Its 12.45am Monday night as I arrive at the bin which houses my bag stuffed with two sleeping bags. But its not there. For fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks sake is my primate scream. I'm thinking its Kevin and Peyvand. Those guys have taken it. So I will buckle into accepting accommodations. Well nice try but that won't work. Two hours of shivering later as I lift my head off my bag and rise from the filthy concrete - I think for a nano-second their strategy may just work this time. A few seconds later I conclude it wont.
As I walk around the building I surmise, "they wont get me to eat properly either". I see my red and black sleeping bag sprawled over the field next to the baseball diamond while the black one is at the end of the musty corridor of where I was standing. But no back pack and no book. But beggars cant be choosers is my thought as I scramble to collect what feel like gifts from the sky. Three minutes later I cozy up in the swaths of warmth...closing my eyes onto another magical carpet ride.
I awake at 10.30am feeling rested. I cycle through my routine. Meet Kevin for a coffee then off to shower at a "one flew over the cukoos nest" type respite - a no cost shower facility for guys. When I first entered the facility a few weeks earlier I saw a guy talking to the locker he was stationed in front of while another guy was fighting with shadows. There was a black man in the far shower segment. Nothing unusual about that except that he has been there ever since. When I arrive he is there no mater what time I arrive and when I leave no matter what time I leave he is still there. I conclude these instances are more reflective and appropriate of the label and diagnosis as mental illness. They clearly could not work a normal job spending 8 hours in a shower or talking to a locker door.
I read emails at the library and feel exhausted eventually arriving back at the alcove.
Warm and cozy in my sleeping bags now early Tuesday morning I think about how fucked up the world is as as I close my eyes onto another carpet ride.
I see Les Wilson hitting a thirty yarder which whistles passed the Liverpool crossbar as he competed for Wolves on April 5 1969. Cant believe what you can find on Youtube, Cant believe Les Wilson played at that level. Id like to see modern day Canadian footballers deal with those conditions. The frenetic pace, the uneven mud filled grounds, the working class pressure of fans, the one substitute rule. It is truly awesome what Les achieved - it makes me feel special knowing him and choked at his current support and kindness. Les believed in me as a player more than I did myself. I hear his voice ringing out Jammo...lets go Jammo.....
I think of Max. I see him waiting outside of Tim Hortons four years ago. I was there using the washroom while I had left him with two persons. Using a Houdini type escape Max not trusting anyone but Ashley and I found a way to free himself from his collar and lead and somehow knew where I was. I could feel the smile on my face as the wind started to bristle more vigorously. I see Max sitting as good as gold outside Tim Hortons looking at me intently as if to say, "why would you leave me with two strangers?"
I think of being thrown in a Cardiff Police van in the town center back in 1979. Anthony Watson and Geoff Bretos had been stealing and courtesy of my being in their company I of course was a part of the police cull to be used as a witness if need be. Watson's decision to try to steal a snooker cue cost him in the end. I mean who the fuck tries to steal a snooker cue from a rack of cues in broad daylight in the city center of Cardiff on a Saturday afternoon - only Anthony Watson. And all so that he could sell it back to the shop as a return item so he could afford to watch Cardiff City a few hours later.
I think of Mike Young from California. I wished the universe was made up of all Mike Young's. The awesomeness of his character, talent and benevolence makes me open my eyes - I see a subway car coming. The vision of timing the jump jolts me to leap forward as I untidy my sleeping bags.
Peyvand and me in his car with Randy Samuel on the phone appears. I can feel myself smiling as we laugh at Colin Miller's comment that he wont support me because I was mean to him. The apparent meanness was a few days into my second hunger strike when I called him. On the phone for 30 minutes the first 27 minutes Colin talked about his trials and tribulations while in the confines of his four bed roomed home. When finally he asked about myself already knowing I was on hunger strike he said he had a meeting to go to. "What the fuck Colin...was my response....?" Thirty years earlier I had housed Colin when we played for Hamilton Steelers and of course he didn't have to pay rent - he was a friend. A few months later I ended up paying rent while I stayed with him and Maria while we played for Doncaster Rovers. A decade later Colin declined to pay me for doing an hour long talk at his then employer the Abbottsford Soccer Club. It was no problem of course - I was giving to the community as I saw it. A few years later I made sure Colin was well paid for doing GOL TV clinics on my behalf. Colin I summarized, like most people, will spend a lifetime being so totally, "self unaware", which along with time itself, is the rarest of all commodities. No matter how he is I would not trade anything for the experience of his sense of humor - his one of a kind, real talent.
I see tears in Kevin's eyes as I go on one of my passionate unanticipated spiels in Bob Rae's office upon his return from Bangladesh in the summer. Bob treated me with such contempt and frivolousness I thought he had been reading too much JamesJoyce for his own good. As with any soccer team I had coached I was at my very best when provoked. "Give me the reins to this country and I will pull it up by the fucking bootstraps. We are a fucking disaster. A fucking disgrace with how we deal with our citizens. Bob... How the fuck can you justify any of this. You know what the truth is. You said you wouldn't let me down....". I see Bob's two assistants running to the glass door as I leave the office. I turn to them, "Don't worry I still love Bob Rae. Metaphorically speaking of course."
I think of Ashley. How stunningly beautiful she is and how much she cared and how angry we got. I see my bed ridden mum, my father chasing me around the Maindee Stadium track in such excitement as I won the Glamorgan 800 meter championship. I see Barry Crocker walking from a distance carrying a coffee decanter which was dripping coffee onto his unknowing beige trousers as Colin Miller was telling me what a great guy "Crock's" was but he does have the capacity to be a a bit clumsy.
I feel myself free falling with no parachute. I see the syringe I have hidden.
As I think of the Toronto Star war room. I see Mary Ormsby. Adam Vaughan. I see Bob Rae. I wonder who made the fateful decision on this particular strategy to kick a yelping dog, "as hard as we possibly can and for as long as we can". I fade into nothingness as we all do each night.