God Bless us Everyone!
One last post until the dog shit year that was 2022 meets a merciful end.
Hector veers off the paved road, pushing us deeper into the night.
Even in darkness, the back alleys of Maztlán are bursting with life.
Young men race their dirt bikes past us, disappearing into the hills that overlook the port city. Everywhere there are families sauntering home after Sunday dinner, a staple of life in a Catholic nation. The unmistakable smell of grilled meat and two-stroke engines cut through the crisp December air.
There are no doors, windows or seatbelts in this taxi. It’s a golf cart with a VW motor, a roll cage and a stereo that blares norteño love ballads. Intoxicated with the sound of accordions and heartbreak, I lean out the windowless machine to let the night consume me. If I slipped and tumbled into the dirt at sixty miles an hour, it would mark a fitting end to an absurd life.
Christopher Curtis. 37.
Died peacefully of blunt force trauma on a gringo tour of old Mazatlán. His last words, spoken to his father Mike and brother-in-law Behzdad, relieve them of any wrongdoing for having bought Chris so many Tecates at a Pacific Coast League Baseball game. Go Venados!
He leaves behind the woman he was going to propose to on a beach, his daughter, the staff at McKibbins Irish pub and too many grudges to count. He also leaves behind a substantial gambling debt to his friend Alfie, who can — in lieu of payment — go f*ck himself. Sorry Alfie, but that’ll teach you to gamble with a deadbeat. Go Niners!
As per Chris’ dying wishes, his body will be cremated and his ashes scattered in the morning coffee of notorious xenophobe Mathieu Bock Côté (gradually, over a period of months Chris wants his earthly remains to line the inside of Bock Côté’s stomach).
Instead of flowers at his (hopefully) state funeral, he asks that you simply refer to him as ‘Award-Winning Journalist Christopher Curtis’ and build him a small(ish) shrine. A small statue and some candles will suffice. If you’re a paid subscriber to The Rover, you can take a selfie with his carcass before it gets tossed in the oven. Enter the promo code ‘Crispy Journalist’ to save 15% on an annual subscription.
The Rover: Let’s Change the News (from the afterlife).
Back home, the news is grim.
Another snowstorm batters the Eastern Seaboard and St. Michael’s Mission announced that it will be forced to move out of downtown, leaving hundreds of unhoused people to fend for themselves. It will be another deadly winter on the streets of Montreal. But this is life in a province governed by men who wear golf shirts, worship money and shriek at the thought of riding a bus full of plebeians.
Before I continue, please allow me to lead us in (secular) prayer:
Notre François, Qui est aux banlieues
Que ton nom soit sanctifié (par les chroniqueurs de Quebecor)
Que ton règne vienne
Que ta volonté soit fait à Ste-Foy comme à Beauport comme à Lévis
Donne nous cette année nos quatre cents piastres
Pardonne nous nos wokes comme nous pardonnons aussi les immigrants (après qu’ils meurent sur la job dans un CHSLD)
Et ne nous laisse pas entrer dans la tentation
Mais livre nous de Justin Trudeau
Au nom du Père
De la compagnie minière Glencore
We could look to 2022 as the year our beloved province embraced one-party rule and anointed François Legault King of Quebec.
The Coalition Avenir Québec has a stranglehold on power and it is hell-bent on recreating this place in its own image. It’s gotten so bad that, the other day, a Parti Québécois partisan bragged about a poll that shows the party ONLY trailing by 23 points. If you’re a CAQ supporter, you must marvel at what passes for political opposition these days.
Having given up on any pretence of fixing our broken healthcare and education systems, the CAQ is pushing forward its plan to further privatize hospitals and raid our public schools. Meanwhile, it allows its environmental policy to be dictated by international mining interests under the guise of ‘creating a green economy.’ Yes, the nickel mined from Inuit territory might go towards creating new batteries for electric cars but it’s also contaminating the air in some of Quebec’s poorest electoral districts as we ship it overseas.
In Quebec, these days, you don’t have to linger in an emergency room for 24 hours like the rest of the rabble. You can skip ahead of the line and not die in a puddle of your own indignity.
That is, if you’re able to buy your way into the private system. If you can’t afford it, we would ask you to have the decency to die outside a hospital, preferably naked in the designated compost area so your body can be used as fertilizer on one of Ser Pierre Fitzgibbon’s private hunting grounds. My sources tell me the minister’s next pheasant hunt will be an affair to remember. (Nothing says “man of the people” quite like a millionaire cabinet minister hunting lazy birds with a shotgun in one hand and a glass of Henry IV Dudogan cognac in the other).
