Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

https://rainn.org/

They Call Me Red

……

9 May 2013

Joy was sitting on her box, head in hands, obviously still in pain. I approached,  she was startled. “Jeez, I didn’t see you coming.”

“How are you feeling?”

“There’s no way I can sit that I don’t hurt.  Sitting on the grass yesterday was a mistake. I won’t do that today. I have a splitting headache. A lady gave me three Extra Strength Tylenol. They’re helping a bit.  Every time I bend down I get dizzy. When I got up this morning I went to the bathroom and had a glass of water. As soon as I got that down, I knew I had to hurl. The room started spinning and I thought, ‘Great, no matter where I fall I’m going to hit my head on something.’ I managed to get on my knees. Throwing up hurts more than coughing and sneezing.”

I asked, “I wonder why drinking water would upset your stomach?”

“It’s because I was drinking beer yesterday. It always makes me sick. I had four cans. It sure made me burp. I was belching all afternoon. Debbie laughed at me, but it felt good.”

I asked, “Did they give you medication at the hospital?”

“Yeah, they gave me something, but I forgot it there. I’m going to go to the Mission to get myself checked out by the doctors. I don’t have my drug card with me. I never carry identification — I’m thinking differently about that now. Usually, when I’m off probation I use an alias.”

I said, “When I lived in Cabbagetown, my landlord’s sixteen-year-old daughter became pregnant. Her father was really pissed with the guy. He made a phone call and had him beaten. The guy didn’t even see it coming.  A stranger asked him for a light, he reached in his pocket and awoke in the hospital. The cost was fifty dollars for each broken bone. The father paid two hundred and fifty.”

Joy asked, “How many years ago was that?”

“About thirty.”

“Yeah, I thought so. It’s a couple of hundred now.”

“When I talked to my uncle he asked, ‘Was it the same goof that beat you up last time? I thought he was still in prison.’ I said, ‘No, it was another guy that I’ve known for two and a half years.’  He asked, ‘Who’s the goof you’re with now?’ I said, ‘I’m not with anybody. I haven’t been since I put Jake in prison. This guy bought me a few drinks and figured I owed him. When I said, no go, he decked me. I woke up in the hospital. I don’t even know how I got there.’ ”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

They Call Me Red

……

8 May 2013

I was pleased to see Joy at the park.  She gave me a wave and a weak smile. I asked, “How are you feeling? We’ve all been worried about you.”

“I’ve got three broken ribs in front and one fractured in back. I have a concussion. This is the first day I’ve been able to keep from passing out. Even today Jacques had to grab me, things started spinning, then black. I’ve got stitches in my head, I can’t tell how many. My ear is still ringing.  I have trouble opening my mouth, my jaw is so sore.”

I could see the bruises on Joy’s jaw and an abrasion on her cheek. I asked, “Was it Andre?”

“Yeah, the fuckin’ slimeball. We’d been drinking at the Rex, my favorite bar, it closed at two, so we decided to go to my place. Andre was pestering me, as usual. I told him to fuck off. He said, ‘You mean after all the money I spent on you tonight, I’m not getting anything?’ I said, ‘You got it right.’ I don’t remember much after that he cold-cocked me on the chin, I hit the sidewalk and was out cold. I may have had a seizure as well, I don’t know, but my tongue is pretty chewed up. Hippo tried for five minutes to wake me up.  He was afraid I was dead. I guess it was the guy upstairs at my place who phoned the cops. Andre had thrown his bike against the side of the guy’s van — made a real mess there.”

“The guy was complaining, ‘I got to get up at four o’clock and you guys are making a racket out there.’ I know for a fact that he never gets out of the house until quarter after six. I’m the one that gets up at four.”

I said, “It’s not like you haven’t told Andre before. In fact, every time I’ve seen you two together, you’ve told him.”

“Yeah, it’s been going on for two and a half years. As if I’d ever sleep with that fuckin’ troll.”

“How did you get to the hospital?”

“I don’t know. They told me that I passed out, right in the waiting room.

“I don’t have trouble sleeping now. I just lay down, the room starts spinning and I’m out.”

“You told me before that he’s hit other women.”

