Little Chester – 23 April 2014

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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man2

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23 April 2014

I ventured outdoors at noon, not knowing what the weather would be like.  We’re well into Spring, but the temperature, in the mornings, still hovers around the freezing point.  A cold north wind added to the misery. I didn’t see anybody at the bench, but as I walked further down Queen Street I saw somebody waving to me.

“Am I ever glad to see you,” said Little Chester, standing on the curb. “I can look you straight in the eye. If I was on the sidewalk I’d be looking up at you.”

“I’m glad to see you too, Chester. I also have to look up at most people.  You must be cold standing here.”

“I got something to keep me warm,” from an inside pocket he pulled a half full bottle of sherry and took a long swallow. “I’m also wearing two coats.”

I asked, “Have you seen anybody else this morning?”

“Yeah, I saw a couple of faces that I didn’t recognize.”

A man walked up from behind, put his hand on Chester’s shoulder and said, “You’re under arrest!”

Chester turned around and laughed, “Hi Jack, it’s good to see another Newfoundlander. Jack, this is Dennis. Dennis, this is Jack.”

Jack and I shook hands. I said, “Chester tells me that the women in Newfoundland are all ugly. Is that right?”

“He should know. Do you know why there aren’t any whores in Newfoundland? Because Chester married them all.

“So, Chester, I’m going back to Newfoundland. Do you want to come with me?”

“No, I’ve had enough of that place and it’s had enough of me.

“I tried my key in the lock to my apartment and it wouldn’t work. The landlord changed the locks. I thought to myself,  I’m drunk, should I knock on his door? No, I’d better leave that until I’m sober.  They had a room for me at the Shepherd so that’s where I stayed last night. I came out here early and it’s taken me all morning to make the price of a bottle.” He took another long swig.

He offered some to Jack, “No, I don’t touch that stuff.”

Chester asked, “Do you have any money?”

“Sure, I got lots of money.” He reached deep into his pants pocket and pulled out two dimes.

“Thanks, that’s a start.”

Little Jake rode up on his bicycle, lay it on the grass, sat on the curb and set his cap out. “Hi Dennis, I haven’t seen you since last week.  I woke up this morning at seven-thirty at Shakes’ place. We really tied one on last night. Shakes was counting his empties. I said to him, ‘It’s seven-thirty, we’d better hurry to the store.’ He said, ‘It’s seven thirty in the morning, we got lots of time.’ Here I thought it was seven thirty at night. That’s pretty fucked up, getting my mornings and evenings turned around.

“Chester, give me a drink. That’s the least you can do since you’ve taken my spot. Now you can fuck off across the street. I gotta work.” To me he said, “I need a drink.  All I got is a dime for start-up. It was cold riding here on my bicycle. My eyes got all teared up. Look, my sunglasses are all streaked.

“Shakes has something awful on his neck. I don’t know what it is. He has to wear a scarf when he goes out.”

I asked, “Is it some kind of rash? I don’t suppose he’d consider going to a doctor to have it checked?”

“Getting him to a doctor is like pulling teeth. He’s at his usual spot now.

I asked, “Do you have another appointment to get your furniture?”

“No, I think I’m going to find a new place; something closer to downtown. This is crazy riding here on my bike. If I ride the bus, it takes me an hour.

“Look at that asshole, Chester. He’s making money over there. I saw someone drop him a bill… After one bottle, he’s wasted… I know he’s only had one bottle, I can tell. “

I said, “I should be getting back to work, Jake,  and I know you have to work. Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah, thanks Dennis. See you tomorrow. I hope the weather is better. Have you heard the forecast?”

“It’s supposed to be warmer.”

“I hope so. I wore the wrong jacket.”

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Comments
  1. labkeysdude says:

    Reblogged this on Ackwards Bananagrams and commented:
    Imagine waking up in the frost.

    Like

  2. nukemm33 says:

    Keep it going. Powerful stuff.

    Like

  3. grotmanharry says:

    I like this Sir!

    Like

  4. cynthia says:

    You make me live the joy of moments with you! Amazing Dennis. I am so glad you share this with us 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Cynthia, your poetry takes me on the same journey of emotional moments. I have read all your poems, but I especially love “In a dark night”. I am familiar with that emotional conflict. ~ Dennis

      Like

  5. Basic panhandling got boring, and there was less return the older I became. I remember moving onto asking for pay for helpful tips, like pointing out that drivers would get tickets parking in certain spots. When I was little, though, the older kids would “split” with me, because they knew I would get more, being small.

    Like

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