It’s good to be back in the student-protest hellscape of Montreal. I’ve been back for quite awhile now, but blogs have to take a backseat to important springtime activities like digging up the backyard, burying the evidence, and planting the vegetable garden over it. Thankfully the police are too busy pepper spraying kids and arresting random passers-by to come snooping around with intrusive search warrants and a backhoe.
Yes, there have been a lot of muddy pits in my life lately, but enough about the Writer’s Guild of Canada Awards — which I lost. Or won, if you tally the results by how many Steamwhistle Pilsners I drank at the open bar before they shut off the taps for the evening. What I really want to discuss is only tangentially related to The Industry, so I’ll skip the gory details of my crushing and utterly expected defeat and dish on some other (quite literal) dirt.
The hardest decision I had to make concerning the awards ceremony was not what to say if I had to get up on stage, but what shoes to wear. I ultimately wore my “dress” shoes, which can always be relied upon to look respectable, hurt my feet, and cut into my ankles by the end of the night. I really wanted to wear my more comfortable shoes, which were new enough and nice enough to see me through an evening populated mostly by writers (rarely noted for their fashion sense), but they were still caked with mud from the graveyard.
On the way to Toronto, I spent a couple of days in Port Hope visiting my cousin. The graveyard in question wasn’t a long commute — it was just across the street. The colonial-era church was undergoing renovations and they had hardly broken ground on the expansion when they discovered the bodies. This happened the day before I arrived. The police had already been on the site, making sure the corpses in question weren’t recent and worthy of a homicide investigation. Most of the graves on the grounds were pre-confederation and it turned out there may have been rather more space devoted to the dead than previously thought. The north side was still an active cemetery, but sections closer to the church itself must have become overgrown long enough ago that no one who remembered where the original parishioners were buried was left to say, “Hey, don’t dig there.”
Not long after I unpacked, I couldn’t resist the urge to go Scooby-Dooing around the grounds, looking to see if I could spot something nice and morbid in the newly opened graves. You never know. Sometimes when they disturb and move skeletal remains, they miss a finger or a toe. I wasn’t looking for a souvenir, I was just being nosey. Kind of like the history-nerd version of the rubber necks you see driving past car accidents at a snail’s pace, just in case they get an opportunity to see a bit of blood on the pavement. Or a head.
The truth is I rarely pass up the opportunity to explore vintage or forgotten graveyards, or go spelunking in ancient tombs and catacombs. I like to think this makes me an Indiana Jones type of guy, but I expect I’m more akin to the Cryptkeeper. I’m rarely more pleased with myself than when I’m doing something like sitting in the stifling humidity at the very bottom of the pyramid of Menkaure, in the depths of an ancient burial chamber.
Okay, yes, it is rather ghoulish. But if I were really going to go full-ghoul, it turns out I don’t have to go all the way to Egypt. Or even Port Hope. I can just go out my front door and take a not-very-taxing stroll to the scene of Montreal’s latest grisly murder. Pick through a few garbage bags and you too can come across a headless, limbless, partially cannibalized and post-mortemly sodomized torso. If that’s too much trouble, you can just wait around at one of our federal party headquarters for a unique campaign contribution to show up courtesy of Canada Post. A lot of Canadians would give an arm and a leg to see some political change in this country. It seems our newest top-billed serial killer, part-time porn star, and failed reality-show contestant, Luka Rocco Magnotta, would gladly give both. Just not his own.
After seeking fame and/or infamy for so many years, Luka has finally hit the jackpot with an international manhunt. And just in time too. Montreal was suffering from such a wealth of good press lately, we really needed to balance things out with a spectacularly vile murder that would grab headlines around the world. And because this is such a multi-media era, you don’t have to be satisfied with the hyperbolic news media reports. You can read all about it online, watch editorial videos on YouTube, or simply go watch the murder and dismemberment for yourself. It’s out there on the interwebs. And it’s not even particularly hard to find. Enjoy!
Meanwhile, this particular morbid ghoul will go back to appreciating death, dismemberment and other atrocities from antiquity. I always prefer to be separated from my horror by a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand years. Not a couple of kilometres.