Rubber Dick



9 October 2013

At the park the sun was shining, weather was warm, another day of the summer we never had.  Mariah said to me, “We heard that you were sick. Joy is at home sick, too. She has a migraine and her stomach is upset.”

I said, “I heard that you weren’t feeling well.”

“With me it was back pain. I have no coccyx. It was removed because of an accident in my wild youth. I’ve also got two fused disks L1 to L2 and two herniated disks between L3 to L4 and L4 to L5. I was wearing a heating pack for thirteen hours yesterday. It feels better now. It’s something that’s always going to give me trouble.”

I said, “Joy told me that Hippo had some problems at his apartment.”

Little Jake said, “Yeah, one guy was evicted, now everyone is down on Hippo. They think he had something to do with it.”

I said, “He also had a problem with two women outside his apartment. He heard them say that they were going to break in as soon as he went out; so he was afraid to leave.”

Mariah said, “Joy was really pissed off about that. Here’s a big guy who chases after cops with a hammer and he’s afraid to deal with a couple of women. He wanted Joy to come over and settle it. She wouldn’t come over and I wouldn’t either. I didn’t do it for my son, who was having trouble with a woman. Why would I do it for Hippo? I’m not going to risk jail time for that. I can get into enough trouble on my own. He’s acting like a baby.”

Jake said, “You should have seen me this morning. I stayed at Shark’s place last night, so I just had a short bike ride this morning. When I woke up I was still high. I only had my jean jacket with me and it was really cold this morning, especially with the dampness of the fog. I needed money so I was panning at my usual spot. I was sitting hunched down with my arms around my shins trying to get warm.  I was shivering so much, my chin was banging against my knees. Jacques laughed at me and gave me this coat.”

Jacques said, “Yesterday Bell fixed Joy’s phone. I don’t know what they did. Today, they call me and ask me if her phone is working. I called Joy this morning to see if she was coming down, but why is Bell calling me? I said to them, ‘Her phone is working, but don’t call me again! Call her!’ She has one of those wireless phones. Stella gave it to her. I think, maybe, after a while, the battery is not good. I don’t know.”

Andre rode up on a copper-colored bicycle. Mariah hadn’t seen him since he battered Joy, and put her in hospital. She said, “Do I greet you the old-fashioned way, or do I give you a hug.”

Andre said, “I’m in no shape for anything but a hug.”

To me Mariah said, “The old-fashioned way is either a punch to the gut, or upside the head.”

Andre said, “Look what a guy gave me this morning. He said I was… what’s the word… inventive. It’s a mini basketball backboard that some guys use in their offices with nerf balls. The hoop just fits my cap. I sit there and say, ‘Take your best shot!’ People throw loonies and toonies (one dollar and two dollar Canadian coins). I’ve made two bottles, two grams, a pack of smokes and a couple of bags of chips. When the cops come I just fold it up and sit on it. ‘No officer, I’m just sitting here. I’m not panning.’ I show them my bad ankle and say, ‘I couldn’t stand if I tried.’ They let me go with that.”

Jake said, “That looks like a fast bike!”

Andre said, “It’s the old red and black one I had; I just changed the color. It sure is fast, alright, it’s got thirty speeds. Count the sprockets, three in front, ten at the rear. It’s fast enough to clear three construction workers.”

I asked, “What do you mean?”

“I was coming down that hill. My brake cable came loose. I could see this big pile of gravel ahead, but I couldn’t even stop for the light. I just cruised right through. I kept trying to pump my rear brake but it wasn’t doing anything. I hit the pile and sailed right over these construction guys. They were shouting at me, but what could I do? The bike went right between the electrical box and a hydro pole. I managed to jump the first concrete median with my front wheel, but the back wheel caught. That’s where the bike stopped. I kept going; ended up on my back sprawled like a beetle, arms and legs waving. I didn’t have a single scratch on my arms or my hands, but I broke my ankle. There was  a cop near by. He came over and said, ‘Yep, that’s broken.’ ”

I asked, “Did he take you to the hospital?”

