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8 July 2013
Joy was smiling when I greeted her this morning. “How have you been doing? I haven’t seen you for a while.”
“I’ve just been chillin’ in my apartment. I didn’t feel like coming downtown. Last Wednesday I had a fight with Magdalene, so I didn’t stick around. Butthead was over once.”
“Which Butthead was that? Jake Butthead or someone else?
“My Jake, he reeked. I told you he gained a lot of weight in prison because of his bad hip. First he used a cane, then a walker, then a wheelchair. I asked him, ‘Babe, don’t you ever take a shower?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I had one yesterday.’ I said, ‘You need to take one every day, being stuck in that chair. You smell like piss. Have you been pissing yourself? He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘You can take a shower here if you like.’ He said, ‘No,’ so I left it at that.
“When he was ready to leave I went out to the hall to get his wheelchair. I could smell it from ten feet away. He had a folded blanket to sit on. I asked him, ‘Where did you get this blanket?’ He said, ‘The Sally Ann.’ I asked, ‘Was it clean?’ He said, ‘No.’ I haven’t seen him since then. Maybe I hurt his feelings. I don’t know; I don’t care. He phoned once and asked if he took the bus to my place would I push him up the hill. I said, ‘No, dude. You’ve been in that chair long enough, you should be doing wheelies. I can after all the time I’ve been in a wheel chair, for my broken ankles and my fibromyalgia. You really need the exercise.”
“Is he still drinking?”
“After his piss test, he drinks as much as he used to. That’ll never change.
“I’ve been picking away at the stitches in my head. Sometimes I’ve scratched some hair out — they didn’t shave my scalp where they stitched me. Mariah was looking at my head the other day and said, ‘You’ve got a bald spot!’ All day long she was calling me Spot.”
I said, “I’ve got a scar on my head where I had eight stitches as a kid.”
“Yeah, “I’ve got a scar from my forehead right to the back of my head. My sister pushed me down the stairs on a stuffed lion. I’ve got another one on the side where Buddy hit me with a crowbar. My scalp isn’t a pretty sight. It’s like a road map. There’s no way I’m going for that shaved look.”
A lady stopped to put some change in Joy’s cap. “Thanks, Sweetie, I haven’t seen you for a long time.” It’s true, I wonder if she changed departments or something.
“I’m still getting those headaches and dizzy spells from the concussion I got.”
“Have you seen a doctor? Do you have your health card yet?”
“I’ve been leaving messages with my workers, but they don’t get back to me. I’m hoping to see someone from the street outreach program . They haven’t been around lately either.”
Another lady stopped, smiled and dropped some change, “Bless you, dear,” she said.
“Bless you too,” said Joy. “Have a nice day.”
Joy asked, “Have you been up to the park lately? I haven’t been keeping in touch with anybody.
“I hope Chester doesn’t come by. He’s been getting really cranky lately. I don’t like being around him.”
“I saw him Wednesday. It was after you had the fight with Magdalene.”
“Yeah, I went after her because she was harassing Chili, in her walker.”
“I was talking to Magdalene. She was drunk and nobody else would talk to her. I didn’t know the circumstances from before. Anyway, Chester asked me for some bus tickets. I said, ‘Okay, Chester, hold on, I’ll get to you.’ Magdalene was sobbing and talking about going home on the weekend. I agreed with her and said it was a good idea. Then I went over to talk to Shark and Matches. Chester was getting so agitated, he was shaking.”
“Magdalene didn’t go home. I’ve seen her since then, but she needs to get straightened out. I don’t know how old she is, but she seems like just a kid.”
I said, “She’s twenty-four. Alphonse is forty.”
“I thought she was young, just like Sinead, who sometimes hangs around with Ricky. I think she’s twenty. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen her passed out in the bushes with her panties around her ankles. She probably doesn’t even know what happened while she was unconscious. I never let myself get that wasted. After I get a little buzz I go home.”
I asked, “Have you seen Shakes lately. Lucy has been staying at his place. Frank was worried that she’d beat and rob him. I thought that maybe she had split with Daimon, but I saw Little Jake on the bus and he told me that he’d seen them together. They were both wired.”
“That’s bad news. Lucy told me they had their own place… Why would she be staying with Shakes? She’s smacking that stuff in her arm… I’m worried about Shakes.”
It was time for me to go to work, Joy said, “I’m off vacation now. I’ll be at the park for most of this week except for tomorrow. I’m getting a land line hooked up and cable installed. I’ll be human again. I’m tired of watching the same DVDs over and over again. Last night I watched “Pirates of the Caribbean” for about the hundredth time. I have all the dialog memorized. That Johnny Depp is weird. Did you know that he based the Jack Sparrow character on Keith Richards? Now there’s a potheaded, druggie to have as a role model.”
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