I had Red watch the goods on my truck today as I made a delivery of 4 pallets of product to a location in Vancouver's skid row. If I don't shut and padlock the back door of the truck, everything within is seen as a gift and would disappear the minute my back was turned. I fear the treasures within are not mine to freely give over...so I've got Red.
Red is bald as a badger and has this menacing skull tattooed on the side of his big head. The skull is happily smoking a fat joint. Looks as if I drew it on a very good day. Still...pity.
Red stands about 5' 10' and weighs in at 300+ pounds, is street smart, walks with a limp and every female Sex Trade Worker knows him. Red doesn't partake though.
"I like to know that the girls are safer if people know they know me"
I think it's a safe bet.
Red had a job, blah blah blah. Found dope and drink, blah blah blah. Lost his wife and son because of it, blah blah blah. Hit the skids and is now on the way up.
Same story...different face. I really wish I knew what to do for all of these people.
A Vancouver Yellow Cab was parked in the Commercial Loading Zone as I arrived. I politely hit the horn twice very quickly. "Hey you, I'm here." No dice. Buddy didn't move.
Red was sitting across the street. He saw this, walked over and said to the Cabbie "Move the fuck away so the truck can unload or I'll drag you out of there and kick your ass"
The cab moved. It's all in the delivery folks...all in the delivery.
Every day, I throw Red a bone or 5 to watch the truck as I grunt my wares half a block to their new home. A jug of milk, yogurt, tortillas, butter. Whatever "falls off the truck".
You see, Red lives in one of those infamous SRO Hotels near Hastings and Princess and his hard times see him without food a plenty like us.
Red doesn't drink. No dope, no smokes. I think he pays his rent and eats. Vices.
I'm in this area every day. I see people hitting the Mission for free coffee and muffins every day. Often, I see fisticuffs, drug deals, Sex Trade Workers chasing bad dates away, the odd guy fall over for no apparent reason, lit up ambulances, police cars and general mayhem.
I also see well dressed people walking to the bus stops on Hastings st. Mums walking little kids North to their preschool or bigger kids South to their Elementary School.
I rarely see interaction.
Junkies know junkies. Hookers know tuff guys and dealers, cops "know" everyone, I'm getting to know people, kids know each other but the Worlds really don't collide.
It seems odd to me that laughing, chatting women in their 30's stop making noises altogether and quicken their pace as they pass women who work in the most dangerous job. Is it too hard to bid someone fare well? Random attacks on people rarely happen at night let alone daytime.
The invisible Ones feel invisible you know! True story...I've asked many of them. Just say hello!
So there's Red in all his magnificent glory guarding my potatoes or whatever I was hauling on this pouring rain day, and all these creatures walking past him. The Ones he sees daily and nightly. The ones that to me, bear an eerie resemblance to the Walkers on a show I'm watching on Netflix.
So Red pipes up: "Holy shit man, look at this dog! It's beat down and trembling" I stop what I'm doing in order to look at a scruffy Border Collie who indeed looks a bit worse for wear. Like he's been camping for a week with Vegans and didn't receive enough protein.
Then it hits me!
Think of the "healthiest" zombie you've seen in one of those shows...ok, that's an addict in the DTES. It occurred to me that a dog who is a bit scruffy and could use a few Supersize combos weighed more heavily on Red's heart than emaciated humans!
And he's not the only one is he?
Take a look at your Facebook feed or your Twitter timeline or any local Canadian News provider, animals in rough shape get more sympathy than dying humans that we TRY to ignore every day!
Get a job you bottle picking, panhandling scumbag! Piss off and die junkie! They should put all these people with mental health issues in a special place...
Ooooooooooh! Did you see the story about the poor starving Husky? Hey...did you hear that they're only giving that woman 6 months for killing six dogs? Throw away the key!
Then we talk about missing and murdered women. *crickets*
No one gathers at Courthouses with placards standing up for the rights of those women...but dogs and wee furry kittens? Busloads of people carrying torches.
We're living in interesting times people.
I love animals, don't get me wrong. I've invited many into my home! I love them to a fault and always will! ( I feed racoons, crows, squirrels etc etc)
But I love humans more!!!!