Posts Tagged ‘canada’

Yelping Mr. Trump

May 18, 2017

Reince Prebius woke early and got to bathroom and plopped down to
relieve himself before anyone else in his family woke.  While sitting
on the commode, Reince scrolled through dozens and dozens of negative
Yelp reviews attached to President Trump.  It was explained to the
president that the people who run Yelp, had a love affair with the
previous president.  It was no mistake that Obama had 4 ½ stars and
that Trump stood at ½ of one star.  Reince, Ivanka and his son-in-law
Jared Kushner all tried to convince the president to ignore the fact
that all the negative reviews were readily available for the public to
read and that the positive ones were hidden from view.  What was the
reason for so many positive reviews hidden from sight?  The positive
reviewers were new to Yelp and to the political arena and so their
point of views were not taken into serious consideration.  The
president spent all day working, occasionally taking time to eat some
ice cream or play Golf a little, but mostly studying political shows,
reading papers, getting briefs and meetings after meetings.  Most
people’s heads would explode by the fact that at all hours of the day,
there were several things going on at once.  Picture a plumber fixing
a leaking pipe and with each repair, two or three more leaks surface.
A weaker person would rationalize that maybe someone else should do
the plumbing and beat their head against the wall trying to repair
only to be mired in a sloppy mess.  Late night when everyone or at
least most people were sleeping, the president would read up on his
Yelp reviews and would rebut in the wee hours of the morning.

I DIDN’T VOTE FOR THE PRESIDENT AND REALLY ANYONE THAT DID IS A
COMPLETE BACKWARD IDIOT.  IT’S PLAIN TO SEE THAT THIS MAN IS A PUPPET
OF THE RUSSIANS.  OUR ELECTION HAS BEEN HACKED BY THE RUSSIANS AND THE
CABINET HAS BEEN FILLED WITH LAP DOGS FOR PUTIN.  IT’S OBVIOUS TO
EVERYONE THAT THIS IS ANOTHER WATERGATE- RACHEL, WASHINGTON D.C.

IS THIS THE SAME RACHEL FROM MSNBC?  IS IT?  LET’S JUST SAY IT COULD
BE.  HACK?  YOU WANNA USE THE WORD HACK.  THE ENTIRE PRESS OF THE
COUNTRY SAVE VERY FEW OUTLETS IS RUN BY LYING, SLAVENLY HACKS WHO PASS
OF THEIR OWN AGENDA FOR NEWS.  COLLUSION?  ABSOLUTELY.  THE DNC,
CLINTONS, OBAMA, RICE, COMEY, CLAPPER, SLAPPER, BEATER AND WHACKER…
HAVE I LEFT ANYONE OUT IN THIS CIRCLE JERKING GOLDEN SHOWER OF HITS?
YOU GIVE ME ONE STAR?  I GIVE YOU A SINGLE FINGER SALUT.

Reince continued to sit on the toilet, toes tingling and his butt
cheeks nearly asleep as he scrolled over dozens of replies to negative
comments written nearly anonymously to the public.  Reince knew it was
cowardly and hard to combat.  Reince’s opinion was just to ignore it
all and go about the business of trying to fix the immense issues of
this country.

AFTER THERAPY AND LOOKING FOR A JOB AND PLACE TO LIVE IN CANADA, I’VE
DECIDED THAT THIS IS MY COUNTRY AND I NEED TO FIGHT FOR MY COUNTRY AND
STOP ANY AND ALL WHO BELIEVE THAT TRUMP IS THEIR PRESIDENT.  THE
PRESIDENT MUST BE STOPPED EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE AND THERE IS AN ARMY OF
TRUE AMERICANS LIKE ME WHO WILL ENSURE THAT IMMIGRANTS CAN LIVE AMONG
US, LGBT, PROGRESSIVES, PRO-CHOICE AND SO ON.  YOU WILL BE STOPPED,
SIR.  I CAN’T GIVE YOU NO STARS BUT I WOULD LIKE TO. TERRY, SEATTLE,
WASHINGTON.

TERRY.  I’M ENVISIONING A MAN AND A WOMAN ALMOST EQUALLY, HIDDEN
BEHIND A CARNIVAL MASK, PUNCHING VETERANS AT TRUMP RALLIES, STOPPING
CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS FROM EXPRESSING THEIR CONSTITUIONAL RIGHT TO
FREE SPEECH ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES THAT RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDS. WHEN
I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS WHOLE DOG AND PONY SHOW OVER WHETHER I SHOULD
BE IMPEACHED OR NOT, I’LL GO GET THAT FAT CHILD IN NORTH KOREA, PARADE
HIM AROUND WITH A BALL GAG AND THEN THROW HIM THE IN SAME PRISON
GENERAL NOREIGA LIVED IN SOME TWENTY YEARS AGO.  I HAVEN’T EVEN ROLLED
UP MY SLEEVES YET TO UNDO THE MESS DROPPED AT MY FEET.  DON’T GET IN
FRONT OF A TRAIN.  YOU CAN’T STOP IT OR SLOW IT DOWN BUT YOU CAN GET
MOWED OVER.  TRUMP IS  COMMANDER AND THE CHEF AND BELIEVE ME, YOU
WON’T WANT WHAT DADDY’S GOT COOKING.

“Good morning, Mr. President…  Yes, I should be in within the hour.
Tell me, sir…  What time did you go to sleep last night? 2:30 ish
eastern time?  Wow…  I don’t know how you do it, sir.  It’s not even
6am…  Sir, if you could mull this around before I get in and we can
discuss it further…  When you get back from oversees, we should really
plan an American road trip.  Visit the heartland.  Stir the base up.
Nuremburg style rallies with millions of supporters in cities like
Tulsa or Louisville.  Give it some thought, sir.  You’re at your best
when you’re surrounded by those that truly love you… “

Hockey On Monday’s Only

April 21, 2016

“This is a new era…  There are many things you can’t say no more.  I grew up with 30 different names just for black people.  Then you had the Jews, Asians, Hispanics and then the gays.  Gay could have meant actually gay or it could have meant stupid, wimpy or retarded back then.  We can’t use retarded today either.  The day is coming when we won’t be able to call another man a pussy and maybe it’s good and maybe it’s not…  I dunno.  All I do know for sure is that people, some people, want your head on a stick today…  The gays are season ticket holders in this small town.  We could have been stuck in minor league hockey half way up the arctic circle in towns where they only want to see guys get their brains bashed in out in the fucking tundra.  It’s a nice town here.  We’re in Florida for fuck’s sake.  The league wants us to come down hard on you.  Like they want us to get rid of you.  This is the fourth time.  Fines, suspensions and sensitivity training and you’re still calling people names like homos, faggots, queers, gayrods…   What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Byron pulled his long hair back and took a sip of his coffee.  The nerve was still alive in one of his teeth that was cracked in half from a puck to the face from the night before.  He had stitches in his chin and his left eye watered for years involuntarily from a stick to the eye.  Byron was a low-level warrior born in a town near Sudbury, Ontario.  He played two levels below the NHL, earned $32,000.00 a year and lived in a trailer park outside of Fort Myers, Florida.  When Lord Byron as he was known wasn’t playing ice hockey, we was sitting outside his double wide trailer, drinking beer with the neighbors, having lot’s of sex and riding his motorcycle.  Byron didn’t care about being a fourth liner on an NHL team.  In Florida, he was a star in the community.  He did local commercials for Mexican restaurants, car dealerships and bail bonds.  He started a summer camp strictly for obese children that didn’t have the money to go to fat camps.  Byron loved his life.  Slowly, the town to the west, nearest the ocean, became a hot spot for older gay couples from the northern part of the United States as well as Quebec.  There were a lot of French-speaking gay couples too.  Byron grew up thinking that all French speaking Canadians were gay.

So here’s what happened- A team from Macon, Georgia had a player from Byron’s childhood area that was a native Canadian.  Indian, indigenous whatever you prefer.  The player had crossed checked Byron years ago when they were in youth hockey.  The player got Byron in front of the net and crossed checked his kidneys so hard that he wound up pissing blood for a few days.  It was hard for Byron to move but he finished the game and vowed to seek retribution someday.  The day came for Byron.  The player wound up getting picked up in the southern states by an opposing team.  Byron waited until the player made a pass from the boards in front of his own team’s bench.  He hit the guy who had once made his kidneys bleed from the inside and dumped him head first over the boards.  Then he dropped his gloves and waited for the player to get up, get back on the ice and face him.  The guy wouldn’t fight Byron.  It could have been that Byron had blindsided him and he was winded, dazed from landing on his head or knew Byron was a fighter and that he had thirty pounds on him.

“You fucking faggot…  You’d rather have a cock in your mouth or ass than play hockey, wouldn’t you?  Remember giving me a stick to the back in midgets, you fucking asshole.  I almost had to go on dialysis because of you.  Let’s go, you fucking faggot ass pussy motherfucker.  I’m gonna make you piss blood tonight.”

Byron forgot that he was wired for sound.  To try to build interest in ice hockey in a part of the country that only had ice in little glasses pool side,  the team made all players take turns wearing a camera.  It was Byron’s turn to wear the camera.  Families at home on the internet got to hear Byron in real-time.  Byron killed a lot of interest that day.  Local families watched and heard, everything that went on in a local game that day from Byron’s perspective.  Byron had two fights and a hat trick.  One of his goals was the game winner.  Byron forgot about the camera until the press conference when he was asked how he felt about homosexuals.

“How do I feel about what?  Did you say homosexuals?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

“What kind of question is that?”

“As you know, you were outfitted with a camera that recorded everything that went on in the game from the top of your helmet.  Fans got to really be a part of your goals and fights.  You used a homophobic slur while challenging an opposing player to a fight for an incident that occurred at a previous game when you were a youth.  The fans of south Florida will want to know your thoughts.  We want to be the first to carry it.”

“Well …  You got to understand that certain things are said sometimes but that they don’t mean anything bad towards anyone other than the person it is directed at, eh?  It’s part of the job to occasionally fight and before the fight…  Occasionally there are negotiations and discussions.”

The response made some laugh because they loved the gladiator nature of the sport and others it did not.  Some season ticket holders threatened to cancel their season tickets if Byron was not released from the team.  On local talk radio, it was a mixed bag.  Some liked the way Byron talked and others thought it was not good for children to hear graphic profanity and slams towards the gay community.  After it looked like Byron might be released over the fourth offense, Byron took to the airwaves again and offered an olive branch.

