|Suns Over Canada
2010 by Jerry Vilhotti
Gavin Griffin came back after relieving himself off the back porch with a small garden snake, that he first tried to drown with impotent pissing but then was visited with the idea to capture it while nearly killing himself, showing everyone on the sly except for Uncle Barnard Sweeney, who was shuffling the cards slowly waiting for his grand-nephew's return, and then placed it by the old man's elbow.
"You know Mr. S. tomorrow is Queen's Day!" Mountain, who had led the expedition north from the greatest country ever invented numbered in the thirties among nations, shouted; trying to distract others from realizing he was about to have the winning hand.
"Yes sir, Mr. Mountain and that so-called leader of hers has his head so far up the village idiot's arse - who wants to be dictator of the world - you can't see the poor limey bastard's ears. What kind of Christians do they all pretend to be?" Uncle Barnard said; giving Mountain a side-ward glance; thinking he was holding good.
"And I say everybody's laughing at the guy but Uncle he's no full fool. Why for God's sake, the man used to kill frogs with his BB gun and those that survived he'd blow up with salutes up their asses!" Big Mike said before yelling that he would "take her" showing his ace and king in hand; pointing to the ace just turned face up from the deck.
Gavin with various manifestations of disgust to show he was holding a bad hand shouted he thought this game kumquat was stupid and asked what was wrong with good old American poker and when no one responded to him he tried to be noticed by saying: "And that guy who can't put two words together in their right places has a fucking invisible hearing aid in his ear and is being told what to say by all his Cheeeny Rove henchmen!"
Johnny giggled; recalling as a kid he had so fervently believed the movies he had seen with the good American hero always saving the world from the bad bad guys were true. He finally realized all people had a stain on their souls but the half men and women had their souls and hearts covered ninety percent with self-disgust. They would become what Germany had in the early thirties - hateriots.
Johnny their former teacher had taken the long trip with the boys to New Brunswick to see Mountain's father diagnosed with throat cancer. Big Mike had believed all those dedicated doctors making commercials for cigarettes - saying not only did the cancer sticks taste good but were also good for people! Johnny knew he was doomed too having begun to smoke at the age of thirteen when a "friend" had stolen a pack of cancer sticks from his older brother Chester.
All of the eleven hour trip, shortened by three hours by Mountain going ninety miles an hour whenever he could which was almost the whole state of Maine, had country music blaring loudly; making even thoughts unable to be visualized even semi-accurately and when Johnny turned once afraid he was being attacked from the back seat by Mountain's two teen age sons and his younger brother Gavin - seeing them seized by all the music; thinking their strange gyrations as a precursor of three simultaneous epileptic attacks happening.
"Look Unc!" Gavin shouted.
"By Jasus!" Uncle Barnard yelled, jumping away, joining the laughter to cover the God-awful fright he had felt; having the constitution of a fifty year old though he was eighty-two and still strong as an ox.
Uncle Barnard had been born in New Hampshire to Canadian parents and would often tell Johnny that the most cheapest of bastards in all the great divided states to their south lived in New Hampshire; thinking by saving on taxes was going to make for a better living until The Hand Money Over health corporations and too big to fail banks took matters into their own hands - willing to have people die if they couldn't afford the price to eat.
Gaining his composure, after shuffling for three minutes Uncle Barnard turned to Johnny whom he liked and respected very much since the man had no affectations about him and said: "You know Johnny, they say if you kill the first snake you see - you kill all the bad your neighbors and enemies will do you that year."
Johnny nodded; liking these people of the Dublin Settlement in Northern New Brunswick; thinking to himself now he knew why there were no snakes in Ireland; recalling Big Mike saying a few days before: "Johnny, don't go fishing with those sons of whores - they'll drown you for sure!"
Both men nearly the same age had taken a liking to each other and at every chance he got Big Mike would introduce him to their many friends strewn throughout the settlement as "the teacher to all my sons and daughters and even to my two grandsons!"
Johnny would giggle and most would think it was because he was trying to keep up with all their whisky and beer drinking but it was because he thought of Gavin who liked his grade so much that he spent three years in the seventh grade before he quit the school year and Johnny was going to promote him out of compassion.
Johnny had laughed at Big Mike's warning and met all the boys by the barn and even delighted with them in going over the line for cheaper booze and beer - hiding two thirds while declaring the rest to the friendly Canadian border watchers.
They all told Johnny three times each that they were taking him to the best fishing hole in the settlement called "Bitchy Vanderventer's Hole".
When Gavin tried to pee while standing on the side of the boat, they were all plunged into the water. Johnny shuddered the thought away and said:"I'll try her!"
This made everyone tense and curse after seeing his two hearts matching the heart just overturned with no one else having a better hand to beat his flush.
"Hey, it's only a card game," Johnny said as he dragged all the money in the pot toward his chest; getting in the flow of the Canadian undercurrent game of "busting Balls".
Johnny could hear Josie saying how that son of a whore Elmer was lying about how she was laying down with any stiff prick staring at her with one eye closed and her husband, Mike, was believing.
Johnny was in The California Settlement again two months later and somehow it was not the same as on his previous trips when the dark side of life was being covered.
He went to sleep dreaming of the,"Slur Man", telling him how deep the pond was; he reminded Johnny when he went fishing with them and Gavin, had nearly drowned them by standing on the edge off the boat pissing and despite telling him - they were going to tip over - Gavin continued until they were into the water. It still amazed everyone how Johnny was able to catch the yelling thing on his tape recorder Uncle Barnard appeared in another of his flickering dreams:
Then "Bejasus" and "Chunk" made an appearance: Johnny was in the back seat of Chunk's big vehicle to go get Robart who had been arrested at the border looking into Canada; singing its national anthem.
The Montys thought he was a drunken Divided State's terrorist about to pollute its pristine state. Instead of putting his pickup in forward mode, Chunk mistakenly hit reverse; sending them in a backward lurch down a steep forested hill as Jute the singer kept yelling: "Judas Priest! Judas Priest !" ....
They came to a stop two hundred yards deep in the valley - not hitting not even one tree!
And then the "Dawn Dream" came into play: While the six men were playing a New Brunswick version of poker, Big Mike, father of two of the men who had journeyed six hundred miles to visit him after his release from the Saint John Hospital, sang a song semi-created by a young fellow patient. The words told of traveling through life in a cobalt treatment machine named "Cannonball Express" that released its electrons into the malignant cancer attempting to kill it before it could devour life.
"Dad! Dad - you're looking much better!" Gavin his youngest son said.
"Looking and being are two different animals, Hon," Big Mike said liking the pity he was being bathed in up to his eyeballs.
"Gee Dad, don't talk that way!" Monte his oldest son said before getting up in a fitful rush to go out and cry on the deck where "Bear Dog" came to stand under the thirty year old's patting hand and he whispered to the big dog that he would keep his promise he had made their first day to his father that he would plant the six trees by the barn ....
"No need in planting those trees. I'll do them tomorrow so you guys don't get caught up in the traffic," Big Mike said the morning they were to leave after having spent five days of fishing, gambling, drinking, fishing, drinking, gambling, drinking ....
"No Dad! I'll do her now!" Monte said beginning to walk in circles.
"That's OK , Hon. They can wait," he said looking out
the window as if for the dawn.
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