Monday, August 30, 2010
I did manage to present a #fridayflash story last week. The only reason that happened was the fact that I dug deep into the Davidson archives and dusted off an old class assignment from night school a couple of years ago. The biggest chore about that was changing it from first person to third person. If anyone missed the story, it is the previous blog posting.
Speaking of the Davidson archives...if you want some true Davidson dirt, you should head immediately over to Life on the Muskoka River where the creative and hilarious Cathy Olliffe is presenting another of her amusing and insightful wedding stories. The victim this time? Let's just say that he's not wearing a fez but he is wearing a tux and a black beard...enjoy. Drop by and listen as I tell the story of meeting and wedding my wife in the first person. And I hardly lie at all.
Friday, August 27, 2010
The Disappearing Man
Bobby’s father had died the previous summer and his mother was forced to rent the attic space to help with the bills. One morning a pale man, carrying his belongings in a large lacquer box, was propelled through the front door by a blast of chilly air. He was tall, but did not fill the doorway like Bobby’s dad.
“Hey there, young fella,” he said, nodding to the boy. “My name’s Mickey.”
Bobby couldn’t place the man’s strange accent but he sounded like JR Ewing from that new show on TV. His brown hair extended past his shoulders and the boy noticed a scorpion tattoo on the man’s fist when they shook hands. Bobby thought that Mickey’s almond-shaped eyes and walrus mustache made him look Asian, though not as much so as David Carradine in Kung Fu.
They quickly fell into a routine that allowed Bobby’s mother to work late at her waitress job. Mickey always worked the overnight shift and slept during the day while Bobby attended school. At supper time he would emerge from the attic to make them fancy sandwiches. On one such occasion, while dressing up their bologna on kaisers with pickles, an olive magically appeared in his hand. He deftly produced another from Bobby’s shirt pocket. Mickey lacked David Copperfield’s talent, but he compensated with Doug Henning’s flamboyance.
“How did you do that?”
“It’s all in the misdirection.”
“The missed erection…?”
“Misdirection,” he said laughing, his narrow shoulders pumping up and down. “That’s when you use a quick distraction to divert a person’s attention.” Mickey spent the rest of the evening making nickels magically appear and teaching Bobby special card tricks.
The boys from school reported regularly to Bobby about the lodger’s activities. Tim’s brother often saw him drinking beer with tough guys in downtown bars. Alvin’s dad heard Mickey speaking French with bikers at the Brass Rail…even a twelve year old knew about that joint’s reputation.
Clothes lay heaped on the floor and the lacquer box sat neatly at the foot of the bed. Bobby had never noticed that it was painted—a pair of birds and large flowers on its side. On the dresser he spied a photo of soldiers standing in front of a helicopter, one much larger than the ones he’d seen on M*A*S*H*. Mickey’s wind breaker, the one he always wore to work, was hanging on the back of a chair. Bobby still heard the shower downstairs so he gently lifted it to try on. Beneath the jacket was a small gun tucked in a worn, leather holster. Breathlessly, the boy ran his fingers over the rough grip of the weapon. At that moment the pipes rattled below the floor, indicating the shower had stopped. Bobby took a final glance around the room and quickly fled downstairs.
While making sandwiches together that evening, Bobby noticed a small triangle of colour peeking out from the arm of Mickey’s T-shirt.
“Is that a tattoo?”
“Yes,” he said, not looking up from slicing a tomato.
“Were you in the war?”
“Yes I was.”
“Can I see your tattoo?”
Mouth set grimly, Mickey sighed and lay down the knife. He rolled up the shirt to reveal a red lightning bolt with the number 23 at its center.
“Cool. What’s the number? That how many guys you’ve killed?”
“No, that was the number of my regiment,” he said, idly scratching a jagged scar on his other arm. Bobby was a bright kid and, having watched enough TV shows about war vets, figured Mickey was an undercover cop. He was like Kojak—without the lollypop, like Baretta—without the cockatoo. Starsky without Hutch.
The house was unbearably warm that summer and Mickey, when at home, often dragged Bobby outdoors on his “Get Bobby away from TV” initiative. Mickey taught him to play catch and soccer and even badminton. The physical activities were fun, yet foreign to the boy as he and his dad had only ever watched TV.
Bobby discovered Mickey smoking on the back stairs one evening. He stared into the garden’s depths as if seeking a safe passage through the thick patches of sunflowers and hollyhocks. His long, nicotine-stained fingers pinched a small, wrinkled cigarette that smelled unusual yet strangely pleasant to the boy.
“New brand of cigarettes?”
“Yeah, but it’s no good for me and I think it’s high time I quit,” he said as he ground the dead end into his plastic ashtray.
