Archive for February, 2021

5 June 2012


As I was approaching the corner of Queen Street and Parliament I saw Irene and Big Titties Rosie waiting for the ‘walk’ light.

“Hi Irene, Rosie, are you leaving?”

“We’re just going to the restaurant to use the ladies’ room, we’ll be back.”

“I’ll see you then.”

This afternoon at the park, Buddy had passed out on the lawn. I have often seen him panhandling on Queen, playing his harmonica. The police were expected, so people spread out, hiding any open liquor bottles. Large groups are illegal without a permit. In one group were Andre, Gene, and his girlfriend Fran. In another group were Joy, Hippo, Rocky, Shark, Lucy In The Sky and Daimon. In another group were Jacques, Charlie, and Chester.

I first sat between Shakes and Andre who was wearing a light blue cap with a ‘Psssst’ badge on it. He had taken off his tee-shirt and spread it on the ground. On it was an imitation of the Warner Brother’s movie logo and the words, ‘If you see da cops, warn a brother’. He was feeling better than yesterday. His throat infection is healing.

He said, “A cop car just pulled up, and the paramedics are following them. Just wait and see, after they take Buddy away they’ll come up to check on us. They’ll say, ‘How’s everybody doing?’ We’ll say, ‘Just fine officer, enjoying the nice weather.’ ”

Gene said, “Andre and I were throwing a hardball around. I was pitching to him. I used to be pretty fast in my younger days. I’d throw at around eighty, ninety miles an hour, sometimes. I’m down to about seventy now. I asked Andre if he was ready, he said, ‘Let ‘er rip.’ Twice I caught him right in the center of the chest.”

Andre said, “When I was younger, both of my uncles used to pitch to me. They were fast. I used to catch the ball ninety-eight percent of the time. I had really quick reflexes; but not anymore. I remember my uncle throwing a bit wide one time. The ball missed my glove and went right through the backboard, left a neat circular hole.”

Shakes, who was laying on the lawn, said, “Dennis, do you remember me?”

“Of course I do, Shakes. I’d recognize that hat anywhere.” I shook his hand. He pulled me to the ground.

I moved on to the second group to say hello to Joy and Hippo. I was surprised to see Shark sitting next to Daimon, since, before he went to prison,  Daimon robbed Shark of his change, then beat him for not having any bills. I guess they settled their differences. Shark is skinny and is certainly not a fighter. Lucy had beat up Irene, Shark’s girlfriend.

As I was approaching, I heard Joy saying to Shark, “I don’t like you either, and I don’t punch like a girl,  so watch what you say.”

Shark said, “You always pick fights with men because you know they won’t hit you back.”

“Hi Joy,” I said, “how’ve you been doing?”

“I’ve been keeping pretty quiet, staying at home and off the booze for the past few days. I’ve been cleaning the house, doing laundry, watching TV, resting. I’ve got marks on my arm where V has been biting me. I hate that dog.”

“Hi Dennis,” said Shark. “Irene and I had a tiff, I can’t remember what we were arguing about, but I kept laughing at her. She hit me with her fist on the side of my head. I said, ‘Irene, don’t do that.’ She hit me on the other side of the head. I said, ‘Irene if you do that again, I’ll hit you back.’ Then she hit me in the nose. I just kept gaming on my Playstation.”

Joy said, “She’s small and skinny, but with those knuckles, she can pack quite a punch. Where is she now?”

“She took the bus home to get her health card, then she was going to White Cross Drugs to have her prescription filled, then she was going somewhere else. I wasn’t paying too much attention.”

“That’s what I used to do with Jake,” said Joy. “When he’d hit me, I’d just laugh and say, ‘Is that all you got, big boy?’ That would really make him mad. He’s six-foot-four. I didn’t win many fights, but I hurt him.

“That’s Charlie the Chaser over there, Jakes’s so-called friend. He had to come and rub my nose in the fact that he’s been in contact with Jake. He said he’s sending him a TV, at Millhaven. There’s something strange about that. The last time Charlie was here he was flashing a lot of cash and giving money to all the men. Do you think he gave me any? No! If he was interested in women at all, you’d think he would have given me something. Do you think he’s ever shown any interest in me since Jake has been in prison? No! He’s a cock slinger (male prostitute).

