Archive for August 4, 2020

RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey


19 March 2012

This morning Joy started crying and buried her head in my shoulder. She said, “I know I need to get out of that place. The police car is still parked in front of our house. There aren’t that many people coming to our door, especially now with the police car out front.

“I saw a few apartments on the weekend. Some of them were nice. The rent is about seven-fifty a month, about the same as I’m paying Roy. I just found out that I’m paying the full amount of the rent. Roy doesn’t pay anything towards rent. He’s supposed to pay the rest of the bills, but I don’t know if he’s been paying them.

“Yesterday I was outside cleaning and raking the back yard because of the mess that Harley (the pit bull) had made over the winter. He was outside with me the whole time. We came inside and he crapped in the middle of the kitchen floor and on Roy’s CD’s, then he peed on his computer. I think he’s dying. He’s ten and a half years old. Roy needs to pay more attention to him, but he’s always away at his girlfriend’s house. Her name is Christina, she’s a coke head. I always call her Christine just to make her mad.

I left a note for Roy, ‘He’s your dog, deal with it.’ I took a toothpick and pinned the note to the pile of dog turd. When I came home later the note and the pile was still there and Harley had pooped again, right beside the first pile.

“I have just enough money to pay rent and to buy food. I don’t have any extra to buy dog food. Harley doesn’t eat the canned food, it gives him the runs. He eats the kibble that comes in big bags. I can’t afford to buy that. Yesterday, I cooked pork chops and gave him the bones and some of the fat.

“Tonight I’m having perogies. I just love the ones with cheese.

“Hi, sweetheart!” A woman stopped and put a dollar in Joy’s cap. “Thanks, honey!”

“She’s lost ten pounds. I told her about the diet that I was on. I don’t eat during the week, only on Sunday. I told her to try it and it worked for her.”

I have names for some of the people that walk by. Some of them I see every day. There’s one little old lady with skinny legs. She’s always rushing. I call her ‘the stork’. There’s a guy who I’ll see here in the morning, then I’ll see him again at Nathan Phillips Square. I call him ‘the stalker,’ but I can’t give away all my secrets.

A strange-looking man, wearing a trench coat stopped in front of us and just stared. Joy gave him the finger. He just stood there staring at us. “Get out of here!” yelled Joy. The man eventually walked away.

“Some people say that spring is here when the trees come into bud, but I say it’s when the weirdos come out; then, of course, are the twinkies and candy kids. There were some here this morning. I had to kick them out. They said, ‘We slept here last night so this is our spot.’ I said, ‘Look, dude, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve been here eleven years and there’s no way you’re taking my spot. Tomorrow I’m going to be packing, maybe a sharpened screwdriver or a long blade.’ ”

I found out later that after I had gone the weirdo came back and kicked Joy in the knee, knocking her to the ground. She was still limping at noon.

At noon I went to ‘the benches’ to meet Joy and the others. That’s when she told me about being kicked.

Joy said, “Some people say that spring is here when the trees start to bud, but I say it’s when the weirdos come out. After Dennis left, this guy came back and kicked me in the knee, knocking me to the ground, that’s why I’m gimping. Tomorrow, I’m going to take a sock and put a bar of soap in it. If that guy comes back I’m going to beat him with it.”

“Everybody seems to be fighting!” said Debbie. “I was in a fight with Chester yesterday. He was flashing all this money and when I asked him for a loan he said no, so I slapped him. He hit me back, but I grabbed him around the knees and pulled him down. I was punching him in the face when somebody pulled me off him.”

Loretta came over and gave Joy a hug. She said, “I would have brought your pants, but I didn’t know you’d be here.”

After she left Joy said to me, “A couple of years ago she was hit by a car and left for dead. She had broken arms, broken legs, a broken pelvis. One side of her face was smashed in. She lost an eye. Nobody thought that she’d recover. It took about a year before she was able to leave her house. She’s been coming here for about nine months now. She’s very sweet.”

Joy said to Debbie, “You’re so skinny, you don’t have an ass anymore.”

“I’m on The Good Shepherd diet.” said Debbie, “I went there for lunch yesterday and everything tasted like dog food, I couldn’t eat it. You should go there and get a take out for Harley.”

“How are you doing, Rocky?” Mo said to a man wearing a Metalica shirt. “I’m going to get that shirt from you, just wait and see.”

“This has been a good day.” said Rocky, “I went for an interview for assisted housing and it was approved. I’ve been waiting nine months for the interview.” Rocky has the deepest voice I’ve ever heard.

“Congratulations!” said Joy.

I asked, “Joy, Can you qualify for assisted housing?”

Joy replied, “Rocky is Inuit. Where he is going is a place for just Inuit people. If I had my native card and the rest of my identification there are places that I could qualify for, but a lot of my papers and photographs of my kids were lost when I went into the hospital. I have a birth certificate, but nothing with my picture on it. I asked Roy to get my papers, but he didn’t. He was only concerned about his tools.”

“Could Angela help?”

“My probie? She could, she’s supposed to. but I haven’t gotten them yet.

“Angela could help me find a place, but this time I’m doing it by myself. I’m proud of that.

“I think I’m going to be leaving soon. I feel uncomfortable. I have agoraphobia and there are a lot of people here. It’s not just the number of people, but some of them I don’t know too well and some of them I don’t like.

“Can you spare me some change?”

“I don’t have any,” I said. “I don’t even have my wallet with me.”

“That’s probably a good idea.”


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