Hiding in plain sight, was often a great strategy, an under-utilized one actually. So when he rented the empty paper clip factory he felt safe, knowing that the occasional plume of smoke out the tall chimney and the constant removal of green weed odour wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention.
He had been doing this type of work for a long time. Find a space, tap into the hydro, use the chimney to exhaust the smell and in 4 months the crop will be ready for harvest. He estimated he would get 2,000 plants in the space. A good yield would give him 4 ounces per plant which would work out to 500 pounds. At $1,500 a pound he would gross, $750,000. Half of that would go to the triad that bankrolled him and provided the distribution. In the end after expenses he would net about $300 grand. Not bad for 4 months work, which would allow him to put his growing equipment back into storage and spend the rest of the year on a beach in the Caribbean.
The only thing left to do today was to shovel all that snow off his car, so he could go to Homedepot and buy some new tubing for the hydroponic setup as well as a couple more exhaust fans. He sparked up a preroll he picked up from one of the government licensed dispensaries and contemplated the task ahead of him, as the smoke from his joint curled towards the open door of the incinerator.
A Room With No View
He woke and looking around, everything was were it should be. He felt safe when everything was where it should be. The concrete floor was still cold, still hard, the paint cans still stacked, the gas cylinder exactly where it was supposed to be. All this familiarity made him feel safe, made this storage closet feel safe. It had been several weeks since he turned the random door knob and found the room open. He made sure to take all of his things when he left for the day, leaving a quarter in the door jamb, in such a way that the door wouldn’t appear unlocked by a casual turn or pull.
Mohammad mostly moved through the city invisibly. On one hand he stood out, with his disheveled clothes, worn out, duct taped shoes shuffling along. Often draped in his dirty sleeping bag. His hair and beard were matted and natty from too long without a brush or a comb or even hot water. Who could not notice him crossing against red lights, weaving in and out of traffic. But in many ways he felt he was invisible, when he asked for change and was ignored, when he saw people cross the street to avoid him, when random people seemed to look right through him.
One could often find him gesticulating and making small talk to his reflection in the windows of businesses up and down Yonge St. The conversations were generally civil though on occasion he would take umbrage by something he said and appear aggressive to those passing by.
Every now and then he would show up at St.Mikes, ED and tell them he was planning to kill himself. He had a long convoluted story that involved rope and the Bloor viaduct. This would usually get him on a 72 hour Form 1 and provide him with a few decent meals, a shave, a haircut, clothing and a new pair of donated shoes.
For now he had a place to call home so he would avoid St.Mikes. He enjoyed locking the door and bedding down on the floor, knowing that everything would be in its place when he woke up. He felt safe.