Peppermint – 18 December 2013

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




18 December 2013

Joy was huddled on her box, newspapers under her feet. She waved at me from halfway down the block.

“Am I ever glad to see you. I have to pee. I haven’t gone since I got here. I’m nearly busting.  There  was such a lineup I didn’t figure I could get through. It seems okay now. I’ll be right back.”

Ghislain arrived with two large steaming, paper cups. “Where’s Joy?”

“She’s just gone to pee. She’ll be right back.”

“I got tea for her, just the way she likes it.”

“How was your night?”

“Not bad. It wasn’t as cold as the night before.” I handed him a Tim Horton’s card.”

“Thanks, Dennis, I’ll hang on to this. I’ve still got two in my pocket, one you gave me yesterday, so I’m good. Don’t give me one tomorrow. A guy yesterday gave me a card. He said he’d put fifty dollars on it. I took it, said thanks. I didn’t believe him; I hadn’t seen him before, but I bought my coffee and it showed there was still forty-eight dollars on it. You never know.”

Joy returned, all smiles. Ghislain handed her one of the cups.

“I got you a coffee. No, I’m just kidding. I know you don’t like coffee. I got you a tea. There’s cream and sugar in the bag.”

A woman stopped and gave Joy a bag. The woman left. Joy said, “I wish people wouldn’t give me food. One woman asked me if I’d like a peanut butter and honey sandwich. I just told her, ‘No.’ This looks like a muffin. I don’t know what kind it is. Half of the stuff I don’t like, especially granola bars.”

Ghislain said, “Yeah, I can’t eat granola bars. Yesterday a woman was looking my way as she walked towards me.  She was also digging in her purse, so I thought she would give me something. Do you know what she gave me? … a peppermint. It’s thirty-five below and she gives me a peppermint.

“I see Chuck staring at me. I don’t know what he’s got against me, but some of the things he says piss me off. He told one woman not to give me money because  I smoked crack. You know me, I don’t smoke crack. Why would he say that about me. We’re all the same…”

Joy said, “He used to say things about me… before I straightened him out.”

“Here comes the old man. He’s got a doctor’s appointment today.”

Big Jake wheeled towards us. It was getting crowded so I said, “I’d better be getting to work.” I shook hands all around and walked away towards Chuck.

“Hi Chuck, how are you doing?”

“I’m here, that’s about all I can say. I don’t think I’ll be here tomorrow.  My nerves are shot. I’m not very good company when I get this way. Actually, this is the way I usually am.”

“I have to go to work, Chuck, but I hope you feel better soon.”


  1. What city are you in? These stories amaze me!


  2. Peter Notehelfer says:

    Hell is knowing you have a home but
    being unable to find your way back to it


  3. Maria M says:

    I never thought it would matter what you gave someone to eat but on reflection it is a valid point, we assume too much about people don’t we? If we like something we think they would like it too.


  4. gapark says:

    Interesting that your friends doesn’t like it when people hand them food. I understand, but at the same time, sometimes I feel like that is the better choice…This week I saw a sign a youngish man was holding, saying he had 3 kids and anything would help. I was on my way into Costco so I bought an extra bag of bananas and handed him the bag. I don’t know…I like the idea of the gift card, though…thanks


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