Posts Tagged ‘spiritualism’




18 October 2012

At noon I walked to the park. The weather was a balmy sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Sitting on the curb were five of my friends and Shaggy. Chester and Eric walked by, but didn’t stop.

Joy approached to greet me, “Dennis,” she said, “we were so worried that something had happened to you. I didn’t see you this morning and now it’s 1:10, we always expect you at noon.”

I looked at my watch, “Joy, it’s 12:10, this is the time I usually arrive. I was running late this morning because it’s garbage day. I came by your spot at about 8:50, but you weren’t there.”

“We must have just missed each other. I was probably in Tim Horton’s, I had to pee.”

Outcast said, “All of us thought it was one o’clock. Yesterday, you came by early to see Nancy, but she didn’t come. Today, she came by, but you missed her, you arrived late.”

I wore a sweater, but after sitting in the sun for a while, I took it off. With the sun shining on the back of my black shirt I felt so hot I moved to the shade.

Joy said, “I didn’t like the way that Weasel was snapping his fingers at Stella. It’s his dog, if she wants to come over to see Bear, she will. That Weasel is such an asshole.”

Jacques said, “Stella has always been nice. She’s been coming around for a long time, fifteen years maybe.”

“Crash was around then,” said Joy. “A lot of people have come and gone. Jacques, it’s only you, me, Shark and Elaine who are the originals.”

Somebody asked, “Where’s Shakes?”

Joy said, “He’s gone to his ‘office’.”

There were three bees flying around Jacques. He said, “What do you want from me? Is it my beer you’re after? I may be stupid but not as stupid as that.” As he was swatting at the bees he knocked his beer over with his knee.

“This morning,” said Jacques “the cops came by. They ask me to pour out my beer. I tip it upside down and say, ‘It’s empty. I just save the can for recycling.’ They didn’t even check my traveling mug. It was full of beer.”

Outcast said, “I’d just opened a fresh beer, I took one swig. The cop said, ‘Take one swallow and pour the rest out.’ He still gave me a ticket.”

Joy said, “Rodent was by earlier. What a piece of work he is.”

Outcast said, “I don’t like him either.”

Jacques said, “You guys, nobody likes him, so why don’t you just kill him?”

I said to Jacques, “That’s a straight-forward, simple solution. Why didn’t anybody else think of that?”

Joy said, “That asshole, Chester, really gave me a hard time yesterday. He was drunk. He always gets abusive when he’s had too much to drink. I phoned him this morning and asked him, ‘Is everything alright with us? You were so angry last night.’ He said, ‘Everything’s fine,’ but he just walked by and waved. He said he’s going to pay ten percent on the hydro bill, so they don’t turn the power off. I gave him money for hydro, he spent it all on beer. He’s going to Rodent’s place now. Usually, when he goes out, he leaves me the electronic key so I can get into the building, but this time he didn’t. I have my own key for the inside door.”

I said, “Couldn’t Chester have a copy made for you?”

“He could, but I don’t even want to go there. I should be able to get in. I’ll just have to wait until someone unlocks the door; I’ll slide in behind them. I hate doing that. I feel like a thief.

“Next week I go to see my worker, it’s about getting my identification.

I said to her, “Jake, Andre and Hippo all needed their identification replaced. They only had to wait a few weeks. Why is it that I’ve been waiting since January?’ She couldn’t give me an answer. She said that she’d look into it.

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When extreme religious fundamentalists known as the Phineas Priesthood led by Ezekiel Yates and his three cousins, target Xantara Pembroke because they believe she is a witch, they launch a major conflict between unworldly disciples of good and evil. This 60,000-word, action-packed thriller shows the twists and turns of both sides as they try to destroy or save the souls of earth.

Imogene is the daughter of Xantara, a Guardian of Avebury Circle, an ancient monument near Stonehenge. For over three thousand years, wives of eight village families have performed ceremonies to heal local people, with power handed down from first daughter to first daughter. The Pembroke family encounter extreme prejudice from the Priesthood.

Braedon the village doctor is drawn into a world he didn’t know existed to protect his daughter. His wife Xantara keeps her secrets and causes conflict in the marriage.

All that is forgotten when Imogene levitates in Avebury Circle. Will the world believe Imogene’s incredible message?

This book has the potential to go viral!” Mike Smith of Creating Lifestyle!

  • “I just finished editing a thriller by an Australian writer Chris Sherborne, titled “Imogene’s Message.” I was so impressed with it that I offered to recommend it. This is only the second time I’ve done this in my 50 year professional editing career, so you can see that I’m enthused with her work. She has a good story, tells it well, and knows how to use good hooks and writing to keep readers engaged.” Don McNair
  • “Neither of us could put this book down, reading it in one sitting.” June & Peter Phillips
  • “Imogene’s Message is packed with excitement. I can’t wait for the next one.” Julie Lilley, UK



I rated this powerful and fast paced book 5 Stars

This is a very powerful and fast paced read. The characters are well-developed and the writing has a good flow. I was hooked from the start. I have enjoyed reading about religions past and present and the message in this book rings true. How many wars and atrocities are committed under the guise of religion? The Crusades is a good example, so are the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland. Many religions, Christianity included, have usurped the customs practised by a previous religious sect. Extremism in any religion is an excuse for discrimination.

