Wheelchair – 22 May 2014

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




22 May 2014

“Hi Chuck, sorry I couldn’t stop to talk yesterday. I was running late. Did you get your wheelchair fixed?”

“Boy, have I got a story to tell you about that. I’ve told you about Iris, the woman I visit sometimes? I think I have. Anyway, after we’re cremated we’re planning to have our ashes buried together, so she’s really special to me. She works for External Affairs. She phoned me to say that her boss was away. Well ‘when the cat’s away the mice will play’. She suggested that she get some Thai food and bring it over to my place. The wheelchair repairman was scheduled to come between one and two-thirty. That wasn’t convenient, but I need to have it fixed. He phoned at about two, saying he was finishing a job near by and would be along soon. By that time Iris and I are sitting in the living room eating. This guy comes to the door, takes a look at my chair and said, ‘What did you do to this hand control. It’s broken.’ That made me mad. I said, ‘I didn’t do anything to it.’ The guy said, ‘Well, you must have done something for it to be in this state. I kept my mouth shut, but in a few minutes this guy had accused me of something, then called me a liar. I would have punched him if Iris hadn’t been there. I was so embarrassed to have somebody talk to me that way in my home.

“I know how it got broken. Since I got it one of the rear casters has had a flat spot on it, so it pulls to the right. In the winter when it’s icy I go out the back way and there is a slope.  The chair slides and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sometimes it hits the wall. When plastic is brittle in the cold it breaks easily. If the guy had asked me in a polite way, I would have told him that. I phoned Sylvie, my worker, and told her about the situation. She said that maybe I was overreacting. She’d ask the guy to apologize. I said, I don’t want to hear from him. ‘If I so much as see that guy again there’s going to be a fight. Only one of us is going to come out alive and it’s not going to be him.’ I’m not worried, I’ve got a hammer and a long wrench. I’ll use them if I have to. I’m still mad about it.

I asked, “Is your wheelchair fixed?”

“No, that guy was just there to assess the job. They’re going to bring a new battery to my place this afternoon. It won’t be the same guy, but if it is, there’ll be trouble.”

I said, “I suppose you’ll have your hammer and your wrench handy.”

“I wont need them. I can do enough damage with my fists.

“I’m a small man — five foot six, one hundred and thirty pounds. I used to work in a men’s tavern as a waiter. Carrying those big trays of beer over your head really builds muscle. One time these two Americans came in, they were wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts, talking loud. I brought their beer over and one of them said, ‘I’ve been in this town before. I remember this woman, she had a strange name… Sinaed, that’s it. Sinaid O’Toole. We gangbanged her.’ Sinead O’Toole is my cousin.  I dropped the tray of drinks on the floor and went after both of them. It wasn’t long before they were  laid out on the floor.

The next day I was called into the big boss’s office. He asked, ‘Do you know what you’re here for?’ I said, “That scuffle that happened yesterday?’ He said, ‘There’s someone I want you to meet. I’d been facing his desk, so I hadn’t seen anyone behind me. He said, ‘Turn around.’ It was Sinead O’Toole who I hadn’t seen for thirty years, she’d moved to the States. The guy I beat up was her husband. She gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘That’s the sweetest thing that anybody’s ever done for me. Thank you Chuck.’ I’d been to their wedding. The guy recognized me and thought he’d play a joke. Some joke. This guy always had a big mouth.


  1. SalvaVenia says:

    Cool story. I think I very much like this guy. 🙂


    • You would like Chuck. I have no doubt. Everybody likes him. Every morning I look forward to seeing him. My only complaint is that I have to lean over to hear him, causing me a sore back, but it’s worth it. I enjoyed your post “Poetry. – Connotations.” ~ Dennis


      • SalvaVenia says:

        Many thanks you had a time to have a look around. My English poetry translations from their German origin are something like for test purposes, I reckon. It’s difficult and challenging at the same time to search for idioms.


  2. leewriter says:

    Dennis, I knew you yourself weren’t homeless. Sorry for giving you that impression.


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