Pink Elephants – 6 October 2014

Posted: October 6, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,




6 October 2014

This morning, when getting off the bus I noticed Chili walking ahead of me. She uses a cane and walks slowly. She sat on a bench near the bus stop and I joined her.

“Hi, Dennis, it’s good to see you. I’m out of my routine this morning. The bus I usually catch was late, so I missed my connection for another bus. I’m heading to the medical center for my methadone treatment. Then, I go back home and get ready for school this afternoon. I attend the Adult Learning Center to finish my high school. I don’t know what I want to do after that.”

I said, “You spend a lot of your day o busses.”

“Yeah, I don’t mind it. It’s kind of relaxing as long as I don’t have to stand too long, like today. It’s a regular routine that I’m used to.”

I said,  “You’re looking good. I’ll say hello to everyone for you.”

“Thanks, Dennis.”

I changed busses and headed downtown to see Chuck, near where I work. “Hi, Chuck.”

“Hi Dennis, are you feeling alright? I noticed that you didn’t come by on Friday. I wondered if you had been sick.”

“No, I wasn’t sick. I stopped by my pharmacy to pick up a prescription. It always takes longer that I expect.”

“Yeah, I picked up my puffers, Friday, and they’ve changed them on me. It’s orange, same as before, but it has an awful taste. I have to gargle with water afterward, otherwise It can cause throat cancer. Then I take a few mints to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth. Anyway, that threw me off my routine. I was half way here before I remembered that I’d forgotten to put my false teeth back in. I was going to phone my lady friend and suggest we go to the mall to have a chicken sandwich. There’s a new chicken place there. Have you tried it? Well, I won’t be able to eat chicken without my teeth. The best I’d be able to muster is a bowl of soup.

“I had most of my teeth knocked out in a fight. There were two left in the front that were wobbly. I went to the dentist to have those pulled. Then I made an appointment to have the rest taken out.  After they were all out I went home and went to bed. I woke up in the hospital. My doctor, in a lavender tux, on one side and my dentist on the other. I apologized to my doctor. I must have taken him away from some fancy affair. That jacket he was wearing was expensive.

“I’m still wearing the suit I bought in 1993. I haven’t even had it dry cleaned. I’m afraid that if I do, it’ll fall apart.  I’ve been told at family gatherings that I’m the best dressed  of all the relations. I’m always freshly shaved, I shower every morning, keep my moustache trimmed. I’m the best looking grandfather there.

“Back when I was drinking and smoking I went to a quack doctor. One morning I woke up and I felt horrible. I wasn’t seeing pink elephants or anything, but I felt strange.  I had a pain in the top of my head. It felt like it was where the two halves of my brain are joined together. Anyway, the doctor asked, ‘Do you drink a lot, smoke a lot?’  I said I did. He asked, ‘Do you intend to quit anytime soon?’ I was honest with him, I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I’ll give you a prescription. Take it to my pharmacist to get it filled.’ I went where he told me and got four vials of pills. There was valium, lithium, percocet and diazepam. He said the prescription was open so I could get it filled as often as I liked. I was taking these pills by the handful. I’d be going to the pharmacy three times a week. What I didn’t use myself I sold to pay for my drinking.

“After a while i started getting into more and more fights. I thought to myself, I wasn’t like this before I started the pills. As well as being an alcoholic I’d become a drug addict as well.  I’ve read about the side effects of these drugs. They can kill you. That all stopped when I had my heart attacks.

“The psychiatrists and the other ones lower down, the psychologists, are just as bad. A friend of mine went to one of these guys. He told him that if he kept drinking that he’d die of cirrhosis of the liver. The guy had seen his father die of this disease. There was no way he wanted to go through that, so he killed himself. It turned out that there was nothing wrong with his liver.”

I said, “I’m heading for your now.”

Chuck said, “Why? You could just as well stay here and talk with me. No offence meant, but they could probably get along without you.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of, Chuck. I won’t be here tomorrow, but maybe I’ll see you Wednesday, depending on the weather.”

“Do you want to hear my dumb joke of the day? Do you?”

“Okay, Chuck.”

” ‘There were two buffalo, a father and son. The son said to the father, ‘It’s time I went off on my own, to start a new life.” Do you know what the father said, when he was leaving? …Bison.’

“I’ll see you, Dennis.”


  1. […] Source: Pink Elephants […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sonnische says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts, Dennis. In fact, your words have inspired me to write my post today, “They are Everywhere” about my experiences in New York City with the growing numbers of homeless people. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think. Good luck with the book!


  3. xthumbelina says:

    It’s nice to see that these people do genuinely go through all sorts of emotions as we do. Not sure what its like in Canada, but here in the UK- 4 out of 5 home less people are homeless due to drugs and drinking which leads to mental disorders- therefore i couldn’t care less about them. Even at school we were taught to stay away and not interact with them due to most of them having mental disabilities. Really sad. But you seem to be friends with normal humans just like us =] My dad was homeless for 15 years as a kid. He still refuses to talk about it to this day- All i know is that he became homeless cuz his dad died and the family lost their income due to the gender inequality in India- So his mum wasn’t allowed to work. I wonder if you met him; he’d want to share his stories with you.



    • Most of my friends are addicts to alcohol or various drugs, including heroin. I see them in the morning and at noon, they might be quite different later in the evening. I would love to hear your dad’s story. There are so many reasons for homelessness. Most people don’t realize how they would cope in a catastrophe similar to what your dad and mum went through. Catastrophes can take many forms.


  4. cynthia says:

    I always smile reading your thoughtful stories. Thanks for sharing Dennis. You’re such a beautiful inspiration 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.