Chapter XXXVIII Birk Picks Pears

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $2.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet
Coal Dusters – Chapter XXXVIII

Birk Picks Pears

Walking along Chestnut Avenue, Birk puzzled over what had happened. 

“What was it she asked you not to forget?” he asked.

“Not to forget to share the biscuits with Sal.” she said. “And to ask Ma if she can come over to help fix those big trousers.” She started to laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“I was just remembering me and Sal jumping around in ‘em.”

“I hope you didn’t tell her about that?”

“She asks a lot of question though, don’t she. You aren’t going to up and go like Geo did?”

“Don’t worry. I’m not lookin’ to do anything like that.”

Some of the Mudside gals had teased him about settling down but he never payed much heed to them. They mostly made fun of him being too short or too hairy to ever be a husband. He usually replied “Who said anything about husband to you?”

Knowing his duty to his family made it easy to ignore them. He figured they weren’t serious in their love play. Getting married seemed something he’d have to face one day but it wasn’t something he wanted to hurry. Even if what Clancy had explained to him was true about the rubbing his little feller between a woman’s legs to make a baby. He knew that it was something that disgusted most of them. If the gals that teased him knew the truth they wouldn’t be so easy about it.

His Ma had made it clear the nature of that shame. That those who might enjoy it are shameful creatures, as she called them, and not fit to be seen with.

“You still thinkin’ about her, aren’t you.” Maddy said.

“You keep asking about her so hard not to think abutter.” Birk tired to sound casual. “She just wants to know how we minders think. Studying us to tell her folks back in Boston.”

On top of which Lillian was a Catholic. But that kiss of hers was so sweet. Her lips with so soft and she smelled better than any female he’d ever known.

“That’s what left of the pluck me?” Maddy stopped them on Pitt St. by the iron mongers across the street from the remains of the company store. 

“You weren’t scared where you?” she asked.

“Not too much. It was so fast I didn’t have to be scared until I was safe again.”

Mr. Seldon and two men were pulling away the charred remains. 

“What yer looking at?” Mr. Seldon shouted to him.

“Nothing, sir.” Birk flushed recalling the goods he and Clancy had gabbed without a second thought. 

“We’re clearing out anyway. I suppose you’ll all be happy to see the last of us.”

“No sir.”

“Company won’t be building a new store here soon. Even after the strike is settled. You can thank your stupid selves for that now’ll you be going to North Sydney to get a bag of flour. Didn’t think of that do you?”

“No. Sorry for your trouble, sir.”

“Ma’s waiting.” Maddy tugged on his hand. 

He kept on his way. Thou shalt not steal. Yet they had. They all had. Once they got back into the mine he’d make sure the Seldon’s got paid back for what he had taken.

He followed Maddy as she rushed into the house with the biscuits and then out to the back garden where his Mother and Sal were tending to the tomato plants. They were plucking bugs away from the leaves. After the rain it had been hot and dry. Everything in the garden had burst into life seemingly over night. 

Was Maddy right? Did Lillian fancy him? He tried to reason it out as he went up to his room to change out of the clothes she had sent him. 

He hung them on the hooks on the wall. The shallow closet was empty without Clancy’s shirts and jacket hanging there. He opened the drawers in the dresser and Clancy had emptied his few things out of them too. Even the picture of his mother and sister was gone.

His head began to ache. He’d thought he and Clancy were friends. He never felt as close to his own brother as he had to Clancy. How could he have been such an idiot. A ‘hairy stupid idiot’ is what Clancy had called him. Clancy must have been right because he didn’t suspect Clancy even thought he was a ‘hairy, stupid idiot.’ That all the time he was there that he found it so hard to tolerate Birk.

Wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t read as fast as Clancy or understand Bible verses. Clancy could’t fish as good as him though. Wasn’t near as fast either. Wasn’t his fault that he had been the one to rush into the fire to save Lillian. If they had left when Birk wanted to that wouldn’t happened anyway. Now she was confusing him with her attention. Not even him Ma has asked about his hopes except a hope the strike would end soon. She has never suggested he might look for a helpmate. 

