Caninjun Content

These few sultry fall days get me nostalgic for Tom Thompson country. Pretty leaves and the harvest bagged. Here’s an excerpt from Bert’s “Anglican Cowboys” that kinda brings back to me all those gentle folk and their gentle ways. The pic above’s a foundling. There’s some adult language and situations, not to say juvenile, in the following.

…Sam got back about seven with an extra-large, double-cheese and bacon pizza, a box of beer and a jug of raw red, no French white, no gingerale and, apparently, no cigarettes, until he saw a murderous look and understood that she didn’t take to teasing, “Couldn’t manage it all at once, smokes’re out in the truck.”

“The truck! Where the fuck’s my car? You…”

“Truck needed a run, didn’t she? Had to make sure those assholes hadn’t been messin’ with her,” Sam tossed Katherine’s keys to the table, “Your car’s okay. Like you said, we’ll get her tomorrow. She’s all locked up. Those boys’re too stupid to get into her without bustin’ glass.” Catching the flicker of fear before it turned to rage, he raised and showed a palm to hold her for a moment, “Just teasin’, they won’t touch her,” He grinned and let go a snort, “Told ‘em it’s stolen, scared the shit out of ‘em. Got her tucked up all safe, nobody’ll go near her till I say so.”

Katherine found that all she could do was stare at him. I’m trapped in a bad movie, a really bad movie, and we’re all gonna die in a hail of bullets, Bonnie and Cochise bite the big one. Okay, stay cool, no sense in spooking him. What would Clint do in a situation like this? “Where’s the bourbon?”

He had intended to say the store didn’t have any, but he could see now she wasn’t likely to let that go by, “I lost some money.”

She eyed the denim hung tight from his hipbones, “What, it fell out of those pockets?”

“Pool. I went in the Arlen for a game, and I got suckered. That fish Donovan’s been takin’ lessons. Little pus ball gave me one for ten and took me one for fifty.”

“You lost that money playing pool?”

“I said it.”

“You are some hustler. A real pool hall Indian, eh? Jesus!” She was disgusted, but she couldn’t help that the sullen hostility, the raised chin, the tensed muscles were making her nipples hard and her eye strayed back to tight denim, “Well, open that, then.” And when he did, she went down to it for a couple of minutes. Then standing abruptly, she grabbed up the wine, twisted the cap with a practiced wrist and went hunting glasses in the dish rack, “Might as well get rid of my stomach lining first, give the bacon grease something to stick to.”

Sam got the stove good and hot, Katherine dropped the quilt, and between slabs of dripping pizza and tumblers of red wine, they groped and bit and licked and guzzled; lust carrying them on through half the beer before the ringing telephone provided a welcome break for screaming skin.

“Aren’t we being a little precious with the unlisted telephone, Sambo?” Paul’s voice came through loud and irritated, “I had to wait for the young Brad to get his ass home from work, take a shower and down a couple brew before he could manage to pick up the phone to give me your goddamned number. There really that many guys after your balls?”

“It’s all the women after my cock, y’ little runt. What d’you want? I got man things to do here.”

“What, fart? We’re comin’ out. Brad’s driving. We’re gonna drop Martin off so he can get back to Toronto with Katherine. He has to go back, he can’t stay here. Please, Sammy! You hear what I’m sayin’?”

“Since when do I owe you?”

“Sam, Sam, Sam. You’ve always owed me. That’s what friends are for. Who showed you how to trap minnows? Who taught you to make popcorn, eh? Have a little gratitude.”

“I’ll gratitude ya one in the side of the head you show up here with that silly faggot. Not now, man! I got hot things on the stove here. Y’ know?”

“How about later? Couple hours? We give you a couple hours, we go have a beer, you get your cookin’ done, eat ‘er up, and we’ll come by for coffee. I got a bottle of Jack. I know she likes it. You want a bottle of Jack? Say yes, Sammy, please say yes.”

“Where the fuck am I gonna put him? I don’t want him near me. Anyway, what’s wrong you don’t want him? He spring a leak, or somethin’?”

“He’s in love with me, Sam. He wants my babies.”

“Just like that, eh? Jesus, you guys are queer. What’d you do to him? You can’t be that good, yer dick’s too small.”

“Fuck off, Geronimo, you’re only big ‘cause there’s no blood in your brain. Thing is, I fucked me a chick, Sam. Just like you said, y’ bust ‘em, y’ buy ‘em. I can already smell the diaper pail. Well, the fag version, anyway, cat box. I’m serious, this one hears wedding bells when he comes. I don’t need this. I can’t take this right now, he has to go. He’s drinking tea with my mother, Sam. She likes him. Please!”

“Midnight. You can show up midnight. Not one fuckin’ minute before twelve. Got me? And bring the bottle, don’t forget the bottle, or I’ll make y’ kiss the bride.”

There wasn’t much of a welcome at Sam’s table. A kerosene lamp with a dirty chimney leaked a trap of amber light and the air, ripe in the heat of the stove, felt ready to split. Martin wasn’t speaking to Katherine and tidied an ashtray instead. She wants to fuck Hiawatha, fine, but she can suck wind if she thinks she’s getting rid of me, I’ve got sex of my own. And he tried to stroke Paul’s dodging leg with a foot.

Sam snorted and rolled back into boredom, a leg over a chair arm, one fist on the table. Cop a feel of this, y’ little fag. Dump this on me, Magarry, and you owe me for life. You start talkin’ feelings, I’m outta here.

Katherine caught Sam’s glare and rolled her eyes. I don’t need this! I’ve got plans. I’m keeping this carpenter. I’ve got things to do here. I don’t need this, Martin.

