Archive for October 25, 2013

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womanbox

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25 October 2013

This morning there was frost on the pumpkins, and on car windshields. Motorists, who hadn’t unpacked their winter scrapers, were using credit cards to remove the whiteness that obscured visibility. As I approached Joy, she was talking to a lady who walked away as I arrived.”

“Joy said, “You won’t believe it. That lady just dropped me a twenty. Before that I’d only made three bucks. Another lady gave me a bag with a winter coat and boots in it. Somebody else brought be a bag of canned food and Kraft Dinner. I’ve got so many cups of tea and coffee that I can’t drink them all. I’ll leave them for Chuck Senior.

“Yesterday, my workers came to my place and brought two bags of groceries. I’m all set for the weekend. I gave Mariah the grape jelly and a box of pancake mix. Charlie loves pancakes.

“I thought Mariah kicked him out.”

“Out, in, who can keep track. I love pancakes, now I just have to buy some syrup. I also bought some magic mushrooms. Mariah was going over to Chester’s place, but I said, ‘Have some of these first.’ We went through the whole bunch. Mariah called me from Chester’s. She said, “Joy don’t ever do that to me again.. I can barely walk.’ I said, ‘Relax, rest a while and you’ll come down enough to walk home. I just lay back and watched a video. I don’t even know what I watched. I think it may have been Scarface.

“See that guy who just walked by? He didn’t have anything to say this time.”

“Has he spoken to you before?”

“Yeah, we call him Turtle. He was panning in Silver’s old spot. I said to him, “What do you think you’re doing?  By panning here you’re cutting Carl’s grass. He’s had that spot for ages. Go someplace else. Get your own spot.”

I asked, “So how did yesterday go? Are you looking for a new apartment? I was thinking that Shark’s landlord may have a place for you. He has a number of buildings.”

“I know those places. I wouldn’t want to live there. First of all there are bed bugs. Second, I don’t like the people who hang around Shark’s place — a lot of crackheads.”

I said, “I guess you’ll need to be in a building with an elevator.”

“Why? I don’t mind stairs.”

“I was thinking of Big Jake, when he gets out.”

“He can fend for himself. I promised to take care of him after his hip surgery. I’ll follow through on that, but I don’t want to live with anybody. Jake isn’t much but, he’s the best I can get. Who else am I going to meet? Look at my lifestyle!”

I said, “I just had an idea. I know you don’t want to quit drinking, but what if you attended some A.A. meetings? You might meet a better class of men there…Or, you could try grocery stores, laundromats, they always worked for me.”

“Are you serious? Maybe I’ll try the grocery store.

“I need a pair of scissors to cut my hair. It’s so long now that I can barely stuff it under my do rag. The blond has nearly grown out. I just have a few wisps by my ears. Jake doesn’t like blond hair.

“I talked to my worker Yesterday. He and his partner are going to help me find a place. Also, I checked with the Housing Registry to see where I was on their list. They told me I’d moved up, but that doesn’t mean anything. I don’t know how many people are ahead of me.”

Two garbage trucks pulled up at the curb. Three men got out.  I asked Joy, “I can’t remember that guy’s name.  Do you remember what it is?”

“No, it’s some foreign name.” To him she said, “Hey, why is it that your partner is in the small truck now? Has he been demoted?”

“We’re just on different routes now.”

To me she said, “See the guy in the checkered coat. He’s a real asshole. He asked me one time, ‘Why are you sitting on that box? Why don;t you get a job?’ “Dude,’ I said, ‘I’m agoraphobic. That means I can’t stand to be around too many humans. Crowds make me nervous. You’re a pepper (French-speaking person), you wouldn’t understand what that means.’ “

I asked, “Have you always felt like that?”

“Yeah, even when I was a kid I wanted to be alone, or with one friend. When I’m at the park and Shakes or Frank bring other people along I get in a bad mood. That’s when I start fighting. Or, I just leave and go home.

“Hawk and Loretta came by yesterday. I don’t mind Hawk, but I didn’t want to be anywhere near Loretta. For some reason she was just bugging me.”

The same young man, who gave Joy, half a bagel, yesterday, stopped by. He said, “Would you like half?” He held the bagel by the paper wrapper and Joy pulled off half. He said, “I changed up the flavor today. I hope you like it.”

“Thanks, sweetie.”

To me she said, “Yuck, apple and cinnamon. You have this. I like cinnamon, but I can’t stand apples. I know people are raving about these, but they’re just not for me. I don’t even like apple pie.”

I said, “I love cinnamon. I even sprinkle it on my eggs in the morning. It’s very nutritious.”

“That’s just wrong.

“Some people have even offered me food that they’ve taken a bite out of. That’s gross. I may be a panhandler, I may be hungry, but I’m not a dumpster.”

A lady topped and handed Joy a five dollar bill. Joy asked, “Are you sure, honey? Thanks so much.

“I’m excited, this is like Christmas, and it’s not even Halloween.”

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