Archive for April 4, 2019

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10 August 2012

Today is garbage day. As I was waiting for my bus, it started to rain. A cyclist with a makeshift wagon rode past me, carrying a clear plastic bag full of crushed cans. He stopped at a recycling bin on the curb, beside a driveway not far from the bus stop. He rooted through and found more cans he could get a cash refund for, from ten to twenty cents a can, depending on size.

Because of the rain I wasn’t expecting to see any panhandlers. As I looked towards Joy’s usual spot, I recognized Shakes. He was standing, talking to a man seated on the sidewalk.

“Hi, Shakes! How are you doing?”

“Fine, Dennis, I was just checking to see who was sitting here.”

“Is this Walter?” I asked. Walter had been panning across the street from Shakes last week.

“No, This is Al.”

“Hi, Al. My name is Dennis.” I reached into my pocket for a Tim Horton’s card and handed it to him. “There’s enough credit on here to buy yourself breakfast.”

“Thanks, Dennis.”

“What about me, Dennis? Do you have one for me?” asked Shakes.

“I didn’t think you ate at this time of day, Shakes. Of course, I have one for you.”

Shakes said, “I slept at my daughter Fran’s last night. She woke me up at 7:00 and said, ‘Dad, I made some scrambled eggs and bacon for you. You have to eat something.’ ”

“How is Fran doing? Does she know if there is any permanent damage to her back?”

“She doesn’t know. She’s waiting to hear from her doctor.”

“How is Bettie?”

“She doesn’t know. Again, she’s waiting to hear from her doctor.”

“Her boyfriend should be charged,” I said.

Shakes said, “I can’t wait to see him, myself.”

“A lot of people can’t wait to see him. I’m sure that Joy will lay a beating on him if he crosses her path.”

“Yes, I know.”

I said, “Yesterday, I saw Daimon and Lucie for the first time since his ankle was broken. Andre and Hippo were going to Quebec to buy beer.”

“Yeah, I saw Daimon and Lucie. I found Andre asleep, so he didn’t get to where he was going.”

“Where are you going now, Shakes?”

“To my office.”

I walked Shakes to the next corner, then we parted ways. It was raining at noon so I didn’t bother going out. My friends would have stayed inside at home, or at one of the homeless shelters.

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