Two old farts helping each other up

Posted: July 31, 2020 in Dialog, Prose
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15 March 2012

This morning was cold and windy. Joy was covered in a blanket, her hood pulled up, sitting on a piece of cardboard.

I mentioned to Joy that I had been talking to Shakes yesterday, “He didn’t want me to go back to work. He wanted me to keep him company. Everyone else had left.”

“If you stayed, he would have gotten so drunk that he couldn’t walk. Then he’d ask you to help him to Mom and Pop’s. That’s why his other friends go south on him. The last time I helped him, he fell down three times. I’m not strong enough to pick him up. I had to ask someone to help me to get him on his feet. We got him up and leaned him against a wall at Parliament and Queen. We left him there.

“I’ve been sitting here since six. I’m freezing, and miserable. I was so nervous this morning that I smoked a joint before coming here and I’ve been drinking. I was doing so good before. I don’t know what’s going on with Roy. I have to find a new place. I’ve made appointments to see five apartments in Regent Park; three on Saturday, two on Sunday.

“There’s been a police car parked in front of our house for the past few days. The cop will look at his computer, then look at the house. He stays there all day. It’s really got me freaked out.

“I hate kids! I don’t hate all kids, I have five boys of my own. I hate other people’s kids! Leon, who lived in the house where I am now, had two teenage kids. Neighborhood kids would come over and just hang around. They’d want to see the lizards, the snake, Harley the pit bull. Harley doesn’t like kids. He bites them. I don’t want to have to take him to the basement just so the kids can come in. I don’t want them here.

“They still come to the door. I tell them, “Leon doesn’t live here anymore. Go away!’ They say, ‘Come on, Joy, let us come in for just a little while.’ ‘No!,’ I say, ‘This isn’t a zoo. You can’t just come around here anytime you want.’

“I bought groceries yesterday: margarine, chicken, pork chops. I could really pig out. I like to have some food in the fridge for when Roy’s son comes over, but he always brings a couple of kids with him. I can’t afford to feed these neighborhood kids.

“When I took Harley for his walk this morning, he pulled me face down on the sidewalk. Roy is sixty pounds heavier than me, but even he has trouble controlling him sometimes.

A strange-looking man came by carrying a backpack. He said something to Joy, I couldn’t make it out. She replied, “Whatever.”

“Who was that?” I asked.

“One of the ‘bugs’ from the Mission.”

“What’s a bug.”

“One of the crazies. I don’t pay any attention to them.”

“All this time I’ve been venting. I’m sorry.

“Hi, handsome.”

“Hi Joy,” said a well-dressed man, with an Australian accent. He bent to put a five-dollar bill in Joy’s hat.

“Thanks, honey! Next time you go back, save some room for me in your suitcase. I’m small, I won’t take up too much space.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said as he walked away.

“Well, I should be heading to work,” I said. “I’m finished here too”, said Joy. “I’ll get up first, then I’ll help you up. Look at us, two old farts helping each other up.”

~~~

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