7 December 2017
When I approached Ted he was reading the newspaper. I said, Hi, Ted, what’s happening in the world?”
“Oh, not much. I got a box here for you to sit on. I’ve got a bitch of a toothache. I went to the dentist yesterday to have a root canal. He said ‘I’ve already done five root canals, I don’t want to do any more. I’ll finish your fillings instead.’ I thought that was odd, but he’s the dentist. He even repaired my worn down teeth. It feels strange, but chewing is a lot easier and I don’t have those gaps where food used to get stuck.
“I fucked up my drinking. I’d gone twenty-nine days sober then got blasted, so I’ve started again; I’m on day six now. It was all that stress of getting rid of my last roommate. He stayed seventeen days, ate my food, drank my beer, borrowed money then skipped out on the rent. I’ve had it with roommates. Don wants to move in, but I said no way. He asked if he could just come over for a beer and I told him three times on the way to my place, ‘I’ll let you stay for a couple of hours then you go.’ He didn’t have any bus fare so we walked. It was embarrassing, he’d go from one side of the sidewalk to the other looking down for things that people may have dropped. I asked him, ‘Why don’t you get a worker like I have. They’ll show you places, fill in your forms, help you get furniture.’ He didn’t want that. He’s barred from all the shelters for fighting.”
I said, “That’s the kind of roommate you want to stay away from.”
“Yeah, I’ve thought of getting a woman. They’ll still eat my food, drink my beer and borrow money, but at least there’ll be benefits.
“Did I tell you that aa guy pulled a knife on me. It was on the same corner where another guy got stabbed. This guy is a booster; he steals stuff. I wanted some fishing equipment. I’d written a list and this guy said he’d get it for me. I saw him the next day, he was with his girlfriend, he didn’t have my stuff. He said, ‘I got a twenty dollar serloin tip steak. I’ll sell it to you for ten dollars.’ Now, the normal break for stolen goods is one third, but the guy said he needed diapers for his baby. ‘Well, I said, since you need diapers I’ll give you the ten. I’m waiting to go fishing so I want the other stuff by tomorrow.’ He agreed. The next day I saw him he said, ‘I don’t have your fishing gear, but I got some gift cards, one for a hundred and one for one twenty.’ I was pissed off, I said, ‘I wasn’t born yesterday, there could be any amount on those cards or none at all. Keep them and get me my stuff or I’ll get someone who can.’ That was when he pulled out his knife. It wasn’t opened. I pulled out my can of mace and said, ‘Go ahead, try to stab me and I’ll blind you.’ He settled down after that.”
I asked, “Where do you buy mace?”
He said, “At any hunting supply store. It isn’t the kind the cops use. What I have is coyote and dog spray. You can also get bear spray. That would be stronger.” He showed me the can. It had a safety switch and the plunger was designed so that there was no danger of spraying yourself in the face.
“I’ve caught a lot of fish, they’ve really been biting. First thing when I wake up in the morning I think of fishing. My freezer is full. I think I’m over my limit, but I’ll have to check the regulations. This weekend I’m going to invite a bunch of my friends over for a fish fry.”
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