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15 June 2012

Millhaven Penitentiary

Joy was quiet this morning, “I didn’t have much sleep last night. Chuck had the television on loud until eleven thirty. The crack heads next door were so loud that he phoned the police. He woke me at five this morning. I said, ‘You didn’t need to wake me. I’ve been awake most of the night.’

“He’s getting lazier and lazier. He got the dog for exercise, but he hardly takes him out. I’ll be damned if I’ll pay for any dog food. He hasn’t been doing any panning, he just lies on the couch watching TV.  That means when I get home I don’t have any time to myself. He wants to have a barbecue tomorrow. His parents are coming over. I’ll have to check with him later to see if he wants me to get any groceries at the store on my way home.”

“I tried to check on Big Jake,” I said, but the information is only available to immediate family.”

“How did you check?”

“I Googled Jake’s name, but nothing came up. I Googled Millhaven and got a directory, but that’s as far as I could go. They don’t have any listing of inmates. They have instructions as to what to do if you want to visit.”

“No, I don’t want to visit. I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Hippo and Andre were by earlier. They’ve been sleeping behind the dumpsters in back of Starbucks. I guess Hippo had been panning, across the street from Andre, and had only made a quarter. He came over to get a cigarette. He saw a woman reach down toward his hat. He thought she was dropping money, but she took his quarter. They seem to have been eating pretty well according to what they tell me.”

“You mentioned yesterday that your youngest son is still in school. Who is he living with?”

“He lives with my oldest, who is twenty-eight now. He takes really good care of him. The second youngest was adopted out. I guess I wasn’t a very good role model. Of course, I didn’t have good role models myself.”

“Chester hasn’t been doing too well lately. He had an inheritance of eight thousand dollars and it was gone in a month. He asked me to do a run for him one time and gave me his bank card and number. I asked him, ‘How many people know your bank number?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ He’s been like that ever since he fell down that flight of concrete steps and split his head open. He forgets a lot of things, and people take advantage of that.”

Noon at the park was sunny and mild. Serge was lying down asleep on a park bench. Shakes was lying on the lawn.

Debbie borrowed Joy’s phone to check her bank balance. She didn’t know how to open Joy’s phone. She threw it back.

“Thanks for throwing it, Debbie!”

Joy said to me, “My mom was sort of a swamp lady. She’d catch bullfrogs and deep fry them in batter. She’d also make squirrel stew. It tasted a bit gamey. We also had deer and elk, that taste pretty much the same, we had buffalo, bear, rabbit —  pretty much anything.

“Jake’s parents live in Rockland. They never approved of me. We stayed at their cottage one time, they left to go back to Rockland, we were to stay there and cut firewood for the winter. Jake got into his mom’s codeine pills and spent all his time on the couch. I was the one who went into the woods with the chain saw, cut the trees, hauled them out, cut and split them for firewood.

“I said to him, “What kind of support is that. I don’t know what I’m doing up there. What if a tree had fallen on me?”

Little Jake had staggered away to lie on the grass with his head on his backpack. Debbie said, “Joy, I’ve got lots of newspapers here. Why don’t you sit on these instead of your blanket. I think Jake should have something over him.”

“First of all, Debbie, this blanket is going home with me, to go on my bed. I don’t want to be sharing it with Jake . Second, the weather is warm. he doesn’t need anything covering him.”

Debbie left to drape some newspapers over Jake. Silver yelled, “Will you just leave him the fuck alone? Jesus!”

Joy said, “Silver, you don’t get your balls up very often, but when you do, it sure is entertaining.”

Andre said, ‘Whatever kind of food I want to eat, that’s the type of restaurant I pan in front of. Last night Hippo and I had roast beef, maybe tonight it will be sushi.”

Hippo said he has been gaining weight since teaming up with Andre.

~~~

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