Silver and Starbucks

Posted: December 10, 2018 in Prose

IMG_4797

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

26 June 2012

This morning, in front of Starbucks, I pulled up a plastic crate and sat beside Silver. He’d told me previously about going to reform school when he was young. I asked him about the details.

“I first went to reform school because I stole some money. I stole sixty dollars from a lady friend of my mom’s. I didn’t spend any of the money. I hid it in my sock drawer. The lady called the police. She told them, ‘I’m missing some money and I know who took it.’

“I was coming home from school. I saw the police car and my sister was crying. The police said that if I returned the money the lady wouldn’t press charges. I said to my sister, ‘Don’t worry, I have the money. I can return it. Everything will be okay.’ I went to my sock drawer and the money was gone. Somebody in my family found the money and took it. So, that’s why I went to reform school. I did some other things, nothing very bad — kid things. They seemed like good ideas at the time.

“Sunday I went to my church where I panhandle. Lately there have been a lot of new people panning there. They had every door covered. I said to one of them, ‘You’re in my spot.’ He said, ‘I’ve been coming here a long time. Do you know what time the service starts?’ I said, ‘You’ve been coming here a long time and you don’t know what time the service starts? Yeah, sure!’ It was a bunch of crack heads. There was no point in getting into a fist fight about it. I’ll see if they’re there next Sunday.”

I said, “Gaston was at the park Friday. He seems like a decent person. Does he come by often?”

“Yeah, he and his friend are both quiet. They don’t cause any trouble. They call him Bird. I don’t know why.”

“When I talked to him Friday he was telling me about rescuing a skunk who had fallen into a ditch and couldn’t get out. I know he has cats and a dog. I think he mentioned that birds come right up to him. I guess he likes birds.”

“That would make sense.”

I said, “Have you seen anything of Daimon and Lucy in the Sky lately?”

“No, not since Friday.”

“I don’t get it,” I said, “They want to beat up Alphonse and Magdalene. Alphonse is small and Magdalene is five months pregnant. They have no money, no anything, they’re panhandlers. What do Daimon and Lucy hope to gain from that?”

“They’re both psychopaths. What we should do is, get a group of us together, jump them and beat the shit out of them. Then they’ll get the message that they’re not welcome.”

“That was Joy’s idea,” I said. “How long have you been panning here, Silver?”

“I’ve been here about eleven years. I used to be where Joy is now. After she got out of prison, she said it was her spot. She gave me a couple of cigarettes for it. That was okay. I didn’t like that spot anyway. I got a few tickets there for panhandling. For some reason they don’t seem to bother Joy. When I was still with my ex I used to pan on the other side of this column. It’s a government building. They said that I was blocking their fire exit and asked me to move. If there had been a fire I wouldn’t have stayed around to be in anybody’s way. I’d have been long gone. Just to annoy them, I moved a few feet over. Now I’m in front of Starbucks. I’ve talked to the owner. He doesn’t mind me being here, he just asked that I don’t open the door for the ladies. I said, ‘That’s no problem.’ Now the ladies open their own doors.

“Before I came here I lived in a small town near here. I worked for a retired cop. I’d mow his lawn, dig his garden — anything that needed doing around the yard. He watched every move I made, as if I was going to steal something from his garden. Finally, I got fed up. I told him, ‘With you watching me all the time it’s as bad as being in prison.’ I guess it gets in their blood.

“Hey Dora!” Silver yelled, “where’s my treat?” She came back a few minutes later with a toasted Danish. “Dora, I was just kidding.”

“A customer left it on the counter. Don’t you want it?”

“Of course I want it. Thanks, Dora!”

A man stopped and dropped a folded ten dollar bill in Silver’s cap. “I’ve made forty dollars so far.. It’s just about time to quit for the day.”

At noon it was cool and windy. The first person I saw was old Serge. “Hi Serge, I said, “How are your eyes today. Do you have any headaches? You didn’t fall again did you?”

“No, I didn’t fall again. Last night I slept in a park, nearby. It was nice.”

“Take care, Serge.”

“Take care.”

Seated on the curb by the sidewalk was a group of a half dozen regulars.

Andre gestured to a camp stool and said, “Have a seat. Gene gave this to me. Look down below.” I looked, there were two zippered pockets. One held a plate, plastic glass and cutlery. The second was a cooler.

“That cooler will hold ten beer or four bottles of sherry. The cops won’t even know I have any liquor. Yesterday I must have drunk, let me think… nine bottles of sherry. I’ve got a hangover now, so I haven’t been drinking. See my hand shaking?”

I asked, “What’s this carved wooden animal in your hat? Is this for good luck?”

“You don’t recognize it?”

“It looks like a bear.”

“It’s a kitty cat. I call it my pocket pussy.”

Gene commented on a german shepherd that was being led on a leash by its owner. “That’s a beautiful dog. It’s well-groomed too.”

“Yes, it’s had a lot of brushing.”

“I used to have a dog just like that, a King German Shepherd named Chinook. She was a really smart dog. There are a lot of tests that you can put a dog through to determine its intelligence; putting food under an upside down cup, putting a blanket over the dog’s head. He passed all the tests. She knocked the cup over to get the food, shook her head to get out from under the blanket. Some dogs would just sit there. Like when you put a cover over a bird-cage.

“We had a four-foot fence around our yard. I had a problem with some neighbourhood kids who were teasing and throwing stones at Chinook. I told their parents what was happening and asked if I could teach the kids a lesson. They said, ‘Okay.’ When the kids came over again I went out and talked to them. I said, ‘This dog is almost as big as you are. It has a gentle nature unless it’s provoked. This dog could kill you. You think you’re safe behind this fence. Watch this.’ I gave the command, ‘Chinook, over!’ She easily jumped the fence and came to my side. She used to jump into the back of my pickup. You should have seen the expression on those kids’ faces. Their eyes were like saucers when they saw the dog up close.

“We had kids in the house at the time, so we didn’t smoke or drink very much. It’s a funny thing, but Chinook didn’t like people smoking or drinking. It was alright if I was sitting at the table and had a few beer or a smoke, but it someone came to the door with the smell of alcohol or cigarettes on them she’d get upset. She even growled at my mother-in-law. I asked her if she’d been drinking . She said she had. If I was sitting on the lawn with a beer beside me Chinook would knock it over. She was great with kids. They’d pile on top of her, pull her ears.  She wouldn’t react at all.

