“Good morning Ted,” I said, “you look comfortable sitting in the sun. It was a cold night.”
“Morning, Dennis, I saw Bernard this morning. Said he’d been in jail, that’s why he hadn’t been able to pay me.” I said to him, ‘Your check should have arrived. Everybody else has theirs.’ He said, ‘I’ll go to the office and check.’ When he got back he said, ‘Mine hasn’t come in yet, but I’ll give you half of the money I have.’ He pulled out two twenties and gave me one. I said, ‘I thought you didn’t get your check. Where did you get that money?’ He said, ‘Panhandling last night.’ Yeah, right, you don’t get two twenties panhandling. He probably blew the rest on crack and weed. He has a real problem with that stuff.”
I said, “The last time I saw Bernard was in December.”
“I remember exactly the last time I saw Bernard. You know he was sleeping at my place. On Christmas day I was approached by a woman who said she was new in town, had no money, nothing to eat. I said, ‘If you’d like, I’ll walk you to the Mission, they have their big Christmas meal today.’ She didn’t want that. I said, ‘I share a small place with another guy who sleeps on the floor. If you want you can spend the night, but I’ll need to see some id first. She said, ‘I’m twenty-seven.’ I said, ‘You don’t look twenty-seven, you look under twenty-one.’ She had no id. We went to my place, Bernard was there. At night, I gave her some blankets. I crawled into my bed. I don’t know where she slept. I heard strange noises in the night, but didn’t pay it any mind. In the morning she was arguing with Bernard. I don’t know what it was about. She was pissed. She went out, slammed the door then pulled the fire alarm. Of course that brought the police. By that time she and Bernard were long gone. I made a statement to the police and told them she said she was twenty-seven. The cop laughed and said, ‘She isn’t twenty-seven.’ He asked where he could find Bernard I said, ‘He could be anywhere.’ They seemed to know Bernard, maybe he had some priors. I didn’t ask.
“I hope to do some fishing tomorrow then I’ll be going to my mothers to catch more raccoons.”
“Enjoy your weekend, Ted.”
“You too, Dennis.”
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