“Yeah, he’s hit skinny Debbie, and red-haired Debbie, who he was staying with. I don’t think you’ve met her. There are probably lots more. The thing that really pisses me off is that he’s such a coward, he won’t even show his face around here. At least Jake, when he beat me, would be down the next day with some cock and bull story, but at least he came.”

I said, “Both Weasel and Toothless Chuck are ready to punch Andre’s lights out. Have you talked to your uncle?”

“Yeah, that’s all taken care of, I phoned him, told him what had happened. He only asked one question, ‘When do you want it done?’ I said wait until his sister is around. I want her to know what kind of a scum bag her brother really is. I like his sister. We get along great.”

“Was Andre that drunk?”

“He was right out of it, man. We’d agreed to meet at the Rex on Saturday. He’d been drinking triple tequilas at the bar, then he brought us some shots. I didn’t know it at the time, but he spent his whole rent check on booze.”

At that time a bicycle patrol cop rode up. He said, “What are you guys up to? I see three open beer, so that’s three tickets. I should be due for a toaster.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

They Call Me Red

……

8 May 2013 

 

Clark was sitting in Joy’s spot again today. Still no word about her condition. I said, “Good morning, Clark. Joy has been injured. Someone punched her in the face, she fell and hit her head. She’s had a lot of stitches. Nobody seems to have much information.”

“Did she get in a fight with a woman?”

“No, it was a man. Joy will take on anybody. She brags that she doesn’t punch like a woman.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I know her well. She can have her spot back any time she wants. I didn’t know what had happened to her.”

“Yesterday we were talking about your philosophy of being a Stoic Epicurean. I looked that up on the internet, and now understand more about it.”

“My philosophy, as you call it, covers a broad range from Mythology to Modernism. You could say from Zeus to Seuss, if you catch my meaning.”

I asked, “What books are you reading now?”

“I like to read historical fiction. the last book I read was Russka: The Novel of Russia, by Edward Rutherford. It spans 1800 years of Russian history, people, politics.”

I said, “I’ve read his book London. I really enjoyed it.”

“Russka is similar in that it’s played out through the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their country.

“I don’t read very much since last March, or if I do I try to get the large print novels.”

“What happened last March?”

“Someone dropped some XTC , or possibly Xalatan in my coffee, or my food. Joy has had the same experience. At first, I was disoriented, confused, paranoid. I had shortness of breath. I didn’t know what was happening to me. My vision is still blurry.”

“Why would somebody do that. It’s insane.”

“It could be part of some sort of initiation —  a fraternity or sorority prank. I have no idea. Somebody singled me out for some reason.

“These things are a lot more common in Montreal.”

“Did you live for a long time in Montreal?”

“I was there on and off. In the security field, I wasn’t allowed to live within an hour’s drive of the city. The idea was that if I was being followed, I had that much time to notice the tail, call for backup, change the route, or whatever it was they wanted me to do. I never knew what I was carrying. I was in the Man and a Dog Program. I made fifty dollars an hour back in the late sixties. That was a lot of money.”

“How did you like working with a dog?”

“They’re a lot more dependable than humans.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

They Call Me Red

……

7 May 2013 

The first person I met, after getting off the bus, was Chester.

“Hi, Chester, have you heard any news about Joy?”

“Only that she’s home from the hospital. She’s got a lot of stitches across her head. Mariah lives in the same building, so she’s been checking on her. That’s all I know.”

“Do you have any idea of how she was hurt?”

“All I know is that she was with Andre (he grimaced) and Hippo. They haven’t been seen around since.”

“Thanks, Chester, take care.”

In Joy’s spot for the second time, this week was Clark, sitting quietly on top of his backpack. In front of him was his usual sign HELP CURE HOBOPHOBIA. Above it was another sign, KEEP OFF THE CRASS. As I sat down I could see a third sign, hidden behind the first, WILL YOU MERRY ME? I asked, “Clark, how are the signs working for you?”

“I get various responses from smiles, to laughter, to hostility.”

I said, “Why the hostility? Why would these signs invoke any hostility?”

“It’s partly the season; protest season is coming up. It seems to start in the universities. They’re always protesting something, then it spreads to the smaller colleges. I think they watch to see what the reaction will be, then they follow the lead.