Gene’s cell phone began to ring. “I’m going to have to take this,” he said. “I’m supposed to be working today. I’m a carpenter. My boss has my belt and all my tools. I can’t contact him. I think he’s at his cottage. If he didn’t have any work for me, I could have found work with someone else —  if I had my tools.

“I talked to Stewart the other day. He’s living in Orleans.”

I said, “I talked to him too. No, I’m thinking of Weasel. He’s been in the East General since last Tuesday. He got out around four yesterday. I bet Wolf will be happy. He won’t have to look after Bear anymore.”

Joy said, “Wolf’s hand still hasn’t fully healed from where Bear bit him. I was thinking that maybe Weasel had died. If he had, I wonder how many people would attend his funeral.”

Silver said, “That’s a morbid thing to say, Joy.”

“I’m not wishing he was dead, I was just thinking that it wouldn’t be like the funeral we attended for Hobo. That was packed.”

Steve said, “It looks like Bear has already started digging a grave for him here in the lawn.”

“It’s a pretty shallow grave,” said Silver.

Joy said, “A shallow grave would be good enough. He’s skinny. I’d be glad to throw in the first shovel of dirt.”

Hippo said,”I’m getting pissed off with Little Jake. We’ve been panning together and he keeps saying stupid things like, ‘This is my bridge.’ It scares people away. If that’s his bridge then this is my park.”

Pierre said, “I have to go home to feed my kid and me.”

Andre said, “What’s that?”

Joy said, “Pierre has a son. He has to go home and make his lunch.”

“Oh,” said Andre, “I thought he said, ‘I have to go home to feed my kidney. That just sounded wrong.”

Pierre said to Joy, “Do you want me to cut the ribs.”

“Separate them, don’t cut through the bone.”

“That’s what I meant.”

Rocky arrived and said hello to me. “Hi, Rocky, how are you feeling?”

“I’m good.”

“Is your stomach okay? Have you been eating?”

“I’ve been eating.”

“Have you received any more information about housing?”

“I move July fifteenth.”

“Do you know the location yet?”

“It’s in the suburbs. To get here, I’d take a bus,  a subway, then a streetcar. That takes about forty-five minutes. It’s about half an hour to downtown.”

“How did it go with your probation officer? You were worried about being breached.”

“No, he didn’t breach me. I’ve been going to my A.A. meetings.”

“That sounds great, Rocky. It sounds a lot better that when you were throwing up blood in the bushes.”

Andre said, “You know, I got five tickets the other day. I was sitting on the sidewalk with a couple of guys, actually it was Little Jake and Hippo. There was an open bottle in front of me. The cop said, ‘Whose bottle is that?’ I said, ‘I might as well own up to it.’ He wrote me up. I said, ‘Since I’m being charged can I keep the bottle?’ He said, ‘I’ll ask my partner.’ His partner was my cousin. Of course he said I could keep it.

“He said, ‘We’re going to come back. If you’re still here, you’ll be charged again.’ We stayed and we were charged again. I even got a charge for smoking within twenty feet of a doorway.”

Outcast said, “Something similar happened to me. I was drinking a big bottle of beer. The cop charged me and I said, “Can I at least drink the rest of this beer instead of dumping it?’ He said, ‘If you can drink it before I finish writing up your friend, you can drink it.’
Well, It went down in two seconds.”

Wolf said, “I was talking to Francois the other day. Remember he and I got tickets? I said to the cop, ‘It’s my fault that he’s here. Can you go a bit easy on him. The cop wrote him up. I only found out today that he only got a warning. I got two tickets, $125.00 each. He has a driver’s licence so he would have had to pay the fine before he could renew his licence. For me it doesn’t matter.”

.

 

 

Saint Nick

Posted: December 8, 2018 in Prose

IMG_4797

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

dog

22 June 2012

This morning was perfect. Joy was nodding on her plastic crate. I surprised her when I said, “Hello!”

“I wasn’t around yesterday,” said Joy, “I was taken to hospital with heat stroke. I asked the doctor , ‘How can that be? I’ve been drinking lots of water. I have two large bottles in my bag.’ He said, ‘Some people are more susceptible than others, especially if your immune system is low.’

“I hate hospitals. I couldn’t wait to get out. When I was in there in November, I picked up some superbug, MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) or VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci). That’s why I was in so long. I could have died from those.

“When I got home, Chuck  lit into me, ‘Where have you been? I made supper for you!’ I said, ‘Before you get all wound up, listen to me. I’ve been in hospital. I had heat stroke and they kept me overnight.’ “

“Oh, I’m sorry. Anyway, there are a couple of pieces of chicken left, in the oven.”

I said, ” ‘Oh really? How long have they been in there? I think I’ll leave those for you, Chuck.’

He invited Nicholas and Corrine over for a barbecue yesterday. They were sitting on my bed. Chuck knows I don’t like that. I asked him, ‘Chuck, when am I ever going to get this place alone to myself?’ He said, ‘Maybe Sunday.’ I’ve got to get away from there.”

“I have the addresses and phone numbers for the YMCA. There is one a few blocks from here if you want to check it out?”

“The problem with the Y is they don’t allow smoking and you can’t cook in your room. I can’t imagine living in a place where I couldn’t smoke or cook.”

“Nick, with the glasses, isn’t with Trudy any longer. He said I could stay at his place for free. I could even have my own bedroom. He’s a real sweetheart and he’s quiet.”

I said, “I’ve talked to Nick many times. I’m really impressed with him. He makes sandwiches and hands them out to homeless people. He’s really a great guy.”

“So what’s been happening at the park? What drama have I missed?”

“Chili is hanging out with Daimon and Lucy. That was a surprise! The other day she left with them. The three of them were heading downtown.”

“That poor kid, she just won’t learn.”

I added, “The police were by yesterday afternoon. I was sitting with Andre and Hippo. The cop couldn’t believe that Andre was sober. He said, ‘I drank so much last night that I woke up with the shakes this morning. I decided to give my body a break for the day.’ He held out his hand to show the cop how he was shaking. Hippo was sober as well.

“The cop said, ‘You guys know that they don’t want you here. Why don’t you find another place that we don’t patrol every day?’ Andre said, “Every place we go they tell us to move on. We’re in a small group, we’re not drinking or making noise. We’re just sitting here, enjoying the shade, on a hot day. Where do you want us to go?’ “

“That’s just it, said Joy, “they’re talking about that place being private property. I’ve never heard that before and we’ve been going there for fourteen years. The other cop said we could stay there as long as we weren’t in a big group, like twenty people. Otherwise we were okay.”

