Archive for August 11, 2020

RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey


22 March 2012

I talked with Joy this morning. She isn’t doing well. She said,  “I haven’t been taking my medication lately because I don’t have a health card. I can’t get a health card because my picture identification was lost when I went into the hospital. Angela, my probation officer, has copies of my papers, but she won’t be back until Wednesday. I have an appointment with her then. No other probation officers can help me. I had two epileptic seizures last night.

“I still miss Jake. I’ve written letters to him in prison, but he hasn’t answered. I just want to find out how he’s doing. I worry about him. Rodent has gotten letters from him. I think he sends money to Jake. Rodent asked me if I wanted to see the letters that he had received. I said, ‘I don’t want to see them if they’re like the last one you showed me, where Jake did nothing but call me names like bitch, douchebag and ho. I think Jake likes Rodent more than he does me.

I met Joy at ‘the benches’ yesterday. She doesn’t remember. “After I had a joint, I got so wasted that I don’t even know how I got home last night. I must have jumped a bus.”

23 March 2012

Joy was still feeling down today. “I hate sitting with my legs straight out, but my knee is still swollen from where that guy kicked me. I can’t sit cross-legged. My fibromyalgia is causing pain in my legs. I have been having trouble sleeping, so I drink until I pass out. Now, my liver is kicking me. After today, I’m going to stop drinking.”

“Joy, what you said yesterday, about incidents that happened in your past. That was a long time ago. You’ve been carrying that weight and punishing yourself for over eleven years. What you need to know is that you’ve been forgiven, so now you can forgive and love yourself. Leave the rest in the past where it belongs. You can’t change what happened, the only changes you can make are right now. Also, you don’t have to worry about what will happen when Jake gets out. That’s seven months away.”

“I miss my house, I miss seeing my kids. I can never see them ever again.

“I still miss Jake. I was talking to Rodent yesterday, he got another letter from Jake. He loves to rub my nose in it. I accused him of being gay. He denied it, but I said, ’Dude, you were in prison twenty-five years, There’s no way you didn’t switch sides.’ I was in prison for more years than Jake will ever be. I got to like women.”

“That’s understandable,” I said.

“I don’t know why I keep thinking of Jake, but we did have some good times together. I was going out with Crash, who moved to Vancouver, but when I met Jake that was it. He’s the love of my life. He always will be. Roy doesn’t like him and calls him names, but I said, ‘When Jake gets out, I may decide to have him over. You have your skanky girlfriends over so, I’ll do whatever I please.’

“I remember about ten years there was this guy, Crash Test who panned across the street. He didn’t like pizza. I don’t like pears. Sometimes we’d have food fights. He’d throw a piece of pizza across the street at me. I’d throw a pear at him. We’d both be ducking and dodging. I think he’s in Calgary now. He got involved with some program to help him straighten out.

“Humans, I look at what some of these people wear and I wonder who dresses them. Look at that guy, his jeans are below his ass. I was sitting here early one morning and a guy in the apartment across the street was in the window stretching. He was stark naked. I don’t need that first thing in the morning. I waved at him, he backed away and closed the curtains.

“Jacques is going to help me get a phone. I can’t go back to Rogers because I owe them over eight hundred bucks in charges that Fat Richard billed to my account for porn films. I hate porn. What a loser he was.”

Joy gave me a banana that someone had placed in her cap. “I don’t like these. Do you want it?” she asked.

“I’ll see if Nick wants it.”

I had to go to work so on my way I stopped to talk to Nick. “Here’s a banana from Joy.”

“Doesn’t Joy like bananas? Bananas are a good source of potassium.”

“Joy doesn’t like bananas, apricots, apples, or pears.”

“I was talking to her this morning. I was early, so we chatted for a while.”

“She’s sweet…when she wants to be.”

“For a moment there, I didn’t think we were talking about the same Joy.”

“I wouldn’t want to be her enemy.”


While I was talking to Nick, about six people dropped change into his cap.

“I’m lucky for you. Joy always says I’m lucky for her. Sometimes when she goes into the restaurant…”

“You mean when she needs to pee.”

“Yes, when she needs to pee, I guard her stuff. She says, ‘Any change you make you can keep.’ ”

“I was lucky for her this morning,” said Nick, “but she never said that to me.”

I was expecting to see Joy at ‘the benches’ at noon, but she wasn’t there. I asked Little Jake, “Has Joy been here?”

“She walked passed at about nine o’clock. She said her knees were sore, so she was going straight home.”

“Hi Shakes,” I said, “how are you today?”

“This morning I woke up, I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. I was in Lindsay’s apartment. I still had two bottles of wine, so I had some wine, some cigarettes, and some ‘mary jane’. I started walking. I wasn’t looking for trouble, but trouble found me.

Jake was sitting between Debbie and Trudy. “Jake,” said Debbie, “you’ve got girly socks on, and girly pants.”

“These are the only things I could find to wear.”

“Jake, can you roll me a joint?” asked Shakes.

Jake pulled out his scissors. “Okay Shakes, give me your pot and I’ll roll you a joint.”

“Dennis,” said Shakes, “can you hold my cigarette. I’m running out of hands here.”

“Me, Rocky and Silver were stopped by the police this morning,” said Tim, “for drinking beer in the park. It’s lucky that all three of us were sharing the same can. The cop poured it out, so we lost half a beer. If we’d each had our own we would have lost three. He just told us to move along and find another place, so we’re here.”

“Dennis, what time is it?” asked Little Jake.

“Twelve fifteen.”

“Shakes,” said Jake, “we’d better get to work.”

“What time are you going to work, Shakes?” I asked.

“I’ll go to work at whatever time I feel like it. I’m my own boss.”

“And you have your own office,” I added (referring to his spot on the sidewalk at Queen and Parliament).

“Yes, I have.”

“Shaggy!” shouted Wolf, “find a place, any place, and lie down.” A boy came weaving down the sidewalk on a skateboard. “Whoa! did you see that? It’s a good thing I had Shaggy on her lead, or she would have taken a chunk out of that guy. She loves to chase skateboards. She nearly pulled my shoulder out of joint.”


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