“There seems to be a hierarchy. There are leaders and there are those who follow, but I’ve seen other groups called volunteers. Some of them are like nazis, most are white, anglo Saxons.”

“Do you mean like white supremacists?”

“Yeah, something like that. They don’t seem too organized. We had an incident at my building a while back. It houses a lot of people on a disability pension. Not me, I pay my own way. I saw one of my neighbors holding this guy by the throat. He was saying to the other guy, ‘You don’t grab me by the throat. You don’t grab my mother by the throat. Understand?’

“Then the police showed up. All they did was get out of their car, put their arms across their chests and shout, ‘Volunteers!’ a bunch of guys from other buildings came out and there was mayhem. I didn’t stick around. I see us falling into, sort of, a police state.”

I said, “You seem well informed, what is your background?”

“I went through the separate school system, under the Roman Catholics, then high school, then university. University really opened my eyes. I studied a lot of biology, anthropology and sociology. It wasn’t what the professors taught me, but I learned how to learn. After that, I didn’t see the need to pay tuition, so I left.

“I guess my biggest influence was Abraham Maslow. He developed the hierarchy of needs. He extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. I read a lot of his books. I stay away from psychology, and psychiatry; that’s mostly Freud and Jung.”

I said, “Maslow was the greatest mind of the past century. I’m now reading a book that refers to his theories often.”

Clark said, “I see a slow disintegration of democracy, I call it global swarming. You can see it with the kids on the streets. We’re moving away from the idea of the individual, except for celebrities and sports heroes. We seem to want to know everything about them; what they eat, what they wear. These people are just fronts. They’re told what to say by their publicity managers.”

“How would you define yourself, your ideas?”

“I think of myself as a Stoic Epicurean and a skeptic. The world always needs skeptics.  This is based  on the Aristotelian belief that ‘the sort of person one is and the lifestyle one adopts will  have an immediate bearing on the actions one performs.’ Epicureans argue that the path to securing happiness comes by withdrawing from public life and residing with close, like-minded friends. That’s me.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

……

7 May 2013 

Willie was standing by the fence, Jacques was sitting on the lawn eating cheese, beside him were Wolf and Shaggy.

Wolf said, “When you finish eating that, Jacques, I’ve got more for you.

“So, Dennis, how’ve you been. I guess you can tell I’ve had a drink. I’m slurring my words. Yesterday, just after you left, the cops rode up on their bicycles. I told you I was going to get even with Jacques. I’d already packed up, Shaggy was in her cart. I said to them, ‘Look, I’m all ready to go. I know I’m not supposed to be here, so do what you will.’ They gave me a warning. Then I said, ‘Those bastards, at the memorial. They should be thrown in jail. It’s a disgrace to our soldiers and our vets.’ So, last I saw, the police were riding up there.”

“Have you heard anything about Joy,” I asked.

“Everybody’s talking about that, nobody knows anything. Toothless Chuck, you know who I’m talking about, threatened to give Andre two black eyes. Weasel threatened to punch him out. Mind you, last time, it was Andre who put Weasel in the hospital. I’m not a fighter, that’s why I have Shaggy, also I don’t like getting hurt.

Nobody, especially me, likes to see one of our women hit. We don’t look kindly on that sort of thing. I don’t think any woman should be hit. Joy’s boyfriend is serving two years for the last time he hit her. From what I understand Emile gave Joy a shot in the face, she fell and hit her head on something. Mariah has been checking on her, she’s probably the best person to contact if you want more information.

“I love Joy, I put her up at my place when Big Jake beat her, but that woman has a knack for getting hit. Pardon the expression but, she attracts punches like shit attracts flies. My feeling is that if she acted like a woman, she’d be treated like a woman.

“I’ve known Andre for a long time. I’ve never known him to start a fight, especially with a woman. Now, Willie here, he loves to fight, but Andre, he’s usually laughing, making jokes, carrying on. You’ve seen it.

“You know Shark, don’t you? Of course, you do. He’s known Joy for thirty years, since Winnipeg. When he introduced me to her,  about fifteen years ago, do you know what he said to me? He said, ‘Wolf, don’t get involved with this woman. Don’t fall in love with her, because she’s trouble.’ That’s what he said.

