I don’t want anything to do with you

 

14 August 2017

“Hi Dennis,” said Ted, “My vodka is finished. I tried a few bottles It’s really potent, but it didn’t kill me and I didn’t go blind.”

I said, “You can regulate the alcohol content, can’t you?”

“Yeah, I did. I added more yeast.”

“If you wanted it less potent you could add distilled water, couldn’t you.”

“Yeah, but why would I want to do that?”

“It does seem to be counter productive.”

“That’s a good way of putting it. I only had eight bottles, so I’ll hang around the liquor store and wait for customers who are returning empties. I don’t mind paying them the regular refund price.

“I came down today because my worker has arranged for me to get a new set of keys. I had a woman stay over about a month ago. She ran out of cigarettes and dope. I gave her forty bucks. My keys were on the kitchen table. She took them on her way out; she never came back. I don’t mind about the forty dollars, but I’m lost without my keys. I told my worker that I lost them, so she talked my landlord into giving me a special deal. If she’d said they’d been stolen it would have cost two hundred dollars. There’s the electronic outdoor key, the mailbox key and the swipe pass for my apartment, plus they’d have to replace all the locks. By telling him they were lost he’s charging me fifty for the keys and twenty-five for the swipe pass. When I get that taken care of at noon I can go get my bed. I can’t do that until I get the keys.

“I’ve been having fun with Julia. I met her a couple of weeks ago. She wanders around topless and has a lot of piercings. She has piercings everywhere. She has piercings in places I didn’t know you could get piercings. She said to me, ‘Ted, you should get a piercing through your cock.’ I said, ‘There’s no way I’m going to do that.’ Can you imagine?”

“There’s no way I’d get that done either. I hurt myself enough by accident. I don’t want to pay to have someone hurt me.”

“Anyway, that first night I talked to her — I’d seen her around before but we’d never been introduced — she he sat down next to where I was panhandling. I said to her, ‘I don’t mind you sitting here, but you’re going to have to put your top on. It makes me uncomfortable and I’m sure my regulars would feel the same way. We had some wine then she asked me if I had a place. I said, ‘Yeah, I have a place.’ We went there, smoked a few joints and she started taking her clothes off. She just doesn’t like being dressed. When she took off her shoes there was a terrible smell. I’m not just talking about foot odor, this was rotten. Two of her toes were bandaged. I’ve taken first aid courses so I took the bandages off and it was a mess. She was supposed to go back to the hospital two days before to have her bandages changed, but didn’t bother. I had her soak her foot in an epsom salt bath. The water was filthy. I had gauze so I rebandaged them and applied antibacterial cream, but I’m not a doctor. He told her that if she didn’t take care of them they’d have to be amputated. I saw one of the outreach workers today and asked if he knew Julia with all the piercings. He said he knew her. I said, ‘For christ’s sake, get her to a hospital to have her toes looked after.’

“Another thing, she was drug sick and so shaky that she couldn’t use a needle. I was on that stuff, but not for the past ten years. I figured if she kept trying on her own she’d miss a vein and create an embolism. You can die from that. So, I shot her up, quite a few times. She lay down and I covered her up. She slept about five hours, woke up, we talked then she slept for another six hours.

“Before she left this morning she said, “We should do something regular.” I said, ‘I got some movie passes. Do you want to go to a movie on Friday?’ So that’s what we’ll be doing.’

“I was really pissed off with Roger this weekend. We were going fishing then we figured on hanging around to see the fireworks across the river. Quebec doesn’t want people from this side of the river to see the fireworks for free, so they put up a steel fence where the rivers join, that’s where we usually fish. We walked across the bridge to the island. It’s controlled by First Nations people. A guy stopped us and asked why we were on their property. I said, ‘We’d like to watch the fireworks and do a little fishing while we wait.’ ‘Certainly,’ he said, ‘you’re Canadians, you’re welcome here.’ So, we continued down a trail to the point where we had a good view and a place to fish. Roger set up about fifteen feet behind me. I caught some nice pickerel, watched the fireworks for about an hour and a half, then went back for Roger. His backpack was there, but there was no sign of him. Everybody else had left the island. I was worried. We’d both had a lot to drink. There were slippery rocks. I thought he may have fallen in the river. I spent about an hour looking for him. That’s just the way I am. I’ve been trained you never leave someone behind, but I’d searched everywhere so I went back to our regular panning spot near the hotel. There was Roger, sitting like there was nothing unusual. I said, To him, ‘You stupid fuck, where’d you go?’ He said, ‘I got bored and decided to leave.’ I asked, ‘Did you not think of letting me know. I found your backpack and thought you may have fallen in the river.’ He said, ‘I never thought of that. I’m sorry.’ I said, ‘Stay away from me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t come around me.’ THe next night I was panning near the hotel and he came by. I held up my hand and said, ‘No, stay away. I don’t want anything to do with you.’ He left, but I’m sure he’ll be around tonight.”