I asked, “What kind of a beef do Daimon and Lucy have against Alphonse and Magdalene. A couple of days ago, Daimon said they were in for a beating. Andre said, ‘Magdalene is five months pregnant.’ Daimon said, ‘I have no problem with hitting a pregnant woman.'”

“I told those guys, they should gang up, jump him and beat the shit out of him. I’d have no trouble one on one with Lucy and she knows it. The problem is Daimon. He can’t just go around beating and robbing people. When the cops were by the other day they were checking out some of the guys. I kept nodding towards Daimon and Lucy. They must have a breach outstanding somewhere. The cops just ignored them.

“Alphonse has always been a sweet quiet guy. I don’t know Magdalene.”

When I arrived at the park there were two groups of people. Sitting by herself, between the two groups was Joy.

“I’m not being antisocial,” said Joy. “It’s just that the reflection of the sun, from that building over there, was shining in my eyes. I think it’s moved now, so let’s go join the group.”

“Have you talked to Nick? Is everything okay about you staying there?”

“Yeah, I even asked him, if I paid by the month, would it be alright if I moved in permanently. He said we could work out the details, but it was fine with him. I didn’t want to talk too much. I don’t want everyone knowing my business.”

We joined the group and Nick said to Joy, “You come over any time you want – rain or shine. I don’t want to see you sleeping outside again.”

“I won’t come unannounced,” said Joy, “I’ll phone first.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’m usually home.”

“It’s just that Chuck always has so many people over.”

“I know, and who ends up funding these barbecues? You do.”

“I just can’t afford it. Even around here — I bought a carton of cigarettes from Wolf and I had maybe a third of them. The rest went to Hippo, Little Jake and Andre. Chester hit me up for bus tickets. I know his leg is still hurting him, but I have to get home as well. I don’t owe Chester anything. It’s him that owes me.”

Joy left to talk to Chuck. Nick said to me, “Every morning when I walk across the bridge, I’m surprised at who comes out. I have sandwiches that I distribute. I bought some of those plastic containers and filled them with stew. I gave out sixteen of them. I got one container back; the rest I didn’t.

“Sometimes I’ll meet someone and I’ll invite them to come with me to a restaurant for coffee or breakfast. They might ask, ‘Could you buy me a beer?’ I say,’ Coffee or food, but no beer.’

“I always have my bible with me and I’ll pray for people. We may not be the same religion, but it doesn’t matter. I think it helps them to have someone pray for them.”

Nick’s phone rang. He talked for a while then handed the phone to Joy.

Joy said, “Hi Pierre, how are you? Are you pissed with me? I was in the hospital. I had to stay overnight. I didn’t have my phone with my contact list. I didn’t know how to get a message to you. Am I still going to see you on the weekend?… Oh… I’ll call you then. Bye.

“He’s acting all pissy because he had invited me to his place for a barbecue and I was going to sleep over, but that was the day I went into hospital. I didn’t have my phone. I couldn’t contact him. He says that he has things to do on the weekend and he has a lot on his mind.

“His girlfriend is in Inuktuk with his year old baby. He’s heard that it isn’t his, but what’s he going to do?

I said, “It shouldn’t matter to him whether it’s his child or not.”

“I agree, a baby needs love. It doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

It was time for me to leave. “It’ll all work out, Joy. I see good things in your future. Have a good weekend.”

I said goodbye to Nick. He hugged me and said, “I love you, brother.”

I said, “I love you, Nick. We’re on the same path.”

.

Chateau Lafayette

Posted: December 7, 2018 in Prose

IMG_4797

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

21 June 2012

This morning was muggy. I had trouble staying awake on the bus. The only pan handler I saw was Silver. I sat down with him, then I saw Magdalene and Alphonse sitting across the street. Magdalene is five months pregnant. It appeared that Alphonse had bought her something cold to drink.

The-Laff-Ottawa

“So, Silver, have you made a decision about moving out of the Lafayette?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been there so long — over four years. There aren’t too many crack heads. There are a few pot smokers down the hall. Everyone, pretty much keeps to themselves. I like it that way.

“It’s really hot for sleeping, even with two fans going. They just move the hot air around. I have to get a new mattress. I burned the last one and threw it out, so now I’m sleeping on the floor. I just keep tossing and turning.

“I got my last mattress from the Mission. I don’t know where I’ll get the next one. I’m worried about bed bugs. I don’t have any now, but the landlord brought around some bed bug traps. I said, ‘Oh no, not this again!’ I hate bed bugs. It’s people who bring them in, especially the ones who stay at the Mission or the Shepherd’s.

“Something really spooky happened last night. I usually leave the door to my room ajar, for air circulation. I woke up and my room-mate was standing in the door way. I jumped up and asked him, ‘What’s going on, man?’ He was sound asleep. I shook him and he said, ‘I must have been sleep walking.’ That could be dangerous. He could have fallen down the stairs. I said to him this morning, ‘You really wierded me out last night, man.’ He didn’t remember a thing.

“After you left the park yesterday the cops showed up again — a sargent and a rookie. He said, ‘If there are more than four of you guys sitting around, we’re going to ask you to move.’ I said, ‘What if there are a lot of groups with just four each? Is that okay?’ “

“We’ll be back. You’d better be gone.”

“I wandered over to the loading dock. I’d bought myself a big sausage sandwich and I drank my beer. I know all the guys there. They don’t know that I pan handle.

I said, “I saw Hippo last night at about six o’clock. He was really drunk and said that he still had a bottle to go. He hadn’t been eating.”

“He can really eat when he wants to.We went to a funeral for Hobo at the Park Funeral Home. They put out six meals for us downstairs, before we went to the service. Hippo stayed behind. When we got back he’d eaten all six meals.

“Hippo really guzzles that sherry. I don’t know why people drink that. It’s killed so many of my friends, like Hobo and Rip — no, I think Rip’s still alive. They have him under house arrest. He wears one of those collars on his ankle. As soon as he leaves his front door, an alarm rings.

“He was nearly killed by a six-foot Amazon woman. I don’t know what he saw in her. She was nuts. She pulled a knife on him. He tried to defend himself. He got a slash across the palm of his hand and a stab wound to the groin.”

