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ipara4

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23 October 2012

This morning, Andre was standing beside Joy’s spot. I said to him, “Don’t tell me, Joy had to pee.”

“You got it.”

“How’s your morning going, so far, Andre?”

“Lousy — twice, while I was panning, the cops pulled up and told me to move along.”

“How about trying someplace near Shakes’ ‘office’?”

“That’s where I was.”

“How about Silver’s old spot?”

“Little Jake’s there.” Joy returned. “I guess I should move along, let Joy get to work.”

After he left Joy said, That’s the third time he’s been by here. I finally had to tell him that he was interfering with my business.”

I asked, “Did he tell you when he’ll be going to court?”

“No, he didn’t show me the paper. He has two charges against him. One for the bottle of sherry, and one for $300.00 worth of meat from Loblaw’s. They found it in his backpack. He could hardly carry it.

“Have you heard about Serge?”

“No, I haven’t seen him lately.”

“He fell and hit the back of his head. I told him that he should go to the hospital to get it checked, but these guys are stubborn. The same with Silver, he had a swollen leg — instead of going to a hospital he went to the Shepherds, now he’s dead. Anyway, Serge had another fall. This time he hit his forehead. One side of his face is all bruised. He’s in Intensive Care at the Civic Hospital.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t a beating?”

“That was my first thought, but the medical staff at the hospital say that blood from his forehead is pooling in his cheek. The only thing keeping him alive is life support. They don’t know how to contact his family. There are so many Serge Roberts in the phone book.”

Chester came by but didn’t stay long. He saw a bag of mini chocolate bars that somebody had dropped for Joy. “Are those for me?” he asked. Joy just scowled. He left to talk to Jake, in Silver’s old spot.

“That asshole, yesterday I came home to find that he had invited Sylvain and Yves over. They had eaten all the soup. I had half a roast beef sandwich, from Tim Horton’s, that I put in the fridge. Albert asked, ‘Is that my supper?’ I said, ‘No, dude, you get your own. I’m tired of buying all the groceries for everyone else to eat.’

“Last week, I bought a dozen eggs, I got two. Of the pot of soup I made, I got one bowl. I stashed some bologna, Chester found it and ate that too. I said to him, ‘Chester, I haven’t eaten for days. Do you think of me at all?’

“I’m feeling so frustrated, and with Chester coughing all night I’m not getting any sleep.”

I said, “You have an appointment with your worker tomorrow. Do you think anything will come of that?”

“Yesterday, she was supposed to meet with Andre at ten o’clock. She didn’t show. I’m going to ask for a new worker. Janice is teaching this new girl. I thought they’d know what to do before they hire them. The time she’s taking for training is the time she’s not working on finding me a place.

“Pat and Chantal are the ones who found places for Hippo and Jake. I don’t like Pat, but if he can find me an apartment that’s all that matters. Otherwise, I’m thinking of asking them for a sleeping bag and go back to staying behind Starbucks. I’d leave my stuff at Chester’s.

“Sometimes, I just don’t want to be here.”

“Do you mean panhandling?”

“I used to be able to take a break when I got my check, but now I can’t. I just don’t want to be on this earth.”

I phoned the Civic Hospital to inquire about Serge’s condition. Telling them that I was his brother, I was able to speak to the nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. She said, ‘He was doing okay, but he kept losing consciousness, so we brought him into ICU to keep an eye on him. He has a breathing tube now. He’s suffered a cerebral hemorrhage — bruising and bleeding to the brain. We’re hoping to take the breathing tube out tomorrow, see how he is then. We’ll just take it one day at a time.’

At noon I joined a half dozen of my friends sitting on the curb were a half dozen of my friends. Shortly after, Andre rode up on his bicycle with a large bottle of water for Joy. Luther, by all accounts, has been alive, sober and staying with his girlfriend.

He said, “Dennis, I told you I’d get my guitar back, and here it is. I had an electric, but I sold it.

“Do you know what happened to my baby? They chopped her up. I saw the body. It was her sixteenth birthday party. They got out of control with booze and drugs. That’s why I drink. How do I forget about something like that?

“I’m also evil, especially when I drink, that’s what my girlfriend says. The doctors say I have psychotic tendencies.”

I said, “Don’t worry, Luther, that can be treated. I know you’re a good man.”

“I’m not Ojibwa,” he said, “I’m Dene. Do you know many Dene people?”

“Some,” I said.

“Do you know them to be honorable people?”

“Very honorable.”

“Would you give me money to buy a beer?”

“I don’t carry cash, but I can give you a card for a sandwich.”

“Okay,” he said. I handed him the card.

“Actually, I have another of these. I could sell them for $2.50 each, enough for a bottle.”

“It’s your choice, Luther.”

“No, I’ll give it back to you. Give it to someone who is hungry.”

“What was that all about,?” asked Joy.

Luther said, “I don’t mind accepting money, but I don’t want to be told what to spend it on.”

I asked Joy, “How have things been since this morning?”

“Okay, I’m not too happy about Luther and Gnome being here.”

Andre said, “It wouldn’t take much for me to ask them to leave.”

“I don’t mind asking him to leave, don’t worry.”

Luther said, “Ugly Rambo sitting with the pretty Indian woman.”

“Luther,” said Joy, “I don’t appreciate you making remarks about my friend, Dennis!”

“Joy,” said Emile, “he’s referring to my uncle. They used to call him Rambo. He was going out with Luther’s sister. It’s a long story.”

“Well,” said Joy, “I don’t want to hear it.”

Andre asked Joy, “Can I bum a cigarette?”

“Okay, this time, but that’s it. I appreciate you getting the bottle of water for me and doing a liquor run before that, but you’re becoming too much of a burden to carry. That goes for all these guys.”

Andre said, “I understand, Joy.”

Later in the day, I phoned Center507, the outreach program that had taken Serge to the hospital. The outreach workers had already left for the day, but I left my phone number in case I could be of any help in finding Serge’s family. I hope to visit him in the hospital, but they may have visiting restricted to immediate family only.

Serge is now in the Intensive Care Unit of the Civic Hospital, bed 29. He’s had a cerebral hemorrhage. Because he kept losing consciousness he now has a breathing tube. They expect to remove the breathing tube tomorrow or the next day. They don’t have plans for any surgery. He has been admitted previously for falls.

I visited him tonight, but he was asleep the whole time. He is under light sedation and is being administered Tylenol for pain. His head has been shaved, he has a bruise on his forehead and his right eye is black, apart from that he appeared to be resting comfortably. I was surprised that they had his age listed as 55.

The hospital was having trouble contacting his family. There are so many families with the surname Roberts in the phone book that it would be difficult to contact them all.

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Comments
  1. Authoress51 says:

    I know this is old but I am so sorry and hope he makes it through and they find his family. Will keep reading.

    Like

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