And while we’re on the subject of rich people killing things, how about our public school system?
It’s gotten so bad, that nearly 50 per cent of kids entering high school abandon the public system every year. If you can afford it, your kids won’t have to mingle with the children of immigrants who struggle to learn French. The government will foot 75 per cent of the bill so your child never has to breathe the same air as a kid on the autism spectrum. They’ll be spared a public education system where only 15 per cent of pupils go on to university.
But hey, we finally have a government with the courage to blame our problems on immigrants. It isn’t enough anymore that a higher percentage of Quebecers can carry a conversation in French now than ever before. The government wants to colonize their minds, it wants to control what language a Syrian family speaks at the dinner table and which mediocre white stand up comedian they watch on television. #FIER
We live in the CAQ’s world now.
And sometimes, I find it hard not to fantasize about the day they’ll be publicly humiliated. Some days I even daydream about being the one doing the humiliating. That’s what identity politics do. They stimulate your lizard brain, the part that makes you want to bash someone’s skull in with a rock and feast on the sweet juices inside.
We are not lizards, though. It’s important to remember that, for every hysterical newspaper columnist auditioning to be the CAQ’s next Minister of Above Ground Swimming Pools, there are many more good Quebecers working to make this place better for their kids. Whether you’re a francophones who can trace their lineage to the first crossing or an asylum seeker from Haiti who rides the 69 bus to get to work at an old folks home every morning. This is your home too.
(Of course, I won’t get into how Indigenous people in this province must feel about a government that treats them as pawns in a political game with Ottawa.)
Next year will bring us new fights and fresh outrages. We’ll be pushed further from the social democratic principles that made Quebec the greatest place to raise children in North America and towards François Legault’s bizarre dream of being ‘rich as Ontarians.’ Who needs good public schools when you can buy a brand new Ford F-150 and wait at the Tim Horton’s Drive-Thru for 20 minutes as God intended?
And so, until then, I’ll be in Mexico with my family, trying hard not to blow my hand up with fireworks or be thrown from a moving vehicle. But I make no promises. Having just paid rent (quite late), I have just enough left in the chequing account to do something spectacular(ly stupid).
But since I am first and foremost a reporter, here’s the latest news and gossip at the golf resort where my parents are spending this winter. I swear to God these are all at least partially true.
Item 1: A couple in their 50s were spotted “grinding” in the hot tub next to the palapa a few nights back. Though there was substantial debate about whether they made it to second or third base, the consensus is that it was a scandalous scandalous display. Said ‘Susan’ from Phase 1: “This isn’t an all-inclusive resort and we do not tolerate that sort of hanky panky here. Not that I’m against hanky panky. Greg and I partake at least once a month.”
Item 2: ‘Stephen’ from Phase 3 was suspended from the golf course for two weeks after stealing a bowl from the clubhouse and using it as a water dish for his award-winning shnauzer Rolph. When confronted by staff, he is alleged to have said “I pay my dues like everyone else and I can do whatever the (expletive) I want!” There are also (unconfirmed) reports that he was spotted with an untucked polo shirt at holes 3, 7, 12, 15 and 18.
Item 3: ‘Margie’ from Phase 2 says she’s letting her hair go grey but the empty bottle of L’Oréal Paris dye found in the trash outside her condo suggests she's hedging at least a little bit. Personally, I think we pay far too much attention to women’s looks but since gossip is a currency in this world, I have to cash in my chips before squandering them all on the Niners game this afternoon.
Item 4: Someone spray painted the words ‘Killer c*nt’ on the golf course-adjacent home of a woman suspected of disinheriting her dead husband’s family from their birthright. An investigation by the condo owners association is underway but as of yet there are no reliable leads.
And with that, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a good winter solstice to those among us who don’t worship the Judeo-Christian Gods.
After a year that nearly drove me into an early grave, I’ll spend the rest of it with my soon to be fiancée Marie-Pier, our daughter Wednesday, my nieces Nora and Isla, nephew Charlie, brother Vincent, sister Laurence, brother-in-law Behzdad, Aunt Donna and my wonderful parents Mike and Christine who haven’t yet disowned me despite me giving them so many opportunities.
Until our next adventure,
A dark vision lightened up by the pic of Mike shanking one.
Where do I enter the promo code “crispy journalist”?
(I’m Marc Belanger’s favourite aunt, Susan’s twin)😁