Archive for April 25, 2013

I went to the park at noon. Pierre had mentioned that he didn’t have anything to read for the weekend. I brought him Ian Fleming’s, “On Her Majesty’s Foreign Service,” a James Bond novel.  He was very grateful.  He said, “I’ll give it back to you once I’m finished.”

“No, you keep it Pierre.”

“I really appreciate that. It’ll be in my bookshelf if you ever want it back. Books are like gold to me. I can’t stand it when people abuse books.

“I’m just coming off a ten day drunk. I was even drinking what these people drink. What is it, Imperial or that Pale Dry. I know why Joy went to hospital. I haven’t had a solid shit since I started drinking that stuff. It’s back to Blue for me;  not even Old Milwaukee. I don’t need that extra half percent of alcohol.

“If you don’t have a solid shit, you’re not healthy. That’s my advice. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to sit down before I fall.”

Matches called me over. He was half sitting half sprawled on the curb. He reached for my hand and pulled me down.

Jack said, “You two are really getting close.”

Matches whispered, “Dennis, can you give me some bus tickets? I’ll need six, two for me to get home and four for Tom and I to come down tomorrow. Tom’s not like me. I’ll say to him, Lets jump on at the back door. He won’t, not if he’s sober. Did you know that Tom is living at my place now. He doesn’t like the way I live. He’s always tidying up. Thanks, Dennis.”

I sat between Pierre and Fifi. I asked her, “I guess you heard about Joy leaving her purse at Bleeding Heart’s place last night?”

“Yeah, she came running up to my apartment, but I didn’t have any cash.  She should get it back today, Unless she dropped it somewhere between Lonely Heart’s and the cab. You know how us women depend on our purses.”

Pierre leaned over and whispered to me, “I’d be surprised if her money’s still there. I don’t know if he’s steal from Joy, but he stole from me when he came over to buy some crack. He can’t be trusted, but that’s just between me and you. Nobody else heard that.”

Matches came over and crouched to sit down on the sidewalk

“Yeah, Matches, you might as well join us. You’re already sitting on my toilet seat cushion (referring to the Montreal Canadiens hockey team logo.”

Pierre’s dog Shaggy started barking. Pierre reached into Shaggy’s buggy and pulled out a tinfoil bag of treats. Matches was fumbling, trying to open the bag. Pierre said, “If he doesn’t get that bag open soon, Shaggy will bite him. She will, she’s like that and it doesn’t matter what race the person is;  black, brown, yellow or white,  she’ll bite them.”

Matches had the bag opened and put one of the doggy treats in his mouth, then leaned toward Shaggy. Pierre said, Those treats are pretty small, I don’t think he should try that.”

Shaggy took the treat without incident. “How old is Shaggy?” asked Matches.

Pierre said, “She’s as old as I’ve know you. You came here twelve years ago; she’s twelve years old.”

Jacques said, “Matches, hand me that bag. I want to see if it has glucosamine in it. I’ve asked my doctor if glucosamine will help my arthritis. He always changes the subject. He won’t give me a straight answer. Yes it has glucosamine, along with pea flour, rice flour, miniblablabla…”

I said, “Ask Matches how they taste. Maybe you’ll like them.”

“Fifi said, “It’s good for cartilage.  I take it all the time.”

It was time for me to go back to work.  As I struggled to my feet. Fifi held out her arm. I leaned on it to get my balance.”

I said, “Us old people need a helping hand every once in a while.”

“You could have leaned harder than that. I’ll need a hand up when it’s time to go.”

This morning was sunny but cold (4 degrees centigrade / 39 degrees Fahrenheit). I usually walk straight to Joy’s spot, but I had run out of bus tickets and Tim Horton coffee cards, so I had to make two stops, stand in two lineups. When I got to Joy’s spot she was sobbing. “Thank God you’re here. I saw you cross the street and I thought I wouldn’t see you. I left my purse at Bleeding Heart’s place last night. I took a cab, and only after I tried to pay the fare did I realize I didn’t have my purse with me.  In it I had my cash, my pot, all my phone numbers. I told the guy, ‘I’m just going to go up to my friend’s place to get some money.’ He grabbed my bag and said, ‘I’ll hold onto this until you get back.’ I went to Fifi’s place. She wasn’t home. Even if she didn’t have any money I could have used her phone to call Andre or Bleeding Heart. I went down to the cab and said to the guy, ‘Fuck man, I got no money. I can’t call my friends. C an I pay you tomorrow? He said, ‘I’ll give you twenty-four hours, then I call the police.

