Archive for July 22, 2019




21 March 2013

I saw Joy huddled in her blanket, hood pulled up, with another blanket wrapped around her legs. Under the blanket, she was wearing white and pink striped socks over her summer shoes.

After we greeted she said, “Where were you yesterday? I was worried about you. I even asked Metro if he’d seen you. I guessed that you drove to work.”

I said, “Yesterday I was running late and took another bus route down Elgin Street. Because it was snowing I didn’t think you’d be here.”

“Yeah, I was here. I’m freezing now. This cold weather is really hard on my fibromyalgia. My legs are stiff. At least at home, I have the heater that a friend gave me. I even take it into the bathroom with me. What I’m looking forward to now is a nice hot soak in my bathtub. At home I’m fine. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t running short of money.

“I see these chicks wearing miniskirts up to here, nylons and pointy heeled come-fuck-me-boots. I want to say to them, Put a pair of pants on. When you get to work you can peel off in the washroom and come out looking fly. Who are you trying to impress out here on the street… me?”

“Do you have your health card and your prescriptions, yet.”

“No, I’m still trying to get in contact with my worker. I’ve left all kinds of phone messages for her. I told her, ‘Either I’ll be here, panning, or I’ll be at home.’ How complicated is that?

“There is an apartment opening up on the main floor. I’d be between the guys that stomp around — there’s a third one now — and the crazy lady that screams all the time, but I could take care of that.

“I don’t think I’ll be at the traffic island at noon. It’s just too cold.”

At the traffic island were four of my friends and two dogs. The two dogs didn’t get along, so Weasel tied Bear to a fence on the far side and Buck kept Dillinger on his leash. There was still some barking, growling and howling. Darell said, “Bear thinks he’s the boss, Dillinger thinks he’s the boss. It’s better just to keep them separated. Dillinger is just a pup.”

Weasel asked Shakes, “How’s it going, Shaky? Everything okay at your place?”

“No, I haven’t had a drink.”

Weasel said, “I can help you with that.” To the rest of us, he said, “Shakes and I are the only ones of us who can’t function at all before we’ve had a couple of drinks. I can’t even make it from my couch to the fridge, and I live in a small bachelor apartment.”

Shakes said, “Besides that, they’ve cut off my hydro. I phoned my worker about it. They’re supposed to take care of that. She said, ‘Just take your last bill to the bank. They’ll look after it for you.’ I said, ‘What’s the point of me taking it to the bank. I don’t have any friggin money. I didn’t even have money for the bus yesterday. I got on with Buck, he showed them his pass and I just sat down. The driver said to me, ‘This bus isn’t leaving until you get off.’ ”

I asked, “Did you get off?”

“No, I just sat there. Other people were getting off. They were asking, ‘How long do we have to wait here?’ The driver said, ‘Until this guy gets off, or the police come, whichever happens first.’ Eventually, the transit security guys came. They took me off, then gave me a day pass so I could catch the next bus to get home.”

Darrell said, “So security didn’t mind you bothering another bus driver. They just didn’t want you bothering that one.”

“I guess so.

“Another problem I’m having is my phone doesn’t work. It exploded.”

Weasel said, “Don’t give me that, Shaky! You threw it against the wall. We’ve all been there, done that.”

Jacques asked, “Did you hear that Donny, in the electric wheelchair died. It happened just last Friday. They amputated both his legs, but the gangrene went higher. He died in hospital.

“His brother came down from Toronto. Donny had already died by then. The first thing the brother did was to contact Donny’s worker, then he had the locks changed. That’s strange, isn’t it? Donny had a roommate. Now the roommate can’t get in, get his stuff out or anything. The brother went back to Toronto.

“I saw Joy earlier. She and Chester went over to his place. They asked if I wanted to come, but they both smoke. I don’t want to breathe that stuff. I’d rather stay out in the fresh air. I’d go home, but my window is boarded up and it’s dark in there.”

I asked, “Has anybody heard anything more about Louis?”

Jacques said, “You mean guitar player Louis? Last I heard, from somebody here, was that Louis had been beaten up and was taken to hospital. He wasn’t expected to live through the weekend.”

I asked, “Does anybody know his last name? Maybe I could look him up on the computer.”

Darrell said, “John Loeb. His real name is John Loeb.”

I said, “His name is John, but they call him Lewis for short.”

“Something like that.”

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