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They Call Me Red

……

5 June 2013

It was a wonderful day in the park today as, I suppose, it was in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. In attendance were Jacques, Gaston, Yves, Wolf and his dog Shaggy, I shook hands all around. Wolf said, “Id get up, Dennis, but you know me. It’s one of those days.

I was about to sit down between Wolf and Gaston when Yves handed me a newspaper. “Sit on this, it’ll keep your pants clean.” I said, “Thanks, Yves.”

Gaston said, “Now, isn’t that a lot softer?”

“Yes, it is.”

Wolf said, “I’ve got something even better. I’ll go over to Shaggy’s cart.” He brought back a thick folded blanket. “Try this. I just got it this morning, rather Shaggy just got it this morning. A lady — maybe it was the Christmas lady for dogs — she brought a big bag filled with the blanket, a toy rubber boot, a stuffed dog and dog food, lots of dog food. Shaggy really hit the jackpot. She gave me something too. I think I spent it.”

“This blanket is really soft and comfortable. Thanks, Wolf.”

Wolf said, “This morning when I woke up the first thing I saw was a six-pack of beer, so that’s when I started. If I hadn’t seen it I would have been alright, but if I see it I drink it. That’s why I’m the way I am now. You understand?

“Dennis, tell those fucking Frenchmen to shut the fuck up! I’m having trouble concentrating. Let them go ahead and mumble to themselves.

In unison Gaston and Yves said, “Ta Gueule!, colis, tabarnac.”

Jacques said, “Wolf speaks perfect French, he just doesn’t like to use it.”

Wolf said, “I’m German, not French! Don’t make me get up!” He laughed, then continued conversing with them in fluent French.

I said to Wolf, “You couldn’t get up if you tried.”

“I know,” he said, “I just like to stir the shit sometimes.”

I asked Jacques, “How are you liking your new apartment?”

“I love it. Did you know I have a balcony? Yesterday I bought a mattress, a futon. I think that is the good one. I don’t buy the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. I bought the next one up. Me, I don’t like the coil mattress, because after a year, you get one coil sticking through into your back. I don’t want that. In my other place, I had been sleeping on the floor for the last four months, and I had no window. This place is nice, and I can brew my wine again.

“It used to be that they would give you a start-up allowance when you moved and every three years, but not anymore. I had to pay for the mattress myself. I don’t mind.”

Shamus and Judy, from the Homeless Outreach Program, approached. They were wearing red vests with the crest of their organization embroidered in yellow. They had brought sandwiches, socks and a variety of other things to hand out.

“Wolf, what kind of sandwich would you like? We have egg, minced ham and tuna.”

“This is my drinking day, not my eating day,” said Wolf. ” I’m a shaving guy. Do you have any razors?”

“No, sorry, Wolf.”

Jacques said, “I’ll take an egg, and leave me a minced ham for Wolf. He’ll eat it later. Can I have some socks?” Judy handed socks to Jacques, Matches and Wolf.

Shamus said to me, “Dennis it looks like you’re holding court.”

I said, “It may look that way, but Jacques is King”

Jacques said, “Shakes is King.”

I said, “Okay, we’ll go along with that.”

Judy asked, “Has anybody seen Serge? We haven’t seen him for a long time. I know he was in the hospital, but then he was out.”

I said, “I visited him a couple of times in the hospital, but he escaped, in his hospital gown. He was too sick and was taken back to the hospital.”

Jacques said, “I was talking to Greg from the Sally. He got a message saying that Serge passed away on April seventh. Nobody knew, otherwise we would have gone to the funeral.”

Judy asked, “He had cancer, didn’t he?”

I said, “I’m not sure. He didn’t talk much and when he talked it was in French.”

Judy said, “I hear that Outcast is in remission. Is that right?”

I said, “I knew that he had lung cancer. I didn’t hear that he was in remission.”

Jacques said, “I saw him a few days ago. He seems fine. He doesn’t come here anymore.”

“How about Joy? How is she.?”

I said, “I saw her Thursday, she seemed fine then.”

After they left Jacques said, “They gave me all these bars that I can’t eat. I don’t have enough teeth for things with nuts.”

Shakes said, “You, know, Dennis, I’ve known Wolf since ninety-five. I’ve always called him Pudding because he looks like a pudding. I’m the one that got Bowser for him. He looks like Shaggy, but he’s stuffed. I remember bringing him home on the bus. I barked and pretended that he was going to bite people. Now, he sits on Pudding’s balcony.”

“Yeah,” said Wolf, “People will say they passed my place, I must have been home because the dog was there, but he wasn’t barking.

“Shaggy loves Bowser, they lay beside each other all the time. One time when it was raining Shaggy went out on the balcony, grabbed Bowser with her teeth and brought her inside the living room. Isn’t that something?

“Dennis, we should pick on you for a while.”

I said, “Go ahead.”

“I was going to get Shaggy to bite Jacques, but you’ve got some meat on your arms. Shaggy, bite Dennis! She won’t bite you, she likes you.”

Shaggy wandered around and lay next to me, her warm side pressing against mine. I petted her. After being freshly clipped she felt like velvet.

It was time to leave, so I returned the blanket to Wolf and shook hands all around. I said, “Bye, maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.”

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Comments
  1. Authoress51 says:

    Sorry to hear about Serge. I hope your stories don’t end with everyone dying.

    Like

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