Entrepreneur (November 24, 2014)
How do I express myself in the present? This is more recent stuff. Let me tell you about yesterday, a Sunday. It was a nice day. The day before was Ceri’s birthday, was a really fun night. Ceri is mad at me this second I think, she just walked away from me while I was typing here on my computer. Maybe I said something short to her? But she was talking to me while I’m trying to work. I guess I have some guilt or I wouldn’t be focusing on this. Then the power to make someone feel guilty isn’t necessarily correlated to guilt.
Oh my, I was wanting my command of English to be something different here in the present. I guess not, this reminds me of an attempt to write a journal when I was in my first year of UBC. I couldn’t capture anything because I just fell so deep into the moment. Fuck, clear my head, I want to say something. I’ve got a structure and everything. This section I want to show some dimensions of who I am, how in the past sections I was young here now I am something more than I was.
I suppose nothing is ever so clean. Maybe it is easier to say those things that we have already experienced, their lines are clear, to describe the present is of course more difficult. Well, let me tell a story anyway.
So let me tell you about yesterday, not such a big day but it has a vividness to it. It was the Tour De Kigali and a Rwandese won for the first time. Desire was going to Djibouti and having our house boy Oscar pack his bags for him. Why can’t he pack his bags himself? We all went up to the pool and enjoyed sunshine with a bit of clouds, a big beer and teaching Oscar how to swim. One of my sandals broke and I threw it into the gutter, but in Rwanda if you don’t wear shoes it’s illegal so everyone was looking at me either with horror or humor, some both. I came into CMU today and someone saw me not wearing a shoe and everyone was telling stories about me. It was playful, it was funny. I got a shave yesterday too, the shaves suck in this country but the guy has a good heart. I like his life, blaring reggae in this little shop with pink walls and broken windows. There are these posters of celebrities put together using cheap graphic design. It’s funny. It was just a day. I came back from the pool tired so I took a nap and went longer than I expected. I really needed to do work, my time is not my time, there are all these things depending on me. I was worried for awhile that I was messing up, like I was a piece of butter spread too thin over the toast and my thinness was going to cause the entire house of cards of my life to collapse. I don’t think that anymore, I think I’ve realized that I just need to not make excuses, I need to have discipline. Even in my wildness I need to have discipline, everything has to be integrated together. I can make myself accomplish those things I aspire to because I believe in them, if I don’t then it is because I don’t believe in them strongly enough. This isn’t a test of capability, it is a test of will.
What am I talking about? Pretentious huh. I always feel pretentious in the moment. Well, let me cut ahead. So I am applying for this accelerator in Ireland, would be totally cool, I’d like to get in. It’s for my motorcycle project. My other projects are doing well, for the tablet cafes I was in meetings today with a telecom that approached me for an education pilot, with CMU I bring a dedication and passion that I think is positive, with Frank’s clothing manufacturing startup we technically have our first paying customer. But all that stuff has a certain amount of superficiality to it, it’s an optic. The fact is that while all these projects are beautiful, there are major issues. But this moto one is a bit less fucked up than the others, I think primarily because I’ve been learning lessons, I know where the weaknesses are, I can be better. Where before I loved having a bright idea with a sunny pitch now I believe that the idea is nothing, the team everything, and a pitch just wasted air until you have something built. This startup has those things, just me and Peter complementing each other with a group of some really brilliant outsiders who before I would have wanted to include as founders but now I want to keep them away, let them participate a little bit, but let this core of me and Peter stay small, we can do more, we can do better.
What’s an accelerator right? Good question. It’s, ummmmm, well what is it. Google it. It’s vague. And it’s kind of hip right now, everyone wants to be doing a startup, everyone wants to be in an accelerator. I worry if I’m late to the party, I need to be ahead of the curve, not behind. I’m trying hard here, I think there is a chance that I am ahead. So this accelerator is structured as a competitive selection process for smart phone apps that are trying to disrupt city transit options in a positive way. And, of course, make use of their back end code, there’s that. Everyone has a game, there is no such thing as pure altruism, or if there is it’s not sustainable. That is different than saying that there is no altruism, I think this accelerator is run by passionate people who are trying to do good, which is good because Peter and my app is about having a solid business plan but using that as an enabling agent to bring something to market that has a positive social function. What is the app? Doesn’t really make a difference for this writing, let it just be some grey idea. So basically, if we get in, the accelerator takes 6% equity and gives us 25 grand. That would give this company a theoretical valuation of more than 400 grand, not bad work. But, while that is cool and meaningful, I like the idea of this as a test for myself. I believe in critical mass in my life and I haven’t reached it yet. I’ve done well, but well is nothing if you don’t get ignition and for everything I’ve done, nothing has ignited yet. But I think maybe I am becoming better, I think that I have tried to thread this needle many times and this will be the time: we’re the right team, the right idea, the right opportunity. Maybe we won’t get this, likely not, it will be less than 10% chance with the level of competition we’ll have. But I think, if I can just be good enough, a big if, I can pull this off. If I don’t then next time, there are always more opportunities. But there is a good chance that we can make this happen.
Of course, just wanting something doesn’t make it happen. So how am I going to make this happen? Well, for starters, thanks to Peter and my money, the app is just about done. That’s super sick, it means we have a clear runway, we get into the accelerator, we polish everything up and make a war plan and make things happen. We don’t have to talk about what features and what UI and blah blah blah, this is not an academic process, we’re there ready to go. But we need to communicate why we are perfect to the selection committee, kind of Drangon’s Dennish. I think I’ve realized in life just how important communication is. We can do anything if we just know how to explain ourselves, communicate our hearts, communicate our minds. So we need to do this application, it actually isn’t that hard. Pitch video, website, application, the usual stuff. I could submit everything in the next ten minutes if I want to. Yet, when something is easy it becomes more challenging: how do you differentiate yourself, why choose my company? It’s a crowded playing field, what do we do to shine?
Haha, I really shouldn’t even be writing this right now: I should be working! I was supposed to be gone from here 45 minutes ago working on the script to the revised video. But Peter is late and I suppose that there is still time enough, but than maybe that is the attitude that is keeping me from going critical mass. You know what, let me go work. This isn’t a very clean section, I don’t think the writing is very attractive, I don’t think I communicated my mind very well. Then, how am I supposed to describe my life when I am in the process of living it?
Drunk (November 17, 2014)
Sitting not at your birthday, how could I, it hasn’t happened yet? I thought about having a fantasy episode, imaging how it could have been. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on November 27, 2014. Where would I be. What day would it be? Walking to work. Mwaramutse! Good morning! How are you! Motorcycle to work. But this, uhhh, project, yeah, it’s a project, walking through rememberance, it can’t be a lie and I don’t know what November 27th will look like.
