Tuesday, March 11, 2014



        jOSIE KELLY dropped in with a Cessna 180 seaplane.
You should have seen Hank run! Soon as he heard the
engine, he peeled out of here... leaving everything
except a notebook, a red shirt and his pants. 

(He'd had some of those fearsome winter psychological diseases. Certainly: The Autumn Sorrow and Cabin Fever, at least those two.
      So the winter was a bit of a trail for Hank in that
he wasn't used to twenty hours of silence with heavy
winds and blowing snow, snowdrifts that move
up and down the Main Lane, over rooftops
and  into drifts 12 feet high elsewhere  
just like the sands of the  Sahara are said to do.
             Hell, the river hasn't even frozen over,
 and he's jumping ship, running for the hills...!
Ha! Ha!  Good luck with that! It's not that
easy to get out of here. To make your escape most
people have to scheme and plot for years,
rather like planning for a jailbreak.  Nothing easy
about it...
               For that matter it's like breaking into the
music business. You'd best plot and scheme,
and plan years ahead.
               I didn't do this (well, maybe a little) But
I thought it was a big party and it was my job
to cheer people at night. You play the Blues to 
make yourself feel better. (You don't play the
blues because it's sad music. It's not sad
music... It's bloody well, "Let's have a drink
and talk a bit and forget about the horror of
our personal lives... Slowly, very slowly
as the whiskey and amphetamines  ( or whatever)
sink into your psyche, your heart and brain...
          After a while you feel like whooping it
up, singing along, and shouting comments to
the band...
          Some places start throwing beer-bottles
at you - when they like you! 
            There's some tough bars, really tough
bars... bars where you lose everything.
You have to play in those bars to really get
the facts of life.  Some people will rob you blind right
after cheering for your songs... Most people won't.
Most people are better and kinder than I ever knew.
            It cheered me up when I finally
figured this out.

        It costs five grand to just to fly down to Edmonton.
And Edmonton ain't exactly in a warm climate.

          You can't trust the landscape up
here for a sense of direction, because each day
hills and valleys change completely. 
         After a heavy snowstorm, if you can
look outside, you wouldn't see any sign
of WAIT-A-BIT!    This town of burrows, foxholes,
and Matilda's trailer all covered over.
        The drifts blow over everything... and
silence fills the air. It looks like a million years BC
if you manage to get a glimpse outside

         The Autumn Terror didn't really hit Hank that bad. 
He didn't get a full dose of the mad panic 
that winter was coming.
       Why? Because Hank had no idea 
what the winters are like up here in the NWT,
and he had absolutely no clue how long they
       That first month of howling winds and deep
blowing snows really put the boots to Hank's psyche.
        He hadn't as yet learned any tricks
to pass the time. Me, I count the number of threads
in my Harris Tweed jacket, if I have to...
          And I hum tunes to myself. I'm told It's 
quite irritating.

         At first Hank was digging his tunnel,
like an insane man who's spent too much time out on the heath digging for moles and roots... and eating them
without even wiping his mouth.
         Occasionally Hank would have a
screaming fit and try to run out
the large porthole we have for a door. 
For over an hour he'd be howling and screaming and 
then pound his head against the mud wall 
of industrial fill and waste we
dragged up the hill soon after the bombs hit 
the town...

         ((( Powder, rocks and pebbles
that's all that was left of the town.
         The blast was so hot I guess it incinerated
the brick at temperatures hotter than you would
find in a kiln.... The biggest rock I found
was about the size of a softball.
         The cement, also, was like large beach 
sand. Out of this and the many twisted rods of loose
re-bar, we made our foxhole,
 our burrow.
        The funny thing about the whole
situation. The fly boy didn't even hit
Artie.  Artie was at my uncle's funeral, the Judge
Henry Wilcox, that  prick! Died running off naked
into endless miles of muskeg.
        Most of the town was at Henry's
funeral that day, so the casualties were light
from the bomb blast. 
         But the attack out of no where, out of
the sky, with no warning, well, it made a lot
of people very nervous.  Next day
the  migration began...
 most of the other residents left  the town 
the very next day.
           Only 16 of us remained in these
wild lands overlooking the river. We all
dug fast together, fearing another weasel
           That night we all slept in the
same foxhole...And those of us
who were left - we weren't necessarily
the best and the brightest.
           I still remember the conversation
we all had that night. We were in shock
and so you don't expect intelligent conversation
but the mad and stupid things that were
said... reminded me of a song Irwin used
to sing:

           "Dickity die, 
                Dickity doe.
                  Fell in love with a crazy arsehole!" )       

        The pilot who had dropped Hank off
promised he'd be back in 90 days, at the most!
          Not true. 
         Hank lived in hope all through those 
long ninety days. I saw his eyes get crazier and wilder
as each day passed, he'd make a mark
in the mud wall.
             There's a big difference between 90
days and 390 days.
            The winter here is about 9 or 10 months
long. And the dark is all-consuming. Not
a place for a crazy person.  
             And Hank hasn't been
quite right ever since the ninety days passed  
slowly by...  and  no aeroplane came calling.