“You comin’ to help.” Sal came into the room. “Ma says we need some ’un strong to cart the baskets of pears.”

“Sure.” he followed her downstairs.

“What that lady want with ya,” she asked.

“She wanted to know about my pretty little sisters. That’s all she talked about.”

“For true?” Sal’s eyes opened wide. “Next time you can take me and not Maddy with you? Can you?”

“We’ll have to check with Ma first. She’s not our kind. They’s micks over there.”

“Micks! I hear they poison your mind against the true faith.”

“True faith? Where did you hear talk like that?” Birk asked.

“Laura says so. Her Dad tell her.” Laura was one of Jim McKlusky’s daughters. “In the mick church they drink blood, too.” she shuddered.

“May haps they do. But I doubt it’s real blood.” Birk had never thought through what he knew about the Catholic mass. He’d heard they’d drink wine as the blood of Christ and eat some wafer as His body but figured that was only words, not acts. Catholics drinking blood was as foolish to him as Jews eating Christian babies. “I’m pretty sure it’s old wives tales.”

They went through the field behind the houses to a small orchard of apple and pear trees. His mother was on a ladder passing pears down to Maddy who was putting them in a basket.

“Looks to be a good crop this year.” He said as he hefted a full basket on to one shoulder. “They’ll ripen over the next few weeks.”

After he emptied it he reached up to one the lower branches on one of the trees and pulled himself up into the tree.

He pulled off a pear and bit into it. It was green and hard. The juice was sweet as he chewed the pulp. 

“Not quite ripe enough for eating.” He said tossing the core as far as he could.

“Careful Birk.” His mother said.

He laughed carefully dropping pears into his basket. As basket filled he gout of the tree and took the pears back to the storage shed. He was tipping them into the bin for the third time when Jake Malone came breathless into the side shed.

“Word is BritCan are going to bring in bastard workers from the Mainland.” 

“So that’s what Bowen was talking to Father Mctavish about?” Birk stood.

“Yep. Troops will be here tomorrow along with them to protect ’em. Worsen that is they’re going to pay ’em more than they want to pay us.”

“How’s that?” Birk wiped sweat off his face with his shirt.

“That’s how they hope to bust up this strike and the union too.”

“Bastards.” Birk punched the side of the shed. Tools rattled on the walls. 

“Save it. There’s be a meeting over at St Agatha’s tonight. We have to make plans. Make sure you bring that pal of yers.”

“Clancy done gone.” An unexpected lump came to Birk’s throat. “His mother took sick.” 

“Too bad. He had a good head on his shoulders.”

“Yeh.” He swallowed the lump down. Why’d that happen because he’d said Clancy’s name?

“Gotta get to the others. If ya see McKlusky let him know.”
“I will.”

He took the empty basket back to the orchard.

“Bigger trouble brewing Ma.” he told her.

She got off the ladder. “Rains, it pours. Bad has to get worse before it gets better.”

“The mine’s bringing in scabs to bust the strike.”

“How soon.” She brushed her hands on her apron.

“Jake Malone says they’ll be here tomorrow. Troops too.”

“Buggers. Business and government always go hand in hand. T’hell with the workers and their needs.” His mother grabbed for a full basket and knocked it over. Pears spilled out over the ground.

“Ma!” Birk had never heard his mother swear.

He sisters quickly refilled the basked.

“That’s enough for today girls.” 

Birk hefted the final basket they had filled.

St. Agatha’s hall was over-crowded once again. Several men asked after Clancy and each time he was heart-sick telling them that Clancy wasn’t there. He didn’t let on that Clancy had moved out of their house though. That was no one’s business but his own.

The information that the union had was that the scab workers had already be billeted in North Sydney and would be brought over to New Castleton on a special ferry in the morning. The limits was garrisoned in Sydney. The miner’s plan was to be on the pier when the scabs arrived. They would make sure the Dingle Dandy couldn’t dock. 

