Archive for March 19, 2019

Ian The Mooch

Posted: March 19, 2019 in Prose

13 July 2012

The sprinklers were spraying the grass where we usually congregated, so the group sat on the curb. Shakes was asleep. Andre rode in on his bicycle. I sat between Anastasia and Andre.

“Today is so hot and humid,” said Anastasia. “I can’t wait until Buck arrives, then I’m going to meet some of the others at the Don River, near Jacques’ place. It’s always cooler there.”I love being by the water. My mother has a cottage on Georgian Bay. I’m going there this summer, but I can’t afford it right now. I’ll have to wait until my check arrives, August 1st. It doesn’t have running water or electricity. I love to relax in nature. I also paint, mostly landscape scenes and rocks. I paint in oils, I love the spontaneity. My daughter — she’s thirty — just got engaged. They’ve bought a house in Brantford. It’s going to be a bit more difficult for me to visit her.

“Here comes Buck and Dillinger. I’ll be off now.”

Andre said, “I had a good time last night. I was riding my bicycle and saw a woman asleep on a bench. I thought to myself, ‘I know that ass.’ I peeked under her cap and recognized Betty. We were making out on the bench until about midnight. She handed me her apartment keys and said, ‘I’ve got some things to finish up, but go to my place, have something to eat, have a shower. I’ll be there shortly.’

“I fried a pork chop, some potatoes. Had a great meal, but what I really loved was the shower. It had a lot of pressure. I washed my hair twice. The first time the lather was black. When Betty came in she opened the fridge and plunked a bottle of wine in front of me. We had a great time.”

Hippo said to Buck, “How much do I owe you from yesterday?”

Buck checked on his smart phone and said, “Eight bucks.”

“I thought it was seven.”

“No, eight.”

“Well there’s no arguing with a computer. Can you add another ten on that?”


Jake said, “I wondered where everyone was last night. I’m not used to sleeping alone.

“I worry about panhandling, now that I have two charges against me. I’ve got one coming up on the twentieth and one August fifth. I get sentenced September fifteenth. I’m sure I’m going to get jail time.

“I’m trying to decide what I’ll have to eat. I think I’ll to go to Dollarama, steal some smoked oysters and crackers. I’ll pay for a bag of chips.

“I owe Buck fifty-six, but other people owe me fifty. If they’d pay me I could pay off him. I didn’t see Ian last night. He owes me ten, Hippo owes me ten, Wolf owes me ten and this guy owes me twenty. SHAKES, YOU OWE ME TWENTY BUCKS.” Shakes slept on. “And I haven’t even had a drink yet!”

“That got his attention,” said Andre. “He made eighty at the Burlington Jazz’n Blues Festival last night. I think he drank most of it already.”

“Hippo, throw me that bottle,” said Jake.

Hippo threw a half full, plastic wine bottle to Jake, but it hit his radio. The radio, playing little more than static, got worse. Danny fiddled with the dials to try to get better reception. Nothing he did improved the sound.

Jake said, “There’s a difference between a bum and a mooch. I’ll bum smokes off people, but I pay them back. Sometimes I’ve even paid a debt twice. When I ask someone how much I owe them the nicest thing to hear is, ‘It’s okay, Jake you’ve already paid me. I hope Shakes doesn’t think that by giving me a drink, every now and then, it’s going to erase the twenty bucks he owes me.”

“No way, man,” said Andre. “If you borrow cash, you repay in cash. If you get someone drunk, they’re expected to do the same for you, in return.”

Jake said, “Every time Ian comes around he’s mooching cigarettes, money or booze… mooch, mooch, mooch. He never comes around when he has money of his own. We’re going to have to put him straight on that.”

Danny said, “I saw Shakes at the Blues Festival last night. The police were harassing him. There was a couple, sharing a drink, on one side of the road. The cops ignored them, but they crossed the road and ordered Shakes to dump his bottle. It should be the same law for everyone.”

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