“No, I hate hospitals.  I just rode away. I’ve got it wrapped in a tensor bandage. I’m able to rotate my ankle, I just can’t walk. I’ll have to ride the bike wherever I want to go. You should have seen when I had Mary on the handlebars and got up to top gear. She was shaking and holding on to those bars like her life depended on it — and it did.”

Sylvain came by and sat with the group. He pulled out a beer and opened it. Little Jake said, “Would you mind hiding that. We come here every day.”

Mariah said, “We call Sylvain and Yves the pair of chickens, because they covered their balcony with chicken wire to keep out the pigeons. What else do you call people who live in a chicken coop?”

Jake said, “I think I’m going to dress up on Halloween as a mime. I can’t talk so good anyway, because of this sore throat. With HIV it’s not going to clear up soon.”

Andre said, “I think I’m going to put on a dress and go as a transvestite. It won’t even surprise people. Most have seen me in a pink dress with a black and white polka dot bra. When a cop stopped me the other day he said, Where’s your dress, Andre?

“A couple of years back, I made a costume out of chicken wire shaped like a beer bottle. I made a cap out of styrofoam, wrapped the chicken wire with brown paper, then used markers to make the label. My arms stuck out the sides. I made two of them. I went as Labatt Blue, Mary went as Labatt Light. We came in second place.

“First place went to a guy dressed as a rubber dick. Under his costume he had a squeeze bottle attached to a tube. He also had some Alka Seltzer and water — you know how that stuff fizzes when they’re mixed? Remember the commercial ‘plop,plop, fizz, fizz’?   When he was on stage for the final showing, he squeezed the bottle and it started spurting and foaming from the head and running down the shaft.”

I asked, “Did they award prizes?”

‘Yeah, a thousand for first, we got five hundred and a guy dressed as a werewolf got two fifty. His costume was good. For us it was free drinks all night and some left over.”

To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.
Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People



Frozen Joy

To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.
8 October 2013

Before I was half way across the intersection Metro yelled to me, “She’s there — or at least she was — she may have gone home because it’s too cold.”

“Thanks Metro.”

“Hi Joy, how are you feeling today?”

“I’m coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose; besides that I’m fuckin’ freezing. I’m still having trouble breathing. I’ve been using my green inhaler, but that makes me dizzy. I cooked a small steak last night, but I could only eat a few bites. I’d been coughing so much that I got air in my tummy and chewing made me nauseous, so I just went to bed.

“My apartment is freezing. I can’t spend another winter like last year, and I don’t want to go to hospital with pneumonia. I’m going to have to get  one of my regulars to spring for a heater. I can’t live like this. I spent most of Sunday trying to sweep water down the drain from all that rain we had. I had a huge puddle right in front of my door.”

I said, “Won’t your landlady turn the heat on?”

“Last year her husband came down with a thermometer and said it was thirty degrees. If I can get her to spend thirty minutes down there she’ll see it’s not thirty degrees. My lease ends in November. I don’t even know if she’ll renew my lease. I’ve been really good, haven’t caused any problems. There’s no reason for her not to renew my lease; but I don’t know.

“How’s Mariah?”

“I don’t know I didn’t see much of her. Charlie has been in and out, going to the store.”

“I thought she kicked him out?”

“Yeah, she did but he’s back, just like a dirty shirt.”

“Have you heard from Hippo?”

“Yeah,  he phoned once on Mariah’s phone.  He’s one of those people who phones, then he doesn’t say anything.  ‘Hi, whadya doin’ Joy?’ I said, ‘Look dude, This isn’t my phone; I can’t talk that long. If you got something to say spit it out, man.’ He says, ‘Well there are a couple of women hanging around outside my place. I heard them say they were going to try to break in as soon as I leave. They were wondering what kind of stuff I have.’ You know the size of Hippo. I said to him, ‘Look dude, it’s two chicks, You can handle that.’ I’ve seen those two broads. One’s a black chick. There is an alcove outside Hippo’s apartment. They do tricks up there and everything. He said, ‘But Joy, I don’t hit women.’ ‘Dude, I said, first of all these aren’t women! Second, if they’re causing trouble phone the super or the cops!’ ‘I can’t do that, Joy. I’m no rat.’ I said, ‘Then leave your place. If they break in then you can call the police.’ He can always ask his worker for an emergency relocation. That’s what I’d do. I don’t mind getting in someone’s face, but I haven’t got down and boogied for a long time. Sure, I can scrap, but in the time it took me to walk to Hippo’s place, they’d be gone. The last thing I need, is to go to jail again for assault.

