Luther and His Demons

Posted: August 15, 2018 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

10 May 2012

 

The weather this morning was cold and damp. I saw Joy sitting on her plastic storage container with Bruce’s raincoat wrapped around her knees and Chuck’s dog V tied to a meter attached to the library — neither looked happy.

“Chuck has an appointment with his dentist and his probation officer, so I’m dog sitting V. I’m not happy. V chewed a hole in my sleeping bag and generally wrecked the house. Right now, I’m ready to kill her. She’s driving me insane with her barking. I told Toothless he should get rid of her. She’s a biter.”

Joy’s telephone rang. “Chuck your dog is driving me nuts. She’s eaten all her dog food, all her treats and she’s just knocked over her water dish for the second time. Oh, you find that’s funny do you? She’s scaring people away. I’ve only made two dollars this morning. So where are you now, and when will you be back? Hurry up will you? You’re still laughing! Oops, she ran away. She pulled the knot loose and she’s running down the block. How do I know where she’s going?

“Okay, she didn’t run away, but she’s your dog! You walk her! You take care of her!”

Joy wasn’t wearing her spinner ring today. I asked her why she didn’t have the ring from Jake resized, so it would fit her finger. She said, “I’m not ready for that. I think I’m better off living alone. This other ring is from Joanne, she died of AIDS.

“I’m going to Oasis today, to have the forms filled out for my medical card. Perhaps, I’ll see you at lunch. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

At noon, at the low concrete wall, I met with Sean, Luther, Irving and Marlena, Shakes and his daughter Fran, who is an attractive young woman, friendly, happy and sober.

Irving said, “How you doin’, man? It’s been a long time. My best friend just died, that’s why I’m messed up like this.” Marlena was concerned about the time, so they left.

I’ve met Luther at least three times before, but he mistook me for a priest, a judge, a radio talk show host and someone who ignored him at a bar. He is alcoholic, but he seemed fairly sober.

“I have ADHD, that’s what they tell me. My mother is in hospital on a ventilator. I lied to her. I said I was coming home to visit her. I tried, but I was thrown off the bus, because I was drunk. She wants to die naturally, like my grandmother did, but they have her hooked up to all these tubes.

“I’m from Regina. I haven’t told that to anyone, not even the police. Do you see them over there, across the street. They’re just waiting to try to arrest me for something (in fact, they were there to supervise an anti-abortion rally).

“I’m a demon, I’m the devil himself. Will you hear my confession?”

“Luther, I’m not a priest, I’m not even an expert on Christianity, I practise Buddhism. I’ll hear your confession if you want. I’ve heard lots of confessions.”

“Father, I don’t know how to start. It’s been such a long time. I’ve killed people.”

“Luther, that’s in the past, it’s a memory. It’s time to forgive yourself. I can see that you’re a good man. You care for people. Now, is the time you can do the most good for others.”

“I can’t forgive myself. I want to be an artist. I am an artist. I made a dream catcher and took it to the native shop to sell it. The owner said it was no good, so I spat on it and left it. The next night his front window was kicked in. The owner thought I did it. The police came over and checked my shoe size. They said, ‘No. it wasn’t him.’

“I have spiritual powers, I’ve studied to be a shaman for my people, but I’ve lost my way. I need to be on the radio for an hour to explain my theories about how the system should be changed. Can you arrange that for me? We need a school for aboriginal children. Do you agree with me?”

“I agree with you, Luther, but I don’t know anyone in radio. I’ll do some research I’ll try to come up with some names.

“You take care, Luther. You’re a good man.

“How are you, Shakes?”

“You know me. I’m always the same.”

I said to Sean and Fran, “Shakes, Joy, Shark and I used to be neighbors in Cabbagetown, Toronto.”

“Actually, I was more in Parkdale,” said Shakes.

“Where did you sleep, Shake? Do you have a regular place where you go?”

“I sleep wherever I choose. If I feel tired I lay down and sleep wherever I am.”

I gave Shakes some bus tickets, “Make sure you share those with Fran.”

Fran said, “If he doesn’t, I’ll just wait until he’s asleep and take them.”

I said, “You know your father well,” then I left.

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