“Even Shaggy, who’s bitten nearly everyone around here. The only time she drew blood was with Joy. Does that tell you something? Animals have a sense about these things.

“Anyway, enough said. Let’s change the subject.”

Raven arrived wearing a short denim skirt, looking much more cheerful and sober than yesterday. She walked over to pick up Debbie’s lighter. Willie said, “Raven, be careful when you bend over, or Shakes will look up your skirt. Oh, too late. Shakes, did you get a good view?”

“Yes.”

Kenny arrived on his bicycle. He said, “I got hit by a car this morning.  I was riding next to the curb and this guy turned right in front of me. I went over his hood and landed on the other side. My elbow is scraped, the side of my face, and I think my finger is broken. My bag had been full of beer. People were scrambling around, gathering my cans, they were rolling everywhere. The cops came. I just wanted to get out of there. I still can’t bend my finger.”

Two women at the other end of the park were practicing Pilates. Shakes imitated them. Everyone found it hilarious. Just another day at the park.

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

……

7 May 2013 

 

The first person I met, after getting off the bus, was Chester.

“Hi, Chester, have you heard any news about Joy?”

“Only that she’s home from the hospital. She’s got a lot of stitches across her head. Mariah lives in the same building, so she’s been checking on her. That’s all I know.”

“Do you have any idea of how she was hurt?”

“All I know is that she was with Andre (he grimaced) and Hippo. They haven’t been seen around since.”

“Thanks, Chester, take care.”

In Joy’s spot for the second time this week was Clark, sitting quietly on top of his backpack. In front of him was his usual sign HELP CURE HOBOPHOBIA. Above it was another sign, KEEP OFF THE CRASS. As I sat down I could see a third sign, hidden behind the first, WILL YOU MERRY ME? I asked, “Clark, how are the signs working for you?”

“I get various responses from smiles, to laughter, to hostility.”

I said, “Why hostility? Why would these signs invoke any hostility?”

“It’s partly the season; protest season is coming up. It seems to start in the universities. They’re always protesting something, then it spreads to the smaller colleges. I think they watch to see what the reaction will be, then they follow the lead.

“There seems to be a hierarchy. There are leaders and there are those who follow, but I’ve seen other groups called volunteers. Some of them are like nazis, most are white, anglo Saxons.”

“Do you mean like white supremacists?”

“Yeah, something like that. They don’t seem too organized. We had an incident at my building a while back. It houses a lot of people on disability pension. Not me, I pay my own way. I saw one of my neighbors holding this guy by the throat. He was saying to the other guy, ‘You don’t grab me by the throat. You don’t grab my mother by the throat. Understand?’

“Then the police showed up. All they did was get out of their car, put their arms across their chests and shout, ‘Volunteers!’ a bunch of guys from other buildings came out and there was mayhem. I didn’t stick around. I see us falling into, sort of, a police state.”

I said, “You seem well informed, what is your background?”

“I went through the separate school system, under the Roman Catholics, then high school, then university. University really opened my eyes. I studied a lot of biology, anthropology and sociology. It wasn’t what the professors taught me, but I learned how to learn. After that, I didn’t see the need to pay tuition, so I left.

“I guess my biggest influence was Abraham Maslow. He developed the hierarchy of needs. He extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. I read a lot of his books. I stay away from psychology, and psychiatry; that’s mostly Freud and Jung.”

I said, “Maslow was the greatest mind of the past century. I’m now reading a book that refers to his theories often.”

Clark said, “I see a slow disintegration of democracy, I call it global swarming. You can see it with the kids on the streets. We’re moving away from the idea of the individual, except for celebrities and sports heroes. We seem to want to know everything about them; what they eat, what they wear. These people are just fronts. They’re told what to say by their publicity managers.”

“How would you define yourself, your ideas?”

“I think of myself as a stoic epicurean and a skeptic. The world always needs skeptics.  This is based  on the Aristotelian belief that ‘the sort of person one is and the lifestyle one adopts will  have an immediate bearing on the actions one performs.’ Epicureans argue that the path to securing happiness comes by withdrawing from public life and residing with close, like-minded friends. That’s me.”.