This afternoon at the park was hot. Everyone was drained of energy. I was about to shake Wolf’s hand when I saw that it was purple and swollen. He said, “I won’t shake your hand today. I was feeding Blackie and she bit me. It’s Weasel’s dog, he should be taking care of her, wherever he is.”

I said hello to Little Jake, Daimon and Lucy in the Sky were just leaving with Shakes. “Are they heading off to work (pan handle)?”

“Yeah, they’re taking Shakes to his office. He’s so drunk he couldn’t make it by himself.” I expect that his pockets will have been emptied, before they leave him.”

Gene said, “It’s too hot to do anything. I know that the money’s out there, but I hate to leave this shade. You guys with your long pants make me sweat just looking at you. Does anybody have a cigarette?”

“No,” all around.

“I’m going to have to go to work just to get a smoke and a drink.”

Andre said, “I was panning last night in front of Tim Horton’s. A guy dropped me thirty dollars. I thanked him and said, ‘Don’t forget my buddy across the street.’ He walked across and dropped Hippo a twenty. We did a lot of drinking after that. I had the shakes so bad this morning I couldn’t do anything.

“After last night, it’s feeling a bit rough, but I’ll be okay. I’m just going to take it easy.”

Andre pulled out an egg salad sandwich from his backpack. He said, “I’d better eat this before it goes bad.”

I said, “It’s Thursday, the ‘sandwich ladies’ must have come around.”

“Yeah,” said Hippo, “They were just here.” He was sipping on a box of apple juice.

Two bicycle cops rode up on the lawn, a male and a female. I had seen them there a few days ago. The female stopped to talk to Wolf’s group. The male rode up to where we were sitting’

“How are you guys doing?”

“We’re just enjoying the shade,” answered Andre.

“Andre, are you sober?”

“Stone cold sober.”

“Why is that?”

“I woke up with the shakes this morning and thought I’d better give my body a rest.”

“Why did you have the shakes?”

“I drank too much last night.” He held out his shaking hand.

To me he said, “Where are you staying, sir?”

“I live near Westgate.”

“Why are you here?”

“Just visiting with my friends.”

‘You guys know that they don’t want you here. Why don’t you find another place that we don’t patrol all the time?”

“No matter where we go,” said Andre, “they tell us to move along. We’re not drinking, there’s not a big group of us, we’re just enjoying the shade. Where do you want us to go?”

“I’ll check with my partner.”

I noticed that Wolf was being charged, probably with a liquor violation. After the officer finished writing the ticket they both rode off.”

Andre said, “I’m going to go pick some butts.” Shortly after that I left. I met Andre coming back with a handful of cigarette butts.

Psycho

Posted: December 5, 2018 in Prose

IMG_4797

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

cops

20 June 2012

“Hi Joy, how did everything go after I left yesterday? Was there any more trouble with Daimon and Lucy?”

“No, Andre walked Chili and me down to where she had to go, then I took the bus home. When I was on the bus I realized that I didn’t have my phone. I had it tucked into the cuff of my jeans. It must have fallen out when I was helping Chili. I tried phoning the number and it sounded like a kid that answered. I said, ‘Look, I’ve just gotten off the number fourteen bus. I really need my telephone. Would you do me a really big favor and bring it to the mall’ Then the phone went dead. I tried calling the number later, but it wasn’t in service.

“A guy gave me a phone, but I have to pay a thirty-five dollar activation fee. I’m going to check around and see if I can get a better deal than that.

“I swear that I’m going to give Loretta a shot in the head today.”

“What did she do?” I asked.

“She was panning in front of Tim Horton’s. I said to her, ‘You can’t stay here, you’re cutting my grass.’ I sent her over to see Silver. He sent her over to Hippo’s spot. She’s probably only got about ten minutes before the woman from the hotel asked her to move.

“Chuck has been real pissy lately. He’s always talking down to me. Last night when I came home I still had a piece of steak in the fridge. I nuked it, then put it in a bun with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It tasted just like one of those Philly Steak and Cheese sandwiches that you can get at Arby’s. I worked at Arby’s one time. It was mostly a front for a drug operation. I used to call it Garby’s. I left just before they got raided.

“Nicholas was really getting on my nerves. He just kept talking and talking about everything. He even followed me into my room. I said to him, ‘Nicholas, you may know about some things, but you don’t know everything. If you don’t shut the fuck up, I’m going to do you right here.’ “

“But, I have a girlfriend.”

” ‘I didn’t mean that I wanted to have sex with you. I meant that I was going to punch you in the head.’

“Chuck was barbecuing and asked me if I wanted a sausage. I said, ‘No’ He got all pissy about that and I really lost it. I packed all my things, put them in my bag and walked out. I slept behind Starbucks. I had my blanket under me, a soft pile of cardboard underneath and another blanket that I pulled over my head.

“Hippo and Andre came by sometime in the night. Andre peeked under the corner of the blanket and said, ‘Hey, it’s Joy.’ Later on he said, ‘I may accidentally put my arm around you in my sleep.’ The first time he did it, I just moved his arm. The second time, I gave him a shot in the head. I didn’t want any spooning going on. I was all snugly, Andre and Hippo shivered all night. I don’t know why they don’t get some blankets or a sleeping bag. There are lots available now.

“Hippo had a shower the other day and he’s acting all different like, ‘I’m King Hippo’. He’s still wearing the same dirty pants that are nearly worn through. He said to me, “Joy we should go down to Queen Street now.” I don’t need him telling me where I should and shouldn’t go.

“I have to see  my probie today. She wants me to move to a womens’ shelter. I don’t even know where it is. I’ve talked to a few women who’ve lived there. They say there are a lot of rules, like doing daily chores; not coming in drunk; once a week having to cook a meal for the entire floor. I don’t even cook for myself. If I can’t throw it in the nuker, I don’t buy it.”

I said, “How about sharing a place with Chili? You seem to get along fine with her.”

“The only problem is that she has a place In Scarborough. I don’t want to stay somewhere it takes three busses to get downtown. The only person I would consider living with is Pierre. He’s invited me over sometimes on the weekend. He has a twelve-year-old son that he talks to on the telephone. I hear him saying, ‘I love you, son.’ I can here the son saying, ‘I love you dad.’ That’s really special.

“Pierre says he’s not interested in a relationship. He’s interested in a friend with benefits. He’s a bit older than I am, but it’s something to think about.”

I said, “I met Pierre yesterday. He seems nice. I think he’d probably treat you well. Why don’t you give it a try?”

