Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

 

12 December 2013

I saw Ghyslain, standing in Joy’s spot. “Hi, man, it’s cold this morning,  minus twenty-three (minus ten degrees Fahrenheit). There’s no wind, but it’s too cold to sleep outside. I tried it until two this morning, then I had to go into Tim Horton’s for a coffee. I have a warm winter coat, a winter sleeping bag, but it’s still too cold.”

I asked him, “Are there still people sleeping behind Tim Horton’s, or Starbucks?”

“Yeah, my friend Gilles. He sleeps just down the block, behind Tim Horton’s. Last night I went back there to check on him. He was drunk. I said ‘Hey, man, get up, you’re going to freeze!’ He said, ‘Don’t give me that bullshit.’ I said, ‘It’s no bullshit, get up, have a coffee, get warm. He said, ‘I don’t have money for a coffee.’ I said, ‘I’ll buy you a coffee.’ So, I bought him a coffee. We sat inside there, holding our coffee cups to warm our hands. Then I went to someplace else.

I asked, “Do you sometimes go to the Mission or the Salvation Army?”

“Yeah, I did that Monday, but too many bed bugs. They’re everywhere.  I had to throw away all my stuff. I’m not going back there, ever.”

“I was sleeping behind the Legislative Buildings a couple of nights ago. There was this nice little doorway where I could get out of the wind.  A guy came out to have a smoke.  He said to me, ‘Move along, you piece of shit!’ He said it in French because I’m French. I said, ‘Don’t you call me a piece of shit. You’ve got no authority. Who owns this building? I want to speak to the owner.’ It’s our own Legislative Buildings, we should have some rights there. Anyway, I moved on.”

I asked, “Is there any chance that you may get a place of your own?”

“Yeah, January ninth. I was talking to my worker. She said I could have a place near Hunt Club, but that’s too far away. I have to get downtown to the Mission to have my meals. I have to see my worker. She thinks that she can find me something on Queen. That’ll be better.”

I said, “I guess it would be good if you were able to get a bus pass. That would help.”

“Yesterday, I was standing right here. A pedestrian was talking to a cab driver. He was telling him to park someplace else. The cab driver asked him, ‘Do you know how much I pay for a license to park here?’ I guess the guy called the cops because a cruiser pulled up. The cop talked to the pedestrian first. He said, ‘This driver pays fifteen thousand dollars for a cab license. I’m not going to hassle him just because he’s beyond the taxi stand markings.’ Then he talked to the cab driver. He said, ‘I’m just going to write this up as a warning. You don’t have to pay it.’

“Have you seen Joy lately?”

I said, “Yeah, I saw her with Frank on Monday. He had to see his parole officer. She hasn’t been back since.”

Ghyslain said, “I saw Chuck on the corner, one day. I think it was yesterday. I also saw him with one of his sons in the Eaton Center.”

I said, “I know one of his sons, Chuck Junior. Joy calls him Roly Poly. He has another, but I’ve never met him.”

“It’s too cold to stand here any longer. I’m going in to get a coffee and to get warm.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Ghyslain.”

“See you, man.”

~~~

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($0.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($0.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

 

10 December 2013

The snow was blowing, my face was covered by a scarf. Blizzards had been reported in the outlying areas. Joy was wrapped like a mummy, with only her eyes showing. She pulled down her scarf and said, “Hi Sunshine, did ya miss me?”

“Of course I did. How have you been feeling?”

“I’m okay. Jake got out on Monday instead of on the second. He’s got his electric wheelchair, so he’s zipping around all over. He’s got a new parole officer. He doesn’t like her, but whoever likes their parole officers?”

“Yeah,” I said, “it’s not as if they’ve won a personality contest.”

“He’s got to meet with her at nine. He’ll be coming down here.”

I asked, so how has it been with him back?”

“Lousy, sometimes he’ll come in at three-thirty in the morning. He came at eight yesterday morning. I said to him, ‘You got to quit doing this. I’ve got a life.  I’ve got things to do.’ He comes in, eats, then wants to go to sleep. I told him, ‘This ain’t no flop-house. Come over when you’re ready to stay awake.’

“He doesn’t pick up after himself. I had the place all scrubbed. I walked into the bathroom and there’s a puddle in front of the toilet. I mentioned it to him. He said, ‘Maybe the toilet’s leaking.’ I said, ‘Jake, the puddle is yellow. It’s not the toilet that’s leaking. if you can’t hit the bowl, you’ll just have to sit and pee like a chick.’ So he does. Hell, I can stand up and pee into a toilet.  He’s got the proper equipment; I don’t see why it should be difficult for him. He said, ‘I’ve only been here a few days and already you’re nagging at me.’ I said, pick up after yourself, do your share and we won’t have a problem.

“Here he comes now. See the size of him?”

I turned and saw a huge bearded man in a wheelchair.  “Hi,” I said, “you must be Jake. I’m Dennis.”

“Hi, Dennis, I’ve heard a lot about you.” We shook hands.

Joy said to Jake, “I’m glad you’re here. I have to go for a pee.”

I said, “I should head to work. I’ll see you, Joy, Jake.” We shook hands.

