Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea) flew the highest this week and takes his seventeenth win!
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The Bleak Man
It was Canada’s holiday. The old girl was one hundred and fifty-five years old. Sort of a teenage country in some ways.
Still acting out.
And with an unsightly case of pimples.
Most people had the day off. I would have too if it hadn’t been for The Bleak Man. Sad little critter had called late the day before. “I need help, detective,” he’d whimpered.
“Don’t we all,” I’d commiserated.
“I mean it.”
Who was I to doubt him, so I’d said, “My office, tomorrow morning, nine sharp.”
He arrived on time. Dressed in red and white. Wearing a homburg with a small Canadian flag sticking out. All in all, he looked like a patriotic day-old cake.
He plopped down in the chair across from my desk, and I said, “spill!”
He blubbered away for over twenty minutes. Nothing I hadn’t heard before. Middle-aged guy. Followed all the rules. Kept his deviant thoughts to himself. Loved his country. Wanted it to be better. Couldn’t understand his country’s history of repression. The Orientals, the Ukrainians, The Indigenous peoples…it was all too much for him to bear sometimes…especially on Canada Day.
Finally, I had to break the record.
It was an old 78 anyway.
“So, what do you think a detective can do?” I asked.
That stymied him. He hadn’t thought it through. Finally, he said, “Find me proof that it will get better, that harmless jingoism, love of country, can fly proudly again. I’m in such pain.”
I decided to let him have it. “Grow a pair, friend. Nothing’s perfect. Wave your flag. Just don’t get carried away. It’ll only get better when everyone gets better. Could take a while.”
I charged him a c-note, wished him well, poured a brandy, toasted Canada, and went home to bed.