Archive for September 11, 2013




11 September 2013

Joy was smiling and waving as I approached this morning.

I asked, “How are you feeling today?”

“My ear is still bothering me. I was using one of those plastic gel packs, that you put in the microwave. That helped at first, then the pain spread down  to my teeth and throat.  I was coughing and could hardly swallow. It’s a bit better today. I just had to get out of the apartment.”

“Has there been any news about your health card?”

“No I haven’t seen Greg, for a long time.”

“How about talking to your worker at the Salvation Army?”

“I can try that again, but he was to take me to the food bank. That never happened. He’s also supposed to take me to their big warehouse, on the outskirts of town, to get some different furniture. What I have takes up too much space in my apartment.  I’d like to get a futon that I could fold up during the day. Now, I usually fall asleep on my two-seater sofa. I awake all scrunched in a ball.”

“If I get to talk to my worker, I’m going to ask if he can find me a new place. My lease is up in November. The ass hole that lives above me is really driving me nuts, stomping around all hours of the night, and at seven Saturday morning.  I know he’s trying to get a rise out of me, so I’ll get kicked out.  I’m not going to give him the satisfaction. I get along well with my landlady. She was out with the weed whacker yesterday.  She didn’t know how to replace the nylon cord, so I showed her. Later, I helped her weed her garden. I had nothing else to do. I should phone her and tell her what’s going on.

“He thinks that the reason the cops have been coming to my door is because they’ve got something on me, or suspect something, but it’s McCain and Sarrazin. I get along well with them. They’re still trying to nail Andre with assaulting me. They said they’ve tried several times at his apartment, but he doesn’t answer. I wouldn’t either. Cops have a distinctive knock.”

“What did Big Jake think about you being beat up by Andre?”

“He asked, ‘Do I know the guy?’ ‘Yeah,’ I said,  ‘you’ve met him, a short little ass wipe, bow-legged, no front teeth, deep voice like a frog.’ Jake asked, ‘How did he manage to beat you up?’ I said, ‘He’d bought me some drinks. We were drunk.’ He said, ‘I paid out, now you put out, or I’ll knock you out.’ ‘That’s what he did. He sucker punched me in the side of the head.’

“I filled out all the paper work.  The cops asked me, ‘Do you want him arrested?’ ‘You’re damn right, I want him arrested! Throw his sorry ass in jail. My old man beat me; he’s doing two years. I never did nothin’ with this guy. I wasn’t his girl friend.  I wasn’t sleeping with him. I didn’t kiss him, nada.’

“He’s the only one that cut me or gave me a concussion. Jake never did that.  The inside of my mouth was all torn up from getting shots in the face.

“I told the cops, “You guys see him on the street, he’s always up to some scam or another. He must have warrants against him. Keep an eye out, you should be able to get him on something.’ It happened so long ago I don’t even care any more. He’s lost all his friends. The crackheads he’s hanging around with now are as likely to kill him as anything.

“See that woman across the street, the one with the grey suit jacket and the striped hair? That’s Deaf Donald’s mother. She doesn’t talk to me much any more, except to ask if I’ve seen Donald. Whether I have, or not, she tells me to say to him that I haven’t seen her. So, when he comes along and asks, ‘Has my mother been by?’ I say, Nope.’ I should get paid for passing on these lies.”

I asked, “Did Mariah tell you that the cops were by on Friday?”

“Yeah, she said it happened just before she arrived.”

“Donald was the only one they hassled. They saw the methadone in his pack, along with an open beer. He’d thrown an empty can behind him.”

“When you’re taking methadone you’re not supposed to mix it with alcohol, or anything else. it’s easy to tell when Donald has been drinking. He gets that dopey look on his face. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

“See that patrol car on the corner, with its flashers on. He’s been here all morning. It sure doesn’t help my business, makes people nervous. I’ve only made three eighty-six, so far.

At the park I met Jacques, Chester, Yves, Donald, Sylvain, Joy,  Mariah and her boy friend Charlie. I went to shake hands with Yves, he said, “Not that hand, it’s broken.”

I asked, “How did that happen?”

He said, “Don’t ask, I won’t tell.”

Chester said, “I saw Andre yesterday, He was with that big black guy, Teddy, and Marissa.”

Joy said, “Marissa is a psycho bitch from hell. I nearly went toe to toe with her one time, but she was wearing boots with steel caps. She’s a big girl; one you’ve got to get in,  stab fast, or your done. She stabbed Kip seven times in the gut.”

I said, “He’s in a nursing home now, isn’t he?”

“Yeah, Stella’s the only one who knows where he is. She can’t tell anyone or she’ll lose her visiting privileges.”

“One time me and Jake were down by the river when Teddy came along. He started shouting at me about stuff that happened in Toronto fifteen years ago. As soon as he got close, Jake stood up and clotheslined him, right across the throat. Teddy didn’t get up.

A patrol car pulled up to the curb. Donald walked away, Chester dumped his beer, crushed the can and put it in his back pack.

“Does anyone have any open alcohol?” the cop asked.

Joy said, “I got a bottle, but it’s sealed.”

“That’s okay.” He asked Chester, ” How about you? I saw you put something in your pack.”

Chester opened his pack and said, “I’ve got four closed beer, and two cans. I return them for refund.”

“It sure smells like beer.”

Joy said, “His pack always smells like beer.”

“You weren’t planning to drink those other four here, were you?”

“No, I’m heading straight home.”

“Okay, we’ll leave you alone,” said the cop.”

The patrol car left and parked across the street. Later, it circled the block.

Joy pulled out of her back pack a half bottle of sherry, poured some in her drinking bottle, filled the rest with water. Her hands were shaking,  “Shark helped me pour the last one. I saw him earlier. He lent me four bucks. Can you imagine? We’ve been fighting for thirty years. Now, he helps me get a bottle.”

Jacques and Mariah were having an animated conversation in French. Jacques kept pointing at an article in the newspaper.  Joy said, “I have no idea what they’re saying, but it sure as hell sounds interesting.”