Archive for October 8, 2013

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womanbox

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8 October 2013

Before I was half way across the intersection Metro yelled to me, “She’s there — or at least she was — she may have gone home because it’s too cold.”

“Thanks Metro.”

“Hi Joy, how are you feeling today?”

“I’m coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose; besides that I’m fuckin’ freezing. I’m still having trouble breathing. I’ve been using my green inhaler, but that makes me dizzy. I cooked a small steak last night, but I could only eat a few bites. I’d been coughing so much that I got air in my tummy and chewing made me nauseous, so I just went to bed.

“My apartment is freezing. I can’t spend another winter like last year, and I don’t want to go to hospital with pneumonia. I’m going to have to get  one of my regulars to spring for a heater. I can’t live like this. I spent most of Sunday trying to sweep water down the drain from all that rain we had. I had a huge puddle right in front of my door.”

I said, “Won’t your landlady turn the heat on?”

“Last year her husband came down with a thermometer and said it was thirty degrees. If I can get her to spend thirty minutes down there she’ll see it’s not thirty degrees. My lease ends in November. I don’t even know if she’ll renew my lease. I’ve been really good, haven’t caused any problems. There’s no reason for her not to renew my lease; but I don’t know.

“How’s Mariah?”

“I don’t know I didn’t see much of her. Charlie has been in and out, going to the store.”

“I thought she kicked him out?”

“Yeah, she did but he’s back, just like a dirty shirt.”

“Have you heard from Hippo?”

“Yeah,  he phoned once on Mariah’s phone.  He’s one of those people who phones, then he doesn’t say anything.  ‘Hi, whadya doin’ Joy?’ I said, ‘Look dude, This isn’t my phone; I can’t talk that long. If you got something to say spit it out, man.’ He says, ‘Well there are a couple of women hanging around outside my place. I heard them say they were going to try to break in as soon as I leave. They were wondering what kind of stuff I have.’ You know the size of Hippo. I said to him, “Look dude, it’s two chicks, You can handle that.” I’ve seen those two broads. One’s a black chick. There is an alcove outside Hippo’s apartment. They do tricks up there and everything. He said, ‘But Joy, I don’t hit women.’ ‘Dude, I said, first of all these aren’t women! Second, if they’re causing trouble phone the super or the cops!’ ‘I can’t do that, Joy. I’m no rat.’ I said, ‘Then leave your place. If they break in then you can call the police.’ He can always ask his worker for an emergency relocation. That’s what I’d do. I don’t mind getting in someone’s face, but I haven’t got down and boogied for a long time. Sure, I can scrap, but in the time it took me to walk to Hippo’s place, they’d be gone. The last thing I need, is to go to jail again for assault.

“Do you hear Sandy barking? He’s Chuck’s  dad’s dog.  I could use him down here to scare the pigeons off.”

I said, “Yeah, the guy in the wheel chair, I usually say hello to him, but I don’t think he recognizes me.”

Joy said, “He’s okay, but he always asks me why I don’t kiss him on the lips. He asked, ‘Is it because I’m too old?’ I said, ‘Well, uh, yeah! I don’t kiss anybody on the lips. I’m not fuckin’ you. You don’t pay my rent and you’re my brother by another mother’s old man.’ I didn’t even kiss my own father on the lips, mind you, he was a pedophile.

“Earlier, one of my regulars gave me a bag with a blanket in it. It’s not new, it’s about fifty years old. She said her mother wrapped her up in it when she was a child. Inside it was a big can of chicken soup.

“Do you eat cranberry muffins. Somebody gave me this. I can’t eat them. Do you want it?”

I said, “Sure. Thanks.”

Jacques and Annie stopped by. He pulled out a bottle and offered Joy a drink. He said, “Oh I forgot, this isn’t the kind you drink.”

“I don’t drink that dry shit.”

“It’s still sherry. Just because it’s a better brand doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

“It’s not a better brand, they both cost seven ninety-five. I just prefer it sweeter.”

Joy said to me, “I just need two more bucks, then I’m out of here.” One of her regulars, a tall well dressed Australian man, dropped her a one and a two dollar coin.”

Joy smiled, “That’s it. I’m out of here.”

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