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

 

10 May 2012

The weather this morning was cold and damp. I saw Joy sitting on her plastic storage container with Bruce’s raincoat wrapped around her knees. V was tied up to a gas meter attached to the building. Neither Joy nor V looked happy.

“Chuck has an appointment with his dentist and his probation officer, so I’m dog-sitting V. I’m not happy. V chewed a hole in my sleeping bag and generally wrecked the house. Right now, I’m ready to kill her. She’s driving me insane with her barking. I told Toothless he should get rid of her. She’s a biter.”

Joy’s telephone rang. “Chuck your dog is driving me nuts. She’s eaten all her dog food, all her treats and she’s just knocked over her water dish for the second time. Oh, you find that funny, do you? She’s scaring people away. I’ve only made two dollars this morning. So where are you now, and when will you be back? Hurry up will you? You’re still laughing! Oops, she ran away. She pulled the knot loose and she’s running down the block. How do I know where she’s going?

“Okay, she didn’t run away, but she’s your dog! You walk her! You take care of her!

Joy wasn’t wearing her spinner ring today. I asked her why she didn’t have the ring from Jake resized, so it would fit her finger. She said, “I’m not ready for that. I think I’m better off living alone. This other ring is from Joanne, she died of AIDS.

“I’m going to The Women’s Center today, to have the forms filled out for my medical card. Perhaps, I’ll see you at lunch. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

At the low concrete wall, I met half a dozen people.  Shakes was there with his daughter, Fran, an attractive young woman, friendly, happy, and sober.

Ian said, “How are you doing, man? It’s been a long time. My best friend just died, that’s why I’m messed up like this.” Marlena was concerned about the time, so they left.

I’ve met Luther at least three times before, but he mistook me for a priest, a judge, a radio talk show host, and someone who ignored him at a bar. He is an alcoholic, but he seemed fairly sober.

“I have ADHD, that’s what they tell me. My mother is in hospital on a ventilator. I lied to her. I said I was coming home to visit her. I tried, but I was thrown off the bus because I was drunk. She wants to die naturally like my grandmother did, but they have her hooked up to all these tubes.

“I’m from Regina, 1409 Retallack Street. I haven’t told that to anyone, not even the police. Do you see them over there, across the street? They’re just waiting to try to arrest me for something (in fact, they were there to supervise an anti-abortion rally).

“I’m a demon, I’m the devil himself. Will you hear my confession?”

“Luther, I’m not a priest, I’m not even an expert on Christianity, I practice Buddhism. I’ll hear your confession if you want. I’ve heard lots of confessions.”

“Father, I don’t know how to start. It’s been such a long time. I’ve killed people.”

“Luther, that’s in the past, it’s a memory. It’s time to forgive yourself. I can see that you’re a good man. You care for people. Now, is the time you can do the most good for others.”

“I can’t forgive myself. I want to be an artist. I am an artist. I made a dream catcher and took it to the Cedar Basket Gift Shop to sell it. The owner said it was no good, so I spat on it and left it. The next night his front window was kicked in. The owner thought I did it. The police came over and checked my shoe size. They said, ‘No. it wasn’t him.’

“I have spiritual powers, I’ve studied to be a shaman for my people, but I’ve lost my way. I need to be on the radio for an hour to explain my theories about how the system should be changed. Can you arrange that for me? We need a school for aboriginal children. Do you agree with me?”

“I agree with you, Luther, but I don’t know anyone in radio. I’ll do some research. I’ll try to come up with some names.

“You take care, Luther. You’re a good man.”

“How are you, Shakes?”

“You know me. I’m always the same.”

I said to Gene and Fran, “Shakes, Shark, and I used to be neighbors near Allan Gardens.”

“Actually, I was more in Parkdale,” said Shakes.

“Where did you sleep, Shakes. Do you have a regular place where you go?”

“I sleep wherever I choose. If I feel tired I lay down and sleep wherever I am.”

I gave him some bus tickets, “Make sure you share those with Fran.”

Fran said, “If he doesn’t, I’ll just wait until he’s asleep and take them.”

“You know your father well,” I said and then I left.

~~~

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Comments
  1. Sudip Chakma says:

    Dear friend, I’m Sudip Chakma, Coordinator of Mahabodhi Residential School. The purpose of this letter is to request financial assistance towards our school project.

    Tuichawng is a village comprising about 600 families with a population of about 3240 under Lunglei District of Mizoram, India. Most of the families about 70% are shifting jhum cultivators and about 10% are daily laborer’s. The cultivators can’t produce enough paddy due to want of fertile land and daily laborer’s also don’t get work daily as there’s no any factory and other farms or enterprise. So, about 75% families are below poverty line. They have no financial ability to educate their children in distant places.

    There’s a government primary school and a government middle school where the children get their elementary stage of education. A huge number of children complete their elementary stage of education every year and 70% of whom are compelled to stop their education due to poorness as there was no high school in the village till 2015. They had to go to either Tlabung sub-division or Lungsen Block to get admitted in high school which are 20 kilo meters far from Tuichawng respectively.

    To solve their problem, with the help of reputed NGO, Mahabodhi Society, Bangalore, the ultimate truth preaching mission (tutpm) has established the ‘Mahabodhi Residential School’ from the academic school session of 2016. A huge numbers of children get admitted in the school from far and near Chakma villages like 20 to 30 above Chakma villages. They are treated as underprivileged children and taken minimum school fee & hostel monthly fees. The school is trying to give good quality of education to them. As the new school it’s hard to get good result in grade 10 Board Examination which is as follows:

    2017 – 16 out of 34

    2018 – 22 out of 30

    2019 – 17 out of 50

    2020 – 14 out of 44

    Considering the other schools ours result is better and we are trying level best to obtain better result. As most of the students who came out successful in grade 10 Board Exams are belongings to BPL families. They face very big problem in pursuing their further studies unless they get sponsorship from any kind hearted person or any charitable organization. If they get sponsorship, they can pursue their further studies in Aizawl staying in hostel or paying guest run by Chakmas. Now, 2 boys and 2 girls are being sponsored by Mr. CY Han from Malaysia. In last academic session they did good result in Grade 11 promotion examination. They shall be in Grade 12 by next academic session.

    The only way of solving the underprivileged meritorious Chakma children for continuing their further studies after Grade 10 is providing sponsorship.

    This year we have 6 meritorious students who have been passed in first and second division. Their parents won’t be able to afford them in continuing their education.

    I do earnestly request you to be so good as to kindly adopt our school and so that we can educate this underprivileged children of minority Chakma community of Tuichawng village.

    Kind regards,

    Sudip
    Coordinator,
    Mahabodhi Residential School,
    Tuichawng, Lunglei District, Mizoram, India.
    PH:- 9612602899

    https://5f6812345257c.site123.me/make-a-donation

    Like

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