Archive for July 12, 2019


31 December 2012

The snow was lightly falling at noon, the temperature was around the freezing point with no wind. Jacques, Jacquie, Mariah, Wolf and Shaggy were standing at the heater.

Wolf said to Jacquie, “Is your name like Downtown Jackie Brown? I think that was a movie.”

“No, it’s like Jacquie Kennedy.”

“Hi Wolf,” I said, “Did you and Shaggy have a good Christmas?”

“It was quiet, I haven’t been back here since I saw you last. I dropped over to André’s new apartment. It’s actually Rodent’s old place in the same building as Outcast. They had to gut it when Rodent left. I’m not sure what kind of infestation he had. They replaced the walls, put in a new wooden floor. He has new appliances. I had a few beers with Andre. I sure hope he takes care of the place. It’s like a palace.

“I’m worried that Little Jake is going to be evicted. He has a hydro bill of two hundred dollars that he hasn’t paid. They’ve cut off his power except for his stove. Two hundred dollars seems a lot for three months. I only pay about thirty-one. He has electric baseboard heaters. I’d never get a place with them. They’re expensive. Jake’s got to get that sorted with his worker. I’m surprised that they aren’t covering his hydro.”

I said to Wolf, “Weasel has a nice place too, doesn’t he?”

Peter said, “Well, it’s smaller, it has carpet. He has a dog. That’s hard on a carpet. It’s not just the dog hair, but the wet, muddy feet. Darrell’s not much of a housekeeper.

“I’ve had my place over three years and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to invite you over. It’s reasonably tidy and well taken care of.”

I asked Jacques, “Have you heard from Joy, lately? Has she phoned you?”

“No, but Bruce is supposed to go visit her. I guess she’s still depressed.”

“So, how was your Christmas, Jacques?” I asked.

“Same old, same old. I was here on Christmas with my Santa hat on, but I left. Everybody has apartments now, so they didn’t come down here. I was looking for the chicken man, but I didn’t see him either.”

I asked, “Has the security guard been by yet?”

“No, not yet. He doesn’t usually come by. Now it’s the city cops giving out tickets for trespassing. They have them all made out ahead of time. They gave one to Shakes. It was just written out to ‘Shakes’. I don’t think that will hold up in court.

“How about you, Mariah?” I asked, did you have a good Christmas?”

“It was just me and my son, so it was quiet.”

Jacqui asked, “Didn’t you have Charlie with you?”

“No, I kicked him out two and a half months ago.”

“I’m so sorry,” said Jacquie.

“I’m not,” said Mariah, “He was someone who could just suck the energy out of a place. Do you know what I mean?”

Wolf said, “I know what you mean. It can really affect your health when you live with someone like that.”

“Yeah, I was tired all the time, was getting colds. I was tired of being in debt. I’m a bit lonely now. It was nice to have someone to snuggle up to, but I can live with being alone.

“Another thing, when I lived with Charlie I was always cold. Mind you, we had our bed on the floor, that can make a difference. Now I sleep on a bed that folds into a couch when I don’t need it for sleeping. I think just being a foot higher makes a big difference.”

Wolf pulled his toque off and said, “Has everybody seen my new haircut? I went to the barber shop on Montreal Road, across from the bank. There’s a little Lebanese lady that runs it. Just twelve dollars for a haircut. She asked me, ‘How do you want your hair to look?’ I said, ‘Do anything you want.’ That put a smile on her face. When I left I said, ‘See you again next year.’ It’s been a year since I last had it cut.”

Mariah said, “I’ve stopped having my hair cut. I think the last time I had it done was 1994. It’s long, but it doesn’t grow anymore. I don’t have it colored or anything. If I get split ends I use some of that beef marrow shampoo. That seems to repair all the damage.”

I said, “I like the grey in your hair. It looks a lot more interesting than if you had it dyed all one color. If you had to pay to have your hair colored, like you have it naturally, it would cost a fortune.”

Mariah said, “They say that when men have gray hair they look distinguished. When women have gray hair they just look old.”

“I don’t agree, I think your hair looks beautiful.”

“It really does,” said Wolf.

Jacques pulled off his sheepskin hat to show off his bald head. I have a set of clippers. Every couple of months I cut Shark’s hair, just cut it all off. I’ll do the same with mine one day.”

Jacquie said, “Jacques, Your hair is really long at the back, but it’s so little.”

“It’s so little,” repeated Jacques, “that’s the story of my life.”

Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download)