Archive for December, 2018

Daimon Gets Stomped

Posted: December 11, 2018 in Prose
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27 June 2012

This morning Joy was sitting on her storage crate talking to Chester. They were finalizing the arrangements for Joy to move into his apartment. Chester shook my hand then said good-bye.

“I still haven’t told Chuck that I’m moving, but I won’t be giving him any rent money for July. I’ll give him a hundred towards the cable bill. He’s really been nasty to me lately. He phoned me at the park yesterday and asked, ‘Are you coming home tonight?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, maybe I will, maybe I won’t.’ ‘If you do,’ he said, ‘bring me some pot.’

Andre came trudging up the sidewalk with his backpack, a raincoat and his folding stool. “I don’t know what happened last night but I found this in my cap.” He held up a business card from a ninety-nine dollar hooker.

I said, “That should give you some clue.”

“No, that’s not in my price range. What really scared me is finding this rock in my cap.” He held up a one pound rock. “This swung in my cap makes a mean weapon, just like a billy club. I vaguely remember saying to some guy, ‘You want my money? Try and take it from me.’ I don’t know what happened after that. I went a bit haywire yesterday. I nearly got in a fight with Daimon. I said, ‘Your brother is three times your size and I took him, so come and get it.’ His brother is huge — twenty-two inch arms, about six-foot seven. He’s a monster. He’d have to duck and go through a door sideways.

“I’m going to have to go to work. I need a drink.” With that he left.

I asked Joy, “If Daimon just got out of prison, would he still be an addict?”

“It’s much easier to get drugs on the inside than it is on the outside.”

“So,” I asked, “did I miss anything after I left yesterday?”

“No, It was pretty quiet. I waited for Pierre to come back. Then we watched a few videos. His son is twenty-four years old. He’s autistic and has a mental age of about twelve. We get along great. We were about to watch Paranormal 2. He said to me, ‘You’re going to be scared.’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ There is a part where this guy is being dragged off the bed by a demon. I jumped off the couch and ran down the hall. Everyone got a good laugh out of that.”

On my way to the park I met old Serge. “How are you doing, Serge?” I asked.

“I’m fine. I’m just going to the bench near the bank. I want to sit down before I fall down again.”

“Take care, Serge.”

“See you.”

At the park the usual congregation was in attendance. There was lots of excitement in the neighbourhood. Emile was swearing. He dragged Ian by the ankles for about twenty feet. Then Ian and Shakes started fighting, rolling around on the lawn.

I sat next to Joy and asked, “What’s this about?”

“Ian is drunk and was being a dickhead to everyone. Andre had enough and went after him.”

Ian eventually slunk back to the circle. “I don’t know what I did wrong?”

Andre answered, “Your woman screwed you over, pressed charges against you. Now you’re drunk. You ask us for help. Sure we’re going to help you, we’re family, but don’t act like a dickhead and treat us like shit.”

I noticed that Shakes’ leg was bleeding and that he had a burn scar near his ankle. “How did that happen?” I asked Joy.

“I’m not sure of the details. I don’t think he remembers. Someone set him on fire. The same thing happened to another homeless guy sleeping on a park bench. Someone doused him with gasoline, then set him on fire. He was wearing a plastic raincoat and it melted into his skin. He was released from hospital and was staying at the Sally Ann, but after three days of pain he just gave up and died.”

Joy asked Andre and Jake, “Where’s your brother from another mother, Hippo?”

“He got money from his mother, now he doesn’t feel that he should associate with the likes of us.”

“He’s being a real asshole, considering all you’ve done to help him. If he comes back to your place (behind the dumpsters in back of Starbucks) you should lock him out.”

“I’ll do more than lock him out, I’ll knock him out.”

“Did everyone hear the good news?” asked Joy, “Rocky just told me that Daimon and Lucy in the Sky got beat up by some black dude named Buddy. Lucy was knocked out. Daimon was stomped and has a broken leg. It happened last night. Rocky was there, I wish he’d caught it on video.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Andre, “I was hoping to do that myself.”

Gene said, “Daimon’s not so tough. He kept bragging about his maximum security prison background, but I beat him one time. He sucker punched me on the side of the head. He was surprised that I came back with three punches. I knocked him into a closet. Then he ran away like somebody’s bitch.”

“When I was still with my Jake,” said Joy, “Daimon came after me. Jake pushed him and Daimon bounced twice on his ass. Jake said, ‘Don’t even think of getting up.’ “

To me Joy said, “Chester says I can move in anytime, even if I haven’t got my check yet. I hope that Chuck doesn’t have a hissy fit when I tell him that I’m leaving. Maybe I should pack my clothes first. I don’t want him throwing my stuff out the door or anything.”

