Archive for December 4, 2013




 “Sorry I couldn’t talk the other day,” said Chuck. ” When Sandy has to go, she gives me a signal and we have to go. I take her about a block up and let her walk for a while. I’m going to leave here in a few minutes and let her walk again.

“I wasn’t supposed to be here this morning. The weather forecast was for minus nine and freezing rain. I even stayed up late last night, slept late this morning. Had my shower, shave and breakfast. The weather report said it would be sunny and plus one. I was down here about seven-thirty. Usually, I’m here at six when the coffee shop opens.

“I said, You can never trust the weather forecasts.”

“It’s just another case of them not doing their damned jobs. I’ve been having trouble with my bank and with Bell. Bell says I owe them money and I don’t. I’ve got my bank receipt and my statement to prove it. I was on the phone to Bell last night. My cell phone was paid, and the other is from the same account. Why wasn’t that paid.? The money came out of my account. They must have transferred it to somebody else. There was a new girl on. They fixed one mistake, but not the other. That’s not my problem.”

I said, “What if you were to send Bell copies of your bank receipt and statement?”

“I’m not going to do that. There’s too much personal information on those receipts. The bank wont help. They said they paid the money to Bell; that’s all they can do.

“If I get any more fuss from Bell, I’m going to take my cell phone and that black box from the satellite. I’m going to their office, break them apart and smash them on the floor. They can take me to court, but that’s going to cost them about two thousand dollars. I don’t care.

“Anyway, it looks like winter is settling in to stay. If I don’t see you before, have a merry Christmas.”

“You too, Chuck.”


23 November 2012

Joy was sitting with Shakes when I arrived.

Mo said, “Shakes is here to keep my spirits up. I’m sure glad you guys are here. Do you see the short guy with the orange vest across the street. He keeps staring at me. I see him taking bags of cement into the underground parking garage. I had to go to the bathroom and I asked him if he’d keep an eye on my stuff. When I came back there was a coffee, a cranberry explosion muffin and a breakfast sandwich on my box. I asked the guy where it came from. He just shrugged his shoulders. I gave the coffee and sandwich to Shakes, I’ll save the muffin for Jacques.”

“Shakes,” I said, “Joy tells me that you two have been friends for a long time.”

“Yeah, since she was thirteen or fourteen. I used to take care of her. I took care of other people too, ha,ha,ha.”

I said, “That would have been when you were in your prime fighting shape, in Toronto.”

“Yeah, I was in my prime then.”

Joy said, “Remember when we ran through Allan Gardens, chasing all the drug dealers away?”

“Yeah, I remember that, ha, ha, ha.”

I said, “I lived just a couple of blocks away, near Parliament and Carlton.”

“Dennis, I slept last night at the Bank of Nova Scotia kiosk, where they have the banking machines. I’d been sleeping when a friend, Pauly came in. He said, ‘Hi, Shakes.’ He did his business at the automated teller machine, he gave me two dollars then he left. I heard a beeping coming from the machine. He’d forgotten to take out his receipt and bank card. I ran after him but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I looked at the receipt, he had seven hundred and thirty-five dollars in his account. I’ve still got his card, so if I see him, I’ll give it back to him.”

I said, “You could turn in the card to the bank. They’ll make sure it gets back to him.”

Joy said, “Shakes’s hoping to get a reward.”

Shakes said, “Maybe he’ll buy me a bottle.

“You know, I may have been a thief sometimes, but I’m an honest thief.”

Joy laughed and said, “Shakes, you kill me. That’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one.”

“What’s an oxymoron?” asked Shakes.

Joy said, “It’s two words used together that have opposite meanings, like jumbo shrimp, alone together or honest thief. If you’re a thief you can’t be honest. If you’re honest you can’t be a thief.”

I asked Joy, “If you could have three wishes what would they be?”

“I’d like a house in the country, all to myself, close to nature. I’d like just enough money to get by, and I’d like to be healthy.”

I asked Shakes the same question. He said, “I’d just like to be me.” He gestured with his hands as if to say, All this is mine.

Joy said, “You are YOU, Shakes, or maybe there is a real you and an imaginary you. I don’t even want to think about that.”

One of Joy’s regulars stopped by and said, “How are you, Joy?”

“I’m great. Two weeks ago I got my own place.”

“That’s great. How do you like it?”

“I’ll like it better when I have furniture and heat.”

The woman asked, “You don’t have heat? Won’t they fix that for you?”

Joy said, “I asked twice, I don’t want to ask any more. First thing in the morning, I turn the oven to 500 degrees with the oven door open. Once the place warms up I turn it down to 150 degrees. It turns off automatically. I don’t pay for electricity. I’m on an air mattress now and the floor is cold, but once I get my bed I’ll be up where the heat is. Also, my worker is supposed to bring me a space heater.”

The woman said, “Just make sure you don’t fall asleep with the oven on. That could be dangerous.”

Joy replied, “I always turn it off when I go to bed or if I’m going out for a while.”