Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Oh Vince, Where Art Thou?

Vince Desantes was born July 16, 1941. I don’t know if he was born in Boston, but that is where he said he was from.

Why would I remember the date he was born? Because I was born on that date also.

Vince came to work for the Postal Service in about 1985 or 1986. He was a Marine retiree – although the you don’t really retire from the Marines, the Marines is a state of mind, so they say.

He was a slim person appearing not to have an ounce of fat on him, dark tanned looking skin, and naturally bald as a pealed onion.

And Vince would fit that state-of-mind principle pretty good. You might think he had an inflated ego until you realized he spent 30 years in the Marines.

Vince came off as the type of person not to take shit off anyone. But if you studied him closely you will see he would not take shit off peons the same entry level he was. He was forever striking up conversations with people of authority and trying to get on their level.

Vince tried buying a new house. He was turned down. That made we wonder just what kind of past did he have, -during an economic blow-up that just about anybody who wanted to buy a house was approved.

Sometime during our work time in the same building I remember he was wooing his aunt in Boston. Somehow he managed to get her in a nursing home and got to be power of attorney which he had her locked away with the keys thrown away and he bought him a new big red sports car with money he suddenly came into.

Joe, a deaf co-worker, claimed Vince was gay. Maybe Joe wasn’t persuaded by Vince’s gruff voice, he may have had an extra sense perception to see things nobody else could.

After work Vince hung out at a certain pub and was on their chili-cook-off team every year. They were considered very good, they won several first prizes at various cook-offs in Texas and Stone Mountain, Ga.

The first chance Vince bid on a window clerk’s job and got it. A few years later I decided to give the window service a try, I have just about done everything else, so I too went to work on the window.

I didn’t like it at all. It was too much kiss-ass to the customers. Which is the way it probably should be, to be very courteous – but just not my style.

Vince was very good at kissing the customers’ asses. And after watching him I figured out he knew which asses to kiss. He loved to rub elbows with the elite. If a county commissioner or any elected official came in he would manipulate the line so they would end up at his station. He was a master of it. If the VIP was close to the head of the line he would slap up his little sign that said he “This Window Is Closed” for a few moments and fiddle with his stamp stock or something. Then when the VIP made it to the head of the line he would quickly jerk away the sign and tell them jokingly (by first name) to “come on down”, as in The Price Is Right. Then he would encourage them to get into buddy – buddy talks.

The reason I know Vince’s birth date is one time before the window opened one window clerk was busy putting out balloons, birthday looking decorations, and a birthday cake around the corner, just outside of the customer’s view. She said it was Vince’s birthday. This is a woman who prides herself on how efficient she is. When she told me it was Vince’s birthday with a big smile I told her it was my birthday too. The smile didn’t leave her face, but it did freeze.

Even though my birthday was ignored I enjoyed the cake with “HAPPY BIRTHDAY VINCE!” as much as anybody, and went back for seconds.

After a couple of years I got fed work with window work and went back to the distribution area where I could lose myself in my music with my ear phones on.

Joe the deaf clerk asked me in his own way did Vince flirt with the men customers. I told him not that I noticed, only the affluent ones.

Sometime during this time Vince grabbed a male co-workers ass and the guy threatened to flatten him, then the word was out.

Also during this time Vince’s aunt died and he bought a new house. One of the first thing he did after the estate was settled was go out and get him a nice young boy. He adopted a 14 year old boy orphan.

The boy was a street wise kid that was always in trouble with the law and school.

Do you know those business reply envelopes? I think in the postage area are some bars, a permit number imprinted and a statement that says “no postage necessary”. Well, somebody has to pay the postage.

A quick 101 course on business reply envelopes. The company that would make those available to mostly potential customers would have to come in the post office and set up an account and put down a sizable deposit in the account. Then, as the envelopes come in a postal clerk would total the amount of postage each day and deduct it from the running total of the deposit the company ran in. When the company’s deposit started running low they would be notified and they would put more money in it – or not.

This has nothing Vince, but something that happened once that I thought was funny. Marietta is the home office of a famous fast food company. This fast food company in their restaurants had comment cards, so you could complement them or complain about your service. Many restaurants have that. A group of people, probably knew each other, in Florida, started sending in these business reply comment cards with cartoons on them. While they had their meal they would doodle on the comment cards and drop it in a mailbox. For a while it shifted from doodles to nude anatomy then it graduated to fornicating and sodomy cartoons. The restaurant chain had to pay postage on each of those – which they were coming in by the shovels full at its peak.

Maybe it was/were a disgruntled employee or employees – with a warped sense of humor.