Silver and Starbucks

Posted: December 10, 2018 in Prose

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26 June 2012

This morning, in front of Starbucks, I pulled up a plastic crate and sat beside Silver. He’d told me previously about going to reform school when he was young. I asked him about the details.

“I first went to reform school because I stole some money. I stole sixty dollars from a lady friend of my mom’s. I didn’t spend any of the money. I hid it in my sock drawer. The lady called the police. She told them, ‘I’m missing some money and I know who took it.’

“I was coming home from school. I saw the police car and my sister was crying. The police said that if I returned the money the lady wouldn’t press charges. I said to my sister, ‘Don’t worry, I have the money. I can return it. Everything will be okay.’ I went to my sock drawer and the money was gone. Somebody in my family found the money and took it. So, that’s why I went to reform school. I did some other things, nothing very bad — kid things. They seemed like good ideas at the time.

“Sunday I went to my church where I panhandle. Lately there have been a lot of new people panning there. They had every door covered. I said to one of them, ‘You’re in my spot.’ He said, ‘I’ve been coming here a long time. Do you know what time the service starts?’ I said, ‘You’ve been coming here a long time and you don’t know what time the service starts? Yeah, sure!’ It was a bunch of crack heads. There was no point in getting into a fist fight about it. I’ll see if they’re there next Sunday.”

I said, “Gaston was at the park Friday. He seems like a decent person. Does he come by often?”

“Yeah, he and his friend are both quiet. They don’t cause any trouble. They call him Bird. I don’t know why.”

“When I talked to him Friday he was telling me about rescuing a skunk who had fallen into a ditch and couldn’t get out. I know he has cats and a dog. I think he mentioned that birds come right up to him. I guess he likes birds.”

“That would make sense.”

I said, “Have you seen anything of Daimon and Lucy in the Sky lately?”

“No, not since Friday.”

“I don’t get it,” I said, “They want to beat up Alphonse and Magdalene. Alphonse is small and Magdalene is five months pregnant. They have no money, no anything, they’re panhandlers. What do Daimon and Lucy hope to gain from that?”

“They’re both psychopaths. What we should do is, get a group of us together, jump them and beat the shit out of them. Then they’ll get the message that they’re not welcome.”

“That was Joy’s idea,” I said. “How long have you been panning here, Silver?”

“I’ve been here about eleven years. I used to be where Joy is now. After she got out of prison, she said it was her spot. She gave me a couple of cigarettes for it. That was okay. I didn’t like that spot anyway. I got a few tickets there for panhandling. For some reason they don’t seem to bother Joy. When I was still with my ex I used to pan on the other side of this column. It’s a government building. They said that I was blocking their fire exit and asked me to move. If there had been a fire I wouldn’t have stayed around to be in anybody’s way. I’d have been long gone. Just to annoy them, I moved a few feet over. Now I’m in front of Starbucks. I’ve talked to the owner. He doesn’t mind me being here, he just asked that I don’t open the door for the ladies. I said, ‘That’s no problem.’ Now the ladies open their own doors.

“Before I came here I lived in a small town near here. I worked for a retired cop. I’d mow his lawn, dig his garden — anything that needed doing around the yard. He watched every move I made, as if I was going to steal something from his garden. Finally, I got fed up. I told him, ‘With you watching me all the time it’s as bad as being in prison.’ I guess it gets in their blood.

“Hey Dora!” Silver yelled, “where’s my treat?” She came back a few minutes later with a toasted Danish. “Dora, I was just kidding.”

“A customer left it on the counter. Don’t you want it?”

“Of course I want it. Thanks, Dora!”

A man stopped and dropped a folded ten dollar bill in Silver’s cap. “I’ve made forty dollars so far.. It’s just about time to quit for the day.”

At noon it was cool and windy. The first person I saw was old Serge. “Hi Serge, I said, “How are your eyes today. Do you have any headaches? You didn’t fall again did you?”

“No, I didn’t fall again. Last night I slept in a park, nearby. It was nice.”

“Take care, Serge.”

“Take care.”

Seated on the curb by the sidewalk was a group of a half dozen regulars.

Andre gestured to a camp stool and said, “Have a seat. Gene gave this to me. Look down below.” I looked, there were two zippered pockets. One held a plate, plastic glass and cutlery. The second was a cooler.

