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

 

10 April 2012

This morning, as I arrived downtown, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Scattered showers had been forecast throughout the day. In Joy’s usual spot was a neatly dressed man named Kirk.

“I just got in from British Columbia this morning. It took me four days hitchhiking. I got a lot of rides from truckers. I had been working in a logging camp. It was a fairly large camp with thirty machines. I operated a skidder. The owner died and left the company to his twenty-two-year-old son, who didn’t want to carry on the business.

“I stopped at the Mission this morning. They weren’t serving meals. They told me to come back at seven this evening.

“I’m originally from the Kootenay region of southern British Columbia, but I found it too expensive to live there. I was paying eight hundred and fifty per month, plus utilities, for a one-bedroom apartment.”

I directed him to the church up the street. They serve lunch there. I also suggested he go to ‘the benches’ to meet some of my friends. They could show him around and give him information.

After leaving Kirk I was walking along the sidewalk and met Ian and Marlena.

“How was the Easter weekend for you, Ian?”

“Easter day was great. I was ‘panning’ on Parliament Street and collected eighty-three dollars.”

“How are you, Marlena?”

“I don’t know.”

I left them and continued on my way to work.

At noon it was raining slightly, then the sky cleared and the sun came out. I walked to ‘the benches’.

I asked, “How was your weekend, Hippo?”

“I’m still barred from the Mission, but they let me come for the Easter meal yesterday. It was really good. They served prime rib, mashed potatoes, and apple pie. I filled my plate a couple of times.”

“I was there too,” said Silver, “I forgot my doggy bag. I was looking forward to having something to eat later while I was watching American Idol.”

“Are you still sleeping under the bridge, Hippo?” I asked.

“No, I’m staying at the Salvation Army. There are a lot of crackheads there. Someone stole my socks.”

“When I stayed there,” said Silver, “someone stole my sneakers.”

“I should get a cougar to sleep under my bed,” said Hippo.

“Maybe you could borrow Bear from Weasel,” I said, “or borrow Bowser (Shakes’ stuffed dog). He’s staying on Wolf’s balcony right now. At least you wouldn’t have to feed him.”

I sat on the curb next to Kenny. I asked him where he was from.

“I’ve lived in Calgary, but I’ve lived here for a while now. Sometimes I work construction or install drywall, but I prefer labor. I’d never work in an office. I only work outside.”

I talked to Larry for a while, he said, “I panhandle like the rest of my friends here, but I don’t use a cap or a cup. I just sit on a corner and ask people if they have any spare change. That way I can’t be charged by the police.

“Hippo!” said Silver. “Do you want to go on a beer run for me. I’ll give you a beer and a dollar.”

“Can I have a beer?” asked Raven.

Later, Silver said to me, “I don’t mind sharing, but some people only take, they don’t give back.”

~~~

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