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  • Writer's pictureWellington Lambert

South of Moosonee 15


I hate that quiet time after Christmas.

All my French friends have huge extended families. Aunts, uncles…cousins, that all live here.

I remember going ski-doing at Mikes cousins. We had an amazing time out in the fields, plowing through drifts and going forever in the darkness. When we got back, we ate home made baked beans and homemade bread. Everyone seemed happy, they were all cousins, aunts, and uncles. I was jealous that there were so many people that knew each other so well, it felt safe.

They are probably doing that now.

We are not related to anyone.

I have one grandfather that I see once a year, but he doesn’t talk to me. None of the men I know in my life talk to me, I think that’s fucked up.

I don’t care anymore; I’ll be gone soon.


I dropped in on Mark New Years Day. He was having a party and had a bunch of acid. He gave me a hit and I went home. I sat and listened to my Kate Bush album while staring at my mother doing the dishes. I thought about how the music was just pushing through my ears into my head. That my skull was just a container, that my brain was just a receiver. There was so much I couldn’t see or know about. It kind of freaked me out, so I got into the blue bomb and drove to the apartment. Walked into the bush and just sat there, thinking about Tinkerbells body, in the ground. Thinking about how weird it was that something so huggable was now so hideous.


I went to the Commercial and saw Mark playing in his band. He started to play some of the songs we wrote together.

It really pissed me off.

I have a plan.


Mr. Jewel was doing the TK poke to a student at school today. Mr. Jewel is my English teacher, he is also the principle. He is tall and black. He wears a suit with a bow tie. When he talks, he talks super clearly and over articulates his words. He stares at you with a bit of a grin, kind of looking through you. He is one of my favourite teachers, he seems to want to be here.

The TK Poke

The TK poke happens when Mr. Jewel sees you in the hall and sees you doing something that he doesn’t want you to be doing. He calls your name and moves slowly towards you while you stand frozen in fear. I’ve seen the coolest kids reduced to nervous giggles and terrified laughter. It’s fun to watch. As he slowly approaches you, he starts to raise his right hand with his middle and index finger pointing out, preparing to poke. Once he is in front of you, he stops and watches you get more and more nervous. He smiles with his head tilted and talks to you in a controlled manner. He interrogates you while poking you in the collar bone area. He only does this to the guys. He is partly joking but you can tell there is something underneath.

Mr. Jewel lives alone in town and helps kids that need help. He has put kids through university and helped kids get work. He has no family here and I have no idea where he came from. My mom said his father was a porter on the train that passed through town on the way to BC. His son would come with him and for some reason, when he grew up, he decided to move to Kap and live here permanently. I have no idea what he saw here as a child. What stuck with him so firmly he had to live here.


I went into Marks house when he wasn’t there and took the master tapes.

That was my plan.


My parents are talking about me. I can hear them whispering at night while I’m in bed. I move to the top of the stairs to see if I can hear them, but their voice keep dropping, like they know I’m there. I can tell they are trying to do something that gets me out of town, but, unlike private school, doesn’t cost my dad any money. A lot of times these plans never grow big enough to be told to me, so listening to them doesn’t mean much. Still, it feels like the only control I have.


When I was in grade nine, this guy came to our house. He belonged to a working band and asked my parents if I could rehearse with his band to see if I could sing for them. They were all older with families of their own. They rehearsed in the basement of a house a few blocks from where I lived. My parents’ kind of knew them and trusted them, so I went. I was excited. A working band meant money; money means freedom. They had a gig in Cochrane and took me with them.

The gig was in a dance hall. I helped set up and then waited for the music to start. They didn’t tell me I would be singing. They also didn’t tell me I was completing for this job with a French girl. She was older and seemed to be taking everything very seriously. She wouldn’t talk to me. She seemed to know more about what was going on than me. At one point in the evening when the crowd was drunk enough, they put both of us on stage to sing Hotel California. I didn’t know the song, she did. She was super confident on stage and had friends and family in the audience. She was much better than me. I never stood a chance.

Years later when they were coming back from a gig in Cochrane, their van was hit by a drunk driver. The wife of one of the players was killed. The kid was someone I knew from high school. He put a rifle in his back seat and went onto the highway. I’m not sure what he was planning to do, but some say he was planning on killing himself. He didn’t die but now they all have to try to live with it and move on.

Sometimes I wonder if there is someone watching me. Making what feels like failures at the time actual life saving events. If I think of it this way, I don’t feel like such a loser.


Mark called.


I had a hat named Charlie in grade seven. I wore it to school everyday. It was kind of a Gilligan hat. The same hat he wore in the show. It was blue and everyone wanted to wear it. Other kids would beg me to wear Charlie for the day. The hat started popping up on different students in different classes. Everyone treated Charlie like it was a pet. Something you can put on your head and change your mood. Kind of a happiness mascot. The principle found out about Charlie and made an announcement that no one could wear Charlie in the school. She didn’t say, Charlie, she just said hats…but we all knew…it was Charlie. It was the only hat in the school. I let people take turns wearing Charlie outside, but after the announcement they lost interest.



If I was your age now, what would I want to be?

Well, I’m assuming you mean what would I want to do? Who you are and what you do can be two very different things…If I was your age now, I don’t know. It would depend on a lot of things. If I had a family that had enough money to put me in school for a long time, I would go to university and stay there. I would study science; I would become a scientist. Probably in a field dealing with astronomy. I want to live in the stars, inside my head anyway. Working in science is like dealing with someone who doesn’t lie to you. Everything is there, you just have to be able to speak the language. All disciplines have their own language. They speak to each other in words crafted from the subject matter they have dedicated their lives to. I enjoy cutting hair, but my choices were limited, yet I probably had more opportunities than most women my age at the time.

I think all of us have a special language inside us, a plug looking for a socket. The problem with our educational system is that it is extremely limited. Those who fit the mold are rewarded and succeed. We give them privileges and call them intelligent. But the field in which we explore intelligence was dictated a long time ago and hasn’t expanded to nourish the enormous potential of our species. Remember, you don’t have to fit in, physically or mentally to be an important part of the process. In fact, if you don’t’ fit in you’re probably a more important part. But you will have to work harder to create your own path, no one will be there to guild you and as soon as anyone sees potential in you, they will tie you down. Our very instincts that lead to the forward momentum created by competition are also the instincts that keep us tied to a limited physical survival. A survival that only dictates the importance of reproduction, the movement forward of one’s own DNA. I feel like somehow, we are missing something, something very important.

Sorry, these questions always lead me somewhere else, ok, a scientist, I would want to be a scientist.



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