“You’re sure it’s our colliery their goin’ ta bust first?” McKlusky asked. 

“Torching the pluck me sure got their attention.” someone said.

“Yeh. It was the first to go, ya know. Two of the others went up since then, too.”

“Best as we can tell, we’re to be the example.” William Gregory said. “We’ll have men on hand at all the mines to make sure they don’t bust any of them.”

“What gives them the right to step in at all?” someone asked.

“They never respected the unions did they. Takes money out of their pockets to put back into ours. Simple as they. If they could get away with not paying us they would, you know.” McKlusky said.

“That’s damn sure.” Jim Malone said.

“Sounds same as Bolshie talk to me.” Manny O’Dowell said.

“Bolshie talk! What you think you know about that.” McKlusky grabbed him by the arm.

“N… nothing.” Manny tried to wriggle free. “Something my father said.”

McKlusky let him go with a shove. “Figures them that got enough already, act so innocent. I’m thinking you best get out of here O’Dowell anyhow.”

“What? Why?”

“Don’t want word getting of our plans getting’s out. If you understand what I mean.” McKlusky grabbed Manny roughly by the arm.

“I …”

“Shut your trap little man.” McKlusky continued. “I knows someone squealed about the pluck me.”

“Father McTavish says you had it planned.” Birk said.

“Where you hear that?” McKlusky turned to him.

“From his very mouth when I was there this day. Bowen paid him a visit too.” Birk said.

“Bowen!” one of the other miners said.

“So the good Father already knows what’s coming. Guess he’s a company man after all.” Malone said. “You micks certainly picked the right one to trust. Don’t any of you be going to confession after this to tell him our sinful plans.”

“No secret that we’ll put up a fight if they tries anything anyway.” one of the miners said.

“Yeah but we don’t want them knowing that we know what they’re up to.”

The meeting broke up after groups of the miners had been assigned different positions to protect. Birk was in the group set to keep look out at the colliery entrance.

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Square Root

TOpoet

Square Root

I wished him dead

every time I sat in his class

I wished he were dead   buried

not someone I had to face every day

I would only have to glance up at him

writing formulas on the black board

the drone of his voice

and wish him dead

he would always call on me

to read out what he had written

I picture his brain exploding

bloody cosines gush from his nose

all over his spotless white shirt

I wanted a sharp steel edge

on my protractor

to cut out his heart

save the class from algebra trig calculus

his stories of sailing

how he figured directions

with his slide rule

die die die

so we can figure out the angle

to bury you so your rotting corpse

will slump into your penny loafers

bones a jumble of secants

and underpants

the formula on the board

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#Carnival Planet #Calliope

TOpoet

Calliope

there is this circus of flesh

that moves faster

than the blood can pound

that over rides all cautions

lessons learned  go out the window

when that circus opens

cotton candy balls of fun

for the ones who surrender

to take give take give

rise and fall

expectation and delivery

the fierce red flush of ginger hair

that surrounds the heave and heft

of the the timid and free

fleeting and heavy

melt of the stars

into a mouth

into the sudden rise

shape fall

stomach churning moment

when a glance is returned

can it be for me

take this opportunity

to ride the ride

to strut the street

to be in the middle of the bed

sheet strewn masses

wrinkled rivers of shadows

dim corner

vibrant and frightened

tongue chasing twists

buttons popping

slow stroke of zipper

happy slide of pants

shirts

sweaters

shoes socks

fly through the…

View original post 598 more words

I Was A Teenage Coward

TOpoet

My sense of masculinity growing up was never up to the rough-and-tumble masculinity that was expected of me. I never lived up to those unquestioned imperatives. Some of this was because we moved east from Manitoba for a couple years making it difficult for me to establish ‘buddy’ friendships with other boys. When we did settle in Sydney, Cape Breton we changed neighbour hoods at least two times before settling in a third.

