Archive for April 20, 2020

They Call Me Red

……

 

15 October 2013

The Park was deserted. I saw somebody sitting in Little Jake’s place near the bridge. It wasn’t until I got close that he waved and I recognized him.

“Hi Jake, have you seen anyone else around?”

“Mariah was by earlier. She’s gone down to the Mission to try selling some weed. I think Buck may be coming by. I’m surprised that Shakes isn’t here. He usually comes down about eleven-thirty.”

I said, “I saw Joy earlier, but she went home at about nine o’clock. She was upset that her check hadn’t arrived.”

“Mine hasn’t come either. My mail was delivered at ten-thirty. I waited to see if my check was there, but it wasn’t. I don’t know what the problem is.  My worker faxed all the information to confirm my address, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Did you go to any of the Thanksgiving dinners at any of the shelters?”

“No, I stayed in all weekend. I was feeling too sick. I finally got my place cleaned. My worker came over and helped me wash the blood off the hardwood floor.”

“How did you get blood on the floor? Were you in a fight?”

“No, I had a seizure. There was an open pair of scissors on my coffee table and I fell backward on them. They made a puncture wound, in my back, about two inches deep. I made it to my bed then passed out. When I came to I went into the bathroom. I didn’t notice at first, but blood was pouring out of my back. I slipped in the pool of blood, hit the toilet tank and landed on the rim of the toilet. The fall caused me to break a rib. So, it was a double whammy.

“I ran some water in the bathtub, cleaned myself off, then held a towel against the wound until I could put some medical tape on it. The blood-soaked through my sleeping bag, the mattress pad and the mattress itself.

“That was the second accident I had, this past weekend. I was eating a pork chop and swallowed a big piece of gristle. I guess I took too big a bite. I started choking. I had a scary thirty seconds, before I was able to cough it up.

“I have to talk to my landlord about the bedbugs. My sleeping bag is full of them. I mopped the whole apartment with Pine Sol; hopefully, that killed the ones on the floor.”

I asked, “Will your landlord have the place sprayed? Is he good about things like that?”

“Yeah, he has to, it’s the law. If I report it to the Health Department they’d force him to.

“I don’t even have television now. I owed them two hundred bucks. I couldn’t pay it, so they cut it off. When I get my check I’m going to put something down on the bill, so they’ll turn it back on.”

I asked, “Do you have any plans to visit your family?”

“No, if I brought bed bugs to my mother’s place, she’d kill me.”

Buck and his dog Dillinger came up the sidewalk. Dillinger put his paw on my arm, so I’d scratch him. Buck said, “I got a new rain jacket, rain pants and rubber boots. I’m all ready for a wet Fall. My other rain jacket had holes across the chest. They were there when I bought it. The first rain we had, my chest was soaked. This one I bought at Sail, they’ve got really good quality stuff. It was regularly sixty-five bucks. I got it for fifteen.”

Jake said, “I’ve got to go to the Sally to pick up a new sleeping bag. I’ll try to get some warm clothes while I’m there.

“Buck, can you lend me five dollars, just until I get my check. I’m not making anything today. I don’t know if my regulars are still on holidays, or what? Nobody’s making any drops.

“I’m going to leave here and get something to eat.”

“We’ll see you Jake.” Buck and I went one way Jake went the other.

“Buck said, “I was trying to contact some of my friends, but a lot of them don’t have phones anymore.”

I said, “I heard that Jacques took his back from Joy.”

“Yeah, I heard that too. I’m going over to Shark’s place to play some Scrabble. He and Irene used to come to my place to play TV Bingo, but Irene doesn’t want to come out.

“I got a new phone, a Blackberry. I don’t know how to text or use half the features. The guy at The Source was telling me that I can get something to hook my Blackberry to an iPad, then I could use the iPad to make phone calls. I don’t know about that. I’m paying forty-five dollars a month now; if I added the internet it would be sixty-five. I don’t think it’s worth it.

I said, “These new phones are so expensive. I’ve heard that some cost over a thousand dollars.”

“Yeah,” said Buck, “then when somebody stops you to ask you the time. You pull out your phone and they grab it and run. That’s happened to a lot of people.”

It was time for me to go to work, so I gave a pat to Dillinger and said good-bye to Buck.

~~~

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