Archive for December 7, 2018

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.