Archive for May 8, 2014




8 May 2014

Jacques said, “I got some chocolate this morning, but the sun is so hot now I worry that it will melt. It’s in my duffel bag, inside a pair of socks. I’d better not forget that it’s there, or when I put my socks on my feet will be  covered with chocolate. That might not be so bad,  maybe I could get someone to suck the chocolate off my toes.”

Loretta asked me, “What did Jacques say?”

I said, He’s looking for someone to suck his toes.”

“No thanks, he had his hand on my thigh earlier. I told him I wasn’t interested.

“I had a fight with my boyfriend on the weekend. I really got physical. I just phoned him to see if he’d called the cops. Everything’s okay, we made up. Where I come from we always fight first, talk later. It’s not quite so bad now that I’m not drinking. My sister phoned me and asked me If I wanted to come home  to Coppermine for a month or so. She was going to send me a return ticket. There are some people I have forgiven, sort of, but I don’t want to go back there. I told her to spend the money on her kids. They’ll appreciate it more.”

Chili said, “I’d like to go home sometime. I have surgery in a few months for my leg. The first two times I was in hospital I was still smashing crack. I’ve been clean for almost a year now. The infection can still come back, by natural causes, but it won’t be because I did something  stupid, like use a dirty needle. My boyfriend still drinks. He’ll go on a binge for days. I get so pissed off. I tell him, ‘drink one or two beer a day. That’s not a problem. It becomes a problem when you’re drunk and you start beating me.”

Maria said, “That’s the same way with my Charlie. He also has PTSD.  When he’s been drinking and has flashbacks he’s tried to strangle me. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, but that doesn’t help me. He has a job now so he can help with the bills for a change.”

I asked Maria, “How is your stomach feeling today?”

“Not so good. I couldn’t finish supper last night and I was afraid to eat breakfast. The mistake I made was having Chinese food. The meat was marinated in soya sauce. With all that salt my stomach bloated. I didn’t have any shape at all, just like a balloon from my neck down. I always have trouble with bloating because I have  irritable bowel syndrome. It started with bleeding ulcers in my stomach. I was bleeding from nearly every orifice in my body. I was shitting blood, peeing blood and vomiting blood. They put me on Prilosec right away. It was new then in the early 1980’s. I also had to take antacids after every meal. I was supposed to quit coffee, alcohol and smoking but, as you can see, I didn’t.

“That was around the time when my doctor told me to lose forty pounds, because I have brittle bones. There was this new fat loss drug Lipozene. It’s actually Glucomannan, a  natural fiber from the Konjac root. It’s common now, you can see the ads on television, but back then the only place I could find it was in Switzerland. They were the only ones who made it commercially available. So, after about three hundred dollars worth of phone calls, a hundred dollars for shipping, then the cost of the pills, I’d spent about five hundred dollars. It worked, I lost the forty pounds.

“Now, I’m starting to feel a bit woozy, because I’ve got no food in my system.”

Chester asked, “Would anybody like to see some pictures of my baby?” He handed a stack of twenty photos of a black and white kitten to Loretta, who in turn handed them to me.

“What’s her name, Chester?” asked Loretta.

Bébé, isn’t she sweet?”

“She’s adorable.”

I asked Mariah, “You have a cat don’t you?”

“Yes, Precious, she’s a monster, eighteen pounds. She’s the size of a raccoon.”

I said, “Joy is afraid of her.”

“Joy has allergies and if Precious gets riled she’ll take a chunk out of whoever is nearby. She’s bitten me and Charlie enough times. He teases her though.  I have all kinds of toys for her. She has a tube that she just loves. When she’s inside,  Joy reaches in and scratches her on her backside. Precious can’t turn around in the tube, so she gets frustrated. Joy loves doing that.





“Hi Sweetheart,” greeted Joy.

“Good morning, how’s it going so far?”

“Shitty, I’ve been here since six and I’ve only made two bucks. I need some money for food. I’m trying to get enough to buy a bag of potatoes. I’ve got chicken, but nothing to serve it with.”

I said, “I was really impressed with the motorcycle that Jake made. I was expecting something that looked like Origami, but that is beautiful. Does he have any contacts for marketing? Perhaps, a motorcycle shop, or art galleries. Since he has nine of them he could have a small exhibition. What price range is he thinking of?”

“He’s going to try to get three or four hundred each.”

I said, “That’s only about five dollars an hour.”

“Yeah, we thought we’d try some tattoo parlors, head shops, maybe even at the market. We’d have to keep it low-key, since he doesn’t have a licence to sell.

“Can you keep my seat warm for a few minutes. I have to go to the bathroom?”


When she came back Joy said, “I see Ghyslain across the street in Silver’s old spot. He’s the only one who’ll use a dead spot; meaning a spot where someone used to panhandle, who is now dead. He even uses Crash’s old spot, although Crash isn’t dead, just moved out of the city.”

I asked, “Did Shakes lose his place because he didn’t pay his rent?”

“Definitely, we knew about it last weekend. They changed the locks on him, so now he’s staying with Little Jake.”

“What happened to all his furniture?”

“They probably threw it all out. It would have all been infested with bed bugs. That’s why I don’t hug anybody anymore. Those bugs can live in your pant leg, anywhere. I think the only think that really works well on them are products with DDT, but that causes cancer, so they’re not allowed to sell it.  They’re worse than roaches.

“Did I tell you yesterday about the sparrow? On the steps behind me I found a young sparrow lying on his back. I think its wing might have been broken. I wrapped in one of my gloves and put it back. It was pecking me the whole time I was trying to help it. I even tried to feed it part of a french fry, and gave it some water, but he wouldn’t have any of it.  Another sparrow came up to me, jumped right into my hand and was hopping all over me. People going by must have thought I was nuts. Anyway, when I left, I went back to check on it and it had rolled down to another step. I told Ghyslain to keep an eye on it. Speak of the devil, here he comes.”

I said, “Hi Ghyslain.”

“Hi, Dennis. have you seen anything of Chuck lately?”

“I saw him last Thursday. He had a nasty cold. He had been coughing so hard it caused  rapid heart beat. He was afraid that his defibrillator would start up, but it didn’t.”

Joy said, “When I had pneumonia I had to wear pads, because whenever I’d cough I’d piss myself.”

Ghyslain said, “Joy, your bird didn’t do so well yesterday. The janitor came out of the building, saw your glove, tried to sweep it off the step. When the bird moved he freaked right out. It was funny to see. Anyway, when I left the bird was still breathing, I could still feel a heartbeat, but I didn’t think he’d make it. There were some pigeons walking around. Maybe they got it, or the shithawks. I’ll see you later.

After he had walked down the block Joy said, “He’s trying to push me. I hate that. He’s just waiting until I leave, so he can get this spot. Carl doesn’t like him at all.”

I said, I know. Carl said Ghyslain was a crack addict; said he had a lot of money and was going to spend it all on partying in Rimouski.”

Joy said, “I don’t think Ghyslain uses crack. He doesn’t act like a person who uses. He always has pot, he’ll have a few beer, but that’s all.

“Ghyslain said he made a lot of  money before Christmas. He’d brag that he’d got four hundred bucks one day, two hundred another. That’s bullshit. I know, I’ve been here for fifteen years. He’s not well-known; he doesn’t have any regulars. There’s no way he could be making more than I do.

“I can’t get over how much weight some of my regulars have put on. I’ve gained twenty pounds, now Jacques says I’m too fat. Last year he said I was too skinny.”