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  • Writer's pictureWellington Lambert

South of Moosonee 23


There is this younger man who is working at the church. A priest apprentice or something. He hired me to help him work on a house he was building on the other side of the island after my scooping herring job was over. I couldn’t figure out why he would want to be here, to live here, but I didn’t ask. Everyone has their reasons. He asked me to come for a sleep over with a group of kids, he was trying to start a youth group. I said no, I was leaving soon, and it didn’t seem to make sense to try and know more people. But the real reason is, in every group the same questions come up. Do you have a girlfriend? I feel like an imposter. The fact that something

might exist outside their world is either impossible or the devils work…maybe I’m the devils’ work.


My rock isn’t working.

I woke up sitting on the piano bench in the dining room. I could see a dark figure sitting on the chair in the in the living room to my right. I don’t feel panic anymore. It’s almost like someone visiting me. But in a weird creepy way. Something that can only reach me when I sleep.

The dark figure starts to fade, dripping away. I could make out clothing. I think his face turned and he might have smiled a bit. I like to think he smiled, I want to believe he…it, is friendly. Maybe he will become more and more detailed as time goes on. Maybe he will be able to talk to me, maybe he has answers and will be able to guide me.

I want to think of him as my friend, that way it feels less scary. I can’t seem to stop the sleep walking, so I will see it as something meant for me and only me. Making me special, not nuts.

I will bring my rock back to the beach tomorrow. It is my last visit to the beach.


Norbert and Jim

Norberts’ hair was almost white, blond, his eyes blue and his mouth huge with chicklet teeth spaced oddly far apart. He was shy and for a while my best friend. Jim was his stepbrother, he was dark haired with brown eyes and a bully. He tortured Norbert and when I would visit him, he was happy to get a two for one. He didn’t scare me, I could run fast, but the idea of fighting was beyond me. My size was below average, and my aggression level was more flight then fight. Making a fist and fighting was suicide, not defense. I had fantasies of beating up Jim in front of Jay, being the hero, finding justice, but really, the idea was laughable. I did punch someone in the face once and gave him a bloody nose, but it was by accident and I felt like shit. How do you hurt people and not care? Is there a special place in the brain where I can tap into, a place that tells me to hurt and forget. Would I want to tap into it? Something tells me it would make me subhuman, but as far as I can tell everyone is subhuman. The goal seems to be domination at all costs. Whether it’s in your face aggression or the more common manipulation. Everyone wants everyone else to do what they want or to see what they see.

I can’ t remember when Norbert and Jim moved away. I just know they weren’t there anymore.


My last trip to the beach was interesting, it’s weird to go somewhere when you know you will never go back again. I tried to take in as much of my hidden beach world as possible. The white sand, large rocks that create a maze leading to the beach, the light house on the way. I know I will recreate this place over and over in my head. I do this with everything that I see and what to put into my inside world. I don’t have to make plans to re-visit, just close my eyes.

I found the perfect spot for my rock. It is like leaving a piece of me behind. Even though the rock didn’t do what I wanted it to do, it’s still a part of me.

I finished my book and smoked my last cigarette, the one I stole from Brian’s’ house. After an hour or two I took my shorts off and put my pants on then left.

I say to myself I will come back, but I know I won’t.


I talked to my aunt after dinner. We sat in our usual spot in the enclosed porch. I will miss this the most. I will miss her special intelligence. The kind that explores the big Why. Unfortunately, I know that she is not “the keep in touch” kind of person, neither am I. I know our connection will disappear over time, but like my beach, I’ll just add this porch and our conversations to my inner world. Something deep inside me tells me to protect these moments, that I will need them later.


I went upstairs to pack and get ready for bed. I turned the radio on and kept the volume down. Only the good die young by Billy Joel was playing. I thought about how much my uncle would hate this song. I thought about how much music shapes my inner world. There are so many worlds out there, I’m not sure this one is even real.


(Click) (Jutta tape)

I saw Robert today. An old friend from when I first arrived. I go to his place to cut his hair. I used to cut his wife’s hair and then she invited me to play bridge with their small group. I didn’t enjoy playing but I enjoyed talking to Robert. (Pause) His wife died years ago but we keep in touch, now we can talk without having to play bridge. He lives on Riverside drive…a nice house. (Chair moving on floor, stop) He takes care of his house in the same obsessive way I take care of my apartment. In the summer he can grow things no one else can. He has an ability to read the land, the soil. He came here like Pierre did, through the internment camp. He is Ukrainian, and like the Germans has a small group of similar country man here. He was sent here when the police picked him up for helping organize the Winnipeg strike. He taught gym at the high school and retired a long time ago. He is lonely but doesn’t want to move south to be with his kids. I understand that. Stay where your feet are planted, where his few good memories are. When I walk into his house there are plants in every window, blooming, green, eating the sun. They are his family now and when I cut his hair, what is left of it, he talks about them with pride. I know when I leave, he talks to them. He’s not as lucky as me and my machine, I get to talk to you.

I know this is becoming more like a diary, but I can’t find your questions.

I hope this finds you happy with your relatives on the edge of the country.



My guest followed me.

It was standing in the doorway that separates the kitchen from the living room in my grandfathers’ house. This time the figure created a sound. I couldn’t make out what it was saying. The noise it was making sounded like moving static like it was trying to be tuned in, like a radio station.

I wasn’t as freaked out as I usually am. I am getting used to these visits, it always fades away.

The night after I arrived here, I smoked up with the secret joint I stashed away in the side pocket of my army surplus bag. I was sure it wasn’t going to get me stoned. That was until I started hearing Franklin the pharmacist downstairs, bumping around at about 11pm. I started to think, do I really know who he is? I assume he is working on prescriptions, but do I really know what he is brewing? It was then I realized I was stoned. My thoughts were untameable, and I started to panic about not having the rock I left in White Head on the beach. I convinced myself the rock contained protection I couldn’t get from anywhere else. Then I convinced myself that if I could get a rock from the shore, across the street, I would be safe again. Once that seed was planted it wouldn’t stop growing. Before I knew it, I was running around the dark beach trying to find the perfect rock. I also managed to convince myself that my flashlight would pick the right rock, like a divining rod. After about an hour I tripped over a piece of wood and landed hard on the ground. It knocked the wind out of me and killed my buzz. I grabbed whatever rock my hand landed on and got up. What was I doing? I almost threw the rock back into the water but as usual my brain did it’s “What if” dance and I just keep it in my hand. When I turned to go back to the house, I could see a dark figure lit up by the streetlight on the edge of the beach. It stood there. I knew I wasn’t sleepwalking. I knew I didn’t just wake up. The figure stood there staring in my direction. No one comes to the beach during the day, let alone at night, unless it’s some sort of messed up serial killer. My panic was starting to reach the flight or fight level, which for me is just flight. Unfortunately, the only direction for me to go was towards absolute darkness or into black water. I checked out my options and when I looked back the figure was gone. Just a tourist, I convinced myself. I walked back, building up my believe in magic rocks. I had to justify my stupid behaviour.

It worked, I fell asleep right away when I got back, feeling safe. Safe now that I had a rock under my pillow…what the hell is wrong with me?

Later I was in the living room watching the same black figure trying to tune into a radio station with its mouth.

What the fuck…

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