Archive for April 18, 2020

They Call Me Red

……

 

15 October 2013

Joy was looking glum, sitting on her plastic crate.  In Canada, it was Thanksgiving weekend. I asked Joy, “Did you go to the big dinner at The Mission?”

“No, I don’t go to those things. I can’t stand in line, it’s too crowded, too many cooties. You never know who you’re going to be sitting beside. Mariah took Charlie just so she wouldn’t have to feed him at home. The lines start at nine in the morning and go all day.  She had her meal, Charlie went back eight times. You can do that. Once you’re finished or have eaten all you want, you scrape your plate into the trash barrel and can stand in line again.  That means that eight people who might have been able to eat will do without. It doesn’t seem fair.

“I haven’t eaten all week. My weight has dropped to a hundred and fifteen pounds. My check didn’t come on Friday. Jacques has his deposited directly into his bank account. It wasn’t in today. There are other checks he was expecting that also haven’t come in. He’s really pissed off.

“I guess you heard that he had a run in with Little Jake. Jacques was talking to a dealer who Jake owed thirty bucks to.  Jacques owed Jake fifty dollars, so he gave this guy the thirty that Jake owed him. Jake was pissed off because he needed that money for his bus pass.

“Yesterday Jacques came over to my place and banged on the door. I let him in and he asked, ‘Where’s my phone?’ then he started rooting through my electrical stuff. I said, ‘Hey dude, back off. I’ll get you your phone. I thought this was one you didn’t need since you have your landline.’ Anyway, I gave him his phone and told him to fuck off.

“I was talking to Mariah about my upstairs neighbor. The one that stomps around all the time. She said ‘He’s a full-blown crack head. Don’t say that to him. You never know what he might do.’ I said, ‘I never know what I might do.’ I suppose whatever I did would put me back in prison.

“Another thing, my P.O. (Probation Officer) was by this morning. She said that  Big Jake will be getting out November, 26. When he first went in they said he wouldn’t be released until January, then it was two weeks before Christmas. I really don’t want to know about this shit. I’m just trying to forget about him.

“On the other hand, I still love him. I know that’s kinda sick, considering what he’s done to me. My P.O., Mariah and a bunch of people say that I could do better, but look at me, I’m forty-eight years old, look at my lifestyle. I don’t think I can do better.

“Mariah should talk, she needs to get rid of Charlie again, and she showed me how.

“My apartment is barely big enough for me, let alone that fat ass. When he sits on my love seat I’m squished way over in the corner.”

I said, “He broke your love seat, didn’t he?”

“Yeah, I’ve got my roasting pan and some blankets under it now so it doesn’t sag so much. I’ve got to start sleeping in my bed. I always fall asleep there and it’s bad for my back.”

Chuck Sr. , in his wheelchair, stopped by with a long-haired woman.

Joy said to me, “This woman, I can’t remember her name,  is going in for surgery on her thumb this afternoon. She’s some kinda relative of Chuck’s. We’re all related, kinda inbred.”

To the woman Joy said, “I wish I was you, getting all those drugs. You’ll be flying this afternoon.”

“No, I don’t think I’ll even be  getting Tylenol 3.”

“That’s a bummer!”, said Joy.

They moved on. I asked, “Why did Chuck move from his usual place on the corner?”

“He has a couple of spots. Originally, when I came to town in ’93, he used to be down the street in front of the library, beside the book deposit machines. I said to him, ‘Look, dude, I’m just starting out. I need money to get something to eat. I’d really like it if you’d move somewhere else.’  He said, ‘Well, I have my regulars. If I move, I’ll lose them.’ I gave him a few bucks. He was happy with that. He said, ‘Most panhandlers would just tell me to fuck off and push me out of the way.’ It was the same with Silver, rest his soul,  I gave him a few bucks and bought his spot. So, when I finish here for the day, Chuck moves to his spot in front of Tim Horton’s.”

“Why does he wait until you leave?”

“Respect.”

~~~

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