“Do you hear Sandy barking? He’s Chuck’s  dad’s dog.  I could use him down here to scare off the pigeons.”

I said, “Yeah, the guy in the wheel chair, I usually say hello to him, but I don’t think he recognizes me.”

Joy said, “He’s okay, but he always asks me why I don’t kiss him on the lips. He asked, ‘Is it because I’m too old?’ I said, ‘Well, uh, yeah! I don’t kiss anybody on the lips. I’m not fuckin’ you. You don’t pay my rent and you’re my brother by another mother’s old man.’ I didn’t even kiss my own father on the lips, mind you, he was a pedophile.

“Earlier, one of my regulars gave me a bag with a blanket in it. It’s not new, it’s about fifty years old. She said her mother wrapped her up in it when she was a child. Inside it was a big can of chicken soup.

“Do you eat cranberry muffins. Somebody gave me this. I can’t eat them. Do you want it?”

I said, “Sure. Thanks.”

Jacques and Annie stopped by. He pulled out a bottle and offered Joy a drink. He said, “Oh I forgot, this isn’t the kind you drink.”

“I don’t drink that dry shit.”

“It’s still sherry. Just because it’s a better brand doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

“It’s not a better brand, they both cost seven ninety-five. I just prefer it sweeter.”

Joy said to me, “I just need two more bucks, then I’m out of here.” One of her regulars, a tall well dressed Australian man, dropped her a one and a two dollar coin.”

Joy smiled, “That’s it. I’m out of here.”



Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People




To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.

4 October 2013

“Hi Dennis! She’s there!”

“Thanks, Metro! Have a good weekend!”

As I approached Joy she got up, waved and said, “I’ve been sitting here with my legs crossed, waiting for you to get here. I have to go to the pizza place.”

When she got back she said, “That’s the fourth time I’ve had to go there. It was really crowded. I had to duck around customers, waitresses. There was this lady, maybe the owner’s wife, was waiting for me when I came out. She asked, ‘Couldn’t you use the washroom in the library?’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve got a sick tummy and the library’s locked.’ Does she think I’d go there if I had any choice? I’ve seen come crackheads flaked out there. It used to be that the outer doors to the library would be opened at six o’clock for the workers in the office tower, but now they have a security guard. You have to prove you work in the building before they’ll let you in.

“This is Casual Friday, isn’t it? Why do I still see women wearing these tiny mini skirts. If I had a choice I’d be wearing jeans and a tee-shirt. Humans, you just gotta hate ’em; at least I do.”

I said, “Where I work, if we want to pay two dollars to charity, we can wear jeans, but we’re not allowed to wear tee shirts. We can wear golf shirts with collars. There’s still a dress code.

“Did you hear about the stabbing in front of the grocery store? Some guy named ‘Rocket Robin’ stabbed someone. The other guy was short,  talked a lot and had no front teeth, so I thought of Andre.”

“Yeah, he’d fit the description all right. That’s the corner where Jacques and I turned  off to go to his place. Shakes has been beaten up there a few times. It’s usually been Sharon. They went out together for about seven years. When she’d see him panning, she’d kick him in the head. She’s a real piece of work. Have you seen her, piercings all over her face?”

“No, I don’t think so, although I’ve seen lots of women with piercings.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of out of style now. I had eight piercings in my ear. I did them all myself. This one in my nose I got because my son gave me a diamond stud. I was in prison with this hopped up crackhead chick. Instead of punching her in the face, I held my nose under cold water and just pushed it through. I had to shake my head a bit after that one. She didn’t last long. Some other chick beat her up. Having a chirped up crackhead chick in a mellow work yard is a definite mistake.

