Archive for April 11, 2014

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11 April 2014

“Hi Chuck, are you enjoying this warmer weather?”

Hi Dennis, it can’t get warm enough for me. I’ll be glad to get out of these winter clothes, so I have more mobility.  As it is, I feel like the Michelin man, remember those commercials? Also, my wheelchair will go farther on a charge when the weather is warm.”

I asked, “With the milder temperature, and no rain,  I’m surprised that I haven’t seen Joy. Have you heard anything about her.”

“I have heard something from a friend of mine. I don’t know how true it. I trust this guy, but he wasn’t there. What he heard is that Joy and Michelle got into a fight. Michelle stabbed her. She’s known for that. She stabbed her boyfriend twice and they’re still together. It had something to do with Michele wanting to leave town and Joy owing her money. I think that’s how it went. If I hear any more I’ll let you know.”

I said, “I’ve noticed that Little Frank, for example, when he gets his check, he’ll lend money to Jacques, Chester, Shakes and other people.  When he runs out of cash, he collects what he’s owed. It doesn’t seem like a very efficient system.”

“No It isn’t.  I used to be an alcoholic. I’d give my pay to my wife and tell her, ‘When I ask for money for beer, just give me ten bucks or so, otherwise I’ll spend it. When I was drunk and ran out of booze, I’d ask her for money. She’d give me a big wad of bills, then give me shit when I came home with empty pockets. One day we decided that we’d go to the bank and open a joint checking account, where each withdrawal would require her signature on it. That sounded like a good idea. When we got out the door I said, ‘Let’s go this way, it’s easier on my legs.’ She said, ‘No, I want to go this way.’ I said, ‘Go any way you want. I’m going for a drink.’

“She was just ornery that way. She was a lousy cook and would pile food on the kid’s plates and tell them to sit there until they finished it all. Sometimes she’d put a roast in the oven and just forget about it. She’d come back from Bingo, or some place, and it would be burnt to a crisp. She didn’t care she’d eat it anyway, but nobody else would.

“Soon I’m hoping to pick up a six-pack of beer and head to the beach. That’ll be relaxing. Goldie will be able to have a proper run. It reminds me of a time I went there with my brother-in-law. He met this attractive woman, they had a few beer together. When she left I mentioned to him that she was a prostitute. He said, ‘I know that. We arranged a price of a hundred dollars that he knew that they had arranged a price of a hundred dollars. She’s gone to arrange for a room at a nearby motel. I’ll meet her there in ten minutes.’ I said, ‘You didn’t give her any money did you?’  He looked stunned. ‘That was stupid wasn’t it? She’s not coming back, is she?’ I said, ‘Well, we live and learn.’ He should have known better. That’s the oldest trick in the book.

A lady stopped by and rooted through her purse for change. She was probably in her seventies and had bright red hair. Chuck said, “I like your hair.”

“My kids and grand kids hate it. They said, ‘What are you doing grandma, trying to look like a rock star?’ I’m only trying to have a little fun in my old age. None of us know how long we have.”

Chuck said, “I can’t wait until the warm weather, when you start wearing skimpier clothes. They I’ll be able to whistle at you as you walk down the street. She blushed and Chuck started singing the song by Freedy Johnson:

When I was half myself
I guess I was another guy
I was gonna find my way to your world
Little red-haired girl

I was not quite myself
That was some other time
You were gonna help me out, I wasn’t sure
Little red-haired girl

Running for the crosstown bus
Looking like another guy
I looked everywhere I know and now I’m here
Little red-haired girl

Standing on a pouring street
Looking at my angry feet
I was gonna find my way to your world
Little red-haired girl

I’ve been down to the piers
Run through the park
Been through hell
Looking for my little red-haired girl

Been to the corner
Asking everybody
Looking all through my pockets
For my little red-haired girl

Been to the circus
Down to the projects
All around town
Looking for my little red-haired girl

Been through the summer
Run through the snow
Lost my coat
Looking for my little red-haired girl

Little red-haired girl

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“Chuck, she said, “save that for some of your younger friends.”  She kissed him on the cheek. As she left she was smiling.

Chuck said, “Do you know what I’ve noticed. People just want to be listened to. I talk to lots of people who are crazy; like the crazy lady who picks up garbage off the sidewalk. She doesn’t make any sense, but I listen patiently. She probably makes sense to herself. I give her money to buy a coffee. She leaves happy.”

It reminded me of a man I met on the bus last night. I saw him speaking in a very loud voice to the bus driver. When there was a seat available he opposite side me. He took out his cell phone and had a very loud conversation with someone, his speech was slurred. Near the end of the bus route, he and I were the only ones on the bus. He sat in the seat adjacent to me and smiled. He said. ‘You look like a nice man.’ I thanked him. He handed me a business card with his name, address and phone number. He said, ‘You can phone me if you want.’ I told him that I didn’t have a phone, but thanked him for the card. He asked, ‘Would you like to come over to visit me and my mom.’ I said, ‘It’s a long distance from where I live, so I probably wont come over, but I appreciate that you invited me.’ We shook hands and I got off the bus. He was smiling.

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