July 2006/Volume Seven/Issue Two
George Anderson
Mr Crane

Riding my bike to Belmore Basin
I stumble upon a Salvation Army band
a boy about 10 is crucifying,
torturing his way through Jingle Bells


I’m ten years old delivering the Montreal Star
to the Crowgan’s creepy house on Girouard Avenue
they are the only customer to pay me in cash each day–
usually in five greasy one cent copper coins
I’m puzzled & disturbed by an elderly woman on the deck
playing with a tattered doll

I’m in the portable toilets during Expo 67
urinating into a trough
being asked by a tall, slim guy beside me:
‘Would you like to pose as a model for a magazine?’

There is also the stork-like figure of Mr Crane
a veteran of the Great War
& an active member of the Anglican Church
like an old friend he would buy me things
intimate presents like books & movie passes
& tickle my face with his long ragged beard
& trace my hands over his bullet wounds on his lower torso

One Sunday I arrive at the Church on Upper Lachine Road
(now renamed Rue Rene Levesques to appease the separatists)
eager to hear from Mr Crane
another amazing tale from the New Testament about Jesus

Then- like in a slow motion sequence from a film-
I am told by a lady in the church
that Mr Crane had passed away ‘of old age’
& had been buried at some unspecified location-

me crying, distraught beyond belief- she tries to comfort me
explaining a replacement for him has already been found

By the harbour
a young girl
breaks unfetterly
into ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’
she sings in the bright
crayoned-coloured tones
of her happiness