Archive for May 18, 2020

They Call Me Red

……

 

22 November 2013

 

As Metro was handing out newspapers, he shouted to me, “I saw her this morning.  I don’t know if she’s still there.”

“Thanks, Metro.”

Sure enough, after being away for two weeks, Joy was sitting at her usual spot.

“Hi, did ya miss me?”

“Of course I did,” I said, “I’ve been talking most mornings to Chuck. He sure has a lot of stories to tell.”

“Do you mean Fat Chuck, Roly Poly?”

“Is that what you call him?”

“Yeah, I give names to everybody.”

“No, I meant his dad, in the wheelchair.”

“Oh, Chuck Senior! Yeah, get him started and he never shuts up. He’s a good guy.”

“I’ve been feeling sick this past while. I was in the hospital. The good thing is they got all my meds up to date and I have prescription refills for four months. I haven’t had a drink in three weeks.”

I asked, “Does that cover your epilepsy, fibromyalgia and your bipolar disorder?”

“Yeah, all of that stuff and my antipsychotics.”

I said, “So, I guess Big Jake gets out next Tuesday.  How do you feel about that?”

“I don’t know what’s going on. He hasn’t written. I wrote him a long letter a while ago and a one-pager about two weeks ago,  saying, ‘What the fuck is going on! Answer my letters!’ He may be pissed off about some of the things I wrote, but it’s his problem, not mine. He has to work on getting the restraining order lifted. I’ve done all I can. They won’t deliver his electric wheelchair to my place, because I don’t have a ramp or other wheelchair access.  If he left it outside, he’d have to bring the battery in every night to recharge it. He’d need a lock,  so it wouldn’t get stolen, and he’d need a cover. I don’t even know if he’s getting out on Tuesday, because of the parole violations. His parole officer is a real dickhead — he won’t let anything slide. Three days after they found out Jake was at my place, he was back in prison.”

I asked, “If he doesn’t go to your place does he have somewhere else to go? Will he stay with Rodney the Rodent?”

“I don’t think that he and Rodent are friends anymore. I told Jake a few things to check out. Rodent isn’t everything people think he is.  He lied about his prison time. He lied about being affiliated with any gangs. I think he’s a pedophile. For sure he’s gay. One time he had a big wad of twenty-dollar bills. He gave them to all the guys, none of the women. Does that tell you something?

“I don’t care what he does. I’ve got my papers in for assisted housing. I’m near the top of the list, because of my mental state, and because of my history of being physically abused.”

I said, “I heard that Hippo got some money.”

‘Yeah, two thousand bucks. He spent it in two weeks. Every day he’d come over to my place and drink at least three twenty-sixes of vodka. Mariah liked that. He’d also be drinking sherry. He phoned his mom and told her he had some money to give her for taking care of him, but he spent it before he got there.

“He took taxis everywhere, even out to Oshawa to visit his mom. She found him upside down on their roof, drunk out of his head, scooping leaves out of the rain gutter.

“How is Mariah?”

“She’s okay, except for the bloating. She was walking all humped over because of stomach cramps. The pain was really bad.  I think she has Crohn’s disease, or some stomach or bowel ailment like that. She goes to her doctor for regular physical exams, colonoscopies, endoscopies, blood tests, and  X-rays.  My sister had that and had to get her large intestine removed.

“I’ve only collected seven bucks today and I’ve got no food in the house, maybe a few scraps of bread.”

“I phoned my worker yesterday and left a message for him to bring me some groceries.  I haven’t heard back from him on that. I’m still waiting to get a futon, one of those metal ones that fold up into a couch. They brought a wood one with some of the slats broken and the mattress was black around the edges. You know what that is — bed bugs. Some of the blood spills out of them after they feed and you know what color blood turns to when it scabs up — black.  There was no way that was coming into my place. I think they sell them at Crappy Tire for a hundred and twenty-nine bucks. If it’s metal there’s not so much chance that Jake will break it when he sits down.

“On the bus this morning, I was sitting in one of the bench seats at the front. I was at one end and this big, fat woman plops herself down at the other end. It nearly sent me flying. I said to her, “Holy fuck, will you take it easy! You’re going to hurt someone doing that, namely me.”

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