I did many ‘boy’ things mind you – rode my bicycle everywhere, played backyard baseball with a bunch of kids near by. But was never a fighter. I got into a couple of fistfights but it was easier to avoid them. So I never establish a position of respect amongst boys (or as I felt, with my father.)

Because I was never a fighter I was called ‘yellow,’ ‘coward’ long before I was called ‘gearbox,’ ‘queer.’ Being…

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WordPress 2018

Coming to the end of another WordPress year & looking at my stats. I’m amazed at my world wide reach of views. India has jumped to #3 for the number of views! Slovina at #4! USA still heads the list but I’m amazed to see it go from A(merica) to Z(imbabwe). I slip by the firewall into China. even Russia. 

My number of followers has jumped from 217 to 298! WTF. The one stat that WP doesn’t provide is where my followers are from or I’d brag a little about that too. Time for Greenland to represent 🙂

 

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Sneak Peek January 2019

A quick look back before the peek – my TOpoet.ca following jumped to 298 maybe I’ll get to 300 by the end of January. Twitter is up to 210 thanks to more internet entrepreneurs following me 🙂 & Tumblr steady at 214 – it would be much more but I block any hetero-porn sites that follow me. Also a nice jump in WP hits that started when I stopped the auto link to Tumblr & replaced it with Google+.

 

Speaking of Tumblr with the new ‘adult content’ standards – it seems lots of nude picture posters have abandoned ship, some gone to twitter  (until twitter enforces those standards I guess) – those that remain are still as explicit as ever – so I’m not sure what is going on there. I’m still having to block hetero sex/dating sites from following me.

 

For January I’ll be back to posting Coal Dusters, new pieces prompted by the 227 Rules For Monks & rambling on about poems I have written. I enjoyed the Christmas stuff I was writing & will make that a new tradition for every December. The response was very positive for it but even if it wasn’t I’d do it anyway 🙂 Monday: my music collection; Tuesday: Coal Dusters; Wednesday: poetry chat; Thursday: Rules; Friday: inspirations, Disability After Dark or whatever. Saturdays will be for the occasional reviews of books, poetry shows.

Speaking of shows Hot Damn!’s January 10th show will feature Capturing Fire founder Regie Cabico. This will be a high-energy set that will leave you both shocked & grateful – plus a workshop in the afternoon. Hopefully he’ll confirm the dates for Capturing Fire 2019 so I can plan what to wear to DC this year 🙂

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Something’s Different

Something’s Different

‘If nothing changes, nothing changes.’ vs. ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it.’ The dichotomy of wanting change but then being comfortable with things as they are. For many the notion of gradual change lacks drama so it is easier to stay wanting change but not make any real steps towards that change. Hence the rush to gyms then the sudden loss of interest.

I’m a believer in gradual change, subtle & frequently unseen by anyone. Eating smaller portions is more successful than cutting things out completely. I wanted to get up a little earlier to give myself more writing time in the morning but rather than setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier at one time I set it a minute or two earlier over several months & now have that extra time.

This past year I’ve made some small changes that will build to something – who know what? That’s one of the changes – the need not to know the end but trust in it. Purpose vs goals. The change from a goal driven life to a purpose driven life is liberating. Not that I don’t have goals but they don’t keep me from enjoying now.

A couple of small changes I’ve made over the past year or so are things like doing away with sweeteners in coffee or tea. One less chemical in my blood stream. You know, tea is fine black – no milk was a change I made few years ago after reading that milk may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb tea’s polyphenol antioxidants & flavonols. Not having to stir sweetener when I buy a coffee saves me minutes when I pick one up 🙂 I no longer have to make sure I have a packet or two with me when I’m out.

 

I’m also enjoying silence more by leaving my iPod at home somedays – I only use it when I have podcasts to listen to. One less object to cart around. To that end I leave also my cellphone at home a few nights a week as well. Who wants to be checking for texts all the time. How does that cellphone fit into my sense of purpose? Text me if you know the answer. 