“I’m very sorry about the language I used that was broadcast locally.  I forgot that I had the camera on and well…  There is no excuse for what I said.  When I was a boy, my mother would have stuffed soap in my mouth for using profanity.  I wasn’t raised to swear.  I was raised in a town where I don’t think we had any gays.  We just got used to using that term but we didn’t mean nothing by it.  I understand that I could use other words and terms and so if I hurt anyone’s feelings by my language, I am truly sorry.  I don’t want anyone to feel badly about being gay.  It’s like being left-handed…  I’m left handed.  I often wondered why god made me a lefty when the whole world is righty.  Being gay has to be a little like that.  I dunno exactly but I’m sorry if I made anyone feel bad.  I don’t ever wish to make people feel bad…  If the community will accept my apology, I would like to start a youth and adult hockey program here in south Florida just for the gays.  If you’re gay and a man or a woman, or your a man but you feel like you might be a woman actually or whatever.  I don’t know how it all works…  What I’m offering is a chance for all of you who are gay, to come and learn the game.  Learn to skate, learn to play and have fun.  No charge…  It’s on me.”

Byron thought to call his clinics/camp, Lord Byron’s Hockey School for the Gays or South Florida’s Gay Hockey instead it was given the name a simple name- Lord Byron Hockey.  Games and clinics were on Monday nights.  A web site for it was set up.  The first four words after the name was- Hockey on Monday’s only.  Byron was not to blame for this one.  People laughed it off.  Byron’s camp was a success.  Everyone in the area wanted to learn to play hockey.  Men, women, children, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and homosexuals.  Hockey is actually for everyone.

 

 

 

 

The Young Americans… In Canada

September 19, 2011

Dion had decided at the age of twenty six that it was time to throw in the towel, lower the flag and wave the white drapeau that signifies giving in or giving up. For women the announcement of marriage to other women sends voices up octaves, accompanied by hand holding, discussions about dresses and registries. For men, especially young men, the news is received, processed and then there is a two second delay where the stone faces of other male comrades, brothers and friends appear to ask why with their eyes. Once Dion’s friends and cousins accepted the news the first important question among men was asked.
“When and where are we having the bachelor party?”
Dion was born in Romania with his other Romanian friends and cousins and wound up of all places in Detroit. Dion grew up to love all things Detroit; American cars, Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. Dion loved University of Michigan even though he never attended the school. Trumpet playing of all things lead him towards his destiny of finding and falling in love with the minister’s daughter at a Romanian Pentecostal Church in Detroit. It actually was a Missionary Baptist Church for the most part with a black congregation but at noon when the black Baptists were having coffee in the gym, the Romanians would come in and have their service in Romanian and then when the Romanians took the gym, the Koreans took the sanctuary. By the time the Koreans took the gym for their post church fellowship, the church janitor had well earned his day of rest which would have to come on a Monday.
Dion was a band geek in junior high and high school and offered to play trumpet after his mother had prodded him to go back to church and play his trumpet with the organ player during the hymnal periods of the service. It all worked out for Dion. Dion met Dianna, the daughter of the minister of their church who was beautiful and detached at the time Dion met her. Dion gave up drinking, swear, chewing tobacco, visits to casinos, and strip clubs. Dion went to rough parts of Detroit with his girlfriend as inner city missionaries to try and work with teens. Dion liked that idea a lot better than packing up and moving to Angola and so he willingly got together with his girlfriend to spend Friday and Saturday nights playing basketball and talking about the word of god with poor children that cared more about getting a nice car, a nice piece of ass and money in their pockets by any means necessary. Speaking English in a Portuguese speaking country like Angola might have been easier than trying to convince poor inner city black teens in Detroit that leading a clean life, will lead to positive things. Some bought into it and other showed up to the church gym to play basketball and eat coffee cake. After a year or more of this sort of stuff, Dion decided that being with Dianna on a full time basis was his destiny in life and so be posed the question, Dianna cried and accepted. A life of marital bliss was immanent if not terminal for the young couple.
Theo, Dion’s cousin and life long friend, got their inner circle of friends together to do Dion’s last night as a single man the right way. Theo knew that his cousin had played along with the no sex, no drinking, no dancing and no swearing rules of devout Romanian born again types but also knew that his cousin Dion was once quite the partier and cocksman.
“Troy, Tommy, you and me are going to Windsor tonight. I got the Fong Sisters coming to a private suite that I rented on the top floor of Caesar’s Windsor. The Fong Sisters are lesbian and sisters. Totally out of control, dude… Where you can find sisters who are lesbian and would do each other in front of people? That is extra special. I met them at the casino last month in Windsor. I’m telling you, they are smoking hot and will do anything. They originally came from China but live in Ontario now. Beautiful fucking faces, tight asses and huge fake tits on skinny frames. They got a website where you can see them 69ing each other covered in chocolate syrup.” Said Theo.
“I would have been fine going to a strip club around here, getting a few beers and calling it a night,” said Dion.
“Whaddya you like fifty now? Fuck that shit… You are going down but you’re going down in a grand style, bro. Don’t sweat it, it will be mayhem. Fully stocked bar in the limo, fully stocked bar in the suite, room service and the lesbian show… Oh and I paid for the happy ending shower with them both for you.” Said Theo as he high fived Dion.
The foursome drank in the back of the stretch limo and blared music. They opened up the moon roof, stood and yelled like little boys in the tunnel that went under the Detroit River from downtown Detroit to Windsor, Ontario in the country of Canada. Once on the Canadian side of the river, cameras picked up the sight of four young men hanging out of the moon roof up to the waist, singing, yelling and hoisting drinks which spilled onto each other. Constable Williams caught sight of this on his desk monitor while he ate a sandwich he had just purchased on Huron-Church Road at the Tim Horton’s which was on the south side of the street, not to be confused with the Tim Horton’s on Huron-Church on the north side of the street, less than a kilometer away from the Tim Horton’s on the south side of Huron-Church Road.
Yes. Well then, Constable Williams was eating his sandwich and studying the monitor of unruly Americans in a limousine. Pieces of the bread stuck to his bushy moustache. Constable Williams lifted the cup to his tea and doused the tea bag several times before taking a sip. He put the quartet on full screen and followed them all the way up to line three at customs. Constable Williams got on the phone and called for the sniffer dogs to meet him at line three.
The limousine queued up behind several cars. The driver was an older black man that was listening to the Detroit Tigers game in his compartment, not paying attention at all to the frat boy activity going on the other side of his contained area. The boys were mixing drinks and singing when the doors were thrown open. Two German Sheppards accompanied four uniformed men who had just asked the four young men to step out of the vehicle.
“Smart people you are in America, eh?” Asked Constable Williams.
Theo giggled and said, “yes, sir”.
“You young Americans… Just like in the David Bowie song. You boys know that song, eh? So smart in America that they spent millions to send men to the moon just so that they could say that they sent men to the moon and give em a ticker tape parade in New York City… Yes, you Americans are so smart. Only smart men would ride in the tunnel that have hanging signs that could decapitate them as they stick their heads out of an opening in the roof. Smart, young Americans… You smart men have anything you want to declare before we set the dogs to find contraband?”
The four young men all sobered up enough to take Constable Williams seriously. Three out of the four men had nothing worse than chewing tobacco on them. Theo though thought that buying two joints from a guy at work would be the icing on the cake as the Chinese born sisters and lesbians did their thing in front of them. Of course they were going to purchase Cohiba Cigars at the duty free store and take them up to their suite also. Theo had forgotten about the two joints packed in a plastic bag that was in a small pocket on the sleeve of his Hollister sweat shirt. The first German Sheppard found the joints in a matter of three seconds. The dog put its front paws up on Theo’s shoulders as if they were going to slow dance together. Constable Williams held up the discovered bag with two hand rolled joints and smiled.
“We are about to get to know each other very intimately tonight, boys.”

Dion stood up and day dreamed as his soon to be father-in-law conducted the wedding ceremony. To Dianna’s eye, Dion looked to have been crying. She had no idea that her betrothed had been drinking, smoking, detained by Canadian border guards and forced to do a full cavity check, naked in a bare room with a lot of lights. Dion could only think about touching his toes and the Canadian guard flashing a light up his ass as the guard probed around with a gloved index finger in search of further illegal contraband. They boys never made it to the hotel. They were detained at the border until the early hours of the morning and then sent back to the United States without their joints or really good stories to share with their friends. During the ceremony, Dion turned and looked at his best man, Theo with squinty eyes and could only shake his head as he recalled the indignity of his night in Canada. Call it bad luck of the draw or that God truly does work in mysterious ways.

David Bowie- Young American

I got a suite and you got defeat
Ain’t there a man you can say no more?
Ain’t there a pen that will write before they die?
Ain’t you proud that you’ve still got faces?
Ain’t there one damn song that can make me
break down and cry?
All night
I want the young American
Young American, young American, I want the young American

The Gold Medal for Dad or Oh Canada!

