Archive for August 8, 2014


8 August 2014

I waited behind the light post as several women patted Goldie and talked to Chuck. When they left Chuck said, “Good morning, Dennis.”

“Good morning, Chuck.”

“I tell you I had some women going this morning with my jokes. I told one of them, ‘I got a hamster for my son… It was the best trade I ever made.’  She laughed at that.  Then I said, ”I child proofed my house… but the little buggers are still getting in.’ I got one for you too.  In Montreal harbor there was a container of Viagra stolen from one of the ships. The police made an announcement. ‘We have reason to believe that this is the work of hardened criminals.’ “

“Yes,” Chuck,  “I’m sure they were. You mentioned a problem that you and your friends had at the Food Court in the mall. Did anything come of that? Did anyone complain to management?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t see those guys until the weekend. I don’t think that management would listen to a bunch of old retired guys. But, they’d listen to the worker that was thrown out. I’m sure that she must have said something.

“See that guy in green across the street. I’ve had run ins with him before. I made the mistake of talking to him like a regular human being. He mumbled something. I don’t know what he was trying to say. I bet he’s going to pan over there. Sure enough, he’s set up. That’s cutting my grass. I’ll get rid of him.”

A man in a plaid lumberjack shirt said to Chuck, “There’s a guy sitting on the hotel steps panning. Do you know about him?”

Chuck drove towards the guy and said, “Get the hell out! I’ve been here all morning. Besides that, the hotel will bring police down. That won’t be good for you, or for me.”

He came back and said, “Stupid asshole, that’s all I need. I had an incident this morning that I thought was going to bring the police. A man with his dog came too close to Goldie. She jumped at him and in the fuss a leash got tangled around a man waiting to cross the street. It was the same man I’ve had trouble with before. I’ve explained to him about my health issues. A dog fight could kill me! I don’t know if I’d be more upset by what he said to me, or by what I said to him. Either way, it would be the same result. He should know that it’s illegal to allow your dog too close to other people, but, ‘Oh no, my dog would never hurt anybody.’ That’s not the point. Goldie is a service dog, she’s not a pet, she needs to be here. He needs to keep his dog on a shorter lead.

“I had this other guy come by. He said to me, ‘You don’t need that chair. You could stay home. You don’t even need an apartment. You could stay at the mission, like I do, get three meals a day.’ When I was drinking, I might have thought the same way. I just didn’t care. I’ve had a lot of things stolen there and I’m sure it’s the staff.

“I’m going to leave now, Dennis. I’m going to my other spot. I’ll get rid of that other guy on my way. I’ll see you next week.

“I’ll see you, Chuck.”



7 August 2014

As I approached Chuck, he was directing a blind man across the street. The man asked, “Is there a walk light?”

Chuck replied, “Not yet. I’ll let you know when to go. Okay, you can walk now.  Move to the left, you’re not within the cross walk lines. That’s it.” Chuck watched him until he was safely across.

“Good Morning, Chuck.”

Good morning, Dennis. Do you know if there is a post office nearby?”

I said, “I work in a mail room. Do you want something mailed?”

“I’m going to move my chair so I can get something out of my bag at the back. Would you open the center section? At the bottom will be a small letter. It has a stamp on it already.”

“I found it.”

“There’s a bit of a story behind that. It’s a very formal invitation to my niece’s wedding. I’m going to attend, but instead of  signing it Uncle Chuck. I put C. F. J.  Norwick Esq. My given name is Charles. My Christian names are Francis, after Francis of Assisi, then John, after John the Apostle. They’ll never know who that’s from. It’s a little inside joke.

I asked, “Did you see the article about Shakes in the paper?”

“No, I didn’t see it. On what date?”

“Tuesday, have a look, it’s a full-page biography. They’ve interviewed Social Workers, cops, staff at the mission.”

Chuck said, “Speaking of cops, back in my drinking days, before I was in this wheel chair, my son had a catering business.  Often, I’d help him moving tables, that sort of thing. He’d pay me by giving me a few beers. That place was also an after hours club for cops. They’s come in, drink their scotch with some beer chasers, then go to the parking lot to smoke a joint. I’d often hear their conversations. There were two cops, Richards and Norton who were particularly hard on homeless and street people. If they’d find someone asleep in an alley they’d kick the shit out of them, then tell them to move on. There were a couple of rooming houses where street people slept. These cops would go in late at night and bang on all the doors. They figured if these people didn’t get any sleep at night they wouldn’t be panning on the street during the day. In the club, I overheard one of the conversations where these two cops were mentioned. They were called the worst cowards and meanest bullies on the force.

It was time for me to go. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Chuck?”

“Don’t forget my letter. I’ll see you tomorrow, Dennis.”