Do you know why I have this shovel?

Posted: July 25, 2020 in Dialog, Prose
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RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey  https://buff.ly/2OJjaKx

 

8 March 2012

A woman came by and put two pennies in Joy’s cap. She took them out and placed them behind her on the sidewalk. “I’ll leave them for Chester, he’ll take them. The pennies I left yesterday are still here.

“Do you see that fat guy, across the street, talking to the security guard? He tried to take my spot yesterday. He said, ‘You’re only here a few days a week and I’m sleeping on the sidewalk with my dog.’ I said, ‘That’s not my problem. You made your own choices.’ Then he punched me in the head. The security guard saw it and raced across the street. He had the guy down on the sidewalk in seconds. I have a lot of friends around here.

“I have to find a new place to live. Roy says he’s going to raise my rent. It’s just because he owes a lot of money. The electricity hasn’t been paid, the heat hasn’t been paid and he’s probably behind on the rent. He asked me to have cable hooked up for the TV, but I can’t. When I was staying with Fat Richard, he ran up a bill of $270.00, just on porn. What a sicko! He left and I was stuck with the bill. I couldn’t pay it, so I can’t go back there.

“When I see those young girls at the Mission, it makes me so mad. We call them ‘twinkies’ or ‘candy kids’. I’d just like to slap them and tell them to go home while they still have the chance.”

When I arrived at ‘the benches’, Shakes was sitting alone, with a snow shovel.

“Do you know why I have this shovel? I went to The Mission and they wouldn’t feed me, so I took their shovel. I wasn’t sneaky about it. I took it right in front of their faces.

“I’m barred there for life. I was sleeping there one time and the staff kicked me. I call them ‘the steroid monkeys’. How would you like to be kicked at six o’clock in the morning? They could have said, ‘Hey Shakes, it’s time to get up,’ but they didn’t, they kicked me. I said, ‘Okay, just wait until I get out of bed. I used to be a boxer. I’ve sparred with Shawn O’Sullivan and George Chuvallo. It wasn’t long before ‘the steroid monkeys’ were lying, out cold, on the floor.

“I lost one of my mitts. I have a right, but no left.”

“Where were you born, Shakes?”

“On the Curve Lake reservation, that’s my ‘rez’, but mostly I grew up on the streets of Parkdale in Toronto.

Since time immemorial the Anishnaabeg ancestors of the Mississauga’s of Curve Lake First Nation have inhabited North America. Written history, spelling, and grammar misinterpretations have led to confusion of what we have been called over the years. To avoid argument we will go with the fact that we speak the Anishnaabeg language we are Ojibway by description and of the Mississauga Nation because we resided in the general area of the Mississauga River.

“I’m just waiting for Rhino to come back with my run. He’s getting a bottle of wine for me. I hope he doesn’t try to boost it. If he does, he’ll go back to jail and I won’t get my wine. I haven’t had a drink for two hours now.

“One time a guy took a photograph of me. He said he’d bring me back a print. What he brought back was a poster. Can you imagine me on a poster? Ha, ha, ha. I gave it to my mom. She loved it.

“My mom still owns a restaurant. I go there for lunch every day. If she doesn’t see me she worries.”

~~~

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