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

 

7 May 2012

Police and Paramedics

On a low concrete wall, near the park, sat six of my friends.

Shark said, “Did you see what they’ve done, ‘our bench’ is gone. We’re stuck with sitting here in the sun. Even the wrought iron garbage container is gone.”

Joy said to me, “Nick passed out due to insulin shock, so Chuck phoned 911. Nick should carry extra insulin with him, but he doesn’t. Also, he hasn’t eaten. He was more concerned with having a joint. The same thing happened at the barbecue Saturday. He has cancer and has pretty well given up on life.  I’d never do that,  no matter what condition I was in. I’m too much of a bitch.”

The paramedics arrived with an ambulance. They loaded Nick onto a gurney, into the ambulance, then away.

The police arrived and complained to Jake about garbage near where the bench used to be. There was one plastic soft drink container, that someone had used to carry water for their dog. He said to the police officer, ‘For one thing, it’s not our garbage. For another thing, the garbage container has been taken away and there’s nowhere for us to put the garbage.’ The officer responded by pushing Jake across the sidewalk. He staggered and nearly fell.

Everyone was wondering what Chuck was saying to the police. Joy said, “That dude has verbal diarrhea. It starts first thing in the morning and doesn’t end until he goes to sleep. I’m going up there to get his dog. All I need is for Chuck to go to jail and I’ll be stuck with V. Did I tell you how he got that name? Chuck was drunk when he bought the dog. He couldn’t remember what the previous owner had called it, so he just picked a letter from the alphabet.  I don’t even like him.”

Joy went up to get V. Chuck said, “I’m not going to jail!”

Chuck phoned 911 again and said, “Officer D. Dubrovnik pushed my friend, and I’m scared he’s going to hit me with his billy club. I wish to make a formal complaint. Yes, I’ll stay on the line.”

Joy said to the officer, “Look dude, my friend is on a lot of pain medication for AIDS. That’s why he’s staggering. He’s very sick.”

“And how would you know that?” said Officer Dubrovnik.

“Because he’s my friend, dude. I know the medical histories of all these people here.”

“Why is it you’re not messed up like this guy?”

“Because, I choose not to be, dude!”

Jake was forced to walk in the opposite direction, away from the group.

Joy, Chuck, and V. returned to the rest of the group sitting on the wall.

Outcast said to me, “You should complain to the city about the removal of our bench and our garbage container. As it is, the closest place to put garbage is at the far end of the park. Also, the remaining benches are all in direct sunlight. You should tell them that you work in the area and like to sit in the shade to eat your lunch.”

“I could do that,” I said.

“How are you Rocky? Where are you sleeping now?” I asked.

“I’m staying at The Scott Mission.”

“You’ve really got a great voice. Has it always been like that? I wish I had a deep voice like yours. Do you sing?”

“A lot of people have said I should be a blues singer, but I don’t sing that well. I just sing for fun, when I’m alone.”

I asked Joy, “How was your weekend?”

“It was good. Saturday, at Chuck’s place, we had a barbecue for Jennifer’s birthday. She’s Inuit. We didn’t know that her birthday wasn’t actually until Sunday, but it didn’t matter. Her boyfriend, Steve came and Chuck’s dad. Chuck cooked some delicious pork chops. We had macaroni salad and regular salad. I can’t believe how much I ate. Usually, I just pick at my food, but this was so good that I licked my plate.

“I have a real bed now. Saturday, Chuck will be leaving for a few days and he’ll be taking V. I’m looking forward to having the whole place to myself. I’m looking forward to the quiet.

“On the twenty-ninth of this month, I have a court appearance for the breach I got while I was in the hospital. My p.o. (probation officer) wants to meet with me after court, but she’s going to be the duty officer that day. I could wait forever to see her. I said to her, ‘Why can’t you tell me in court, what it is you have to say?’ I’m going to phone her and say I’ll come on the following day.

“I’m going to the Womens’ Center to have counseling for my anger management. I’ll be seeing a counselor one on one. It’s the place where chicks go for addiction treatment.”

After work, as I was waiting for my bus home, I saw Alphonse walking towards me.

“Good evening, sir,” he said.

“Alphonse, it’s so good to see you! How’ve you been? How’s Magdalene?”

He put his fist to his forehead. Lines appeared between his eyes that welled up with tears. “I’m so agitated! Not frustrated, agitated! Maggie is four months pregnant and tomorrow she’s going to see about an abortion.

“That’s why I’m drinking. That’s what we do, where I come from when things get to be too much.”

“I understand, Alphonse, drinking helps to numb the pain.”

“It doesn’t though. I hurt so bad inside. I don’t know how she can do that to my child. I’m hoping that tomorrow, they tell her she’s too far along. I hope that they refuse to give her an abortion.”

“Alphonse, perhaps that will happen. I’m sure that will happen.”

“I’ll take care of the child myself if I have to.”

“I’m a father myself, Alphonse, but I can’t even imagine how much pain you are feeling right now. I’ll say a prayer for you, that everything works out as you wish it to. You’re a good man, Alphonse. You’ll make a good father.”

“It’s helped a lot being able to talk to someone about it. Thank you, my friend.”

“Take care, Alphonse. My heart goes out to you. Perhaps, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

~~~

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