“I also had a piercing in my tongue. It was kind of a nuisance. The longer I had it the bigger the hole got. When the barbell came through the hole by itself, I figured it was time to let it heal over.

“After we left Jacques place, he wanted to go to the park to get some Jamaican patties. but I wasn’t up for that. I just went home to bed. This cold is still hanging on and I haven’t been sleeping well. I woke up  at one o’clock and was tossing and turning all night. I must look it now. Do I?

“No,” I said, “you look the same as usual.”

“That’s good. Deaf Donald’s mom came by this morning. She said to me, ‘Your so-called friend kicked Donald out of his apartment the other day.’ I said, ‘Yeah, after Donald flipped out and threatened to kill Chester.’ If Yves wasn’t there he probably would have really hurt him. She said, ‘It’s okay, I arranged for another apartment for him.’ He’s pushing forty, it must be nice to have a mommy who pays for his apartment, all the hearing aids he’s lost, his bail for all the times he’s been thrown in jail.

“Chuck Senior, in his wheelchair, was panning, across the street, where Silver used to be. He was waiting for one of his regulars. This guy, Sylvain, was hanging around and said, ‘I see you got a twenty-dollar drop from that bitch in the black coat.’ That’s the way he talks. He’s just waiting to go back to the Talbot Jail in Sherbrooke. I said to him, ‘Why hang around? If you don’t like it here, go back there now.’ ”

I asked, “Do you have any plans for the weekend?”

“No, I’m going to to pick up some groceries, after that it’s home. It’s supposed to rain all weekend.   How about you?”

I said, “I’m going to try to get rid of this cold by laying on the couch and watching Sons of Anarchy.”

“I love that show. You’ve got to get me a copy of that somehow.”

Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People



To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.




3 October 2013

In his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, author Malcolm Gladwell  states ” Addicts can articulate very well the consequences of their behavior. But they fail to act accordingly. That’s because of a brain problem… Damage in the ventromedial area causes a disconnect between what you know and what you do.”

This morning, as I approached Joy, she stood up from her box, waved and headed to the restaurant. She must have been waiting anxiously to go for her pee break. When she returned I asked, “Did I miss anything at noon yesterday?”

“No, I didn’t go up there. Jacques and I saw Stella then went over to his place. I still haven’t seen anything of Hippo. He got his check, was going to get a bottle then come to my place, but he never showed. He probably got shitfaced and was picked up by the cops. He’s probably in jail now.

“Mariah kicked Charlie out again. He was just a waste of space. She’s been sick with a cold and she also has Chron’s Disease. When I saw her last, she was doubled up with pain. She doesn’t have the time or energy to take care of somebody else. Last night, I heard a thump on the floor, so I went to her door and knocked. I could hear Precious meowing and meowing, but nothing from Mariah. I knocked again and called out, ‘Mariah, are you alright?’ She said, ‘I’m okay, Joy, I’ve made it from the bedroom, half way to the kitchen. I’ll be fine.’

“I used to be able to check on her by phone, but I still haven’t got things sorted out with Bell. I called them yesterday from Jacques’ place. I was talking to some lady from I don’t know where. First of all, I didn’t know the internet account, so I had to go home and get our bill. I didn’t know it was just two extra digits to the phone account. You’d think they’d have that on record. I was trying to arrange an appointment for someone to come over. She said, ‘I can have someone over there between eight and four.’ That’s no good to me. I have to make some money. They’re coming over on Monday between one and five. I’ll just have to wait.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with the damn phone. I’m not good with things electrical.  I’ve paid so frickin much money to them already. It’s practically brand new. Stella gave it to me. I didn’t keep the box, but it’s not like I’ve been kicking it around or anything. The center button and the two outside buttons are flashing, but when I pick it up I’ve got no dial tone. Sometimes I think it was better before I was human and just lived behind the dumpster. I didn’t have all these things to worry about. I don’t even miss the television. It’s all repeats now. It was nearly as good when I just had my dvd player.  I’d be watching the same old stuff all the time, but at least it was decent stuff.

