Archive for October 24, 2013




24 October 2013

Winter is here. I wore my winter gloves, underwear and, because of asthma,  a scarf over my face.  Still I was cold. My glasses, fogged from my breath, made it difficult reading my Kindle.  Metro said, “I think she’s down there. I saw her earlier.” I waved, he was busy handing out newspapers.

“Hi Joy, cold isn’t it?”

“I’m freezing.” She pulled her over-sized sweater to cover her knees. I lay awake wondering whether or not to come down. I’m still feeling weak. I need groceries for the weekend, so I figured I’d better get down here. I want to get some chicken.

“I saw Hippo. He’s been at his mommy’s. She bought him groceries. He came over to my place yesterday afternoon. That’s the time of day I like to wind down. I told him. ‘I want to have a bath.’ He said, ‘You go ahead and have a bath.’ So, I did. Then I came out. He was still there. I said,  ‘It’s time for me to cook my supper.’ He said, ‘I’ve already eaten.’ I told him, ‘I can’t eat when somebody else is around, especially if they’re not eating.’

I said, “It would have been nice if he’d brought groceries.”

“That happens tonight. He’s bringing over some steaks. My worker is supposed to be bringing groceries as well. I hope he doesn’t bring any pilaf. I tried cooking that. It’s like small rice grains, but they have no taste.

“Do you want a coffee? I won’t be drinking it, I prefer tea. I don’t know what’s in it; how many cream, sugar, whatever.”

“Thanks Joy, I appreciate that. I’m not fussy.

A handsome, well dressed, young man stopped. He asked Joy, “Do you want half a bagel with cream cheese?”

“Sure, thanks. I love them.”

He said, “I would have given you some yesterday, but I’d already given it away.”

Joy said, “Thanks very much.”

I said, “Bless you.”

Another lady, that I work with, stopped and handed Joy a bag. Inside was a hand knitted blanket.  Joy said, “Thank you very much. That’s so sweet.”

“How did it go yesterday with Stella? Did she bring you anything?”

“No, she never knows whether or not I’ll be there. I saw Shakes, Snake, Jacques and Little Frank. Shakes is really looking bad. I don’t think he’s eating.”

I said, “Last week, I saw him sitting on the low wall at Elgin. He told me he couldn’t walk any further. He asked me to do a run for him. So, I did. He hadn’t even walked a block and he was having trouble. What is affecting his legs?”

“It’s all from when he was set on fire. You’ve seen his scars. They thought they were going to have to amputate his legs. His circulation is probably really messed up.”

“When I saw him on the bus, someone had dropped him a twenty. He bought four bottles, three grams and a block of hash. I asked him what he was having for supper. He said, ‘Nothing. If I buy groceries Jake or Dave eat them all.’ “

Joy said, “Jake has money now, so he’ll be buying groceries.”

I asked, “Was it better when Danny was there?”

“Danny kept the place clean. I don’t know if he cooked. He doesn’t drink, just smokes pot, so he’d get hungry.

“Where is he, anyway?”

“In Thunder Bay.”

“Does it have to do with some tribal shit?”

“I don’t know. I think someone in his family is sick. His father died, around this time, last year didn’t he?”


“Maybe his mother is sick.

“Have you seen anybody else?”

“I saw Outcast. Debbie has been in the bug house for the last month. Her therapist says she has to get rid of him. He’s really messing with her head.”

I said, “He can be manipulative.”

Joy said, “I asked him why he doesn’t come around any more. He said, ‘Well, I thought you were back with Big Jake.’ I said, ‘He was out, now he’s back in. You could phone.’

“I also saw Wolf.”

“How is he since he had his jaw broken?”

“He seems to be okay. He was awfully quiet. Shaggy, the damned mutt,  was barking her head off.”

A young man wearing red and black hip-hop clothes walked by. Joy said, “I can’t stand that guy. Did you see him standing in front of Tim Horton’s. He’s got one earphone in and he’s singing. He keeps checking his reflection in the glass. A couple of times he’s stopped to talk to me. I said to him, ‘You really shouldn’t sing, you don’t have a very good voice.’ He said, ‘And, I suppose that you do.’ I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I do. It’s somewhere between Janice Joplin and Sass Jordan, kinda raspy like that. I sing Karaoke at the Star Palace. Last time I sang Me and Bobby McGee. They wanted me to keep singing.

‘Look, I don’t want you hanging around. I’m not sitting here for the  benefit of my health; I’m trying to collect money. I don’t need any friends. I’ve got enough already.’ He left after that.

I said, “It’s time to go. Will I see you tomorrow?”

Joy lent me her shoulder to help me up.

“Yup, I’ll be here, same bad time, same bad station.”