Rooting through a trash basket

Posted: July 16, 2020 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey https://buff.ly/2OJjaKx

 

2 March 2012

Beside the sidewalk near the ‘benches’ at Moss Park, I met Ellen, sitting cross-legged in the snow, her cap in front of her. She was wearing jeans and a brown coat. Her brown hair was relatively short. Her features were pleasant, like someone I may have passed in a grocery or department store. She didn’t look like the stereotypical panhandler.

“Have you seen Shakes or the others?” I asked.

“They are usually around here, or across the street at ‘the heater’, but I haven’t seen them today. Maybe they’re under the Queen Street Bridge. That’s a place they sometimes meet.”

“I’ll try there. Yesterday, Ian and I were rousted from ‘the heater’. Perhaps Shakes is at ‘his office’ (panhandling at the corner of Queen and Parliament).

Before I left I gave Helen a Subway card, “This will buy you a sandwich. Do you smoke?”

“Yes.” I offered her a cigarette.

“Thanks,” she said. We both said goodbye and I walked toward the bridge. No luck there, so I headed toward Queen Street to find Shakes. He wasn’t there, so I headed to ‘The Magic Oven’ restaurant, well known for their chili.

Rooting through a trash basket, across from ‘The Oven’ I met Curtis. In contrast to Ellen, if one were to stereotype a homeless person, Curtis would fit the description. He wore a red and black, checked lumberman’s jacket, khaki work pants, a black toque, a week’s growth of beard, and looked generally dirty.

“Have you seen Shakes, or any of the others?” I asked.

“No,” he said with some apprehension.

I gave him a Subway card. “This will buy you a sandwich, I said.

“Thanks.”

“Would you like a cigarette?”

“No, I’m good.”

We were about to shake hands, but he pulled his back. Perhaps, he remembered that it had just recently been in the trash barrel.

We said goodbye. I checked ‘The  Oven’, but didn’t see any familiar faces.

~~~

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