Brad saw it all from the edge of his eyes and began to curl against a coming explosion.

Poising an index finger at the tip of his nose while he contemplated Sam’s sprawl at the head of the table, Paul sought an opening through which he might drag the conversation backwards without getting clawed. Fucking fifth wheel, just Brad and I might’ve gotten it off here. Oh sure. Hey, y’ never know, the two of us could’ve dropped in, shivareed the love birds, got drunk and horny. Smell of raunch in this place, I could’ve been into his pants. Yah, well, should’ve dumped Martin in a ditch, then, eh? Nobody’s having any fun here, you’d better think of something. He pointed the finger, “You know, Sammy, you look entirely too comfortable for my peace of mind. It feels like…”

“Piss off, Magarry!” Sam swung to the floor, was up and out the door, into his truck and gone before his numbing venom released four throats.

“Jeezuz!”

“Christ.”

“On a cracker.”

“What’s his problem?”

Nobody said it, but three pairs of eyes accused Martin of idiocy.

“What? So? Who’s he think he is? Obviously a homophobe. Eh, Paul?”

“I don’t think that’s his problem, Marty.”

“You little shit-head!” Katherine’s swinging arm missed his head and flipped an empty beer bottle to the floor, “You just lost me a house!”

“What? This… Shed?” Martin scrambled for the bottle, peeved it hadn’t shattered, “A bit of a step in the down direction, isn’t it?”

“Not this, you asshole, mine ! I want him to build me a house and now you’ve fucked it up.”

“Oh, now we’re going to live here, are we? Goodbye city life, Green Acres here she comes, eh? Buying yourself a little local… What? Colour, isn’t quite right. Is it, Kate?”

“I don’t need this shit, Martin. This is for me. I want something for me, here, and I don’t need to hear you getting jealous about it.”

“Jealous!” Martin flushed and choked air, “Oh, fuck.” He gathered a lungful, “You, you, you, it’s always about you, isn’t it? It’s about you and Art, about you and David, and now it’s you and Chingasc…..”

“I don’t think so,” Her voice cracked ice, “I think it’s about you, Marty. He doesn’t like you.”

When Sam had put down the phone and told her what was up, she’d actually been happy to hear that Martin had finally fallen out of the closet, not surprised it was Paul. Why not? He’s queer. But now she was furious and a swallow of bourbon didn’t warm her at all. So what if I brought him? I’ve got other things to do. “Why can’t you just stay…” Wagging a hand at Paul, “…stay in town, or someplace, and just… Do it?” She glared at Brad, “What’d you bring them here for? Why’s it have to be my problem? Sam’s so pissed-off, I’ll never see him again.” Hunched, elbows on knees, lips a tight line, she breathed fury at the tabletop, then throwing herself upright and blowing her breath, “Fucking faggots!” She snatched the bourbon and refilled her glass.

“Ohh, yah.” Paul figured he could see why David had left her. Her problem? Martin is her problem. She brings him up here and now she wants to dump him for Sam, so he’s my problem, and it’s Brad’s fault he’s here. Jesus! Eat cake, woman.

Brad stared hard at the hands in his lap. His eyes stung and he didn’t want them to water. They’re good hands. Why’s it such a big deal? She really hurts. Why’s it matter? He cleaned his nails with his picking finger waiting for the hurt to pass.

“Oh, don’t you worry your pretty little head, he’ll be back,” Martin was too unforgiving to care about danger, “Now he’s had a taste of white bitch, he won’t be able to resist. Worse than firewater to ‘em, can’t get enough.” His eyes were wide in a withering glare when she threw her drink at him.

For his part, Sam was air-guitaring the steering wheel to Cockburn’s Tokyo cranked on the deck as he slid gravel corners up to the Arlen. “Oh Tokyoho… oh I never can sleep… da da… Did y’ have to show me that accident scene? …ba da da… Fuckin’ Magarry, he knows I hate that fag crap, that dink Martin rubbin’ on him like dizzy gash. And fuckin’ Fell tryin’ to look cool, little prick’s never been south of Peterborough.” Sam needed to whack some balls with a stick.

Martin’s scream of pain having frozen Katherine in shock, Paul shook his head with resigned disgust, dug a ratty blue bandana from his pocket to poke between the palms pressed over Martin’s eyes, and gave Brad permission to leave with a lift of his chin and a roll of eyes to the door. When Brad didn’t stir his stunned gaze from Martin’s dripping face, Paul repeated his gestures and added, “You go. I’ll deal with it.” Brad’s eyes went back to his hands.

What disgusted Paul was his own resigned willingness to stay and put up with whatever came next. I don’t care if they kill each other, I don’t even know these people! He’s not my boyfriend, they’re not my friends, I’ve met them twice, I don’t even like them, for chrissake! So, why do you have to deal with it? ‘Cause I’m not taking him back. So, go. I can’t. You want to watch the fight. I don’t. You do. Somebody’s gotta keep them from killing each other. “Listen, people…”

“Martin, Jesus, I’m sorry,” Her eyes were squeezed tight with the pain of her own behaviour. You just threw your drink in his face! He won’t shut up. “But you fucking asked for it,” So, he fucking deserved it. “You’ve got a mean mouth, Marty.” He called you a white bitch, and you just proved it. I want Sam. I want his nose. I want his hammer. Bonus for the body. She opened her eyes and growled in Brad’s direction, “Where’s he gone?”

“The Arlen, most likely. He’ll make last call.” He picked at a nail and didn’t look up…

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~ by Rocky Green on September 25, 2007.

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