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The God of Six Points
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-368-9
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery
eBook Length: 172 Pages
Published: June 2006



From inside the flap

An old man thinks he is a god. And than he has murdered one of his subjects.

In the western suburbs of Toronto, a small junction called the Six Points, an old man has prowled through the streets forever. No one can remember when he hasn?t been there. No one can remember him ever being young. He knows everyone and everything about them. He believes he is their god.



The God of Six Points (Excerpt)


1. The White Album

"Why are you always hanging around here?" Joan Green, the vice-principal of Our Lady of Peace School, looked over her glasses, two television sets poised like a teeter-totter on her nose at me.

"Oh, Joan." I smiled with my patented reassuring charm.

Self-assured and confident in both voice and posture with strength of purpose only a teacher of many years could possess, she was not impressed.

"Parents are complaining."

I turned my eyes from Joan to the school. Our Lady of Peace was a two-floor yellow brick building designed by a tired and frugal imagination. The Separate School System had been designed to reassure a Catholic minority in the province of Ontario that the faith of their children would not be undermined by the Protestant establishment. It made no such promises about the imagination. O.L.P. was one of the first separate schools built in the western suburbs of Toronto after World War Two.

"What an ugly building," I said.

"What?" Joan asked.

I pointed. "Looks like a damn warehouse. And the color of the brick. Cat piss when the females are in heat."

I could hear Joan sigh behind me. I turned around. Joan looked at me with that schoolmarm charm.

"They get nervous when they see an old man in baggy pants hanging around the schoolyard."

"Ah." I chuckled. "They?re upset with my wardrobe. Clowns have baggy pants."

Joan was not smiling. I couldn?t keep my eyes off her upper lip. Several long hairs were curling up toward her nostrils. God, they?re going to invade, I thought. I wondered if she was aware of the growth. Terrible thing when the sexes start imitating each other. Women start growing moustaches; men start growing breasts.

"How is it possible that I make them nervous?" I asked.

I knew what she meant, but I wanted her to spit it out, to declare it publicly. Joan crossed her arms over her bosom. She thought I was staring at her breasts. How could one help not staring at them? They were like a shelf. She could have stacked jars of preserves across them.

"Don?t act the fool, Mr. Wilson." Joan sighed. You know you?re getting old when you try the patience of someone younger. "Parents are nervous about males, especially old men with big smiles and deep pockets."

"Santa Claus has deep pockets."

"You call their children by their first names."

"Shall I call them Mister and Miss?"

"They?re frightened of your familiarity."

Joan took a deep breath. Of course I knew exactly what she meant. The parents thought I was a dirty old man. The myth of the old man who gives children candy in exchange for an exploration of their knickers. In the Middle Ages it had been old women, witches, stepmothers that felt the wrath of paranoid parents. Now it was old men.

"Why are they so afraid?" I asked. "Have I ever done anything to any of these children?"

Joan bit down on her lip. She was ashamed. I looked away. I too was ashamed that I had tricked Joan into feelings of guilt.

"I met my wife here," I said. It was a lie. "It was an orchard at the time. Such lovely apples."

"I?m not suggesting, Mr. Wilson..."

"Call me Frank," I interrupted.

"I?m not suggesting, Frank, that you would harm any of these children. But parents have concerns. It’s not like it used to be."

"Of course it’s like it used to be," I reprimanded the vice-principal.

"You have only to read the newspapers," Joan continued.

"What kind of stories do you think Irish mothers told their children about the Vikings?" Joan glared at me with the schoolmarms glare, the rebuttal teachers use against impudent students. "There used to be more bicycles." Joan looked around the schoolyard. "They used to line the fences."

"Yes." Joan smiled.

I remembered that smile. It was owned by a little girl in pigtails and braces, who one day fell on the asphalt (that some school board bureaucrat felt would save money) and scraped her knee. She hadn?t reacted right away, but looked around and finding me watching her forgot about the blood trickling down her knee.

"When we were kids," Joan said, "you could hardly find a place to lean your bike along the fence. Now, only a handful of children bring bikes. Their parents are afraid. Everyone is afraid."

"You used to wear pigtails?" I asked.

Joan looked at me. "You used to do those tricks with yo-yos."

"And you had braces. You were irresistible."