~~~

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($0.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($0.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

27 November 2012

There was a crowd at the traffic island. The first person to greet me was Jacques, “Have you any news?”

“Yes,” I replied, “I visited Joy last night at the hospital.”

“How she?” asked André.”

I replied, “She is in a lot of pain from her fibromyalgia. The pain was previously just in her legs, but now it has moved into her back and neck. She was first given an injection of Dilaudid. She threw up but felt better later. Then they started giving it to her in pill form and it just made her nauseous. She’s hoping to get morphine, but in that case, she’ll need Gravol.”

“She’ll get a good buzz from that,” said Jacques. “This is the third time in the hospital for her this year. That’s not good. I don’t know how much time she has left.”

André said, “That’s a wake-up call from the Man upstairs. She has to quit drinking altogether.”

I said, “At least she has her own place now.”

Jacques said, “Yes, that’s good, but you can’t stay all by yourself, all the time. I can’t. She’ll want to come down and talk to her friends sometimes, even when it’s cold out.”

Timmy said, “I saw my workers this morning. I’ve been leaving messages. This morning I decided to go to the office and they were there. They’re going to look at a place for me in Cabbagetown. If it looks alright they’ll show it to me tomorrow. They have to check it out first, to see if it’s livable. I don’t mind Cabbagetown, I grew up in a worse place than that. Do you know Lachine?”

I said, “No.”

“I’ve got to get off the street. I’m losing my patience with people in Toronto, the way they treat us. One day, I’m just going to flip out. I’ll need Valium just to pan.

“I have some skills, I’m a specialized gas fitter, but there’s not much work in that field. I’m a welder, but I don’t have my ticket. They offer a seven-month course in welding at Seneca, that I might qualify for. It costs about five thousand dollars. The government will cover a one-time re-training. It’s sort of like a student loan.

“It’s a vicious cycle living in shelters. In order to get a job, they want me to have an address where I can receive mail and phone calls. If I’m living at a shelter it’s sometimes difficult to get any sleep, so I’d either miss work or be so tired that I’d get fired. In order to get an apartment, they want me to have a job. I can’t win.”

I asked, “How long have you been on the streets, Timmy?”

“For a while, in Montreal, then Vancouver, but I really can’t count Vancouver, because I was working there.”

I said, “You’ll never freeze to death in Vancouver, but it costs a lot to live, doesn’t it?”

“It depends on how you live. I had a bachelor apartment with an adjoining bathroom. They call it a Jack and Jill. I didn’t mind. I just had to make sure that when I went to the bathroom I locked both doors. It cost me four hundred a month.”

I asked André, “How was your day after I saw you at noon.”

“It was cold. I tried panning in a few places, but there was nobody out.”

Jacques said, “I talked to Mariah, she’s coming down here tomorrow. She will bring Joy’s keys or some of her stuff. We’ll work it out.”

….

I went to the East General Hospital tonight. All the information desks were closed. I asked two paramedics if they knew where the Acute Recovery Area was. They’d never heard of it. One said, “They keep changing the names around here. “I showed the paper where I’d written the room number — 505. “Take the main elevator in the old section and go to the fifth floor, maybe someone there can direct you.”

I went to the fifth floor and asked a nurse (or an orderly — someone in scrubs) where the Acute Recovery Area was. He said, “Go straight down the hall until where you can see the single door open. Turn left, pick up the telephone receiver, and tell them the name of the patient you’re here to see.”

I managed that. Looked around, couldn’t find a bed or room number. A voice behind me asked, “Sir, can I help you?”

I answered, “I’m looking for bed number 105.”

“Right here, sir,” said a nurse with blond wavy hair in the style of Madonna or Lady Gaga.

Joy said, “I saw you go past my bed. I tried to call you, but I’ve lost my voice. I’m susceptible to pneumonia and this is the way it usually starts.”

“I could tell right away that Joy was feeling better. The pained look was off her face. She said, “I wasn’t expecting you to come tonight.”

“I said I’d be back.”

