Archive for July 12, 2020

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2 February 2012

Today, the sun was shining. The temperature was minus five degrees Celsius (twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit). Ice sculptures were on display outdoors at the park. At ‘the heater’ (or ‘the wall’) were Shakes, Ian, Trudy, and Philip.

I asked Shakes how he was doing. He replied, “I’ll be great once I get this drunk on.”

I talked to Ian about his birthplace, Bella Bella (also known as Waglisla), on Campbell Island. I had researched it on the Internet.

“Yeah man, It’s grown since I’ve been there, but it’s beautiful. That’s God’s country out there. The only way in is by boat or plane. The ferries may run there, but I’m not sure since that one tipped over a few years back.

“When I was a kid we used to have races, through the forest for a mile or so, around things, over things, under things, through the swamp then swim the last part. I was fast. We really had fun.”

Trudy, ‘Mom’, mentioned that she had visited Andre in the hospital yesterday. ‘Mom’ is very sweet and motherly looking with shoulder-length white hair.

“He doesn’t look good. Besides the heart attack, he has pneumonia. He has a nurse twenty-four hours a day, sitting at his side. She told me all the details of his condition. He died twice, but they brought him back. He’s got tubes coming out of everywhere and one down his throat because he can’t breathe on his own. He looks like a robot. They have him in an induced coma. They want to bring him back slow.”

“I had double pneumonia one time,” said Shakes. “That’s really bad. You can die from that. My martial arts trainer was with me. He gave me a shot of whiskey every hour.

“I took karate, taekwondo, kickboxing, and boxing. I knew that stuff even before I went to the pen.”

“I have a red belt in jiu-jitsu,” said Ian as he took my wrist and elbow putting it in a position where he could either throw me or break my arm. “My hands are considered weapons. Even these steel-toed boots are considered weapons. The police told me that. They could see the yellow markings on the sides.

“A friend got me these boots, he said if you ever need boots to let me know. I went to him and the next day he brought me these. They cost $300 and they’re really warm.”

Philip, a large man with a beard, reached into his backpack and pulled out two small gift boxes and a heart-shaped tin of chocolate-covered toffees. He gave them to ‘Mom’.

She opened the boxes and showed everyone. In the first box was a necklace with a silver pendant and two stud earrings with pink stones. In the second box was a necklace with a black rectangular stone.

“Philip!” she said, “How long have you known me?”

“Six years, maybe.”

“In all, that time didn’t you notice that my ears aren’t pierced? I guess now I’ll have to have them done.

“I’m going to the “Shep” (The Good Shepherd) soon to get my meds. My worker had them sent there.

Ian  said to Philip, “You’re barred from there aren’t you?”

“I’m barred for life. I hit two staff. They reported me and I was sent down for sixty days. I’m up on another charge coming to court soon. I hit someone. I don’t know who. I was drunk.”

Trudy asked “Has anybody got a comb. I’ve gone three days without combing my hair.” Philip reached into his backpack and pulled out a comb. “That’s my comb, Henry! Now go easy, start from the bottom, and go up.  I’ve got a lot of tangles.” Philip gently combed out Trudy’s shoulder-length, white hair.

“Trudy, I went to your place the other night, but you weren’t there. I had five bottles of wine with me, so I just stayed there and got pickled. Do you know that your building was raided? If your roommates have any needles laying around you could get arrested just for being there. I don’t think you should go back.”

At that point, Juanita arrived with two liters (quarts) of Molson Ice Beer.

“Where’s Andre?” she questioned. “I came all this way to see him and he’s not here.”

“Don’t you know that he’s in the hospital?” said Philip, “I was with him when it happened. We were at McDonald’s. We had cheeseburgers and each of us had a bottle of wine with us. We drank it out of McDonald’s cups. Then Andre just slumped over in his chair. Somebody called an ambulance.”

Trudy said to Shakes, “I had a couple of joints earlier, but I could really use a drink. Will you give me a drink?”

“Not now, maybe later.”

“Shakes!” said Ian, “If you don’t give ‘Mom’ a drink now, I won’t give you a drink later.” He pulled a bottle of Imperial sherry from his backpack. To me, he said, “We always share with everybody. I don’t know what’s gotten into Shakes.” He passed the bottle around and we each took a swig.

“Very good!” I said, “This is what you were telling me about the other day.” (Medium amber color; aromas of walnuts, caramel, and figs; sweet and creamy along with flavors of brown sugar. Has a slightly impetuous bouquet. I can imagine it served with pecan pie.)

Ian opened a bag of Cheesies and offered some to Trudy. “Are you crazy! You’ll ruin your buzz. I’m trying to hang onto my stone. I’m not going to ruin it just because of munchies.

“I’m allowed back on Jarvis Street now. I was banned for six months. I haven’t been causing any trouble. I just get drunk. I woke up at Bernice’s place and asked her if I had any money. She checked and said, I still had fifty bucks. That was a relief!”

It was time for me to get back to work, so I excused myself, said my goodbyes, and to Ian, “Maybe, I’ll see you tomorrow.” He shook my hand and we parted.

~~~

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