“Charlie bragged that he had been in prison for twenty-five years and he was affiliated with the gangs. I’ve had some experience with that in the past. If he was affiliated and went around talking about it — like he has been — he’d be dead meat.”

Daimon said, “Was he saying he was with H.A. (Hell’s Angels)?”

“That’s what he was saying,” said Joy.

Daimon, who has distinctive prison pallor and crude tattoos covering both hands and arms, laughed and said, “There are lots of prison stories. Some of them are even true, but not many. He has ‘Shannon’ tattooed on the back of his neck. Is that his street name?”

Joy said, “Daimon, what’s that you’ve got on your face? Were you in a fight? It looks like you did a face plant.”

“If I’d been in a fight, it would have been the other guy who would’ve done the face plant.”

Lucy said, “I wondered how long it would take Joy to ask about that. Didn’t I Daimon?”

“It’s an infection,” said Daimon. “I must have picked it up from a guy in prison. He had sores like this on his thigh and his stomach. I didn’t go near him, but I must have touched something he had touched.

“I went to the doctor. He gave me antibiotics and some creme to put on the sores.”

“It looks like impetigo. My sister got that when she was young. That’s what comes of sitting on park benches wearing only a bathing suit.”

“Impetigo, that’s what the doctor said. I couldn’t remember the name, but that’s what it is. It hurts and being near my mouth, it’s always breaking open.”

“Chester!” said Joy, “where are you going? Just because Charlie is going over there that doesn’t mean you have to. These guys follow him around hoping he’ll give them something, money, cigarettes….”

I said to Joy, “Did you hear that Rocky got jumped the other day.”

“I’ve seen him fight. He blacks out and goes wild, just like me. I fought with my sister once. I injured her neck, shoulder, and back. That was before they charged people for things like that. I can imagine that Rocky did some damage to the other guy.”

I said, “It was five kids who jumped him. Shakes thinks it was the same gang that jumped him. Rocky didn’t fight them, because he would have gone back to jail. They stole his cap.”

“How are you feeling,  Rocky?” I asked. “Any better than yesterday?”

“Not really. I’ve got a pain in my liver.”

“What does the pain feel like? Is it a sharp pain, or a dull ache like a bruise?”

“It feels like I have to shit, but nothing comes out. When I was in the hospital, I asked them to check my heart and kidneys. I had surgery on my heart and had a hole fixed in my kidney, when I was four days old.

“I was born near Greenland. I have seven sisters. My parents never wanted a boy. My youngest sister wants to come down here, but I told her not to. She’s only sixteen.”

“I can understand why you wouldn’t want her to come down here. It can be a rough life.”

I said good-bye to the group. It was nearly time for me to go back to work.

Joy said, “I’ll see you tomorrow. I won’t be panning, I have to buy some groceries. I have Hamburger Helper at home, but Chuck wants to have a barbecue.”

“Bye, Joy.”

I stopped to say good-bye to the other group.

“Chester,” I said. “I heard you were hit by a bus last Wednesday. How are you feeling?”

“It happened at the corner of Jarvis and Queen. I’m in a lot of pain, but I keep it to myself.”

“Take care, Chester.”

“Do you remember my name?” asked Charlie. “Of course, I remember your name; You’re Charlie.”

“Do you know why they call me that?

“Because your parents named you Charles?”

“No, it’s because people say I look like Charlie Manson. They also call me that because I’m nuts.”



Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red: ($2.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz ($2.99 Download)




4 June 2012


This morning the rain continued for the third day. The showers were light and intermittent, as opposed to the downpour we experienced throughout the night.

Metro greeted me as I got off the bus. “Good morning, Dennis, or is it Gordon today?”

“Good morning, Metro, did you manage to stay out of trouble this weekend?”

“Yes, actually I did. I haven’t seen Joy. I don’t know if she’s in her spot. I have something I want her to do for me.”

“I’ll tell her, when I see her, Metro.”

“You have a good day.”

“You too, Metro.”

