Archive for January 13, 2014




13 January 2014

Temperatures were hovering around the freezing point, sun was shining, wind — non-existent.  A beautiful, warm winter morning.  Joy was seated on her box, a blanket wrapped around her knees.”

“Hi sweetie,” she said, “how was your Christmas?”

“Great,” I said, “quiet, spent time with my in-laws. Other than that, I was at home.”

“How about you? How was your Christmas?”

“Quiet, I cooked a turkey with all the trimmings. Mariah and Charlie were down for a while.  He drank too much and started getting obnoxious, so she took him back upstairs. Rhino comes over occasionally. When he starts getting loud, I tell him, ‘If you want to be loud, be loud at your own place’. He takes the hint and leaves.

“Lardass is really getting on my nerves. He just drops in anytime he likes, and doesn’t leave until about two thirty in the morning. He may be on his way here now. Usually he phones first, otherwise he’ll be outside until I get home. One night it was too slippery for his wheelchair, so he called the Salvation Army to say he wouldn’t be able to make it in before his deadline. I was hoping they’d give him an ultimatum, ‘Either get in here, or lose your bed.’ But they were nice about it, ‘ Just come in when you’re able.’

I asked, “How does he secure his wheelchair, since he can’t bring it down your stairs?”

“He locks it outside. ” It’s plugged in overnight with an extension cord that he’s run through a hole in  my screen. Every day the hole gets bigger.

“I spend all day cleaning, then he spends two hours messing the place up again. I gave him shit for it. “You don’t do a damn thing around here but make a mess. If you’re well enough to mess things, you’re well enough to clean them.

“I still find puddles of pee in front of the toilet.  I asked him, ‘How do you manage to miss the bowl when you’re sitting down?’ He said, ‘I’m a newbie at this. I haven’t had  much practice peeing like a chick. Maybe it’s you that misses.’ I said to him ‘I’ve been doing it for forty-eight years and haven’t missed yet.’

“My basement wall is sagging. It makes the door hard to close, so I have to slam it. It may bother the neighbors, but I don’t care. I’ve been pretty quiet lately, haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Eve. The people upstairs are still stomping around. Lately, it’s not him, it’s her.  I yelled up from the stairway, ‘Bernadette, you fuckin’ bitch, the next time I see you outside, I’m going to punch your fuckin’ face in.’ It got real quiet after that.

“I was thinking I’d see Jacques come by. With the cold weather, I guess he’s been doing his own cooking. He used to  come  to the Mission and eat off them for breakfast and lunch. That used to fill him up for the day.

“You don’t have any change do you?”

“No,” I said, “no change, no bills, nothing.”

“That’s too bad. This is one day I want to get drunk. I guess I’ll just have to stay here until I make the price of a bottle.”