“I’m also still going through this mentalpause stuff. That makes me bitchy, and I start crying all the time for no reason, like right now.  I remember when my mom went through it.  She was really hard to live with then. We knew to just stay away from her during those times. She had it really early. She had a hysterectomy when she was twenty-nine.

“I also have to pick up a card today. Yesterday it was Jake’s and my seventh anniversary of being together. He sent me a card it said Happy Eighth Anniversary. I said to him, ‘You dumbass, it’s only been seven years. This means you owe me a year.’ Maybe I’ll make a card. That would make it more personal, right? It wouldn’t seem cheap, would it? They say it’s the thought that counts.  I can’t afford a card anyway.”


Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People




Muffin Maker – 2 October 2013

To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.
2 October 2013

“Joy’s here today, Dennis.”

“Thanks, Metro. Have a good day.”

Joy was bobbing her head, looking the other way.  I said, “Hi Joy!”

“Geez, you startled me. Jacques did the same thing earlier. Can you imagine a guy that big trying to sneak up on someone.”

“Was he wearing his orange pants, khaki shorts and lime green shirt?”

“Yeah, that seems to be his uniform of choice these days? He’s coming back, then we’re both going back to see Stella. She’s got some things for me. I asked him, ‘You just came from that direction, now we’re going back to the same place. Why didn’t you just stay there?’

“See that guy across the street, the one with the shaved head and red bandanna. He really freaks me out . He’s got a teardrop tattoo under each eye. He stops by and asks me for smokes. I said, ‘Do you think I’d be panning here if I had any extra? Take a seat across the street and pan for yourself.’ He grumbled a bit then moved on. He looks like a guy that would have offed a few people. He’s got that crack walk too.”

“What’s a crack walk?”

“Well when I was on crack, I was on my feet all the time, hardly ever slept. I kept getting blisters on my feet. With most people who use crack it’s the same thing.”

I said, “I’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy on TV. Is that true to life?”

“Yeah, it sure is. Especially the woman who used to play Peg Bundy (Katey Segal), with the scar on her chest. You see lots of scars. I’ve seen her interviewed on some program, she’s really aged well;  she’s gorgeous. My stomach looks like a jigsaw puzzle after being stabbed with a saw-toothed machete, My leg being hacked with a hatchet… I’ve got scars all over.

I asked, “How was your weekend?”

“Quiet, this cold has really got me down. Migraines, weak. sore throat, stuffed up, coughing. Mariah’s got it too, only with her it’s coming out the other end. I hope I don’t get that next.”

I asked, “How’s it coming with your health card?”

“I can’t get a hold of John. He says he’s coming over, then he doesn’t show. I phone him, get voicemail, leave a message and he never gets back to me. I figure, if you’re going to help somebody, you help them, you don’t just leave them dangling.

“Yesterday, Hippo phoned. He had his welfare check and bought a bunch of groceries. I said, ‘Great, come on over. I’ll cook.’ I waited until about seven. He never showed. It’s a good thing I still had time to thaw some of the stuff I had in the freezer, or else I wouldn’t have been able to eat.

“I got a letter from butthead. I can’t find the envelope to write him back. I’ll have to go to the John Howard Society to get his address. I looked all over for that.  Usually, I stuff letters back into the envelopes they came in.”

“So how is Big Jake doing?”

“He’s in Joyceville still. He said he’ll be getting out around November sixth. I thought it was going to be in January. It’s been two years since we’ve had Christmas together, so I guess that’s a good thing. I feel sorry for the guy, but my apartment is too small for two people. He’s up all night and sleeps all day.

“How’s he doing with his hip?”

“It’s bad. He’s in a lot of pain. He was scheduled to be first on the list to have a hip replacement, but then he went back to jail, so, now he’ll have to start the process all over. If he’d only kept up the phone calls with his probation officer, he wouldn’t be in there now; not very bright.

“My upstairs neighbor, the guy is being friendly with me now. When we meet on the stairs, he nods, but now Josephine, his girlfriend, is stomping down the stairs. So I go back to slamming doors.