“That cooler will hold ten beer or four bottles of sherry. The cops won’t even know I have any liquor. Yesterday I must have drunk, let me think… nine bottles of sherry. I’ve got a hangover now, so I haven’t been drinking. See my hand shaking?”

I asked, “What’s this carved wooden animal in your hat? Is this for good luck?”

“You don’t recognize it?”

“It looks like a bear.”

“It’s a kitty cat. I call it my pocket pussy.”

Gene commented on a german shepherd that was being led on a leash by its owner. “That’s a beautiful dog. It’s well-groomed too.”

“Yes, it’s had a lot of brushing.”

“I used to have a dog just like that, a King German Shepherd named Chinook. She was a really smart dog. There are a lot of tests that you can put a dog through to determine its intelligence; putting food under an upside down cup, putting a blanket over the dog’s head. He passed all the tests. She knocked the cup over to get the food, shook her head to get out from under the blanket. Some dogs would just sit there. Like when you put a cover over a bird-cage.

“We had a four-foot fence around our yard. I had a problem with some neighbourhood kids who were teasing and throwing stones at Chinook. I told their parents what was happening and asked if I could teach the kids a lesson. They said, ‘Okay.’ When the kids came over again I went out and talked to them. I said, ‘This dog is almost as big as you are. It has a gentle nature unless it’s provoked. This dog could kill you. You think you’re safe behind this fence. Watch this.’ I gave the command, ‘Chinook, over!’ She easily jumped the fence and came to my side. She used to jump into the back of my pickup. You should have seen the expression on those kids’ faces. Their eyes were like saucers when they saw the dog up close.

“We had kids in the house at the time, so we didn’t smoke or drink very much. It’s a funny thing, but Chinook didn’t like people smoking or drinking. It was alright if I was sitting at the table and had a few beer or a smoke, but it someone came to the door with the smell of alcohol or cigarettes on them she’d get upset. She even growled at my mother-in-law. I asked her if she’d been drinking . She said she had. If I was sitting on the lawn with a beer beside me Chinook would knock it over. She was great with kids. They’d pile on top of her, pull her ears.  She wouldn’t react at all.

Gene’s cell phone began to ring. “I’m going to have to take this,” he said. “I’m supposed to be working today. I’m a carpenter. My boss has my belt and all my tools. I can’t contact him. I think he’s at his cottage. If he didn’t have any work for me, I could have found work with someone else —  if I had my tools.

“I talked to Stewart the other day. He’s living in Orleans.”

I said, “I talked to him too. No, I’m thinking of Weasel. He’s been in the East General since last Tuesday. He got out around four yesterday. I bet Wolf will be happy. He won’t have to look after Bear anymore.”

Joy said, “Wolf’s hand still hasn’t fully healed from where Bear bit him. I was thinking that maybe Weasel had died. If he had, I wonder how many people would attend his funeral.”

Silver said, “That’s a morbid thing to say, Joy.”

“I’m not wishing he was dead, I was just thinking that it wouldn’t be like the funeral we attended for Hobo. That was packed.”

Steve said, “It looks like Bear has already started digging a grave for him here in the lawn.”

“It’s a pretty shallow grave,” said Silver.

Joy said, “A shallow grave would be good enough. He’s skinny. I’d be glad to throw in the first shovel of dirt.”

Hippo said,”I’m getting pissed off with Little Jake. We’ve been panning together and he keeps saying stupid things like, ‘This is my bridge.’ It scares people away. If that’s his bridge then this is my park.”

Pierre said, “I have to go home to feed my kid and me.”

Andre said, “What’s that?”

Joy said, “Pierre has a son. He has to go home and make his lunch.”

“Oh,” said Andre, “I thought he said, ‘I have to go home to feed my kidney. That just sounded wrong.”

Pierre said to Joy, “Do you want me to cut the ribs.”

“Separate them, don’t cut through the bone.”

“That’s what I meant.”

Rocky arrived and said hello to me. “Hi, Rocky, how are you feeling?”

“I’m good.”

“Is your stomach okay? Have you been eating?”

“I’ve been eating.”

“Have you received any more information about housing?”

“I move July fifteenth.”

“Do you know the location yet?”

“It’s in the suburbs. To get here, I’d take a bus,  a subway, then a streetcar. That takes about forty-five minutes. It’s about half an hour to downtown.”

“How did it go with your probation officer? You were worried about being breached.”

“No, he didn’t breach me. I’ve been going to my A.A. meetings.”

“That sounds great, Rocky. It sounds a lot better that when you were throwing up blood in the bushes.”