March 3, 2010

Horace Stewart turned fifty years old on February 28, 2010. To look at Horace, you’d never know that he was half a century old. Horace spent his free time biking, running, swimming and playing ice hockey. Horace played ice hockey four days a week. He played on a forty and over men’s team in Brampton and then with the Toronto area Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s second team of men over the age of thirty five. Then there was the Sunday night shinny hockey or open hockey, as it is widely known as in the United States.
Horace woke up that Sunday morning and went to the local Catholic Church. Horace was raised Anglican as he was of British descent but after his wife left him nearly ten years earlier, Horace began to go to the Catholic church to meet other single or divorced people. Horace had been seeing a few women but they all seemed to come apart after the age of forty five. It was as if a bomb went off inside each and every one of the women he met. Horace was never sure what the cause of the interior combustion was but he suspected it was menopause compounded by the realization that life was changing in tangible ways like falling summer leaves in a cold stark autumn. There were always the rink rat women who hung around the lounge above the hockey arenas who watched the games and then chatted with the players after. Some found their way into the homes and beds of the various adult male hockey players and occasionally Horace was driven by loneliness to take on one of the rink matrons for the night. Mostly though, Horace was alone.
Horace’s job kept him busy and he had moved all over Canada working for the RCMP. He helped bust drug rings in aboriginal areas and murder cases in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Horace put in for a permanent post in Ontario when his wife left him after twenty years of marriage. His wife Madeline had met a real estate investor from the United States and was living in San Diego, California. Horace never spoke to Madeline but could not refrain from asking his son and daughter how there mother was. Bill was on the cusp of thirty years of age and Alison was twenty six years old. Neither of Horace’s offspring was married but each had jobs and busy lives. They usually checked in with their dad by leaving him messages on his antiquated answering machine at home that had the same recording on it since they were children.
“Hello… You’ve reached the Stewart Family… We’re not in but if you’d kindly leave a message, we will be sure to return your call… BEEP.”
Horace returned home from church the Sunday of his birthday and saw the digital display showing that he had three messages, one from Bill, one from Alison and one from a woman he had met at a bar the week before. The woman lived near Vaughan and she bred some kind of little dogs that looked like their faces were smashed at birth with a frying pan. Horace had finished playing his league game and engaged the woman in a conversation on which nation was going to win the gold, silver and bronze in the winter Olympics in Vancouver. The woman believed that it would be the Russians, Swedes and Czechs. Horace didn’t agree.
“The Russians have no work ethic anymore. Ever since the Soviet Union collapsed, they don’t have anyone there to put a bayonet in their spines and tell them that they will excel or go to the gulag… Swedes? Maybe bronze. Most of them are playing for Detroit and Detroit is suffering this year. Czechs… Maybe silver. Gold is going to Canada. This is our sport and it is being played in this country in front of thousands of cheering fans. It will be Canada eh?” said Horace passionately.
“Well Mr. Mountie… Care to see my pugs?”
Horace woke up with his arm underneath a woman with more lumps than half day old oatmeal, varicose veins, sags, cellulite and a hairy bush. Horace was afraid to wake the pug farmer. Somehow he was able to slip his arm free, dress and escape before breakfast was forced upon him. The woman had his number but little else.
“Hey baby… I had a great time the other night. Why don’t you give me a call so we can figure out where we’re going for Italian in Toronto … Gimme a call, babe. Okay, hope to hear from you soon… BEEP.”
Next message.
“Eh Dad… Was hoping to tell you happy birthday live… Well um… Hope you’re doing something special today… Talk to you later,” said his son Bill.
Next message.
“Hi daddy… Happy birthday… You might be a year older but you’ll always be like Peter Pan. If you get a chance, call me back… Okay daddy, be good and no fighting,” said Alison.
Be good and no fighting was what Horace had always said to his children all while they were growing up. It was his way of saying, I have to leave now and I love you. Horace was an involved father who saw above average abilities in his two children in the sport of ice hockey. Horace coached his children locally until they moved on to higher levels of play. His children’s hockey was his love and hobby. Bill quit around the age of eighteen even though he could have gone on to play juniors and then Alison went to the states to play division I college hockey for a year, quit and returned home to learn how to play an acoustic guitar and mentored poor students from India and Pakistan in after school programs in Toronto. Both children quitting hockey crushed Horace. The final blow was the letter from his wife Madeline when she had moved to the United States to be with her investor.

Dearest Horace,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you. There is nothing that you did in particular to warrant my departure. You are at face value, a good and simple man and it might be the predictability and realization that I will not live forever and may never see, do and experience all the things in life that I had hope to experience when I met and married you as a young woman who was little more than a child. You’ll have your hockey and other exercise to occupy your time. Know that I love you even though I have out grown this relationship. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Madeline

Horace repeated “all the best” to himself over and over again the night he found the letter and noticed that his wife’s wardrobe had vanished with nearly a hundred pairs of shoes. Horace marveled at the fete of moving so many things during the course of eight hours. It was a monumental task that had to have been orchestrated carefully and pulled off with blistering speed. When Horace returned the house nearly echoed with emptiness. It had been ten years and the emptiness, loneliness and regret over not being a more well rounded and interesting man, constantly haunted him.

It was a few minutes past three in the afternoon when Horace returned home from the gym and had picked up a sandwich and soup at Tim Horton’s. The gold medal match between the United States and Canada was about to begin. Horace spread the sandwich out on the coffee table and dipped the sandwich into the soup in between swigs of his favorite beer called Rickard’s Red. Horace was as charged up as he had been as a young boy listening to Hockey Night in Canada on his transistor radio in his bed as a boy when he was supposed to be sleeping. Horace yelled and clapped and made comments that were inaudible to anyone but his Dalmatian that he named Stripes.
It was during the beginning of the third period when Bill and Alison showed up together with a cake. Both were aware that their father was going to be deeply engrossed in the most important hockey game for Canada in years. Horace greeted his children the way children greet their parents while playing a video game; a head flip for a hello and a raise of the eyebrows. Bill and Alison sat on the couch beside their father and watched as the seconds ticked away towards a Canadian victory. With less than thirty seconds to go in the game, the United States pulled their goalie to gain another attacker or a 6 to 5 man advantage.
“Holy cats! All they had to do was get the blaming puck oat of the zone. It’s a simple, basic thing you teach the youngsters at the age of five. You put a little English on the puck so it dies just before the goal line so there’s no icing, for the love of god. Now over time… You know if the Americans win, nobody will give a damn the day after. They probably got more people watching college basketball right now in the states than this game. I heard they put all the hockey games on some kind of cable news program where hardly nobody could find it… Send more men to the damn moon, will ya? For Pete’s sake… This will be the national disgrace if we lose this one.”
Now Bill and Alison really wanted the Canadian national team to win. Alison knew a few of the woman who had played on the women’s hockey team and was happy to see them win a few days earlier against the United States. Bill still played occasionally but had become so burned out on the necessity to excel, that his love for the game was all but killed off. They both saw their father as a one dimensional character as did their mom and had resented the fact that hockey and their ability to excel at the highest level, was what seemed to matter most to their father. Alison was annoyed with the passion and let her father know indirectly.
“I sure hope they win the gold for your sake, dad… I don’t know if the world will still be spinning tomorrow if Team Canada loses. People are dying in Haiti and Chile from natural disasters but I’m sure god has made Canadian Hockey a priority today,” said Alison sarcastically.
Horace was taken back. He never asked for either of his children to come visit him for his birthday and certainly would not have asked for them to come in the middle of the gold medal game. Horace was on his fourth Rickard’s Red and could not prevent himself from speaking without great emotion instead of thoughtful consideration.
“That’s the kind of stuff I’d have expected from your mum, eh? Who asked either one of you to come here today, eh? I did what I was supposed to as a father and I did what I thought was right. You kids were never beat or starved or belittled by me or your mum. My mistake was assuming that hockey meant as much to you as it did to me. I love the sport for everything it isn’t. It isn’t work and my whole life ever since I married has been work and the need to provide and hockey has and always been my escape. I don’t know what your escape is but I hope whatever it is doesn’t kill you… You two can take your cake and get the hell out of here. You both felt some sort of guilt or obligation to come see me for my birthday, eh? Well let me absolve you of any obligatory visits in the future. I wasn’t and am not what you wanted or expected of me as a father? Well I have a few dashed expectations when it comes to you two and your mum. Take your cake and get the hell out of my life. Let me watch the damn game in peace.”
With that, Bill and Alison grabbed the cake and left without saying another word or making eye contact with their father. Horace sat on the couch regretting all he had said to both of his children. The game resumed in overtime and concluded with a give and go play between Jerome Iginla and Sydney Crosby. Crosby scored the winning goal. Horace cried as he sat on his couch. The win was an empty win. Horace had driven away two of the most important people in his life because he was hurt. He wanted to say something else and it came out the wrong way. It was during the national anthem that Horace got on his computer and sent an email to both his children in attempt to apologize.

Dear Bill and Alison,
There are few days such as today that will live in the memories of Canadians everywhere and it is not one that I will ever forget. What will stay with me more is how I sent my children out of my home on my fiftieth birthday. Few days live in our minds and days get blurred and forgotten with the hectic pace of life. The days that each of you entered this world are and will always be with me as the happiest days of my life. There I was a brand new parent with Bill weighing almost nothing in my arms, so helpless and fragile and he grew to be a big strong man who is a good man. Then a few years later came Alison and I held her wondering what I would ever have in common with such a beautiful little girl. I shared with you the things in life that I loved most. I’m sorry if you ever felt that your success in hockey determined your worth with me. I have and do love you because you are a part of me and your mom and are evidence of a time that I loved your mom and she loved me. I want you to know that I am sorry for what I said today. If I don’t hear from you either of you for a while, I understand. I’m not a perfect man and might never be. I just want you to know that I tried the best I knew how to and I hope you can appreciate me for that.

Love Dad

Horace shut down the computer and watched the post game interviews along with clips of a beaming prime minister and Wayne Gretsky until he dozed off on the couch. When Horace woke, the sun had nearly set and trees outside the window stood out against a bluish black sky. Horace tried to decide if he was going to go play shinny at nine in the evening with the group he had played with for over twenty years. Horace was feeling a bit too despondent to want to play but far too lonely to just stay home. In the locker room, men put on their hockey equipment and discussed various points of the game. Horace just listened. One of the men asked Horace why he was so quiet. Horace attributed it to his birthday. Everyone laughed. The men warmed up and began to play. Horace was at the far end of the ice when the door opened and two skaters skated across the ice to get on the bench. Horace could tell by the way the two carried their bodies who they were immediately. Tears welled up in Horace’s eyes and he just stood for a moment as his son and daughter waved to him. The tears dried as Horace raced to the corner to beat the opponent to the puck. Players began to change and Horace could hear his daughter bang her stick and call for the puck at the blue line. More than the cake or the gold medal for the nation, playing pick up hockey on a Sunday night with his children was the greatest thing to Horace. It was an event that will stay with him as a special moment for the rest of his life.

