28 May 2014
I shook hands all around. “Dennis,” said Shakes, “you didn’t shake with Shaggy, hahaha.”
“She knows I love her,”
“Here’s a cushion for you,” said Jacques.
Shakes said, “You know, I’m staying at the Shep now. They served a big breakfast today, eggs, sausages and home fries. They had the big sausages,” making a circle with his thumb and forefinger, “like that. I put one in my pocket for Shaggy. First I asked Wolf if it would be alright. He said, ‘Okay,’ then I gave a piece to her. She’s been looking at my pocket ever since.”
Jacques asked, “Shakes, have you talked to your worker about getting a new place?”
Shakes shook his head (yes).
“What did she say?” asked Jacques.
“I find out on Friday. That’s when she’s going to tell me. I hope I can get a place soon.”
Jacques said, “You know it’s almost a year since I’ve been in my castle. It’s not really a castle, it’s a bachelor, but to me it’s my castle. June first, that’s the day I moved in last year. I love it there.”
I said, “It’s nice that you have a balcony.”
“Yes, I love my balcony.”
“Do you have room to make your rice and raisin wine there?”
“I have the room, but my doctor says I’m not to drink so much. So, I drink until I run out of money, then I go the rest of the month without. He said to me, ‘If you drank more expensive liquor, you’d drink even less.’ I said, ‘Yes, but I like it my way.’
Wolf asked Shakes, “Are you going for a pack of smokes?”
Shakes nodded (yes). “Can you do a count for me?” He hauled a handful of change out of the inside pocket of his leather jacket and put it in a pile on the sidewalk. “How much do I have there?”
Wolf counted, he said, “You got five eighty-five. How much do you need? What’s your price?”
Wolf said, “Here’s two, you got ten cents more than you need. Now, are you going for smokes?”
Shakes said, “I’m going. I just need a cigarette first.” To a man walking past he asked, ‘”Excuse me, can I buy a cigarette from you? Ma’am, can I buy a cigarette?”
Wolf said, “I don’t want to rush you, but fuck off already. I’m waiting for a smoke.”
“Hey soldier, can I buy a cigarette?”
Wolf said, “I guess since you’re the one going, I shouldn’t be trying to hurry you. I’m just, what is it they say? — busting your balls.”
Two men from the Innercity Mission stopped by. One was driving a refrigerated vehicle, powered by a bicycle. “Would anyone like a sandwich, a bottle of water? How about you, Shakes. Is there anything you’d like?”
“A sandwich please, but not egg. I like scrambled eggs, but not hard boiled or sunny-side-up. I can’t eat those. I don’t know why.”
I said, “Maybe it’s the mayo you don’t like.”
“No, give me a can of ham and some mayo — Jake’ll tell you — I’ll go through that like nothing flat.”
“Wolf,” the man asked, “anything for you?”
“Water, please, and one for Shaggy.”
Shakes said, “I’ll take one for Shaggy too. Do you have socks? We’ll all take a pair of socks. Shaggy needs two pair.”
Jacques said, “When I had my dog, Star, women would get mad at me if I called her a bitch. They’d say, ‘ That’s no way to talk to your dog.’ Id say, ‘But, she is a bitch, that’s what female dogs are called. I didn’t make it up.’ “
Wolf said, “Women get mad at me when I call the Queen a bitch.”
Jacques said, “That’s something we agree with. So, we don’t have to go to war now, France against Germany.”
Wolf noticed that the man in the red vest was wearing a Montreal hat. “That was some game last night, man? We stayed alive over the Rangers in game five. It was too much stress. We had them 4-1, then Nash, Stepan and Kreider all struck within four minutes to even the score. I was tearing my hair out. I put back six beer before the end of the second period. I was throwing empty cans all over the place. I calmed down a bit after Bourke put in two. Then Desharnais scored on an empty net to end the game 7 -4. So, now we wait for them to meet in Game 6 on Thursday in New York.
“Thanks for the water and the socks.”
Jacques said, “I don’t like those guys.”
I asked, “Why is that, Jacques?”
“Sometimes they come by and ask everyone but me, if they want something.”
I said, “They asked you today.”
“Yeah, but I still don’t like them.”
Jacques asked Wolf, “How much do you pay for your smokes?”
“If I buy Du Maurier, or Export A, it’s twelve bucks, but I only get them on check day. I bring them here and share with everybody. Other days, I buy natives for seven bucks.”
“So, it costs me less for my one gram of pot a day, than it does you for your cigarettes.”
Wolf said, “I never thought about it that way, but you’re right.”
Jacques pulled out his pot pipe. “Once, when the cops came by, I was holding this in my fist, but they noticed the end sticking out. The cop asked to see it. He asked, ‘Do you have anything to put in this?’ I said, ‘No, I have to go downtown to buy some.’ Maybe I should have asked him if he had any. You know, it’s not illegal to have a pipe, as long as there’s nothing in it. I scraped the bowl with a screwdriver. I got nearly half a gram. That makes a good smoke, that stuff that gets caked around the edge, but I don’t like the resin. I tried those water pipes. I don’t like them… and when they put wine or cognac in them, ugh, it makes me sick.
“I think I’m going to make this pipe flatter on top.” He rubbed it back and forth on the sidewalk. “See, when it’s shaped it’s white, but when it’s handled, the fat from people’s hands turns it dark green.
“Shakes, do you still have that big pipe I gave you?”
“Yeah, I still got it at home.”
“Dennis,” asked Shakes, ‘Would you please help me up. Can you go to the liquor store for me? I got the money.”
“I could have gone earlier, Shakes, but I have to get back to work now.
“I’ll see everybody tomorrow.”