24 July 2012

Could You Please Pass the Mineral Spirits?

My name's Pladgett, and I'm just trying to keep cool. Yeah, it's a hot one out here. No...no...I'm not gonna' make any trouble – I just want to cool off. So damn hot out here. Where from? I walked over from the shelter on 11th. The director, she's a nice lady. Pakistani. She lets us keep some extra food in a little 'fridge behind the office. We just can't stay there during the day, 'cause we're supposed to be out looking for work. So I'm just hot and I can't go back in there until after six. I'm gonna' try to sleep off most of the heat of the day.

Yeah, yeah...I'm looking for work. Yeah, I used to be essentially a machinist. No, I wasn't really a machinist, but I did all the same kind of work. Really. I coulda' been a machinist, but I didn't want to waste my time with classes. Book-learning. Yeah, I just kind of floated around for a while. Where? I got a brother in Washington State...you too, huh? Yeah, so I spent some time out there, and I had a really good job offer on a fishing boat, but I don't want to get tied down, you know? I worked as a night watchman, and then I did something dumb and hurt myself so I drew disability and kinda' lived off that for a while, doing odd jobs that I didn't tell anyone about and taking cash for them. So I spent some time floating around. I been to Idaho. You been to Idaho?

So I'm just trying to keep cool. No, I'll stay out here, thanks. I don't mind it so much. Oh, no thanks. I don't ever want to take anything from anyone. I'm just gonna' spend some time just resting here in the shade and then maybe go down to the mission across town and get some lunch. You been there? They feed anyone. You don't even have to be homeless or unemployed. There's this one guy, he pulls up in a Chrysler convertible every day at noon and walks over for a sandwich, his piece of fruit and a cookie. I figure that if he can do it, then hell, I'm entitled to it. Some guys go up to him after, when he's leaving, and ask him for money so they can buy some booze, because this guy's dressed real nice, right? So they ask him for money. Me, I couldn't. I don't ever want to take anything from anyone. I just get my sandwich and cookie and piece of fruit and I leave.

Yeah, it's warm. No, no...I'm OK. I just sweat real easy. I take some medicine that the doctor gave me. I go over to that free clinic just across the river and I show them my card and I get my medicine, so I'm OK. When I was in New Mexico I got doing some kind of dumb things and I got hurt and the doctor thinks that it's probably a result of that. I got some internal injuries doing some things I shouldn't have. Then I got sick on account of it, and now I gotta' take this medicine every day. They say It would cost a couple of hundred bucks a bottle, and it doesn't even last a month, so I gotta' make sure I don't lose my card, so I can get it for free. No, no...it's OK. I just sweat real easy. I just want to hang out here under the tree for a while where I've got some shade and stay cool.

How's that? No, I believe in God, though. He's got me through a lot. Churches are just for people who aren't strong enough to make it on their own and they just need someone else to hold their hand. Not me. I'm not religious. I'm real spiritual, though.

That one church does the dinner for us at the shelter, though, and that's pretty good of them but they got so damn much money they better do something like that. The meat is real crappy sometimes though. You'd think they could do better. Hell, they expect us to eat that when there's so much fat in it. I wonder how many of them from the church would eat that shit when there's so much fat in it? One time I just slammed my tray down and sent the food flying and said it was shit and then I wasn't let back in the shelter until after everyone left. Hypocrites. So I ain't religious.

I gotta' be careful with how much fat I eat, so you know what I mean. That's like trying to kill me. I'm not gonna' let anyone do that, and I'm not gonna' take anything from anyone. Damn, it's hot. Yeah, thanks. That hits the spot. I guess I was thirsty. Thanks. I gotta' get over to the clinic and then back to the shelter for my lunch – you got any bus tokens?

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