Archive for September 18, 2020

RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey


19 April 2012

This noon hour was warm and sunny. The people who were served liquor violations, yesterday are banned from this immediate area so Jacques, Silver, Hippo, Shark, and Irene stood on the other side of the street. Serge, Raven, and Mary sat on the bench.

As I approached, Hippo and Trudy were talking. “I’ll go for the beer run,” said Hippo.

“Hippo, we gave you our money yesterday and you didn’t come back. Do you understand how serious that is?”

“I know, I screwed up, but it won’t happen again.”

Chester came over. “I’ll go for the beer run. I have to go to the pharmacy (a euphemism for going to see his dealer) and do some other errands.”

“Hello Serge, ” I said.


“It’s a beautiful day.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Have you lived here long, Mary,” I asked.

“Trudy and I have lived here for about ten years.”

“Where were you born?”

“I was born in Churchill, Manitoba. I don’t remember it very well, we only stayed there until I was four years old. My dad was a carpenter and a plumber. He got a job with the government doing maintenance on some of their buildings. For three or four months at a time, he would be away working. My mother’s health wasn’t very good and she needed to be near a doctor. When my father would be away we would move in with relatives further north at Resolute Bay or Pond Inlet, Baffin Island.

“Pond Inlet was especially beautiful. We saw lots of icebergs and we’d fish for Arctic Char. Have you ever tasted Arctic Char? It’s so good.

“My dad even worked on the Legislative Buildings at  Queen’s Park. When I was in Girl Guides they brought us there on a trip and I got to see my father. He also did a carving that was presented to the Queen on one of her visits. The carving was of an igloo, with a dog team and sled outside. The igloo could be lifted and you’d see the people inside. It was very detailed.”

Mary started waving her arms and got up from the bench. “I have to be very careful about certain types of flies. I am allergic to them and have a strong reaction when I get bitten.

“Raven’s coming over. I used to be friends with her, but she throws tantrums. She’s always drawing attention to herself. I’ve got a beer under my jacket. The last thing I want is to draw the wrong kind of attention. She uses a lot of bad language and it upsets people who are just out for a walk after lunch.”

“Hi Raven,” I said. “Have you lived in Toronto long?”

“About fifteen years.”

“Do you like living here?”

“I’m here, if I didn’t like it I’d move, but I’m tired of moving. I have a lot of friends here. My sister also lives here. April is a bad month for us. Our mother’ died last year. Her birthday was April seventeenth, she died ten days later. Sometimes my sister has to go into the bathroom she cries so hard. I call her my little sister, but she’s taller than me. I’ve taught her some things. Let’s say, she’s followed my example. I’ve got a husband but he’s not getting out until 2026. I just hate my sister’s so-called boyfriend. I hate him so much.” She pounded the palm of her hand with her fist.

“I like sex, a lot. I have a room. My neighbor is always knocking on my door wanting sex. I tell him, ‘Go away, I just want to sleep.’ Then he’ll come back later.”

“I’ve just been sitting here chatting with Serge,” I said. “He’s been talking my ear off.”

“I bet Serge has lots of stories,” said Raven, “if he ever chose to tell them.”


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