“I know, but I thought you meant later in the week. Now they have me on Dilaudid and Morphine. My skin is really itchy, I can’t help scratching. It’s a good thing I don’t have long fingernails or I’d be cut to shreds. I’m also on Heparin so my blood doesn’t clot. I talked to my doctor about getting back on Seroquel. He said, ‘Why do you think you need Seroquel?’ I said, ‘My mind feels like its traveling a hundred miles an hour in a ten-mile an hour zone. Can you wrap your head around that?’ He said, ‘Yes, we’ll put you on Seroquel.’ I can now look forward to a good night’s sleep. They don’t give it to me until ten o’clock. I don’t know why they wait until ten o’clock. Where I was before they gave out all the meds at nine.

I heard a banging sound on the other side of the curtain. Joy said, “Sometimes I think that woman is possessed. She makes the strangest sounds.” Soon, I heard a wailing noise, ‘Piro, Piro!’

“It wouldn’t be so bad if she spoke English, but I have no idea what she’s saying. She was at the other end of the ward. I don’t know why they put her beside me. Sometimes I feel like strangling her or holding a pillow over her face. The nurses also lose patience with her, especially the blond one.”

I asked, “Do you have earplugs with you?”

“No, but the dark-haired nurse said she’d get me some. I’m going to need them. Now that they ‘ve got me hooked up to all these wires and tubes I can’t go anywhere. When I was just on the intravenous, I could get into my wheelchair and pull the intravenous stuff along with me. I was told not to leave the area, but I slipped past them five times already. I needed to have a smoke and I wanted to go to Tim Horton’s for a decent cup of tea. The last time it was security guards that brought me back. They asked, ‘Are you Joy?’ I said, ‘Who wants to know?’ They said, there’s a nurse up on the fifth floor who thinks you may have gone AWOL.’

“The nurse made me a cup of tea. It tasted like garbage. I asked her, ‘What did you do to destroy this tea?’ I couldn’t drink it. I left it on the table and asked Al to dump it when he came in. They asked me if I wanted a nicotine patch. I said, ‘I had one of those the last time I was in. I was throwing up for three days.’ She asked, ‘Do you want to try a Nicorette Inhaler?’ I said, ‘I’ll try it.’ All it does is give me a sore throat.

“Good news is, I was able to eat a piece of toast, mind you, it was after taking Gravol. When they brought in this heart rate and blood pressure monitor I thought I was getting a TV. At least I have something to look at as the numbers go up and down. It’s good now, 127 over 113. It had gone as high as 180. They were worried that I might have a stroke.”

I asked, “Have you had high blood pressure before?”

“Yeah, when my oldest son was born. I’ve always known I had high blood pressure, but it didn’t bother me.”

I said, “I notice that you have a phone now.”

“Yeah, I tried phoning Jacques, but all I got is his voice mail. He’s probably drunk by now. I’ll call him tomorrow.”

I said, “André told me that your workers know you’re in the hospital.”

“Yeah, they’re going to visit me sometime. My check should be coming tomorrow. I have to find someone to bring it to me, then find a way to get to Money Mart.”

I noticed that Joy had difficulty even lifting a paper cup full of tea. She said, “The nurses told me to ask for help going to the commode, but I told them, “It’s only two feet. I can manage that. I don’t like that thing. I’d rather go to the washroom, but I’m too wired up. Earlier, when I snuck away, I just pulled out the intravenous needles, but I got shit for that. The nurse said, ‘We have enough trouble getting blood as it is. Every time you pull the needle out we have to flush the vein.’

The blond nurse came in to take a blood sample but was unsuccessful. She flushed the vein, still no luck. “We’ll try to find another vein. It’s not going to be easy. She tried three or four times with Joy saying, ‘ouch’ and ‘oh, that hurts’ each time.

Joy said, “I’m a real wuss when it comes to needles. I always have been.”

I asked, “Is all this due to your fibromyalgia?”

“It’s caused by a combination of factors, lack of exercise, poor diet, and drinking. I’m guilty on all three counts.”