Andre said, “You know, I got five tickets the other day. I was sitting on the sidewalk with a couple of guys, actually it was Little Jake and Hippo. There was an open bottle in front of me. The cop said, ‘Whose bottle is that?’ I said, ‘I might as well own up to it.’ He wrote me up. I said, ‘Since I’m being charged can I keep the bottle?’ He said, ‘I’ll ask my partner.’ His partner was my cousin. Of course he said I could keep it.

“He said, ‘We’re going to come back. If you’re still here, you’ll be charged again.’ We stayed and we were charged again. I even got a charge for smoking within twenty feet of a doorway.”

Outcast said, “Something similar happened to me. I was drinking a big bottle of beer. The cop charged me and I said, “Can I at least drink the rest of this beer instead of dumping it?’ He said, ‘If you can drink it before I finish writing up your friend, you can drink it.’
Well, It went down in two seconds.”

Wolf said, “I was talking to Francois the other day. Remember he and I got tickets? I said to the cop, ‘It’s my fault that he’s here. Can you go a bit easy on him. The cop wrote him up. I only found out today that he only got a warning. I got two tickets, $125.00 each. He has a driver’s licence so he would have had to pay the fine before he could renew his licence. For me it doesn’t matter.”

.

 

 

Saint Nick

Posted: December 8, 2018 in Prose

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dog

22 June 2012

This morning was perfect. Joy was nodding on her plastic crate. I surprised her when I said, “Hello!”

“I wasn’t around yesterday,” said Joy, “I was taken to hospital with heat stroke. I asked the doctor , ‘How can that be? I’ve been drinking lots of water. I have two large bottles in my bag.’ He said, ‘Some people are more susceptible than others, especially if your immune system is low.’

“I hate hospitals. I couldn’t wait to get out. When I was in there in November, I picked up some superbug, MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) or VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci). That’s why I was in so long. I could have died from those.

“When I got home, Chuck  lit into me, ‘Where have you been? I made supper for you!’ I said, ‘Before you get all wound up, listen to me. I’ve been in hospital. I had heat stroke and they kept me overnight.’ “

“Oh, I’m sorry. Anyway, there are a couple of pieces of chicken left, in the oven.”

I said, ” ‘Oh really? How long have they been in there? I think I’ll leave those for you, Chuck.’

He invited Nicholas and Corrine over for a barbecue yesterday. They were sitting on my bed. Chuck knows I don’t like that. I asked him, ‘Chuck, when am I ever going to get this place alone to myself?’ He said, ‘Maybe Sunday.’ I’ve got to get away from there.”

“I have the addresses and phone numbers for the YMCA. There is one a few blocks from here if you want to check it out?”

“The problem with the Y is they don’t allow smoking and you can’t cook in your room. I can’t imagine living in a place where I couldn’t smoke or cook.”

“Nick, with the glasses, isn’t with Trudy any longer. He said I could stay at his place for free. I could even have my own bedroom. He’s a real sweetheart and he’s quiet.”

I said, “I’ve talked to Nick many times. I’m really impressed with him. He makes sandwiches and hands them out to homeless people. He’s really a great guy.”

“So what’s been happening at the park? What drama have I missed?”

“Chili is hanging out with Daimon and Lucy. That was a surprise! The other day she left with them. The three of them were heading downtown.”

“That poor kid, she just won’t learn.”

I added, “The police were by yesterday afternoon. I was sitting with Andre and Hippo. The cop couldn’t believe that Andre was sober. He said, ‘I drank so much last night that I woke up with the shakes this morning. I decided to give my body a break for the day.’ He held out his hand to show the cop how he was shaking. Hippo was sober as well.

“The cop said, ‘You guys know that they don’t want you here. Why don’t you find another place that we don’t patrol every day?’ Andre said, “Every place we go they tell us to move on. We’re in a small group, we’re not drinking or making noise. We’re just sitting here, enjoying the shade, on a hot day. Where do you want us to go?’ “

“That’s just it, said Joy, “they’re talking about that place being private property. I’ve never heard that before and we’ve been going there for fourteen years. The other cop said we could stay there as long as we weren’t in a big group, like twenty people. Otherwise we were okay.”

I asked, “What kind of a beef do Daimon and Lucy have against Alphonse and Magdalene. A couple of days ago, Daimon said they were in for a beating. Andre said, ‘Magdalene is five months pregnant.’ Daimon said, ‘I have no problem with hitting a pregnant woman.'”

