They Call Me Red

……

 

17 September 2013

At noon the only ones at the park were Jacques and another man who looked familiar. He said, “I can’t remember your name?”

“I’m Dennis. I forgot your name as well.”

“It’s Maniitok, it means wise man. I come from Iqaluit, but I was born north of there in Pangnirtung.

Jacques handed me his folded jacket to sit on. He said, “That’s near where that military helicopter crashed, isn’t it?

“No, that was farther north. The helicopter was being pulled by a ship, Something happened and it crashed. Three people were killed. Even the captain of the ship was on the helicopter. He was killed too.

“Do you know what an ultralight airplane looks like? My brother-in-law, Dave, had one.  It stalled in the air and crashed. He was killed.  We were never opposed. We always got along with each other. I miss him.”

I asked Jacques, “Did you go to the Mission today for breakfast?”

“Yeah, they have their big breakfast today — eggs, sausages, home fries and toast. Later I’m going to the Shepherd for a bowl of soup, and a loaf of bread. They have good bread there, the kind that’s good for making French toast. I have some eggs and milk, so I’ll have some tomorrow. I like that.

“Do you know what the latest electronic gadget is? Look, I have one? Do you know what it is? It’s an electronic cigarette. Watch.”

Jacques inhaled, the tip turned orange and smoke came out of his mouth. Then he spat.

“Did you see the smoke come out of my mouth? It’s like mint, with a bit of a nicotine taste. I think it’s for those who want to quit smoking. They’re expensive. I think they start at about fifty bucks.”

“Where did you get yours, Jacques?”

“I found it. I thought it was a pen at first, but I couldn’t open it from either end.  I saw that little hole, I cleaned it, sucked on it. I was surprised when smoke came out  I think, maybe Mariah wants it. I phoned her. She said she was coming down, but I haven’t seen her.

“Did you see Joy today?”

I said, “Yes, she was at her regular spot. She even mentioned that she may come over to your place. She doesn’t have a phone.”

“Usually, before she comes over she uses the payphone, but she didn’t call. I hope she isn’t heading to my place now. Oh well, nothing I can do.”

“She wasn’t feeling well and was cold, so she may have gone straight home.”

“Cold? She’s always cold. There’s going to be a lot of that before long. I have something for her. It’s like a jumpsuit with a hood. It’s too small for me, but it would be perfect for her. I forgot to show it to her when she was over.”

Shark and Loon stopped by. Shark said, “I had to come down today to pick up my pills. Irene may be down later. Did nobody else show up?”

Jacques said, “There was a big bunch, but everybody took off. Try my electronic cigarette.”

“Shark looked at it and said, “What do you do with this?”

“Put the white end in your mouth and toke from it.”

Shark tried it, he coughed and said, “That’s horrible. I’ll stick to pot.” 

~~~

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