Before getting ready to leave I asked, “So, what’s going to happen with Daimon and Lucy. Are they going to just keep on jumping, beating and robbing people?”

“Yeah, until Daimon goes back to jail again. I felt so bad when I saw that you weren’t wearing your watch yesterday. It’s really bad when friends can’t visit friends without stashing their stuff.

….

Before I left work I had taken the precaution of putting my watch in my pocket. Noon at the park was very hot and humid. Everyone felt drained of energy. Asleep on the grass was Shakes. Sitting in a circle were Daimon,  Lucy, Chili, Hippo, and Andre. In another group were Little Jake, Chester, Wolf and his dog Shaggy. The police had been by earlier and said that any groups larger than five people had to disperse.

I sat next to Hippo. Someone had found a newspaper photo of a hippopotamus. The photo was being passed around and someone was teasing Hippo that it was an image of his father. Hippo said, “Yeah, he’s famous. He got his picture in the paper and he’s being fed by a prince or something.”

“I remember one time going to the Clayton fair. It’s a tiny town but they have a big fair. That’s where I got driven over by a car. Another guy drove his truck straight into the swamp. He was just sitting there in the cab, he thought he was still driving. Somebody was there with a big winch truck. Nobody wanted to jump into the swamp to hook up the chain, so I did — ‘bloop.’  “

I was surprised to see Chili sitting next to Lucy and Daimon. Her bruises still haven’t healed from the last time she was with them.

“We went to pan this morning,” said Daimon, “There was a guy in our spot. I said, ‘Get the fuck out of here! This is our spot.’ He didn’t move so I kicked him in the head. Then he moved.”

Hippo said, “I had to ask Loretta to move. She was in my spot.”

“What if she hadn’t moved?” asked Andre.

“Then I would have asked Lucy to move her.”

Daimon said, “There is someone else that’s looking for a beating. It’s Alphonse and Magdalene.”

Gene said, “Daimon could take Alphonse, Lucy could take Magdalene.”

Andre said, “The problem is, Magdalene is five months pregnant.”

“I don’t have a problem with hitting a pregnant woman, ” said Daimon.

“It’s a shame,” said Gene, “that someone would beat and rob Shakes. All you have to do is ask him for something and he’ll either say, ‘Yes!’ or ‘No!’ That’s not complicated.”

“If he says, ‘No,” said Daimon, you can wait until he passes out, then take it… I was just kidding!”

.

Algonquin Land

Posted: December 1, 2018 in Prose

IMG_4797

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

18 June 2012

Noon at the park was sunny and warm. Serge was sitting in his usual place.

“Hi Serge!”

“Hi.”

“How have you been feeling?”

“I’ve been feeling sick the past few days.”

“What kind of sickness did you have?”

“Too much booze. I’m taking a break for a while.”

“It’s good to take a break every once in a while.

“Are the others up top?”

“There all up there.”

“I’ll see you on my way back, Serge.”

“See you.”

There were several groups of people on the lawn. Wolf’s dog, Shaggy was unusually friendly, rubbing against me, sliding her head under my hand to be scratched and petted.

“Jake,” I said, “Friday you mentioned that You had a dream about me. Do you remember the dream?”

“No, it wasn’t sexual though. I think I may have dreamed that you gave me a hundred dollars. I don’t know.”

Irving was talking to Andre, looking very sombre. He said that he been sitting on the sidewalk with his girlfriend Justina and had touched her breast. The police saw it and charged him.

“You’re a marked man, Irving,” said Andre. “Even if she goes to court and tries to have the charges dropped, you’ll have a stay on your record. If you get charged for anything else, you’ll go straight to jail and as a sexual offender expect a lot of beatings. They’ll probably put you in P.C. (Protective Custody), but even there you won’t be safe.”

Irving handed the summons to  Andre who said, “I thought you just got a domestic, this says you’re charged with sexual assault. You’re fucked! If you go within fifty feet of her you can be charged.

“Don’t get me wrong, Irving, we’re family. We know you didn’t do anything wrong. We’ll always have your back. It’s just the police.”

Daimon said, “I’ve had domestics before. Even if you’re just arguing with your old lady, they can kick you out of your house or apartment. They won’t do a thing to her, but if you leave they figure there’s no more problem.”

Andre said, “I’ve served twenty-five years in jail, in and out. If there’s one thing I know, it’s the law. Since it was the cops who laid the charges against you, it’s them you’ll have to deal with.”

“I have witnesses too,” said Irving.

“That could help. One time I was charged with uttering death threats against my wife, her parents and my kids — five counts I was charged with. I spent eleven months dead time before I went to court. When I finally did to court the judge said, ‘Is there anything wrong with this picture? Here’s a man pleading innocent, after eleven months, and he still hasn’t had a trial. I’m throwing this out for time served. Andre, you’re free to go.’

“Six-up to my left.”

One male and one female bicycle police officers rode up. The female officer said, “Hi Andre, Irving. Are you guys keeping out of trouble?

“You over there,” she said to Outcast, “Did I just see you kick a beer can over the railing?”

“No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you find some empties down there.”

“Shakes,” she said, “you’re sober. What happened?”

“What happened is you made me pour out all my booze last night. I have nothing to drink.”

“I’m going to lay it out for you guys. If you’re just up here shooting the shit that’s okay, but this is private property. Do you understand? If we see any liquor, you’re going to be charged. You got that?”

“Yes, officer,” said Andre. “You wouldn’t happen to have a smoke would you?”

“No, Andre, I don’t smoke.”

After the police left Irving said, “This is Algonquin land. I’m Algonquin. There’s no way they can keep me off my own land.”

 

Conversations With God

Posted: October 29, 2018 in Prose

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

11 July 2012

This morning I was passing the library. Inside, I saw a man sitting on a bench, a backpack was at his side. His hair was long and stringy, he looked half asleep. I wondered whether or not I should approach him. I didn’t know what his reaction would be. I decided to take a chance. “Hi, would you like some breakfast?”

He was drinking from a dark plastic bottle. He didn’t acknowledge me, or stop drinking. “If you want breakfast, there’s a Tim Horton’s on the next corner.”

I held out a Tim Horton’s card. “I’m just offering, no obligation.”

“No, thanks.”

“Have a good day.”

