Archive for October 23, 2013

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womanbox

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23 October 2013

“Good morning Joy.”

“I’m freezing here. I got the really slow bus driver this morning. I had to wait at the stop until six twenty-five and he just puttered along. He didn’t get me here until six forty. The other bus driver comes anywhere between ten and fifteen after and he really zips along. I’m sometimes down here by six twenty-five. What time is it now. Please tell me it’s eight twenty. I asked a woman a while ago. She said it was ten to eight. I said that can’t be.”

I looked at my watch and said, “It’s eight twenty.”

“Oh, good. After I was talking to you yesterday I went to the corner to talk to Carl Senior. He asked me how I’d done. I said, ‘Not good.’ He handed me two dollars. He can afford it. He’s got two wheel chairs. He’s only supposed to have one. He’s got a couple of pensions. I’ve seen him walk. He’s not as gimpy as he lets on. I always feel creepy talking to him. Like this morning he said, ‘I took Sandy for a walk. She was more interested in two skunks humping in the bushes.’ Every conversation with him turns into sex somehow. He’s old enough to be my father. He was saying that Chuck Junior is on morphine now, for his broken rib.”

I asked, “How did he get a broken rib?”

“He was drunk, got the shit beat out of him. Whenever I’ve had a broken rib –The broken rib I have still gives me trouble sometimes, especially if I sleep on it. — They never give me morphine. It makes me sick anyway. The last time I was in hospital they had me on a Gravol and a morphine drip. I’d pump myself full of Gravol first, then pump myself full of morphine. That was nice, but Demarol is nicer.”

I asked, “Have you been talking to anyone else? Did you go to the park yesterday?”

“No, yesterday I went to Metro, bought six boneless pork chops, some toilet paper rice and mushroom soup. One pork chop is a meal for me. The others I threw in the freezer. I cooked the rice, mixed in the mushroom soup, that, with the pork chop, was my supper. Not bad.

“I also got in contact with Canada Care. I can’t get Jake’s wheel chair until I can provide some kind of access to the basement. They said they can be covered, but there’s the chance of theft. They said the battery would freeze, but I told them I’d bring the battery inside, doh. I know that much about batteries. I didn’t ride a Harley, without learning anything about maintenance.

“I’m going to start looking for a new place.”

I said, “You couldn’t go through your worker, because of Jake’s restraining order.”

“No, I’d have to find a place on my own. I’d need Jake to pay half the rent. I’d make sure we get a two bedroom, so I could have my privacy. It’s just that this is the first time in forty-eight years that I’ve lived on my own. I’m not good at it. You understand?”

“Yeah,” I said, “like Snake and Irene. He always has his own room where he can hide.”

“I tried to phone Jacques this morning, because Stella is coming down. I wanted to know what time he’d be here. For some reason, I always get his number mixed up. I dial three, six instead of six, three. This guy answers. I say, “Hi, is Jacques there?’ He said, ‘No he isn’t. Joy, you’ve got to quit fucking up this number.’ I say, ‘Sorry.’ “

I asked, “How did he know it was you?”

“One time I called that number and said, “Hi Sunshine, it’s Joy. Get your ass out of bed. Did I show you the music player Jacques gave me. I can plug this into Big Jake’s lap top to charge it.  Right now I’m nearly through CCR, then it’ll start playing Neil Diamond. I only like a few of his songs, like ‘Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.’

“I finally heard from Hippo. He hasn’t been at his mother’s place. I didn’t think he had been. She can’t stand him. He was downing a bottle of C.C. He admitted, ‘Okay, Joy, I’ve been at my apartment. I’m afraid to go out. Afraid I’ll get robbed. I figure everybody is out to get me.’ I said, ‘Talk to your worker, man. Call the police. You can’t be held hostage in your own apartment.’ He said, ‘I bought a mini hatchet.’ ‘Dude,’ I said, ‘you’re breaking your probation. You were charged with attacking a cop with a hammer. Do you think they’re going to look kindly on you carrying a hatchet?’

“Anytime the cops come to my place. — I guess I’m red flagged…”

I asked, “What does that mean, that you’re dangerous?”

“It’s crazy. I’ve never attacked a cop. I know better than that. They ask, ‘Joy, do you have any weapons here?’ I tell them straight out, ‘Yeah, I’ve got half a pair of scissors in that drawer, the other half is on the window ledge. Under my bed I’ve got a hammer and a heavy steak knife.’ They say, ‘You know you’re not supposed to have any weapons in your apartment.’ I say, ‘I don’t carry them outside. If I was in the States, I’d be allowed to carry a gun. I could shoot anybody for just for entering my place. I’m a woman living alone, in a basement. The second place any robber is going to enter is my bedroom. I get scared.’ They usually leave it at that.

I asked, “Did you say you keep a stake under your bed. How big is it and how heavy?”

“Not a stake, a steak knife. One of those big, tempered ones with the serrated edge.  It’s the one I use to cut all my vegetables with, then I put it back under the bed. I shortened the handle, so I can grab it quicker.”

“This really isn’t a conversation I should be having. You’re not wearing a wire, by any chance, are you?”

“No, and I never would.  The reason is, I’d be afraid to. I’d have good reason to be afraid.”

“I’d go home right now if Stella wasn’t coming down. She’s got some winter stuff for me. Hopefully, some winter boots and a parka. I’ll be meeting her at the World Exchange, Shakes, Jacques, Little Jake and Snake will be there. I want to get some smokes from Snake.”

I said, “It’s time for me to go.”

Joy said, “Put our hand on my shoulder, to help you get up… You can put more weight on me than that.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Joy.” She waved.

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