I wrote the words from me as 7, I haven’t written the words from me as 17, I know it will be about a chocolate bar and Walk the Line. What will this be about? Who am I today.
Do I address you directly? That seems like bad form.
There is a beer in my hand, a Mutzig, not my favourite. But I bought if for the houseboy and he chose a cheaper beer instead,
Let me retrograde, let me restart, let me give a fresh beginning, I don’t think anything I have said says anything I want to say. But what do I want to say? Why can’t I say it?
There is an emotion here but I cannot catch it. Shadows are walking in my kitchen, who are they? All these people walking through my life, who are they? I have come to exist here, but it has been a choice to exist, it is not a necessity.
I was smoking a cigarette, sitting or else I go unconscious, looking out over some view, it was nice, it was nice, but who am I? Where am I going? How rude, how dare I.
The houseboy is watching a movie in Korean. How can I say what I want to say?
This series of words and stories has been about memory. Let me escape artifice and be in a moment that is true. Let me remember kicking dads chair in his car as we crossed the border in a rush to go to Disney Land. The hotel had a waterfall, I was impressed. We went to Planet Hollywood, I can’t remember the food but why is food important?
Isn’t there fucking something I want to say? Can’t I gain clarity? What was today like? I had a few meeting but only one stays in my mind, because it feeds my narcissism. Let me not remember it. Where am I at this moment? Aren’t I less than I was? Aren’t I? Aren’t I?
There is a door opening and shutting. Peter asking if I have a documentary on Einstein. The documentary is shit. There is an understanding of those things I cannot understand and this is a dilution. The world is complex, isn’t it.
Maybe it is honest, I write with a drink in my blood, let it flow. Let me live in the present and disappear in the past. Savage Garden, Shaun van Pel loved them. Me too. I remember being young, an age I couldn’t guess but I would say 13. Walking with Shaun talking about this song. What else did we talk about? We don’t forget.
I chew on pencils why?
I look in peoples eyes now and they look back at me.
Do I stop now? Is this a waste? I disappeared for a moment. Peter wanted to share something. I walked around. I can’t remember. I’m listening to the Cantique de Jean Racine or something. This fellow wrote this when he was a kid then when he was old. I talked today to someone who just read my book. He liked it. How strange, that I made that. Life is different now. But aren’t I still free?
How do I speak my mind? Shouldn’t this be about interconnectedness. I am so exhausted. So many people look at me with eyes full of passion, may I not leave and escape.
The music is beautiful, this is spectacular. Mom, I’m so tired, I am frustrated. Why can’t I say what I need to say?
Let me disappear from here.
Artist (November 27, 2014)
The water closes on me so deeply. Get to the surface, get to the surface. Strange, I was just above water with my friends. Can’t I get away from here? Let me fight just a little harder. I don`t understand how I can be fighting as hard as I can yet am falling away from the surface. What are my options? What are my options?
Breathing is becoming a problem. OK, let me not panic. I am drowning, I could die. The water is closed above my head, I cannot get air to breathe. I am drowning. What are my options?
What you never think about dying is just how weak you are. This is stupid, my body is tired, if I was at my best this would not be a challenge but I’m tired. What are my options? I wonder if someone will save me. I am floating. Let me float. What would be great is for me to look up through the clean water at the impossible far surface and see it shatter and someone jumps in. They could swim straight towards my and grab me. Take me to the surface, we could laugh about this.
The surface does not shatter.
I am going to die.
What a stupid way to die, I wish I had eaten that extra piece of garlic bread at lunch, stupid to worry about getting fat when you are going to die hours later.
I am going to die. What fucking bullshit. I didn’t need to go swimming today, I could have done other things, so many other things. I didn’t even want to go swimming today. How dare that I die for others stupidity. This is unfair. I am shaking with rage, I am hitting the water. The water does not hit back, it infuriatingly absorbs my every frenzied motion, as if to mock me.
What is the right thing to do? My ears hurt so much. Am I so deep? I remember seeing a story that if you don’t fight the current you can be pushed out back to the surface. Fighting hasn’t done anything, let me float.
My lungs and head and ears and body are in a screeching pain. All I want to do is tear my mouth open and gasp… gasp anything. Even water would be less pain than these giants hands that are gripping my chest, tearing my ribs. Fuck this, let me breathe. No, that will be the end. Something has to change, what can I do. There are no options. If I can just not breathe long enough until I pop to the surface. How long has this been? I think I can survive for a few minutes under water. Things have gone by so fast. I am losing track of time.
Without me wanting to my lips gasp open and I breathe in water. Shit. For a moment though, for a moment it feels wonderful. I am sorry body, you thought that what you were looking for was going to come, you were ready for a solution and instead you have only accelerated the problem. What does it mean to have water in my lungs? I wonder.
My body isn’t reacting the way I want it to. My eyes are open, I wonder if I am still blinking. I suppose I must have that glassy expression in my eye, the same one fish get when you pull them out of water. I stare up through the water and I see the surface, a short distance and an infinite. It is gorgeous, the gentle rays shimmering through the undulations of a universe that the first evolutionary steps originated in and this specific branch will be terminated in. The water is so clear. Here, deeper than I have ever been before, I realize just how special to be under water is. To be in a different medium. Like a bird flies in the sky here in the water I can fly through the water. In my head I can feel myself doing somersaults and zooming around, up down left right pause backwards. My real body has none of it. Am I still moving? I don’t think so, I think here I am stopped, frozen as if in ice or a statue. Immobile, a testament to who I was and, for the moment I am. I feel my body from my toes to my head: I am still here.
Will the fish really eat me? Good, I hope they do, let who I was be the food for who will come, let me regenerate outside of this dying shell and live forever in the world around me. I liked this life, I liked being who I was, I like my memories but if they are to disappear then let me not shy away from the sadness of my extinguishment and the joy of looking forward to a future where I will not be me, but I will be.
I hope that my friends do not mourn me so deeply, it is not their fault that death takes me today and beside, life was beautiful. I hope my family finds a way to remember me, I did not do my duty and carry our line forwards but perhaps I added something of beauty to them. I guess in the story of their lives, the story of how life goes on, I will not be the protagonist, my story does not have a beginning, a middle and an end: it just has a beginning. I hope, I hope, that what little I have done is positive. I hope, I hope, that those people I was not good to, they can forgive me. I never meant to hurt anyone.
Time is becoming arbitrary. I do not see anymore. There is a whiteness, but fuck god, I will not at this point, in a moment of weakness, rationalize what I couldn’t rationalize. God may be real but I will not bow at his altar now, to disrespect the chance of god by asking of him only when I need him. I will disappear and be food for the fish and become one with the water and cells that used to contain me will fly up in the clouds, float over those who I once loved and drizzle on them, touch their skin. Perhaps they will remember me at that moment. I will not look to god, but oh god I don’t want to die. Let me persevere. Fuck death. Fuck life. What’s the difference. I lived, I had consciousness, that is more than a black hole or a white blood cell or a tree can say. Let me not be greedy.
