Archive for January 10, 2014

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“Hi Chuck!” I said, “I haven’t seen you since before Christmas.” He had his wheel chair parked in front of Tim Horton’s . Snow was mounding on his woolen cap, his shoulders and forearms. Sandy was wrapped in a blue blanket on his lap.”

“The reason I’m not on my usual corner is because the cops chased me away. I think it was that black-haired bitch from the hotel that called them. I’ve been there for years now, nobody complained before;  mind you she doesn’t usually come out this early.”

“Hippo tried panning there in the summer a few times. She came out and asked us to move along. Hippo never has much luck panning.”

“I wouldn’t be here if Joy was at her spot.  I don’t cut anybody’s grass. Sometimes there is a native couple on the next block. They’re nice, especially the woman.  They don’t stay long  — collect enough for a couple of beers then they leave.”

“Yes, that would be Alphonse and Magdalene. They’re nice people.”

“There is one guy I don’t like; the guy who stands in Joy’s spot. He’s a bad one. He doesn’t even live here. He’s got a place near Sherbrooke. He went there for Christmas. I don’t know why he comes down here, but one thing he told me is that he had seventeen hundred dollars. He was going to party until that ran out, then he’d be back.”

I said, “That would be Ghislain. He told me that he’d been sleeping outside, in a parking lot nearby.”

“No, he’s never slept outside. He stays at the Shepherd’s, the Mission or the Sally Ann, anywhere they have a bed. He eats his meals there too.

“I don’t like the way he talks to Joy. The last time she was down he was standing in her place.”

“He told me that had been his place before Joy took it over. That would have been fifteen years ago.”

“What he said to her was, “You can stay here until nine o’clock, then fuck off.’ I don’t like it when men talk that way to women. There’s no reason for it. If I could stand up I would have done something about it. When I was younger I did.

“Joy should be down here. You have to be at your spot regularly. That’s how people get to know you. Also, she sits too far back. People don’t want to go out of their way to drop change. I’ve told her all that. but does she listen? No.”

“Would you like a coffee?”

“Yeah, a coffee would be nice — extra small, two milk, one sugar.”

When I came back with his coffee I asked, “How has Sandy been?”

“She’s been okay, got sick once over Christmas, nothing serious. I’ll tell you one thing though; I was sitting in my kitchen and, from the corner of my eye, I saw a movement. Sandy had her nose under the cupboard. She’d cornered a mouse. I talked to my landlord and he gave me one of those humane traps. They don’t kill the mice just contain them in a cage. I put bait in it and the next morning there was a big, fat mouse in there. I guess she’d been eating Sandy’s food. I let her go outside. I set up the trap again just in case there were more, but I only caught the one.

“This snow wasn’t supposed to start until later. Then they say we’re going to have freezing rain. This has been a bad winter — intense cold, freezing rain, snow, ice.”

So, did you see your family at Christmas?”

“I went to my granddaughter’s place. They had to carry me up the stairs.  I had a walker but I broke it.

“It was okay.

“I won’t be here next Monday or Tuesday. I have plans. There’s something that I need to get settled for once and for all. I hope I can.”

“Perhaps, I’ll see you next Wednesday.”

“It depends on the weather.”

“All the best, Chuck “

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