The Love Child from Across the Border

February 24, 2010

Back in the sixties it was a curiosity and a novelty for Wade and his friends to cross over from Detroit on the Ambassador Bridge just to hang out and cause trouble in Windsor, Ontario. As a boy, it was hard for Wade to understand that those people across the water were different and belonged to a different country and they had different money and put vinegar and gravy with cheese on their French Fries. It wasn’t until Wade turned sixteen and had a car of his own did he ever cross the border to Canada. When he got there, he was disappointed to find that the differences were so subtle that they were almost undetectable.
In 1966, Wade was supposed to be in high school as a sophomore but quit so that he could work as a mechanics assistant which meant that he patched tires, changed oil and pumped gas. He wore his jet black hair in a pompadour and had cheap tattoos on his arms. He loved Elvis, the United States, John Wayne and the idea of killing Communists for the common good of god fearing, god loving, democratic, and law abiding citizens anywhere. Wade was just waiting until he turned seventeen so that with his parent’s permission, he could enlist to get on the front line of the Vietnam War.
Somewhere across the straits that separate The United States from Canada in Detroit, was a bored young woman who hated her home life and always felt like a frog out of water. I say frog because her family had lived since the days of Napoleon in Quebec and had trekked west so that her father could work for the Ford Motor Company. Her name was Antoinette and her family was a little darker than the others in the neighborhood and they spoke French to one another and attended a Catholic Church between Windsor and Chatham for French refugees from Quebec. It was at a diner that Antoinette met Wade and raced around in his car with him and eventually consummated their amorous feelings for one another and spawned a baby.
Now Wade didn’t want to be a father or a husband and he did his best to take his girlfriend out of Canada to the state of New York where abortions were legal. It was around Toledo that Wade’s engine blew up like a bomb. At first he heard metal banging fast and hard and then there was an explosion and nothing but black smoke. Wade had changed his oil for the trip but had not thread the plug correctly to the oil pan and all the oil had leaked out. A life was created and saved out of negligence.
Antoinette did not want to move to Detroit and Wade really could not see himself living in Windsor although he gave it a try and even went to work with Antoinette’s father for six months at Ford. As soon as Wade turned seventeen, he defected back to Detroit, got his parents to help him enlist and was in Vietnam faster than you could say Lyndon Baines Johnson.
While Wade was hunting ghosts in Southeast Asia, Antoinette was experimenting with psychedelic drugs and music and wound up in Victoria Island while their son Patrick stayed behind in Windsor.
Patrick learned to speak French and play hockey and love the Montreal Canadians even though the Detroit Red Wings were much much closer. It was around the age of fifteen that Patrick began to smoke pot, began drinking, breaking into homes and even robbing people for small cash with some local hooligans whenever they weren’t playing hockey. Patrick’s grandmother wrote a letter to Wade asking for help after almost fifteen years since he had left for Vietnam. Wade thought about it and liked the idea of seeing his son after so many years. If nothing else he wanted to see if the kid actually looked like him or one of his friends who might have popped Antoinette too when he wasn’t around.
Patrick was really opposed to the idea of going to Detroit for a weekend with a stranger, but the threat of pulling hockey from him in the fall forced his hand. When the man who looked like Charles Manson pulled up in an Oldsmobile 442 with the top down, Patrick was actually scared. The man looked mean with intense eyes.
Wade drove across the bridge and pulled over on interstate 75 and got out of the car and opened the passenger side door for Patrick to get out.
“You got a license?”
“No, sir…”
“Well fuck it… Now’s as good a time as any to start driving.”
Patrick gripped the wheel of the fast automobile and tried to look through the spider web looking cracked glass on the windshield. Patrick asked what happened.
“Some fucking punks were throwing rocks from an over pass. If the fucking rock would have cleared the windshield, it would have knocked my fucking head off… Which reminds me, I wanna make a stop up north to get this glass fixed today. Keep driving, I’ll tell you where to go.”
America had always appeared to be the land of opportunity on television and the streets paved with gold and so on. The streets that Patrick was driving down, had grass growing in the cracks of the sidewalks and there were burned down and boarded up homes everywhere. It was dismal and as third world as anything Patrick had seen on television. It was hard to believe that so much blight was possible in the United States and so close to Windsor.
While the windshield was being fixed at the Five Mile Auto Glass, Wade and Patrick walked over to a Coney Island that was still run by an old white man in an all black neighborhood. They ordered some burgers and talked. Both without commenting saw something of themselves in the other such as facial expressions, cheek bone structure and the shapes of their eyes. As they spoke four young men walked into the restaurant and began quietly robbing people from table to table. They would surround people at each table and quietly told them to give whatever money they had or be shot. The quartet reached the booth that Patrick and Wade shared. Patrick’s teeth were chattering while Wade sat without any expression on his face. A cocky young man with a black fist hair pick stuck in his hair and a tooth pick in his mouth sat across from Wade and dipped a fry into some catsup and put it in his mouth.
“Say man… We taken contributions today. You contribute to the cause and we go bout our business,” said the ringleader while eating the French fry.
“Boys let me explain something to you… I went to Vietnam and carried a rifle everyday while walking through a jungle not knowing if the rice farmers I just passed would shoot me in the fucking back. I walked in wet fucking boots, contracted the clap and Malaria just so I could come home and find that you motherfuckers burned up my city. This was my city back when you were just a bunch of tadpoles in your father’s nut bag and now you are going to come in here and extract money from me and all these other people? Do you feel that between your legs? It’s a 357 magnum. Listen to this…”
Wade cocked the hammer back.
“That sound your hearing is the last sound you’ll ever hear before your fucking balls fly through your asshole and splatter your friend’s faces… Now set down all the shit you just took and back the fuck out of here before I decide to shoot you just for fucking sport.”
Patrick couldn’t eat another bite nor drink another sip. He watched the man who was his biological father light a cigarette and talk about cars and women and how he met his mom and how he actually came to be. He mentioned places he had been and cars he had owned and where he wanted to move to. Patrick couldn’t help but think of the innocent people he and his buddies had robbed in front gas stations and banks in Windsor. Patrick wondered if his grandmother had told his father about the break-ins and robberies. Patrick wondered what he would do if he ever tried to rob the wrong guy, a guy like his father.
Wade and Patrick walked the block from the Coney Island to the glass shop to get the car and Wade never worried about being jumped by those that just sought to rob him. They spent the weekend swimming in a small lake up near Waterford, Michigan and then Patrick returned to his life in Windsor as if he had never met Wade. Wade wasn’t very sentimental but he did give his son some advice.
“If you’re horsing around now, use a rubber and if the rubber breaks pray and if it’s too late for that… Make sure you check the oil… I’ll see you kid.”
With that he winked, slipped a hundred dollar bill American in his hand and drove off. Never to be seen again.

Il Fait Chaud

December 14, 2009

Il Fait Chaud

I don’t remember it ever being this hot in Canada. I’ve had to adjust again to this

archaic standard of measurements. Feet, yards, miles and Fahrenheit. I think we stopped

using them up in Canada around 1980. When the British abandoned their own system,

we figured it was time to get sensible too.

It was almost nine in the morning and I spent the night at my girlfriend’s

apartment. She lives in a village called Oak Park, which is directly ten miles west of the

giant buildings that make up the skyline of downtown Chicago.

I stepped outside in a fog. The fog is in my head. I tossed and turned all night. It

was way too hot and too humid to get comfortable enough to sleep. I tried freezing my

sheets and taking a cold shower, but that only helped for a little while. If I slept, it was

fleeting and felt as though I never descended to that deep level where you dream about

sitting on a teeter totter across from Abraham Lincoln. I kept looking at the digital clock

and listened to the ceiling fan make a clicking sound at one second intervals. My

girlfriend slept like an angel in my Québec t shirt with the phrase underneath that reads,

“Je me souviens”, which is I remember my French heritage. She is African-American or

black and I am a blend of French and Irish. I have difficulty sleeping in extreme heat

even if I’m naked and she has no problem sleeping in a t shirt.

The roof of the eighty year old apartment building, is flat and is covered with

black tar and tiny rocks. When the temperature exceeds ninety degrees Fahrenheit, the

roof heats up like a hot plate and makes life on the third floor inhumane. My girlfriend

doesn’t believe in air conditioning. She thinks it ruins the vintage feeling of the

apartment. She tells me constantly that there was no air conditioning in apartments or

homes in the pre-Depression era. I have asked a few people old enough to remember that

era and they told me on extremely hot nights, they would go to Lake Michigan and camp

out near the water. With crime being what it is today, such a thing would not be safe. I

told my girlfriend this and she just shrugged her shoulders. She smiled at me, well rested

and a bit frisky and I told her that I would not be spending the night again until the

weather gets better unless she gets air conditioning. We separated this morning a little

cold towards one another on the hottest day of the summer.

America, just celebrated it’s independence from Great Britain last week and since

then the weather has been beastly. The air conditioning stopped working in my minivan

and so even though I showered less than an hour ago, I already have that not so fresh

feeling.

I checked my voice mail and had three messages before nine in the morning. My

job is to face people who are angry and disgruntled. I work for a developer who buys up

old apartment buildings and converts them into condominiums. My job is to answer

complaints of new owners who have discovered shoddy work.

Call number one. First message was from an irate homosexual named David who

left me a message at 6:15 this morning. If I had not turned off my phone, he would have

been the first voice I heard this morning.

David was able to marry his partner in Boston a few years back and refers to his

partner as his husband. David is a stay at home wife.

“Listen, Luc! I need you to come by this morning and look at the damage to my

walls! I have mold growing in my closet and I am highly allergic to dust and mold. I

have been suffering all night. If this is not taken care of today, I will be spending the

night in a hotel of my choice and I will send you the bill via certified mail. My husband,

who has to work early, was up with me half the night due to my asthma … My walls are

alive with living spores. If I do not hear from you today, I will be going to the village.”

Message two from a trust fund child who has never worked a day in her life and

calls me on a weekly basis to complain about everything. Today it was about noise.

“Luc? This is Mrs. Watkins… Look! Something has got to be done about that

woman upstairs and her two goddamn racing dogs. She owns two greyhounds which she

bought from a society that attempts to save former race dogs. Well I have news for you;

they’re still racing. They chase each other around all night and she is a night nurse and

has no idea what is happening. I have asked her to buy oriental rugs and she just tells me

that she prefers the look of hardwood floors. I’m at my wits end. I’m not getting sleep.

I cannot concentrate during the day and I’ve had problems with migraines and ulcers. I

need to know how you will resolve this.”

Message three. Somebody removed someone’s lock and then took out all of their

belongings from a storage locker in the basement. The man who called happened to be an

attorney.

“This message is for Luc! I have called twice now and the next correspondence

will be through the courts. My belongings are scattered all over the laundry room floor…

Okay… This has to be resolved one way or another… Okay. You were supposed

to mark all the storage lockers and it was not done… Okay. Our board specifically asked

to have laminated placards, 3X3 in size, stating clearly who’s locker is who’s… I need a

call from you today… Okay. I would really appreciate it.”
Um… Okay.

My first stop was at a Jiffy Lube. I stopped there for an air conditioning recharge

and they told me that my system won’t hold the Freon. The smallish blue collared man

with really yellowish teeth and a tattoo on his neck of a spider, seemed almost pleased to

announce this. He looked like a transplant from the deep south and had a twang to his

voice that one finds as soon as you reach Chicago’s southern suburbs.

“My best advice to you is to sell this thing… Better yet, hang on to it. It’s a

collector’s item. They stopped making Plymouth a few years ago. You can fix this up

and sell it in like twenty years,” said the man with a foolish grin as he picked at his

yellow teeth with a toothpick. His hands were very dirty too. I was thinking that a good

strep infection would take the smile off his face.

