Long ago and far away, also known as the City of Calgary in 1990, I was
surprised to learn that suddenly and inexplicably I was old. Adding to the
tearful trauma I was exposed in public by a woman of a considerable
vintage that heartless vixen Betty Boop.
At that time I lived in a bucolic bend of the Elbow River and became a
casual habitué of a trendy Bistro just around the corner. The place had an
edgy Generation X and Next clientele and even at that point the aimless lank
and grizzled hair, piercings, brandings, vicious and vapid tattoos seemed if not
the norm at least common place. But in the happy clatter of Barista and endless
Siesta seemingly any and all of the rancid masses would be served with the same
One night on my way home and close to Midnight I realized that I was out of
coffee for the morning jolt and slavering at the thought of the Danish breakfast
blend (1/3 Columbian, 1/3 Mocha Java, 1/3 French roast) decided to splurge.
There was a young gal on staff whom I had noticed because of her ungainly
and gloomy persona. It would seem that having determined that face and
figure would never be brought in line to mimic Kate Moss let alone Angelina
Jolie she would flaunt every old fault as a new virtue.
Her hair was dyed a Banshee black and her skin had the tubercular pallor
associated with poisonous mushrooms or an unhappy decade in a mouldy
basement suite. She had an overbite that announced I’ll finish the crust
on this toast before I get to the middle and to highlight a figure that looked
reminiscent of a bag full of antlers she choose a pair of slacker shorts precariously
clinging on her “anterior inferior illiacs”.I had just begun to order when I espied the visage of the infamous Ms. Boop ,tattooed a goodly 5 inches below her belly button, prancing and waving to the
world astride I assume what should have been private parts.
Well I was gobsmacked and gawked, hopefully with jaw closed, till I
realized that I was being boorish and tried to stammer the rest of my request
by concentrating on her tepid jellyfish eyes. Nope, nobody home.
Mo sh`uile togam Suas is my Alma Mater’s motto and so I lifted my eyes upwards
as per Psalm 121* for succor intoning silently Dear God help me I’m staring at that
kids crotch but some evil serpent whispered she’s showing it off and I furtively glanced down as she rang in the tab.She’s young enough to be your daughter murmured some higher power and my orbs floated skyward involuntarily.Theres nothing sexual here it’s the grizzly excitement of a self induced car crash whispered the nether voice and I peeked again but now she was walking back to the bins to fill the order and as she moved , so did Betty, pouting and waving legs akimbo and I believe some how, some where Boo boopie bee doop! rang out.
No, no, no! now I’m having auditory hallucinations and the sweaty clamor of a peep show denizen I knew I must look away or slither into primordial slime. It was time to call on Dear old Dad and Royal Canadian Air Force “Per Ardua Ad Astra”, through adversity to the stars and I clamped my eyes firmly on the ceiling and began to breathe through my nose as slowly as possible.
She slouched to the till, surly and silent, proffered a limp hand and as best I could while staring about desperately like a full blown Tourettes patient I dropped a $20 on the counter, change came from somewhere and clutching my tainted beans I scuttled into the night while her malevolent smirk bore into my back “Silly Old Fart” engraved forever on my heart.