I am remembering being on a tricycle, it is red, I hated the training wheels.
I am remembering holding her hand for the first time, walking down the dark street. I didn’t know if she would hold my hand back but she did and I smiled.
I am remembering being in a car as it curved off the road, staring into my brothers eyes during this slowed perception of time, fear of the moment, fear of death, fear of the unknown.
There is no more pain. The throbbing terrible pain in my lungs is finished. The acid poured down my throat is gone. The pressure of a mountain sitting on my temples has faded away. Here there is no gravity, there is no weight. There is lightness. I am floating. I ascend. My body is still here. I feel nothing. I am still here. I am, for a moment longer, still here.
November 27, 2004
It’s cold but I want to go for a run. I’m just sitting here staring at the computer, it’s Saturday, I should be doing something. Spencer comes over later, I should study for provincials but I can do that tomorrow night. Today is mom’s birthday but her and Tory are in Victoria. Reston is still asleep and dad is upstairs in the shower singing in a baritone. He actually has a pretty good voice.
Oh shit it’s cold and I’m just in the garage. I suppose wearing a sleeveless shirt doesn’t help. There’s the LeBaron, I’m still shaken a bit: did I get away with murder or am I missing something? When Troy and I opened the top while it was too cold and dad was ready to go crazy, then he noticed that Tory borrowed his favourite jacket without asking and it was hidden in the back. That is a bit funny, reminds me of being a kid, Tory would always remember everything bad that I ever did then when he’d get in trouble he’d go “But guess what Barrett did!” This time I think I won. That was a fun night with Troy, we ordered what, 70 timbits from Tim Horton’s with Kim and everybody and even though it was cold those ice capps were also delicious.
Let me stop wasting time, ok, whooooo, that is cold air. Let me dial 1216 to shut the garage and let me go. Shit, the ground is a bit slippery but this is fun yeah! My heart is going and my brain is in motion. My iPod mini that dad brought for all of us from Chicago is great, I wonder just how long I could run. Everyone in school is so jealous. Oh, ‘A Perfect Circle’ is playing, let me change that, this is the song that we listened to with Nuala in the LeBaron the first time I ever took her anywhere and she made fun of it. Alexia defended me, that was nice of her. Let’s do Idioteque, “Ice age coming, ice age coming….”, it’s right, today is an ice age.
Let me run down the hill first, get me moving. There’s Kim’s house down there. Here is the place where that friend of somebody’s car rolled into the house. I hope no one was injured. There are the swing sets, I used to love it there, talking with Garrett or Isaac for hours, who ever knew that just talking could be so, so…lovely. Stupid word choice. Brain let’s go. Let me go fast. These roads are new. Strange, that there can be a forest here then it disappears and roads come and people have their lives as if there never was a forest here. There’s still that little hut, I remember walking through the forest that was with Garrett after watching the Ring and we were both so scared. He walked me home, then I walked him home, then we agreed we would walk our separate ways right at the midpoint, in the forest. Strange, how a place can change. I wonder who is in my old bedroom on Georgia View? I wonder if Garrett has forgiven me, I don’t think I need forgiveness but I guess I was a jerk.
There is a real wind, the waves are big. It would be fun to run down on the beach but maybe the tide is up and it will be impossible. Too much work with the stairs anyway. Reston goes up and down them for sport, sounds boring and miserable to me but then Reston is Reston. Letttttttt’s go. Weird that two girls called Alli emailed me today, both of them are pretty weird. Strange that Alli remembers me all this time after our cruise, I don’t understand what she wants from me, we are so far away but I like her smile. Maybe if she was closer things would be different, but then, maybe if she was closer things would just be as strange. Then, the other Alli, I can’t believe those things I heard her say about me at Survivor camp late at night, when I was going to tell the girls to shut up and go to sleep then listened to her gossip. She was 14, I guess that’s old enough to speak like that but it makes me sad. She keeps saying she’s my stalker, she’s just a kid. I guess I’m just a kid too but not like that, I guess I’m less of a kid than I was.
My body is warm now, I love this feeling of my body being like a furnace, the cold just evaporating off me. I feel so fucking alive, it’s nice. Here is the spot where I remember Mr. Simpson stopping his car, reversing and chasing me while I was running. His face was hilarious: “Barrett, you’re running”. I guess I don’t blame him, I was pretty uhhhh, uninspired in gym class. I don’t like to be told what to do. How am I supposed to be competitive about some game? It’s called a game precisely because it doesn’t matter, it’s just fun, it’s just diversion, but I don’t care. Why do I want to win something if the winning doesn’t mean anything. Let the others win if that’s what gives them meaning or whatever. But what do I care about? I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on these other guys if I don’t know what I want. I think probably that I suck at most sports might have something to do with why I don’t like to play them.
Around the corner, here’s Robbie’s street. I wonder if him and Amie can make things work? I loved Mr. Currell’s class so much with those two guys, but how could Grade 11 have been so much fun, all of us just being crazy fun, while this year it’s like an episode of the OC. Amie’s confusing but Robbie should just stop being such a whiner about this. Whatever. Things are different from the inside than the outside. At least my projects in animation are going well. I think I’m making something really honest, it means something to me but I don’t understand what. Everyone else is making something that already exists, they’re trying to copy reality. I want to create a reality that doesn’t exist, I want it to be something internal, I want it to be, to be, I don’t know, I can’t express it. I want it to show the world who I am. Maybe.
Here’s Jill’s house, I hope she can’t see me, she thinks I run funny. Who notices those things? But she is funny, I like going to concerts and seeing how everyone knows her and loves her, she makes people smile. Jenn’s house is down here, should I go down and say hi? Maybe her dad will answer, he is a bit scary. I like those girls, too bad summers over, I was just fitting in now they are back to being Tory’s. I remember in the summer all of us huddled under the slide in Groveland park telling jokes over some vodka and god they are funny and they thought I was funny. Jenn sent me an email a few days ago, what did she say? Something funny but a bit sexy, but then I think it’s just funny, I say the same things and am just trying to stay a step ahead. This stuff is complex, I wonder if I was to kiss her if she would kiss me back or just push me away and say I am crazy or if she would yell and scream and hate me. Let me run faster.
I am flowing. My daytime fantasties our blurring together, I am here running running, free. The cold doesn’t exist, my brain is off, it is something like my project for Mr. Currell’s class, something that can’t be described but is an experience. There is Isaac’s house, he is always so late. There is Little Ceasers, closed right now, I miss mom getting hot’n’readies and bringing them home and making us wait suffering from the smell of the pizza while she microwaves broccoli. I could run forever, I can flow, I can be something more than who I am, I can be something beautiful in my life, let me graduate highschool, let me go to McGill and become a writer and change the world and have the world remember me as something special. Montreal was so incredible, I want to live there, but it’s expensive. I feel bad about watching Grandpa fall, it wasn’t so bad but I was thinking I should warn him but didn’t.
