Shakes – 21 May 2014

Posted: May 22, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,




21 May 2014

I was on the bus, coming home from the gym, engrossed in a book. I looked ahead, in the seat in front of me was a hat I recognized, and a leather jacket. I’d seen them at noon today. I put my hand on the man’s shoulder and said, “Hi, Shakes.”

“Hi, Dennis. I’m going to Little Jake’s place. He said I could stay there as long as I wanted. He even said, ‘You don’t have to pay me anything.’ I said to him, pardon my language, ‘No fuckin’ way, Jake. I’ve always paid my way. That’s the way I was brought up — old school.’ It’s only right.”

“I agree, Shakes. Keep everything fair.”

“I got a couple of places I can stay. You know Blaine, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know him.”

“He said I could stay at his place anytime I want.

“I just hope Jake’s home, that’s all.”

“He said he’d leave the door open for you. You said you were meeting your daughter today. How did that go?”

“It was okay. I hated to ask her to buy me a bottle… but she did. I just hope that Jake has some mary jane. I’ve had a quarter ounce today, that’s all. When I was panning today a guy asked me if I’d like some groceries. I said, ‘Sure.’ He asked what I’d like. I said, ‘Maybe a loaf of bread, some margarine, some luncheon meat,  some mustard to go with that.’ He went into the store and came out with a bag, with all that stuff in it. Isn’t that something?”

“Did you know the guy?”

“I’ve seen him before. He’s seen me around.

“I haven’t seen you for most of the winter. How’ve you been?”

I said, “I didn’t get out much. It was too cold — the last four months.”

Shakes said, “Yeah, I didn’t go out either, but Danny did.”

I asked, “Is he still in Thunder Bay?”

“Yeah, but he’s coming home next week. I sure hope he has the two hundred bucks I lent him.”

“You lent it to him for his bus fare? Did you?”

“Yeah, I did. I’m having problems with my left knee.”

I asked, “Is it arthritis?”

“No, it’s this virus I got on my neck. It’s also behind my knee. It hurts when I sit down, when I stand up, when I get out of bed in the morning.” (It may be Molluscum Contagiosum.)

“Did the doctor say how long it would take to heal, now that you’re on antibiotics?

“No, he didn’t say. He asked me if I was diabetic. I said, ‘You’re the doctor. You tell me.’ I’ve been getting blood work done for the past ten years — the blood suckers — they don’t tell me what’s wrong. They’re the biologists, the scientists. How should I know what’s wrong with me.

“Dennis, do you have any bus tickets? Jake took mine. He smashed the front wheel of his bicycle, so he can’t ride it until it’s fixed, or he finds a new wheel.

“Sure, I can give you some.”

“… and some for Jake, so he doesn’t take mine.

“Did you celebrate the bitch’s birthday? (In Canada, Queen Victoria’s birthday is celebrated on the Monday nearest the twenty-first of May.)

I asked, “Do you mean Queen Victoria?”

“Yeah, she’s not my Queen.”

“I didn’t do any celebrating. I didn’t do much of anything.”

“This is my stop. I’ll see you, Dennis.”

“Bye, Shakes, maybe I’ll see you tomorrow if it’s not raining.”

“Yeah, see you.”


  1. Is that an actual picture of Shakes? I have pictures in my head of the people you talk about it. Seeing a real picture -even if that isn’t him – really adds a whole new dimension to these conversations! Such a beautiful thing that you do, Dennis – I hope more people start being kinder to one another.


  2. bwcarey says:

    great story telling, you write well, blessings


  3. Reblogged this on Karenzo Media Editing & Layouts and commented:
    Dennis has been talking with the homeless in his city since 2010. Even if you don’t buy his books, you won’t regret following his blog!


  4. lljostes says:

    Thank you for being there for Shakes. Like Jesus-who was “there” for people. Blessings ~ Laura


  5. glenn2point0 says:

    Just shows that there are some decent people out there. I remember years ago in Oxford Street in Sydney there was a homeless person called Beryl. She was quite a personality who lived in the doorways of shops that closed early. She would have her bottle and we would buy her Maccas so that she was at least getting some food.

    Thanks for the story Dennis.


  6. The way you write is really powerful, makes me feel like I am right there with you. I love the non-judgmental approach too.


  7. Very touching and well written.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.