Archive for October 7, 2015

10 October 2015

As I neared the group at the park, Peter said, “Sit over here. They watered the lawn and this is the only dry place. Jacques offered me a plastic shopping bag, Mariah offered me a plastic cushion; I took the cushion.

I said, “DId you hear that Nick was in hospital?”

Outcast said, “Yeah, we heard, he’s across the street right now. We moved from there when they finished watering the grass. It’s too warm in the sun.”

“How is he?”

“Who knows, one minute he tells me he has to go under the knife for something, the next minute he says we won’t see him after a week because he’s going to Niagara Falls. How’s he going to do both?”

Mariah said, “He has a brother in Niagara Falls. That’s probably why he’s going, if he’s going.”

I said to Outcast, “He needed surgery last year and refused it. He said he’d place his health in the hands of God.”

“I think he has a hernia like I had, but lower down. He’s got a lot of health problems.”

I asked Outcast, “How are you doing? Will you be having your hernia operation redone?”

“No, I’m not having it redone. The netting they used for the patch is rubbing on my intestines, so I see blood in the toilet. The doctor said he wasn’t worried about it. If it’s still bothering me after a year he’ll operate.

“Little Chester was by earlier, drunk as usual. You can always tell he’s drunk because then he drags his foot. He bought a bottle of sherry at 9:30, by 11:00 it was gone. He’s a small guy, he should know that he can’t handle that amount. Then he peed in the middle of the sidewalk. He could have gotten arrested for that.”

Little Frank walked up breathing heavily. He said, “I’ve had the morning from hell. I got my check today and went to Money Mart to cash it, since I don’t have a bank account. I was standing in line behind an old woman who was trying to cash a check for $7500. There was some kind of problem. They had to call in the manager. I waited an hour and a half for my measly $97. So, Wolf here’s the $15. I owe you. Outcast here’s the $5. I owe you.” He was on the phone to someone and said, “You’ll have to wait for your $30. until my next check, man. I’m cleaned out.”

He continued, “You’ll never guess what happened to me this morning. I went in to buy a pack of smokes and the owner was training a girl on the cash. Before she’d sell me the cigarettes she asked for proof of age. I said, ‘Look, honey, I’m 44. It takes a long time to lose all these teeth.’ Maybe she thought I’d been in a lot of fights before I was 16. There was a big biker guy standing behind me. He laughed and said, ‘I bet that made your day.’

“Now I get to relax. I haven’t even had a drink yet,” he said as he pulled out a bottle of sherry.

“Jacques, can I borrow your lighter, and can you fill this one for me? Last night I was trying to light some weed from the wooden pipe that you gave me. Can you believe it? three lighters ran out of fuel at the same time. I nearly went nuts. I couldn’t find anything to light my pipe, so I just went to bed.”

Outcast said, “What you do is take a piece of paper towel and shove it in the toaster. When it catches fire you pull it out and you have a flame to light anything you want.”

Wolf said, “Dennis, your hair is getting long. You’re getting to look more like us every day.”

“That’s the whole idea, Wolf. I’m trying to look like you. You’re my idol. Maybe next I’ll grow my beard down to my belly like Jacques. I’ve had a beard like that before.”

Wolf said, “Now my beard comes in kind of salt and pepper, mostly salt. When I was younger it came in red. Go figure.

“I’m still having trouble breathing through my nose, probably because I had it broken a few times. At night I use those Breathe Rite Strips. They work great, but they’re expensive — Thirty two dollars for thirty strips.”

Outcast said, “So that works out to be about a dollar a strip. You pay for those, or can you get them on prescription?”

“Okay, I steal them. I didn’t want to say that, but they’re almost a necessity. I don’t use them every night. A box will last me maybe a couple of months or more.”

Outcast said, “I figured that you stole them. I just didn’t want to accuse you of something if you were innocent.”


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8 October 2015

I was walking along a crowded sidewalk when I heard, “Dennis, down here.”

Mandy stood up from the curb and gave me a hug. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a meal card and handed it to her. She misunderstood and said, “Okay we’ll shake hands too. Oh, You’re giving me a coffee card. Thank you, I can use that.”

“How have you been?” I asked.

“You know, same old same old. My mom got her own place, finally. It’s about four blocks from here. We’re both so happy about it.”

“Do you have a place to stay now?”

“Yeah, I’ve been in the same place for four years. It’s a rooming house, costs me $450 a month. After I pay my rent there isn’t much left for groceries, or to feed my addictions.

“Did you near that Nick’s was hospital.”

I asked, “Is it because of his diabetes?”

“Yeah, he started drinking beer again. There is too much sugar in it. He went into diabetic coma. He’s out now, but not feeling too well.”

“That’s a shame. I saw him less than two weeks ago. He looked great. He gave me the impression that he was off drinking completely. He looked healthy and happy, although he did say that he’d had a couple of heart attacks.”

“Dennis, you’ve let your hair grow long. Why is that?” She reached up and touched my hair. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to mess your hair.”

“That’s okay, it can’t get messed up. Having it long is really low maintenance. I don’t brush it, comb it or even bother drying it some days. If it gets in my eyes I run my fingers through it and that’s it.

“The reason I let it grow was because I had Meningitis last February. The doctor shaved both sides of my head to perform temporal biopsies. They took two sections of blood vessels out to examine them under a microscope. I have two one inch scars at my temples, but they aren’t noticeable now.”

“Oh, I thought that maybe your hair was thinning.”

“No,” I bent over to expose the crown of my head, “my barber says that I’ll never go bald. He says that he should charge me extra for the volume of hair I have. Many of his clients my age are bald, or close to it.”

Mandy removed her cap, “See what I’ve done to my hair?” She had a buzz cut. I touched her hair. It felt like a brush, reminded me of when I used to wear my hair that way.

“It’s nice,” I said, “it suits you.”

“I’ll let it grow out over winter then get it cut off again. One haircut a year, that’s all I need.”

“Take care, Mandy.”



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