Butcher – 27 May 2014

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,




27 May 2014

I saw a large man standing behind Joy. I thought, at first, that it was Big Jake, but when I came closer I recognized Butcher. I hadn’t seen him since last summer. “Hi, Butcher, it’s been a long time.”

“Hello, friend, It has been a long time. I’m looking for a new place to live, but it has to be a place with a pool.”

Joy said, “You’re picky.”

“There are places around and they’re not that expensive. I just want to make sure I’m a long way from St. James Town. That’s where I’m living now. In the hallways you can smell the smoke of illicit drugs and it isn’t marijuana.”

Joy said, “Where I live, people go there to get their drugs, then come back here.”

“I haven’t had any major problems, but there are stabbings and drive by shootings. I don’t go looking for trouble, but I don’t back down from it either. I think the problem is our prison system. Once it’s privatized it will be much better. Tougher crime policies and budget constraints have combined to create a crisis, in the prisons and jails. Governments are incarcerating more criminals, but they’re unwilling to spend the tax dollars for new prisons to house them, so there’s overcrowding.  I know the old system. I plead guilty, served my time. I deserved it. I remember getting half a bar of soap, half a toothbrush and someone coming around with toothpaste a couple of times a day. We’d earn a bit of money, only enough to buy a few necessities.

“When I got out, I was homeless. I tried to find work, but I got a welfare check each month. I couch surfed for a while, slept out doors on occasion. I have a few friends that send work my way. I’ll get a call asking if I can spare a few days to move some things. I’m not disabled, so there’s no problem there.

“I’ve always kept close with my street friends. If anybody pisses in their sleeping bag, I’ll find them and piss in their’s.”

Joy was packing up to leave so I said my good byes and wandered across the street to visit with Chuck.

“Boy,” said Chuck, “am I glad to see you. I’ve hardly made anything today. I don’t know what it is with people. Yesterday was the same. I guess you heard about the run in I had with Turtle. That asshole.

“They replaced the battery in my chair, but they refuse to fix the hand control or the damage on the bottom. I talked to the service guy yesterday. He said, ‘Your hand control is broken.’ I said, ‘I know that, there’s also damage underneath, but I’m certain that the guy, who inspected it,  didn’t see it. I’m not going to say anything bad about him. I don’t waste my time talking about fuckin’ assholes.’

“I’m only going to be in this spot for a few more months. They refuse to fix my chair, and that’s about how long it’s going to last. I’ve always taken Goldie for a walk in the evening. I can’t walk far. I do it for exercise. It used to be that I’d use the chair to take her out in the morning, but now I’m afraid it will run out of power later on if I do that. So, I walk her in the morning as well.

I asked, “Can’t you talk to your worker. Won’t she authorize the repairs to your chair?”

“I’ve already talked to her. These chairs are supposed to last a certain number of years, but what they gave me last time is a piece of shit. Ever since I got it I noticed that there’s a problem with the left rear wheel. I have to climb a curb using the right rear wheel first, otherwise it’ll throw me back on the street. I’ve been hung up a few times. That’s what caused the damage underneath.

“There are all kinds of things I need my chair for. I stop on the way home to get groceries. I have a cleaning woman who comes in once a week. There are only certain cleaning sprays that she’ll use, so if I don’t find it at my regular store, I have to go somewhere else. I worry that,  if I do that, I’ll run the battery down and will be stranded.”

I said, “I got a walk light, Chuck. I’ve got to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


  1. toad2014 says:

    Trapped in a chair, sometimes i realize how go i’ve got it….


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