The sidewalk was free of panhandlers, except for Hippo.

“Good morning, Dennis.”

“Hi Hippo, how does your head feel?”

“It’s still sore. I get my stitches out in a couple of days. I haven’t seen anyone this morning, no Joy, no Little Jake, no Silver.”

“It’s eight-ten, how long do you think you’ve got until the lady from the hotel asks you to move.”

I don’t know, maybe ten minutes. I found a new place to sleep. It’s down a flight of stairs near where we meet in the park.  It’s dry and nobody bothered us. There even seems to be a bit of heat down there.”

“Was Shakes down there with you?”

“No, I haven’t seen him for a few days.”

“He’s always told me that when he’s tired, he lays down and goes to sleep, no matter where he is.”

“Yeah, that’s Shakes.”

“Did you know that he’s only forty-six? He’s only five years older than Little Jake.”

“Yeah, he looks a lot older.”

“I guess it’s partly because he used to be a boxer. That’s not too good for the face.”

“I know, just look at me.”

“How old are you?”

“Thirty-six — my birthday is March twenty-fourth, 1976.”

“My son is two years older than you. He’ll be thirty-eight in June.”

“Are you planning to visit your folks anytime soon? I guess by hitchhiking it would only take you about an hour.”

“If that — it all depends on who’s driving. I haven’t made any plans to go there, but we always keep in touch by phone.”

“That’s great.

“I was thinking, you would probably be eligible for O.D.S.P. (Ontario Disability Support Program).

“I guess so. It’s a lot of paperwork though.”

“You’d get more money — wouldn’t you? Shark could show you how to go about it. He could even get you a diaper allowance.”

Hippo laughed, “Yeah, he probably could. He gets about fifteen hundred a month.”

“How is your hand?”

“It’s okay.” He spread his fingers to see how much pain it caused.

“Did you work on the weekend?”

“I tried, but there was nobody around, especially with the rain. It’s just as bad this morning. All I’ve made, so far, is two bucks.”

A lady in a suit came up to us, “I’m from the hotel. I’m afraid you’re going to have to move.”

“Okay, thanks,” we said.

“I’ll see you later, Hippo.”

“I’ll see you, Dennis.”

At noon I met Serge, sitting alone, in the glassed-in bus shelter. “How are you, Serge?”

“I’m okay.”

“Are you staying at The Shepherd now?”

“No, I don’t stay there anymore. I slept in the park, just over there.”

“I’ll see you on my way back, Serge. I’m just going to say hello to the others.”

“Okay, I’ll see you then.”

“Further up the sidewalk, I met Silver, Rocky, and Hippo. I shook hands with Silver and Hippo. Rocky said, “I’d shake your hand, but I just puked in the bushes and got some on my hands. I’m sorry. I was in the hospital last night.”

“Did you get jumped again? I heard that you got jumped last week by the same guys that jumped Shakes. You don’t look as bad as he does. Was it four guys that jumped you?”

“It was five kids that jumped me. If I’d fought back I’d be back in jail. I didn’t think it was worth it. They stole my cap.

“I was in the hospital for alcohol poisoning.”

“Was there anything they could do for you?”

“Not really.”

Hippo said, “I got my papers sent in for assisted housing. I don’t know how long it will take, maybe a year, but it’s done.”

“That’s great, Hippo.

“Silver,” I asked, ” wouldn’t Rhino qualify for O.D.S.P.?”

“Yeah, he should qualify. It’s good to have a doctor to back you up. I had a letter from my g.p. and my psychiatrist. Hippo’s like me, he drags his feet with the paperwork. I’d like to get out of the place I’m in, as well. I just haven’t applied.

”Hippo, it’s best if you go there. They’ll fill out the papers for you. You just have to answer their questions.”

“I got my worker filling out the forms for me. I’m just waiting for all my cards.”

“Silver,” I asked,“you don’t like staying at the Rex? I thought that would be a great place to stay.”

“There are a lot of crack heads drifting in. It’s not the same as it was a few years back.”

“I didn’t see you this morning. Did you work on the weekend?”