At the park this afternoon, Gaston said, “I was talking to one my private clients. We have been working with her a long time doing odd jobs, anything she needs help with. She has houses in Arizona and California. We’re been invited to come down with her and manage one of her houses. All of our expenses will be covered. She’ll even arrange for Molly Maid to come in, while we’re away, to handle our existing clients who need their houses cleaned.”

Larry and I discovered that we were both born and raised in Saskatoon. “I lived there for seventeen years,” he said. ” After that we moved nearby to Osler and Warman. I wasn’t with my real mother and father, but lived with a white, foster family. I always felt bad that other kids had parents but I didn’t, but that’s the way it was. I stayed with that family until I saw the guy hitting his wife. Then I moved out. I went to Winnipeg where I grew up quick.” He lifted up his tee-shirt and pointed to his ribs, “This scar is where I was stabbed — a souvenir of Winnipeg. Then I went to prison.

“I had a wife, we split up, but we have a son. Whenever I’m straight and sober, I visit him. He’s seventeen now and he loves me. I’ve never had anyone love me before. We’re neighbors. My ex wife’s boyfriend doesn’t like me to come around. He probably thinks that we’re having sex together.

“I’m educated, I used to be a very religious person, went to church every sunday. Man, I really jumped in with both feet. Then I had an epiphany. It was a dream or a vision where I saw two books on a table, one white , one black. I kept trying to reaching for the black one –the bible is usually black — but I was guided to the white one. Shortly after, I came across the book ‘Conversations with God’ by Neale Donald Walsch  It’s a book where the author asks questions of God and God answers. It opened my eyes. Previously, I felt guilty all the time. Now, I feel free. I can create my own destiny.”

Larry is affected by a pigment disorder (non-segmental vitiligo) above his upper lip. He let his moustache grow, one side came in white, the other black. He had been teased about it, so he shaved it off. “Now I remember why I stopped shaving,” he said. “I must have cut myself three times. That’s what happens when you use those cheap disposable razors they give you at the Mission. I think they get them at a discount because the blades have nicks in them. I remember using one of those to shave, and I don’t mean my legs, It made a bloody mess. If I buy one of those five blade razors it will last me three months.”

Loretta said, “Do you see the self-mutilation job I did to myself? Her legs were covered with bruises. “I’ve got other bruises on my ribs. Larry and I and some others were going to Bluesfest, but we had some booze to drink first. We walked across the black bridge. I’m afraid of bridges anyway. We were on our way back, nearly across the bridge, when I lost my balance and fell over the edge. I landed in the river on some really sharp rocks. I could have killed myself. Larry helped me to get out of the water.”

“How many lives is that you’ve used up?” asked Larry.

“Two, I have seven left.”

.

Millhaven Penitentiary

Posted: October 28, 2018 in Prose

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

IMG_4797

 

15 June 2012

Joy was quiet this morning, “I didn’t have much sleep last night. Chuck had the television on loud until 11:30 pm. The crack heads next door were so loud that he phoned the police. He woke me at 5:00 am. I said, ‘You didn’t need to wake me. I’ve been awake most of the night.

“He’s getting lazier and lazier. He got the dog for exercise, but he hardly takes him out. I’ll be damned if I’ll pay for any dog food. He hasn’t been doing any panning, he just lies on the couch watching TV.  That means when I get home I don’t have any time to myself. He wants to have a barbecue tomorrow. His parents are coming over. I’ll have to check with him later to see if he wants me to get any groceries at the store on my way home.”

I said, “I tried to check on Big Jake, but the information is only available to immediate family.”

“How did you check?”

“I Googled Jake’s name, but nothing came up. I Googled Millhaven and got a directory, but that’s as far as I could go. They don’t have any listing of inmates. They have instructions as to what to do if you want to visit.”

“No, I don’t want to visit. I don’t want anything to do with him.

“Hippo and Andre were by earlier. They’ve been sleeping behind the dumpsters in back of Starbucks. I guess Hippo had been panning, across the street across from Andre, and had only made a quarter. He came over to get a cigarette. He saw a woman reach down toward his hat. He thought she was dropping money, but she took his quarter. They seem to have been eating pretty well according to what they tell me.”

“You mentioned yesterday that your youngest son is still in school. Who is he living with?”

“He lives with my oldest, who is twenty-eight now. He takes really good care of him. The second youngest was adopted out. I guess I wasn’t a very good role model. Of course, I didn’t have good role models myself.”

“Chester hasn’t been doing too well lately. He had an inheritance of $8,000 and it was gone in a month. He asked me to do a run for him one time and gave me his bank card and number. I asked him, ‘How many people know your bank number?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ He’s been like that ever since he fell down that flight of concrete stairs and split his head open. He forgets a lot of things, and people take advantage of that.”

Noon at the park was sunny and mild. Serge was lying down asleep on a park bench. Shakes was lying on the lawn.

Debbie borrowed Joy’s phone to check her bank balance. She didn’t know how to open Joy’s phone. She threw it back.

“Thanks for throwing it, Debbie!”

Joy said to me, “My mom was sort of a swamp lady. She’d catch bullfrogs and deep fry them in batter. She’d also make squirrel stew. It tasted a bit gamey. We also had deer and elk that taste pretty much the same, we had buffalo, bear, rabbit —  pretty much anything.

“Jake’s parents live about ten miles from here. They never approved of me. We stayed at their cottage one time, they left to go back home, we were to stay there and cut firewood for the winter. Jake got into his mom’s codeine pills and spent all his time on the couch. I was the one who went into the woods with the chainsaw, cut the trees, hauled them out, cut and split them for firewood.

“I said to him, “What kind of support is that. I don’t know what I’m doing up there. What if a tree had fallen on me?”

Little Jake had staggered away to lie on the grass with his head on his backpack. Debbie said, “Joy, I’ve got lots of newspapers here. Why don’t you sit on these instead of your blanket. I think Jake should have something over him.”

“First of all, Debbie, this blanket is going home with me, to go on my bed. I don’t want to be sharing it with Jake . Second, it’s warm. he doesn’t need anything covering him.”

Debbie left to drape some newspapers over Jake. Silver yelled at Debbie, “Will you just leave him the fuck alone? Jesus!”

Joy said, “Silver, you don’t get your balls up very often, but when you do, it sure is entertaining.”

Hobophobia

Posted: October 27, 2018 in Prose

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

14 June 2012

This morning the weather was perfect. The sun was shining, the temperature was not too cool, not too hot, humidity was moderate. I was welcomed by Metro.  Silver gave me a wave from across the street. Joy was smiling and waving. Soon, Hippo and Andre stopped by to chat.

