Family Reunion – 17 April 2014

Posted: April 17, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,




17 April 2014

The temperature was five degrees above freezing and the sun was shining. I took a walk to the park to see if any of my friends had come out of hibernation. I met Jacques, Little Chester, Little Frank and Mariah who insisted that I sit on her plastic box. She took a place on the sidewalk, cushioned by a blanket. It was a true reunion; everyone was glad to see each other and catch up with what had happened over the winter.

I asked Mariah, “How is Joy doing?”

“She’s okay, I guess. She has good days and bad days, just like the rest of us.”

I said, “Chuck Senior told me that she and Michelle got into a fight over fifteen dollars and a bus ticket. Joy was stabbed by Michelle.”

“A stabbing, I never heard about that. Here’s Joy on the phone now. You can ask her yourself.”

I said, “Hi Joy, how have you been over the winter?”

“I’m doing okay. It’s been too cold to come downtown to do any panning. I caught pneumonia again.”

I said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve been talking to Chuck Senior most mornings. He’d heard that you and Michelle were in a fight and she stabbed you. I guess it must have been somebody else.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what that’s about. I haven’t seen Michelle for ages and I sure haven’t been stabbed. It should be warmer next week, perhaps I’ll see you then. Could you put Mariah back on the phone?”

They finished their conversation and I asked Mariah, “How have you been? Is your back still giving you problems?”

“Generally , it’s better than last winter. The landlord fixed the heating, so I don’t have the problem with humidity, that I had before. That helps. My knee has been giving me trouble. Sometimes it feels like it’s burning.

“There’s still some crazy shit going on in the apartment. Last Saturday, at three in the morning, my bedroom light fixture came crashing down.  It just missed my head. The glass globe shattered all over the place. The first night I just wrapped the big pieces in a carpet and threw it in the corner. The next  morning I phoned my landlady. I said, ‘I’m sorry for phoning you on a Sunday morning, but one of my light fixtures just fell. I didn’t do anything. It just came down, all on its own.’ She said she’d send over an electrician to  fix that and install a new plug. The ones I have aren’t grounded.  I’m always tripping breakers. Having a light on and drying my hair will knock out the power. I don’t have access to the electrical panel so it means a lot of phone calls to my landlady. The house is over a hundred years old. She can’t even get insurance for it.”

“Do you think it was spirits that knocked down the light?”

“Yeah, they’ve been acting up. Stuff gets moved around in my kitchen. It’s time for another cleansing, another smudging. It’s all through the house. Joy hasn’t had problems with that little girl since we dealt with her last time, but Buddy is still knocking in the closet and there’s a black presence hovering around the place.”

I asked, “How about the guy who sits on the end of the bed and watches television with her? The one who hates paranormal shows?

“I haven’t heard about him, maybe Buddy sometimes comes out of the closet.

“Because I’ve lived there the longest — it’s coming on four years now — everybody comes to me with their problems. The woman next door, the one that Joy had problems with, came over and asked, ‘Do you know who’s been phoning the city bylaw office about my dog. Do you think it’s been Joy?’ I said, ‘No, Joy likes dogs. She wouldn’t report you.’

I said, “That’s the one that Joy calls ‘the stomper’. She always stomps around her apartment and up and down the stairs. There are a couple of guys up there as well. Joy figures she’s getting it on with both of them.”

The woman has anxiety attacks. Sometimes she’ll phone and ask if she can come over to talk. She says, ‘Mariah, you can always manage to calm me down.’ She can be a real pain in the ass.

“Even the landlady phoned and asked, ‘So, what’s going on?’ I said, apart from the door you had fixed that keeps banging, I don’t have any problems.’ She said, ‘That’s not really what I was phoning about. Is everyone getting along okay? Is there anything I should know about?’ I said, ‘No, everybody seems to have worked out their issues. If It doesn’t affect me, I don’t worry about it.’ We’ve gotten rid of the crackheads and the crazies, everyone gets along.”

I asked, “How about you Jacques? Have you been coming down here often? Have you seen anybody else?”

“I think it was last Monday that I came down. That was the only nice day we had. Nobody was here.

‘Tomorrow I’m meeting Stella at the Eaton Center. She has a microwave oven for me and a few other things. Apart from that I’ve been staying in. I noticed at the market that they have some hanging pots of tomatoes. I’d like to get some of those, but I don’t think I get enough sunlight. Just a couple of hours in the late afternoon. I don’t think that is enough.”

Mariah said, “I’ve  just got a small balcony. It’s not even a balcony it’s a walkway.  Everybody would be picking  at my tomatoes if I had some hanging there. I don’t think I get enough sun anyway. I guess I could hang them inside in front of one of the windows, but the air conditioning wouldn’t be good for them.

I asked Jake, “So, have you seen Shakes lately?”

“Why does everyone ask me about Shakes?”

Mariah said, “Perhaps, because you live closer to him than anybody else.”

“We’re in different buildings. I haven’t seen him for a long time.”

I asked, “Have you had any luck getting your furniture yet?”

“No, I fucked up another appointment. It’s been a year and a half now without furniture. Mind you, they did get me a new bed. That’s a good thing.”

I said, “I remember, your old bed was soaked with blood.”

“Yeah, from the time I fell on the scissors.

Jacques said, “You can get another appointment. Just call them.”

“Yeah, but it won’t be for another month. I’m back down at the bottom of the list again. I still use the air conditioner in it’s box as my table, or a place to sit.

“You’ll never guess what I saw the other day. I was riding my bicycle and I saw this crow or raven. It must have stood two feet high. I’ve never seen a bird so large. It really freaked me out”

Mariah asked, “Are you sure it wasn’t a turkey vulture? They’re big.”

“No, when it turned sideways I could see the bluish black in its feathers.”

Mariah said, “That would be a raven. They’re bigger than crows. We have some large ones that hover around the cemetery. That sounds spooky, right?”


  1. Ileana says:

    Fie ca sfanta sarbatoare a invierii domnului sa-ti aduca cele 4 taine divine: incredere, lumina, iubire, speranta. Clipe de neuitat alaturi de cei dragi si numai realizari! O seara binecuvanata alaturi de familie!
    May the holy feast of the Resurrection bring you divine mysteries 4: reliable, light, love, hope. Unforgettable moments with your loved ones and only achievements! An evening with family blessings!


  2. This is the kind of picture you should have on the front of your book you are writing


  3. You focus the lens on your characters so artistically, and you can hear their voices. Yet amazingly, while not blowing the trumpet to draw attention to yourself, your own transcendental voice of compassion just sings through your writings…I admire you so much for this.

    Happy Easter,
    Olive Twist


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