It was approaching nine o’clock, the end of the visiting hour, so I said, “Good-bye. I’ll try to get back, later in the week.”

~~~

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($0.99 Download)

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($0.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

6 December 2013

Joy Still In Hospital 

I was late this morning, overslept. As I got off the bus I saw  Metro. He said,   “I haven’t seen her for a while. I wonder if she’s sick.”

“She’s been in hospital. I don’t know if she’s back in or not.”

“If you see her, send her my regards.”

“I will, Metro. Have a good weekend.”

There was a man standing in Joy’s spot. I said, “Good morning.”

“You’re the guy aren’t you? You said good morning to me yesterday, but I don’t think you recognized me. You’re the guy, who sits with Joy most mornings, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I didn’t recognize you. What’s your name?”

“It’s Ghyslaine! We’ve met before.”

“Yes, now I remember. How are you?”

“I can’t complain. I haven’t seen Joy for a few weeks.”

“She had been in hospital, but I haven’t seen her for a while, neither has Chuck, on the corner. Big Jake was supposed to get out of prison last Tuesday. I don’t know if he was released, or if his parole was revoked.”

“He’s bad news for Joy.  I don’t know why she keeps getting back with him.”

“He’s in a wheelchair now,  so she thinks she can handle him.”

“In a wheelchair? Maybe he’s not so arrogant now. Used to be he was arrogant to everybody. I didn’t like him for what he did to Joy.”

“I’d better get to work, but it’s great seeing you Ghyslain.”

On the corner, I met Chuck and Sandy. “You’re late!” he said.

“I know, I overslept.” I bent down. Goldie just sniffed me this time.

“Do you know who won the game last night between the Leafs and Montreal? I haven’t even heard the score.”

“Sorry, Chuck. I didn’t see it. I have to go.”

“Could you just take this bag and hook it onto the handles of my chair, at the back?” Chuck seemed to have received more gifts than he could handle.”

~~~

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People

http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

 

23 November 2012

Joy was sitting on her plastic crate, beside her stood  Shakes.

She said, “Shakes is here to keep my spirits up. I’m sure glad you guys are here. Do you see the short guy with the orange vest across the street? He keeps staring at me. I see him taking bags of cement into the underground parking garage. I had to go to the bathroom and I asked him if he’d keep an eye on my stuff. When I came back there was a coffee, a cranberry explosion muffin, and a breakfast sandwich on my box. I asked the guy where it came from. He just shrugged his shoulders. I gave the coffee and sandwich to Shakes, I’ll save the muffin for Jacques.”

“Shakes,” I said, “Joy tells me that you two have been friends for a long time.”

“Yeah, since she was thirteen or fourteen. I used to take care of her. I took care of other people too, ha,ha, ha.”

I said, “That would have been when you were in your prime fighting shape.”

“Yeah, I was in my prime then.”

Joy said, “Remember when we ran through Allan Gardens, chasing all the drug dealers away?”

“Yeah, I remember that, ha, ha, ha.”

I said, “I lived just a couple of blocks away, near Parliament and Carlton.”

“Dennis, I slept last night at the Bank of Nova Scotia kiosk, where they have the banking machines. I’d been sleeping when a friend, Pauly came in. He said, ‘Hi, Shakes.’ He did his business at the automated teller machine, he gave me two dollars then he left. I heard a beeping coming from the machine. He’d forgotten to take out his receipt and bank card. I ran after him but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I looked at the receipt, he had seven hundred and thirty-five dollars in his account. I’ve still got his card, so if I see him, I’ll give it back to him.”

I said, “You could turn in the card to the bank. They’ll make sure it gets back to him.”

Joy said, “Shakes’s hoping to get a reward.”

Shakes said, “Maybe he’ll buy me a bottle.

“You know, I may have been a thief sometimes, but I’m an honest thief.”

Joy laughed and said, “Shakes, you kill me. That’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one.”

“What’s an oxymoron?” asked Shakes.

Joy said, “It’s two words used together that have opposite meanings, like jumbo shrimp, alone together or honest thief. If you’re a thief you can’t be honest. If you’re honest you can’t be a thief.”

I asked Joy, “If you could have three wishes what would they be?”

“I’d like a house in the country, all to myself, close to nature. I’d like just enough money to get by, and I’d like to be healthy.”

I asked Shakes the same question. He said, “I’d just like to be me.” He gestured with his hands as if to say, All this is mine.

Joy said, “You are YOU, Shakes, or maybe there is a real you and an imaginary you. I don’t even want to think about that.”

One of Joy’s regulars stopped by and said, “How are you, Joy?”

“I’m great. Two weeks ago I got my own place.”

“That’s great. How do you like it?”

“I’ll like it better when I have furniture and heat.”

The woman asked, “You don’t have heat? Won’t they fix that for you?”

Joy said, “I asked twice, I don’t want to ask anymore. First thing in the morning, I turn the oven to 500 degrees with the oven door open. Once the place warms up I turn it down to 150 degrees. It turns off automatically. I don’t pay for electricity. I’m on an air mattress now and the floor is cold, but once I get my bed I’ll be up where the heat is. Also, my worker is supposed to bring me a space heater.”

The woman said, “Just make sure you don’t fall asleep with the oven on. That could be dangerous.”