On a warm October evening, after eating pastrami on rye, Bobby saw Mickey for the last time. They were laughing, wrestling among the crisp leaves that obscured the front lawn. Bobby was pinned and conceding defeat when a red Pinto, its windows tinted, pulled up to the curb. It idled noisily for a moment and then the horn beeped twice. Mickey frowned and held up a finger, motioning the driver to wait. He dashed into the house and returned wearing his wind breaker.
Mickey tousled Bobby’s hair as he passed. “See ya later, kid,” he shouted and jumped into the passenger seat of the waiting vehicle.
Bobby chased after the car as it drove away, its exhaust pipe emitting blue puffs. They hung momentarily in the air, like smoke from his dad’s clay pipe, but a light breeze spirited them away.
Mickey did not return the next morning. Not the day after that either. A week after his disappearance, Bobby’s mother emerged from the attic carrying his lacquer box. He followed her out the front door and wept as she passed it to the men in the black sedan. They soon got a new lodger, and Mickey G. was never spoken of again.
Bobby still thought about him, though, while watching Magnum on TV.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The tombs are many shapes, sizes and colours much like the older dwellings within the town itself. Many tombs are well-tended and are no doubt often visited. Others are in complete disarray, perhaps because the family members have long ago left the community. There is a great view of the town and harbour from the cemetery (if the fog has lifted) and a view of the hillside that backs the town to the north. I'll stop yapping now and let the photos speak for themselves.
Seeing that little window open kinda gives me the creeps...
This one kind of speaks for itself.
Monday, August 23, 2010
The streets were foggy and drizzly most of our visit but I have tried to include a few pictures that show the hilly nature of the town and the colourful homes, qualities it shares with neighbouring Newfoundland. Three days (one evening, 2 full days, and a morning) are enough to take in everything as you can walk from one end of town to the other in about 1/2 hour.
There is a small museum of cinema, but we avoided it as it was a bit pricey to get in and smelled like granny's damp basement. The main Museum, however, is very modern and heavily subsidized by the French government. There are a lot of artifacts depicting the early fishing heritage of the islands and displays that describe the history of the early native settlers. Again, a background similar to that of Newfoundland. The guillotine is very popular with the tourists but is tucked away in a corner as if they were embarrased at its presence. Interesting. You can browse the Museum web site here. Not to worry, click on the 'translate' button to get the information in English.
There was one large liquor store in town that had a large selection of many beverages. Sadly, my knowledge of French wines is lacking (c'est dommage!) so I didn't purchase any. However, a fancy 12 year old Scotch winked at me...
We discovered that there are five main restaurants where fine French cuisine was available. It took a day to discover the quirky hours (by our standards, at least). They opened for lunch from about 12 until 2pm and then closed until about 7pm and stayed open until about 10:00pm. A word of advise...a reservation is always necessary in Saint Pierre. I have never been to France, so I can't compare the meals. However, I have been to Montreal and Quebec City and the dining was comparable to the fine eats available in those locations. I had a very nice pepper steak one night and a fillet of cod with a very nice coating of almonds served on a bed of peppers. I could continue but I think we should move on to the pictures.
A small French import called an Aixam. How small is it? Scroll down....
This was the logo just to the left of the door (V took this photo, not me...)
Relaxing in a nice restaurant after a day of walking in the fog
I hope you enjoyed the second installment. I'll close off here but will return for the final segment, part trois, where I shall continue the morbidity with a pictorial tour of the Saint Pierre cemetery.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Oil rig Henry Goodrich in Marystown for a 2 month refit from White Rose Oilfield
A shot from the ferry at a neighbouring island as we neared the harbourSorry a bit fuzzy...one of the zodiac tours available out of Saint Pierre
A harbour view of Saint Pierre as we approached the dock
Another view of Saint Pierre from the harbour
Yet another shot of town from the harbour...bored yet?
A sailboat leaving the foggy harbour
Fishermen's huts near the lighthouse
Ok, I'm sure that you've seen enough now. Take a break before I drop in another cassette and continue the slide show in Part Deux. This will have a few street scenes and the museum that houses the infamous guillotine. For those that want more information about tourism in Saint Pierre, they have a pretty good web page with information on hotels, B & B's, transportation, maps and tours available about town and to the islands of Miquelon and Langlade. Click here.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I have come to view my online friendships a bit like a Venn diagram, as shown on the left. I know what this is because of supervising my son while doing his grade 8 math homework this past year. These online communities are individual circles with myself (or yourself) nestled comfortably in the center.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Bad, bad boys
Evil mother and child dolls
Zombie mother and child-to-be
Black-eyed, bloody and innocent (*sigh* more nightmares)