Archive for October 1, 2020

RRBC Interview, Eyes on the Book hosted by Rox Burkey


30 April 2012
Today at noon the weather was warm and sunny. It was check day so everyone at ‘the bench’ had money and had been drinking heavily. Outcast was sitting alone. He was ostracized for ripping off Jacques.
I sat next to Elaine. “Have you seen Miss Vickie lately? She sounds interesting — pretty, bubbling personality. Curt seemed to have been really taken with her.”
“Miss Vickie?” questioned Irene. “I haven’t seen her since she moved to the townhouse.
”She used to phone me and say, ‘Irene, do you want to come out and play?’ She had no interest in Shark, just me. Sometimes he would get upset if I stayed away too long, but he gets upset anyway. This morning he was upset about something. I asked him, ‘Is it because I took a beer out of the fridge? Is it because I took one of your packs of smokes? Is it because I took some weed out of the freezer?’ I’m still not sure what he was upset about.
“Vickie and I used to do some drug deals together. The whole idea behind dealing drugs is to make money, not to become a user. She became a user. One thing led to another and she spent two years in jail. I switched to alcohol. It’s a lot safer.
“When I got out of high school I went to college. I took my first year and was either going to go into legal or medical. It seems funny now, thinking that I would have gone into law since nearly everything I do is illegal.” I drove a cab for quite a while. I know the city really well. I also got to know people. A lot goes on in the back seat of a cab. I learned not to judge and to mind my own business.
“My dad had my car fixed with GPS tracking, so they always knew where I was. If I detoured off my expected route they knew about it. If I ever had a problem, all I had to do was signal 88, and cab drivers, from all over, would come to where I was. I also carried pepper spray and weapons, but I never had to use them.
“The money I made was really large. At income tax time I’d sit down with my accountant and we’d go through my receipts. We’d burn most of them, and we’d pretend some days didn’t exist. When I went back to college I studied accounting so I could do my own income tax.”
Shakes and Blaine were upset with each other because of a debt of fifty bucks, about which they disagreed. Blaine had been drinking a lot of vodka and wasn’t very coherent, but he was LOUD.
“Okay guys,” said  Bearded Bruce, “let’s keep the volume down. If you’ve got a problem, deal with it tomorrow. Today is my last day before going back to prison, so I want it quiet and peaceful. Understood!”
Shark said, “That’s what happens when you get natives drunk, you get a lot of noise.
“I used to go out with Blaine’s aunt. Every time he’d see me he’d say, ‘Where’s my aunty? Where’s my aunty?’ He was an annoying little brat. He always wanted to hang out with us. His mother would come looking for him and we’d hide him under a pile of dirty laundry. We must have done that three or four times. His mother would say, ‘I saw him come down here.’ We’d say, ‘He was here, but he left a while ago.’

“Tomorrow, I run out of my HIV meds. They’ll cover me for a week, but I haven’t been able to contact my doctor to have my prescription renewed. The prescription is good for a year. It’ll work out. Shark was eating pistachio nuts and throwing the shells on the sidewalk. People walking by would be startled hearing the shells crack underfoot, or they’d think they’d stepped on a pebble. Under two jackets Blaine was wearing a Corona tee shirt. “I’m going to get that shirt from you,” said Bruce.” How are you going to do that?” asked Blaine.”I’m going to wait until you finish that bottle of vodka, then I’ll sit on you and peel that shirt off. You’re going to end up in the emergency ward half-naked.”

Blaine pondered that.


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