Archive for August 3, 2019

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……

15 April 2013

This morning was cold. Joy was wearing two hoodies, a jacket and a heavy sweater over those. Her legs were wrapped in a blanket.

“Hi Sweetie, I’m glad you’re here. I have to have a major piss and I can’t go into the pizza place. Will you watch my stuff and do your magic?”

I sat on her plastic storage crate and guarded her cap with the change (the jingle). I smiled and tried to look needy, but nobody was buying it. I noticed the averted eyes. Some of my friends passed without saying hello.

Joy returned, I said, “I didn’t have any luck.”

“Mondays are always bad. I didn’t want to come out today, but I missed Friday and Thursday because of the weather, so I figured I better get out.”

“How did Tuesday go?” I asked,” Do you have your furniture?”

“No, and I’m really pissed off that they cancelled again. I phoned my workers at about one o’clock Tuesday,  as I was crossing the bridge. I heard one of them in the background say, ‘If that’s Joy, tell her we’ll have to reschedule.’ She couldn’t even tell me herself.  I said, ‘I’ve been waiting five fuckin’ months, this is insane! All my other friends have been taken to the warehouse to get furniture. Why is it that I have to wait so long?’ I don’t know what that woman has against me. If I gave her a shot in the head, they’d phone the police. I guess that wouldn’t be a good move.”

“The table and couch that Andre promised me — he gave them to somebody else.

“I’m not like some of these other people. I have no family to turn to. Mind you, I’d have plenty of places to crash, if I lost my apartment.”

I asked, “How was your weekend?”

“It was cool. I went over to Andre’s.  Snuffleupagus was there, that’s what I call Hippo. He was whining the whole time. ‘I don’t have any money in my bank account.’ I told him that his GST (Goods and Services Tax) refund would be coming soon. His income tax refund would take a little longer. He’ll just have to wait, like all of us. You can’t hurry the government; but he wants it now!

“Weasel is pissed with me because he invited me over and I haven’t been there yet. He had Jake over and split his eyebrow? I told Jake that when he mixes sherry and beer, like he does with his Jakeonator, he flips out and becomes a real asshole. That’s what happened, so Weasel smacked him upside the head, chased him out the door and across the parking lot.

“Weasel said to me, ‘You know I’d never hit you, Joy!’ I said, ‘Why not? It’s not like I’ve never been hit before. Is it because I’m a woman? Well, I don’t punch like a woman, so don’t worry on that score.’

“I passed out on the couch,  Weasel was asleep in a chair and Andre slept on the floor. Andre’s sister was over. I like her. She’s moving into a beautiful place. It’s great if you can afford it.  He’d been telling her that he want’s to get together with me, but that’s not going to happen. She’d look over at me with those questioning eyes, Why don’t you like my brother?

“It’s not that I don’t like him, I feel about him like he is my brother. Nothing’s going to happen between us. I’ve been telling him that for two years now. Even when he and Weasel walked me home he had this pouty face and said, ‘Can I at least have a hug?’ When I did hug him he tried to kiss me on the mouth, but I turned my head and he got my cheek.” I said to him, ‘That’s the reason there’ll never be anything between us. The more you try to get closer, the more I’m going to push away.’ Then he said, ‘So, you want me to just leave you alone?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ Maybe he’ll eventually catch on.

“I’m still short four bucks. You don’t have four bucks do you?”

“No,” I said, “I only use plastic — to get the Air Miles.”

“It’s okay, I see my Dutch guy coming. This could be good.”

A tall, well dressed man said, “Hello.” and dropped two quarters.

“Thanks, honey.” said Joy. To me she said, “That’s not good.”

I said, “I’ll leave you to work your charm.”

At noon it was still misty, as I passed a bus shelter I saw Tom and Shakes. “Hey, it’s been a long time, man!” said Tommy.

“Yes it has, Tom. Shakes, do you have your hydro turned on yet?”

“Yes I do. That Friday that it went off, I phoned my worker and said, ‘I want my fuckin’ hydro turned on. It’s a long weekend coming up. How would you like your fuckin’ hydro off for that long. I’m going to be out this afternoon, but when I get home for supper the fuckin’ hydro had better be on.’

“You told her, Shakes!”