This book is in the paranormal genre. The author, Christine Sherborne, did a very good job of suspending my disbelief in the supernatural. We can see all around us how discrimination plays a part in news events and in our personal lives. This book is a wakeup call to everyone to question everything and to act in the spirit of love. We are all the same, we seek happiness and an end to suffering. I recommend this book to everyone over the age of eighteen.


National Post, Dec 20, 2012

Canada rejects UN human rights criticism detailed in Amnesty International

Allison Cross | December 19, 2012 | Last Updated: Dec 20, 2013 9:27 AM ET
More from Allison Cross | @AllisonCross

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence announces the beginning of a hunger strike while on Parliament HIll in Ottawa, on Dec. 10.

Jean Levac / Postmedia NewsAttawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence announces the beginning of a hunger strike while on Parliament HIll in Ottawa, on Dec. 1



Canada is again rejecting criticism of its human rights record after the release of a report that highlights the longstanding issues facing Aboriginal peoples.

Three mandatory United Nations reviews conducted in 2012 all found “very serious human rights challenges facing Indigenous peoples” in Canada, says an Amnesty International report released Wednesday.

“By every measure, be it respect for treaty and land rights, levels of poverty, average life spans, violence against women and girls, dramatically disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration or access to government services such as housing, health care, education, water and child protection, Indigenous peoples across Canada continue to face a grave human rights crisis,” the report says.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs minister John Baird said it was odd the UN was using its resources to evaluate Canada.

“We find it strange that the United Nations Special Rapporteurs are devoting their scarce resources to countries like Canada, instead of countries like Iran and Syria where citizens do not enjoy rights and are subject to serious human rights violations at the hands of those regimes,” Rick Roth said.

“Our government has a clear objective to focus on freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world. We take strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations whether popular or not, and that is what the world can count on from Canada.”

In addition to the rights of Aboriginal peoples, Wednesday’s report says Canada needs improvement in seven other areas: women’s human rights, corporate accountability and trade policy, the rights of refugees and migrants, Canadians subject to human rights violations abroad, economic, social and cultural rights, the shrinking space for advocacy and dissent, and engagement with the multilateral human rights system.

Amnesty International recommends that Canada develop a national action plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Concerted action is needed,” Alex Neve, Secretary General of the English branch of Amnesty International Canada, said in a written statement.

“It will take leadership, and long overdue cooperation and coordination among federal, provincial and territorial governments. But it cannot wait any longer. Canadians whose rights are affected need assurance that Canada will meet the country’s international obligations.”

A spokesman for John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, said they too are anxious to see change.

“While we are making progress, we too are impatient to see more change that will benefit First Nation communities,” Jason MacDonald said.

“For instance, First Nations are calling for discussion on the treaty relationship between the Crown and First Nations. We agree that on this point more work is required. That is one of the reasons we have proposed to the Assembly of First Nations that we explore how best to work together on improving the treaty relationship.”

The federal government has taken concrete action since 2006, MacDonald said, which has included building 30 new schools and 10,000 new homes on reserves, investing money in safe drinking water systems and settling more than 80 outstanding land claims.

The report also chastises the government for its reactions to past visits from UN experts and independent committees, wherein politicians rejected advice and “insulted” those giving it out.

“In all instances, the suggestion was that because Canada’s record is not as bad as that of many countries, Canada’s record should not be internationally scrutinized,” the report says.

In May, a United Nations envoy who specializes in the right to food blasted Canada for failing to deal with the issue of food insecurity — criticism the federal government dismissed.

Critics questioned why envoy Olivier De Schutter bothered to visit a wealthy, democratic nation like Canada, given the number of other countries in the world coping with extreme hunger.

The envoy also highlighted the lack of appropriate food on remote First Nations reserves. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq called De Schutter’s advice “ill-informed and “patronizing,” referencing the fact that he didn’t visit Canada’s north.

In October, the federal government rejected UN claims that Bill C-10, an omnibus crime bill that included tougher penalties for youth, was too harsh for children. Earlier this month, Canada joined other Western nations in rejecting a UN telecommunications treaty amid concerns it would give governments teeth to control the internet.

National Post






22 May 2014

“Hi Chuck, sorry I couldn’t stop to talk yesterday. I was running late. Did you get your wheelchair fixed?”