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

……

6 May 2013

 

When I entered the park I saw Wolf and his dog Shaggy sitting by themselves under a tree. At the other end of the park, near the war memorial, was another group leaning against the rail.

“Wolf,” I said, “you’re sitting all by yourself.”

“I just don’t think it’s right, for those people to be setting their beer down on the war memorial. I have family who died in the war. I don’t think it’s respectful. They even have a motorcycle parked there.  Can you imagine if a woman and child came to pay their respects to a loved one? They’d be afraid to approach. Those people would scare them off, don’t you think? My son served in the Korean War if he saw that he’d take them all on.”

“I agree with you, Wolf. My brother fought in the Korean War. I know that he’d be upset.”

“They all followed Jacques up there. I know he wants to stay in the shade, but there’s shade in other places, so I picked a place that’s about halfway. That’s the best I can do.

“Did you see the hockey game last night. I’d have my Leafs hat on now, but it’s too hot for a hat. I’m wearing my Montreal shirt because it’s the only one I have with short sleeves.

“That young guy from Gatineau — I think he’s only nineteen — pulled off a hat trick, and his team is in the playoffs. That’s something! It’s funny too. When growing up his favorite team was probably Montreal. Now he’s scored three goals against them.”

Gnome and another person sat down and were discussing the hockey game. I thought I saw Joy with Jacques, so I wandered up there. It turned out to be Debbie.

“Hi Jacques, it’s a beautiful day.”

“Yes, I have to keep out of the sun, because I already have a burn. Have you seen Joy?”

“I saw her on Friday, I think she was going to Montreal. Her sister died.”

“She didn’t go to Montreal. She left here Friday to go drinking with Hippo and Andre. There was some kind of a fight. Joy got a big cut on her head. They took her to the hospital to have stitches. She also has a shiner. I don’t think she’s going to be coming out of her place for a while. She looks too ugly.

“I wish I knew more details. I know that Hippo wouldn’t hurt her.”

I said, “He’s scared of Joy.”

“Yeah, he wouldn’t hit a woman. I remember that Nora slapped him twice in the face. Do you know what he did? He cried. That big guy had tears running down his face. Now, every time Nora walks by she slaps him, because she knows he won’t hit her back.

“Me, I’d do something different. I wouldn’t hit a woman, but I wouldn’t let her hit me.”

Debbie was looking over the rail. She said, “The white lilacs are out. Soon the purple ones will be in bloom. Don’t you love that scent?”

“It’s beautiful, ” I said. “I haven’t seen you for a long time. How have you been?”

“You know, so so. I’m alright. Actually, every day is good if you look at it the right way. I’m not religious, but I try to see the good.”

I said, “Every day is a chance to make a difference.”

Jacques said, “Do you know what I miss? Kentucky Fried Chicken. I can’t eat it. The skin is too salty. Since my last heart attack I’ve had to cut back on salt.”

I asked, “When was your last heart attack?”

“February eight. I was hospitalized for three weeks. I need a double bypass operation, but they said, ‘We know you’re a very sick man, but because you’re alcoholic, we can’t operate on you.’ They gave me pills instead. They told Joy the same thing.”

Debbie said, “Are you sure it’s not because of the money?”

“I don’t think so, but maybe if I won the lottery — I can’t win the lottery because I don’t buy tickets. I don’t think I could handle winning a lot of money. I’d think everyone would want to kill me.”

Debbie said, “Or, everyone would want to be your friend.

“If I won a big lottery, I know what I’d do.  First of all, I’d get out of here, go into the woods somewhere until I could plan everything. Then I’d set up my communication centers — places where poor, sick people could go. There would be doctors, a cafeteria, pool tables, a place to stay. Nobody would be turned away.

“I have the proposal all written up. I put on a dress, wore heels and presented it to City Hall. This university professor, a fat guy with a bald head and a beard shot the idea right down. He made me feel so small.”

