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……

 

25 March 2013

At the park, sitting on the curb, were eight of my street friends. Little Jake asked me, “Dennis, do you know what day this is? It’s my birthday. I turn 42 again. Ha ha ha! I’m half in the bag now, thanks to Wolf, and I got some pot from Jacques.”

“Happy birthday, Jake!”

I walked over to Hippo, who I hadn’t seen for about six months. “Hi Hippo, it’s been a long time. How is everything going?”

“Fine, same old, same old. I got a picture on my phone here that I want to show you. It’s a D-11 dozer, the kind I drove in B.C.”

“That looks like an expensive phone.”

“Yes, it is, very expensive.”

“Do you have any plans to go back there?”

“No, they’re getting me set up on disability allowance. I’ll wait to see how that works out.”

Wolf called me over, “Dennis, I’m a bit wasted, but I wanted to tell you about a book I’m reading. It’s written by a guy…”

Little Chester interrupted, “Hi Wolf!”

“Chester, will you give us a few minutes. I’ll lose my train of thought. Now, where was I? If I get distracted the little mice, running around in their wheel in my brain, get confused and go in every which direction, then I never know what will come to mind.

“Anyway, the book was written by somebody Sandford. I can’t remember his first name (John). The title has ‘Prey’ in it, there is a whole series of them (Eyes of Prey, Winter Prey, Naked Prey, Silent Prey, Night Prey). The main character is Lucas Davenport, a so-called detective from Wisconsin. One of my ladies gave the book to me. I was surprised — it’s a bit raw for their tastes. Anyway, you’d like it — a real shoot-em-up. You know the type. It’s about this ninety-one-year-old man, with dementia, who still thinks the Cold War is still going on. He believes he’s in some kind of a sleeper cell working for the C.I.A. He engages his grandson to do his dirty work. He gets him to shoot an envoy from the Russian Embassy; of course, the grandson screws it all up. You get the idea.”

Shaggy was getting restless and started barking. Wolf said, “Shaggy, stop pacing in circles. Pick someone, anyone, and bite them. How about Jacques over there? No, it’s just Jacques’ shoes you like to bite. How about Jake, or Chester? Okay then, just lie down on your blanket and be quiet. Here’s a doggy biscuit. Dennis, you give her a biscuit. She’ll love you for life.”

I asked Jake, “Do you have your furniture yet?”

“No, not yet. I’m hoping to get some things soon.

Jake asked Pierre, “Do you guys ever come across used or discarded furniture?”

“Sometimes we do. What is it you need?”

“I really need a microwave.”

“We’ll see what we can do.”

“Thanks, man, I’d appreciate that.”

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
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