Queen Bus – 20 March 2014

Posted: March 22, 2014 in Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,




20 March 2014

I was on the Queen bus, on my way home from the gym. It was packed and noisy. Getting closer to the end of the route I took an open seat near the front. On the seat along the side was Little Jake.

“Dennis, how the fuck are you? I haven’t seen you for ages. What are you doing on this bus? Oh, I forgot, you live up this way. Shakes and me met you one other time on this bus.

“I was talking to Bearded Bruce earlier. We were going to cook a big meal. He asked me to get the split peas. You know, the hard ones in the bag. Anyway, I get to his place and he’s not there. I don’t know what happened. I stopped by to see Snake and Irene, but their place was all locked up. I went to  Jacques’ place. He was cooking supper. I asked, ‘Do you mind if I stop by for a while?’ He said, ‘Can’t you see I’m getting ready to eat? Fuck off.’ He hadn’t cooked enough for two, so I just pulled up a chair,  opened my bottle and had a few joints.

“I got two bottles of wine with me, three grams and some chicken breasts. I’m ready to party and I can’t find anybody. It’s like everybody’s dissin’ me; but not really, ’cause they’re not home. I got my check today, two days before everybody else. I don’t know how that works. It has somethin’ to do with the fact that I don’t have direct deposit.  For some reason, my Trillium check and my G.S.T check come two days later than everybody else. I can’t figure that out. It works out for me though. I lend people money when I first get my check. When I’m running low, before my next check, they pay me back. I only lend to people I trust.

“I’m going to stop on my way home to see if Shakes is in. He’s just a couple of buildings down. What time is it? — eight,thirty? It’s near his bed time, he should be home. Am I near my stop yet? Oh no! I’m out of rolling papers. I’m going to have to walk a block down and get some.

“I left my bike near the St. Lawrence Market. It’s locked, but I’ve only got a small, cheap lock. I’ve also got quick release wheels. There’s nothing stopping someone from taking my wheel, but I can always steal another one.

“You’ll never guess who I saw today, Mariah. She was nearly in tears when she saw me. Well, not really in tears, but her voice sort of choked up. There was Bruce, Jacques, me, Buck and Mariah.  It’s the first time the crew has been together in months.

“Jacques has lost a lot of weight, probably about twenty pounds. He still has a pot belly, but he doesn’t look like Santa Claus any more. He’s cut back to just two beer a day and he stays off the wine. He’s eating well too.”

I said, “His doctor probably told him to lose a few pounds because of his heart. He’s had three heart attacks already, hasn’t he? I’m glad to hear that he’s taking care of himself. How is Shakes?”

“He staggers around like he always does. He hasn’t been panning much because of the cold weather. He’s doing more bumming off people. Apart from that, he’s the same old Shakes. He knows everybody. If he passed out downtown, when he woke up he’d know somebody nearby who’d put him up for the night. He’s collected a few cracked up friends that I don’t  much care for. You don’t want to be bumming off the wrong people, if you know what I mean. It’s just not healthy. This is my stop coming up. I’ll see you man.”

Bye, Jake. I’ll see you soon.


  1. sonnet33 says:

    Real people. Real life. Thank you.


  2. Dennis I always look forward to reading your blog because they remind me to be thankful for all I’ve got around me (family and friends) and a house to sleep in.


  3. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Love your vignettes of real people, Dennis.. Talking with people rather than to them is a lost art. I admire your advocacy for the men, women and children who slip through the ever-widening cracks of society’s sidewalks.


  4. just listening… what a difference it makes to people!


  5. human interactions, how intense they can be in the simplest of settings.


  6. labkeysdude says:

    Reblogged this on Ackwards Bananagrams and commented:
    I was a wanderer for some time and this reminds me of many of my own conversations with other vagrants and transients.


  7. I always enjoy your information


  8. Araloth says:

    Listening and putting a human face on homelessness – these are easy things to do, but so few people do. Thanks for putting these stories out there!


    • Thanks for visiting Araloth. I’m hoping that when readers learn just how entertaining some of these street people can be, they will feel more comfortable making their acquaintance. ~ Dennis


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