“That’s a weird situation up there. They used to have separate apartments. Then the landlady’s daughter moved out. She had a three bedroom. They both moved into that apartment, then her girlfriend moved in. I think the guy is doing the girlfriend when Josephine is out. None of them seem to be working.

A man, one of Joy’s regulars, stopped by. He handed Joy a muffin. “Thanks,” she said. After he passed she said to me, “The guy’s mother isn’t a good muffin maker. This will be pigeon food, unless you want it. Maybe, I’ll save it for Jacques.”

Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People





To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.



27 September 2013

At the park it was hot,  the kind of weather we wished we’d had in summer. I sat on the sidewalk with six of my friends and two dogs.

Chuck said, “I was listening to Doc and Woody on CHEZ FM. Every Friday they pick the ‘Bonehead of the week’:

This week’s Bonehead of the Week comes to us from…where else…Florida! A Deltona man was a little short on cash when he went to pay his water bill. Soon, the entire water department was shut down because of an unknown powder – which turned out to be crack. In an envelope. He had tried to pay his water bill with crack cause you know, the street value was probably even more than he owed on his water bill!

Another one was

…about a local lad. Seems a 19-year-old burglar kicked in the window of a Bells Corners hair salon to steal $50. In doing so, he cut his foot. So he went a couple of blocks away and called 9-1-1 for his small laceration. The cops were able to put two and two together rather quickly, and he was arrested. 

Stan, wearing roller blades, was watching a man, with his foot on the curb, bending over to tie his shoe. Talk about boneheads, do ya see the size of the wad sticking out of that guy’s back pocket? I’ve been timing him. He’s just waiting to get robbed.

I said, “So, that’s why you’re wearing the roller blades.”

“Yeah, once a day, just to keep in practise. Sometimes they just make it too easy.”

Shakes made a comment to Chuck who said, “We’re having a conversation here, Shakes. Talk to Jacques.”

Shakes continued, “Does anybody want some pizza? I go to this restaurant where they give me all their leftover pizzas. There’s more than I can eat.”

I asked, “Aren’t you staying with Bruce, doesn’t he have room in his fridge for the extras?”

“Well, I am, but that’s just temporary, anyway there’s only so many days you can eat pizza, then I just throw it out.

“Yesterday I offered to clean out his fridge. It really needed it. He said, ‘Go for it.’ I threw out three big jars that had once had beets in them, but all that was left was about an inch of juice in the bottom, so I chucked them. When he checked the fridge he asked, ‘Where’s my beet juice?’ I said the jars were empty, there were no beets left. He said, ‘It’s the juice I like. Now, what am I going to put on my french fries?’ Have you ever heard of that, beet juice on french fries? ha ha ha ha ha.

I asked Mariah, “Have you had any more problems with spirits?”

“They’re still there, coming and going, but they haven’t been bothering us.”

I said, “I guess that Joy’s been sleeping well then?”

“I don’t know. She’s not here today because of women’s problems.”

Shakes passed a folded grocery flyer to Jacques, who passed it to Chuck, who passed it to Mariah.  He said, “Mariah, can you roll me a joint? I’m a bit Shaky this morning?” She opened the flyer. In the crease was a line of crumbled weed and a rolling paper. She rolled the joint.

I said, “When I was a smoker I always used to roll my own cigarettes.”

Chuck said, “It reminds me of prison. The first day they’d hand you a packet of Drum tobacco, rolling papers and a pack of matches. Then they’d say, ‘Now, don’t go burning the place down.’ Ha ha ha ha ha.

“I had to borrow some money from my dad this morning. I said to him, “Daddy, can I have ten bucks. I’m flat broke and I need to buy a bottle.” He pulled out his wallet and I could see that it was stuffed. I said, ‘You might as well give me a twenty so I can buy two bottles.’ If he’s going to show me his money, of course I’m going to ask for it. No point asking for too much or he’d just say no, but if I ask for a little bit less, and he agrees to it, I’ll always ask for extra. Ha ha ha ha ha.”

“I owe four hundred dollars on my television bill. If I don’t pay them at least two hundred they’re going to cut me off. I also have a drug bill of sixty dollars. I’m not going to be able to pay both. Maybe I’ll ask Buckk if he can wait until next week I’ll be getting a GST (Goods and Services Tax) refund on Tuesday.”

