Archive for June 27, 2014




27 June 2014

A young native boy was sitting in Joy’s spot panning for change. I smiled and him and said hello, he smiled and nodded. I approached Chuck and he said, “Did you notice that little kid down there? From here I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl.”

I said, “It’s a boy about eleven years old. “

Chuck said, “I’ve got a good mind to go over there and slap the shit out of him and tell him to go home. I wonder if his parents know where he is. If he hangs around downtown, I’ll bet money that he’ll be dead within the month. Some pedophile will get hold of him, or bigger kids will rob and  beat him. He doesn’t know how much danger he’s in.

“There used to be a pretty little girl around here, got around in a wheel chair. She was a bit sassy. but friendly and smiling all the same. She’d always say hello to me. They found her in the river. Someone had thrown her off the bridge, wheelchair and all, while she was still strapped in. I never heard if anyone was charged.

“I still feel stupid about yesterday, missing my cleaning lady. I haven’t phoned her yet. Maybe I’ll do that later today or tomorrow. I don’t know — I’ll see how I feel.”

I asked, “Do you have any plans for the weekend?”

“I’m supposed to go to a wedding if I can get a ride. My grand-nephew is getting married. I’ve only met him once and that was at my mother’s funeral four and a half years ago. My son wont drive me. He’s got this thing about going to bed at five o’clock every night. He follows that schedule religiously. My sister had a birthday party last year. It was only a couple of blocks from where he lived. The party was at four o’clock. He wouldn’t go.

“I can probably get the wheelchair taxi service to take me to the bus depot. Unfortunately,  where I want to go is just beyond the boundary where they have the rate hike. I’ll have to stay overnight in a hotel. That’ll be seventy dollars, or so. It would be nice to see my nieces, I haven’t seen them since the funeral, but it’s going to cost me about two hundred dollars. I don’t know what I’ll do.

“I remember back when I was still drinking. I’d tried to stop many times, but I entered a twelve step program run by the Salvation Army. Sister Magdalene was in charge. I’d been in the program about a month, when I was invited to a wedding out-of-town. I asked Sister if it would be okay. She approved it. I knew it would be a challenge to stay sober when everyone else was drinking, but I figured I could handle it. I got through the wedding. My wife and I stayed overnight at a hotel. When we got back into town we only had money for my wife to take the bus. She went home. I walked back to the program where I was staying.  It was about ninety degrees and I hadn’t slept well the night before. When Sister Magdalene saw me she said, ‘You’ve been drinking!’ I said, ‘I have not! ‘ She said ‘You have.’ I said, ‘I have not. That’s a damned lie!’ I went in and packed my bags. Before I left, I ordered a case of beer and a bottle of whiskey to be delivered to my house. I said to Sister, ‘The next time you see someone who is hot, tired and is not walking quite straight. Don’t accuse them of drinking, before you find out if they have. I don’t like being called a liar. Now fuck off.’ The first thing I did when I got home was to open a bottle of beer. That sure tasted good.

At noon I met Lucy and Hippo at the park. He said, “Hi Dennis, it’s good to see you. Today it’s just us and the duck.

“Does anyone know what kind of duck that is?.. It’s a mallard… Do you know whether it’s a girl or a boy?.. It’s a girl.”

Wolf asked Hippo, “Did you turn it over to find out?”

I said, “The males have green heads.”

I shook hands with Jacques and Wolf, then sat down. Jacques was showing off his new drinking bottle. “See, when you push the top this way it’s open. When you push it the other way it’s closed. I can tip it over and nothing comes out. Well, maybe a few drops. This, it’s made of good stainless steel.”

Wolf asked, “Are you sure it’s not bad stainless steel?”

Jacques gave him a disapproving look. He continued, “I’m trying to decide what to do on Tuesday, Canada day. They have fireworks, but I’m not so sure I want to be in the middle of a big crowd of people.”

Wolf asked, “What direction does your balcony face?”

“It’s on the wrong side, but still I’ll be able to see the planes fly across the sky. I think It’s better that I stay home with my beer and my pot, where I’m close to the bathroom.”

Wolf said, “Okay, this is a somber story. It’s why I never feel good about Canada Day. It was back when I lived on Bell Street. You remember that, Jacques?”

“Yes, I remember.”

“Digger, Hobo and Tim were at my apartment. We’d planned to go downtown, panhandle on the sidewalks, then watch the fireworks. Tim wasn’t feeling so good, so he stayed behind. We left, collected enough for a couple of bottles, got drunk, wandered around for a while, then came back to my place. When we walked in Tim was dead. Now, those other two guys are dead.

“It was the same with Weasel. He’d been staying at my place, I came back with a few friends and we found him, lying there dead, his tongue hanging out. I’m glad I had those other guys there. I just broke down and cried. Someone phoned the cops. They took us all in for questioning. We were there for a few hours then they let us go.

“We haven’t seen Shakes for three or four days. I hope he’s alright. You just never know.