I am getting close to home now. Let me keep running hard. The Streets “Blinded By the Lights” droning in my ears. Here is where I did that joke with Robbie in the LeBaron and I slammed on the breaks and he flew forward and hurt himself. I was worried that maybe that hurt our friendship, but then we had that day where he said “Play me a beautiful song” while we were in the LeBaron and I played that song Nuala gave me by Elliot “Song in the Air” with it’s haunting violin and the roof was down in the car and we stared up in the blue sky and it was so nice and he said it was beautiful, but with a laugh so it wasn’t so serious. That was in front of Radu’s house, why were we there?
Here’s our house, home sweet home. I’m slowing down and I can feel the cold again. I walk up our driveway but hop around on the grass a bit, I like the feeling of the frost as it crumbles. The day is so clear, I can see all the islands, there are some little boats on the water, I hope the waves aren’t too big for them.
I open the garage door and shut the garage door. I go upstairs, skipping every step and leaning into the curve and I see dad in his robe in the kitchen just finishing breakfast. Awesome time and it smells delicious. Too bad mom isn’t here, it’s her birthday and I haven’t even said Happy Birthday yet. There’s all day for that. Dad made that bread with the cheese on it toasted in the oven so the cheese is a bit black, and then I put the eggs on it. Oh god it smells so good. Reston is sitting at the table looking at his physics homework, it’s Sunday, shouldn’t he just relax?
Dad makes me a plate and I sit down and it’s so good.
Super Smash Brothers Melee
The door bell rings and I can see Spencer on the other side, god he is tall.
I tell him “Hey Spence man how you doing?” He has a bit of a grin, what’s he laughing about?
He tells me “Where is she? Where is the birthday girl?” Oh, that’s where the grin is from. Nice, that he’d remember mom’s birthday. I wonder if his mom reminded him? No, I think he probably remembered for himself, he’s good with things like that: a charmer.
I tell him “Sorry man, she’s in Vic with Tory checking out UVic, Tory’s thinking about going there after grad or something.”
He tells me “Oh yeah, and why didn’t you go too?” Why didn’t I go too? Well, I guess I wasn’t invited.
I tell him “Well I wasn’t really invited and I was busy anyway, it’s the weekend I don’t want to spend all day in the car. Besides, my mom wants to go swim and stuff while Tory’s at his event or whatever he’s doing and I don’t feel like doing nothing while she swims.”
He tells me “You could have gone swimming in that big pool in Victoria and you didn’t? Man, you’re stupid, that would have been awesome.” Haha, Spencer thinks everything in the world about a pool is amazing. Spencer Pool loves pools, funny how that works out to be true. I wonder if there is any deeper meaning in my name? Barrett Nash, what does that mean? I like swimming but not for so long and maybe I am kind of too old to play there.
I tell him “Yeah, it would have been fun, but not for waking up at 7am. Anyway man, Reston and Duncan are over playing Smash, you want to go join in?”
He tells me “Yeah” and he takes his big beige shoes off by the door and we walk over the green and beige tiles and we go through the double doors. There is Reston and Duncan on the couch playing furious, Spence and I just sit and watch without speaking for a bit, don’t want to break their frustration.
When they’re finished they do a round of hello’s with me and Spence, we say some hello’s back. They talk about hackie sack and Radu being Radu and how crazy he is, which I guess is a conversation I’m neither in or out of. Then Spence and I grab Gamecube controllers, a yellow one with a good joystick for me.
Reston is setting up, choosing the levels and stuff. He is playing as Pikachu, Spencer is Yoshi, Duncan is Princess Peach and I am, as almost always, Samus. We’re choosing a level and it is Star Fox, I like this one, it’s a classic, goes back to the first Smash on N64.
BEGIN screams the TV and Peach and Yoshi start going at it immediately. Within seconds Duncan knocks Spence off the platform to death.
Reston says to Spencer “Nice one man, good start.” Christ Reston can be sarcastic, but here it is awesome, Spencer really sucked and he’s looking a bit goofy.
He’s back in, we’re playing five lives each. I’m doing pretty good, but I’m not sophisticated like Reston or Duncan. Down on the C-Stick. Left on the C-Stick. Right on the C-Stick. Up on the C-Stick. Repeat. Repeat. I don’t do grabs, I don’t use power ups to much, even items are more of a bother. Reston and Duncan are super inventive, they treat the entire world like it is something to make use of, like, nothing throws them off balance. But I’m good with Samus, I’m good with my moves, and I’m not stupid, maybe they’re better players but I can be strategic. Let me come out and hit them strong while they are weak. Let me build an energy ball and just keep launching them from the high ground. Let me let them focus on each other, weaken each other, let me win. Sometimes I do, many times. Very rarely I think is the most beautiful player the player who wins. Where is my head? Let me get back in the game. Spencer is out, Duncan is almost out. Haha. Fucking Duncan. He had a big hammer and just walked off the level yelling “OOOOOOOOO”. He is hilarious.
OK it is just me and Reston. One life left each. I’ve got a bit better health but he’s got his tongue out, he’s concentrating.
He says to me “Come on stop being where I can’t get you, that’s cheap”. I drop a few little bombs on him, but he’s right that is cheap. OK. Let me get into this. He is jumping around me left right and center. Pikachu is a tricky player to control, has very short range attacks but some interesting distance attacks. Quite nicely balances against Samus actually, they both have some similar electric distance moves. He is sitting on the far end sending electric bounce attacks at me, I am sending electric balls over to him. The two different attacks meet in the center and kill each other. Haha, ok, what happens now?
Then, something happens, bad luck for me, a big electric sword falls to where Reston can pick it up. Shit, that sucks. It’s super good against my C-Stick moves, something similar to it, except has a longer range. He grabs it in mid air, wow he has good control, then runs towards me. He knows he’s got me. He’s coming fast but I have a bit of time. I charge my electric ball, if I can just get it fully charged and get a good hit on him he is damaged enough it could, maybe, blow him away. He’s running fast at me, I’m not going to make it, maybe I will make it, I shoot at the last minute and fuck, well, of course he was expecting this, he puts on his shield, no damage, then he comes over and swipes me right off the level. Still, second place isn’t so bad.
We all go into the big garage, biggest garage in the neighborhood, space for four cars. So cool. Fun place to go, with foosball and ping pong and music and couches and the Lebaron and everything. I have all my Transformers and Power Rangers from when I was a kid set up on the ping pong table.