“Boy, have I got a story to tell you about that. I’ve told you about Iris, the woman I visit sometimes? I think I have. Anyway, after we’re cremated we’re planning to have our ashes buried together, so she’s really special to me. She works for External Affairs. She phoned me to say that her boss was away. Well ‘when the cat’s away the mice will play’. She suggested that she get some Thai food and bring it over to my place. The wheelchair repairman was scheduled to come between one and two-thirty. That wasn’t convenient, but I need to have it fixed. He phoned at about two, saying he was finishing a job near by and would be along soon. By that time Iris and I are sitting in the living room eating. This guy comes to the door, takes a look at my chair and said, ‘What did you do to this hand control. It’s broken.’ That made me mad. I said, ‘I didn’t do anything to it.’ The guy said, ‘Well, you must have done something for it to be in this state. I kept my mouth shut, but in a few minutes this guy had accused me of something, then called me a liar. I would have punched him if Iris hadn’t been there. I was so embarrassed to have somebody talk to me that way in my home.

“I know how it got broken. Since I got it one of the rear casters has had a flat spot on it, so it pulls to the right. In the winter when it’s icy I go out the back way and there is a slope.  The chair slides and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sometimes it hits the wall. When plastic is brittle in the cold it breaks easily. If the guy had asked me in a polite way, I would have told him that. I phoned Sylvie, my worker, and told her about the situation. She said that maybe I was overreacting. She’d ask the guy to apologize. I said, I don’t want to hear from him. ‘If I so much as see that guy again there’s going to be a fight. Only one of us is going to come out alive and it’s not going to be him.’ I’m not worried, I’ve got a hammer and a long wrench. I’ll use them if I have to. I’m still mad about it.

I asked, “Is your wheelchair fixed?”

“No, that guy was just there to assess the job. They’re going to bring a new battery to my place this afternoon. It won’t be the same guy, but if it is, there’ll be trouble.”

I said, “I suppose you’ll have your hammer and your wrench handy.”

“I wont need them. I can do enough damage with my fists.

“I’m a small man — five foot six, one hundred and thirty pounds. I used to work in a men’s tavern as a waiter. Carrying those big trays of beer over your head really builds muscle. One time these two Americans came in, they were wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts, talking loud. I brought their beer over and one of them said, ‘I’ve been in this town before. I remember this woman, she had a strange name… Sinaed, that’s it. Sinaid O’Toole. We gangbanged her.’ Sinead O’Toole is my cousin.  I dropped the tray of drinks on the floor and went after both of them. It wasn’t long before they were  laid out on the floor.

The next day I was called into the big boss’s office. He asked, ‘Do you know what you’re here for?’ I said, “That scuffle that happened yesterday?’ He said, ‘There’s someone I want you to meet. I’d been facing his desk, so I hadn’t seen anyone behind me. He said, ‘Turn around.’ It was Sinead O’Toole who I hadn’t seen for thirty years, she’d moved to the States. The guy I beat up was her husband. She gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘That’s the sweetest thing that anybody’s ever done for me. Thank you Chuck.’ I’d been to their wedding. The guy recognized me and thought he’d play a joke. Some joke. This guy always had a big mouth.





“Good morning Chuck. Is it going to rain today?”

“That’s what they’ve forecast, showers later on. That means no work for me.”

“The last time we spoke you mentioned that you were writing out your will. How is that going?”

“It’s all done. There are just a few things I have to change. I’ve got two lamps with red globes. They have a nice light, but too low for reading. I want to make sure my girlfriend gets those. The other stuff is pretty much settled. I want to get everyone together so we can discuss it. I’ve got one daughter and four sons. There are a few things that I’m not sure who would want.”

I asked, “Is your wheelchair fixed?”

“No, it’ll be raining tomorrow so I’ll phone the shop, They’ll pick it up then return it to me in about a week. The paperwork all has to go through social services. I can’t stand those people, they won’t hurry anything. They’ll either agree to fix it, replace it, or they wont. It’s a piece of shit machine. It’s not even the one I ordered. What I ordered, and what I had before was a Quantum 6000. What they gave me was a Quantum 1402. There’s a big difference. When social services asked me why I accepted it, I said, ‘They had me in a room at the back, I had no way to get home. They forced me.’ I even told the worker, “I need that wheelchair. If I don’t get it, and I’m held prisoner in my home all winter, I’ll kill myself.’

“I’ve got it all planned out too. I’ll go to a strip club, have a cigarette, order a whiskey and a lap dance. If that doesn’t kill me, I’ll try again.  The last thing I see in hope to see in this world is be a nice, sweet pussy. That reminds me of a joke. This old guy phoned a call girl. She arrived and they were doing the nasty in his bed.  It was too much for him and he died. The case went to court and the judge asked the hooker what happened. She said, ‘We was a humpin’ and a bumpin’. He said, ‘I’m comin’, but he never said he was a goin’.

I asked, “Did you get any more of your antibiotics.”

“No, I didn’t. That’s something I’m going to do when I leave here. I also have to go to the grocery store and get a twenty pound bag of Cesar cat food, the dry roast kind. It’s the cheapest. Then I’ll also get some of the salmon, lamb and turkey flavored food to mix it with it. They even have  duck, wild boar & rabbit, maybe I’ll try some of those, see how she likes them. That will be Goldie taken care of. Then I’ll go to the drug store to see about my antibiotics. I still feel a bit snuffly.