Now on top of the problem of my vehicle’s incapability to keep Freon, I got into

an accident a year ago and my fan got crunched. On hot days in heavy traffic, I would

have to run the heater on high to relieve some of the heat from the engine. Picture the

nearly hundred degree temperature Fahrenheit and then a heater blowing full blast while

the traffic is dead stopped. I was praying that this would not happen but low and behold

there was a ten foot patch of street being repaired on Harlem Avenue. The cars queued

up for over a mile. When I got up to the spot where they were working on the street,

there was a black man with a shovel while three fat white men stood around watching. I

wanted to scream at them. I was sweating profusely now. The back of my shirt was

soaked and I had wet rings under the arms and a line running down the middle of my

shirt. I was already crabby and it was 9:30 AM.

I stopped at the hardware store and listened to a cashier talk on her phone for

nearly five minutes. She had huge thighs and was wearing polyester pants with an elastic

waist band. I could not imagine being so fat that conventional pants with zippers and

buttons, would not fit. She had a face that was so bloated that her eyes disappeared when

she smiled. She pulled back her hair like a Sumo wrestler and had mutton chops. She

had a pretty strong moustache going on too. I must note that her nails looked flawless

though. She hung up the phone and looked at me as if I had been eavesdropping.

“Is there something you need, sir?”

“Yeah, I could really use some air-conditioning. Do you have any window units

left?”

She laughed and slapped her enormous thigh that looked like two of mine put

together. Her eyes disappeared and the skin under her chin shook like Jell-O. I have to

point out that Americans are the most obese people in the world. We have Tim Horton

donut shops on every corner and yet the people in Canada are not so grotesque. I wanted

to snap at her for being so insensitive and rude. Instead I just looked at her blankly.

“You people never do the smart thing and buy something like this in the winter…

You’ll probably need a shovel during a snowstorm… I think we got a few left but the

BTUs are low. You’re gonna have to sleep right on top of it to stay cool…” she said as

she giggled.

By 10:00 AM, I had to deal with two really ignorant human beings that find

humor in discomfort. I could only hope one day to be nearby in a lawn chair with a six

pack when misfortune hits them. It would bring me great pleasure. It is but a fantasy.

I got to the first building where the homosexual called. He was waiting at the

door with his hands on his hips. His hair was bleached white until it was blue and was

spiked every which way as if squirrels had wrestled upon his head. He had really hip

horned rim glasses that one could tell were just glass, no prescription. He had a smart

assed comment too.

“Were you running in your work clothes? Your all sweated up. Do you want

water or a towel or something?”

“Um… I’ll be okay. Can I see the damage?”

There was a tiny bubble on the ceiling that had a tiny blotch of spores. This spot

was the size of those fifty cent coins with John F. Kennedy’s face on it or a two dollar

double loony coin in Canada. This is what was causing this person to have asthmatic

conditions? There are people living in shacks in seventy percent of the world with no

heat, air-conditioning or in door plumbing and this guy is crying about a spot on the

ceiling. I called the janitor and had him clean the spot with bleach and then called a

heating and air conditioning guy to look at the unit on the roof. The man insisted I take a

bottle water with me and so I did.

Without boring you with the details of problem solving little insignificant things

that mean nothing in the larger scheme of things. I went back to my girlfriend’s

apartment to put in the unit. I carried it up three flights of stairs. I continued to perspire.

I fought with the old window that had probably been painted a hundred times in the past

eighty plus years. I had to hit it with a hammer to get it to open with the humidity .

I placed the unit in the window and held it with my right hand and pulled on the window

which was stuck in the open position, with the other hand. The hammer was on the bed

and I could not reach it and hold the unit in place. I needed another two inches to reach

it.

I kicked the bed until it fell to the floor. As I was stretching to reach it, the air

conditioner started to slip away and fell three floors to the cement path below and broke

in numerous pieces. I didn’t know if I should cry or punch a hole in the wall. I almost

began to cry in frustration. I just lost $200.00. I got downstairs and the janitor was

stupidly looking up at the sky as if a bird possibly shit it out. I walked by as if I didn’t

know what happened. I really wanted to just stop everything I was doing and just go to

the beach.

I got to the car and realized that I had locked my keys in the apartment. I was

really ready to punch the window of my car but instead I asked the janitor to let me into

the apartment. He gave me a bit of a hard time.

“Are you on the lease?”

“No, it’s my girlfriend’s place but I stay with her half the week… You’ve never

seen me before?”

“Oh yeah… Oh yeah… That one girl… On the third floor, right?”

“Right, right. The tall girl of African descent.”

“Right, right.”

Oak Park is overly politically correct. It has the highest percentage of

homosexuals per capita in the country and I think for that reason, everyone is very careful

to not say anything to offend or discriminate. Between two white dudes, saying that

someone is black should not be too difficult. At any rate, I got my keys. The janitor

stood in the doorway and shook his head up and down while making a frown with his

mouth and squinting his eyes. The apartment was spotless.

“Very clean! That’s a nice surprise.”
“They don’t live in trees anymore… They’re much cleaner than they used to be

when they were barefoot in the bush or picking cotton.”

“Oh no! I didn’t mean to insinuate nothing… I’m really sorry sir.”

I felt bad then. This guy was going to spend the rest of his day worrying about

whether or not I would call his boss to report race discrimination. I couldn’t let him think

that was going to happen. He was nice enough to let me in.

“Don’t sweat it, I’m just having a tough day. I just dropped that A/C unit laying

in the courtyard… I have no air-conditioning in my car and I didn’t sleep last night.”

“I have some at one of the other buildings that someone left. I’ll give them to

you… No problem, sir.”

I always feel sort of sad for old men who call me sir. I’m under forty and he’s

over fifty. He should call me kid or son or dude but not sir.

My brother remained in Canada. He lives outside of Toronto and runs the

Zamboni at a rink. He plays hockey six days a week and sits up in the bar above the ice

rink and watches other hockey games. He has a really pretty wife that was his high

school sweetheart. They have a little boy and my brother is so happy. He told me that he

secretly wants his son to play for the Habs ( Montreal ) instead of the Maple Leafs. That

had more to do with the fact that we loved our grandfather. My mother’s parents

lived in Quebec and spoke only French to us. We spent nearly every summer with them

up in a small town called Chicoutimi which is about two hundred miles north and east of

Quebec City. Nobody up there speaks English. My mother got a job after college with

Air Canada since she was bilingual. She met my father in Toronto where she was

working at the time and the rest is history. In any case, I bring up my brother because he

is happy and not hurried. He never went to college and never wanted to. He coaches ice

hockey, plays it and works at the rink. His whole life is hockey and he loves it. His wife

loves it. They live very simple. If my brother were here he would commandeer the car

and drive straight to Lake Michigan. My grandfather, who was exactly like my brother,

would have done the same thing. He loved to fish. He fished everyday after retiring.

Grandpere would wake in the morning and give my grandmere a kiss and say, “Il fait

beau…” and she would say in her grouchy way, “Non. Il fait chaud…” My grandfather

always said it was beautiful and my grandmother would declare that it was too hot. I

found myself mumbling a few times to myself the same words that my grandmother used.

“Il fait chaud.”

I ran around the rest of the day like any other worker ant does. I did my part for

society and worked hard to keep the wheels of the giant machine moving. I dealt with

hornets, squirrels and rodents inside of units. I dealt with mold and dog shit. I mediated

between a woman with two racing dogs and a woman who hates animals. I watched

plumbers unclog drains, toilets and sewers. I went up on hot roofs to find the source of

leaks. Nothing unusual and the same sort of complaints will come tomorrow. The

difference is that on no sleep, it is difficult to face the world. I don’t know what would

be worse, to not sleep or to not eat. I know now know vividly what no sleep is like with a

good dose of frustration.

I finished my day at a condominium board meeting where people without much to

do, agonized over the cost of cleaning the carpeting in foyer versus new carpet. I needed

clothes pins on my eyelids to make it through the hour meeting with people who

averaged eighty years of age. I felt like getting up and saying something very frank.

“Listen! You are very old and have very little time left on this earth. Worrying

about replacing carpeting versus washing it, should be a minimal thing in your lives. Go

to the zoo. Go to a museum. Go see a play. Look for people you used to know sixty

years ago and stimulate your memories with things you haven’t thought about in ages.

Enjoy each day as if it were your last because one day really soon, you will be gone…

But the carpet will remain.”

I didn’t say that. Instead I looked at an old woman who instructed me to get three

estimates for new carpet and three for carpet cleaning and they would discuss and choose

the best course of action. I thought about all the things going on in my life and hoped to

heck that mundane things like carpeting, would never stir passion within me. With global

warming, wars, nuclear proliferation and starvation in the world, how could we be

worrying about carpeting, air conditioning, mold spores, dog shit and storage lockers?

When you don’t have to worry about survival, you can turn your attention to many things

that mean very little.

I was too tired to go to my apartment across town. I was going to take a cold

shower and go to sleep before my body heated up. I walked in to my girlfriend’s place

and there was a window air-conditioning unit in the living room and another in the

bedroom. It was in the sixties in the apartment with very low humidity. The janitor found

two units and installed them for me, free of charge and without killing them in the

courtyard below. It was the nicest thing to have happened to me all day. I owed the guy

a huge thank you and a gift card to Starbucks or a local restaurant.

I went to bed that night and my girlfriend put on flannel pants and socks to go

with my Quebec shirt. She pulled the comforter up to her chin around her head and

poked her nose out. I laid there in my hybrid underwear that is neither a boxer nor a

brief. It is neither 100% cotton nor 100% spandex. I laid there smiling ready to sleep

like I had not slept in a long time because I had not. I was almost excited. My girlfriend

whispered to me.

“It’s cold…”

I whispered back in French.

“Non. Il fait beau…”

South of the Border

December 4, 2009

South of the Border

I don’t want you to think I’m boy crazy because I’m not at all. I have played ice

hockey practically my whole life and now I’m on the cusp of seventeen. Every year in

Toronto they hold the prospects tournament for girls and boys that are scouted to

participate in scrimmage games for the benefit of being signed to division one schools. I

haven’t decided if I will sign with Cornell or Wisconsin. I totally ruled out Minnesota-

Duluth and North Dakota. I just know I’m going to wind up with some backwards

Evangelical Christian chick, strumming a guitar, trying to get me to come with her to

some youth festival where some dude who looks like David Koresh, gets you to join the

church as if he were selling time shares in Cancun.

