It was hot on Dusty's patio. Unseasonably hot for the last day of March. OK, maybe it wasn't unseasonable, this being spring and all. But considering the fact ski season hadn't really started until the middle of February — preceded by the unusual fifth season we called Way Too Freakin' Cold — it seemed to be too hot too soon.
Eyes closed, face tracking the sun, half a beer in hand, I felt a sudden chill. Figuring a cloud had come between me and sol, I waited for it to pass. Then I felt the beer being wrested from my grasp and opened my eyes in time to watch J.J. drain the glass, belch loudly, slap me on the shoulder and say, "Another?"
Indeed, another. With the implicit understanding it be at my expense.
"I'm buyin'," said J.J., words I couldn't recall ever coming from him.
J.J. Geddyup is still, after all these years, Whistler's only private eye, self-proclaimed of course. What he actually does for a living is anybody's guess since there hasn't been enough snooping work in this town to make a living since the heyday of the Alta Lake Ratepayer's Association. My favourite theory has always been he absconded with whatever Pol Pot left of the Cambodian treasure before he and his CIA black squad hustled their buns out of Cambodia back in the early '70s.
Whatever the reality, it was, needless to say, unusual for J.J. to ever utter the words, "I'm buyin'."
"To what do I owe the unprecedented pleasure, J.J.," I asked?
"To sunny days, great spring skiing and a good fucking payday," he exclaimed.
"Kids on the patio, J.J.," I admonished, motioning to the smattering of adolescents stealing sips of untended beers at the tables nearby.
Dismissively, he said, "They've heard it before, dude. They'll hear it again and I'll bet you the next couple of rounds they've all said it... today!"
"Be that as it may, you don't want the mad mothers after you for both drinking and driving and dropping the F word around their precious darlings. But more importantly, how in the world did you ever score a good payday?"
"Through, and I quote, 'my vast knowledge of all things profane,' close quote."
"Do I really want to know more about this?"
"Of course you do. My ol' buddy, Justin, hired me to help him deal with the fallout from his unscripted, adverbial use of the word the other evening when he muttered, 'Your name, your fortune, your intelligence, your beauty, none of that fucking matters,' at a charity fundraiser. He was willing to pay handsomely for my expertise."
"Whoa, back up, J.J. Are we talking about the Justin I think we're talking about. And if we are, I think he was using the word as an adjective, not an adverb."
"Potato, potahto. Yeah, that's the Justin we're talking about. Curly-haired boy, leader of the federal Liberals, former snowboard instructor and all 'round dirtbag."
"And you're telling me he called on you because...?"
"He liked to hang around with me when he lived here. Liked the spook stories about the old days and the things I knew about the firm spyin' on Canadians. Said he enjoyed the easy, natural way I peppered my stories with profanities, whatever they are."
"C'mon, J.J. You've told me some pretty tall tales over the years but are you really expecting me to believe Justin Trudeau hired you to advise him on how to handle the fallout from last weekend's verbal slip?"
"Was this before or after his wife chewed him out?"
"After. She told him to apologize for saying it."
"And I suppose you had some other advice."
"I know I'm going to hate myself in the morn for asking, but what advice did you give him? 'D'ja tell him to fuddle-duddle it like his old man?"
"Nope, I told him to cowboy up. Face the Canadian people and those Conservative hypocrites head on and let 'em know there's nothing in the world wrong or offensive about using the word the way he used it, in a moment of excited exclamation."
"Oh, yeah, I can see how that's going to get him out of hot water, J.J. And he actually paid you for this advice?"
"That wasn't the full extent of it."
"Ah, that was just for starters. So what else did you tell him?"
"I told him to say it again. I told him to use it as a weapon against the Cons and as a rallying cry for those who support him, and those who don't know they support him, but are sick and tired of what Harper and his cabal are doing to the country."
"You told him to eff Harper?"
"Kind of. See, I believe he let slip the word on purpose. I mean, here he is, back in the ring where he beat the snot out of that pansy-ass fraud Brazeau, hypin' up the crowd for charity, and all and he sees it as a great opportunity to appeal to voters who still think he's a hoity-toity rich kid from Montreal. So he slides a little Joe-fuckin'-six-pack into what he says and all of a sudden, guys who never paid any attention to him think he's not so different from them. Ya follow?"
"So I tell him he ought to couch any apology as an, 'I'm sorry if you were offended... but I'm offended. I'm offended that you'd be upset I used the word in a moment of jubilation and excitement yet, you don't seem to mind at all that Stephen Harper has fucked up almost everything Canadians hold dear since he became prime minister in 2006.' See what I mean?"
I'm certain my silent, dumb stare suggested I didn't have a clue, which I didn't.
"C'mon, dude, this is easy. This is how he taps into the anger Canadians feel but seem so inept at expressing. I told him to craft a whole 'apology' speech around all the different ways Harper fucked Canada and Canadians, how he started off screwing up the balanced budget he inherited from the Liberals, how he's ruined Canada's image with the rest of the world by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, pushing tar sands and 'ethical' oil, muzzling scientific and medical research when the results embarrass him, labeling environmental groups terrorists, being in contempt of Parliament, stealing elections, and generally making a lot of people wonder how one man in eight years could start to make them ashamed of what their country stood for instead of being proud enough to sew little Canadian flags on their backpacks."
"Pretty insightful, J.J. But I won't hold my breath waitin' for that speech."
"Me either. Another round?"