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But Theresa Stinziani, owner of the Charm Hotel on Sherman Street, claims that Delostia is just an annoyance. Stinziani says that Delostia often bums cigarettes from her and that when he has smokes of his own he will offer her one. "I'm not afraid of him," she says. "I don't think he would hurt anyone."
As for Delostia himself, his answers add little to the controversy except evidence that he has a somewhat fragile grip on reality. The day after his brief early-morning outburst, he is roused from a midmorning slumber by a reporter. Sitting up in his makeshift bed in the carport, Delostia rubs his big brown eyes and pushes back his graying hair. Despite being awakened he is dressed in a black T-shirt, blue work pants, and a pair of shoes.
Delostia speaks softly and lucidly at first, but then the words that come out of his mouth make little sense. He does not deny screaming the previous night or on any other occasion. But he blames the outburst on intruders. The screams, he says, are merely to protect himself.
Specifically Delostia claims that Beauchamp has been sending people over to attack him in the middle of the night. "He's a scumbag, a troublemaker," Delostia says of his neighbor. He further claims that Beauchamp is dealing in drugs and stolen goods. (Beauchamp denies these charges.)
The Howler is then cautioned by his mother, Dottie, to mind his tongue. Dottie Delostia stands behind a screened window in the darkened house, invisible from the outside. When asked about her son's claims, she confirms that strange people have been showing up in the yard, making trouble for her son. She claims to have seen a large black man and two white girls just recently trying to steal stuff from their property. As for Beauchamp's and the other neighbors' complaints? "[Beauchamp]'s full of crap," she says.
The Howler then gets on his bicycle, as if he's going to ride away. Instead he warns the reporter not to mention him in the paper. As the reporter walks away, the Howler again begins to howl -- this time intelligibly: "It's bullshit," he screams. "Bullshit."
Contact Paul Demko at his e-mail address: email@example.com