I don’t want you to think I’m a total lush too because I’m not at all. I was upstairs

in the restaurant at the Beatrice Ice Rink next to York University. A bunch of the boys

just got finished and I was eating nachos with a girl named Judy from Kingston, Ontario

and Vishna from Barrie, Ontario. Vishna is Indian but was born in Nigeria. She lived in

London for a year and then her father found a job in Canada. She is a really pretty Indian

girl and the first one I ever met that did not smell of Curry when she sweats. In fact I

asked her flat out.

“So do you like Curry?”

“Um… Do you carry a shaleighly and look for your Lucky Charms?”

“Don’t get pissy… It’s a reasonable question, eh?”

“I also don’t have a dot on my forehead, work at Tim Horton’s or drive a fucking

cab.”

“Damn… What a temper! Do you have a one hump or two hump camel?”

Vishna looked at me as angry as could be. I busted out laughing and she laughed

too. This happened last year and we have kept in touch through email ever since. Barrie,

was the province champions last year and we played them in the quarter finals. Vishna is

really fast.

Judy is tall and has straight blond hair and is really pretty. She plays the tuba and

is the total honour student. She is really quiet but a great hockey player. I come from

Windsor which is just over the bridge from Detroit. The people there love the Red Wings

instead of the Maple Leafs. I followed the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey

League. I think watching them and my brother was what got me into the sport.

So I was eating nachos with Vishna and Judy when these absolutely gorgeous

guys from Buffalo, New York came up to our table. Scott, who has blond hair and

dimples when he smiles, sat down and dipped his middle finger in the cheese and put it

into his mouth slowly.

“I just love cheese on the nacho…”

Vishna let into him right away.

“That was really gay…”

To say gay to a male hockey player under the age of eighteen is really an attack on

the essence of his maleness. It prevented him and the other two guys with him from

acting stupid. They suddenly became really cool.

“So like… What schools have talked to you?” Asked a boy named Bill with a

buzz cut and faint freckles.
Bill got signed to Guelph. Scott was going to Lake Forest College in Illinois to

play division three hockey. Colin had not been signed yet but was hoping to go to

Brantford in the Ontario Hockey League. For American guys, they weren’t so bad. They

thought they were all so funny saying “eh” after everything.

Vishna really had a thing for Scott. They talked to each other all throughout the

next day and went down to the Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto on the off day. Scott

invited all of us to a party in Buffalo.

I really don’t care much for the states. It’s dirty, crowded and really have an over

abundance of obese people. Vishna was crazy to go. Judy and I really didn’t want to

cross the border to go to a house party but we did. We got into Vishna’s father’s car and

drove over the border. The American border guard was a nice old man. He never asked

to see our passports. We found the house in a clean suburb. It was actually really low

keyed. There was only like twenty people there and it was nice. A good looking guy

with brown curly hair, came up to talk to me. His pants were sagging and he wore his

Yankees hat cocked to the right. He had all the hand gestures of a rapper including

fondling his penis with his right hand while gesturing with his left hand. Our

conversation was a trip. He kept trying to look down my cleavage when it was my turn to

speak. I don’t think he heard me much.

“Yeah so I play hockey…”

“Cool, cool… You all still wear them skirts and run around with candy canes?”

“Um… That’s field hockey. I play on the ice.”

“Oh hell naw! Girls playing like dudes? Shit… You all be giggling and

squealing and shit?”
That ended that conversation. I wished him well in his endeavours to become a

producer. Other than piss, shit and babies, I don’t know what he could produce.

Anyway, I also talked with a bunch of guys who also played hockey and a couple

of their girlfriends. I had a couple of Coronas and a shot of some licorice tasting stuff

that like burned me on the inside. I think Vishna was in one of the bedrooms with Scott.

I personally think it’s sort of gross since they just met but whatever. Judy and I didn’t ask

any questions and she didn’t tell. We could tell though that she was in a stupid way right

now. Her mind was locked and fixated on the blond kid with the dimples. He was totally

in love with his Indian version of Barbie. They kissed for like five minutes while we

waited in the car. We got to the border and the Canadian border official, who was a short

French guy asked us questions in French purposely.

“Citoyen?”

Vishna must have been riding high from finding love. She decided to give a smart

assed answer to entertain us. The short French guy was not amused.

“No, no it’s a Saturn…”

Of course we laughed. Short men always think women are making fun of them.

He stepped out of his little booth and ordered us to pull around to an area where they dig

through your trunk. Vishna tried to reason with him.

“I was only joking… Citoyen sounds like a car model.”

“Drinking and driving, eh?”

“Oh my god! We’re hockey players! We’re in the prospects tourney in York.”

“Okay. Well it’s one in the morning. I’m sure you’re not playing hockey now,

eh?”
Vishna backed the car up as if she going to go into the stall where they strip

search your car. Instead she wheeled around and raced back over the bridge, dodging cars

coming towards us. She broke the wooden gate at the toll booth on the American side

and raced down side streets in downtown Buffalo. She called Scott on her cell phone. I

resorted to rhetorical questions.

“Are you fucking crazy?! They’re going to put us in prison! Do you wanna be in

an American prison? No school in North America will take us now… Oh my god,

Vishna!”

“You don’t understand! My father will send me to live with family in India if he

finds out that I went over to America. I promised him I would be good and just stay in

the room.”

I had a horrible feeling that my scholarship chances would be gone as well as my

opportunity to try out for Team Canada. We drove aimlessly down streets as Vishna tried

to find her way back to Scott’s house. Judy sat with her arms folded and showed no

emotion. I felt like smacking her face.

“Judy! What the hell?” I said to her.

“What? What did I do?” She asked, quite angered now.

“How can you just sit there and not say a fucking word?” I asked.

“Because I am fucking numb right now. We’re like fugitives.” Said Judy.

Vishna was crying and swearing because Scott wasn’t picking up his phone. We

eventually pulled up and Vishna went back into the house to find them. Vishna left the

car running. There was a Dave Mathews song playing. It reminded me of my last

boyfriend. He had tickets to see Dave Mathews. I couldn’t go with my boyfriend and so he went with a bunch of friends. Kelly from my team last year got drunk and blew him at

the concert. I found out from friends of my boyfriend what had happened. At the next

practice, I took a shit and piss in her hockey bag while practice was going on. I left the

ice and dropped a tremendous shit in her bag. I eat a lot of vegetables and so the fiber

really helped produce the effect I was looking for. She made me feel like shit by blowing

my boyfriend and I made a really large smelly turd for her to deal with. Of course we fist

fought and I beat her ass. It’s not Dave Mathews fault, he had no way of knowing. I

think he’s a good guy.

Somehow Vishna got Scott to drive us over the border in his father’s minivan.

When we got to the border, the same little French guy stopped him. Our hearts were

jumping out of our chests. He gave Scott a hard time.

“Why are you going to Canada at three in the morning?”

“Um well, I’m in this prospects tournament and I live in Buffalo and so I’m just

going back to the rink… To the hotel by the rink.”

Boys are so inarticulate. He was a mumbling mess of lies and the little

Frenchman knew it.

“Which hotel?”

“It’s right by the rink by the university.”

Oh my god! What a blond disaster he had become. Our future in college sports

rested in the hands of an imbecile.

“Um my dad is sleeping in the hotel and I had to go home because I left my skates

there and had to borrow a pair earlier and I like fell asleep watching Buffalo play

Vancouver… It was an awesome game. But anyway, I had three games today and I was fatigued.”

A bit better but still not off the hook yet.

“What do you have in the back of the van?”

“Just my equipment… Do you wanna see it?”

I almost screamed. How could he invite the border guard to check his car?

“The last thing I want to see or smell is your equipment right now… You’re free

to go.”

We were free to get back into our country. We did not get caught. I wanted to

stop and kiss the ground right there at Niagara but the sentiment quickly passed. It was

four before we got back to our room and the alarm clock went off at seven. It felt like I

had just closed my eyes. I played like shit and so did Judy and Vishna. We took a nap

between games and were fine.

Vishna was able to talk Scott into putting New York plates on her Ontario

licensed car. Vishna got her car back into Canada. Scott had to lie again. He said he had

purchased a used car. There were a lot of cars that day and so he got away with it.

Vishna sent his plates UPS and everything turned out mostly okay.

Vishna was eating dinner when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came to her

door in Barrie. They questioned her about speeding away from the border. She

vehemently denied being near Niagara much less the states. They questioned her over

and over until she broke down and told them the truth. Turns out that the detective was a

former junior league player from Barrie and he worked things out for Vishna without her

parents ever finding out. Vishna actually stayed in contact with Scott. She drove twice to

see him in Buffalo since the incident. She even saw the same border guard. The French guy asked again in

French her citizenship. Vishna learned to say Canadian.

Viagra 73% Off

November 16, 2009

Now Steven was worried about pleasing his younger wife. She had told him matter of fact like one night that she loved to have sex for hours, several times a night. Steven had gone to the junk box on his computer and opened up the spam that advertised Viagra for 73% below the market value. Steven loved a deal and so he purchased the drug on line from a distributor in a small town in Alberta up in the plains section of Canada. This distributor was able to get the drug from the Canadian Government for next to nothing. He worked in a hospital where they dispensed drugs. The government paid him a meager $25,000.00 a year salary. By borrowing the drug, he could make over four times that amount. This particular man had bank accounts set up in Barbados under his children’s names. He withdrew all his money one day from the Royal Bank of Canada when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, nabbed drug dealers in British Columbia. The drug dealers were caught with millions in Scotia Bank accounts. One night while eating dinner with his family and watching the national news on CBC, this particular Viagra dealer got to his RBC and wired the money to Barbados. He had always wanted to go to Barbados, now he had a good reason. His money was there.
To be fair, we shall not name for fear that the RCMP might pick him up in Alberta. He posted the sale of Viagra on the web at a savings of 73%. Steven was not aware that he was only saving about 20% and so he bought the little blue pills on line. He initially took just a half a pill as was suggested and found that his member hung to the left as if it were asleep. Steven took the rest of the pill. It was within an hour that he broke out into body sweats and felt a surge of heat run through his body. Steven could feel his heart beating in his eyes. The veins on his neck bulged and he got an erection that was so hard that it hurt him. It throbbed so. Steven’s younger wife had no idea. What she believed was that Steven was inspired by her. Steven was good for two or three rounds. His biggest fear was that he might get a heart attack or a stroke from the drug.
Cynthia tried so hard to appear as though she was really in love with her husband. What she was really in love with were all his assets. By law, she was half owner in all that he owned. Within ten years, Cynthia would be as they say, fucking him to the tune of five million dollars, a house, a condo, two cars and monthly maintenance.
Cynthia’s people had hit the proverbial jack pot some years back. It was determined that Cynthia’s mother was part of the Luiseno Indian tribe. One day her mother received a letter from the chief of the Luiseno Indians that she would be getting $200,000.00 a year for being one of a select few that were really and truly from the Luiseno Tribe. It was great while it lasted.
The Luisenos arrived from Asia over 2,500 year ago and settled just south of Palm Springs. They were hunters and gatherers. The Spanish and small pox did them in. Today there are about 40 native speakers of the language left. Cynthia’s mother got money until the day she died. Cynthia had her mother in a nursing home in Hemet, California for years while she collected the money. Upon her mother’s death, it was determined by the tribe leader that Cynthia could no longer receive the money on her mother’s behalf since she had been adopted. Cynthia had no idea that she had been adopted until her mother’s death. A private detective hired by the tribe was conclusively able to prove that Cynthia was born of Scottish and Swedish extraction and was there by not a Luiseno. The well had run dry.
Now Cynthia’s mother had been told as a child, that their grandfather had been a full blooded Luiseno Indian that had moved near Los Angeles and married a white woman. Their children married other whites until the Indian look was white washed away. Due to the fact that Cynthia’s mother was of direct Luiseno lineage, she was entitled to a share of the profits that came in from the food mart, RV resort and the Pechanga Resort and Casino. It is a four diamond resort with 522 rooms and suites designed in a style hailing back to Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Wright was from Illinois but was no Indian. Golf, gambling, boxing, swimming and even comedy can be found on the grounds of the Pechanga Resort and Casino. Cynthia’s mother received a cut of the proceeds for having Luiseno blood. Upon the death of her mother, Cynthia needed to find a way to retain the style of life that she had grown accustomed to. Into her life entered Steven Swartz. Cynthia help founded a new tribe. No casino but plenty of proceeds and benefits

