Archive for July 11, 2014




11 July 2014

Shaggy gave one half-hearted bark as I approached the group. Wolf handed me a blanket and said, “Dennis, she’s just saying hello. Make sure you pat her so she doesn’t feel ignored. Did I tell you that she took on a pit bull the other day? A neighbor brought over her little dog with big ears. I don’t know what you call them. Anyway, there was also a pit bull. The pit bull attacked big ears, Shaggy intervened and the pit bull backed down. What do you think of that? My girl is a hero, or heroine, for saving big ears.

“I’ve got something to show you. One of my ladies lent it to me. I’m to give her, what’s the word?  —  an appraisal? I don’t think that’s it, but she wants me to tell her what I think, so she can tell her husband. Here, have a look.” The novel was Vengeance by Benjamin Black. I read from the back cover, “A bizarre suicide leads to a scandal and then still more blood, as one of our most brilliant crime novelists reveals a world where money and sex trump everything”. This looks good Wolf, all the things you like.”

“I’ve got my whole weekend planned out. Reading, then on Sunday Germany plays Argentina. I also may watch the game on Saturday, Brazil versus the Netherlands. I always cheer for Europe.”

Jacques said, “I have two dollars bet on Argentina for Sunday. I hope they win. I just bet on them because the German bet against them.”

Little Jake said, “Hi, Dennis, how you doin’. I’m still feeling sick. I can’t keep anything down. I was over at Bruce’s last night, he fed me some Mr. Noodles. I was able to keep that down, but apart from that I haven’t eaten all week.”

Jacques said, “See, I told you, eat soup. That’s the best thing for you now. When you can keep that down, then you can try other things.”

Wolf said, “You gotta eat, Jake. If you don’t eat, you don’t shit. If you don’t shit, you die — simple as that.”

Gnome wandered over, “Hi, guys.”

Wolf said, “Hi Gnome, where are you staying now?”

“At my brother, Gordon’s place. It’s a condition of my probation. Gordon says I have to be in the house by 8 and in bed by 8:30. I said to him, ‘I’m a fifty year old man. I’m not going to bed at 8:30.’ Also, I’m not supposed to drink.” He then pulled out a can of Strongbow Apple Cider and opened it.

Jake said, “I’m sorry, Dennis, I’m too drunk to talk today. I tried panning, but that didn’t seem to work either.” He patted Shaggy, rubbed her belly and her ears. Shaggy licked his face.

Wolf said, “I’d be careful getting your face that close to Shaggy’s mouth. I can show you lots of scars where she’s drawn blood. She’s an old bitch and she can get cranky, Just ask Outcast. That was a stupid thing he did, trying to break up a fight between two dogs. He should have known better. The dogs weren’t injured, he was the only one dripping blood. My stupid neighbor let her dog near Shaggy’s bowl. Of course she’s going to be protective. It’s her space. It only lasted a few seconds. The other dog was on a leash. The owner pulled it back, fight over.”

Jacques said, “It’s time for me to go. I’ve finished my last beer.”

Wolf said, “I’ve got mine timed just right. I’m on my last one now.”

Jacques said, “Well, I’m going home to get hydrated, to have another beer. Maybe on my way home I’ll buy some groceries. I’m in the mood for a couple of chicken breasts. I’ll get some white potatoes, that I don’t have to peel, and a can of gravy, that usually lasts me two meals.

“Wolf, don’t forget to bring your two dollars on Monday.”





11 July 2014

“Good morning, Chuck.”

“Good morning, how are you today? The weather is a lot better than yesterday. We don’t have that cold wind. It should be hot this afternoon.

“I just didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, when the alarm rang this morning. I thought to myself, I’ll just lie here ten minutes longer. Of course, I fell asleep and didn’t wake up for another half hour, so I had to race to get ready.

“I can’t figure some of the bus drivers. I caught my regular bus, twenty minutes later than usual. I normally get downtown between ten and five to six. This morning I got there between ten and five to six. Some of the drivers go so fast it’s scary. Some of them jerk and swerve around corners. I have to hang on for dear life. The majority are adequate drivers, but there are some that hate wheelchairs. Once it was twenty-three below. I’d been waiting about twenty minutes for the bus. When it arrived, some people got off, some got on. The driver didn’t lower the ramp, he just sat there stone-faced looking straight ahead. A fourteen year old girl got off the bus, pulled the strap for the ramp and let me on. I said, ‘There you go, a fourteen year old girl has more balls than this useless fart of a driver.’

I said, “You or some of the passengers must have complained about that.”

“No,” said Chuck,  “two of my relatives work for the bus company. The only complaints that they write are the ones filed by the drivers. If a supervisor is around they’ll write something down when they get a call from a rider. As soon as the supervisor leaves it goes straight to the waste basket.

“One time I got dumped into a snow bank. The bus stop area was shoveled and swept, but the driver stopped five feet short of that area. He lowered the ramp and it hit a pile of snow. A couple of passengers got off and kicked some of the snow away. I drove down the ramp, my wheel caught the soft snow and I flipped on my side. Some big strong women were able to right me and my chair, otherwise I would have been stuck.

“Sometimes they won’t let me on. One driver said, ‘We already got one of you guys on the bus. We don’t have room for any more.’ Of course they did. There are two wheelchair designated spaces, on every bus. Just before the last bus strike, I was at the bus stop. The driver opened the front door, said to me, ‘You’re a useless piece of shit.’ He closed the door and drove off, leaving me there. I never saw him again. He’s lucky I didn’t.

“A very small percentage, maybe one percent, will go out of their way to help me. One driver whose ramp wasn’t working called to a few big male passengers, ‘Come on, this man needs help!’ I was lifted on the bus, and off at the other end.

“Next week, I go to my grandson’s wedding. I’ve got my washing done, some of my clothes folded. They told me to pack my big raincoat — I don’t think I’ll need it.”

I asked, “What day do you leave?”

“Tuesday at six in the morning. The wedding isn’t until 11:30. I’ll be dressed in my old clothes, like now. I’ll go to the main street, pan for a few hours, go back to the hotel, then change into my good clothes for the wedding. I can’t afford to miss a single day without making some money.

Chuck’s phone rang. I waved goodbye. He whispered, “Bye, bud.”