Joy replied, “I always turn it off when I go to bed, or if I’m going out for a while.”

~~~

 

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People

http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

 

 

2 December 2013

 

“Good morning Chuck! Hi Goldie!” I bent down and she licked my nose. “How was your weekend?”

“In some ways it was okay, but in another way, it was the shits. It’s something I can’t talk about.”

“That’s okay, Chuck. I don’t want to pry into your personal affairs.”

“No, I mean I can’t tell anybody, not for the next five months, anyway.”

“After five months, will things be better?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes I’d rather not be alive.”

“I’ve felt that way, Chuck. I’ve even attempted suicide.”

“I have to get my money problems in order. Then I can look after other things.”

“Do you have any plans for Christmas?”

“I don’t know. I suppose something will come up.

“I haven’t seen that crazy lady around. You know, the one who is always picking up trash. She hasn’t been around for a couple of months now. She’s so skinny anything could have happened.  I used to watch her. People would give her food. She didn’t trust any of it. One time a woman gave her a sandwich. She broke it into pieces and fed it to the pigeons. Another time someone gave her a meal in a box. She threw that in the trash. Occasionally, she’d ask me for a dollar or two to make a phone call. I don’t know what it costs to use a payphone these days. Anyway, this happened a couple of times. The last time I gave her some money she bent down and kissed me. She said she wanted to marry me. Imagine that!” Chuck laughed. “I was quite flattered, actually.” It was good to see the change in his mood.

“Have you seen Joy, or heard about whether Big Jake is out of prison?”

“I only saw her the once, last week. I’m not sure I know this Jake — you say he’s in a wheelchair.”

“He wasn’t in a wheelchair before. He’s the one who beat Joy and has served three years in prison. He’s a big guy, about six feet four, probably about three hundred pounds. They used to call him Mountain. Since he’s been in prison, he’s developed arthritis and has to have his hip replaced.”

“I guess I was thinking about another guy. It was when I was with my wife and three kids. We heard an awful racket coming from the apartment next door. This big guy was kicking the shit out of his wife and eleven-year-old daughter. Can you imagine a grown man putting the boots to an eleven-year-old girl? It’s disgusting. He went to prison. The guys in there didn’t take kindly to someone beating a girl. They broke his legs. He hasn’t walked since. Serves him right.

“Did you hear about the guy who cut his dog’s ears off, so it would look more vicious.  He served six months. When he was inside,  a bunch of guys held him down and bit his ear off.

“I had a friend who worked for the prison system. One of the questions they asked him during his interview was, ‘If you saw two inmates making out, what would you do?’  My friend said, ‘Well, I’d wait for them to finish, then I’d ask to take my turn.’ He was just kidding. They knew that.”

I said, “I knew a person who worked in the prison system. They asked her opinion on capital punishment. She said, ‘I’m in favor, as long as it’s not too severe.’ They thought that was funny.”

“As far as capital punishment is concerned, I’m all in favor.”

I said, “As long as they convict the right person. There are a lot of people who’ve served time in prison, then are found to be innocent.”

Chuck said, “All this talk about DNA.  It’s accurate, as long as it’s fresh, but after fifteen years it can’t be relied on. I remember in the park, a few years back, a guy was attacked, and murdered,  just because they thought he was homosexual. Those guys that attacked him should have had a rope put around their necks and hanged until dead.”

 

~~~

 

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People

http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

 

 

26 November 2013

 

Joy was surrounded by packages.  I asked, “Have you been Christmas shopping?”

”A lady brought me some winter boots.  She said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, they’re used.’  I said, “Thanks, I don’t care if they’re used. I only care if they keep my feet warm.’

I looked at them. “They’re in good shape and they have felt liners. These will keep you really warm.”

Joy was looking at a hole in her woolen glove. “That reminds me,” I said, ” I found a pair of winter gloves on the bus. They’re too small for me. Try them on.”

“They fit great, thanks! Jacques brought this little fake Christmas tree. I asked him if he was coming down tomorrow. He said, ‘Tomorrow, haven’t you heard? There is going to be a big snowstorm.  Me, I’m going home to hide until it’s over.’ So, I won’t be leaving home either, but I’ll be here most mornings. I need money for Christmas.”

I asked, “Were you able to contact your worker? Did he bring over some groceries?”

“No, he said he’d been busy. I said to him, ‘You’re not the only one in the office, couldn’t you have sent somebody over with a bag of groceries?’ He said he’d try to get over today. I must have lost twenty pounds in the past three weeks.

“I hope I get my check before the end of the month because my worker said he’d help me get a futon. They have the metal ones on sale at Crappy Tire for a hundred and twenty-nine. If I don’t get my check in time I miss out.

I said, “I guess this is the day that Big Jake gets out. How do you feel about that?”

“I don’t know what’s happening. He hasn’t answered my letters. Maybe he’s been revoked. In that case, he’ll be getting out in January. That will be the full term of his sentence. I hope he doesn’t get out today. I guess it’s mean of me to say that, but I’ve just got too much to deal with now.

