16 April 2013
It was raining this morning, so I wasn’t expecting to see Joy, but there she was in her usual place. I said, “I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you’d stay at home because of the rain.”
“I was up early and didn’t have anything else to do, so I came here. It rained three times and it stopped three times. Who knows what the rest of the day will be like.
“Boy, I’m really glad you came, I’m near to busting with having to go to the bathroom. Can you watch my stuff?”
“Sure, you go ahead.”
When Joy returned I asked, “So, did you talk to your workers? Is there any news about getting you furniture?”
“Yeah, that’s set up for 1:00. The only thing I haven’t done is the dishes. I’ll do them before they arrive.
“I saw the guys yesterday. Jake threw Shakes out of his apartment. Shakes has lived outside all his life, he doesn’t know how to act inside. Jake doesn’t have furniture, just an air conditioner, still in its box, but just the same he likes his place kept tidy. Shakes was flicking his cigarette ashes everywhere, grinding his butts out on the hardwood floor. It’s not his fault. It’s just the way he’s lived all these years.
“Chester came with Raven, but as soon as she saw that Jacques had money she went with him. Chester wasn’t too happy about that. Before they left Jacques said, ‘Maybe, me, I get to play with a little pussy this afternoon.’ I’m just glad that I’m single and celibate, no cooties for me. Some of the women these guys go out with — they’re not pretty — most you’d have to double bag, and I mean Hefty bags.
“Can you mail a letter for me? It’s to my youngest son, he lives with his older brother. I’m trying to get some communication going between us. The others I haven’t heard from in a while. One’s up in the Northwest Territories, working in a gold mine. He was raised by my sister and sent her a huge nugget. She had it appraised at $20,000.00. I said, ‘Hold on to that, he’s going to need that for college.’
“I saw Andre yesterday, while he was still sober I said to him, ‘You know there is never going to be anything between us. You’re like a brother to me. Do you understand that?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I guess so.'”
“So, do you think he got the message this time.”
“I hope so.”
At noon it was still misty, as I passed a bus shelter I saw Tom and Shakes. “Hey, it’s been a long time, man!” said Tom.
“Yes it has. Shakes do you have your hydro turned on yet?”
“Yes I do. That Friday that it went off, I phoned my worker and said, ‘I want my fuckin’ hydro turned on. It’s a long weekend coming up. How would you like your fuckin’ hydro off for that long. I’m going to be out this afternoon, but when I get home for supper the fuckin’ hydro had better be on.’
“You told her, Shakes!”
“Yeah, I sure did, ha ha ha.”
“So, Tom, have you been panning near the mall?”
“No, did you hear what happened to me there a couple of years ago? I wanted a Happy Meal from McDonalds, but I was a bit drunk and I knew they wouldn’t serve me. I didn’t have any money, but I had just been to the pharmacy and had my prescription for Percocet renewed. I asked a guy going into McDonalds if he used Percocet. He said, ‘Yeah!’ I asked, ‘For three percs would you buy me a Happy Meal?’ He said, ‘Sure!’ What he did was go straight to this big security guard and told him I stole some Percs from him.
“The security guard came out and tried to put his hands in my pockets. I wouldn’t let him and pushed him away. Another security guard came along and grabbed my arm. The other one kicked my leg from behind and broke it. It was sticking way out to the side. They put me in cuffs and phoned the police. I managed to squirm my way, with the broken leg, to a pay phone. With the handcuffs behind my back I was still able to pull myself up, knock the receiver off the hook and dial 911. I said to the operator, “This is Thomas Pelletier, I’ve been beaten by security guards and they broke my leg. I need an ambulance. The operator said they had already received a call and an ambulance was on its way.
“By that time the police had arrived. They wouldn’t listen to anything I said. One put his knee on my head, breaking my glasses. The other one took the pills out of my pocket and handed them to someone.
I said, “I have a prescription for those pills, just ask at the pharmacy. They didn’t even check. The cop said to me, ‘You’re nothing but a homeless, drunken indian. If you don’t shut up we’re going to take you out of town and bury you.’
“I yelled to people in front of the mall, ‘My name is Thomas Pelletier. The police have just told me they are going to kill me, take me out of town and bury me.’
“The ambulance came and took me to the hospital. They set my leg, put it in a cast and a brace. I was supposed to go for physiotherapy, but I’m an alcoholic. There’s no way I could sit in a room for three hours without a drink. Besides, it was on the other side of the city. I didn’t even have money for bus tickets. I hadn’t been panning, so I had no money coming in.
“I wore that leg brace for a year and a half. In the end it did help me. People are more likely to give money to a guy in a brace than one without.
“Ever since then I’ve been afraid for my life. I’m supposed to be part of a native group protesting the wind turbines scheduled to be installed on Thunder Mountain. They want to put them on sacred land. If the police see me, I’m afraid that one of them will push me in front of a car.
“I was talking to the Anishinaabe Clan Mothers at Maniwaki and in Cornwall. I explained to them that this protest could end up like the one at Oka. The young people wouldn’t remember, but I was there. Some of them wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying guns, but there would be guns behind them, protecting them.
“It was our Chief that signed over the land to the wind turbine company. I said to him, ‘It won’t be you standing in the front lines blocking the equipment. It’ll be me.’ I’ve served over fifteen years in correctional institutions and mental institutions. I don’t mind going to jail. In fact I would be proud to give my life to protect our sacred ground. It’s all we have.’ ”
“I have to go now, Tom. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”
Shakes asked, “Dennis could you spare some bus tickets and a Tim Horton’s card?”
“Thanks Dennis, we’ll see you soon.”
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