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

17 April 2012

I wore a windbreaker to the bench today. The weather was relatively warm and a sunny forty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. Shark was passing around a bottle of Fireball, Loretta was asleep on the grass, Serge was sitting off by himself.

Shark said, “I took a Demerol earlier, later I have to go to the doctor to get a morphine shot for my liver. I wonder how that’s going to mix with the Fireball?”

I was standing next to Al, who has long blond hair and a guitar slung on his back. “I can’t believe that this still hurts so much,” he said to me. He lifted his sweater to reveal a partially healed, two-inch, stab wound in his side. “This happened over a month ago. The blade went in six inches, and just missed my vital organs, I saw the x-rays. I’ve got another up higher, but it was deflected by my rib cage.

“A crack head named Tom did this. He lived downstairs in the same building as me. He knocked on my door at ten in the evening. I’d been sleeping. I answered the door and he said, ‘I’m going to buy some weed. If you give me five bucks we can split a gram.’ I said, ‘Since I’m awake now anyway, I might as well.’ He never came back.

“The next morning I heard him trying to do the same thing to my neighbor. He was even bragging about ripping me off. I argued with him and said, ‘Since you ripped me off, I want ten bucks or a gram of weed. He refused and went into his apartment. I walked away and he came up behind me and hit me twice in the side. At first, I thought he’d punched me. Then I felt something warm running down my side. My neighbor handed me a hammer and I started chasing after him, but then thought better of it. I decided to go to the hospital.

“Because I was a crime victim there was a cop posted in my room. I was hooked up to an I.V. I said to the cop, ‘Watch this!’ I pushed the bedside button and a nurse came in. ‘It hurts!’ I said. She gave me a shot of morphine. I saw a Doctor walking past, I said, ‘Doctor, it hurts!’ He gave me a shot of morphine. The cop said, ‘If you do that once more I’m going to have to report you.’

“The cop drove me home. Just as we were leaving the parking lot I said, ‘I forgot to get a prescription for pain medication.’ He said, “You’re probably going home to smoke pot anyway. I think you can do without a prescription.’

“Since then, Tom has been evicted from our building. There’s a sign by the front door saying he’s not allowed to enter. He’s being held in jail, pending his court appearance. I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

“So, what kind of music do you play?” I asked.

“A bit of everything, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Cat Stevens. If you mention a band, I probably know at least one of their songs. If you mentioned the Eagles, I could play “Lyin’ Eyes’. If you mentioned Creedence Clearwater Revival, I could play ‘Proud Mary’. I can play for about six hours without repeating myself. As I get older my memory gets shorter. If I learn a new song, I forget an old one.

“Today I’ve been busking at Nathan Philips Square. I had to sing over the noise of the buses. My throat was getting dry so I stopped here for a few beers. I’m going to try a mall down the street later on.”

Al had to rescue his bicycle from Shakes, who could barely walk; riding a bicycle wouldn’t have been a good idea.

~~~

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