I said, “Gaston has a similar idea. You should talk to him.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

……

6 May 2013

Sitting in Joy’s spot this morning was Clark with his sign, HELP CURE HOBOPHOBIA. He has other signs, but this is the one he uses most frequently. I asked him about his weekend. He said, “I spent a lot of time moving. I’m now in a bachelor apartment in Regent Park. I had to get out of the place I was in. It was really bad, a lot of crackheads. I didn’t even feel safe using the stairs. There would be groups of them hanging around the stairwells.

“The only complaint I have with the new place is that I’m right above the door to the underground garage. I hear it every time someone drives their car in or out.”

I said, “I guess that’s a noise you can get used to. I’ve lived beside highways before.”

“Yeah, after a while the highway can sound just like the ocean. It can lull you to sleep.”

I asked, “So, how long have you been on the street?”

“Here, about four years, but I’ve been other places, like Montreal. It’s a really violent place. I used to work security there. I was in a large highrise. There were two entrance doors. I was behind the desk. One time a guy rushed in the first door, saying that he had been doused with gasoline and somebody was trying to set him on fire. All we could do is electronically lock the outside door, so he was trapped between the two doors. We couldn’t let him in, in case he decided to ignite himself inside the building. We just waited until the cops arrived.”

I said, “I know I’ve lived there. I moved in with my brother, near the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. My first night, there was somebody stabbed to death on our corner.

“This area is violent as well. You know Shakes, don’t you? He pans near the corner of Jarvis and Richmond, beside the underground car park.”

“Does he use a cane and carry a piss bag?”

“Yeah, that’s him. He was doused with gasoline and set on fire one time. He has massive scars on his left leg. There was another guy, Buddy, he was wearing a plastic raincoat when he was set on fire. The plastic became embedded in his skin. He died three days later.

“I can’t understand how humans can do that to one another. Animals aren’t cruel or malicious like that. They kill their prey and eat it — that’s nature — but to deliberately torture another animal. I don’t think they do that.”

Clark said, “Sometimes, I think animals are treated better than humans. The government will house us and will ring the Pavlovian bell allowing us access to the Food Bank every so often, but that’s it. The S. P. C. A. treats animals better.”

“What other kinds of work did you do, Clark?”

“Mostly, I’ve been a cook at construction camps in James Bay and Vancouver. I’ve also been a tree planter in British Columbia. I liked that. I like to keep to myself.”

“I’m the same.”

“I read in government studies that the brain works best when you’re alone. There are fewer distractions. That’s my understanding, anyway.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

 

https://rainn.org/

……

3 May 2013

When I stepped off the bus this morning, I was met by Metro. He had a grave look on his face, unusual for him. He said, “Joy is up there. She’s in pretty rough shape. She’s going to need some sympathy, her sister just died.”

I approached Joy and offered my condolences. She said, “Oh, don’t worry about that. I didn’t even like my sister; not like a normal human being would like their sister. She used to beat the shit out of me when I was a kid. She also used to think she was so much better than us. She was still a pot-headed crack addict, but she didn’t hang downtown like the rest of us.

“I remember one time when the father of her baby left her, she came to me for money. I said, ‘Well, do what I do when I need money.’  That when I was prostituting. I gave her a talk, we went to a certain corner. I told her, ‘When a guy comes along and asks you for something, work out a price then take him into the alley.’ She said, ‘I can’t do that.’  I said, ‘If you run into problems give me a shout.’ Soon I heard her shouting for me. I went into the alley. The guy was trying to take her from behind. That’s not what he paid for. I gave him a shot in the head, then we both beat the shit out of him. I  grabbed his wallet. She said, ‘Joy, I just can’t do this.’ I handed her the cash and said, ‘It’s your choice.’

“It was her creepy kid that tried to choke my son. I was at their place, in Montreal, for the weekend. He said, ‘Hi Aunty Joy, Mom used to make me lunch around this time.’ I said to him, ‘Look, honey, I may be your Aunty Joy, but I don’t do lunches and that sort of shit.’ When I looked into his eyes, bells started going off, like I’ve just reached the Bates Motel, you know, from Psycho. He’s psycho alright.

