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shelter

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27 September 2012

Five of my friends sat on the curb, near the park today.

Outcast said, “Dennis, before you sit down, here’s a copy of the Metro to keep your cheeks dry.”

“Thanks, Outcast.

“How’s everything going, Hippo?”

“Great, I get the keys to my new apartment tomorrow.”

“Where will it be?”

“Vanier, on some street starting with ‘L’, a French name. It’s really nice.”

Outcast asked, “That’s in one of those projects, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“Where did you sleep last night, Hippo?” I asked.

“We all slept behind Starbucks, the old place.”

“Were Bruce and Weasel there?”

“Yeah, and Bear. I slept next to the dumpster, nearly underneath it. I was the windbreak.”

Andre said, “You should have seen it, Dennis. Bear’s nose was about an inch from Hippo’s.”

To Hippo, he said, “It’s a good thing you didn’t make any sudden movements in your sleep. You could have lost part of your face. I don’t know how you could have put up with Bear’s breath, or how he could have put up with yours.”

“Bear and I are good,” said Hippo.

“Don’t get too friendly,” laughed Andre.

A female police officer, followed by a male, rode up the sidewalk.”

“Hello gentlemen, does anyone have any open liquor.” Outcast had kicked his can over the railing. She noticed an open can of beer between Hippo and Andre. “Who does that belong to? Is that your’s Hippo?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He held up the can.

“If I dump it, do I still get a ticket?”

“If I don’t see anything, you don’t get a ticket” Andre put his cap in front of the can and took a swig.

Hippo said, “This is my last beer. I’ll take the ticket.”

The ticket was written and handed to Hippo. He took it, folded it and handed it to Jacques. “Another one for your wall, Jacques.”

Andre said to the police officer, “You guys know that we don’t pay these things. Does that bother you at all?”

The officer said, “We do our job, the courts do their job. We’ll be back in fifteen.”

After she left Andre said, “She’s my cousin.”

Outcast said, “That’s the second beer I’ve kicked over the rail today.”

Andre said, “I’m just glad they haven’t changed the law, so we’d have to do jail time for unpaid tickets. I know I’m over $8,000.”

Shakes said, “I’m over $10,000.”

Outcast said, “It would be ridiculous to have us do jail time. It costs over $70,000 a year to keep a man in jail. We’ve got no assets, no houses, no cars, no jobs. There’s nothing they can take from us.”

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