Archive for August 26, 2014




26 August 2014

“Dennis,’  said Wolf, “When did I see you last? Was it Friday? I know I haven’t seen you this week. Anyway, I got three new books, hard covers, that’s nice. Two are by authors we know, one’s by an author we don’t know; at least I don’t know her. I can’t remember their names.  The book I started is looking good, the stuff we like, spies, espionage. She’s a famous author from Sweden, sold millions of copies. There are a lot of people in Sweden, aren’t there? I think those countries are all crowded over there. That’s what I had to tell you.

“I’ll show you my elbow, the swelling’s gone down. The doctor said there would always be a bump. That’s the way at our age, getting bumps and bo bo’s.

“Shaggy’s beat. See, she’s lying in her water bowl. It’s a bit small for her, but at least part of her is cool.”

Andre said, “It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen you. Do you notice a difference?”

“Yeah,” I said, “for one thing you’ve lost weight, and you’re wearing glasses.”

“I also got all my teeth pulled. That’s why I was sick before, they were all infected. That poison was going through my whole system. I got my life under control now. I still drink, because I have to. If I stop I get sick. So, I stick to a couple in the morning when I get up. Then I do some work. I’m fixing bicycles now. People are always bringing their bikes over to my place. They’re amazed that I can fix these things.

“I’ve also got into engraving glass. I get these picture frames at the Dollar Store. They’ve already got glass in them and a picture. I engrave the picture on the outside of the glass. What started out costing a couple of bucks, I sell for ten. I’m doing a big Harley Davidson now. It’s about three feet wide.”

I asked, “Where are you selling them?”

“I don’t have a regular place to sell them. People buy them as soon as I make them. I was at the hardware store asking for diamond and carbon fiber bits. The salesman asked what I was using them for, so I told him. He asked, ‘Are you any good?’ I said, ‘The people who have bought my work think so.’ He said, ‘Bring one around, maybe I’ll buy it.’  So, that’s what’s happening. I go to buy bits, I end up making a sale.”

Mariah said, “I’m waiting for my son to come by. He went to the welfare office this morning. He’s hoping  to get first and last month’s rent, so he can get his own place. Lately he’s been sleeping on my kitchen floor. That’s kind of awkward. Charlie’s pissed with him because he moved some of his stuff. Charlie has this thing that his belongings have to be in a certain place, or he blows up. That’s what happened. He said, ‘There’s the door. Use it and don’t come back.’

“My son has always had a mean streak. He gets it from me. When he was a teenager he started to rebel. I told him, ‘When you’re in my place there are certain boundaries. I’m not your roommate, I’m not one of your friends that you can give shit to. You follow my rules or go live at the Sally.’

“He’s not working now. The fast food place, where he had a job, closed down, even their second location closed. So, he’s looking for work.”

Jacques asked me, “Dennis, you want a lock? It’s still in the package. It would be good to lock a suitcase or a backpack. No?”

Mariah said, “Before I got my place I had to lock everything.  I know what that’s like.”

I said to Mariah, “I heard that you visited Joy yesterday. How is she doing?”

“Ehhhhh… so, so. She’s able to get out of bed on her own. She can shuffle along with her walker. I call it the Joy shuffle. It’s funny to see her. They still haven’t figured out what’s wrong with her. They’ve ruled MS. I knew it wasn’t that. I’ve been around a lot of people with MS. They didn’t have the same problems as she has. They think it’s something hereditary.”

Outcast came by and said to me, “Hippo’s too shy to ask you, but he’s not feeling so good. Could you spare him a bus ticket so he can get home? It’s not for me, I’ve got a bus pass.”

“Sure,” I said, “I’ve got extra.”

Wolf said, “I’m not looking forward to that walk home. It takes me about an hour and a half, but I’ll break it up. I’ll take Shaggy to the river. After that I’ll pick a shady street and take my time. I’ll sit down along the way. The last thing I want is to come down with heat stroke.”





26 August 2014

“Good morning, Chuck. I’m late because I fell asleep at the breakfast table, drinking my coffee.”

“I guess it wasn’t doing its job then, if you fell asleep. My morning started the same as usual. I was up at 4, took my pills, took Goldie for a long walk. Everything was  fine until I boarded the bus. I looked at my wrist and noticed that I’d forgotten my watch. It’s been all downhill since then.

“I went to the Metro yesterday, went to the back where they have things on sale. I bought a large jar of mustard, and one of those meals to heat in the microwave. There was a guy waiting in lie at the counter and he turned to me and said, ‘You’re buying food!’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m buying food. Why wouldn’t I be.’ He said, ‘I see you at the corner, I thought you were just another of those drunks.’ I said to him, ‘I haven’t had a drink in six years.’ He said, ‘In that case let me buy these groceries for you. I’ll mention you to my friends. Maybe they can help you out as well.’ I thanked him then went on my way.

“There was a guy talking to Metro, the guy who hands out the newspapers. I don’t know if it was this same guy or not. He asked, ‘What’s that old guy doing on the corner?’ Metro said, ‘He’s just trying to get by on his old age pension.’ The guy said, ‘If he’s getting a pension, he shouldn’t be out on the street.’ Metro said, ‘He has high vet bills to pay.’ The guy said, ‘Then he should get rid of the dog.’ Metro said, ‘It’s a medical dog.  He also has to buy furniture.’  The guy said, ‘He can sleep on the floor.’

“I remember when my wife and I were still together. I’d lost my job, bills were piling up, we were behind in the rent. We were walking along the street and saw a sign in a window that said, ‘BANKRUPTCY’. I pointed it out to my wife and said, “Maybe we should see what that’s all about, so we went in. We talked to a guy, told him our situation. He asked, ‘Do you have your bills with you?’ I said, ‘No, we just wanted to find out about this stuff.’ The guy said, ‘Bring in all your bills and any statements of income and I’ll take care of the rest.’ I said, ‘How much do we pay you?’ The guy said, ‘I’m retiring next month, so you don’t have to pay me anything.’

I said, “My wife and I don’t know how we’re going to manage when we have to rely just on our pensions.”

Chuck said, “You must be eligible for a good pension.”

I said, “I was laid off from a high paying job after fifteen years. I had a large payout, but that went into a house. Getting a job when I was fifty years old was nearly impossible.  Then came bankruptcy, so we’re both left with the minimum old age pensions from the government.’

Chuck said, “These ministers in government, who set the minimum wage standards and the pensions, have no idea what it’s like living in the real world.”