“Yeah, I sure did, ha ha ha.”

“So, Tommy, have you been panning near the mall?”

“No,” Tom said, “Did you hear what happened to me there a couple of years ago? I wanted a Happy Meal from McDonalds, but I was a bit drunk and I knew they wouldn’t serve me. I didn’t have any money, but I had just been to the pharmacy and had my prescription for Percocet renewed. I asked a guy going into McDonalds if he used Percocet. He said, ‘Yeah!’ I asked, ‘For three Percs would you buy me a Happy Meal?’ He said, ‘Sure!’ What he did was go straight to this big security guard and told him I stole some Percs from him.

“The security guard came out and tried to put his hands in my pockets. I wouldn’t let him and pushed him away. Another security guard came along and grabbed my arm. The other one kicked my leg from behind and broke it. It was sticking way out to the side. They put me in cuffs and phoned the police. I managed to squirm my way, with the broken leg, to a pay phone. With the hand cuffs behind my back I was still able to pull myself up, knock the receiver off the hook and dial 911. I said to the operator, “This is Thomas Pelletier, I’ve been beaten by security guards and they broke my leg. I need an ambulance. The operator said they had already received a call and an ambulance was on its way.

“By that time the police had arrived. They wouldn’t listen to anything I said. One put his knee on my head, breaking my glasses. The other one took the pills out of my pocket and handed them to someone.

I said, “I have a prescription for those pills, just ask at the pharmacy. They didn’t even check. The cop said to me, ‘You’re nothing but a homeless, drunken Indian. If you don’t shut up we’re going to take you out of town and bury you.’

“I yelled to people in front of the mall, ‘My name is Thomas Pelletier. The police have just told me they are going to kill me, take me out of town and bury me.’

“The ambulance came and took me to the hospital. They set my leg, put it in a cast and a brace. I was supposed to go for physio therapy, but I’m an alcoholic. There’s no way I could sit in a room for three hours without a drink. Besides, it was on the other side of the city. I didn’t even have money for bus tickets. I hadn’t been panning, so I had no money coming in.

“I wore that leg brace for a year and a half. In the end it did help me. People are more likely to give money to a guy in a brace than one without.

“Ever since then I’ve been afraid for my life. I’m supposed to be part of a native group protesting the wind turbines scheduled to be installed on Thunder Mountain. They want to put them on sacred land. If the police see me, I’m afraid that one of them will push me in front of a passing car.

“I was talking to the Anishinaabe Clan Mothers at Maniwaki and in Cornwall. I explained to them that this protest could end up like the one at Oka. The young people wouldn’t remember, but I was there. Some of them wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying guns, but there would be guns behind them, protecting them.

“It was our Chief that signed over the land to the wind turbine company. I said to him, ‘It won’t be you standing in the front lines blocking the equipment. It’ll be me.’ I’ve served over fifteen years in correctional institutions and mental institutions. I don’t mind going to jail. In fact I would be proud to give my life to protect our sacred ground. It’s all we have.”

“I have to go now, Tom. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”

Shakes asked, “Dennis could you spare some bus tickets and a Tim Horton’s card?”

“No problem, Shakes.”

“Thanks Dennis, we’ll see you soon.”

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https://rainn.org/

 

……

 

8 April 2013

Joy was in good spirits this morning. She has an appointment at 2:00 with her workers to get furniture for her apartment.”I just hope they show up this time. Twice in the past, I waited around all day for nothing. I hope I can get a DVD player, then I’ll be able to return the one I borrowed from Mariah. I’m going over to Chester’s later to borrow some DVDs. I’m tired of watching Transformers, the Godfather and Bladerunner over and over and over. I thought I’d never get tired of Bladerunner, but now I have the entire dialog memorized.”Andre has a new couch for me. He’s got it in storage along with a big table. It’ll have room on it for my TV and some of my nick-nacks. He invited me over for supper, but why should I go there when I have plenty of food at home.”

I said, “I was talking to Emile last week. He said he’d been sober for three months.”

“Well, he got drunk this past weekend.

“This morning I’m going back to tidy up, not that there’s much to tidy, just my air mattress and some laundry.

Albert and Grant stopped by to chat, so I said goodbye and headed off to work.

 

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