A Day in the Life of Someone who had it Coming to Him, by Kevin D. Annett
A Day in the Life of Someone who had it Coming to Him
I try not to hold grudges, even towards people slugging me. There’s not much point. But sometimes, I succumb to the feeling; like after the time in the Lotus pub when I tried breaking up two guys who were about to go at each other with broken beer bottles. Hell, I was seventeen, what did I know? Up until then, I’d never been whacked on both sides of my head at once. Wisdom, said Hemingway, is a hard bought thing.
I was thinking of those two guys this morning when I awoke. Maybe I’d been dreaming of them. I actually remembered how one of them was missing all his front teeth and a thick shit-brown ooze was dripping from his maw when he turned at me in a rage, just before sinking one of his mitts into my cheek. Regrettably, over my subsequent four and a half decades, the reason for the blows sent my way haven’t seemed as obvious to me. Notwithstanding Hemingway, maybe I’ve paid the dues without gaining the savvy.
Regardless, my usual clogged sinuses greeted me today as my eyes opened and I ruminated on my long-past attackers, and the host of them that have descended since then. I glanced bleary-eyed at my desk and spotted the manuscript of a play I wrote whose production has been shot down in flames not once, but count them, twice, ladies and gentlemen. Alas, I reflected in my naked awakedness, it must be true after all: I had it all coming to me, to quote a particularly puerile assailant who goes by the name of Reverend Phil Spencer.
The play was very much the thing, I guess, to Phil and his ilk, since what else would explain their resolute knife-digs than the fact that my creation caught what’s left of their conscience? The plot involves a former United Church missionary doctor who for many years helped to experimentally slice and dice little brown boys and girls in the former Nanaimo Indian Hospital. The doctor’s very nice Canadian wife and daughter discover what he did and the proverbial crows try to come home to roost in their cozy family. The mirror we all dread is raised for everyone to see.
Well, despite the Lotus Pub Blows and the many received since then, yours truly did his habitual “I’ll just do the right thing” routine during the summer of 2017 and tried producing his play - entitled “The Land of No-One” - among the good citizens of Duncan, B.C., not far from where the real Indian Hospital atrocities had occurred. A host of enthusiastic actors and benefactors assembled to make the play happen. And then, about a month into casting and production, the plug was pulled on the entire shabang faster than two bottle-wielding drunks can say, “Back off, fuck face!”.
As it turned out, two of the local Big Apples in Duncan - Cowichan “Chiefs” Willie Seymour and Joe Thorne - had taken offense to the play and issued threats against the director and actors. Why? Because it had made too-close-to-home reference to those like their own fathers, who years before had dutifully followed government orders and and delivered the never-to-be-seen-again children from their own reservations into the said Nanaimo Indian Hospital.
Oh well, I thought at the time. A shit disturber is never welcomed in his own backyard, especially when it’s the Scene of the Crime. So I’ll just go further afield! And after poking around awhile in what passes for a Canadian radical theater community, I hit pay dirt among a group of Toronto thespians who, after doing a group reading of my play, exhibited an even greater fervency for it. Their passion lasted barely two months. Suddenly, on deja-vue cue, the nine of them all dropped away, without explanation or response.
Recalling everything, I leaned back on my pillows this morning and gazed at the arching and untroubled oak tree outside my window. A tiny bird hovered by and landed on the sill, staring in at me. So I asked the little fellow something I knew eternity would never answer, and that was why I am still someone who has it coming to him.
The bird looked at me like I was stupid and flew away.