“Where did you sleep, Hippo?” I asked.

“Behind the dumpsters in back of Starbucks.”

Andre said, “I woke up and one of the waitresses came out and asked me if I wanted a coffee. ‘Sure,’ I said.”

Hippo said, “Andre and I both made our price (for a bottle of sherry) today.”

“I’m still short a quarter,” said Andre.

“Here you go,” said Hippo as he handed him a quarter.

Andre said, “I’ve got a peanut butter and jam and a tuna sandwich, if anybody wants one.”

Joy said, “Neither of those appeal to me.”

“Me neither,” said Andre, “that’s why I still have them.”

“Hey!” said Hippo, “what about me!”

“Hippo,” said Joy, “you’re a human garbage can.”

“I know.”

Andre and Hippo wandered off, probably going to the park to relax and have a drink.

Joy said, “I wonder how long that tuna sandwich has been in Emile’s backpack.” She looked in her cap, “I’ve been here since six o’clock and I’ve made exactly $4.20. That’s depressing.

“There he goes, the one with the sign that says, ‘Help Put An End To Hobophobia’. What does that mean?”

I said, “A homophobe is a person who doesn’t like homosexuals. A hobophobe is a person who doesn’t like hobos.”

“Hobos?” asked Joy, “People like me?”

“Yes, a misogynist is a person who doesn’t like women.”

Misogynist / Misogyny: is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. According to feminist theory misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women and sexual objectification of women.

“That’s Jake. I’ll have to remember that.

“You have access to a computer, don’t you? I’d like the address of Millhaven Penitentiary. I want to write Jake a nasty note using the word ‘misogynist’.”

Millhaven Institution
Highway 33
P.O. Box 280
Bath, Ontario
K0H 1G0

telephone: (613) 351-8000

fax: (613) 351-8136

“I’m trying to get Fran away from Gene. I said to her, ‘Look at me. You’ve seen me with black eyes, a broken nose, cracked and broken ribs. I could hardly walk because of the chest pain. My legs have been black and blue, all because of Jake. I’ve seen you with black eyes. If Gene hit you once he’ll hit you again. I know what I’m talking about. If you’re ever worried or in trouble, promise you’ll phone me. Even if you just want to talk, give me a call.’ ”

Just then a pigeon, sitting on the roof of the library, shit. It landed on the knee of my pants. Joy laughed as she handed me some paper napkins and her bottle of water.

“That’s considered good luck. I’m morbid, but it reminds me of a place I lived  – Laurel something or other. There were two apartment towers, one higher than the other. It was mostly elderly people living there. One day a friend and I were just leaving the building when I heard a ‘thud’ and noticed some blood on my leg. At first I thought I had scratched myself on something. Then I saw an old lady lying on the pavement. She actually lifted her head, then died. She’d jumped from the twenty-fifth floor. I guess she felt she’d lived long enough. Why would a person want to end their life like that? Her head made a dent in the pavement. They had to scrape her face up with a spatula. That’s really getting morbid.

“While I was living there, maybe five years, about fifty people jumped to their death. Usually they’d hit the railing. You can imagine what a mess that made.”

I said, “When I lived in Toronto there were a lot of subway jumpers. At least once a week the subway would shut down because someone had jumped in front of one of the subway cars.”

Joy said, “One time I was waiting at the bus platform. There was a woman beside me who looked like she didn’t have a care in the world. When the bus came she threw herself in front of it. I can still remember the sound of her scream. She wasn’t killed. They had to amputate one arm and one leg. I’m not sure what other injuries she had.

“I’m just babbling away here. I’m like dinner and a movie without the dinner. You can have this apple. I can’t digest the skin. I’ve also got a banana. I don’t eat much fruit. I’ll probably give it to Jacques or Hippo.”

This afternoon, at the park a group of my friends were sitting in a circle enjoying the sunshine.

“How are you feeling, Rocky?” I asked.

“I’m okay. I have to see my probation officer at one o’clock. I think he’s going to breach me.”

“Why would he breach you?”

“I was supposed to quit drinking and I haven’t.”

“Have you been in any programs to help you quit drinking, like Alcoholics Anonymous or the Wet Program at the Shepherd’s?”

“I’m banned for life at the Shepherd’s and the Mission. I have six tokens from A.A.”

“What are the tokens for?”

“They give you a token for every meeting you attend.”

“Do you enjoy the meetings?”

“I do enjoy some of them. Some of the speakers are really good. Others take and hour and a half for what could be said in five minutes.”

“Have you been eating? Do you need money for food?”

“I had breakfast. It’s Thursday, so the ‘sandwich ladies’ will be coming by shortly.”

“Excuse me, Rocky, I’m going to sit down.”

I sat between Andre and Gaston. I mentioned to Gaston that I had visited his ‘Living Room’ website. The ‘Living Room’ is a drop-in center for victims of AIDS.

“I’ve started several drop-in centres. One in Toronto, one in Montreal for children who have been physically or sexually abused.”

“How do you go about starting a drop-in center?”

“First of all, I’m a very confident person. Before starting any venture I know I will succeed. For funding, I approach groups such as the Wives of Lawyers Auxiliary group. I make my presentation to them and they convince their husbands to invest money.”

I noticed that Andre was eating his peanut butter and jam sandwich (pb & j was written on the plastic wrap). “I thought you didn’t like peanut butter and jam, Andre.”

“I don’t, but when I’m hungry it’s better than nothing. Here Shaggy, see if you like this?” Andre fed small pieces to Shaggy, Wolf’s dog, who, hesitant at first, decided that she liked it. All is well.

 

Why Did You Keep Me?

Posted: October 25, 2018 in Prose

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

13 June 2012

The sun was shining, but there was a moderate breeze that caused it to be chilly in the shade. At the park my friends and I were sitting in a circle. Joy had a blanket spread out. The others were sitting on newspapers.

Loretta

Loretta (Photo credit: bullcitydogs)

Buck went on a liquor run, leaving Dillinger with Loretta. She said, “We’ve decided that Dillinger is getting confused with so many people telling him what to do, so only Buck and me are allowed to pet him, or give him commands. I don’t even let Jake pet him, and I’ve known him for ten years.”

Joy is agoraphobic and was feeling crowded, “This is getting a bit close for me,” she said.

