Sunshine

 

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Sunshine on my shooo-ders makes me happy . . . .

This is long-time Berkeley street person Sunshine. And what a little dumpling of love she is.

One of Sunshine’s favorite routines — for years and years! — was to call 911 to call for an ambulance. She used to do it 3 or 4 times a week. For YEARS!!

We’d all be hanging out on the street scene. Next thing you know ambulances and fire trucks are rushing towards the scene. Siren blasting and lights flashing.

“What’s going on?”

“Sunshine. Again.”

“Oh.”

And the paramedics would all go rushing towards Sunshine, who was on the street corner waiting for them. “What’s the problem?”  “My tummy really really hurts. I feel really really sick.” So they’d strap her to the stretcher. And haul her carcass off to the hospital.

I’m not sure what the psychology of it was with Sunshine. I guess she liked being the center of attention. And having all these people rushing to help her. And sometimes she’d get a warm bed for a night at the hospital. So she’d pull this routine 3 or 4 times a week. For years.

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“Hmmm. . . Let’s see. I could take the bus to the hospital, which is only about 15 blocks away, and get there faster than if I called an ambulance. And it would save the city $5,000 . . . NAH! I’m taking the ambulance!”

It used to piss me off. Because I heard it cost the city something like $5 thousand bucks every time the ambulance came. So I hated the waste of it. But I guess the ambulance people didn’t care. They were getting paid

So anyways, one night I’m at my 25 cent book street vending stand. It had been a long hard day dealing with one customer after another. But it was 10 o’clock now. And things had finally quieted down. And I could finally start to relax. I poured myself a big cup of Olde English. And took a big hit off my joint. And just as I was kicking back and making myself comfortable, and turning my radio on to a nice relaxing radio station. I noticed good old Sunshine headed for the payphone right behind me.

“Oh no. She better not be. . . ”

Of course she was. Next thing I know my peace and quiet is shattered by sirens blaring. And lights flashing. And paramedics and cops rushing towards me. And Sunshine saying “My tummy really really hurts.”

And the whole mad scene went on for at least an hour (seemingly) before they finally hauled Sunshine’s carcass off to the hospital.

The next day I told Sunshine: “DON’T YOU EVER PULL THAT ROUTINE AT MY VENDING TABLE EVER AGAIN!!”

And out of respect — or fear — for me, she never did. Sunshine would always use the payphone at the next block.

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