Hank finds a small book with Chinese
designs on the outside. It’s a diary. It has a little
lock on it…   it’s a pink colour. The kind of
liittle diary book school girls use, when they are
keeping a diary.
Then at the end of the school night,
they turn the key in the little lock to lock the
pages shut, the lock that keeps her secrets
from mommy and daddy and both her nasty
Hank turns the key in the lock. He
sniffs the pages. They’re a little bit
perfumed, just as a schoolgirl would like.
Hank turns to the first page and starts
to read accounts of his former life…


             I had a big fight at work. Then I quit.
I might have to travel up to Wait-A-Bit and take that
job. At least I’ll have some peace and quiet.
            It has to be a quiet little newspaper: 

             “THE RAVEN SCREED!”

            What kind of a name is that? Sounds odd,
worse than odd, it sounds weird. But how weird
can it get in the heart of the country?
            Ah, peace! That’s what I need. Put my
feet up and watch the river flow. A little
bucolic beauty, quiet and peace. Peace and
quiet. Might go out at lunch time and
pick some wildflowers… Maybe even
take up photography… get a second floor
window with a view.
           Sit in a cafe after work. Maybe fall in
love with the waitress. I mean, how bad can it


        Hank snorts when he reads this. 

        Frank hears him from across the bunker.

         “Is he laughing?” Franks wonders, “What 
at?” Frank thinks to himself. He hasn’t been
laughing much lately. In fact, Hank has been
on the verge of dementia the whole last two weeks…

        Frank watches Hank: “He’s not laughing, he’s crying!”

             “What are you laughing at?” Frank calls
across the room. Hank’s bed is now ten
feet down the tunnel he’s been furiously digging
on and off for at least a month now.

           “Oh, nothing. Just a journal I was keeping
in the city…”

             Frank is quiet. He knows he’ll get
to see the “Journal” sooner or later. He’s
happy to WAIT-A-BIT! Har! Har!
             A storm’s been blowing the better
part of five days now. The snow’s four feet
high over their porthole… half a foot
of ice on top of that.
             “He’ll tell me all he knows in five
more days.” Then Frank laughs, thinking about
Uncle Henry – the hanging judge – Wilcox. He
had some dandy expressions!
              For example: “A man can say all he
knows in ten minutes. If he talks any longer,
he’s exaggerating!’
              And this: 


              The look of glee he used to have on his
face as he said this! Henry had to laugh. “I never 
thought I’d miss that son-of-a-bitch!”
               “I don’t really miss much about him…
the thing I miss is his laugh!” Frank thinks and
stares at the rods of rebar showing through the mud

               Hank looks up watches Frank. Frank
is staring at the wall… reminiscing.
               “He looks like a camel when he does
that!” Hank thinks but says nothing, “A camel
gazing off into the distance across the desert

             DIARY (continued)
             “I’ll sit on the porch, smoke a pipe
and watch the sunset. I’ll hear the sound of silence…
Silence is golden.
              “Sit out there as the sky slowly darkens,
and the majesty of the stars come out to play…
I’ll relax and breath the sweet air. Maybe have a sip
of sweet water… and listen to the call of the loon…”
               Hank is starting to panic. “Saying,’
Things can’t get worse than this!’ this is a 
very unlucky thing to say. I didn’t really
mean it. Oh God! I take it back… That’s
not what I meant. I meant something else…
I just couldn’t express myself
                Hank has learned a thing or
two about the Trickster God from his
native neighbours.
                 At Artie’s bar, sitting together,
they tell stories of what the Trickster
has done… Horrible stories about house burnings,
cars sinking in the muskeg… a serious man,
a Presberstyrian (sp?) who burns his ass on the fire.
             The men are laughing when they
tell Trickster stories. They’re laughing, but not
that hard. There’s clearly a respect, even
a fear of the Trickster God.
             At first he thought the Trickster stories
were silly.  “There is no God!” he laughed,
“There’s no such thing as the Trickster!
Everybody knows this! Where’d you guys
get your education?”
             That remark did not go over well.
Hank was sober enough to see this. The
native men smiled along with him, but their
eyes had grown hard.
               A lot of these guys had been taken
away from their families when they were children,
taken away to Regional Schools. They were
taught their whole way of life was wrong
and evil. And  a lot of these men had been interfered
with sexually… by priests who should have been
looking in the mirror when they spoke about
        . No the ‘where’d you get your education?’
remark had not gone over well. But that wasn’t
the real problem – it wasn’t the reason everybody
had left within ten minutes of Hank’s
        The men had left because only a fool
makes fun of the Trickster God. And only
an idiot would drink with such a man.

         Hank noticed that for the next couple
of months, these men kept their distance.

          Frank heard the story afterwards.
And he understood completely what the problem
was. After all, he was the mayor of the town.
Everybody talked to him.
          Frank didn’t tell Hank how bad his
faux pas was. He’d explain it to him later,
much later.
          “Hank has enough problems already.”
Frank thought.
        Frank had seen it all before – various tourists
going through descending moments of horror
and terror. Already he sometimes heard Hank 
whimpering at night. 
         Hank was having difficulty accepting
the reality of his situation. As the John Rock
song, “In this Hotel” goes:

                  And there were no buses here
                   And the train had slipped a gear
                    And the highway is not near!

           No, Hank was already having the night terrors.
Frank could already hear Hank weeping and whining
and praying in a whisper late at night. He didn’t
need to hear anything more about the Trickster
God just now… …
           And he didn’t even know about the weasels yet!

                                            (C) 2014 by W.G. Milnecropped-self-logo-threescreenshot-from-2013-12-08-2156392

(C)2014 by W.G.Milne
     Re: this story, not the
      Blogger format.


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