Sunday, October 2, 2011

365 Jobs: Hamilton Holmes

October 1983

Hamilton Holmes

Hamilton Holmes has a heart condition.
You want to listen?
In his garage he found under a wheel
six hundred shares of U. S. Steel.
A broker would make him wait seven days.
He's in a hurry.  How much will you pay?
See that Audi?  Almost new.
Worth four grand.  He'll take two.
The reason is, he needs surgery real quick.
Pay cash now.  Then go for a trip.
You want it?  You like him?
Don't fall for his art.
Remember he warned you:
he has a bad heart.

(Not his real name, by the way.)

I got a call from an apartment manager asking if I could break into a unit.  A tenant had changed the locks.

As I've written before, carpentry is great training for a burglar.  In this case, all I had to do was pry out the door stop and cut the deadbolt with a recipro saw.  Unlike a burglar, I didn't have to worry about noise.

The tenant was gone and so was the furniture that came with the unit.  So were the faucets, shower nozzle, toilet, light fixtures, schlock artwork, drapes, carpet, doormat, stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and garbage disposal.  He left the bathtub.

Now I had a couple day's work restoring this unit. 

The manager said the guy had a British accent and a charming manner.  He wrote a bad check late Friday afternoon which didn't bounce until Tuesday.  The manager spent all day Wednesday trying to contact him.  Thursday, the manager picked up the local paper and, by golly, the tenant's mug shot was on the front page.   He'd been flim-flamming people all up and down the San Francisco Peninsula.  A detective with the San Jose police was quoted as admiring the guy's work ethic:  "He was tireless.  He cheated people at six a.m. and he cheated people at midnight.  The man never quit."

He'd been trying to raise money for a heart operation.  The harder he worked, the more he needed it.

In prison, I bet he got the surgery.  For free.


  1. yeah, but did the surgeons wash their hands? and did he have anesthesia? and did he survive, the operation may have been a success but the patient could have died LOL.

    Also I wonder, is US Steel worth anything nowadays, or am I missing something here... I'm kind of a dunce in a lot of ways :-(

  2. I forgot to put a date in this post, but it happened in the early 1980's when US Steel was still around.