A large German shepherd on a leash was crossing the street towards Goldie. She started getting very agitated. I patted her head. Chuck put his cap over her. He said, “Some of these dog owners should be shot. They don’t care how close their dog gets to me. Goldie will attack in order to protect me. Even when I tell them, ‘Keep your dog away from me!’ they’ll just mouth off saying, ‘My dog has every right to be here. On the bus the other night, this guy sat near me acting all important, doing stuff on his laptop. When he got up to leave he put his face right up to mine and yelled, “I don’t like your dog being on this bus!’

“Nobody knows the future, they could step off the curb and get hit by a car. In my case it could be three seconds and I’d be dead. Goldie is trained to let me know if I’m about to have a seizure, so I can at least sit down or lie down. Problem is, if I have a seizure, that’s it, game over.

I was riding along the sidewalk one day, and a woman opened her car door right in front of me. I was able to maneuver my chair so that  the door came right between my seat and my arm rest. There was only about an inch to spare. My chair wasn’t damaged, but I nearly took her door off. I told her, ‘There’s no damage to my chair. Don’t report it to the police, because you’ll be charged. Don’t report it to your insurance company, or your rates will go up. The least expensive thing to do is to just pay for the repairs to your car.’ She said that she wanted to call the police. I said, ‘Here’s my name and phone number. Do what you like.’ Well, she didn’t take my advice. In fact, she went right down to the police station and filled out a statement and signed it. Later, a  police woman phoned me. I said, ‘This must be the easiest case you’ve had. You’ve already got a sworn confession.’  She said to me, “Either you know a lot about the law, or you’re very funny.’ I said, ‘I know a pretty woman when I hear one and I coming over to give you a kiss.’ She laughed at that.






17 April 2014

The temperature was five degrees above freezing and the sun was shining. I took a walk to the park to see if any of my friends had come out of hibernation. I met Jacques, Little Chester, Little Frank and Mariah who insisted that I sit on her plastic box. She took a place on the sidewalk, cushioned by a blanket. It was a true reunion; everyone was glad to see each other and catch up with what had happened over the winter.

I asked Mariah, “How is Joy doing?”

“She’s okay, I guess. She has good days and bad days, just like the rest of us.”

I said, “Chuck Senior told me that she and Michelle got into a fight over fifteen dollars and a bus ticket. Joy was stabbed by Michelle.”

“A stabbing, I never heard about that. Here’s Joy on the phone now. You can ask her yourself.”

I said, “Hi Joy, how have you been over the winter?”

“I’m doing okay. It’s been too cold to come downtown to do any panning. I caught pneumonia again.”

I said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve been talking to Chuck Senior most mornings. He’d heard that you and Michelle were in a fight and she stabbed you. I guess it must have been somebody else.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what that’s about. I haven’t seen Michelle for ages and I sure haven’t been stabbed. It should be warmer next week, perhaps I’ll see you then. Could you put Mariah back on the phone?”

They finished their conversation and I asked Mariah, “How have you been? Is your back still giving you problems?”

“Generally , it’s better than last winter. The landlord fixed the heating, so I don’t have the problem with humidity, that I had before. That helps. My knee has been giving me trouble. Sometimes it feels like it’s burning.

“There’s still some crazy shit going on in the apartment. Last Saturday, at three in the morning, my bedroom light fixture came crashing down.  It just missed my head. The glass globe shattered all over the place. The first night I just wrapped the big pieces in a carpet and threw it in the corner. The next  morning I phoned my landlady. I said, ‘I’m sorry for phoning you on a Sunday morning, but one of my light fixtures just fell. I didn’t do anything. It just came down, all on its own.’ She said she’d send over an electrician to  fix that and install a new plug. The ones I have aren’t grounded.  I’m always tripping breakers. Having a light on and drying my hair will knock out the power. I don’t have access to the electrical panel so it means a lot of phone calls to my landlady. The house is over a hundred years old. She can’t even get insurance for it.”

“Do you think it was spirits that knocked down the light?”

“Yeah, they’ve been acting up. Stuff gets moved around in my kitchen. It’s time for another cleansing, another smudging. It’s all through the house. Joy hasn’t had problems with that little girl since we dealt with her last time, but Buddy is still knocking in the closet and there’s a black presence hovering around the place.”

I asked, “How about the guy who sits on the end of the bed and watches television with her? The one who hates paranormal shows?

“I haven’t heard about him, maybe Buddy sometimes comes out of the closet.

“Because I’ve lived there the longest — it’s coming on four years now — everybody comes to me with their problems. The woman next door, the one that Joy had problems with, came over and asked, ‘Do you know who’s been phoning the city bylaw office about my dog. Do you think it’s been Joy?’ I said, ‘No, Joy likes dogs. She wouldn’t report you.’

I said, “That’s the one that Joy calls ‘the stomper’. She always stomps around her apartment and up and down the stairs. There are a couple of guys up there as well. Joy figures she’s getting it on with both of them.”