No

what part of no

don’t you understand

no – I’m not interested

no – I don’t want to

how much clearer can I make it

I don’t wish to continue this conversation

 

no – I am not going to explain

just to make it easier for you to accept

if you don’t understand no

my reasons aren’t

going to make things any clearer for you

 

to explain will let you think

that the no might become a maybe

that under the right circumstance 

I would say yes

 

I’m not gong to justify my decision to you

if you find that unacceptable disappointing

is your problem

not mine

your life will continue well despite my no

think of the new avenues of opportunity

you can now open 

thanks to my no

 

you heard me right

I’m not going to repeat myself

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January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

http://www.queerslam.com

returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Humpty Grinch in the Box

 

I bought the Humpty Dumpty way back in the 80’s for Humpty Dumpty potato chips. I had to sent four bar codes. I can’t remember if $ was involved too. I blame the effect of the salt on the potato chips for my memory lapse. There was a time when I loved potato chips but eventually they were too salty or soaked with flavoured chemicals & that compulsion was removed.

 

 

Anyway I love this little stuffed toy. The details are mostly glued on though so it is clearly not meant to be played with. It quickly became a part of my festive decor & now its perched atop of a mirror on the landing on my stairs.

 

Another stuffed decoration is the Grinch which I picked up at Shoppers (or maybe Howie’s before it became Shoppers) at Danforth/Coxwell, sometime in the 90’s. I’ve added a few details over the years 🙂 the stocking he’s stealing showed up one Christmas, stuffed with gifts, a few years later. The reindeer I picked dup at a yard sale & it was the perfect size for the stocking. handcuffs! Well, what can I say. He did the crime & is ready to do his time every year when he comes out of the trunk.

 

Finally is this tree ornament that I picked up at a Jack in the Box takeout San Diego in December 2000. I had won a trip for two there to see Elton John in concert performing Songs From The West Coast. The trip included airfare, hotel & thickets to the concert. I took a friend. The hotel was miles from anything though so we did public transit one day & had Jack for supper that night. They were selling these ornaments. 

 

As you can see not all my Christmas decor has bitter-sweet emotional memories for me.

Top Ten Things I Love About The Grinch

10 – he looks good in green and red

9 – he’s not afraid of heights

8 – he makes a plan and sticks to it

7 – he likes winter sports – sledding

6 – he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong

5 – he can sew

4- he leaves your house cleaner than it was when he arrived

3 – he knows how to use a whip

2 – he has a wicked grin

1 – his dog loves him

Plus one

It wasn’t only his heart that grew three times larger

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Winter Whisky – Part 4

Scott was bigger than me so I wasn’t sure if I had much that might fit him. My one piece long-johns would do the trick for now. I had pyjamas for myself. I pulled on bottoms too as I usual slept with just the top. 

Donnie came up, bumping along the sides of the stairwell as he tried to warm himself by roughly rubbing a towel on his head.

“Stand still. You can’t dry your feet while you’re walking, you know.” I said to keep him from falling back down the stairs.

“I know. Jus’ fix us a good drink, m’son, and we’ll be fine.”

He slumped into the living room and sat heavily in an arm chair.

Scott came up. He had taken a bit more time getting dried off and was pushing a comb through his matted hair. My long-johns weren’t as long or baggy on him as they were on me.

“I feel a little strangulated in these.” He adjusted his balls.

He sat in the other armchair and dropped the towel on his lap.

I brought out a bottle of whisky with three glasses. “Have a quick one.”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

Scott twisted the top off and drank a huge gulp from the bottle. He shuddered a little as it went down. “That’s almost worth getting here. Takes the chill off.”

Donnie did the same before he handed the bottle back to me. He slumped back in his chair, took a few ragged breaths and passed out.

“Some guys can’t take the snow,” Scott laughed.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, Donnie’s snores the only sound in the room. The warmth of the house made me feel sleepy too. After the cold, the longing for sleep was hard to resist.

