Monthly Archives: March 2005

Barton Road

Welcome to Barton Road.

Population: one.

I’ll be in Halifax on Tuesday night. Air Traffic Control are playing a set at Tribeca at 10pm. It’s a release party for this new video game that the boys contributed a song to.

I’ve been informed that it’s a private party “for the production team, EA faculty and media.” Guess this means I shouldn’t tell all my friends to show up at 9:45 in a big drunken lump. Although that could be fun.

I suppose I’ll have to iron my pants to go play at Tribeca. I’ll put on some deodorant. Wax my moustache. I bet there’ll be lots of good food. I hope so. Rock makes me hungry.

Then on Wednesday morning I’m gonna turn around and head right back to the country.

dead drunk

Look, I really hate having to be the one to bring this up, but your friends and I are seriously getting a little concerned with your drinking. I mean it’s one thing when you’re running around and banging into walls, but it’s pretty bad when you start spazzing out and puking and you have to be carried out of the party. We’re just worried. One of these days, you’re going to trip and fall and on the way down your head is going to collide with a golf club.

rodent layer cake

I walked to the top of Barton Road and stood at the edge of Route 123. Held a set of yellow booster cables in the air, dangling the red and black ends.

Salvation. Red to red, black to ground. I hit the gas and my car started right away.

Monday morning was clear and bright. I drove all the way into the village singing a song whose only lyrics were the words “beautiful day” repeated over and over.

My first stop was DiCarlo’s. I bought a sign that says “Beware Of Dog.” Deterrence, until I can get one of those signs that says “This House Guarded By Shotgun Three Nights A Week You Guess Which Three Nights.”

The proprietor of DiCarlo’s is quite the joker. When I was picking out the sign, he came up behind me and said, “We had a sign like that, that we sold out of.”

He leaned over with a smirk on his face. “It said ‘Beware Of Women.'”

All I could say to that was “Wuh?” I wasn’t inclined to agree, especially since it had been a woman who had stopped to boost my car that morning–after a couple of big strong men had sped by in their pickup trucks, gawking at me.

DiCarlo’s is kind of sketchy but I was pleased to see that they sell guitar strings and other music supplies. I just might have to return sometime.

I filled up on gas in the village, bought a hundred bucks worth of groceries and returned to the house feeling like I was ready for anything.

First thing I did, I caught me a squirrel. I used the orange cake tray. Rubbed a bunch of peanut butter on it, got nice and close to Paulie when he was perched up on a windowsill, nice and close, nice and patient… popped the lid over him, slid the plate in underneath and next thing you know, I was taking him for a nice little walk up Barton Road.

Back at the house, I uploaded that video that I linked a couple days ago. A day of victory. I went back to watching The Shining, which took me about three sittings to get through because it is so slow and long and not even all that scary, really.

Mostly I was interested in The Shining because of Shelley Duvall. I’d forgotten she was in this movie. When her face appeared on the screen, honestly, my first reaction was “What a freak of nature.”

My second reaction was, “LUST.”

Big eyes, big ears, big lips, big teeth, jesus… Tall and slender, with black hair, I love that… For part of the movie, she’s rockin’ the two braids on either side of her head, which is totally sexy on pretty much everyone except Matt Mays (no offence, Matt). I don’t know what it is, but wowee, something seems to work for me.

So I was watching Shelley Duvall about to get hacked to pieces with an axe when I heard Vickers rummaging around in the pantry. I heard some paper shifting around, a small clink of silverware.

Silverware? Vickers knows he’s not supposed to be up on the countertop.

I went to the pantry and opened the door and there was Paulie the squirrel. He was sitting on the edge of the counter, staring at me.

I said, “You bastard.”

Paulie jumped off the counter and ran under the table behind a bunch of boxes.

I went back in the parlour and resumed watching the movie. I was going to relax and finish my movie, and then I was going to find an axe of my own and find Paulie and split open his little rodent skull with it.