The woman has anxiety attacks. Sometimes she’ll phone and ask if she can come over to talk. She says, ‘Mariah, you can always manage to calm me down.’ She can be a real pain in the ass.

“Even the landlady phoned and asked, ‘So, what’s going on?’ I said, apart from the door you had fixed that keeps banging, I don’t have any problems.’ She said, ‘That’s not really what I was phoning about. Is everyone getting along okay? Is there anything I should know about?’ I said, ‘No, everybody seems to have worked out their issues. If It doesn’t affect me, I don’t worry about it.’ We’ve gotten rid of the crackheads and the crazies, everyone gets along.”

I asked, “How about you Jacques? Have you been coming down here often? Have you seen anybody else?”

“I think it was last Monday that I came down. That was the only nice day we had. Nobody was here.

‘Tomorrow I’m meeting Stella at the Eaton Center. She has a microwave oven for me and a few other things. Apart from that I’ve been staying in. I noticed at the market that they have some hanging pots of tomatoes. I’d like to get some of those, but I don’t think I get enough sunlight. Just a couple of hours in the late afternoon. I don’t think that is enough.”

Mariah said, “I’ve  just got a small balcony. It’s not even a balcony it’s a walkway.  Everybody would be picking  at my tomatoes if I had some hanging there. I don’t think I get enough sun anyway. I guess I could hang them inside in front of one of the windows, but the air conditioning wouldn’t be good for them.

I asked Jake, “So, have you seen Shakes lately?”

“Why does everyone ask me about Shakes?”

Mariah said, “Perhaps, because you live closer to him than anybody else.”

“We’re in different buildings. I haven’t seen him for a long time.”

I asked, “Have you had any luck getting your furniture yet?”

“No, I fucked up another appointment. It’s been a year and a half now without furniture. Mind you, they did get me a new bed. That’s a good thing.”

I said, “I remember, your old bed was soaked with blood.”

“Yeah, from the time I fell on the scissors.

Jacques said, “You can get another appointment. Just call them.”

“Yeah, but it won’t be for another month. I’m back down at the bottom of the list again. I still use the air conditioner in it’s box as my table, or a place to sit.

“You’ll never guess what I saw the other day. I was riding my bicycle and I saw this crow or raven. It must have stood two feet high. I’ve never seen a bird so large. It really freaked me out”

Mariah asked, “Are you sure it wasn’t a turkey vulture? They’re big.”

“No, when it turned sideways I could see the bluish black in its feathers.”

Mariah said, “That would be a raven. They’re bigger than crows. We have some large ones that hover around the cemetery. That sounds spooky, right?”





23 October 2013

“Good morning Joy.”

“I’m freezing here. I got the really slow bus driver this morning. I had to wait at the stop until six twenty-five and he just puttered along. He didn’t get me here until six forty. The other bus driver comes anywhere between ten and fifteen after and he really zips along. I’m sometimes down here by six twenty-five. What time is it now. Please tell me it’s eight twenty. I asked a woman a while ago. She said it was ten to eight. I said that can’t be.”

I looked at my watch and said, “It’s eight twenty.”

“Oh, good. After I was talking to you yesterday I went to the corner to talk to Carl Senior. He asked me how I’d done. I said, ‘Not good.’ He handed me two dollars. He can afford it. He’s got two wheel chairs. He’s only supposed to have one. He’s got a couple of pensions. I’ve seen him walk. He’s not as gimpy as he lets on. I always feel creepy talking to him. Like this morning he said, ‘I took Sandy for a walk. She was more interested in two skunks humping in the bushes.’ Every conversation with him turns into sex somehow. He’s old enough to be my father. He was saying that Chuck Junior is on morphine now, for his broken rib.”

I asked, “How did he get a broken rib?”

“He was drunk, got the shit beat out of him. Whenever I’ve had a broken rib –The broken rib I have still gives me trouble sometimes, especially if I sleep on it. — They never give me morphine. It makes me sick anyway. The last time I was in hospital they had me on a Gravol and a morphine drip. I’d pump myself full of Gravol first, then pump myself full of morphine. That was nice, but Demarol is nicer.”

I asked, “Have you been talking to anyone else? Did you go to the park yesterday?”

“No, yesterday I went to Metro, bought six boneless pork chops, some toilet paper rice and mushroom soup. One pork chop is a meal for me. The others I threw in the freezer. I cooked the rice, mixed in the mushroom soup, that, with the pork chop, was my supper. Not bad.

“I also got in contact with Canada Care. I can’t get Jake’s wheel chair until I can provide some kind of access to the basement. They said they can be covered, but there’s the chance of theft. They said the battery would freeze, but I told them I’d bring the battery inside, doh. I know that much about batteries. I didn’t ride a Harley, without learning anything about maintenance.

“I’m going to start looking for a new place.”

I said, “You couldn’t go through your worker, because of Jake’s restraining order.”

“No, I’d have to find a place on my own. I’d need Jake to pay half the rent. I’d make sure we get a two bedroom, so I could have my privacy. It’s just that this is the first time in forty-eight years that I’ve lived on my own. I’m not good at it. You understand?”