“I told those guys, they should gang up, jump him and beat the shit out of him. I’d have no trouble one on one with Lucy and she knows it. The problem is Daimon. He can’t just go around beating and robbing people. When the cops were by the other day they were checking out some of the guys. I kept nodding towards Daimon and Lucy. They must have a breach outstanding somewhere. The cops just ignored them.

“Alphonse has always been a sweet quiet guy. I don’t know Magdalene.”

When I arrived at the park there were two groups of people. Sitting by herself, between the two groups was Joy.

“I’m not being antisocial,” said Joy. “It’s just that the reflection of the sun, from that building over there, was shining in my eyes. I think it’s moved now, so let’s go join the group.”

“Have you talked to Nick? Is everything okay about you staying there?”

“Yeah, I even asked him, if I paid by the month, would it be alright if I moved in permanently. He said we could work out the details, but it was fine with him. I didn’t want to talk too much. I don’t want everyone knowing my business.”

We joined the group and Nick said to Joy, “You come over any time you want – rain or shine. I don’t want to see you sleeping outside again.”

“I won’t come unannounced,” said Joy, “I’ll phone first.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’m usually home.”

“It’s just that Chuck always has so many people over.”

“I know, and who ends up funding these barbecues? You do.”

“I just can’t afford it. Even around here — I bought a carton of cigarettes from Wolf and I had maybe a third of them. The rest went to Hippo, Little Jake and Andre. Chester hit me up for bus tickets. I know his leg is still hurting him, but I have to get home as well. I don’t owe Chester anything. It’s him that owes me.”

Joy left to talk to Chuck. Nick said to me, “Every morning when I walk across the bridge, I’m surprised at who comes out. I have sandwiches that I distribute. I bought some of those plastic containers and filled them with stew. I gave out sixteen of them. I got one container back; the rest I didn’t.

“Sometimes I’ll meet someone and I’ll invite them to come with me to a restaurant for coffee or breakfast. They might ask, ‘Could you buy me a beer?’ I say,’ Coffee or food, but no beer.’

“I always have my bible with me and I’ll pray for people. We may not be the same religion, but it doesn’t matter. I think it helps them to have someone pray for them.”

Nick’s phone rang. He talked for a while then handed the phone to Joy.

Joy said, “Hi Pierre, how are you? Are you pissed with me? I was in the hospital. I had to stay overnight. I didn’t have my phone with my contact list. I didn’t know how to get a message to you. Am I still going to see you on the weekend?… Oh… I’ll call you then. Bye.

“He’s acting all pissy because he had invited me to his place for a barbecue and I was going to sleep over, but that was the day I went into hospital. I didn’t have my phone. I couldn’t contact him. He says that he has things to do on the weekend and he has a lot on his mind.

“His girlfriend is in Inuktuk with his year old baby. He’s heard that it isn’t his, but what’s he going to do?

I said, “It shouldn’t matter to him whether it’s his child or not.”

“I agree, a baby needs love. It doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

It was time for me to leave. “It’ll all work out, Joy. I see good things in your future. Have a good weekend.”

I said goodbye to Nick. He hugged me and said, “I love you, brother.”

I said, “I love you, Nick. We’re on the same path.”

.

Chateau Lafayette

Posted: December 7, 2018 in Prose

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21 June 2012

This morning was muggy. I had trouble staying awake on the bus. The only pan handler I saw was Silver. I sat down with him, then I saw Magdalene and Alphonse sitting across the street. Magdalene is five months pregnant. It appeared that Alphonse had bought her something cold to drink.

The-Laff-Ottawa

“So, Silver, have you made a decision about moving out of the Lafayette?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been there so long — over four years. There aren’t too many crack heads. There are a few pot smokers down the hall. Everyone, pretty much keeps to themselves. I like it that way.

“It’s really hot for sleeping, even with two fans going. They just move the hot air around. I have to get a new mattress. I burned the last one and threw it out, so now I’m sleeping on the floor. I just keep tossing and turning.

“I got my last mattress from the Mission. I don’t know where I’ll get the next one. I’m worried about bed bugs. I don’t have any now, but the landlord brought around some bed bug traps. I said, ‘Oh no, not this again!’ I hate bed bugs. It’s people who bring them in, especially the ones who stay at the Mission or the Shepherd’s.

“Something really spooky happened last night. I usually leave the door to my room ajar, for air circulation. I woke up and my room-mate was standing in the door way. I jumped up and asked him, ‘What’s going on, man?’ He was sound asleep. I shook him and he said, ‘I must have been sleep walking.’ That could be dangerous. He could have fallen down the stairs. I said to him this morning, ‘You really wierded me out last night, man.’ He didn’t remember a thing.