During the film’s thrilling climax, Paulie came out of the pantry and stood in the door of the parlour and wiggled his nose at me. He stood and watched me watching the movie. At this point I realized something–it wasn’t Paulie. This squirrel was lighter in colour and had a shorter, fatter tail.

So mentally I named him Sal (another Godfather reference). After a moment, Sal dashed up the stairs. I paused the movie and ran upstairs after him.

He ran into a bedroom and I closed the door behind him. Then I opened the door and dropped the cat in the room. The squirrel freaked out. Vickers didn’t care. He really doesn’t give a damn about squirrels at all.

Here’s a picture of Vickers watching this squirrel going nuts. Vickers might as well have been watching a rerun of some boring ’80s TV show.

This particular squirrel wasn’t as cool and collected as Paulie. He ran straight up the wall and leaped. He flew over my head, eight feet in the air. He ran around all four sides of the window frame. He was panicking–not thinking straight. I caught him pretty easily in my cake tray.

I was superstitious after reading that squirrels wouldn’t cross a river, so I took him for a drive up past Three Bridges and let him out on the far side of the bridge.

When the squirrel was in the closet, I’d started hauling boxes out so he’d have less place to hide. The trick is to get him out of the closet and onto the windowsill. After I came home I started rooting through some of those boxes.

I found an old box of Pot Of Gold chocolates. I could tell by the weight of the box that something interesting was inside. I enjoyed the moment of wondering what it would be. Then I removed the lid. Well, I probably shouldn’t tell you what I found, but it rhymes with “unregistered handbun.”

I know there is a third squirrel in the house. I’ve heard it chirping down in the basement. I found the place where the squirrels have been coming upstairs–in the corner of the pantry, a crack in the floor where the stove pipe passes through. I tried plugging the crack but I have a feeling my efforts won’t make much difference.

Anyway, if that other squirrel ever shows his cute little face upstairs, I’m just gonna bash his brains in and be done with it.

a wily guest

The squirrel. Well, what about him? I guess he’s been trapped up in that room for two or three days now. I can hear him right now. He’s trying to eat a hole through the wooden door, and from the sound of things he’s doing a decent job of it.

I turned on my video camera and kicked the bedroom door open, and I got this shot of the little bugger running for his life.

I’m posting this so you can all fall in love with the cute little thing, “aww wooky, izzoo buzzoo buzzo booba?” –And then I’ll post to say, “So yeah, I just got done slicing the squirrel in half with an axe.”

You city people. Thinking you can buy solutions to all your problems. “Sure, just run over to Canadian Tire on Quinpool and buy a humane trap for $19.98.” I suppose I could head into the village tomorrow and ask for a humane trap at DiCarlo’s General Store. They’d probably say, “Well, we have these extra-large mouse traps, snap his neck, that’s pretty humane.”

I’ll admit I tried. I rigged up this device with a cake tray, a french-fry fork and a half-empty jar of peanut butter that I found in the pantry. The lid had been chewed off, wonder who did that.

Squirrel tripped the trap, but the cake tray lid wasn’t heavy enough and he pushed his way out and got away.

My plan failed. That annoyed me.

And when I get annoyed, vermin need to die.

I’ve named the squirrel “Paulie.” If you’ve seen the movie The Godfather, you might catch that reference. “Oh, Paulie… won’t see HIM no more.”

Questions for you.

1) Would it bother you greatly if I killed the squirrel?
2) Would it bother you greatly if Vickers the cat killed the squirrel?
3) What’s the difference?

So I decided to put out the hit. I gathered up the cat and carried him upstairs. I opened the bedroom door, dropped Vickers inside and shut the door again. Held my breath waiting for sounds of mayhem and destruction.

I didn’t hear much in way of violent rending with teeth and claws or anything like that, so I went downstairs for a while and checked back after a few minutes.

“You watch,” I thought. “I’ll open this door, and the squirrel will be nowhere in sight and Vickers will just be lying on the bed taking it easy.”

Which is exactly what happened.

This cat got a little too cozy on Bloomfield Street. I can see that it’ll take time to arouse his predatorial instincts.