“When I first arrived in Montreal I took a cab to the address I was given and saw my uncle Ronnie’s bike in the driveway. Nobody had told me what happened, just that I had to come to Montreal. It was important. I asked him, ‘So who’s dead? Is it one of my kids?’ I rhymed off their names and asked, ‘Which one?’  He said, ‘It’s your sister.’ ‘Shit,’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t have come all this way just for her. He said, ‘You had to come, she made you ‘executive of her estate.’ She’d put one last screw in me, even after she was dead. I didn’t even know what an ‘executive of an estate’ did. I thought that maybe I had to live in her house, or something. Ronnie said, ‘You got to divide up her stuff, three ways.’

“I don’t know how to do that shit.”

“Joy,” I said, I’m not a lawyer, but just because she designated you as executrix, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Get some lawyer to look after it. That’s what they get paid for. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”

“Really? I talked to a lawyer in Montreal, but he didn’t know squat. I know lawyers here, but they’re criminal lawyers. I guess they could refer me to somebody.

“Christ, she has a niece that lives right across the street. Why couldn’t she do it? We were over there. I met her asshole boyfriend. He was yelling something at her. She was holding a kid on each hip, and her belly’s way out to here. I was holding one kid. There were a couple of others running around somewhere. I put the one I had on the couch. I walked over to the guy and punched him one in the face. He fell against the refrigerator. He was going to come after me, but my two sons came in. They said, ‘Don’t you dare touch our mother!’ I’m glad I had sons. Anyway, they pushed him out the back door and beat the shit out of him. That’s the last I saw of him all weekend.

“I have to go back there this afternoon at three.”

I asked, “How are you going to get there. Do they pay your fare?”

“No, there are no costs involved. Ronnie said, ‘I’ll give you a ride, as long as you don’t mind riding on the back of a bike.’ I said, ‘As long as you got a belt.’ I really can’t say anything, but he’s way, way up with the gangs in Montreal. He’s in town because he has friends in construction working on that highrise over there. If I wanted to move back there I could have anything I wanted, but I don’t want that life again. My friends, the ones I consider family, are here.”

I had to get to work, Joy said, “If I don’t see you at noon, I’ll see you Monday. I haven’t told any of my other friends about this. They didn’t know her, and they sure as hell couldn’t help.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6

https://rainn.org/

……

2 May 2013

I was sitting, with my friends, in a shaded part of the park. Tommy asked, “Has anybody seen Shakes? He didn’t come home last night. I have his keys, so he won’t be able to get into his place until I find him, or he finds me. I’m going to his ‘office’, maybe he’s there.”

I was admiring some of Wolf’s tattoos. He has Yosemite Sam and an eagle carrying a snake on one arm. On the other arm is the Tasmanian Devil. “Those were crazy nights!” he said. “One was done with a gun, the others with needles. They don’t compare with what I see being done in today’s parlours, there are some real ink artists working now.

Shaggy was making her usual fuss, barking for no apparent reason. Wolf said, “She’s got something to say. What is it Shag? Why don’t you go bite Jacques. Get it out of your system.

“It’s nearly time for her annual visit to the spa. She’ll get her nails done, her coat clipped. She’ll feel strange for the first while.

“She’s a smart dog, a Wheaton Terrier. The vet said she also has some Bearded Collie in her. She’s  bigger than a normal Wheaton and her coat is longer, but if you look up a picture of a  Wheaton Terrier, that’s her.”

Shakes wandered over. I asked, ” Where have you been, Shakes? Tommy’s been looking for you.”

“I stayed at a friend’s place last night.”

“Did the cops treat you alright?” I asked.

“Yeah, they were okay. We just had a discussion, they took me to The Shepherd, then I escaped, I even got my booze back.

“I was at ‘my office’ when this government dude came by. He’s had a hard-on for me for a long time. I said to him, ‘I’ve been here since ninety-five. How long have you been here?’ He said, ‘Three years.’ I said, ‘So, I’ve got more seniority here than you do.’

“The people from the restaurant saw what was happening. They came over and the owner offered to drive me to his place. They take good care of me.”

Raven said, “Shakes, you’re wearing your leather jacket. You must be hot.”

“I’m always hot, that’s what the women tell me. If those two over there see you talking to me, they’ll get jealous.”

“Shakes, you’re too funny.”

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 ($2.96 Download)
Podcasts:http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6