          He asked me what he should do. He was
getting a nervous tic on the left side of his lips...
and when he was upset his right eyebrow would take
to leaping around like a Mexican jumping bean.
          It was comical, I can tell you. Occasionally
I'd have to turn around and give out a few snorts
of laughter, pretending not to laugh... Then I'd turn back around and look at Hank's crazy face... 
         I couldn't look too
closely at him. I'd have to pretend a crow
or a tree had caught my interest. Like I hadn't seen
the same crow and tree before... every day for the past five
            If I looked at his mouth twitching and
his jumping eyebrow, I'd have to fall to
the earth on my hands and knees and howl.

IiiiI mean I felt sorry fro the man...but...
           Maybe in time I'll learn Hank's
high-pitched laugh - the one that makes him
sound like a hyena receiving a sudden
enema. ( Clapped like thunder from behind ,
something cold running down the back of his legs...))
            Luckily, Matilda used to
ask us into her trailer... if she saw us strolling 
up the Main Lane towards a gazillion miles of 
muskeg, looking east. There's no way out that way, 
that's for sure!
          Unless you see your true love waiting for you
naked, standing between the pines with the
snow just about up to her ass...
            Best we don't talk about that phase
of madness that hits you all of a sudden, up
here in the land of the midnight sun. And the
land of unending abysmal darkness... 
          When you start running off between
the trees... towards you first true love
whom you haven't seen in twenty-five years...
         All of a sudden she's waiting for you
 naked... at 30 degrees below zero...Farenheit.
What's wrong with this picture?
Way out here beyond  the beyond,
in this place they call 'the barrens'
your true love is standing naked in the freezing
wind... If you had ttime to think, you wouldn't
take off your clothese and run to meet her.

         bUT if you're taken by The Delight,
you don't have time to think. You see
a joyful end to all your problems!
Finally a solution that will last forever.
          Too bad it isn't real.

           But the Delight is a solution forever,
that's true. It's the final solution.

No one really wants to talk about
"The Delight" up here We're all afraid
of it.
            Before you make up your mind 
that you know what's real and what's not real...
 spend three months in the silence  here,
  ...     I guarantee that you will discover wonders
you never imagined  possible.... 

         So much so,  who knows? You might start to be convinced about the presence of the Trickster.
           After a few really horrible things
happen to you after midnight - things that are
too strange to be co-incidental.. and after you
hear the God laughing through the howling
of the wolves...well, I'd say you might
change your mind about a few things
that you thought were self evident before.
          Once Josey Kelly's plane landed... Right
away Hank was sprinting away down towards the river.
He called back over his shoulder: "It's been good knowing you!"          
          "See you around the block sometime!"He disappeared
leaping down the hill towards the wharf and the plane.

           But Josey isn't taking any passengers.
I can tell right away. Usually we take a day and drink
a few bottles of whiskey, and tell stories, laugh a bit,
shout a bit... and when we're truly loaded. We have
target practice.
             Once again he's on the run.  He rips a
bottle of rye out of the bag and tosses the bag to me
with  three  more bottles in it.
               We sit down, and have a smoke.
Then  he heads back down the Lane.
             He tosses me a  small pack sack when
he's leaving and asks me to hide. There's a hole
he's dug under a flat rock about a year ago.
               I put the small pack in the hole
and shovel some sand and grass over
it... I pack down the earth with my
             I'm sitting in an armchair
outside the burrow and I have a good slug
of CC Canadian Rye Whiskey - about
a quarter of the  26er with one swallow.
Just for taste.
              It burns going down but nothing
like the moonshine - the moonshine,
you have to take steps before you swallow that.
Best to coat your throat and stomach somehow,

              Joesy's a very persuasive fellow.
He's  physically strong, with a winning smile,

          He just managed to persuade his way
out of the district  jail. I'm told it was
with the help of one of the guards.
       Matilda heard it on the radio. He carved 
a block of soap into a very realistic gun shape, then
put boot polish all over it.... Then he bluffed his way
out of the maximum security lock-up.
            I won't tell you what
jail it was - I have enough people pissed off
at me already.
           I haven't asked Josey yet about the plane.          
And     I won't ask him... Maybe a friend lent it to him.
Right, sure pal, sure. Ho! Ho!

            One thing I knew. I knew that Hank wasn't
going to get a seaplane ride out of WAIT-A-BIT! That
day. When Josie's running from the law he doesn't
want any company! He goes far and
fast, until no one can find him. He doesn't want any 
            (I knew I'd be seeing Hank  very soon again, despite
his delighted farewell.)

       No plane's landed here in Wait-A-Bit! For
over five months. 
        I guess something happened to thr
pilot who dropped off Hank...

         Maybe he got bored or divorced. Or in
a mad manic moment he bought a sailboat...
         Or he turned to crack and now is totally
irresponsible - living in the "Country of the Now"
But gone, gone, gone.



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