Archive for May 27, 2019




17 October 2012

This morning, as I approached Joy, she was doing a jig and smiling with her teeth clenched.

I said, “Don’t tell me, Joy. You have to pee.”

“Like ninety,” she said. “I’ll be right back.”

When she came back she said, “This morning, when I got to Tim Horton’s, I had to get them to unlock the security washroom, because the ladies was being serviced. I told the woman, ‘Either you unlock that door now, or I’m busting into the men’s room. I really have to go.’ ”

“How are your kidneys now?”

“Good, obviously, although, sometimes in the night, I have to get up and only a dribble comes out. That worries me.

“Chester was saying that he thinks he has Alzheimer’s. His memory is really bad. He fell backward, down fourteen concrete steps. He was with Outcast and Jacques. One minute he was there, the next minute he was gone. He was in a coma for five days. That was two years ago. Sometimes, he thinks that he just recently got out of the hospital.

“He was mad at me yesterday. I guess he expected that I would join him at the Shepherds for lunch. I don’t go into those places. People often ask me about that. There are too many people and a lot of them I just don’t care to see. There are a lot of crack heads. You never know what they’re going to do.

“Even at Thanksgiving, I didn’t go for the meal. For one thing, I don’t like turkey; for another, I don’t like crowds. I barbecued some ribs, roasted veggies and baked potato. It was the best Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever had.

“Last year, Meg was working with the church ladies. She brought me a frozen turkey for the Christmas season. In fact, she brought something different for each of the twelve days of Christmas. She isn’t there anymore. I don’t know what the church ladies will do this year.

“Chester should be by soon. I want to use his phone to cancel my appointment with the lady from E. Fry (The Elizabeth Fry Society). My legs are so sore, I just can’t take that much walking today. She’s good that way. I’ve already had five appointments, probably more time than I would have had if I’d gone through the group anger management program.

“Which reminds me. I got a letter in the mail from Big Jake yesterday. That really freaked me out. He wasn’t supposed to know my address. I phoned Rodent, sure enough, it was him that gave it to Jake. I said to him, ‘I’ve told you before that I don’t want Jake knowing where I am.’ He said, ‘But Joy, Jake wanted to write to you and didn’t know where to send the letter. If you write him back, I can tell you the prison code the inmates use if you want him to phone you.’ I said, Rodent, I don’t want a letter, I don’t want a phone call. I don’t want anything to do with Jake.

“Half the things Rodent said to me were in prison code. He said Jake was teaching some kind of course to get points. He hasn’t been on a detox program. I didn’t know what he was talking about, or when Jake will be getting out. He hasn’t been in penitentiary long enough to know all that stuff. One time he said he’d served twenty-five years; another time he said it was twelve. He said when Jake gets out, he’s going to be staying at his place. I wish them well with that. It sounds a little too cozy for me.

“I’ve served more time than most of the guys put together. I served three out of five for something I didn’t even do. I just happened to be in the car.

“Here’s Chester now. Chester, can I use your phone? This looks really great doesn’t it? A panhandler using a cell phone.”

I said, “A friend of mine mentioned that to me yesterday. He said he saw a panhandler at the corner of Bronson and Catherine talking on a cell phone. He said he wouldn’t give money to the guy, and any he’d given to him, he wanted back.”

I went to the park at ten o’clock. Wednesday, it’s the day that Stella usually comes for a visit. Everyone was hoping she would come.

Outcast said, “Dennis, what are you doing here this time of day? Are you playing hooky from work?”

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m confusing everyone. I was hoping to see Stella,”

Joy said, “She has a coat for me.”

“She hasn’t been here yet,’ said Outcast, “maybe tomorrow; but they’re forecasting rain for tomorrow, so maybe not. I haven’t been here because I’ve been sick. I’m on a massive dose of antibiotics. Nearly everyone in my building is coughing and sick.”

“Do you have pneumonia again?” I asked.

“Not pneumonia, emphysema. My lungs are full of infection.”

Shark handed Outcast a sealed clear plastic bag.

“Thanks, Shark!” said Outcast. He held up the bag and said, “My teeth! I was wondering whose house I had left these in. When I drink beer from cans I like to take my teeth out. Usually, I put them in my shirt pocket, sometimes they fall out. I lost my original teeth playing hockey.”

Joy said, “It freaked me out the first time I woke up to find a set of teeth, on the bedside table, looking back at me.”

Jacques handed me a copy of the Metro newspaper to sit on.

“Don’t you need this, Jacques?”

Joy said, “Jacques always has lots. He needs two copies for his fat ass.”

“That’s right,” said Jacques,” I need two copies for my fat ass.

“I heard that they are changing O.D.S.P. (Ontario Disability Support Program) to separate the sick people from the addicts and alcoholics.”

Outcast said, “I qualify on both counts.”

Jacques asked, “What’s going to happen when we get a new Premier of the province, now that Dalton McGinty has resigned?”

“He’s the one who signs our checks. The next guy might cut us off completely.”

“Jacques, are you moving to Vanier?”

“No, that fell through. It was $850. a month. I can’t afford that. I called Shark’s landlord, he has buildings all over the city. He’s going to try to find me a place. I’m not sure if I believe him too much. He said he’ll have something for me on twenty-two. I’ll see. I’ve got ’till the end of the month. Otherwise, I sleep on the street, or at the Shepherds.”

Outcast said, “You’re not going to find much for under $850.”

Joy said to me in a whisper, “All of these guys have had apartments before, but they were kicked out. I’m pissed off that Jake got a place before I did. Even Weasel has a nice apartment on Somerset. The last place he was in they condemned, it was that nasty.”

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