Deaf Donald said to Joy, “Loretta said that I’m not allowed to pet the dog.”

Joy tried to explain, “Don’t worry, it’s not about you, they’re trying to train the dog.”

Donald said to Joy, “I’m having a barbecue at my place this afternoon. Do you want to come?”

“Sure, I’m up for it. Make sure you have some Imperial sherry. I don’t drink beer.”

Silver aid, “A barbecue sounds good. Me, I hate cooking. I like to put something in the microwave, go have a joint and when I’m finished, I eat. Right now, I have a joint rolled, on my television set, just waiting for me.”

Loretta asked, “Am I invited too?”

Donald didn’t answer. When Loretta turned her back he made a hand sign indicating that she talks too much.

Silver said, “I’ll go along with that. In fact I’m going to sit beside Hippo to get away from all the racket.”

Donald asked Jake, “Do you want to come to my place for a barbecue this afternoon?”

“Sure.”

Andre said to Joy, “Do you know what’s going to happen? At the last-minute he’s going to tell Jake that he’s not invited, so it will be just you and him. He did the same thing to me last week with Loretta.”

“In that case I’ll give it a pass. I don’t need any of that shit.”

Today is Chester’s 64th birthday. He was wearing a tee-shirt with a slogan, ‘I’m 29 (this is an old shirt)’.

Loretta asked Joy, “Do you have any kids?”

“I’ve got five boys. They’re all doing well. They don’t smoke, drink or do drugs. Three are working and two are still in school. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but here I am crying. My youngest was the result of a rape. After my mother told him about it he asked me, ‘Why did you keep me?’ I said, ‘Your asshole father was just a sperm donor.  I carried you, I nursed you, I raised you. Most of all I love you.’ He was happy with that.”

Marilyn said, “I have a daughter who’s sixteen now. She has the second highest marks in her class at school. I’m so proud of her. I had a tubal ligation. That hurt more than having a baby.”

Joy asked me, “Are you cold?”

“No,” I said, “I’m fine.”

“Liar!”

“Really, I’m fine.”

“Liar!”

“Okay, I’m a bit chilly.”

“Here, put my sweatshirt on.”

“No, I couldn’t do that.”

Andre said, “I’m not wearing my jacket. Here, put it on.”

“Thanks Andre, I appreciate that.”

 

Chicken Man

Posted: October 24, 2018 in Prose

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($.98 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($2.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)
Podcasts: http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

11 June 2012

The weather at noon today was ninety degrees and sunny. Typically, everyone was complaining about the heat. I met Serge sitting on the curb. We shook hands.

“How are you doing, Serge?”

“Not bad. I’m just drinking my lunch. The others are up top.” He was sipping from an innocent looking clear plastic water bottle that also contained rubbing alcohol.

“I’ll see you later, Serge.”

“See you.”

At the park were four of my friends.

Loretta said, “I’m sad today. It’s my birthday, I had to appear in court on an assault charge and I met my ex. We had a big fight right in the Courthouse. They think I may get jail time. I hope not.”

“Hey,” said Silver, “my birthday is coming up this month. What kind of present are you going to buy me, Outcast?”

“How be I give you a kick in the ass? My birthday was in January. What did you give me?”

“Well, could I have a smoke?”

“I’ll throw it over the railing. Will you get it?”

“Sure I’ll get it.”

“How be I throw you over the railing?”

“How old will you be, Silver?” I asked.

“On the 23rd I’ll be 52. Outcast is a couple of months older than I am.”

“How old are you, Chester?”

“I’m sixty-four.”

“How are you feeling. Are your toes still black  from being run over by the the bus?”

“Yes they’re still black, but they’re getting better. I’m still in a lot of pain. I usually don’t take pills. The only thing I take is demerol. My doctor gives it to me for migraines. They get very bad. I get them about once a month.”

“Have you seen Joy today?” asked Loretta.

“No,” I replied, “she wasn’t panning this morning.”

“She was here yesterday,” said Silver. “Maybe she panned large and doesn’t need to come out today. I’m just staying around until the pigs come. Then I’m taking off. I hid my backpack with my beer in it, so if they come, all I can lose is this can on the railing.”

“Friday, they were here nearly every hour,” said Outcast. “I kicked over three cans.”

Loretta said, “I left my beer on the railing, right where it was. They didn’t say anything.”

Outcast said, “Debbie’s computer crashed today. I had some savings put away, so I bought her this laptop. It was regularly $400.00, I got it for $200.00.”

Silver said, “Sorry, Dennis, for my smoke getting in your face. It’s getting so we’re not allowed to smoke in parks, on public patios or any public places.

“I nearly burnt my bed the other night. My mattress is on the floor. The end of my cigarette fell off and I guess it rolled under the edge of my mattress. I kept asking my roommate, ‘Do you smell something burning?’ I flipped over my mattress and there was a plate sized, smoldering hole. I got two or three pans of water from the sink and doused it. Then I had to sleep on the floor.”

“Silver,” said Outcast, “you’re dropping ashes on Chester’s backpack. Soon, it’s going to be on fire.”

“Chester,” said Loretta, “come over here and stand in front of me. I want to take off these long pants and put on my shorts. I’m too hot in these.”

Outcast said, “I’m really being stupid. I have asthma, I’m smoking and I don’t have my puffer with me.

“I’ve got lung problems too. Now, it’s turned into cancer. In the 1980’s I was working on the Post Office building, removing asbestos. We weren’t wearing masks. We didn’t even know it was dangerous, back then. Of the twenty-seven guys I worked with only thirteen are still alive. The rest of us are still waiting for a settlement from the government.

“At least I have insurance so my kids are taken care of. My brother was a firefighter during 9/11 in New York. His lungs are so badly corroded, from the dust and the smoke, that, he can’t do anything. I come from a family of eleven boys and one girl. I’m the youngest.”

“That’s a big family,” I commented.

“How was your weekend, Silver?”

“I panned in my usual place on Saturday. On Sunday, I was at the two churches downtown in four shifts from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. I always do well there.

“This morning I went for breakfast at the Salvation Army. Mondays they always have a full breakfast. I had a three egg sandwich. They have really good sausages there. Tuesday, at the Mission, they’re having their full breakfast.

“On Father’s Day Chicken Man will be coming by. He came into a lot of money, now he’s spreading it around. On Father’s Day and on Mother’s Day he gives away chicken and turkey hot dogs, and with them he hands out $5.00 bills.”