Joan’s eyes lit up. "You were there the day I fell and scraped my knee. I remember your smile. For a brief moment it made me forget the cuts on my leg. I thought you were my guardian angel."

There was a long silence between us. Joan seemed perplexed by my presence.

"That was a long time ago," I said.

"Yes." Joan nodded.

"You?re wondering why I?m not dead." I laughed.

Joan blushed. "Well, I...."

"Perhaps I was your guardian angel. Perhaps I am all these children’s guardian angel."

I had gone too far. Joan’s smile hardened. "You must leave the children alone. Don?t you have any place to go?" I shook my head. Joan took a deep breath. "I don?t want to have to call the police. Why do you want to hang around this area? There can?t be much to interest you."

I took a deep breath. "I can?t leave," I said.

Nobody believes me. They see an old man stumbling along the street, his head slightly bowed, his shoulders rounded, his baggy pants and scuffed shoes, patches on his jacket elbows, pockets sagging, feet dragging along the pavement and they can?t imagine that I?ve been anything but an old man. And they are right. So caught up in the turmoil and excitement of their lives they don?t see time rushing past the window, don?t see that they are becoming me. Wealth, prestige, fame; all the laurels and honors of life mean nothing if you die young. Being old is life’s ambition. I am the pinnacle of human existence. They think that I am very old. The joke is on them. I am older than that.

I was the caretaker of the orchard hired by the Shaver family in the early part of the nineteenth century. I was given a shack in the middle of an orchard. There were some pear trees and the odd peach tree, but mostly it was apples; tidy rows of Russets and Macintosh and Snows. It was like paradise drifting in and out of sleep. Days, months, moments dreaming about white petals opening their lips to sunlight and bees. Eyes closed feeling the wind, the swaying of branches like the arms of chorus girls, the weight of fruit heavy on the vine, like the breasts of pregnant women heavy with milk. Smiling and listening to the rustle of the long grass and squirrels leaping like monkeys through the branches. Chuckling with the sound of apples falling to the ground with a thud, one after another like a child’s feet running downstairs on Christmas morning. Taking in the lovely aroma of worms and ants crawling over the broken flesh of fruit. And then there were the Shavers.

What a colorless lot the Shaver family was. Strict Methodists they were forbidden to drink, dance, play cards, or smoke. But they were hard workers. Being dull as dishwater did not prevent them from thriving. They built a rich and prosperous farm called Applewood Acres in the land west of Islington, a village outside Toronto. Involved in all aspects of social and political life the Shavers were responsible for building two Methodist churches, later called Islington United and Kingsway Lambton. They also contributed to the construction of the first school in the area west of Islington, named the Swamp School because of the number of frogs and snakes in the area.

I tried to have as little to do with the Shavers as possible. The feeling was mutual. I was never invited to the Shaver home and I considered that social rebuke a blessing. I suppose they felt sorry for a disheveled old man wandering through their property, and offered me the caretaker position out of Christian charity. Some time during the 1920’s or 1930’s (I am terrible with dates) the Shavers sold much of their land to Timothy Eaton who used the farm to supply his stores with dairy products. Eaton had no use for apples. A thin vermicular fellow named Davenport was sent to my hut to fire me.

"Why didn?t Timmy come himself?" I asked.

"Mr. Eaton is a very busy man," young Davenportinformed me, in a cold clerical voice. "It is a full time job running the Eaton Empire."

"An empire! Is that what he calls it?"

Looking down the long sharp blade of a nose, Davenport bit his words into small intelligible morsels. "The Eaton family appreciates that it will take some time for you to tidy up your affairs, Mr. Wilson. Would a week suffice?"

I smiled at Davenport. "Does that hurt? Your nostrils being pinched like that?" A week, five minutes, it was all the same to me. "The Mississauga Indians used to live on this site." Davenport cleared his throat. I thought he was going to spit on me with some multi-syllabic verb. "What are Mr. Eaton’s plans for the orchard?"

Davenport remained committed to his military posture. "I am not privy to Mr. Eaton’s plans."

"The trees have to be cared for," I responded. "Groomed, manicured, thinned, and pruned. They cannot survive in the wild. Chaos will follow. It starts with the apples and moves up the food chain."

Davenport turned and walked back to his automobile. "You have a week, sir."