Wine with the Prime Minister

October 13, 2009

August 3, 2009
Wine with the Prime Minister
Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 4:24 am Edit This
Tags: canada, france, french, quebec, wine

After 225 years of French rule in North America, a battle on the Plains of Abraham ended all that. A general for the British by the name of Wolfe, defeated a French general by the name of Montcalme at the Battle of Quebec in 1759. At the Treaty of Paris in 1763, New France was named Quebec. France was left with two islands near Newfoundland. The British sought to have all French inhabitants assimilate into British ways. In 1774, fearing that the French citizens of Quebec might team up with George Washington and company, the British passed the Quebec Act which recognized French law, language, culture and the Roman Catholic Church. Assimilation was impossible after the passage of that act. French culture continued in Quebec.
In October of 1995, the 30th to be exact, the future of Canada as we know it presently, was being decided. The province of Quebec was voting on a referendum to decide if Quebec should be a sovereign nation. Two weeks before the casting of the vote in Quebec, the sovereign vote was ahead in the polls by nearly five percent. The night of the election, everyone was on the edge of their seats, in Canada only.
93% of eligible voters turned out to vote making it close to 4.7 million voters in Quebec. 53,498 people out of 4.7 million were the difference in Quebec becoming a sovereign nation and seceding from Canada. Most of the 53,000 people were foreign born non-French and non-English speaking immigrants. For the Parti Quebecois, it was a defeat to be sure. There to this day are grumblings and strong feelings in Quebec about going it alone where French could be spoken by French without having to ever speak English. Where stop signs would forever say Arête and any Americanized, English words would and could be abolished once and for all. The preservation of French culture would have been mandated by law instead of the French and English that now exists in the province of Quebec. Not very interesting? Not many people took notice outside of Canada at the time and today not many know that the future of Canada was being decided the day before Halloween in 1995. But this really is not the story. The story is the story within the story, which is usually the case. It’s not the substance that mattered it was the drama and tension as a result of the referendum.
To protect his identity and to keep me from being sued, I have altered the name of the Parti Quebecois member of the Canadian House of Commons, representing an area not far from the Ontario border in Quebec by the name of Etienne Cadeau.
Etienne was short and portly. His dark hair was receding and he had a large gap between his two front teeth. Etienne had a gift for being able to talk to anyone about anything and seem interested. It is a trait which is necessary to be a politician.
Mr. Cadeau was born and raised in the Atlantic coast city of Gaspe not far from where Jacques Cartier planted a cross for France back in 1534.
Etienne’s father was a fisherman and his mother raised nine children. Etienne was an above average student who went to Laval in Quebec City and became a lawyer. While is college, Etienne met and married a woman by the name of Jeanette who was born in the city of Gatineau, not far from the nation’s capital of Ottawa in the province of Ontario.
Mr. Cadeau left the Liberal Party to join the Bloc Quebecois in 1990 and became a member of parliament representing a region of western Quebec. Things looked good for those that wanted sovereignty for Quebec. Mr. Cadeau saw himself as a possible candidate for the first president of the Republic of Quebec. He could be the French George Washington and forever live on coins and paper money. The night of the election, Etienne watched the results from a bar that was frequented by French Canadian politicians and other various separatists. On the wall were pictures of Rene Levesque and Charles de Galle, the French Canadian flag and the words, “Je me souviens” which translates to mean in English, I remember or I remember my French heritage.
As the hours passed, Etienne and others became more drunk and disappointed. Etienne sat at a table with other MPs of French extraction that were looking forward to a new nation for North American Francophones. It became clear late in the evening that the referendum had been defeated by a 50.6 to 49.4 percent. One percent of the province was the difference. Etienne was so upset that he threw down his Canadian money with the English queen on it and staggered out into the night. The air was cold with a hint of winter that was about to come to that part of Canada. Etienne got into his Citroen that he imported from France and drove towards the bridge that would take him across to Ottawa where he lived during sessions of parliament.

Bill Stowe was a descendant of people who once lived in the colony which became the United States of America. They were loyalists and wanted to remain loyal to the crown. After the colonists gained their own country, Bill’s ancestors moved north. Over the course of two hundred years, Bill’s family never bred much with people over other persuasions. There was a Dutch woman and a Flemish Belgian man who married into the Stowe clan. For the most part, they were of Anglo-Saxon stock.
Bill had played hockey and was a stand out in the Ontario Hockey League until one too many concussions sidelined his career and forced him to seek other means to an end. Bill became a police officer in the OPP or Ontario Provincial Police.
Bill grew up in Ajax which was about 50 kilometers from the city of Toronto. Upon being hired into the OPP, Bill had to move to Windsor near the Detroit border and then all the way to Cornwall near the Quebec border. It had been five years that Bill had been living and working for the OPP near Ottawa. Bill liked Ottawa.
Bill sat sipping Tim Horton’s Coffee and talking to a fellow trooper on the citizen band radio about their men’s league hockey team that was taking a trip to Calgary to play against other police teams from all over Canada and the United States. The team to beat were the Mounties from near Edmonton. They had won the tournament three years in a row. This year, Bill’s team got some fresh blood. Two young rookies just got done playing in the Ontario Hockey League and were more than capable of helping the Ottawa OPP.
Coming off the bridge that leads from Hull, Quebec to Ottawa, Ontario was the black Citroen. The Citroen’s wheels screeched as Etienne cornered. It was on Queen Elizabeth Street that Etienne cornered too fast and slammed head on into a lamppost. Bill had followed the screeching Citroen with Quebec plates, ever since the bridge. Etienne sat banging his head on the steering wheel of his car that was cleaved right up the center of the car. Etienne was able to start the car again. He put it in drive, thinking that he was in reverse and knocked the lamppost down onto two other parked cars. One of the parked cars had just some dents on the hood but the second one had the ornamental head of the lamp, resting on the front seat of the sedan after it had ripped through the windshield. Etienne got out of his car and kicked and punched as he swore in French. Unbeknownst to him, Bill walked up and flashed a light in Etienne’s eyes. Bill spoke first.
“Sir… Don’t move. I want to hear from you what just happened,” commanded Bill.
“What happened? I will tell you what appened… We lost our chance to be our own nation by less than one percentage point. Eef we aad won dee referendum, ah would not be eer raht now speaking to ahn English speaking cop een fucking Ottawa… Fucking dumb English prick,” said an inebriated Etienne, while staring at the light of the flash light.
“Sir, I need to know why it is that you were driving so fast that you lost control of your vehicle. Calling me names is not going to help you right now, eh? I need to see your driver’s license…”
Etienne had set his wallet down on the chair besides where he was sitting at the bar in Hull. Nobody would steal the wallet and it was probably being held by the bartender at that moment. Etienne let the officer know what had happened.
“Ah can geeve you the name and number of the bar een Hull. Ah left eet on a chair next to me… Een any event, I ham a MP. I leeve on Queens Street when I ham not leeving en Quebec,” said Etienne.
“Sir… I’m going to have to take you in to custody,” said Bill.
Etienne did not go down without a fight. He swore and punched Bill. Bill could be heard on the radio, calling for backup. Three other troopers showed within a minute to detain the member of the House of Commons. Later that morning, under the light of day, Etienne was released from OPP holding pen. Reporters from papers all over Canada as well as the CBC camped out to get a comment from the drunken driving Member of Parliament. Etienne refused to speak English. In French he made a statement in the form of questions. Here is the English translation;
“If I were an English speaking member of the House of Commons, would I have been arrested? Do you believe this is another symbolic statement by government officials that the French citizens of this nation will always be second class citizens within Canada? You need to answer these questions. The people of Quebec have voted by the thinnest of margins to remain part of Canada and who were the 50,000 who put the no vote over the top? Not French speaking citizens of Quebec whose lineage dates back three hundred years to France… That’s all I can say right now…”
A sharp witted columnist who had a syndicated column in English language newspapers throughout Canada commented on the incident. That more than anything else, fuelled the smoldering fire. In Quebec, separatists began to smash windows of businesses that had English sounding names. A five second film clip showed a group of separatists singing in French and burning the Canadian flag. The scene looked more like the taking of American hostages in Iran than something that could have happened in Canada. It was at that point that the prime minister had to step in.
Jean Chrétien, the 20th Prime Minister of the country which is Canada, tried to calm the situation. Luckily for Chretien at the time, there were no reporters around when he was told about the situation. He did say in French, “ Il est tres stupide…”. It wasn’t clear if the situation was stupid, The drunk member of parliament or the OPP police officer. In either case, the press was not present to hear the prime minister. The situation escalated without any help.
Jean Chretien, understood that even though the referendum had failed, the country could still be in crisis due to an individual incident that was quite symbolic; French discrimination from an English heavy hand. Chretien had invited the two men in question to meet on the Plains of Abraham to drink a bottle of wine from the province of Ontario and another from the province of Quebec. Red wine would be drunk by the three men from each province in a dark wooded room that overlooked the St. Lawrence River from the Chateau Frontenac. Bill Stowe, Etienne Cadeau and Jean Chrétien sat in the room and discussed the whole situation and the situation that occurred from the situation. Before both bottles were finished, the conversation turned to ice hockey. Bill graciously declared that Maurice “The Rocket” Richard was probably the best hockey player to have played the sport even though in his heart bill believed it to really be Gordie Howe. Etienne declared that the best player was difficult to declare but that it might have been Gordie Howe since he was able to play professionally into his fifties even though Etienne really believed the best of best was Maurice Richard. All men declared by the end of meeting that they would do all within their abilities to keep Canada intact. Seven years later at the invitation of the prime minister, Etienne and Bill watched Canada win the gold medal for Canada. The two men with lumps in their throats, stood as the national anthem played. Both men sang the words in their own languages as the flag was raised above all others in Utah. It was a proud moment for Canada. Oh Canada…