Duncan says “Wow man, totally cool, are those Transformers.” Him and Spencer head over there, Reston is setting up the stereo. Red Hot Chilli Peppers Californication, sick song, Garrett doesn’t like it, says it’s rote or something, but he always want’s underground stuff, like Sage Francis. Sometimes music should just be fun.
Spencer is saying he remembers playing with this stuff when he was a kid. Did we play with this stuff back then? I don’t think Spencer was around so much. Maybe. I’m holding the White Ranger’s zord, opening and closing the hidden head for when it is the ultra zord. The coolest is definitely the original Power Rangers Mega Zord, which is complete, could be a collectors edition. I remember mom got it at that function they have at Beban where she get’s baby rags.
Spence and Duncan are playing foosball so me and Reston head over to pingpong. I’m standing with the music at my back and there is just a little bit of a slant to the floor which I think gives me an advantage. I can beat him, just like he can beat me. He maybe beats me a little more than I beat him in general, but if I concentrate I can almost always win. And he just beat me at Smash, let me beat him this time.
I hit a hard serve when I don’t think he’s suspecting, not unfair, just to go from no movement to total movement. It’s about winning. It’s about strategy. It’s a good serve and it goes right off down the back of the table and oh shit, the door is open and it’s rolling down the garage. Haha, poor Roost, it’s cold out there. He comes back and tosses the ball to me in mid-air, I can’t always catch that but this time I do. I do another hard serve and this time he knocks it back at me. I hit it so hard at him that it comes back at me so fast that I fuck up and it goes off the table right into his waiting hand. OK brother, let’s play man.
We are going back and forth and I am getting into a flow. The music is necessary. I have some little tricks I do. I need to wear my glasses. I need to concentrate, but concentrate by losing focus, I just react, I don’t think about the game, I just respond. I can feel my hand unconsciously taking a better grip on the paddle. We are playing crazy good, we are really closely matched. Back and forth back and forth my eyes completely unfocused, it is what dancing must be like, I flow, I can hit anything. Every point lost is annoying but I don’t make stupid mistakes. He is winning a bit but I play better when I’m down a little. OK, let me win this thing. OK. And boom I hit a snipe right into the far back corner and wow he volleys it right back at me but I’m there, my paddle stationary and it just softly goes over the net and he lunges fast fast and hit’s up shit, just hitting it at all is impressive. Fuck, this should be a kill shot, he’s lobbed it to me so easy, I should just be able to nuke it down at him, but my eyes don’t work that way. Instead I wait for it to bounce and hit it back softly over. He is happy to be alive. He eventually wins the point and the game. Fuck it, whatever, I guess it’s not my day.
I watch Spence and Reston play for awhile then I go outside , not too far, my black Nike sandals don’t protect me from the cold so much. I wonder if it will snow? I remember it snowed a little bit and it was so fun, taking Curtis’s little truck and doing donuts in the parking lot of Woodgrove. Spencer was there too, Spence and Bjorn and Radu, it was a fun day. When we lined up all the shopping carts in a row and used the truck to push them around like a train. Haha, reminds me of when in the same parking lot Jordan chased me down and knocked me to the ground because I leapt out of his car at a red light while owing him a dollar. Him and Troy really got me, haha, them driving over the traffic medium thing, coming at me, was like something from a movie.
I say to Spence “Hey man let’s play some Vice City. Come on.” He comes up the stairs into the playroom or whatever we call it leaving Reston and Spence huddled over foot ball.
The door shuts just as Duncan is saying something funny, but I can hear Reston’s laugh reverberate anyway. Wonder what the joke was.
Quality Foods for Olive Oil
Nash Junior (as Barrett and Bear): Middle triplet, son of Cynthia and Nash Sr.
Cynthia (as Mom and Scooter): Matriarch and mother of the Nanaimo Nash’s, this play takes place on her birthday
Nash Senior (as Dad): Patriarch and father of the Nanaimo Nash’s
Scene: Dad alone in kitchen cooking salmon. Barrett sitting on big black couch below large picture of Elvish reading Time Magazine. Mom out of scene but in earshot.
Dad: Bear, any idea where the olive oil is?
Barrett: Sorry daddio, you catch the cupboard already?
Dad: Already checked the cupboard. Ohhhhhh Scooooter… where is the olive oil?
Mom (offstage in a shout): Honey, I think we’re finished. You didn’t get more when you went to Costco?
Dad: No, I got everything else but I thought we had some in the cupboard
Mom: Well do you really need it?
Dad: Well we have Costco foccacia break, basil tomatoes and need to put it on the salmon. No problems at all though, we can just send one of the boys to the store.
(Barrett puts Time Magazine above his face, trys to disappear)
Mom: No, no, let’s not bug the boys. I can just run to Quality Foods and pick this up, I have a few coupons that expire before the end of the month that I want to use and I don’t want to torture the boys with that.
Dad: Well it’s your birthday so I’m sure one of the boys would love to go with you. (all lights on stage dim except for a bright spotlight on Barrett)
Barrett: Oh, uhhh, yeah. I would love to, let’s go.
Mom: Great, meet you in the car. I’ll drive since the car is setup for me.
Mom and Barrett in the car, a small black Mercedes Coupe. The egine has a small super charger that makes a whirring sound. It is night time, very dark with crisp November air. The scene starts as they are driving down Groveland Rd.
Mom: Oh, we need some gas. I can just pick up some tomorrow.
Barrett: Sure. Gas is so expensive right now. Anyway, so how was Victoria?
Mom: It was good, Tory seemed to really like UVic. Then you know me, I was in heaven at the Commonwealth Pool. The new Aquatic Center here in Nanaimo (NAC) is so cold, but the Commonwealth Pool is really perfect. I wonder if I could call the people at the NAC and tell them to make it a little bit warmer? They are always saying that they need to keep it that cold for the aquatic team but then the Commonwealth Pool has the same issue and they keep it warmer.
Barrett: Good point, but they have that Ozone system, maybe it makes things different?
(Driving past Dover Bay, Barrett and the other triplets highschools. There is a large sign with the words “Study for your provincials”)
Mom: So how is studying going Bear?
Barrett: I’ve started a little bit but not too much yet. I think I can really do well in History and English, but Chemistry is a bit harder. Last year it was just all so easy but this year it’s harder. It’s more organic stuff and I don’t have a very good memory for it.
Mom: The organic side was actually what I was always best at. I even studied Biology in university. Have you given anymore thought to what you want to apply for?
Barrett: I would really like to go to McGill, Montreal was such a cool place. But, they charge way more for being out there, like double UVic or UBC. I really like UBC when we went there in the summer. Then, when Shaun and I went to Vancouver in the summer…
Mom: You mean when you broke dad’s fire alarm and just left a note saying “broke the fire alarm, sorry”. Dad loves telling that story.
