Archive for May 5, 2015




5 May 2015

“Good morning, Chuck, have you heard anything from your neighbor, Lou?”

“No, haven’t heard a peep. There is another neighbor checking on him as well. Every time he passes Lou’s door, he knocks on it, but there’s been no answer. It could be that Lou’s in hospital, or on vacation. If he died near the front of the apartment, we’re bound to smell it soon. If he was in a back room, it’ll take longer.’

I asked, “Have you heard anything about a service for Joy?”

“No, what they usually do is go to the person’s panning spot at an assigned time, have a drink to them and someone will say a prayer. Some people bring flowers.

“In another forty-eight hours, I’ll be going in for my surgery. I expect that everything will go okay, otherwise I won’t be back here, not that that’s a bad thing. I think of all the times I’ve been in hospital. When I was about twenty years old I was working for a moving company. We had to unload an industrial oven from a truck. It was about six feet long. We pulled it over the edge of the dock, then I hopped down. I pulled and my partner pushed. I told him, ‘When it gets to the balance point, I’ll count to three then you let go.’  I was counting, one… two… then the son of a bitch let go. It slammed down on my hands. I was quick enough to pull my left hand out, but it crushed two fingers on my right hand. I still can’t use my little finger properly. With my adrenaline pumping I jumped up on the dock and punched him in the face, then I threw him off the dock.

“I got some other injuries where it was my fault. There was construction on the bridge. They’d removed the centre section and left a catwalk crossing the span. I was fine walking across that. I went to the pub, got drunk. When I came back to the bridge, the catwalk was gone. I looked down, there was a drop of about six feet to a ramp. I could jump back then. I landed fine, but because of the incline, I heard my ankles snap, then I rolled to the bottom of the ramp and out on the street.

“They took me to hospital, took an x-ray and said to come back at 10:30 Monday morning to have a cast put on. I hobbled home on crutches, set up a mattress near the bathroom, so I wouldn’t have to be on my feet too much, then fell asleep. My wife woke me the next day. I asked what time is it was. She said, ‘Noon.’ I asked what day it was. She said, ‘Monday.’  ‘Shit,’ I said, ‘I’ve missed my appointment to have a cast put on.’ My wife phoned to see if they could fit me in later. They said that they were completely booked, so I never got a cast. I was on crutches for about a year, then switched to a cane. I was in a biker bar when a fight broke out. I smashed my cane across this big guy’s shoulders, then I ran like hell.

“Another problem I had, when I was a kid in a small town, was with the optometrist. He said that I needed glasses. I wore them for a few months and kept getting headaches. My mom took me to an eye doctor in the city. He asked, ‘What asshole prescribed these. They’re completely wrong.’ I’ve always hated that first optometrist, but my parents wouldn’t say a word against him. Professionals were like gods, especially in a small town. Maybe one day I’ll forgive him, but I’ll kill him first.”

“I’ve had a good day today. My twenty-dollar man came by and a construction worker came up to me and handed me five twenties. I got my hydro bill today. It’s for a hundred dollars, so I’ll pay that and have it out of the way.  I’m going to treat myself to a nice meal to get away from my cooking.

I said, “Enjoy your meal, Chuck, I have to go now.

Chuck said, “I’d enjoy it more if it was at my place with four beautiful naked woman.

I said, “Dream on.”

This afternoon, while strolling downtown, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk, his back against a storefront. He had a coke in his hand and was eating french fries. I said to him, “We’ve met before haven’t we? My name is Dennis.

He said, “I’m Ron.”

I said, “I think  I have you mistaken with someone else. Do you mind if I sit down?”

“Go ahead. I’d shake hands, but my fingers are greasy.”

“I was looking for a big guy with a beard who speaks with a Scottish accent. Do you know him?”

He said, “I may have talked to someone like that. Does he usually wear some kind of a funny head covering?”

“Yeah, that sounds like Bruce.”

“He usually pans about three blocks up.”

“I tried there. He may have stepped away for a while, perhaps to use the bathroom.”

He yelled to a man passing by, “Hey mister, can I buy a smoke? That’s rude, he didn’t even turn around. It isn’t as if I was asking for a gift. I offered to buy a cigarette. I can’t figure people sometimes.

“This morning I was at a restaurant and asked for a junior burger. The owner knew that I panhandled and asked if I’d like another for free. I said, ‘Sure.’ When I stepped outside a woman came up to me and asked, ‘Can I have a bite? Can I have a bite? Can I have a bite? She must have asked me six times. I said, ‘No, this is my food. Get your own.’ I don’t mind sharing with people, but not if they ask for it.

“I was in the market and I met some actual hookers. We got to talking. They were really nice. One was drinking something out of a coke can. She asked, ‘Do you want to try some?’ I took a couple of swigs, then I started getting really high. I think it must have been crack. They were good though. They stayed with me until I came down.

“Usually I don’t drink anything out of an opened can, but I could see that she was drinking it. Sometimes people will put glass in a can of soda and hand it to a street person.”

I said, “Both Mather, down the street and Chuck have been given what they thought to be coffee, but it made them sick. You also have to be careful with fruit and home-baked goods.”

“Yeah, if I’m given fruit, I always check for puncture marks. What makes people like that? I get along with everybody. One guy threatened to punch me. I said, ‘Go ahead, take the first punch. You’ll be charged with assault, then I’ll beat the shit out of you.’

“When I was in high school I was quite the scrapper. A kid kept bugging me, he’d flick his finger against the back of my ear. We got rolling around on the ground and I bit him. He stayed away from me after that.”

I asked, “Where did you bite him, in the ear?”

“No, I think it was in the leg. Maybe it was his arm. I forget.

“Another time we were playing soccer. A guy drilled the ball at me. I stopped it, but a bone in my wrist broke. I was in a cast for a couple of months. One day we were both assigned to hospitality — that’s working in the kitchen. It was just the two of us. I locked the door and smacked him with my cast. He left a head sized impression in the wall.”

I said, “I have to leave now, but maybe I’ll see you tomorrow, Ron”

He shook my hand and said, “See you.”

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