Lucy begged that I help her read a letter from the New Jersey Medicaid office this morning. “I don’t have my glasses,” I protested as I tried to pass by her door on my way into my own place. I was busy doing laundry and the last thing I wanted was to deal with the crazy Puerto Rican woman who one day told me that she was so lonely for a man that she considered “putting her pet turtles down there.”
“Here, put my glasses on,” she insisted. “I think they are going to take away my food stamps.”
Remembering that it has been a year since Juan, her husband died, I decided to help the old girl fill out the renewal application.
“What were your sources of income last month?” I asked.
“Ten one hundreds,” she said.
“Do you mean one thousand?” I asked.
“Lucy, you should not guess at this. Don’t you have some sort of paperwork from last month showing the real dollars and cents amount of your SSI check.”
“Yes I do. I remember now, it was $997.”
“How much is your rent?”
I cringed as I wrote down the amount, knowing my rent, for an apartment exactly the same size as hers is more than three times that amount.”
“They probably are going to take away your food stamps,” I explained. That’s a lot of money to be collecting, considering your rent and the fact that on the news it was reported that Congress was cutting food stamp funding.”
Lucy looked unconcerned and asked if I got the calendar she had wedged between my door knob and the wall last week.
“Yes I saw it,” I said, but did not mention that I tossed it in the trash. It was a calendar of Latina women in swimwear. Lucy, who knows that I am gay and live with a man, is obviously up to her old tricks of trying to cast some sort of Latina spell on me.
I nearly forgot to take off those cat eye glasses as I ran out the door before Lucy once again slapped my ass.
“Your friend said he was going to give me some of that ham you two cooked on Christmas, but I’m still waiting.”
“It’s all gone,” I said, although there is still plenty of it left. I did not care that the old Spanish chick will likely lose her food stamp money. I remembered the day she had her husband Juan arrested– just a few weeks before he went into the light. And there she was this morning living high on the hog off of Juan’s SSI check and those two pet turtles that eat better than me.