“I opened up the office and worked Saturday and Sunday. I started at eight-thirty, Saturday, at Grace Church on Queen. Later, I moved further down to the Berkeley Church. I have a lot of regulars there.  I’ve been panning there for about four years. On Sunday, I went to St Paul’s –the big one. Each day I made about sixty bucks.”

“You did well.”

“Sorry for the cigarette smoke drifting into your face. I wish I could quit. It was my girlfriend who got me started again. She’d say, ‘just have a little puff.’ pretty soon I was hooked again. When I was inside I didn’t smoke. I couldn’t afford it. I could buy pot for less than I could buy cigarettes, and I prefer pot.”

There was another group further up in the park. Seated on the grass were Little Jake, Shakes, Irene, Wolf, and his freshly clipped dog Shaggy. Standing at the rail were Deaf Donald,  and  Big Titties Rosie.

Shaggy was barking through the railing at some squirrels down below. It was a futile effort, but she seemed to be enjoying herself.

I went over and talked to Donald. “Hi, it’s good to see you. Do you have your methadone treatment today?”

“Yes, I’m supposed to go every day, but I was too drunk on Friday. I kept falling down. I fell once on my tail bone Now, every time I cough it hurts. I also lost my hearing aid. I’m going to O.D.S.P. this afternoon to see if I can get another one. I’m only allowed one every three years. My mom is really mad, if they won’t give me one, she’ll have to buy me a new one. It costs two thousand dollars. It’s a good thing I learned to read lips.”

“Hi Irene, “ I said, “how are you feeling?”

“Not good, I ache all over. I’ve put in two months’ notice at my apartment building. They’re saying I signed a lease. I don’t remember signing a lease. I’m moving anyway. What are they going to do – put me in arrears? I’ll just put them on the list of all the other people I have no intention of paying.”

“Irene found us a place,“ said Shark. “It’s a two-bedroom, all-inclusive. You’ll never guess where it is — right in front of the Scott Mission where I know everybody. There would be a constant line up my door. I walked past the place. From the outside, it looks good, but the location won’t work. We don’t need anything all-inclusive. I don’t mind paying heat and hydro.”

“I can pay for cable,” said Irene, “I have a satellite dish.”

Shark said, “I have two wide-screen TVs, a sound system. We both have futons. Between us, we’ve got plenty of furniture.”

I said, “You want to live in Regent Park, don’t you, Irene.”

“That’s my preference. I want to be able to walk to my doctor, walk here. If there’s an emergency – I don’t know. I don’t like that long bus ride from where I am now.

“If you’re walking back to work, I’ll walk with you. I have to go to the bathroom.”

Before I left, Shakes asked, “Dennis, can you spare me cash for a bottle?”

“Sorry Shakes, I don’t have any cash with me. I didn’t even bring my wallet. If I had it, you know I’d give it to you.”

“I know you’d give it to me, Dennis, you have before.”

”You didn’t see Joy today, did you?” asked Irene.

“No, “ I replied. “mind you, I didn’t see her last Monday, either. She didn’t come by on Friday. I’m thinking that she still has money and doesn’t want to pan unless she has to.”

Irene said, “I can’t believe that Shark still wants to marry me, but he does. We’ve been together four years now.”

“It makes a lot of sense to share expenses.”

“We both want to get out of the places we’re in now. We have the money. It’ll be a brand new start.”

“It sounds great. Perhaps, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Thanks for walking with me.”

“It was my pleasure.”


Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red: ($2.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz ($2.99 Download)



1 June 2012
The weather today was uncertain. It was overcast, but not quite raining. At the park, the usual suspects were congregated.

“Hi Hippo, How have you been?” I shook his broken hand very gently.

“My head hurts.”

“How is your hand?”

“It hurts too. Jake and I slept at ‘the heater’ last night — not together, just in the same place. The streets aren’t safe anymore.”

“Hi Jake, How are you?”

“I’m drunk. Hippo and I started early.”

“I guess that’s a good thing.”

Shakes was sitting on the lawn and was having trouble getting up. “I’ll use this wine bottle and this container as a crutch to help me up.” He made it halfway then tumbled over. Jacques stood up and took Shakes’ arm to help him to his feet. “Did you know that Rocky got jumped last night? It was the same guys that jumped me. He’s in about the same shape as I am.”

