopping.
Which brings me to the next story. While shopping at a department store, a woman by the name of Carol Sucks struck up a conversation with another woman she recognized as attending grammar school with her, though they weren't friends in school. Tracy remembered Carol and trusted this new friend, simply because they attended Catholic school together.
Over the months, Carol forged her way into Tracy's life by preying on Tracy's vulnerability and gullibility. Knowing that Tracy had a small child she was raising alone, but not caring about Tracy's monetary circumstances, Carol robbed Tracy of over $500, more than the amount of money Tracy made in two weeks.
Carol is one of those people masquerading as a "friend" who entraps her victims to support her lifestyles and her habits. With promises to pay back the money they steal or borrow, the Sucks of the world can live quite well.
Another evil presence, Christopher Wiesel, asked Jennifer to watch his children for him. His agreement with Jennifer was that he would pay her $35 a week per child over what the State was paying her. Though his eight-year-old son had an obvious personality disorder and his four-year-old daughter was in extreme need of affection, Jennifer agreed to care for his children during the summer months.
When the boy began sexually exploiting the other children in Jennifer's home, though, and Jennifer brought the incidents to the attention of the boy's stepmother, the children were immediately yanked out of the home. The stepmother insisted after every infraction, sexual or otherwise, that her stepson acted that way ONLY in Jennifer's home. Jennifer, however, knew the truth. She had spoken with other people who had cared for the boy and had seen him act out.
The State refused to pay the provider that month's worth of day care because on the last day of the month another provider began caring for the children. The Wiesels left owing over $600 to Jennifer. Jennifer was not allowed to know the name of the next provider, nor would the Wiesels respond to Jennifer's requests for payment.
The Wiesels will continue to prey on the loving commitment of day care providers by opting out of their own commitments. They will also be setting an example for their children to follow - ways to lie, cheat, and steal.
The Sucks and the Wiesels share a common defect, lack of conscience, which to most people proves that evil exists. The following story, however, goes beyond lack of conscience and into the realm of the truly pitiful facets of evil - no conscience combined with apathy so apparent, the man appears to be almost inhuman.
Paul Mouselouse purchased a mobile home on contract from an older woman name Annie. Annie's monthly income, including the $200 she expected to receive from Mr. Mouselouse each month, totaled less than she needed to pay her bills, but with help from her family, she somehow managed. After living in the home several months with promises to pay the mobile home park office their rent and with promises to pay Annie the mortgage, he managed to live rent-free for more than half a year.
Like the 1990 movie, Pacific Heights, that included actors Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, and Michael Keaton, this man moves from place to place, puts down a small deposit, and lives rent free for as long as it takes for the homeowner/manager to bring him to court. Just after he is served papers or just after he is alerted to the fact that he will be served papers, he moves and leaves no forwarding address, he changes his cell phone so that nobody can find him, he places his bills in names other than his own, he finds an under-the-table type of job, and he manages to exploit anybody who comes into contact with him, all for his own financial gain.
He will soon be renting from new landlords who are oblivious to his evilness. Annie wishes to warn the new landlords, but doesn't know who they are. What a role model this father is providing for his five children.
How do we protect ourselves from these kinds of evil? Being alert to activities of the evil-minded doesn't always work - incipient evil is hard to detect. Evidence that contracts will not be upheld is not always apparent. The best we can do is to thank God we are not them, that we are not like them, that we are better off without them in our lives, that we will recognize evil when it presents itself to us again, and that we will protect ourselves from that kind of evil.