Montreal – The Beginning Of The Changes

Basílica de Notre-Dame

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.


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.

Quarter After Seven

Notre-Dame Basilica

I didn’t sleep very well last night and instead of sitting on my bed staring into the whirling fan of my air conditioner that, yes, I still have on as snow melts outside my window, I decided that maybe I would come downstairs and do dad things like the dishes. I did those things and now here I am, sitting in front of my computer writing because that is what I do and that is what I love more than anything save people on an ever shrinking list.

There is football to watch today, so that is good. The Bills aren’t playing, so that is better. I can only put up a strong front about them for so long and then I just accept the inevitability of fate and remember there are 31 other teams in the league that are can be cheered for in a variety of positive and negative ways.

The Ducks go to school for two whole days next week before the break and it just occurred to be that while I was proactive and bought my turkey early, I neglected to by virtually every other thing for the holiday repast, and I should probably go and do that sooner rather than later. I do no want to have a death match with an Irish grandmother over the last ten pound bag of potatoes in the produce section of TOPS. Mostly because I would almost invariably lose that battle and force myself to walk home in shame as I failed my family and did not provide them with starchy goodness.

I have a really bad migraine right now, like, not fun on levels kind of bad. It is just below where I need to think about the entire shelf of drugs I have for these kind of things, none of which has proven effective, but there is always that hope that THIS TIME they will help and give me the relief I need. I need t believe this like crazy stupid people need to believe the Earth is flat.

I am rambling, but it solves the pain problem for a few seconds at a time if I give myself over to something else and make myself hyper focus on it. There is a Babeh Duck with me now, always the wonderful addition to any early morning excursion. He may be loud, but he is cute and that is a balm for a variety of sins to be sure. Plus, he constantly reminds me, as do my other two Ducks, that no matter what it is so very worth it at the end of the day.

My wedding anniversary to my Dove is Tuesday. We would have been married for fourteen years. I can still remember, nearly verbatim, the conversations we had in the days leading up to, and the day of, our wedding. There was never any fear or nerves, we had already lived together for a year at that point. I had been a father to her child and there was another one we just found out about on the way.

Excitement, it was excitement. We talked about the where and the if’s of things. We never did ninety percent of the things we said we would try, but life isn’t precisely fair now is it? The things we did get to do though, wow. We walked hand in hand through Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal and for about an hour she got to see the priest I would have been come through as I explained Mass and all the other Catholic things around her. She got to walk me around the streets of Montreal, up Ste-Catherine and down President Kennedy. We smiled as we drove through Kansas and laughed as we took a train ride out of it. We were terrified together. We screamed at one another. We loved like explosions so vast you don’t even know you are standing inside of them.

I think now that I will go and smile into the upcoming sun of a Sunday morning, my youngest at my side and think sweet and happy thoughts.

Just a Bear thinking of his Dove while holding his Duck.