“For all I know he’ll be waiting at my place when I get home.”

“That’ll be a parole violation, won’t it?”

“Yep.”

“And he’ll get sent back to prison, just like last time,  right?”

“That’s right. It’s his problem. I don’t care what happens.

“I need to get some Orajel. I’ve got an ear infection. The pain goes right down to my jaw. I’m trying to keep my mouth closed because the cold air makes the pain worse.”

“Can you go to your doctor? It sounds like you need antibiotics.”

“I guess I could go to my old doctor without my Health Card.  I don’t really like him, because he’s a turban-head.”

I said, “He’ll only be looking in your ear.  Are you expecting him to say, ‘Okay, take off all your clothes and I’ll have a look at your ear.’

“No,  I don’t expect him to say anything like that.”

“A lot of doctors have been charged with sexual misconduct. One of my former doctors lost his license to practice because of that.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard.

“My neighbors upstairs have been going at it again. First, she came home and was banging around. That lasted until about eleven. My head was just splitting by then. He must have started a new shift because he started banging around at about four this morning. I like it when Buck comes over with Dillinger. When he hears a noise he starts barking. They’ve seen Dillinger and know enough not to get him riled.”

“How is Mariah?”

“Same old, same old. She has her problems. I was up to see her yesterday. She’s okay.”

I said Chuck Senior was telling me stories about the old Gladstone Hotel.  He used to be a busboy there. He said there are all kinds of tunnels running under downtown. There was one from the kitchen of the Gladstone to the Lisgar Apartments, down the block.”

“I remember the Lisgar Apartments near Gladstone. That’s where Jacques use to live. They tore it down. It’s a high-rise with the housing department in it.”

“Chuck was saying that hookers would go from the Gladstone to meet their clients at the Lisgar. Everything was below ground, complete privacy. They’d also have their beer delivered through the tunnel.”

“That sounds neat. I think that was before my time. I’ve only been here since ninety-three.”

I checked my watch. It was ten minutes to nine. I said, “I’ll have to get going. Do you think anyone will be going to the park at noon?”

