Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Sweet Infinity: (Manitoba)

Does anything interesting happen in Manitoba?

That was the question I asked myself when I was moving there in November of 2009.

The answer, I discovered, is yes, Manitoba is interesting. But only if you can redefine your definition of "interesting" to include dark and macabre shit.

What follows account.

Mine alone.


I don't like Winnipeg already. Part, or most, of this initial sentiment isn't Winnipeg's fault. Probably.We drove by the company building first, like the partners were trying to show it off, but it's just a brick building that looks like a brick, or a lonely, discarded piece of LEGO. Then we ate shitty pizza and drank bad beer.

I arrived at my apartment late last night and crashed on the wood floor of my company-funded living room (because there is no bed, no pillows, no blankets), tired, upset, and hungry. When I woke up at five, I realized that, if I wanted to take a shower, I would have to walk several kilometers to a drug store to buy shampoo, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, I'm forgetting something. That tends to happen.

I threw on a pair of Levi's and a hoodie, laced my Pumas, and made the trek to buy the necessary toiletries. The wind was cold, slapping my cheeks like a harsh memory.

When I got home -- this is what I have to call home now -- I remembered what I forgot: toilet paper.

And back out we go.

The black ice was bad on the sidewalks. I slipped a few times, but -- thankfully -- didn't capsize. Go ass-up, as my uncle Freddie used to say. I returned to the drug store, bought a 24-pack of 2-ply bathroom tissue, and again ventured "home."

The sleet started falling, and I stepped into a few slush puddles. After you've figured out your most basic requirements by doing mental math with your fingers, get a pair of galoshes, idiot. And a pair of gloves.
A car bounded down a hill in my direction. Fast. It slipped and slided, like a shitty figure skater. The car's headlights were on me, then away from me, then on, away, on, away...

Jesus fuck. It's spinning. It's terrifying and beautiful at the same time. This hulk of metal and machinery careening out of control. I want to scream in terror and clap like a NASCAR fan. It's coming straight at me. I'm going to die.

The car crashes sideways into an oak tree on the opposite side of the road. I drop my toilet paper and rush across the road.

"Hey, guy, roll down your window," I implore.


"Please, roll down your fucking window. Can you speak? Do you understand what I'm saying? I can't call for 911 because my phone is dead."

The driver-side power window rolls down.


A hitched breath. Then another.

"Cocaine in the tru-uh-unk. Don't cuh-call the police. It's not mine. In suitcases."

"What's your name?"


"Wendell, I'm Adam. Let's get you out of your car and figure out our next step."

"Huh-okay. But it's not my car."

"Who's is it then?"

"The drug dealers I stole it from."


I don't like Winnipeg already. Part, or most, of this initial sentiment isn't Winnipeg's fault.


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