“Yeah,” I said, “like Snake and Irene. He always has his own room where he can hide.”

“I tried to phone Jacques this morning, because Stella is coming down. I wanted to know what time he’d be here. For some reason, I always get his number mixed up. I dial three, six instead of six, three. This guy answers. I say, “Hi, is Jacques there?’ He said, ‘No he isn’t. Joy, you’ve got to quit fucking up this number.’ I say, ‘Sorry.’ “

I asked, “How did he know it was you?”

“One time I called that number and said, “Hi Sunshine, it’s Joy. Get your ass out of bed. Did I show you the music player Jacques gave me. I can plug this into Big Jake’s lap top to charge it.  Right now I’m nearly through CCR, then it’ll start playing Neil Diamond. I only like a few of his songs, like ‘Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.’

“I finally heard from Hippo. He hasn’t been at his mother’s place. I didn’t think he had been. She can’t stand him. He was downing a bottle of C.C. He admitted, ‘Okay, Joy, I’ve been at my apartment. I’m afraid to go out. Afraid I’ll get robbed. I figure everybody is out to get me.’ I said, ‘Talk to your worker, man. Call the police. You can’t be held hostage in your own apartment.’ He said, ‘I bought a mini hatchet.’ ‘Dude,’ I said, ‘you’re breaking your probation. You were charged with attacking a cop with a hammer. Do you think they’re going to look kindly on you carrying a hatchet?’

“Anytime the cops come to my place. — I guess I’m red flagged…”

I asked, “What does that mean, that you’re dangerous?”

“It’s crazy. I’ve never attacked a cop. I know better than that. They ask, ‘Joy, do you have any weapons here?’ I tell them straight out, ‘Yeah, I’ve got half a pair of scissors in that drawer, the other half is on the window ledge. Under my bed I’ve got a hammer and a heavy steak knife.’ They say, ‘You know you’re not supposed to have any weapons in your apartment.’ I say, ‘I don’t carry them outside. If I was in the States, I’d be allowed to carry a gun. I could shoot anybody for just for entering my place. I’m a woman living alone, in a basement. The second place any robber is going to enter is my bedroom. I get scared.’ They usually leave it at that.

I asked, “Did you say you keep a stake under your bed. How big is it and how heavy?”

“Not a stake, a steak knife. One of those big, tempered ones with the serrated edge.  It’s the one I use to cut all my vegetables with, then I put it back under the bed. I shortened the handle, so I can grab it quicker.”

“This really isn’t a conversation I should be having. You’re not wearing a wire, by any chance, are you?”

“No, and I never would.  The reason is, I’d be afraid to. I’d have good reason to be afraid.”

“I’d go home right now if Stella wasn’t coming down. She’s got some winter stuff for me. Hopefully, some winter boots and a parka. I’ll be meeting her at the World Exchange, Shakes, Jacques, Little Jake and Snake will be there. I want to get some smokes from Snake.”

I said, “It’s time for me to go.”

Joy said, “Put our hand on my shoulder, to help you get up… You can put more weight on me than that.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Joy.” She waved.





On my way to the park I met Bearded Bruce and his girlfriend Inuk. “Dennis, mate, I haven’t seen you for ages. How’ve you been?” Being the bear that he is he gave me a big bear hug.

I said, “I’m, doing well, same old, same old. I managed to get away to the lake for a week, apart from that, nothing special. How about you?”

“We’re doing well.”

Inuk said, “It’s so good to see you.”

Bruce said, “Tomorrow, I’ve invited all my friends over for an English breakfast, a fry up we call it, pancakes, eggs, sausages, home fries. It’ll be good to see everybody together.”

“Dennis,” said Shakes, “do you know what happened to me last night? It was just after Dave left: he’s my downstairs neighbor. I heard a knock on my door. I thought, maybe Dave had forgotten something. When I opened my door I saw my landlord standing there. He said, ‘I don’t want any more smoking marijuana in the halls.’ I said, ‘I don’t smoke marijuana in the halls. I don’t even smoke cigarettes in the halls, not even when I’m coming in from outside.’ He said to me, ‘If it happens again you’ll be evicted.’ What do you think about that.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that, Shakes. He didn’t see you smoking in the hall, so there’s nothing he can do.”

“I think when Dave left, the fumes escaped into the hall.”

“You’re allowed to smoke in your own apartment, or on your balcony. He can’t do anything about that. I even smell marijuana on the bus in the morning. How well do you get along with your landlord?”

“Last night is the first time I met him. Not a very good start, is it?”

I moved down the line to talk to Mariah and Joy.  “How are you feeling today, Joy?”

“I still feel kind of rough. I didn’t come down this morning. I took one look out the window and decided, I don’t need to be out there, so I went back to bed. Mariah woke me at 10:30. I seem to have become nocturnal lately. I’m awake all night and sleep during the day.”

I asked, “Have you heard any more knocking in your closet?”

“No, not since Mariah did the thing she does.”

I asked, “You mean the cleansing?”