After 225 years of French rule in North America, a battle on the Plains of Abraham ended all that. A general for the British by the name of Wolfe, defeated a French general by the name of Montcalme at the Battle of Quebec in 1759. At the Treaty of Paris in 1763, New France was named Quebec. France was left with two islands near Newfoundland. The British sought to have all French inhabitants assimilate into British ways. In 1774, fearing that the French citizens of Quebec might team up with George Washington and company, the British passed the Quebec Act which recognized French law, language, culture and the Roman Catholic Church. Assimilation was impossible after the passage of that act. French culture continued in Quebec.
In October of 1995, the 30th to be exact, the future of Canada as we know it presently, was being decided. The province of Quebec was voting on a referendum to decide if Quebec should be a sovereign nation. Two weeks before the casting of the vote in Quebec, the sovereign vote was ahead in the polls by nearly five percent. The night of the election, everyone was on the edge of their seats, in Canada only.
93% of eligible voters turned out to vote making it close to 4.7 million voters in Quebec. 53,498 people out of 4.7 million were the difference in Quebec becoming a sovereign nation and seceding from Canada. Most of the 53,000 people were foreign born non-French and non-English speaking immigrants. For the Parti Quebecois, it was a defeat to be sure. There to this day are grumblings and strong feelings in Quebec about going it alone where French could be spoken by French without having to ever speak English. Where stop signs would forever say Arête and any Americanized, English words would and could be abolished once and for all. The preservation of French culture would have been mandated by law instead of the French and English that now exists in the province of Quebec. Not very interesting? Not many people took notice outside of Canada at the time and today not many know that the future of Canada was being decided the day before Halloween in 1995. But this really is not the story. The story is the story within the story, which is usually the case. It’s not the substance that mattered it was the drama and tension as a result of the referendum.
To protect his identity and to keep me from being sued, I have altered the name of the Parti Quebecois member of the Canadian House of Commons, representing an area not far from the Ontario border in Quebec by the name of Etienne Cadeau.
Etienne was short and portly. His dark hair was receding and he had a large gap between his two front teeth. Etienne had a gift for being able to talk to anyone about anything and seem interested. It is a trait which is necessary to be a politician.
Mr. Cadeau was born and raised in the Atlantic coast city of Gaspe not far from where Jacques Cartier planted a cross for France back in 1534.
Etienne’s father was a fisherman and his mother raised nine children. Etienne was an above average student who went to Laval in Quebec City and became a lawyer. While is college, Etienne met and married a woman by the name of Jeanette who was born in the city of Gatineau, not far from the nation’s capital of Ottawa in the province of Ontario.
Mr. Cadeau left the Liberal Party to join the Bloc Quebecois in 1990 and became a member of parliament representing a region of western Quebec. Things looked good for those that wanted sovereignty for Quebec. Mr. Cadeau saw himself as a possible candidate for the first president of the Republic of Quebec. He could be the French George Washington and forever live on coins and paper money. The night of the election, Etienne watched the results from a bar that was frequented by French Canadian politicians and other various separatists. On the wall were pictures of Rene Levesque and Charles de Galle, the French Canadian flag and the words, “Je me souviens” which translates to mean in English, I remember or I remember my French heritage.
As the hours passed, Etienne and others became more drunk and disappointed. Etienne sat at a table with other MPs of French extraction that were looking forward to a new nation for North American Francophones. It became clear late in the evening that the referendum had been defeated by a 50.6 to 49.4 percent. One percent of the province was the difference. Etienne was so upset that he threw down his Canadian money with the English queen on it and staggered out into the night. The air was cold with a hint of winter that was about to come to that part of Canada. Etienne got into his Citroen that he imported from France and drove towards the bridge that would take him across to Ottawa where he lived during sessions of parliament.

Bill Stowe was a descendant of people who once lived in the colony which became the United States of America. They were loyalists and wanted to remain loyal to the crown. After the colonists gained their own country, Bill’s ancestors moved north. Over the course of two hundred years, Bill’s family never bred much with people over other persuasions. There was a Dutch woman and a Flemish Belgian man who married into the Stowe clan. For the most part, they were of Anglo-Saxon stock.
Bill had played hockey and was a stand out in the Ontario Hockey League until one too many concussions sidelined his career and forced him to seek other means to an end. Bill became a police officer in the OPP or Ontario Provincial Police.
Bill grew up in Ajax which was about 50 kilometers from the city of Toronto. Upon being hired into the OPP, Bill had to move to Windsor near the Detroit border and then all the way to Cornwall near the Quebec border. It had been five years that Bill had been living and working for the OPP near Ottawa. Bill liked Ottawa.
Bill sat sipping Tim Horton’s Coffee and talking to a fellow trooper on the citizen band radio about their men’s league hockey team that was taking a trip to Calgary to play against other police teams from all over Canada and the United States. The team to beat were the Mounties from near Edmonton. They had won the tournament three years in a row. This year, Bill’s team got some fresh blood. Two young rookies just got done playing in the Ontario Hockey League and were more than capable of helping the Ottawa OPP.
Coming off the bridge that leads from Hull, Quebec to Ottawa, Ontario was the black Citroen. The Citroen’s wheels screeched as Etienne cornered. It was on Queen Elizabeth Street that Etienne cornered too fast and slammed head on into a lamppost. Bill had followed the screeching Citroen with Quebec plates, ever since the bridge. Etienne sat banging his head on the steering wheel of his car that was cleaved right up the center of the car. Etienne was able to start the car again. He put it in drive, thinking that he was in reverse and knocked the lamppost down onto two other parked cars. One of the parked cars had just some dents on the hood but the second one had the ornamental head of the lamp, resting on the front seat of the sedan after it had ripped through the windshield. Etienne got out of his car and kicked and punched as he swore in French. Unbeknownst to him, Bill walked up and flashed a light in Etienne’s eyes. Bill spoke first.
“Sir… Don’t move. I want to hear from you what just happened,” commanded Bill.
“What happened? I will tell you what appened… We lost our chance to be our own nation by less than one percentage point. Eef we aad won dee referendum, ah would not be eer raht now speaking to ahn English speaking cop een fucking Ottawa… Fucking dumb English prick,” said an inebriated Etienne, while staring at the light of the flash light.
“Sir, I need to know why it is that you were driving so fast that you lost control of your vehicle. Calling me names is not going to help you right now, eh? I need to see your driver’s license…”
Etienne had set his wallet down on the chair besides where he was sitting at the bar in Hull. Nobody would steal the wallet and it was probably being held by the bartender at that moment. Etienne let the officer know what had happened.
“Ah can geeve you the name and number of the bar een Hull. Ah left eet on a chair next to me… Een any event, I ham a MP. I leeve on Queens Street when I ham not leeving en Quebec,” said Etienne.
“Sir… I’m going to have to take you in to custody,” said Bill.
Etienne did not go down without a fight. He swore and punched Bill. Bill could be heard on the radio, calling for backup. Three other troopers showed within a minute to detain the member of the House of Commons. Later that morning, under the light of day, Etienne was released from OPP holding pen. Reporters from papers all over Canada as well as the CBC camped out to get a comment from the drunken driving Member of Parliament. Etienne refused to speak English. In French he made a statement in the form of questions. Here is the English translation;
“If I were an English speaking member of the House of Commons, would I have been arrested? Do you believe this is another symbolic statement by government officials that the French citizens of this nation will always be second class citizens within Canada? You need to answer these questions. The people of Quebec have voted by the thinnest of margins to remain part of Canada and who were the 50,000 who put the no vote over the top? Not French speaking citizens of Quebec whose lineage dates back three hundred years to France… That’s all I can say right now…”
A sharp witted columnist who had a syndicated column in English language newspapers throughout Canada commented on the incident. That more than anything else, fuelled the smoldering fire. In Quebec, separatists began to smash windows of businesses that had English sounding names. A five second film clip showed a group of separatists singing in French and burning the Canadian flag. The scene looked more like the taking of American hostages in Iran than something that could have happened in Canada. It was at that point that the prime minister had to step in.
Jean Chrétien, the 20th Prime Minister of the country which is Canada, tried to calm the situation. Luckily for Chretien at the time, there were no reporters around when he was told about the situation. He did say in French, “ Il est tres stupide…”. It wasn’t clear if the situation was stupid, The drunk member of parliament or the OPP police officer. In either case, the press was not present to hear the prime minister. The situation escalated without any help.
Jean Chretien, understood that even though the referendum had failed, the country could still be in crisis due to an individual incident that was quite symbolic; French discrimination from an English heavy hand. Chretien had invited the two men in question to meet on the Plains of Abraham to drink a bottle of wine from the province of Ontario and another from the province of Quebec. Red wine would be drunk by the three men from each province in a dark wooded room that overlooked the St. Lawrence River from the Chateau Frontenac. Bill Stowe, Etienne Cadeau and Jean Chrétien sat in the room and discussed the whole situation and the situation that occurred from the situation. Before both bottles were finished, the conversation turned to ice hockey. Bill graciously declared that Maurice “The Rocket” Richard was probably the best hockey player to have played the sport even though in his heart bill believed it to really be Gordie Howe. Etienne declared that the best player was difficult to declare but that it might have been Gordie Howe since he was able to play professionally into his fifties even though Etienne really believed the best of best was Maurice Richard. All men declared by the end of meeting that they would do all within their abilities to keep Canada intact. Seven years later at the invitation of the prime minister, Etienne and Bill watched Canada win the gold medal for Canada. The two men with lumps in their throats, stood as the national anthem played. Both men sang the words in their own languages as the flag was raised above all others in Utah. It was a proud moment for Canada. Oh Canada…

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