Barrett: (haha) Yeah, that time. Anyway, we had such a good time. Walking the seawall, having dad take us out to that barbecue restaurant. I think I could really like it there. Then, both Arts 1 and Arts Foundations sound like really cool courses.
(Going down the steep Uplands hill)
Mom: I always find it too easy to speed here. And look, even today on there are police at the bottom. Really, they are scavengers. Good thing I was going slow, that would be a terrible birthday gift.
Barrett: Yeah, definitely.
Mom: So you think you are going to go for an Arts program?
Barrett: Yeah, I guess so. You know Reston is doing Engineering, Tory is doing Business, kind of feel like Arts is the right place for me. I like English and History and everything. Besides, I hear first year isn’t so important for your classes, it’s when you figure out what sort of things you are really interested in. I kind of hate that all these people are asking me all the time “What do you want to be what do you want to be what do you want to be.” You know? I haven’t even started yet
Mom: Well, I’m sure you’ll make the right choice. Having you in Vancouver instead of Montreal would definitely make me happy.
Barrett: Well, it will certainly save me money on airlifting my laundry back here.
(Entering Quality Foods parking lot)
Mom: I hate this parking lot, it’s always so tight.
Barrett: But hey, there’s a spot over there.
Mom: Good eye.
(Both exit car and head towards themain entrance)
Barrett: Did you lock the doors?
Mom: I think so but I can press the remote again.
Mom and Barrett entering Quality Foods. There are others with shopping carts doing their shopping. All the lights are bright but then dim except for a spotlight in the center that Barrett alone walks into. All other characters are frozen in place.
Barrett in a soliliquay speaking to the crowd: Fuck, I am so tired of being asked about university. Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to: so what do you want to do after graduation? I’m tearing my hair out! Maybe I just want to be a plumber. I don’t know what I want to be. But it’s certainly not mom’s fault, she certainly has the right to ask me. I’m just under this weight of everyone telling me that I need to make choices that change the rest ofmy life, yet, it feels like all I am doing is flipping a coin. McGill or UBC. Business or Arts. Can my life be so random? Can really a decision I make today change where I will be in ten years? Let me not worry about these things. Let me clear my mind. Here it is, moms birthday, and I am in my own little mental world, disappeared from the moment. Let me enjoy Quality Foods, I like this place, with its good smells.
(lights back up, crowd begins to move, Barrett grabs a shopping cart and follows close behind mom)
Mom: OK now what do I need? If you want to go run ahead and entertain yourself go ahead. I think I’m going to torture you getting all the things I need.
Barrett: No, no problems, I like going up and down the aisles. Reminds me of When I was little and I would go with you on Triple Coupon day. Was fun and they’d give me a free cheese stick.
Mom: You could probably still get a cheese stick…
Barrett: Mom, that stops at 12 years old: I’m 16!
Mom: Well, why don’t you get one anyway? Get whatever you want.
Barrett: No, I’m OK. I don’t want to spoil dinner anyway.
Mom: Well, if you’re sure. Keep your eyes open for anything you want.
(few moments of shopping)
Mom: Hey Bear, look at this. See these Oreos, they’re normally three dollars but today they’re on sale for two dollars. Then, guess who has a one dollar coupon? So we can buy the entire container of Oreos for just one dollar.
Barrett: Actually, that is a real great deal…
Mom: Well all these things add up, you know if you do this for a year how much money we can save.
The stage begins to dim, there is still some chatter. Mom and Barrett haven’t even gotten the olive oil yet. But, life works in multiple dimensions, one of which is temporal which means that while this author would like to fall in deeply to the p
ryuast, the present is calling. He was sick but no longer and the realities of today are calling. What is interesting is this capacity to fall backwards, to reflect, to remember. This day did not exist but days like it did exist. The smell of Quality Foods, so pleasant, may have disappeared, but a single look at Chinese Noodles anywhere in the world makes this author disappear into a world where he was shorter and the world was different colors.
November 27, 1994
Good morning good morning good morning to you. I’m awake. What was I dreaming about? Mom says a soul is a sole, isn’t sole fish? Is my soul a fish? No dreams from last night.
I’m lying here for a moment. No school today, it is a Sunday. I’m going to play lego with Tory, I like the beach house with the big windows. Veronica and Rachel, too bad Tory get’s Veronica, I like her more. Maybe I will build something new. I made that new red house last week, it was the exact same on one side as the other. It would be a good restaurant. Maybe I can finish it then Veronica and Rachel can go leave their beach house and visit it. I hope Reston doesn’t see it, he always makes his lego so smart, I’m not as good as him at it.
Mom is yelling breakfast. Breakkkkkkfast. Let me wake up. I swing my legs out from underneath my covers, a Lion King quilt, the bright colors are nice. That movie was so good. The blanket makes me happy. Poor Mufasa, maybe he will still be alive somehow I hope. Mom left out my clothes for today, they are my nice clothes, soft blue jeans with an elastic and a striped blue shirt. Why am I wearing my good clothes today?
I’m the first one to the breakfast table and mom is cooking French toast. Her black pan with the white lid is full of pieces of bread covered in egg. It’s not my favorite but Reston loves it so much. Some of the bread is sourdough which I really like, I hope I get that type. Mom is humming as she cooks. Dad is over on his black leather chair in his robe. The sun is nice today, I see the water of the ocean.
I sit at my spot at our round table, the plastic cover isn’t straight so I straighten it. Reston comes out next and he is grumpy. Good morning mom says and he responds not loudly. He sits next to me and I say nothing. Reston is making me feel tired too. I let out a yawwwwwwwwn. Oh that feels nice. Tory is here now too. He is in a good mood and with a big smile goes up to mom and says happy birthday. Oh! That is why I am wearing my good clothes, it is moms birthday! Is that today? Where is moms calendar…. yes, there on the fridge, Suzy Zoo, yes today is November 27. I wonder if this will affect my lego playing? Reston and i stand up and we say happy birthday and give mom a hug.
Mmmm, the french toast is good today. Reston has his with nothing on it but Tory and I add Aunt Jemima syrup and it’s so good now, I don’t even mind that I didn’t get the bread I like. The smell of the Aunt Jemima is so nice and the black lady on the bottle looks so fat and happy.
Dad comes over and eats with us. He is in a good mood talking fast fast. We’re going to go to Pipers Lagoon for a hike today. That will be fun. I ask him if I can play lego first and he says I can play when I come home. That’s ok. I like Pipers Lagoon, I like having to raise my legs so high to climb up the mountain. That teenager died there, dad says we can find his teeth. I don’t want to find it but Reston, me and Tory always play looking for them. We will get to take dad’s Mercedes with its good smell. I hope I get to sit by a window and open it. Maybe dad will open the sunroof with it’s vrmmming noise.