“Do you know why they jumped Rocky?”

“Because they’re assholes.”

“Hi Donald, how are you?”

“I have my methadone treatment at one o’clock. Everybody hates me. I don’t know why. They make fun of me.”

“I’ve never heard anybody say anything against you.”

“I appreciate you being my friend.”

“Hi Shark, how is Irene feeling today?”

“She’s with Anastasia. They’re drunk to the tits. They bought a case of Labatt Maximum Ice. It’s seven-point- one percent alcohol. I bought myself a twenty-six-ounce bottle of watermelon vodka. It’s thirty-seven percent alcohol. I thought I should get something to catch up. You don’t need any mix with it. Have a swig.”

“That’s smooth. I’ve never tasted that before.”

“I had to kick Irene out at eleven o’clock last night. She was drunk. When she gets like that her mind goes on retard. She’ll have about five conversations going and she keeps repeating them. I guess she forgets that she’s said the same thing five minutes before.

“We’re planning to get an apartment together, the problem is she wants to go through the Salvation Army. I want to get something through my landlord. He has a bunch of buildings. If we get these workers involved, one group doesn’t talk the same language as the other group. I’ve been in the Welfare system for twenty years. I know what to say to them, so they’ll understand it and I’ll get what I want.

“Maybe it would be better if Irene and Joy got an apartment together. The only problem is that Irene drinks more than Joy. Joy has her drinking fairly well under control.

“Anastasia wants us to go with her to her mother’s house near Goderich. It’s on Georgian Bay, so there would be boating, swimming, fishing. The water isn’t very deep but you can still catch bass. The only problem is Anastasia is a bit nuts. You must have noticed that yesterday.

“I have to be back every week to see my doctor and pick up my meds.”

“How old is Anastasia, and how old is her mother?”

“I guess Anastasia is about sixty-one, her mother is in her nineties.”

“The problem would be getting back. I guess we could arrange something with the bus. It’s a long trip. Something to keep in mind though.”

Chester and Outcast were going over Chester’s bank statement. Outcast said, “We were playing cards last night and then I left. What’s the last thing you remember buying.”

“I bought beer at the Beer Store.”

“Okay, that’s listed here. Then, there’s a purchase in Scarborough. Did you go to Scarborough?”


“There’s also a record of purchases at an Exxon gas station. You don’t drive a car, so that’s not you. There are withdrawals of two hundred, three hundred. These are since you lost your card. Do you remember giving your card to anyone?”


Silver said, “Look at Donald, he’s never going to make his methadone appointment. I’ve been drinking since four-thirty this morning and I can stagger straighter than that. I get up at four-thirty, have a shower — yes, I drink beer in the shower. It’s okay as long as I don’t fall and hurt myself.”

“Hello Wolf,” I said.

“Have a look at my dog.”

“Is that a different dog? That doesn’t look like Shaggy.”

“That’s Shaggy, they clipped her, did all kinds of stuff to her. I brought her blanket and her bed so she’ll get acclimatized. Is she breathing?”

“Yes, I can see her chest going up and down.”

“I was just joking. I guess I haven’t known you that long. You haven’t seen Shaggy when she’s been clipped? I have her done once a year.”

“No, I only met you in January, so it’s been about five months.”

Donald didn’t make his methadone treatment. He was too drunk to walk. Even if he had made it there, they wouldn’t have taken him in his condition.


Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red: ($2.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz ($2.99 Download)




23 May 2012

I caught an early bus to work, so I had lots of time to talk to Joy. “How’s it going today?’

“This morning has been slow. Yesterday, I made nineteen dollars. So far today, I’ve only made five and I’ve been here since six o’clock. Come on people!”

Chantal stopped by to talk with Joy. She squatted, put some change in Joy’s cap, then put her hand on Joy’s shoulder. “How are you doing, Joy?”

“I’m fine.”

“Are you eating well?

“Yes, I’m eating well.”

“You mentioned that you were looking at a new apartment tomorrow. Is that still on?”

