Archive for May 5, 2019




24 September 2012

From the corner of the street, I looked for Joy in her usual spot. I could see a folded blanket on the sidewalk, but no Joy. I waited to see if she had, perhaps, gone into the pizza place, or the Library, to use their washroom. A large truck, stopped at the traffic lights, blocking my view. When it moved ahead I saw Joy. I walked over to her.

“Hi Joy, I was looking for you, but didn’t see you here.”

“Weasel and Bear passed by the corner, just before you got there. I didn’t want him to see me. I saw you there, leaning against the post. I couldn’t figure that out.”

“Why didn’t you want to see Weasel?”

“Not just Weasel, any of the guys. They make more money than me, sometimes they’re out panning all day and evening. I’m only here for four hours. First thing in the morning, no matter how much they collected the day before, they come to me for a cigarette. Chester had a carton and supplied me all weekend because I ran out, but that’s rare. Usually, he’ll come by in the morning, on a butt run and will bum off me.”

“How was your weekend?” I asked.

“Fine, quiet… I’ve got to get out of Chester’s place by Christmas.”

“Did the exterminator come to spray?”

“Yeah, he sprayed alright. We could smell that stuff for three days. It’s really powerful.”

“Are there any bedbugs now?”

“I only saw one in the bathroom. I watched it for a while. It didn’t move, so I threw it in the toilet.”

“Did you squish and sniff it first?”

“I squished it, but I knew what it was. I didn’t need to sniff it. Jacques got me started sniffing bugs I’d squished. He still has bedbugs. I didn’t know it before then, but bedbugs have a rotten wood smell, that’s how dogs are able to sniff them out. I saw one on television. They had a beagle sniffing around a hotel room. He could direct the exterminator to the exact location of the bugs.”

“I’ve seen that too. Do other insects have a distinctive smell?”

“No, just bedbugs. The guy is supposed to come back in two weeks, to a month. I told Chester to make sure it’s two weeks. There’s a final spraying after that.

“Chester’s still putting his clothes back in his dresser drawers. I told him not too, but he wouldn’t listen to me. Last night he offered me a blanket that had been on his bed before they sprayed. I said to him, ‘Thanks, Bud, but no thanks.’ He said, ‘It’s cold, Joy, you should have more to keep you warm.’ I said to him, ‘I’d rather be cold than have to deal with those bugs again.”

“Has your worker contacted you about any available apartments?”

“Not yet, but she’s working on it. I have an appointment with her Wednesday morning. It has to do with the Elizabeth Fry Society and the anger management course I’m supposed to take. She’s going to escort me to every meeting, so I don’t get breached. My probation ends on November second.

“Guys, like Andre, keep asking me if I want to share a place with them if they get one before me. I told him, “For one thing, my name’s higher on the list than yours; I’ve been waiting longer than you have. For another, I don’t want to share.”

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