“Yeah, I guess that’s what it’s called. Mariah, I’ve got something to tell you. I guess I’ll say it right here. This morning when I was fixing the couch. like I have to every morning since fat-assed Jake broke it. I pulled out the two sheets of cardboard and the blanket. I saw a spot on the blanket. I picked it up and squished it. It had that rotting wood smell of bedbugs. I freaked out! I was jumping around, screaming and swearing. I don’t want to go through another episode like I did at Chester’s. I looked all over, but only found the one bug and he was dead.

“The only person I know of that came from a place where they have bed bugs is Big Jake. He was staying at the Sally. That’s another thing I have to thank him for. I wanted to tell everyone, just in case.

“Mariah, can I borrow your phone. I want to phone Hippo. I tried six times yesterday and didn’t get an answer.

“Hello, Fat Boy, I’ve been trying to call you. Did you go home for the weekend? Has your mommy been over? How are you fixed for food? Nothing? Do you want to come to my place for supper? No? You’re going out? Your loss then.”

Shakes said, “I’ve heard strange noises in my apartment.”

Mariah asked, “Was it while you were sober?”


“Maybe it’s Weasel and Silver roaming around in the ether.”

Shakes said, “I don’t know what it is.”

Joy said, “Loretta is getting very chummy with Hawk, lately. Every time I go to see him she’s there. Maybe Hawk is giving her weed  in trade. She wanted to come to my place, but I told her I’d probably have to kill her.”

I asked, “She isn’t drinking is she?”

“Not yet, but she wants to. It’s just her boyfriend who’s keeping her sober. She said to me, ‘How about if I come to your place and bring some Rev?’ I know what would happen she’d guzzle that blue Smurf piss and then go wild. Then I would have to kill her.

“Yesterday, Mariah invited me up for a barbecue. Charlie asked, ‘Will there be enough food? You know how little I eat. His brother was visiting. He used to spar with Mike Tyson. He’s a bit punch drunk.”

I asked, “Does he still have his ear?”

“You’ll have to ask him that. I heard an interview with Mike Tyson a while back. I’ve never heard anybody sound so stupid in my life.”

Richard and Yves stopped by. Yves offered his left hand for me to shake. I asked how’s your hand coming along?”

“It’s not too bad, a bit swollen from working this morning. My landlord came by to inspect the water damage in my bathroom, from the leak they had upstairs. I said, ‘Just leave me the stuff and I’ll fix it. You might as well, I’ll have to redo it anyway.’ So he left me a container of mud and a gallon of paint. I’ve been sanding all morning.”

I asked Mariah, “Did Jacques give you that electronic cigarette Yesterday?”

“Yeah,” she said, “I’ve got it right here.

Joy said, “Let me try that. Yuck, it tastes like cherry? Who’d want to do that to themselves.”

I said, “I  thought Jacques said it was mint?”

Mariah said, “No, see the pink swirls. That means it’s cherry. Mint would be green.”

I said, “Yesterday I Googled them. They cost upwards of fifty bucks.”

Mariah said, “If you get them from the pharmacy — the ones with nicotine — they may cost fifty, but this one is disposable. You can get these for thirty or forty.”




This afternoon at the park I met Shakes, Little Jake, Jacques, Joy and Mariah. The grass was slightly damp from the morning rain, but I sat down anyway.

Shakes said, “Dennis, I met a friend of mine yesterday. His name is John, but I’ve always called him Tom Sawyer. I don’t know why. I told Danny that He was going to spend the night at our place. The only thing that Danny said was, ‘Just make sure that my portfolio is put in the bedroom. That’s the only thing I’m worried about.’ I gave Tom Sawyer two bus tickets and said to the bus driver, ‘I don’t have a pass.’ He said, ‘That’s okay, just take a seat.’ He even gave me an all day pass, because we had to transfer.”

I asked, “Do you always get the same bus driver?”

“No, but they’re getting to know me.”

Jake looked different for some reason. I said, “Jake, you’re looking very stylish today. Your hair looks nice, You’re wearing an orange shirt.”

“The only thing I did different today was to take a shower. Jacques gave me the shirt.”

Joy said, “There is something freaky going on at my place. I hear knocking inside the closet. My sofa keeps moving away from the wall. I talked to Stella about it yesterday. She said, ‘Maybe It’s kids playing a prank.’ I don’t think so.”

Mariah said, “It’s the house. It’s over hundred years old. I’ve had problems with a presence in my place. Sometimes cans are moved around. One time, everything on the TV was brushed to the floor. I can feel cold spots in the room. It just means that it’s time for a cleanse. I’m trying to get Charlie to leave. He smokes a lot of pot. I have to be free of all of that stuff, purify my body and clear my mind. I leave one door open. Then I meditate.  I’ll ask who is there and what do they want. Then I tell them that it’s time to leave. I think there is more than one spirit. It’ll will be quiet for a few months, then things will start happening again.

“Charlie is at the doctor’s today. He has to have a TTI (Tissue-type Imaging). They think he has some type of blood and bone marrow cancer. He’s already had his gall bladder removed.