“Yeah, Chuck and I are going over tomorrow to have a look at it. It’s a one bedroom for seven hundred a month. It’s just down a block from the one we’re in now.”

“You take care, Joy”

When she left Joy said to me. “She’s really beautiful. That’s the religious lady. Last fall when I was beaten by Jake, and I had the broken nose, and broken ribs, she prayed with me. I felt a warm glow spreading through my body. For the first time in a week, I could take a full breath without chest pain. I’m not a religious person — well, I used to be a Catholic, but I haven’t been to church for a long time. It really spooked me. I felt better all day.

“There’s something about the number five. I have five boys. The marriage to my first husband lasted five years. Jake and I broke up after five years.

“I don’t want to live with Chuck. He want’s me to go over and see about the apartment, but I’m going to let him go by himself. I’ll phone back later in the week, talk to the lady, and maybe take it myself. Chuck and I are always arguing. He feeds so many people, I just can’t afford that.

“Hippo found a bicycle, that’s it over there.” She pointed to a blue bike in the bicycle rack. “I told him it looks like one of those bait bicycles. The police put them out every so often. If you’re caught riding one you’re charged with theft.”

“Is it locked?” I asked.

“It has a lock on it, but the lock isn’t fastened. It only looks locked. I can just imagine Hippo riding that. One good thing about having a bicycle is that it will help him lose weight.

“I brought him some soap and some shampoo. He said at The Shepherd they only give them a tiny bit to last for a week. That’s why his hair looks greasy. People sometimes drop some off hotel soap and shampoo for me. I don’t know why. Do they think I’m dirty?”

Hippo walked across the street. “Hi Hippo,” I said. “How are you feeling?”

“Not so good. I was out drinking with Andre and we got into some bad stuff. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“What were you drinking, Hippo? If you were with Andre, it could have been Listerine or rubby (rubbing alcohol). Which was it?”


“Hippo, you know that stuff will kill you.”

“Rubbing alcohol is used to disinfect, to bring down fever and to soothe skin. Most rubbing alcohol is made of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol in water. Isopropyl isn’t the same type of alcohol that is in alcoholic beverages—ethanol— although sometimes ethanol is an ingredient in rubbing alcohol. When ethanol is an ingredient it will have been denatured. Denaturing is adding poisonous and bad-tasting ingredients, and it is done specifically to prevent people from drinking the alcohol. Often the poisonous ingredient added is methanol, which can cause blindness. Isopropyl is also found in mouthwashes and skin lotions. Isopropyl is very intoxicating. Because it is easily available and has no purchasing restrictions, it is sometimes used as a substitute for ethanol alcohol.

Drinking rubbing alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are vomiting, confusion, slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute), seizures, low body temperature, pale or blueish skin and unconsciousness. In cases of isopropyl ingestion, because of its strong effect on the central nervous system, a person may experience lethargy or ataxia, or may go into a coma. Because isopropyl also affects the GI tract, a person who has drunk it can have stomach pain, cramps and hemorrhagic gastritis. Someone who has ingested rubbing alcohol will also have a fruity smell to his or her breath.” (

“I’m going off to do some things on my own,” said Hippo.

Joy said, “I don’t even want to think about what that is.”

After Hippo left Joy said, “I’ve sunk pretty low, but I’ve never drunk Listerine or rubbing alcohol. Now they sell Listerine without alcohol. I don’t know where Serge gets his. I can’t stand to be near him. He reeks of the stuff. Lately, he’s been acting funny. All he seems do is sleep. (a side effect of drinking rubbing alcohol or alcohol based mouthwash).”

“Yesterday,” I said, “Irene was complaining about leg pain. Does that have to do with her cancer?”

“I don’t know what the leg pain is about. Yesterday, because she was wearing capris, I noticed how skinny her legs are. She had breast cancer and cancer of the uterus. She also has cirrhosis of the liver. It’s because of the uterine cancer that she doesn’t have sex with Shark. It’s too painful for her. He goes off somewhere and pays for it. She’s cool with that. Shark and Irene have been together eleven years. I think they had sex once.”

“You mentioned that you lost a lot of weight. How did you do that?”