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New Batch

 

14 August 2017

“Hi Dennis,” said Ted, “my vodka is still bubbling. I gave it a stir this morning. It’s supposed to be between seventy to eighty degrees. I’m at the bottom end of that, maybe that’s why it’s taking so long. I could get a heating pad. I’ll see how it goes. After that there’s an additive to stop the fermentation and a filter to clear it. My new batch of wine is really good. I took a bottle to my friend up the street. She’s always good to me. There were these other two guys there asking, ‘Can I have one? Can I have one?’ They were loaded to begin with. I said, ‘I’ll sell you a bottle for ten dollars.’ They checked through their change and said, ‘We’ve only got six.’ I said, ‘I’ll let you have this one for six, but next time it’s ten.’ Do you think I did the right thing? I don’t know.

“After that I panned in front of the hotel. There were a lot of guys holding hands and some gorgeous women, but, like a friend advised me, ‘Look for the Adam’s apple.’ Sure enough this woman had an Adam’s apple. I didn’t care, they were handing me fives, twenties, I ended up with a hundred and sixty dollars. I guess that Pride Week starts next week so I got a schedule of the events and I’ll make sure I’m there. Is that okay?”

“I think it’s okay Ted. I don’t see that you’re doing any harm.”

“After that I met a gorgeous woman. She’s thirty-two years old. We went over to my place, had some wine. She asked if I had any drugs. I said, ‘I have some meth.” That didn’t appeal to her so I gave her sixty bucks and she went out and got what she wanted. I don’t know what it was but she was really buzzed. She cleaned my whole apartment. It’s never been so clean. She stayed the night and I’m going to see her again this afternoon. She’s really nice. If I treat her right she might be a keeper. Who knows?”

“I see you have a guitar. Do you play?”

“No, a guy I know was short of cash so I loaned him forty bucks and he left his guitar as collateral. He’s never come back so I’m going to give it to a friend who put me up for seven months. He wouldn’t take a cent for rent.”

“It’s a semi hollow electric bass. I don’t recognize the brand, but it’s probably worth a couple of hundred dollars.”

“I’m not going to sell it. I’ll give it to my friend.”



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Baby Blues

 

11 August 2017

“Hi Dennis, I’m in recovery mode this morning. I’ve been hitting my homebrewed wine too hard. Fuck, that’s potent stuff. I let it ferment eleven days longer than I was supposed to. Maybe that’s what made it so strong. My vodka should be ready in three days. It’s really frothing up in the metal container. I’m going to stay away from drinking that stuff. It’s too hard on me.”

“Do you plan to sell it?”

“Yeah, that’s the idea, to make extra money. I’ve thought of offering it to the people in my building. There’s a group that hangs around the back wall, drinking beer and smoking. I’ve had problems with landlords before. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have a lineup of noisy drunks coming to my room at all hours.”

I asked, “Do you have a bed yet?”

“No, I was supposed to go Tuesday, but I was too drunk. I was supposed to go yesterday, but I had a visitor. Marcia came over and stayed the night. I can’t keep up with her. I don’t know what mental problems she has but she gets an injection from her doctor once a month because she can’t remember to take her pills. I can’t even have a conversation with her. She’ll be laughing then ten minutes later she’ll be screaming at me. She doesn’t listen. I can see it in her eyes, maybe she’s thinking about what to say to me next.”

I said, “She’s probably taking other drugs as well.”

“You bet. She asked for some meth yesterday so I gave her half a tab. Fifteen minutes later she was screaming for more. She was into my wine too. I gave her a bottle, but took a big swig out of it first. A full bottle will even put me out. She saw the big glass container in the fridge and wanted more. Just because I’ve got a lot doesn’t mean we have to drink it all at once. I’m a drunk, but I’ve got a level where I’m still functional and I quit drinking there. Not her.

“Then she started getting upset about her kid. She had to go to court to sign a form releasing the baby for an additional six months. I told her, ‘Sign it off permanently. You’re in no shape to take care of a kid. Let it go to a family that can give it a good home, take care that it’s fed right.’ Marcie wasn’t allowed to breast feed because of all the junk in her system. She looked at me kind of funny. I told you that there is a possibility that I’m the father. I can barely take care of myself.”

I asked is Marcie still staying at the women’s shelter?”

“She does the rounds. One week she’ll stay with her mother, the next week will be the Shep then the other place.”

“If I knew for positive that it was my kid I’d find some way of taking care of it. I’d take the blood test, offer financial support. My mother, brother and sister would insist on helping. My sister would probably take it.”

“I told you I’ve still got that tiny mattress. I’ve also got five sleeping bags piled on the other side of the room. I said, ‘You sleep there.’ She flipped out at that, called me a queer because I didn’t want to sleep with her.”

“I know a lot about mental illness but I don’t know what her problem is. There’s no way I can help her. Maybe I’d have to take courses. I can’t stand to be with her for too long. She’ll probably be by this morning with an apology.”

“The good news is I’ve been out fishing. I caught some nice sized pickerel the other day.

u



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