30 November 2017
From a block away I could see Ted’s upturned Christmas hat. As usual, he was sitting on the concrete with his back against the stone wall of the church. He was reading the newspaper. “Hi Dennis, I’ve got a bitch of a toothache. I went to the dentist yesterday for two fillings, so that part is taken care of. I told him about how much pain I’d been having because of the extractions. I’d phoned his office twice telling the receptionist how much they hurt. She didn’t suggest that I come in for an appointment. He asked me what I did for the pain. I said, ‘I just went down to the market and got hopped up on drugs.’ He was shocked, but then I said, ‘I was just joking. I used Advil.’ He said the cause of my pain was from dry sockets from the extractions. I’ll be having a root canal next Tuesday, then he’ll have me fitted for a partial plate.”
I asked, “Do you have a bed yet?”
“Yeah, I bought a futon. I don’t have a base for it yet so it sits on the floor. It’s a bit difficult for me to get up and down — old age. I hate it. I find I’m slower getting around. I have aches and pains. My memory is going. I’m getting a new pair of glasses. They’ll be ready next week. I didn’t get bifocals because I tend to trip over things. I got the ones for distance viewing. I’ll still use the glasses I bought at the drugstore to read the newspaper.
“I knew it was going to happen — my roommate skipped out on me last night. He was supposed to pay me eighty bucks a week to stay at my place, but was always borrowing from me. He borrowed twenty bucks, went downtown and spent it all on beer. He came back and wanted to borrow money for food. I said, ‘Hey man, I gave you twenty bucks, you made a choice to spend it on beer instead of food. That’s not my problem.’ He was always asking, ‘Can I have a cigarette, can I have a beer, can I have something to eat, can I have some money.’ The guy is thirty-four years old. I’m not his dad. Last night I awoke at nine thirty. He was sitting in his sleeping bag in the middle of the floor. He said, ‘Ted, I need ten bucks. The beer store closes at ten and I’m all out. I’ve only got a half hour to get there. My check will be in my bank at midnight so I’ll pay you the hundred bucks I owe you.’ So, I was half asleep and said, ‘Okay, I’ll give you the money.’ At eleven o’clock he received a text from his mother in Montreal. He said she was in hospital. If she was well enough to text it couldn’t have been that serious, but he was fidgeting and crying. I went back to sleep. At three this morning I heard the door slam. He’d moved all of his stuff out and didn’t even leave the key. I’m stiffed for a hundred bucks. I told security what happened and to keep an eye on my place. This guy is not allowed access. I may have to have the lock changed. He could come in and steal my bicycle, my fishing gear and anything else I have.
“I didn’t realize before how much I value my privacy. This roommate hung around my place all the time. He’d go out and pan for a few hours, then he’ll come back to the apartment. He sleeps about eighteen hours a day. I’d like to hang out with myself for a change. I’m glad that he left. From now on it’s no roommates. The only people coming through my door will have tits and a pussy.
“Did you see the football game yesterday. I nearly put fifty bucks on Toronto to win against Calgary, they were such a long shot. I looked at the Pro-Line application. The print was so small and I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to, so I left. Wouldn’t you know it, Toronto won. That could have been a pile of cash in my pocket If I’d bet.
“I was reading in the newspaper that women are going to be losing their grip on men. They’re making these robotic dolls in China. Their skin is warm and soft. They have three holes that can do everything you’d want, if you know what I mean. No nagging, no spending your money, no rules. I could have had three women last night, but I’ve gotten to know them. I didn’t want the hassle. One stayed over the other night. She lives at the women’s shelter. She’s on heavy meds. Her conversation would jump over the place. As far as listening skills, she had none. Every so often I’d get half a sentence in, then she’d interrupt.
“I’m going to be fishing this weekend. I broke the end of my rod, so I have to buy a tip for it. They come in a plastic bag with assorted sizes. They’re easy to put on. Sometimes you have to sand your rod a bit, then slide the tip on with a bit of glue. I have a twenty-four shot disposable camera with about seventeen pictures taken so far. When I’ve finished I’ll bring you some photos of some of the big fish I’ve caught.
“After the first snowfall I’ll be snaring cottontail rabbits as long as I can keep clear of the game warden. I’ll check the snares at about four in the morning. Have you ever eaten rabbit? It’s really good. What I do is cut the legs and arms off, then split the carcass in two. I put the six pieces in a big pot with water, a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of baking soda. I leave it in the fridge overnight, then cook it slowly the next day. Throw a few vegetables in and it makes a great stew. The meat just about falls apart it’s so tender.
“I used to host wild game dinners for the Knights of Columbus. I’d serve duck, moose, bear, even porcupine. A friend and I were driving along the highway when I saw a porcupine up a tree. Of course I was loaded. I told my friend to pull over, got the chainsaw out took the tree down and with my heavy gloves grabbed the porky. It even made the newspaper the day. ‘Tree cut down and left for no apparent reason.’ Of course they didn’t know about the porky. Another way we used to catch them was in hollow trees. We’d make a ball of barbed wire. I’d hold onto one strand, climb the tree and drop the ball through the highest opening. My friend would be waiting for them to come out and he’d hit them with a hammer. Those were good days. I miss them.
“You won’t see me here in the new year. I’m sorting myself out then getting a job.
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