27 March 2013

As I approached the park I could see the Salvation Army van parked beside the traffic island. About a half dozen people were milling around. I couldn’t make out their faces.

On the opposite curb were Wolf and Shaggy, Shakes and Buck.”

Buck said to me, “Joy’s over there.”

Shortly after, Joy came limping across the street. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around much. My legs are really giving me trouble.”

I asked, “Have you talked to your worker about getting your health card and your prescriptions?”

“I was just asking these ladies to pass a message along to her. I better go back, there’s still some stuff I have to discuss with them.”

“I’ll come with you.”

At the traffic island were Andre, Chester, Mariah and Jacques.”

“Andre!” I said, “I haven’t seen you for months, and you shaved this morning.”

“I not only shaved, but I’ve also been sober for three months now. I’ve just been staying around home. I haven’t been down here for ages.”

“How is your stomach feeling?’

“A lot better now. I’ve still got problems, but not nearly as bad as before.”

I shook hands with Jacques, Mariah and Chester. Chester said, “Dennis, remember those bus tickets you gave me a while back. I think I gave them to Joy or somebody. Do you have any more?”

“Sure, Chester, I’ve got extra.”

Chester said, “Thanks, Dennis, I’m going to be leaving now.”

Mariah said, “He’s just going to the Mission for his lunch. Joy and I were over at his place yesterday. Joy brought some steaks. Raven was there. Joy was really polite to her. She said to me, ‘This is Chester’s place, he can have anyone over that he wants to. I just wish he’d stay away from the people who are just after his money.’

“I don’t know why he invites her over. She probably lets him play with her a bit, I don’t know how far it goes.

“Anyway, Joy was cooking the vegetables and had the steaks in the frying pan. Raven comes over and starts fussing with the meat and flicking her hair. Both Joy and I got pissed off. Joy said, “Just why are you here? Were you invited, or did you just decide to drop by? I’m trying to cook dinner for my friends.” Raven got the hint and left. Chester didn’t say anything.

“I don’t go out very often. I like to be alone and I have a certain reputation, being that I’ve lived there for four years. Whenever there is a vacancy the landlady always asks me if I know them, and what kind of a person are they. There was a real problem with the guy who used to be in the basement. He was a real nut job. I probably had something to do with getting him to leave. He destroyed that apartment. The landlady sued him, but he must have had a really good lawyer because he didn’t have to pay for any damage.”

“What kind of damage did he do?”

“The kind of flooring, that he had, came in a roll, but it had lines on it. Do you know the type I mean?”


“Something like that, anyway, when it’s flat it looks like tiles. He used duct tape over every one of the lines, every place he thought a draft might come through. He took a hammer to the counter, left that in pieces, ripped the cupboards down. For some reason, he threw a bucket of water at the door. Like I said, he destroyed the place.”

“I like to smoke every once in a while, when I lived at the back I could never see the landlady coming. I’d hear her in the hall yelling, ‘I know somebody’s smoking here.’ I’d get out the Fabreze and some other things I use to clear the smell from the air. Now, I live in the front so I can see her car pull up. She told me once, ‘I know you smoke, but I’ve never seen you.’

“Yesterday, I invited Joy to come up. Outcast came over and they went back to her place for a while. He didn’t stay long. She came back up and we listened to music, danced a bit, smoked, had a few beers.

“Every once in a while I have my concerts in the evening: The Eagles, another night it might be Santana, what ever I’m in the mood for. Around 10:30pm I lower the volume. I don’t want to get in trouble with my neighbors, but they all know me.”

It was time for me to leave, so I said my good byes and crossed the street. I said goodbye to Jake and Wolf who said, “Dennis, if you’re coming by tomorrow, could you bring me a book. You know what I like, a spy story, espionage, that sort of thing. I’ve got the whole Easter weekend and no book to read.”

“Sure, Wolf.”

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download)

  1. Authoress51 says:

    Now, that’s an idea for my Care Packages. I never thought about adding books!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Strangely on my way back to my hotel today I saw a homeless person reading a book, your narrative just added a real touch of humanity to this.

    Liked by 1 person

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