“When I came back from Winnipeg I weighed about three hundred and sixty-five pounds. My doctor told me it was unhealthy to be carrying that much weight, so I decided to eat only on Sundays. I didn’t eat anything during the week. I drank lots of water. On Sunday, I’d go to the Mission and pig out all day, until I was stuffed.”

I noticed Clint, a man I work with, approaching. I said to Joy that Clint was going to Disneyland.

“Do you know what I love from Disney land? It’s the soap that’s shaped like a urinal puck. On one side there is a picture of Mickey Mouse. They have them in all the rooms. I love the smell and it’s so good for my skin.”

I called Clint over and introduced him to Joy. I said, “Clint, when you go to Disneyland, will you bring Joy some of the soap that is in the hotel rooms?”

“Why?” asked Clint.

Joy replied, “It’s not because I’m dirty; it’s just that I love the smell of that soap. So, will you bring me some?”


I said, “Bye, Clint. I’ll see you at work.”

Toothless Chuck arrived with V. Joy attached V’s leash to the meter on the wall behind her. They had domestic matters to discuss, so I left.

At noon I went to the park, as usual. The usual crowd was there.

Wolf called me over. “I want to show you my Tilley hat. It’s considered the Rolls Royce of hats. A friend gave it to me. Can you read without your glasses? I want you to read what’s printed inside the hat.”

“It says, that it floats, it’s waterproof, and it’s made for persnickety customers. It also gives washing instructions. There’s a four page owner’s manual, in the secret pocket, inside the crown of the hat.”

“What does persnickety mean?”

“Picky,” I said.

“Isn’t that the darndest thing?”

Joy and Butcher  were talking about V. I asked, “How long did you have to look after V, this morning?”

“Chuck came back after about half an hour. He has him now. He’s panning. I don’t like that dog; but he respects me. If he bites, I snap my fingers on his nose and he’ll obey. Chuck kicks him.”

Butcher said, “I don’t like the way Chuck treats V. He jerked the dog right off his feet, for not obeying some command. If a man treats a dog that way, he’s sure to beat a woman.”

Joy said, “I can say one thing in Chuck’s defense. He’s never hit me and I’m not aware of him hitting any other woman. Trudy went out with him before, I’ll ask her.

“Trudy, when you were going out with Chuck, did he ever hit you?”

Trudy said, “No, Chuck never hit me. Is Butcher starting a rumor that Chuck hit me. Don’t believe a word he says. He’s the one that started the rumor about Nick being dead.”

“Okay,” said Butcher, “This needs an explanation. Trudy has been going on about this for ten years. I don’t know why she holds on to it. Why can’t she move on! I have!

“She’d been going out with Nick for about three years. I’d known him for forty years. We grew up together. I hadn’t seen Nick around for a while and my friend, Steve, said to me, “Did you hear about Nick? The funeral is on Tuesday in Oshawa.

“I’m not good at funerals. I went to the service, but at the wake I didn’t go near the body. Why would I? My own daughter died and I still haven’t visited the grave site. I’d rather remember the good times we had together.

“Back to the wake. I expressed my condolences to Nick’s parents and family, then I left. Later on someone asked me if I’d heard from Nick and I said, ‘He died. I attended his funeral.’ This person said, ‘Nick didn’t die, he was arrested and is serving two years. It was his brother Roger who died.’ I didn’t know.

“Getting back to Trudy, it was Steve who told her that Nick had died, not me.”

As I was leaving I stopped to talk to Shark and Irene. Shark said, “My friend Wayne phoned me. He wants us to come to New Brunswick to help him finish a log cabin he’s building. The trees he cut were on his own property. The logs are stacked and have been drying since last year. They’ll have to be peeled then he’ll start building. He wants us to come up to help with the chinking, shellacking, and all the finishing stuff. It’ll be a paid vacation. I’m thinking of going.”

“I’m going for sure,” said Irene, “whether you come or not.”

“It sounds like a great trip, ” I said. “I love New Brunswick.”


New Shoes for Shakes

24 May 2012


Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download) ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red: ($2.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz ($2.99 Download)