There are three things I can tell you about downtown Montreal.
The whores are cheap.
The booze is cheaper.
People really do ignore things.
When a private group bought La Basilique Notre-Dame, no one blinked. Not the city with its insane Catholic heritage, not the country losing one of it’s five top money-making attractions, not even the goddamn Church.
La Basilique Notre-Dame. You know the site that had been a church of one kind or another since 1672.
Sold for an undisclosed to a very public and very popular organization.
The Cauldron was one of those things like the Knights Templar, The Freemasons or Ordo Hermeticus Aurorae Aureae. People made shit up about them all the time and people either really didn’t care, or they accepted it at face value.
Most people did agree that it was one of those secret society things for incredibly rich people to walk around naked and fuck people other than their spouse in the guise of being spiritual about the whole thing. They would throw lavish parties taking over entire blocks of hotels in the largest cities in the world. Montreal was no different, they had taken over the Delta and Queen Elizabeth with great regularity.
Security was insane with them. If you did not belong there, you didn’t find out about anything until after the fat when they would post multi-page thank you letters to the cities they invaded for weeks on end and disappear like smoke from the fired gun.
The Basilica though, that was something that they were very public about. They tore down centuries-old works of art by some of the greatest masters of paint and sculpture. They, very publicly, blew out the world-famous stained glass windows and replaced them with immense panes or red and black crystal glass.
Not a word. Not a whisper. Not a complaint or parade, no signs int he streets or even a mention of it in the papers from Cape Wolstenholme to Sherbrooke.
The gargoyles were removed, the buttresses replaced with steep sides leading to the pointed apex.
They never changed the name. They left that as it was as they changed every single other feature. The public was forbidden from getting inside, news crews didn’t even bother and even the rumors and gossips that Montreal are famous for said nothing. The city went on as if nothing happened and I, maybe just I, was left to wonder if the world had gone mad, or perhaps it was me that did and no one had the courtesy to tell me.
I took a room at the Hotel Bonaparte, just south of the once beautiful church and I watched every day I watched and filed away the stories and freelance writing I did for money. I watched what they do get bigger and bigger. Streets were closed, the Metro was rerouted twice, all of this costing the city most likely hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars it simply did not have.
I watched and I waited. I knew something was coming, I knew that there had to be a method behind this madness.
I rested my feet on a chair ten times older than I was, opened my second bottle of gin for the day and watched out the window and waited.