Dad is a crazy driver but that is fun. We’ll go fast and maybe he’ll ask someone to check the lights and he’ll honk at us. That will be fun. Mom isn’t eating with us she doesn’t like French toast because it is bad for her. I look out from the window out past the ocean and the waves are white which means it is wavy and cold out. I hope mom gets me a jacket to wear.
Dad tells us to go get ready and me and Tory and Reston run to our rooms. We hear a yell, dad is saying put the dishes in the dishwasher. Oops, I forgot, but why do I have to do it? I run back to my room on my tippy toes, the carpet feels good under them.
The smell of French Toast and syrup is nice.
I am sitting in the backseat in the middle with Tory on my left and Reston on the right. Pipers Lagoon was fun and it’s lunch time. Mom and dad are talking and I hear the word McDonalds and I am excited maybe we will get McDonalds.
Dad drives down the highway and the radio is turned on to something boring about things happening in Africa. Tory is telling me about Mrs. Cato and how high her pants are, they are really high it is true. I don’t know her though, I only know Mrs White and how she has us sit on a tape line and reads us choose your own adventure which I really like. We can’t play pogs anymore which is sad but also ok since Danny lost my favourite pog slammer. Besides, Dayton has that new toy that lets you cook monsters I want to play with. His house is fun and sad, I like his mom she is nice and good.
We are turning and moving and I can’t see where we are going and then I see McDonalds yay yay! We are going out for lunch it has been so so long since we have been here this is going to be so good and I am going to play! Reston is out of the car first so I jump out with him while Tory is going slow and we run in and mom tells us to watch where we are going but there are no cars so we go inside and smell the McDonalds smells. Dad leads us and we sit in my favourite chair, the booth with the glass blocks like in a house right in the middle of McDonalds it is like a fortress. We all go up together and dad asks us what we want and I want a Big Mac, no a double Big Mac, oh they don’t have that: then a Big Mac. I run back to the booth and slide up and down the plastic, it is slippery and fun. Dad is saying something. Slip slip slip, these seats are fun! Oh, he wants me to get the ketchup and straws, sure! I play with the big pump and there is ketchup in the big white cup in my hand and I get more and I pop out straws from the machine and here is napkins ok ok I think that is enough (I hate napkins) and I come back and the food is not here yet and Reston and Tork have run out to the play place and I follow them.
I take my shoes off and touch the finger of the sign that looks like a cartoon man that measures if I am too big to go in the playplace but I am still just a kid so I am fine. I run like a dog up the hill and it smells like plastic and I am racing around I can so fast circle circle circle. Tory wants to go down the slide so I push him down and he goes fast and yells and I think he is having fun which is nice. I go down to and I lean in the curves so I can go faster and I shoot out the bottom so fast, good think the ground is so soft and bouncy.
Reston is in the ball pit so I jump in and start throwing balls at him. Haha, he is good at dodging them, let me throw more. Hey, he is throwing them at me, hey they kind of hurt. Stop it! Let me hit him hard with one then he will stop. Oh no! That hit his face! Oops. He is coming at me and he is pushing me let me push him back it’s his fault he started it hey hey hey get off me! Oh, food is here. We both stop wresting at the same time and go run in McDonalds. Oops, forgot my shoes, do I need them? Mom says I need them ok ok let me get them.
So many fries they are so good here. Mom likes the ones that are little and soft, I like them too but it is her birthday so let me find some for her. There are some. Ok, let me have just a few. Wow they are good. Where is my Big Mac? Why does dad always take so long to give me my food? Where is my Big Mac? I am hungry! Reston and Tory are already having their food where is mine this isn’t fair! Dad is saying something what is he saying? That they are out of Big Macs! HOW CAN MCDONALDS BE OUT OF BIG MACS. This is terrible. What do I do now. Everyone is eating and having fun, this isn’t fair, I am hungry and want to have fun… My lip is quivering but I will be big and not cry but there are tears at the corner of my eyes… wait… Dad!: he pulls a Big Mac from behind the wall! He was joking! Everyone is laughing. It wasn’t that funny, I was hungry. But maybe it was a little funny. And now it is here in front of me and I take a big bite and it is good. It is so big, I need to eat it very carefully. Mmmm. Let me have some fries too and the Coca Cola or wait, where is the orange soda? I can drink so much of it with the big McDonalds straws, more then Reston or Tory.
Dad wants a bite of my burger. He always takes a big bite, bigger than the rest of the burger. But he is dad. Maybe he won’t take such a big bite this time. Hey! That’s even bigger than last time! I should get another burger…. But my stomach is full so maybe it is ok. I see Tory just has a small burger what did he get? A Happy Meal! Oh wow, he has a toy from the Pagemaster I want to see that movie so much! I wish I had the toy? Why don’t Big Mac’s come with toys? But the toy looks bad, my lego at home is better. I wonder if he wants to color his box? Are there crayons anywhere?
I’m stuffed. Reston burps, that’s disgusting! I could probably burp bigger though but not like Danny P, he can burp so loud. Spencer too but Danny P more. I am sleepy. I want to go home and play.
I help mom and dad by carrying trays to the garbage and I stuff the tray in and I kind of like the smell but it is garbage so that is weird and we go outside. I run faster than Tory and Reston and get the good window seat behind mom and as we drive down Rutherford Road back home I put my hand out the window and let it fly like an airplane.
We are going to the Keg for a family dinner and I’m going to order the teriyaki chicken. It’s so good, with this black topping which is chewy and hard and so nice. Mom’s birthday is great, McDonalds and a real restaurant on the same day. And all these trips in dad’s nice car: twice on the highway today. Dad hasn’t been driving fun but it is still so much nicer than the van where I feel like a normal kid.
I know we are in the parking lot of the Keg because the ground is rocks not cement and the car drives different. I look out the window and there is a picture of a crab saying something funny, like I should eat the chicken instead of the crab. That is funny. Dad whispers to me to get moms door so I run out and open the door for her and she smiles and maybe she knows dad told me to do it but that’s ok. Dad’s whispering to Tory and Reston and they go run to the doors of the Keg and open them for her too. Oh, haha, they try to open but they are big doors and they are difficult. They don’t open both, they just open one together and we all come inside.
Dad talks to the man about our reservation and I look at the big fire. It is gas powered like our fireplace at home because I can see the little pipes below the fake logs. The darkness here is orange, the only place in Nanaimo that has a darkness like this. Even the lightbulbs are painted orange. It is something strange, neat and a bit scary.