“After you left the park yesterday the cops showed up again — a sargent and a rookie. He said, ‘If there are more than four of you guys sitting around, we’re going to ask you to move.’ I said, ‘What if there are a lot of groups with just four each? Is that okay?’ “

“We’ll be back. You’d better be gone.”

“I wandered over to the loading dock. I’d bought myself a big sausage sandwich and I drank my beer. I know all the guys there. They don’t know that I pan handle.

I said, “I saw Hippo last night at about six o’clock. He was really drunk and said that he still had a bottle to go. He hadn’t been eating.”

“He can really eat when he wants to.We went to a funeral for Hobo at the Park Funeral Home. They put out six meals for us downstairs, before we went to the service. Hippo stayed behind. When we got back he’d eaten all six meals.

“Hippo really guzzles that sherry. I don’t know why people drink that. It’s killed so many of my friends, like Hobo and Rip — no, I think Rip’s still alive. They have him under house arrest. He wears one of those collars on his ankle. As soon as he leaves his front door, an alarm rings.

“He was nearly killed by a six-foot Amazon woman. I don’t know what he saw in her. She was nuts. She pulled a knife on him. He tried to defend himself. He got a slash across the palm of his hand and a stab wound to the groin.”

This afternoon at the park was hot. Everyone was drained of energy. I was about to shake Wolf’s hand when I saw that it was purple and swollen. He said, “I won’t shake your hand today. I was feeding Blackie and she bit me. It’s Weasel’s dog, he should be taking care of her, wherever he is.”

I said hello to Little Jake, Daimon and Lucy in the Sky were just leaving with Shakes. “Are they heading off to work (pan handle)?”

“Yeah, they’re taking Shakes to his office. He’s so drunk he couldn’t make it by himself.” I expect that his pockets will have been emptied, before they leave him.”

Gene said, “It’s too hot to do anything. I know that the money’s out there, but I hate to leave this shade. You guys with your long pants make me sweat just looking at you. Does anybody have a cigarette?”

“No,” all around.

“I’m going to have to go to work just to get a smoke and a drink.”

Andre said, “I was panning last night in front of Tim Horton’s. A guy dropped me thirty dollars. I thanked him and said, ‘Don’t forget my buddy across the street.’ He walked across and dropped Hippo a twenty. We did a lot of drinking after that. I had the shakes so bad this morning I couldn’t do anything.

“After last night, it’s feeling a bit rough, but I’ll be okay. I’m just going to take it easy.”

Andre pulled out an egg salad sandwich from his backpack. He said, “I’d better eat this before it goes bad.”

I said, “It’s Thursday, the ‘sandwich ladies’ must have come around.”

“Yeah,” said Hippo, “They were just here.” He was sipping on a box of apple juice.

Two bicycle cops rode up on the lawn, a male and a female. I had seen them there a few days ago. The female stopped to talk to Wolf’s group. The male rode up to where we were sitting’

“How are you guys doing?”

“We’re just enjoying the shade,” answered Andre.

“Andre, are you sober?”

“Stone cold sober.”

“Why is that?”

“I woke up with the shakes this morning and thought I’d better give my body a rest.”

“Why did you have the shakes?”

“I drank too much last night.” He held out his shaking hand.

To me he said, “Where are you staying, sir?”

“I live near Westgate.”

“Why are you here?”

“Just visiting with my friends.”

‘You guys know that they don’t want you here. Why don’t you find another place that we don’t patrol all the time?”

“No matter where we go,” said Andre, “they tell us to move along. We’re not drinking, there’s not a big group of us, we’re just enjoying the shade. Where do you want us to go?”

“I’ll check with my partner.”

I noticed that Wolf was being charged, probably with a liquor violation. After the officer finished writing the ticket they both rode off.”

Andre said, “I’m going to go pick some butts.” Shortly after that I left. I met Andre coming back with a handful of cigarette butts.

Psycho

Posted: December 5, 2018 in Prose

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cops

20 June 2012

“Hi Joy, how did everything go after I left yesterday? Was there any more trouble with Daimon and Lucy?”

“No, Andre walked Chili and me down to where she had to go, then I took the bus home. When I was on the bus I realized that I didn’t have my phone. I had it tucked into the cuff of my jeans. It must have fallen out when I was helping Chili. I tried phoning the number and it sounded like a kid that answered. I said, ‘Look, I’ve just gotten off the number fourteen bus. I really need my telephone. Would you do me a really big favor and bring it to the mall’ Then the phone went dead. I tried calling the number later, but it wasn’t in service.