Joy said, “I think it’s too cold. I’m going straight home to bed.”

~~~

 

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People

http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

They Call Me Red

……

 

22 November 2013

 

As Metro was handing out newspapers, he shouted to me, “I saw her this morning.  I don’t know if she’s still there.”

“Thanks, Metro.”

Sure enough, after being away for two weeks, Joy was sitting at her usual spot.

“Hi, did ya miss me?”

“Of course I did,” I said, “I’ve been talking most mornings to Chuck. He sure has a lot of stories to tell.”

“Do you mean Fat Chuck, Roly Poly?”

“Is that what you call him?”

“Yeah, I give names to everybody.”

“No, I meant his dad, in the wheelchair.”

“Oh, Chuck Senior! Yeah, get him started and he never shuts up. He’s a good guy.”

“I’ve been feeling sick this past while. I was in the hospital. The good thing is they got all my meds up to date and I have prescription refills for four months. I haven’t had a drink in three weeks.”

I asked, “Does that cover your epilepsy, fibromyalgia and your bipolar disorder?”

“Yeah, all of that stuff and my antipsychotics.”

I said, “So, I guess Big Jake gets out next Tuesday.  How do you feel about that?”

“I don’t know what’s going on. He hasn’t written. I wrote him a long letter a while ago and a one-pager about two weeks ago,  saying, ‘What the fuck is going on! Answer my letters!’ He may be pissed off about some of the things I wrote, but it’s his problem, not mine. He has to work on getting the restraining order lifted. I’ve done all I can. They won’t deliver his electric wheelchair to my place, because I don’t have a ramp or other wheelchair access.  If he left it outside, he’d have to bring the battery in every night to recharge it. He’d need a lock,  so it wouldn’t get stolen, and he’d need a cover. I don’t even know if he’s getting out on Tuesday, because of the parole violations. His parole officer is a real dickhead — he won’t let anything slide. Three days after they found out Jake was at my place, he was back in prison.”

I asked, “If he doesn’t go to your place does he have somewhere else to go? Will he stay with Rodney the Rodent?”

“I don’t think that he and Rodent are friends anymore. I told Jake a few things to check out. Rodent isn’t everything people think he is.  He lied about his prison time. He lied about being affiliated with any gangs. I think he’s a pedophile. For sure he’s gay. One time he had a big wad of twenty-dollar bills. He gave them to all the guys, none of the women. Does that tell you something?

“I don’t care what he does. I’ve got my papers in for assisted housing. I’m near the top of the list, because of my mental state, and because of my history of being physically abused.”

I said, “I heard that Hippo got some money.”

‘Yeah, two thousand bucks. He spent it in two weeks. Every day he’d come over to my place and drink at least three twenty-sixes of vodka. Mariah liked that. He’d also be drinking sherry. He phoned his mom and told her he had some money to give her for taking care of him, but he spent it before he got there.

“He took taxis everywhere, even out to Oshawa to visit his mom. She found him upside down on their roof, drunk out of his head, scooping leaves out of the rain gutter.

“How is Mariah?”

“She’s okay, except for the bloating. She was walking all humped over because of stomach cramps. The pain was really bad.  I think she has Crohn’s disease, or some stomach or bowel ailment like that. She goes to her doctor for regular physical exams, colonoscopies, endoscopies, blood tests, and  X-rays.  My sister had that and had to get her large intestine removed.

“I’ve only collected seven bucks today and I’ve got no food in the house, maybe a few scraps of bread.”

“I phoned my worker yesterday and left a message for him to bring me some groceries.  I haven’t heard back from him on that. I’m still waiting to get a futon, one of those metal ones that fold up into a couch. They brought a wood one with some of the slats broken and the mattress was black around the edges. You know what that is — bed bugs. Some of the blood spills out of them after they feed and you know what color blood turns to when it scabs up — black.  There was no way that was coming into my place. I think they sell them at Crappy Tire for a hundred and twenty-nine bucks. If it’s metal there’s not so much chance that Jake will break it when he sits down.

“On the bus this morning, I was sitting in one of the bench seats at the front. I was at one end and this big, fat woman plops herself down at the other end. It nearly sent me flying. I said to her, “Holy fuck, will you take it easy! You’re going to hurt someone doing that, namely me.”

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People

http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

They Call Me Red

……

 

21 November 2013

 

“Hi, Dennis,” said Chuck, “Chilly this morning. Do you have the time?” I showed him my watch.

“Twenty to nine. I’m only going to stay for another ten minutes. I’ve collected enough for a pizza. After that, I’ve got some groceries to pick up. I made my beef stew last night. It was delicious, but I put in too many spices — three Oxo packets. Next time, I’ll only use two. I had the farts all night.

I said, “Yesterday you were telling me all the interesting things that happened when you worked at Queen’s Park. Do you have any more of those stories?”

“No, I told you all the interesting stuff, the rest was drudgery. I had another job as bell boy at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen. I sure learned a lot there. It’s on the corner of Queen and Gladstone.  In its hey-day, it was one of the best hotels in the city. It was known primarily for the cheap draft at the Tavern. It ended up as a strip joint.  It was disgusting, they hired girls as young as twelve years old to work as strippers. It was eventually demolished in 2005 to make way for a new office building. I don’t know what’s there now — some high-rise.

“There is a maze of tunnels under downtown Toronto. All the businesses used them to bring in black market goods through the storm sewage system. One led from the kitchen of the Gladstone to the Lisgar apartments.  Weeks in advance, big shots would book a room. They’d enter the Lisgar, but instead of going upstairs to the apartments, they’d go downstairs.  Their room would be all ready for them, anything they wanted. They’d phone room service at the Gladstone. We’d bring their meals, drinks, girlfriends or prostitutes through the tunnel. Nobody’d be the wiser. I won’t mention any names, but some of our regular guests were Cabinet Ministers and a Supreme Court Judge.  All politicians are crooked.

“At the Gladstone, they only served Carlsberg beer. One of the bosses would drive a van to the docks  and,  miraculously, it would be loaded with cases of beer. They’d drive through the tunnel and unload right at the hotel.

“Nearby there was also a clothing store where my girlfriend worked. She said she could get me a good discount. The suit I picked out was priced at seven hundred dollars, imported from Italy.  I got another priced at three hundred. My son was with me at the time, he said, ‘I could use a suit.’ We got all three for a total of three hundred. It was all controlled by the mafia.

“When I was a kid we used to fish in near Harbourfront.  There was none of this catch and release stuff then. I think that’s stupid. We fished to eat not to hurt fish.  We’d take them to the back of this Chinese restaurant. They’d give us fifty cents apiece for them.  They’d mix it in with the chicken to cut their costs.

“There used to be a great bar at the Duke of York. That’s where all the high-class prostitutes would hang out — they were expensive though. A couple of times the hotel was shut down by a food inspector for serving cat, disguised as chicken. The fanciest hotel in town serving cat.”

~~~

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

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

They Call Me Red

……

 

20 November 2013

“Hi Chuck, I wasn’t expecting to see you today.”

