Hope Recovery

Posted: April 10, 2019 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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ipara4

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23 August 2012

This morning I could barely see Joy’s feet beyond the concrete partition. “How’s it going today?” I asked.

“Horrible! I’ve been here since 6:00 am and I’ve hardly made a cent. It’s worse than Mondays. I guess a lot of my regulars are on holidays.”

“I’ve noticed that where I work, the volume declines over the summer, then picks up in September when staff return from vacations.”

“Metro’s going to get picked off one of these days.” We both watched, as he walked through the line of cars to hand a driver a newspaper.

I said, “You get a great view of the world from down here.”

“Yeah, I see it all. some men have their flies undone, with their willies flapping in the breeze. If I mention it to them they say, ‘Well, look somewhere else.’ I say, ‘Hey, man, it’s right in my face, and it’s not a pretty sight. Where am I supposed to look?’

“Sometimes, I see guys with their shoelaces undone. Sometimes, I tell them, but if it’s the crusty ones I just wait to see if they fall.

“Brad was by earlier. He’s all stitched up. I asked him what happened. He said, ‘Angeline stabbed me with a kitchen knife. She’s serving thirty days.’

‘Thirty days for stabbing someone, that’s ridiculous. Are you going to take her back when she gets out?’ He said, ‘Yes.’

“Angeline can be nice, but she’s schizophrenic. If she’s off her meds, and on the booze, she can’t be trusted with kitchen utensils.

“Chester has taken his pennies to Loblaw’s. They have a change machine that will convert them to bills and other change. Usually, he gives them to one of his French ladies. They donate them to C.H.E.O. (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario). This time though, he needs the money.

“There was a guy hanging around this morning, snapping pictures of me. I said to him, ‘Hey, I didn’t give you permission to take my photo.’ He said, ‘Well, may I have your permission?’ I said, ‘No, but it’s a bit late now.’ I don’t want someone I don’t know walking around with pictures of me. It’s creepy.

“Outcast is pissed with me because I wouldn’t go with him yesterday afternoon. I said to him, ‘I distinctly remember you telling me that we were over, which seemed kind of ridiculous since we never started anything. Now, you’re pissed off because I don’t want to got to your girlfriend’s place, when she’s coming home at five o’clock?’

“I’m going to have to ask the guys to spring for some cash so I can get a bottle. I wonder what I’m going to have to do for that. Andre owes me money. Little Jake has owed me money for two years. I heard that yesterday Hippo was giving away twenties to everyone, but he didn’t give me anything.”

At noon, seated on the curb, were Andre, Little Jake, Joy, Silver and Hippo. Jake kept tipping over on his side. Andre said, “Jake, will you get up. I don’t want your nose in my ass.”

Joy said, “Jake, you stink. I’m moving away from here.” We moved closer to Silver and Hippo, Andre followed. Little Jake had passed out in the bushes.

“Silver,” I said, “I haven’t seen you in a while. You’ve lost weight.”

“Yeah, I have lost weight. I haven’t been eating enough. I’ve got an appointment with my doctor. I’m having problems with my stomach.”

Andre said, “I made twenty bucks yesterday. Do you want to know how?”

Joy said, “Andre, I’m sure we don’t want to hear about what you did to make twenty bucks. It’s probably disgusting.”

“No,” said Andre, “a guy bet me a twenty that I couldn’t do a one-handed hand stand and hold it for thirty seconds. I did it and that was after eight bottles. He paid me.”

Minutes later, three cops on bicycles stopped in front of us. They probably had a complaint about Jake. They kicked the bottom of his foot, trying to wake him. Joy walked over and told the cops that he has HIV and is very sick. Andre shook him and helped to get him standing and walking. Andre and Jake walked as far as Elgin Street, then sat on a low concrete wall.

The police came over again. The sergeant said, “Jake, do you have any place to go? You can’t stay here. How much could he have possibly drunk, this early in the day? What’s in the bottle, Jake? Hand it over.” He opened the lid and took a whiff, “That’s awful! Is that a Jakenator, beer mixed with sherry?”

Andre said, “You know him well.”

The sergeant said, “Write him up.” Andre, Chester and I moved away to the other side of the wall. Joy had walked across the street, to the Lord Elgin Hotel, to use the washroom. Andre, yelled, “Jake, will you learn to shut your mouth?”

Chester said to me, “They’re going to write him another ticket that he isn’t going to pay. That’s what they always do.”

I heard one of the cops mention, ‘Hope Recovery Centre’. I expect they’ve called for the paramedics to transport Jake to detox. I expect to see him back here tomorrow.

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