Back to my story:

Normally, at where I worked Tony handled the business replies on weekdays. Tony was off on weekends, so Vince was Tony’s relief – he did his job on Saturdays.

What I didn’t know until it was over was that Vince was stealing money out of the various business reply accounts. He stole thousands.

The Postal Inspectors came to Tony and they had a plan to set up a trap for Vince. I don’t know the details, but it worked. Vince bit the bait.

The following Saturday it was secretly known that Vince was going to be arrested and Tony would come on his off-day and do the job as they carry Vince away in handcuffs.

Saturday morning came and Vince did not show up. He didn’t call in. Tony was there so he did fill in on his own job.

Later that morning it was the Acworth Police found Vince’s car in a lakeside park. Inside was a man holding Rosary beads with one hand and a handgun with the other hand. His brains were blown out.

His 15 year old “step-son” insisted on seeing the body and identified him.

The body was cremated quickly with no services. The boy wanted to know when could he get his hands on the sports car and how old did he have to be before he could sell the house.

We talked about this at work – some things did not add up. Tony had a old friend that had authority in the City Government of Acworth and he checked around. It even raised more questions:

According to the autopsy Vince’s body weighed about 250 pounds. Vince was skinny as a rail, probably weighing under 160.
According to the autopsy Vince’s body had tattoos on the arm and neck. The real Vince had not visible tattoos with his shirt on. According to the autopsy there were several needle marks on the arms – Vince wore short sleeves and no one recalls seeing needle marks.

But his loving adopted son identified the body as Vince Desantes.

About the same time Vince was suppose to be at work that day, 6am, he withdrew the maximum he could from an ATM machine.

Why would someone withdraw money and kill themselves the same hour? And if so, what did he spend it on? He only had a few dollars in his wallet – along with his drivers license.

We think it is possible that Vince picked up a wayward type of man, and blew him away, maybe in more ways than one.

To make things more interesting, to put a little spice in the pot, so to speak, Vince had a will leaving everything to his adopted son, but as executor he named the person he coped a “feel” from the guy threatened to flatten him.

I often think I see Vince in a crowd, but each time after getting closer I see it is not him. If he is still alive I think he is probably far far away.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

Far away and living under a different name. I believe there are a lot of people out there floating around who have done things like this. Jebus!

Another riveting post….

Isn’t it funny how people always give vets the benefit of the doubt? Even whgen I argue politics I will occasionally (though not often because of the brevity of my “career”) use the vet card to score unassailable points.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Sounds like one of the "Forensic File" episodes on Court TV that I love!

5:56 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

http://www.wlbt.com/global/story.asp?s=1281334&ClientType=Print

Check it out, Eddie. Thats waht this reminds me of. This was from my childhood.

Bird, do you remember???

6:30 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Steve -I too use pull out my vet card from up my sleeve and somebody might question my patrotism because of my wild-wreckless liberal ideas.
Bird - It does sound like one of those things Robert Stack would narrate.
Steve - I'll check it out.

7:07 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

An interesting story, Eddie. I have known people who liked to suck up to important people (or who they perceive is important). I don't trust them at all.

At mr. kenju's school reunion in DC several years ago, I met the wife of one of his classmates who, when told that I was in the wedding business, started chatting me up,etc. and told me tht she was a wedding planner, blah,blah. We were "best buddies" for an hour or so, but when I told her I didn't plan weddings, I just arranged the flowers for them, her estimation of me dropped like concrete from a tall building and she hardly spoke to me the rest of the trip. Go figure!

7:11 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Steve,
I checked out the site - the similarity is uncanny.

7:27 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Judy,
I know how that feels - to be dropped like a brick or a hot potato as soon as your new friend realizes there is nothing monetarily gained by being your new best friend.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I could not agree more with Stever. That was a totally fascinating, yet completely creepy story. What happened to the 15 year old kid? I wonder who tipped Vince off about not showing up for work? Ooooh, there is so much intrigue.

12:15 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Suzanne,
That is a mystery who tipped Vince off Vince. He always tried to have connections - maybe one actually paid off.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Yes, I remember. Barely. I was a teenager.

5:19 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Bird,
I thought you ARE a teenager.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

She is, Eddie. She is...

and how right Suzanne is for agreeing with the "Stever!"

6:13 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Steve,
I knew you would agree with that because in that case how old are you? 21 or 22? Not older than 23.
I know what you mean, anybody that says, "I agree with what Eddie says" makes my eyes sparkle.

1:59 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Dear Eddie,
I agree with whatever you say and did you realize that if no one else replied to this entry it would have the unlucky number 13 on it forever? We don't want that do we?

3:05 AM  

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