“So what’s your secret?” Scott threw his damp towel at me.

“Secret? What d’you mean?” There was only one secret and I had made damn sure no one suspected.

“You never seem to get caught up like I do with some bitch.”

“ ’Cause I don’t think of ’em as bitches.”

“Don’t hand me that.”

“You have better luck than I do.”

“Luck! When Suze and I broke up, I wanted to kill myself. Fuck, we’d been together for two years. I even bought the rings. And how long has it been? Three years, now? And I’m still not over her. You know? Yet when you and Cindy broke up after four, it was if she was never there. Know what I mean? She really dug you. Still does.”

I shook my head to clear it. Scott was talking and I drifted out of consciousness.

“Sorry, I must have dropped off a bit there.”

How long had I been out? The room was dim. Scott was talking, but I couldn’t make out what he said. I focused on him in hopes that would keep the room from spinning. His head and face were sort of twisting too.

“What were we talking about?’ I asked.

“Why you and Cindy split.”

“Oh, she wanted kids. I told you guys all this before anyway, didn’t I? I’m not ready to settle down. You . . . ” I reached for my drink. The coffee table was suddenly closer than I expected. The drink darted away from my hand.

“You sure that was why?”

“You mean that other guy? Of course that too.”

“Or was this is what you really wanted?”

He had something in his lap. At first I thought it was his drink. He stood up. Through the haze I realized it was his cock. The foreskin was so tight, the head of it seemed to be bursting through and being choked at the same time.

I fell back into my chair. It was what I wanted, but not from him. I didn’t know what to say. The truth was as always out of the question.

“Fuck no!” I pushed myself up, shoved him away and went to the bathroom. I had to hold myself up along the walls to keep from falling.

I recalled a guy, Greg, at university, and how I had to be this drunk before letting him know I was interested. I knew it was safe because Greg made the first move. We were both pissed but after that first drunken fumble, we were able to meet sober as well. But we had to be careful. Rumour had it that known homos could be denied their teaching license.

Greg was safe because I knew once I left there I probably wouldn’t have to see him again. He was going to teach in Africa or was it China. It was easier to be honest with someone under those circumstances. But that was nearly three years ago and I hadn’t had a man since then. I’d even started seeing Cindy that last year to convince myself that I really wasn’t that way after all. She was the cure for what was just a phase. Only it wasn’t a phase and I was merely pickled not cured.

“You’re pickled not cured.” I sang as I pissed. “Pickled not cured.”

I flushed the toilet and went to my room. The house felt empty as I sat on the edge of my bed. Empty again. What was so right once now seemed miles away and so wrong. To let people know I was queer would change everything. This comfortable life would cease to exist. It wouldn’t matter if I was pickled or cured. I never did hear from Greg after he went to China.

I felt a draft. The guys would be cold in the living room. Even with the heat turned up, that wind always found some way into the house. I got a couple of spare blankets and went back to the living room. Scott was gone. Donnie was still slumped in the armchair.

“Scott?” I looked in the bathroom. “Scott? You dumb fuck you passed out somewhere?”

When I got to the kitchen, the back door was open. I pushed it shut agains the wind.

“You down here?” I went into the basement and his clothes where gone. He had left.

I tossed a blanket over Donnie. Back in my bed I finished off the whiskey. I knew exactly where to put the bottle in the dark so I wouldn’t knock it over in the night.

I woke around eleven the next morning to the smell of bacon frying. My head throbbing, I made my way to the kitchen.

“Have a seat, m’son, and dig in.” Donnie put a plate of bacon and eggs on the kitchen table. “Where’s Scott?”

“Not sure. He was . . . uh . . . here when I went to bed to pass out.” I didn’t know what to tell Donnie. I pick dup a piece of the bacon with my fingers and tried to eat it. “Maybe he went to pull your car out.”

“Fuck. I forgot all about that! I should be there helping them. My coat in the basement?”