I said, “Now’s the time to ask him.”

“Buck, can I hold off paying you until next week, or the end of the month?”


I asked, “Did you mean the end of this month, or the end of some month?”

Mariah was rearranging her TENS Muscle Therapy pads. She uses them for  muscle massage on her back. “These work as well as a massage.  I paid about a hundred and sixty for these, but the price has really gone down now. I think you could probably pick up a unit like this for a hundred and thirty.

“That sun is really getting to me. I got a beer in my pack, but I don’t even feel like drinking it.”

Chuck said, “Did you hear that massage therapy is covered under our Sunshine Cards?”

I asked, What’s a Sunshine Card?”

Mariah said, “It’s what we call our medical disability health cards.”

“Yeah, ” said Chuck, “some guy was going to a massage parlour and, sure enough, she was running the card through her machine and giving him a receipt. Only, he wasn’t getting massages, he was getting blow jobs. Can you imagine, the government paying for blow jobs? He was going every week. Some guys really know how to work the system. It’s a good way to relieve tension. I think they put a stop to that pretty quick, or else I’d be there right now. Ha ha ha ha ha.”

Mariah said, “I don’t go for massages, but I go to my ‘chiro’ every once in awhile, when my back acts up. That’s covered.”

Chuck said, “The problem with ‘chiros’ is that they make you feel so good — even better than you feel normally — so that’s how they keep you coming back.”

Stan watched a young woman walk by, talking on a cell phone. He shouted to her, “Hey! you’re not really talking to anybody. You’re just trying to look important, ‘She said, she said, she said…’  Faker!  Faker! Faker!”

Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People




Un-bearded Bruce

To avoid missing posts and promotions, please subscribe using the form at the left. If you have previously subscribed, please subscribe again to this revised site.
19 February 2016

“Matey, have a seat,” commanded Bruce. “I’ve cleared a space, you can sit on my bag. It’s okay folks, just a couple of bums, sitting, having a chat.”

“Hi, Bruce, I notice that you’ve shaved off your beard. What inspired that?”

“She told me to do it.”

“Who’s she?”

“Loretta, my girl, she said that you were talking to her yesterday. I think I was talking to you a couple of days ago. I don’t remember. I was too drunk.”

“Yeah, she told me about you pounding on the door. When she opened it, you were rolling around in the snow.

“Is there any chance of you getting back on Welfare?”

“No, I don’t want it. It’s just a crutch. There wouldn’t be any point in me leaving my apartment if everything is paid for. I still get my disability allowance, my ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program). Part of that is paid directly to my landlord. I still have $320 a month to make up. Loretta helps. She pans where you saw her yesterday and I’m just across the street in Weasel’s old spot. I don’t charge her rent, but she’s been staying with me for the past five months. She’s stayed clean and sober the whole time. She still has her weed.

“See that couple panning across the street? You know who that is don’t you?”

“I can’t see them very well.”

“It’s Shakes’ daughter, I don’t remember which one. I had a bit of a dust up with them earlier. I guess they had some sort of disagreement then he jumped up and started hitting her, really punching her. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a man who hits a woman. There were lots of people standing around, but nobody did anything. I saw some with their cell phones out. They may have been phoning the police — I don’t know. Anyway, I pulled him off her and started pounding him. Then she jumped on my back and said, ‘Stop hurting my boyfriend!’ I can’t figure these women out, just like Joy getting back with Big Jake.

“I’ve known a guy for about ten years. I just found out that he has nine kids. He’s on the street because he doesn’t want to pay child support. I said to him, ‘Take some responsibility. Haven’t you heard of condoms?’ I don’t have anything to do with him any more.”

I saw Trudy, Anne’s daughter walking towards us. I waved.

Bruce said to her, “Just keep walking.” To me he said, “That’s another one I avoid… Here come the cops! We better not be seen sitting here.” We walked to the end of the block.

“Yeah, they’re picking him up, throwing him into the squad car. I’m glad to see that.”

Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People