“A guy gave me a phone, but I have to pay a thirty-five dollar activation fee. I’m going to check around and see if I can get a better deal than that.

“I swear that I’m going to give Loretta a shot in the head today.”

“What did she do?” I asked.

“She was panning in front of Tim Horton’s. I said to her, ‘You can’t stay here, you’re cutting my grass.’ I sent her over to see Silver. He sent her over to Hippo’s spot. She’s probably only got about ten minutes before the woman from the hotel asked her to move.

“Chuck has been real pissy lately. He’s always talking down to me. Last night when I came home I still had a piece of steak in the fridge. I nuked it, then put it in a bun with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It tasted just like one of those Philly Steak and Cheese sandwiches that you can get at Arby’s. I worked at Arby’s one time. It was mostly a front for a drug operation. I used to call it Garby’s. I left just before they got raided.

“Nicholas was really getting on my nerves. He just kept talking and talking about everything. He even followed me into my room. I said to him, ‘Nicholas, you may know about some things, but you don’t know everything. If you don’t shut the fuck up, I’m going to do you right here.’ “

“But, I have a girlfriend.”

” ‘I didn’t mean that I wanted to have sex with you. I meant that I was going to punch you in the head.’

“Chuck was barbecuing and asked me if I wanted a sausage. I said, ‘No’ He got all pissy about that and I really lost it. I packed all my things, put them in my bag and walked out. I slept behind Starbucks. I had my blanket under me, a soft pile of cardboard underneath and another blanket that I pulled over my head.

“Hippo and Andre came by sometime in the night. Andre peeked under the corner of the blanket and said, ‘Hey, it’s Joy.’ Later on he said, ‘I may accidentally put my arm around you in my sleep.’ The first time he did it, I just moved his arm. The second time, I gave him a shot in the head. I didn’t want any spooning going on. I was all snugly, Andre and Hippo shivered all night. I don’t know why they don’t get some blankets or a sleeping bag. There are lots available now.

“Hippo had a shower the other day and he’s acting all different like, ‘I’m King Hippo’. He’s still wearing the same dirty pants that are nearly worn through. He said to me, “Joy we should go down to Queen Street now.” I don’t need him telling me where I should and shouldn’t go.

“I have to see  my probie today. She wants me to move to a womens’ shelter. I don’t even know where it is. I’ve talked to a few women who’ve lived there. They say there are a lot of rules, like doing daily chores; not coming in drunk; once a week having to cook a meal for the entire floor. I don’t even cook for myself. If I can’t throw it in the nuker, I don’t buy it.”

I said, “How about sharing a place with Chili? You seem to get along fine with her.”

“The only problem is that she has a place In Scarborough. I don’t want to stay somewhere it takes three busses to get downtown. The only person I would consider living with is Pierre. He’s invited me over sometimes on the weekend. He has a twelve-year-old son that he talks to on the telephone. I hear him saying, ‘I love you, son.’ I can here the son saying, ‘I love you dad.’ That’s really special.

“Pierre says he’s not interested in a relationship. He’s interested in a friend with benefits. He’s a bit older than I am, but it’s something to think about.”

I said, “I met Pierre yesterday. He seems nice. I think he’d probably treat you well. Why don’t you give it a try?”

Before getting ready to leave I asked, “So, what’s going to happen with Daimon and Lucy. Are they going to just keep on jumping, beating and robbing people?”

“Yeah, until Daimon goes back to jail again. I felt so bad when I saw that you weren’t wearing your watch yesterday. It’s really bad when friends can’t visit friends without stashing their stuff.

….

Before I left work I had taken the precaution of putting my watch in my pocket. Noon at the park was very hot and humid. Everyone felt drained of energy. Asleep on the grass was Shakes. Sitting in a circle were Daimon,  Lucy, Chili, Hippo, and Andre. In another group were Little Jake, Chester, Wolf and his dog Shaggy. The police had been by earlier and said that any groups larger than five people had to disperse.

I sat next to Hippo. Someone had found a newspaper photo of a hippopotamus. The photo was being passed around and someone was teasing Hippo that it was an image of his father. Hippo said, “Yeah, he’s famous. He got his picture in the paper and he’s being fed by a prince or something.”