“He’d’ve called if he needed your help.” I chewed another piece of the bacon and swallowed it. “Perfect for a hangover.”

It was the end of February and I hadn’t heard from Donnie about a good drink for a couple of months. That wasn’t unusual for us, but I had that thirst myself. I missed the guys but wasn’t sure why.

I saw in the paper that Scott’s band, Pals Of Mine, was at Stoners that night for the pub’s Survived Valentine Blast. Rather than call Donnie, I decided to drop down to surprise them and see how things were.

There were bristle board hearts on the outside windows. They were drooping and the red was dripping thanks to the melting snow. Over the door was a sign that said “Lover’s Leap.” Someone had written ‘on each other’ under it.

The place was full when I arrived. I was sorry I hadn’t taken a few more belts before I left home. That always made me feel more relaxed when I went anywhere. The tinsel tree was still in the corner only now it had hearts dangling from the branches.  Donnie and Trish were at a table near the front with another pretty girl. I walked over.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Good, Dave. How’s by you?” Trish turned and smiled at me. “We haven’t heard much of you of late.” She nodded to the empty spot at the table. “I was asking Donnie if you’d show up to join us for a good drink. You can make up for the ones I can’t have.” She patted her stomach. “Any day now.”

“Work, you know.”

“Yeah, right.” Donnie scowled at me and glanced up at Scott on stage. Scott scowled back.

“Let’s go over to the bar. I’ll buy you a double.” Donnie got up from the table. “Excuse us, ladies.”

Donnie walked me past the bar to the front door and stopped there. 

“Look, Dave, why don’t you do yourself a favour just fuck right off. I know what you tried with Scott. Fuck only knows what you did to me in my sleep. We don’t want no fairies hanging ’round with us. You get that?” He poked me in the chest with a finger. “That kind of shit makes me sick.”

My face burned. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. “What the fuck are you going on about?”

“Something happened between you and Scott. That much he’s sure of.”

“I don’t know what he thinks happened. Fuck, I don’t think there was anything.”

I didn’t know how to make my story convincing. Scott’s cock had become the tip of an iceberg, the iceberg being all the things in my life that I was trying to avoid and hoped would disappear somehow or stay beneath the surface forever. I didn’t know which way to turn without sinking myself.

“Maybe I should talk to him.” I glanced to the table at Scott’s back. He had his arm around the other girl and was nuzzling her neck.

“He’ll kill you. It took me all I could do to keep him from torching your place. Just get the fuck out of here and this’ll go no further. Got it?”

There was enough truth to what he said that I didn’t know how to let him know what wasn’t true. And now I wasn’t sure myself. Maybe something more had happened with Scott. I could remember his hand on his cock and him asking me if that’s what I wanted. I was sure I didn’t do anything.

But maybe I had.

  What were my choices? To brave it out? My thirst had left me. There weren’t enough drinks in the bar. There was nothing to tell Donnie that would fix anything. Cindy was right. Who needed those assholes? If that’s what he wanted to believe, then he could go right ahead and believe it.

“I thought we were friends.” I said as he walked away.

I stood in Stoners doorway. It wasn’t as if this was the only place in town where I could have a good drink. I could feel the cool night air behind me, as I watched Jen bring a tray of draft over to their table. Scott’s laugh echoed over the din of the bar.

I glanced at the other tables. Similar groups of couples or solitary guys sat. Arms pulled hordes of glistening glasses towards them, doses of fortifying alcohol that would allow them to float from one moment to the next. That’s what I had been doing, wasn’t it? An iceberg floating from one moment to the next, hoping the surface would remain calm enough for easy drifting.

I walked over to the bar. Hec brought me a double without being asked. Donnie and Scott glared over at me but didn’t move.

“What’s with those two?” Hec asked.

“Pour me another and I’ll tell you.”

Tonight I would drink myself to the truth.

-the end-

Winter Whisky – Part One: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-39y

Winter Whisky – Part Two: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3fR

Winter Whisky – Part Three: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3gz

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet