Liquor Laws – 28 July 2014

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,




28 July 2014

I had to wait in line to talk with Chuck. “Hi, Chuck.”

“Hi, Dennis, how was your vacation?”


“You’ll notice that Joy isn’t here today, because she doesn’t do Mondays. Mind you, she wasn’t here Friday either. Then, of course, there was the weekend, Sunday is her day of rest. She was here Tuesday to Thursday though.

“I was just telling that woman about what happened to me six years ago.”

I asked, “Do you mean about your heart attack?”

“Yeah, that and everything that went with it. I had forty heart attacks and was pronounced dead nine times. Even when I came back to the street, to visit my friends, I’d have coffee with them, then twenty minutes later I’d have forgotten about it completely. I had no short-term memory at all. People kept asking me if I was alright. I think it could have been the medication they had me on. I still don’t have a good memory, but I can put some of that down to old age.

“I remember around that time, before my heart attack, they started bringing in all those no smoking rules. People couldn’t smoke in bars or public buildings, the government prevented smoking in their buildings. Now, they’re not even allowed to smoke outdoors. I don’t smoke now, but it still pisses me off. At the time I remember telling one of my buddies, ‘I’ll light up a smoke. You call the cigarette police, then I’ll take it to court. Let them decide.’ I’ve got a lot of native people in my family. I could have them testify that their tribe was smoking hundreds of years before the white man came. It’s a religious tradition with them. They don’t really mind though. It boosts the sale of their illegal cigarettes. Why pay ten to twelve dollars a carton when you can get natives at four?

“It reminds me of something else that happened around that time. You know Metro, the guy that hands out the free newspaper?”

“Yeah, I know him.”

“Well, he came from Quebec. The bars there closed at three in the morning. Another thing, they still allowed smoking. He came here and went to a bar at 12:45 and the waiter told him it was last call, He said, ‘What do you mean, last call?  It’s not even one o’clock. Bars don’t close until three.’ Then he lit up a smoke. They called him on that too. He said to them, ‘To hell with you. I’m going back to Quebec.’

“They also used to have illegal booze camps that were open all night. You’d pay a bit more for your drinks. The postman would drop by first thing in the morning and have a couple. Even the police would stop in for a drink.

“There was one place on a houseboat. You needed to have a membership to get in, or go as a guest with someone who had a membership. My brother-in-law had been trying for three years to get a membership. We were drinking there one night and I asked the bartender, ‘Do you have a brother Rick, who drives a cab?’ He said, ‘Yes, I do. How did you know?’ I said, ‘Then, you must be Jack. You drive cab as well. I’ve known Rick for most of my life, he’s mentioned you.’ Well, sir, he said, this drink is on the house. He came back a few minutes later and handed me a card. I asked, “What’s this?’ He said, ‘It’s a membership card. Come here any time you like. Say hello to Rick for me.’ My brother-in-law was so pissed off. He said, to me, ‘You son of a bitch. I’ve been trying for three years to get one of those, and you waltz in, your first time here,  and get one.’ I still kid him about that.

“Well, Goldie’s telling me she needs to go for a walk, so I’m going to pack up my things and take her to the park.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Chuck.”

“Bye, Dennis. Maybe Joy will be here tomorrow.”


  1. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

    Pardon my ignorance but 12 dollars a carton? And what are natives… Hope you are well Dwnnis


  2. Eliza says:

    ” You call the cigarette police, then I’ll take it to court. Let them decide. I’ve got a lot of native people in my family.”

    Chuck is a legend. I wish I could think like him.


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