“That’s why I had to move from New Brunswick.  I had a sunroom upstairs. It was the only room that had windows on two sides. I put my plants there, some on tables, others hanging in the window. It was like a forest in there.

“I was downstairs and I heard the sun room door slam, I didn’t think anything of it. I figured it was probably a draft, so I got rubber door stops to keep the doors open. Some months later I heard the door slam. I thought to my self, It’s winter, there can’t be any drafts. The house is sealed tight. I went up to  investigate. The door was closed and the door stop was across the room. All of the plants had fallen to the floor.

“When I was in school they thought I was some kind of whiz kid. I never took books home, never studied. When it came time for a test I knew all the answers. Sometimes I’d come into class and I’d see what they were doing. I’d ask, ‘Didn’t we do that yesterday?’ I was having deja vu.

I’m part  Mí’kmaq. Whenever I’m in the forest I hear drumming. Nobody else hears it.

Surrender (Cheap Trick song)

Surrender (Cheap Trick song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3 July 2013

On the bus home I met Little Jake. I said, “Hi, Jake, I haven’t seen you for a while.”

“Yeah, I haven’t been down to the park. I’ve been staying at Debbie’s place. The other morning I was walking the neighbor’s four-year old, black lab. I’d never walked him before. He was on a leash but, he just took off. I ended up on my ass, I scraped my arm and tore something in my shoulder. I can barely lift my arm now.”

I said, “I suffered something similar when I was hit by a car. They called it a torn rotator cuff. It took about a month of physiotherapy before I was able to raise my arm, and months before I had full use of it.”

“The worst thing is trying to sleep. I always seem to roll over on that side and the pain wakes me up. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in days.

“I haven’t been drinking all week.”

I said, “That’s a good thing. What made you decide to stop drinking?”

“It’s staying with Debbie. She’s a heavy drinker. If we’re both drunk it’s like oil and water; they don’t mix. I figured if I wanted to stay there, the only thing to do was to stop drinking.”

I said, “I was at the park at noon, so was Matches, Lucy, Little Chester, Gene and a guy named Keith. Do you know him?”

“Keith? Yeah, I know him.”

“Lucy’s been staying with Matches. He said she’d be safe there.”

“Yeah, he’s stayed at her place so I guess he’s returning the favor.”

“Have you seen anything of Daimon lately?”

“Yeah, I saw them both today, they were pretty wired. I hope they don’t try to rob Matches. I think I’ll drop in on him tonight to see if he’s alright.”

“I worried about that too. They have a habit of beating and robbing people. Remember, that’s how Daimon got his ankle broken. He and Lucy were trying to rob Buddy. That was a mistake.

“How’s your ear, where Danny punched you?”

“It’s still bleeding. I should get that looked at.”

We were passing Lebretton Flats. Jake said, “Look at that, they’re setting up for Blues Fest. I love going there.”

I said, “That’s a place that Matches loves to go. He always finds someone to get him drunk and get him high. Except for the disaster in 2011 when the winds blew down the stage for Cheap Trick.”

“Yeah, that was something. We sere watching them, then all of a sudden the stage just started to lift. Then all hell broke loose. It’s a miracle that nobody was killed. One roadie was injured.”

I asked, “Have you had any luck with your worker getting you furniture? It must be ten months now.”

“Actually, I put the kibosh on that. When my lease runs out at the end of August I’m going to find a new place.”

“Don’t you like your apartment?”

“I love my apartment, it’s just too far out. It takes me too long to get there and too long to get downtown. I don’t know anybody out there except for Matches. He lives two buildings down. I get lonely. I want some place closer.’

“it’s more expensive downtown; isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it’s more expensive, but then I wouldn’t have to pay so much for bus fare. I only got out at four this afternoon. I panned for two hours and do you know how much I made?…one dime. A buddy of mine was out for four hours and he made forty cents. Problem is, our regulars aren’t around; they’re on vacation. There are lots of tourists, but they don’t give a shit. They’re not going to see us again.

“Jacques still owes me fifty bucks. I’m going to have to get that from him so I can get my bus pass. I know he’s good for it. I even borrowed money from him to buy some pot. That’s desperate, eh?”

The man sitting in front of us turned around and asked, “You wouldn’t have any extra pot you could sell would you? I’ve only got a few bucks, I guess that wouldn’t buy me very much; would it?”

Jake said, “I only got enough for myself. I’m just going home to get high.”

I asked Jake, “You haven’t seen Joy recently, have you? I haven’t seen her since last Wednesday. I know she was going to see Jake. I just don’t know how that’s going to work out for her.”

“With Joy, you never know how things are going to work out. She can be nasty sometimes. I don’t like to say it, but she brings on a lot of trouble to herself. She’s always down on somebody.”

“Yeah, last Thursday she left because Magdalene was there drunk.”

“I remember that. I was sure there was going to be a fight.

“My stop is coming up, maybe I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll be there.”

“Bye, Jake.”