Miigwetch – 17 October 2013

Posted: October 18, 2013 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,




17 October 2013

After finishing work I caught the fourteen bus, as usual. I sat near the front and read my book. About three stops later I heard my name being called, I also noticed the smell of sherry. I looked up and on the handicapped sets at the front was Shakes. He smiled. We talked a bit, but since he has a very low voice, I sat beside him.

“Hi Shakes, how was your afternoon?”

“I was at my ‘office’. A guy comes along and says to me, ‘I’ve seen you before. Here, take this.’ He hands me a folded twenty.”

“That was nice, too bad it didn’t happen every day.”

“I bought four bottles, three grams and a block of hash.”

“That should last you the night.”

“I’ll save a bottle for tomorrow.”

“How are Fran and Bettie?”

“I dont know. I haven’t seen them since Friday. I got a problem with her boyfriend though.”

“Ah, do you mean Gene or Kip?” Both Gene and Kip had assaulted their girlfriends. Gene served eighteen months in prison, for permanently injuring Fran’s back.”

“Gene’s no longer in the picture. He’s out of the family — his choice.” I could tell this was a sensitive area for Shakes, so I changed the subject.

“What are you having for supper?”

“Nothing, I meant to buy something, but I didn’t. There’s no point anyway, Dave or Jake would probably eat it all. I can’t afford to feed them all the time. I don’t know why they don’t buy their own food. I had a big can of coffee from Tim Horton’s, now there is an inch left in the bottom. I don’t even drink coffee. A can like that should last me five years.”

I said, “Jake mentioned cooking schnitzel, and tossing a salad, to bring over to you.”

‘Yeah, that was last Wednesday, but it doesn’t happen very often. Jake doesn’t have any food. He didn’t last night and he didn’t go out today.”

I said, “I guess Jake is at home watching movies on the VHS player he got.”

“He’ll come over to my place to borrow more. I don’t have television, I didn’t pay my bill.”

“Jake told me that he doesn’t either, for the same reason. How much do used VHS tapes cost?”

“My friend who owned the used music and video store had a going-out-of business sale. He was selling them seven for three bucks.”

“That’s a good price.”

“He must have had about five hundred thousand. I got about fifty.”

I said, “I haven’t seen Wolf and Shaggy since Wolf had his jaw broken.”

“It was his own fault.”

“Yeah, he can be pretty mouthy sometimes, he seems to make a lot of enemies. I remember Weasel threatening to punch him in the face.”

“Yeah, and he had crack dealers operating out of his apartment.”

“I don’t suppose they are very tolerant people.”

“I guess not. The convenience store on Moriset has a collection jar for me. It’s called the ‘Shakes Relief Fund’. I think there’s enough change in there for about five grams.”

Shakes’ stop was coming up. He said to me, ‘Miigwetch’. He pulled the cord, pulled himself to his feet using the pole and ambled to the front. He picked up his bag from  the luggage carrier. To the driver he said, “Thank you.”


  1. real words about real people are so refreshing, there is so much beauty in the struggle


  2. littlevoicetalks says:

    So moving. How do we ‘society’ let people suffer like this? The UK claims too to have a conscience and that everyone is looked after and taken of; yet many fall through the net, are trodden upon and then ignored like they do not exist, do not have a beating heart, do not suffer or need love, shelter, companionship, food and warmth. It could happen to anyone …. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront of awareness. God bless xx


    • Every country is guilty of not taking care of the homeless, the helpless, the vulnerable. I believe the problem lies with “self” and “other”. As long as we have our wide screen television, our new car, our large house our “self” is taken care of. If an “other” is homeless, starving, sick it’s not our problem. We are all human. We are all connected. We are all the same, we seek happiness and an end to suffering. ~ Dennis


  3. Maria M says:

    I admire the way you converse with these guys and they accept you so readily. Though each story is like a kick to my stomach reminding me how many different worlds can exist within a neighborhood.


  4. cannopener says:

    I’ve been bandying your name about a bit lately – I linked to you in my latest post and I’m hoping to find a way to work you into my Health Psychology exam on Tuesday! 🙂 One of the first articles we had to read for that class was a qualitative study on homelessness in NZ, and there have been questions on the subject in the last couple of years, so here’s hoping…

    You are such an inspiration. Bless you.


  5. great stuff. glad you’ve enjoyed the DopeSick Diaries as well.


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