We go to our table, a booth at the back where we are just up a few steps but I feel important. The table is nice and strong. I know the Keg has a great kids menu. You get a soda, a trip to the salad bar, a kids meal (which is delicious) and dessert all for $7.95 plus tip (of course) (and GST). We sit down and order our sodas, I get a Diet Coke because they don’t have cherry Coke which I can only get at Semiamoo but is good because it is what mom orders. Dad orders a Coors Light which looks very cold when it comes. Of course I tell the waiter I want the teriyaki chicken and mom looks at me funny when I do, I don’t know why. Maybe because I didn’t look at the menu? I don’t see what Tory or Reston order because as soon as I tell the waiter what I want I race down to the salad bar. The Keg is dark in it’s orangeness, I see people but I don’t see them.
Lucky the salad bar is bright, like a car driving down an empty street at night. There are big lights and they show all the food, dish after dish after dish of it. I can get whatever I want, no one gets to tell me what to do. I am free. I walk all the way down to the end, seeing what there is. I know, I have been coming here for 3 years, since we first moved to Nanaimo, I am a salad bar expert, but I need to make sure nothing has changed.
I grab the big heavy white plate and walk below the big heavy glass which hangs over the salad bar. I can get all these first things at home. Why do I want lettuce? That is food mom eats because she’s a mother, not a boy. I want the fun things. Yes, pasta with that sauce which is yummy. Yes, potato salad, so nice, Dayton’s mom makes potato salad I wish mom did, it’s so good. I take two big spoons then I look around and see no one is watching and I take one more. Near the end of the salad bar is my favourite: the little corns. They don’t exist anywhere except at the Keg, Tory says that they grow them special and he always knows things that no one else knows. They are so good, sweet and chewy and new and neat and nice. I take a big tong batch full. My last stop is Caeser salad which I cover with soft croutons which are heavy with sauce, all of it a bit heavy kind of like a cold lasagna. My mouth is watering as I carry my heavy plate back to our table.
Mom and dad are talking, I feel like I can be a part of what they are saying and I like to hear them speak about all their important adult things but I want to really taste all my food. I start with the corn, I put my fork into it and it is soft but hard, like nothing else I eat. I pick it up like a normal corn on the cob and eat it which is funny because it is so small and I show Tory and Reston and they laugh and try it themselves. Then, I kind of mix everything together, I wish I had some more sauce, it is all so good, just the way I like it. Mom is saying to be careful or we won’t eat our dinner but all this food is here now and of course I will eat it all because it is all nice.
My salad is finished and I am bored. Tonight is a new episode of Power Rangers, I hope we are home in time to watch it. It starts at 7:00pm and we had reservations at 5:30 pm sharp I heard dad say so that gives us 1.5 hours to eat which should be fine because that is a long time, twice as long as recess. These episodes are very important, since the green ranger who is evil is becoming good and if he can become good than the power rangers will win and Rita will be defeated, which is not so important because she is funny, but she is bad and good should win. Tommy is so cool, he knows karate so well. I bet I could do that, kick so high, I just need to learn how. Reston and Tory stole good Power Rangers and I’ve been stuck with the Blue Ranger Billy who is really great but not as great as Black Ranger or Red Ranger or Pink Ranger. Why does Tory get two Rangers, it’s unfair. If he can have two then I should be able to het Blue and Green. Maybe Reston can take Yellow too, she is okay, he can have her.
Oh wow the waiter has come and he has so many plates balanced. How does he do that? He is really great and skilled. He gives dad a baseball steak which looks like a baseball, he gives mom and Reston a prime rib done medium rare which they will share, than he gives Tory and me each a plate of teriyaki chicken. It smells so good, why don’t people eat this food everyday? Why have an egg sandwich when there is teriyaki chicken? It’s better than fruit by the foots and dunkaroos combined times 1000 or at least 100. I am strong and a gentleman waiting for the waiter to put pepper from his big pepper mill over my food, waiting what seems like the same amount of time as mom before I say stop. Then, I hold the big Keg knife, like the ones mom and dad stole that we keep at home, and I cut just a little piece of the chicken. A really small piece but the best piece because I want to really enjoy it, the triangle piece where every side but one is covered in the hardened good black topping. It comes on my tongue and I try to eat it slow but it is so good and I start wolfing the food. Everyone is quiet, except dad who doesn’t like it when it’s quiet. He says he knows everyone is happy because we are quiet, that’s funny I guess. Then he asks if anyone wants to try his baseball steak. Reston, Tory and I look up and nod, sure, more food is good. I try it and it is not nice like my chicken or the little corn but it is ok, it is adult food. It is hard to chew, maybe I need more big teeth to like it? I get back to my chicken which comes with French fries that aren’t as nice as the ones from McDonalds and some vegetables which aren’t as nice as the salad bar but I eat because I know Reston won’t eat them and mom will make him and she will say be like me and I will look good and smart.
Suddenly and surprisingly there is singing. Happy Birthday to you/Happy Birthday to You/Happy Birthday to you… there are singers at the Keg! This is great. I start singing to and it’s so nice to sing for moms birthday and wow, is that a cake? Today is great! I hope I still get my ice cream too because it is included in my meal on the kids menu and I want the Neapolitan which is three flavors in one and so good. The singers stop and dad starts clapping but no one joins in because the Keg is a quiet place and dad is always loud and you can’t be too loud in a quiet place, even if it is a birthday.
Mom blows out all these candles, more than I can count, but she blows them all out. She is a really good candle blow outer. Dad says it is time for gifts and I am excited because I have a great gift: a bronzer that me and mom went to Eatons at Woodgrove together to get. We went through the big store down the escalator and she chose what she wanted and we split the price and she helped me wrap it and now it’s in my hands under the table, sneakily put there by dad. It’s so much better than Reston’s or Tory’s gifts because those gifts were just given to them by dad from a pile of gifts under his bed, my gift was chosen by mom so she has to love it. She opens each gift and she has a big smile but I am sure the biggest smile was from me. Dad gave her clothes, clothes are boring: a bronzer, whatever that is, it is exciting.
Dinner is finishing. Dad pays and argues about the bill, nothing angry but there was an extra soda. Dad is smart to see it but I think it was just an accident. The Keg is good, they would not cheat.
We get up to leave, dad opens the heavy door for mom and Reston, Tory and me too. We don’t open mom door, we are too tired. I will take a small sleep then watch Power Rangers. We drive out onto the Island Highway, I see the orange lights come past, they are like the lights in the Keg an orange darkness. I look out the window and I watch Nanaimo pass by. The bridge at the parl. The Tally-Ho where Donny lived, mom says he smells. The palm trees. My eyes are shut. I know if I sleep dad will carry me in and I will wake up tomorrow in my bed ready for school. I don’t want to sleep, I want to watch Power Rangers. The car is dark and quiet. It is smooth on the smooth road. Mom and dad don’t talk. Reston, Tory and I don’t talk. I reach my hands over my head in a big yawn, a real yawn even for an adult, then I don’t remember anything else.