Inspired by true events

: : It was going to be another hot, humid day at the site. : :

: : Vince braced himself for the blast of thick wet air as he put the air-conditioned car in “park” and grabbed the construction helmet from the passenger seat. Another day, another friggin’ dollar. In 15 more years, he and Tina would have the house paid off: biggest one on the street too. Envy of all the neighbours. Some even made fun of it, calling it a “monster home.” Damn right, lady, and it’ll eat your little bungalow if it gets too close... ha, ha. : :

: : As foreman on this routine demolition, Vince didn’t have much to do; just make sure the guys were on schedule and all the safety stuff was followed. The garage of this old 50s ranch-style had come down on Tuesday with just a couple of taps from the bulldozer. Piece of shit old house. Vince had been chatting with the developer a few days ago and found out a nice, big, stone mansion with mansard roof and Roman columns was going up on the site. Probably sell in less than a month too. This little 50s house had been vacant for almost 4 years! No wonder... Yeah, it had a few interesting features, like a floating staircase, a built-in planter near the door and some big windows at the back... and that weird geometric concrete swimming pool. But it wasn’t the kind of place any modern person would want to live in. Too... well... too “Leave It To Beaver.” : :

: : Everything was going great today in spite of the incredible heat. By mid-morning, the main floor walls were down and the guys could get into the basement to clear the debris and then break down some of those cumbersome features like that slate cocktail bar. As Vince was calculating how many dumpsters to order, he was interrupted:

: : “Hey, Vince! Come over here... this is really weird, man.” : :

: : It was Mike, who was checking out the lower level for any hazards. Vince trotted down the slope into the backyard and through what was left of the sliding glass doors to find Mike standing by the bar. An area of about 2 feet in diameter around the bar was spotless. Not a speck of dust or even a pebble... and the floor looked, well, sort of shiny. Sort of a crop-circle of cleanliness. : :

: : “What’s this, Mike? Why did you just clean around the bar? We’ve got to sledgehammer that friggin’ thing anyway before we can take the floor up, so you’re wasting your time.” : :

: : “No, Vince, that’s what’s really weird. It was like this when I came down here. Like it’s got a forcefield around it or something. I mean, look: shit was flying down here all morning and... and nothing here. I don’t know how to explain it...” : :

: : “Well, don’t explain it. Just smash it. We don’t have all day.” : :

: : Grabbing a sledgehammer, Mike launched into the most forceful backswing he could manage—CLANG... : :

: : The hammer had made contact but there was no damage. The men looked at each other, baffled. Mike took another swing—CLANNNNGGGGGG... : :

: : Vince grabbed a smaller hammer, then silently signaled Mike to launch the double-blow: CUH-CLANGGGGGGG... PHSSSSTTTTTTTT. : :

: : Still no damage... but some sort of fissure had opened up. Yellowish-green vapour was seeping out of a crack along the front of the bar. There was a sweet smell in the air... sort of like orchids. Now a liquid was oozing out of the bar too. Looked kind of like that girly drink Vince had tried on he and Tina’s honeymoon in Hawaii back in ‘82. : :

: : Vince was feeling light-headed. He looked over at Mike, who seemed kind of spaced-out too. And now, strangely, there was a sort of canned music in the air and... what else? Laughter. Yeah, laughter. Like there was a TV on in the next room or something. And now... was he going mad? A sort of 3-dimensional slide-show hovering over the bar... but the colours were all weird, like the slides had been left out in the sun and had yellowed. Pictures of a young man in a suit, mixing his wife a drink. The wife laughing at something... wearing pearls and an old-style cocktail dress. Like something from an old ad or from that painter-guy who always drew men in plaid shirts smoking pipes and reading the newspaper. Another image of the same couple, this time with other people... all holding drinks and wearing those stupid Hawaiian shirts. And another... and another. All in this room. And what a beautiful room it used to be too. : :

: : What the hell was going on? “Maybe a beam fell on my head,” Vince thought, “because I like these people. And that music is so soothing. Is that a vibraphone? Hey... answer the phone, would ya? E.T. phone home. My head is made of styrophones...” and with that, Vince passed out. Mike was already sprawled across a chunk of drywall, comatose. : :

: : Unlocked from their home of 40 years, the yellowed memories floated upward, slowly changing back to glorious Technicolor. At what used to be the front door, they lingered longingly for a moment. The canned laughter and music faded gently away and now the distant call of tribal drums could be heard: calling the memories away from this broken house on Edgehill Road to where they would be appreciated and understood. To places where they could inspire the creation of new memories. To a little apartment on the Kingsway they flew. To another on St. George Street. And all the way to Montreal. To California. And to all the places where friends would raise a Mai Tai to each other’s health and happiness. : :

: : And the Tiki Gods were able to smile, once again. : :

Dave “Kalhaki-Aku” LeBlanc © 2002

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