“What is it with you people? You think you can get away without paying. I got bills to pay.’ I said to him, ‘First of all, what’s this YOU people. Do you think I’m a ho? I wouldn’t be wearing nearly these many clothes if I was hooking. Do you think I’m a crack addict? Do I act like a crack addict? Is it because I’m part native?’ This guy was a fuckin’ immigrant! I was born here.

‘”This morning I had to beg the bus driver to let me on. I said to him, ‘I got no tickets, can I give you four (each fare is two tickets) tomorrow. He said, “Okay, I see you going in to the hotel through the back way. Why don’t you go through the front?’ The only reason I go in there is to take a piss, but I said to him, ‘I work as a cleaner there. Only paying guests are allowed to use the front door.’

Most of the regulars on the bus think I work in construction. I overheard this woman say that one of her pipes was leaking. I said to her, ‘It sounds to me like you just need a plastic elbow. It’ll fit inside your pipe and stop the leak.’ This other guy says, ‘If you’re a tradesman, how do you cut marble.’ I said, I’d use a Jig saw and plenty of water to keep the blade cool.’ I just pick this stuff up on programs like How’s this Made.

It’s just like when I was in prostitution.  For a while I worked in a phone sex chat room.  People say I have a sexy phone voice. I’ve heard myself on tape recorder. I just think it sounds nasal, like I have a sore throat. I went by the name Lincoln. But I’d say ‘I’m not that big, but I do purrrr.’ It was crazy working in that place. There were about sixty of us in this room, we each had a cubicle. Most of the time we’d have our feet up munching on something. When we’d get a call we weren’t allowed to initiate the conversation. Just like when we were on the street, the guy would have to tell us what he wanted and we’d give him a price. We’d wait until the guy said something like, ‘What are you wearing?’ I’d say, ‘Im just curled up in my pink baby dolls, waiting for you handsome.’ Otherwise we could have been charged with soliciting.

“Jake phoned me one time, and, I mean I was living with the guy, right, so he knew how I’d be dressed and what I looked like. We chatted for a while and when I got home he said, ‘I had such a hard on all afternoon. I had to leave work it was such a stiffy.’   — or woody, or chipmunk, or whatever you want to call it.

“Anyway, I was sure glad you came along this morning. You cheered me up. When I saw you go by, I just put my head down in my lap and started bawling my eyes out. This old lady stopped, not one of my regulars, and asked, ‘What’s the matter deary? Is there any thing I can do to help?’ She reached into her purse and dropped me one blue bus ticket. I don’t know if they even take them any more. That was before the pink ones, the orange ones. And there was only one. I guess I could have told the driver that it was folded and I couldn’d get it apart. That might have worked. ”

We saw Chester coming. “What does that old fart want? It’s always something, bus tickets, cigarettes.”

Chester said, “Hi Joy, Dennis. I can’t stop I’m going somewhere.”

Joy said, “You’re always going somewhere.”

“Cheer up,” he said we get our checks tomorrow. You’ll be getting yours too. I’ll see you.”

“I was hoping that Andre would be coming down. Last time I saw him was at Fifi’s. He was fooling around with this stupid camera. When Fifi saw that He’s taken her picture she beat the shit out of him –had him in a headlock and was pounding his face. There are a lot of people who don’t like to have their picture spread around.”

I asked, “What’s Fifi worried about?”

“I shouldn’t even be saying this, but when she was with a motorcycle gang in Toronto.  They’ve now joined up with a larger, international gang.  Well, she brought the affiliation papers  to the larger gang. I’d tell you the names, but then I’d have to kill you.”

Next came Toothless Chuck (not to be confused with Chuck who has teeth). Hi Joy,  Dennis!  Haven’t seen you guys for ages. Joy, I got those paints you wanted.”

“Cool, man. I’ve painted some vines on my walls and I wanted to add some color — flowers or something.”

“If you see Tom, tell him I have a box of oil pastels that I want to sell. I’m having a barbecue this afternoon. Do you want to come? Shark and Irene will be there.”

“I don’t know man, Shark and I don’t get along so well.”

“Just talk to Irene then. There will be lots of other people. I’m on my way to Hartmans to pick up some groceries. I’ll pick you up on the way back.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Before I left Joy asked me, “Would you like a pear?  Someone gave it to me.  I don’t eat them.”

“Sure, I’ll probably see you at noon.”