30 September 2014
I approached Chester, sitting precariously on a box. “Dennis, have you got a card?” His blue eyes looked distant. I wasn’t sure if he could see me. Later he asked, “Dennis, can you help me up?”
I asked, “Chester, are you sure that’s a good idea?”
Debbie said, “Can some more people help here?” Chester was standing, but he was ready to fall on his side. We led him to the curb and helped him sit down. He immediately toppled over. Since the breeze was cool Wolf draped Shaggy’s blanket over him.
André rode up on a bicycle. He announced, “I’m too drunk to walk, so I decided to ride. I’m not doing so good. All morning people have been coming to my place bringing booze.”
Little Jake said, “Babysitting, first Chester, now André. I hate babysitting. Mind you, I’m drunk too. I’ve been feeling good lately, that’s why I decided to splurge, but my money is dwindling low.
“I’ve been drinking a lot of milk lately. I went through one of those big bags in no time.”
I asked, “Don’t you usually drink milk?”
“Not usually, but I had a couple of boxes of cereal to finish. I couldn’t very well eat it dry.”
André asked Jake, “Have you got ten bucks?”
“I owe you thirty, but I only got two twenties. Give me ten back.”
“Yeah, okay. See Dennis, it’s good being drunk. I’ve forgotten all the people who owe me money. It’s a nice surprise when someone pays me back.”
Wolf asked, “So, Dennis, are you following the hockey draft? Do you have any interest in hockey? I missed you last Friday. I was looking forward to some donuts. I got so wasted, I’m still ashamed of what happened. It’s past now. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“What book are you reading?” I asked Wolf.
“You know, I’ve been drunk for so long, I haven’t been able to read much. I started a book, The Assassins (The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller). I haven’t read much, just the first few pages and the back cover. It’s really fascinating, the author says that there was a group responsible for all the assassinations of US presidents, from Lincoln through to JFK. There are a lot of details to keep in mind. I wasn’t up to that.
“You know me, I’ll get myself straight. For a while, I won’t leave my apartment, I’ll tidy the place. All I’ll do is read. I just have to figure out when to do that.”
Chili was on her cell phone. “We should get someone to take Chester home. How do I phone the Salvation Army?”
Outcast said, “Just phone 311 and ask for Outreach.”
“They said, all the workers and the van are out.”
Outcast said to Alphonse, “Help me get him up near the bridge. They’ll pick him up in an ambulance. If we leave him here the cops will come and we’ve all got open booze. I’m surprised that they haven’t been here already, it’s been nearly a week since they’ve visited.”
Alphonse said, “They know we’ve been paid, so they’ll be checking all the usual places.”
Debbie asked Jake for a cigarette. He pulled out a plastic margarine container. Took off the lid and passed her a cigarette. He whispered to me, “See how she touches my hand when she takes the smoke. She’s always doing that.”
Jacques was going through the Metro flyer planning his grocery shopping. “They’ve got cod for $6.99 a pound and salmon for $3.99 each. What I’d really like is a big chunk of Emmental cheese.”
Wolf said, “I’m really not into fish, but I like their frozen meals, two for five bucks.”
Jake said, “There used to be a place not far from here that made the best fish and chips. They served them in newspaper and had a big hunk of cod on top. The chips were hand cut and cooked to a nice golden color. Each batch was made fresh.
“Dennis, you see how we’re always talking about food when you come. I guess it’s because it’s lunch time.