Vickers seems to be enjoying the country. We had a nice time on the ride down from Halifax. For a good part of the trip, he actually sat on my lap while I drove. He made the rounds of the car and seemed satisfied, although there were a couple times when he stood in the back seat with his paws on the window and started mewing.

I think the motion freaked him out a little bit. I said, “Well then stop looking out the window, dumbass.”

Here he is in a super cute pose, sitting up in the back window of the car, as captured in my rear view mirror on the highway just outside Antigonish:

UPDATE: Sunday 6PM. I was getting a little hungry. So I decided to head into the village and visit the Irving station to pick up some milk and a jug of water and maybe a loaf of bread.

Sat down in my car and turned the key. Nothing. Oh shit. Is the battery dead? I didn’t leave my lights on. I didn’t leave the dome light on.

Then I noticed it. There’s a small overhead light up by the windshield. And yes, I’d left it turned on. And yes, my battery is dead.

Looks like I’m not going anywhere.

So now I’m well and truly alone out here. Just me, Vickers the cat and Paulie the squirrel.

I went back inside the house, went upstairs and looked out one of the windows.

Darkness is falling.

country life

I found some cans of root beer in the fridge. I cracked one of them open and I’ve just been walking around the house drinking root beer. If I ever feel like going for a walk I can just walk around the house. The upstairs alone has six bedrooms.

I’m all set up with power, phone and dialup internet. Went down to the basement and turned the water pump on. The water ran a little rusty at first, so I left the tap on for a while and now it’s gone pretty clear.

I’ve just been walking around looking at things. Opening drawers at random. Here’s a bunch of pencils commemorating some royal visit in 1951. Here’s my dad’s physics exam from 1956. He scored a 95%. Smart guy.

You can mail me stuff at this address:
Philip Clark
P.O. Box 463
4670 Rte. 123
Chipman, NB E4A 3N6

I went into the village to get a box set up at the post office. “Oh, this fellow lives just up the road from you,” said the clerk.

She introduced me to Eugene McGinley. Turns out Eugene knew my dad. And Eugene’s father was good friends with my grandfather, whom I never knew. Eugene said he was a “delightful man.” Even though I’m new to living in this part of the world, I don’t think I’ll be anonymous.

I found out later that Eugene is actually the MLA for the region. Go Eugene!

Mail me stuff. I plan on sticking around here for a while, unless something crazy happens and I get offered a well-paying dreamy job back in Halifax. I can’t wait until the weather gets nicer… the Salmon River runs right through the backyard and I’ll be out there in a canoe every morning.

I was joking with my brother about opening a bed & breakfast at the house.

“Except then, I suppose I’d have to cook breakfast for all these people,” I said. “Maybe I’ll just open a ‘bed.'”

I’ll put a sign out by the road that says “Philly’s B & B” with the second “B” crossed out. “Welcome to Philly’s B.”

…OK, we got ourselves a little situation here, I walked into one of the upstairs rooms and heard a mouse poking around. Then he stuck his nose out, and that’s an awfully big mouse, holy shit, there’s a squirrel in my house. God damn it. I need B.A. Johnston to come to Chipman and punch this squirrel in the face for me.

The squirrel ran to hide behind a couple of old TV sets. I pulled the bedroom door closed tight. That squirrel can just chill out for a while until I figure out what to do with him.

Now that I don’t work in a bar anymore I have this urge to drink. I was poking around in the pantry and found a nearly-full bottle of Rawleigh’s Anti-Pain Oil, “not less than 69% alcohol.” Yeah, that oughta do it.

What I really want to do is christen the parlour by setting up some speakers and watching a DVD in there. I have a parlour now. If you visit me I’ll make tea.

I just called my parents in Saint John. It seems there are three options with the squirrel situation:

1) I can try to rig up some kind of trap–bait it with peanut butter and catch the squirrel and then take him and chuck him outside.
2) My mom suggested I try to clock him on the head with a broom.

I’m gonna go think it over while I watch The Shining.