“I remember one time going to the Clayton fair. It’s a tiny town but they have a big fair. That’s where I got driven over by a car. Another guy drove his truck straight into the swamp. He was just sitting there in the cab, he thought he was still driving. Somebody was there with a big winch truck. Nobody wanted to jump into the swamp to hook up the chain, so I did — ‘bloop.’  “

I was surprised to see Chili sitting next to Lucy and Daimon. Her bruises still haven’t healed from the last time she was with them.

“We went to pan this morning,” said Daimon, “There was a guy in our spot. I said, ‘Get the fuck out of here! This is our spot.’ He didn’t move so I kicked him in the head. Then he moved.”

Hippo said, “I had to ask Loretta to move. She was in my spot.”

“What if she hadn’t moved?” asked Andre.

“Then I would have asked Lucy to move her.”

Daimon said, “There is someone else that’s looking for a beating. It’s Alphonse and Magdalene.”

Gene said, “Daimon could take Alphonse, Lucy could take Magdalene.”

Andre said, “The problem is, Magdalene is five months pregnant.”

“I don’t have a problem with hitting a pregnant woman, ” said Daimon.

“It’s a shame,” said Gene, “that someone would beat and rob Shakes. All you have to do is ask him for something and he’ll either say, ‘Yes!’ or ‘No!’ That’s not complicated.”

“If he says, ‘No,” said Daimon, you can wait until he passes out, then take it… I was just kidding!”

.

Algonquin Land

Posted: December 1, 2018 in Prose

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18 June 2012

Noon at the park was sunny and warm. Serge was sitting in his usual place.

“Hi Serge!”

“Hi.”

“How have you been feeling?”

“I’ve been feeling sick the past few days.”

“What kind of sickness did you have?”

“Too much booze. I’m taking a break for a while.”

“It’s good to take a break every once in a while.

“Are the others up top?”

“There all up there.”

“I’ll see you on my way back, Serge.”

“See you.”

There were several groups of people on the lawn. Wolf’s dog, Shaggy was unusually friendly, rubbing against me, sliding her head under my hand to be scratched and petted.

“Jake,” I said, “Friday you mentioned that You had a dream about me. Do you remember the dream?”

“No, it wasn’t sexual though. I think I may have dreamed that you gave me a hundred dollars. I don’t know.”

Irving was talking to Andre, looking very sombre. He said that he been sitting on the sidewalk with his girlfriend Justina and had touched her breast. The police saw it and charged him.

“You’re a marked man, Irving,” said Andre. “Even if she goes to court and tries to have the charges dropped, you’ll have a stay on your record. If you get charged for anything else, you’ll go straight to jail and as a sexual offender expect a lot of beatings. They’ll probably put you in P.C. (Protective Custody), but even there you won’t be safe.”

Irving handed the summons to  Andre who said, “I thought you just got a domestic, this says you’re charged with sexual assault. You’re fucked! If you go within fifty feet of her you can be charged.

“Don’t get me wrong, Irving, we’re family. We know you didn’t do anything wrong. We’ll always have your back. It’s just the police.”

Daimon said, “I’ve had domestics before. Even if you’re just arguing with your old lady, they can kick you out of your house or apartment. They won’t do a thing to her, but if you leave they figure there’s no more problem.”

Andre said, “I’ve served twenty-five years in jail, in and out. If there’s one thing I know, it’s the law. Since it was the cops who laid the charges against you, it’s them you’ll have to deal with.”

“I have witnesses too,” said Irving.

“That could help. One time I was charged with uttering death threats against my wife, her parents and my kids — five counts I was charged with. I spent eleven months dead time before I went to court. When I finally did to court the judge said, ‘Is there anything wrong with this picture? Here’s a man pleading innocent, after eleven months, and he still hasn’t had a trial. I’m throwing this out for time served. Andre, you’re free to go.’

“Six-up to my left.”

One male and one female bicycle police officers rode up. The female officer said, “Hi Andre, Irving. Are you guys keeping out of trouble?

“You over there,” she said to Outcast, “Did I just see you kick a beer can over the railing?”

“No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you find some empties down there.”

“Shakes,” she said, “you’re sober. What happened?”

“What happened is you made me pour out all my booze last night. I have nothing to drink.”

“I’m going to lay it out for you guys. If you’re just up here shooting the shit that’s okay, but this is private property. Do you understand? If we see any liquor, you’re going to be charged. You got that?”

“Yes, officer,” said Andre. “You wouldn’t happen to have a smoke would you?”

“No, Andre, I don’t smoke.”

After the police left Irving said, “This is Algonquin land. I’m Algonquin. There’s no way they can keep me off my own land.”