The hidden years in Canada 19, Fuzz the cowboy

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 23 March 17:53


Fuzz the cowboy

The horse races were already a few days behind us and we decided not to go there anymore. ‘If it would be so easy,’ Rico said, ‘my mother would have been rich by now.’ ‘I think she did not do badly,’ I said. ‘There would of course be some money to be paid to jockey for his advice. Maybe that jockey had three or four others who also pay commission. ‘ ‘Then that jockey will not live al too long, I guess ,’ I said. ‘What do you mean,’ Rico asked? ‘There is a group of people of course, behind the horse racing,’ I began, ‘just like in boxing' 'I'm not saying it is 'fixed’ but some boxers take a dive and if they do not follow the instructions from above and the big men lose their money in betting than their days are counted and they’ll enjoy a short life. '

‘If the jockey comes to the stables  in a new Porsche and a big boy has just lost his money, then your mother can go hunting for a new boyfriend.’ Pretty tricky, ‘said Rico. ‘Look,’ I said, ‘I am only out $ 5 but for us it is a game of chance without direction, I'm just not a gambler.’ ‘Are you a bunch of candy asses,’ roared the lip in our direction. ‘How can we ever get to the 16th floor without the 15th being finished? ‘You boys shut up, stories are told in the pub! ‘ Moments later we were back up tightening giant bolts and Rico was cured from his 'depth' fear. You would not have guessed that only a few days ago he had hung suspended, 15 high, above the traffic from a steel beam. Freddy had been right, you needed to go up as soon as possible again. I saw to my surprise that Rico had not clicked his lifeline on.

A few new boys had signed on, the building had to stay on schedule. Joey was a boy from Ireland, he looked like Joe Cocker and climbed to the top corners with a death-defying smile. He stabilized the beam while we quickly pushed a bolt through the attachment holes and Rico fastened a nut on the other side firmly. That sounds easier than it is. So we worked together for a few hours. Meanwhile he sang his head off and I thought that it was a way to suppress his fear. Joey talked about himself in the third person, like, ’Joey is going up, because Joey is not afraid.’ Which probably meant to me that he was.  Drystale’s catering entered the grounds and everyone dropped the work out of their hands for the short break that followed. Drystale had CKXL turned on loud. Rare Earth came blurting out  with 'the fear of losing you, ‘I realized unconsciously what a drug CKXL was becoming in Calgary. ‘Man,’ I said while the cage moved downwards along the building, that is great music. Rico looked at me quizzically. 'Can you not hear it, ‘I said,’ it drains all fear away. ‘


Freddy looked at me with interest. ‘You hear what others do not hear, like me,’ he said, and I shivered. ‘I hear the music of the white man,’ he continued, ‘Music in the land of the white man. We are the messengers, you know that, right? ‘ I should have kept my mouth shut but I nodded and said ‘yes, we hear things in a different way.’ ‘You know,’ he said, ‘I am working with Mama Fuzz and I do not know whether he is one of us?’ ‘What do you mean,’ asked Joey? ‘Can you talk little shit,’ Freddy asked with interest? ‘Do you want to kiss my knife?’ No, Joey shook his head. ‘Joey kisses no knives,’ he said. ‘Shhht then,’ Freddy said, ‘ don’t ever bother two white men in conversation again. From now on I‘ll call you ‘Little Joe’. ‘ ‘Is Fuzz a Nigger,’ said Freddy? ‘What do you think,’ and he looked at me a long time.

‘Of course not,’ I said, ‘Mama Fuzz is or at least was a cowboy.’ ‘I feel,’ said Freddy, ‘that he is a red skin or a Negro, under his skin, do you understand?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘because I did not understand.’ ‘You have much to learn,’ Freddy said, ‘before you’re like me.’ I should talk to the lip, I thought, Freddy was crazy and did not belong in high-rise building, but something told me that he who spoke first, would inherit all the problems that surrounded Freddy. If I would talk with lip ,Freddy would see me as someone who he found unstable and I felt that Freddy would see that as a betrayal. There is only one thing worse than treason and that is when it comes out of the corner of a supposed friend. If he would lose his job by concern of mine, he would kill me, I felt it like an irrefutable truth. He would see me change into a non-white.

Mama fuzz walked with Joey and me and Rico came sauntering behind us. We joined the queue of waiting workers. ‘ Fuzz, 'I said,' not for nothing but try to avoid Freddy, he's not in a good way. ‘ ‘That whole Freddy does not interest me one bit,’ said Fuzz, ‘I’ll work here a few more months and then I’ll go back to live with the farmers.’ ‘Oh, said Rico, 'back to the prairie?’ ‘Absolutely,’ said Fuzz. ‘Every second month, I try to buy a horse, I have now a couple grazing at my father’s place. This summer I'm going to start dealing and trading horses.‘  You're really a cowboy, ‘I laughed. 'Hey the world's best cowboy, ‘he grinned back and he lifted his hat to me. 'At least avoid him a little,’ I asked him,' he has got a darkness hanging around him. ‘ ‘Look,’ said Fuzz, and he unbuttoned his shirt pocket, 'these are the wages of almost a complete last month. Next month, I’ll buy a horse again! ‘A stack of dollar bills was sticking out of his breast pocket. He buttoned it back safely closed. ‘Should that not be on the bank,’ I asked? ‘I am my own best bank,’ said Mama Fuzz.


From the speakers came, rolling past us, in waves the 'Cream' with sunshine of your life,‘ ‘ Man, ‘I said again,’ you can  just not get away from Calgary. The music man, it bends your inner self. ‘ Rico looked at me and grinned, 'stay a bit away from Freddy, soon you’ll also want to buy a knife.‘ ‘This stands loose of Freddy,’ I replied, ‘listen anyway.’

'It's terrible here, ‘ Fuzz  went on and I miss the vast plains but the money is good and the work is not difficult. You should see my father when I have my own horse business going, man like, he’ll be just so proud. ‘ 'Gosh Fuzz, that is real nice, ‘I said,’ you really have a purpose in your life. ‘ ‘Call it a goal, I’ll be clearing manure awhile, said Fuzz and work for my father and when the foals come in the spring, I’ll raise them and then after two years, I’ll  break them in and start my business.’ I looked at him suddenly with different eyes, he had long term planning and the rest of us lived our lives, just passing it. We were still in line when the lip came along with a sandwich and a cup of coffee. ‘Young men,’ he said, ‘who wants to work here next week, better come and drink a few beers with me tonight in the Queen's. Ladies night, boy and we’ll let them prance.‘ Suddenly I understood Fuzz all too well, our life was hollow and worthless. ‘Joey does not drink beer,’ said the Irish boy, ‘Joey loves coke.’ For crying out loud you moron,’ the lip said,’ then take coke and I, innocent as I was, thought it was about soda.

San Daniel March 2015

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