“Well, I talked, on the phone, to my lady friend last night. I told her I’d meet her for coffee this morning. I did. We had our coffee and talked for about fifteen minutes before she had to go to work. Then I figured,  I’m down here anyway. It’s not that cold out, so I might as well try to collect some money. So here I am. As a matter of fact, I just arrived. I’ll probably stay until about ten-thirty, then I have to get some more groceries. I got my stewing beef and chicken, but I need some Oxo for stock. I think I’ve got the beef, but not the chicken.

“I had a hell of a time last night. I was talking to my son on the phone. He’s been getting calls from Bell about his phone service. I could barely hear him, so I called Bell. I could hear a faint voice on the other end. I shouted my phone number and said, ‘Please call me back.’ About an hour later I got a callback. The woman said they were checking on the problem and would call me later when they had it fixed.

“About two-thirty in the morning I had to get up to go to the bathroom. The phone rang. I picked it up, said, ‘Hello!’  There was no answer. I didn’t want to get woken up in the middle of the night, so I turned the phone off. I went back to bed, then I heard this loud busy signal. I shouldn’t be hearing a busy signal if I had the phone turned off, so I took it off the charging stand. I don’t like doing that. I usually move the phone to my bedside table because, you never know, it might be a family tragedy. Anyway, I still haven’t got that sorted. I have my cell phone though, for emergencies.”

A garbage truck turned the corner. Chuck said, “Did you hear about the man who went to the employment office to get a job as a garbage man. He got the job, but they told him that he’d be classified as a Sanitary Engineer. He got home and his wife said. ‘You may be a Sanitary Engineer, but take a shower, you smell like a garbage man.

“That reminds me of when I worked for the government. I had some fancy title, but basically, I was a ‘gofor’ –go for this, go for that. If the front desk got a request for a file she’d fill in a form, have it signed by her superior, who would have it signed by the top brass. Then, I’d be given the requisition and would be sent to pick up the file. Below Queen’s Park is a series of tunnels connecting Building A, to Building C, to Building B. That’s for security so that in case of invasion, the intruder wouldn’t be able to find his way around. Anyway, once I got the requisition it would need to signed by a guard in the tunnel, he’d get it signed by someone else, who’d get it signed by someone else, finally it gets signed by the top brass and I’m allowed to pick up the file. What a load of bullshit. It would be the same process returning the file.

“Including me there were four men and four women, doing what two men and two women could have done. I remember the women. Rebecca was a big red-headed lesbian. Gloria was married and had a couple of kids.  Ellie, I don’t remember so much about her. Dorothy was the tough one. She wore her hair pulled back in a bun; very severe looking. She got me in trouble one day. We weren’t supposed to look out the windows into the courtyard. Well, one day Dorothy caught me and reported it to the higher-ups. I was called on the carpet and asked to explain my self. I said, ‘It’s true, I was looking out the window. What caught my attention was two men arguing loudly. One reached in his pocket for a gun.  I saw the gun. I didn’t know what to do.’ They reported it to security who conducted a search. Nothing came of it. I was off the hook.

“Sometimes, I’d get a request to pick something up at the Hepburn building. They’d give me a bus ticket for the fare there and the fare back. Well, Queen’s Park is just a block from here and the Hepburn Building is straight down here, at the corner of Bay and Wellesley. It’s a ten-minute walk, so I’d pocket the bus tickets pick up the package, go for a coffee, read the newspaper and wander back about an hour later. That was the stupid part of the job, but I got to meet the Ontario Premier.  Bill Davis was in office at that time. He was a decent guy, we even had a coffee together, one time.

“I didn’t like what he did about the cutbacks though. We were told our wages were frozen, no raises for two years. This didn’t affect the big shots. No sir, they got back pay and bonuses for thousands of dollars. I was the guy who delivered the checks. Boy, was I pissed off. The next day I quit.

“Remember that fiasco with the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow? Jack Kennedy said to Diefenbaker, ‘We’re in the business of building planes. You stay out of it and buy from us.’ Diefenbaker was a chicken shit. He caved in to Kennedy;  so, everything was scrapped. That cost Canada fifteen thousand jobs and millions of dollars. That plane was the most advanced of all the fighter jets. Canceling the Arrow cost Diefenbaker the next election.

“On our breaks, we used to go to a restaurant near the corner of Wellesley and Nicholas St. It’s gone now. It was where the Segovia is today. It was funny, the women all together on one side and the men on the other. On occasion, from across the room, mind you,  a woman would open her legs and give us a peek.

“I shouldn’t have given up that job. I know that now. If I’d stayed, my pension would be $64.00 a month more than it is now. I’d be able to live on that. I’ve been around for seventy years. I’m too old for this shit.”

~~~

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

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6