I was looking for my father. Everything I did or didn’t do was stained with that. His father, my grandfather Patrick asked me to wait until he was dead before finding his son, my father. I agreed. Patrick died in 1985 at the age of 100. I knew by what Patrick said that my father would be in some shit hole nightmare vagrant situation either in Vancouver or Toronto.

From my cockroache infested welfare funded Hotel on East Hastings Street, I began my search.

I found a Hustler from the Yukon by the name of Bill Kennedy. He was 30-35 short and wiry with one blue eye and one brown eye. He worked maintenence in the Hotel we stayed for rent and cash. He picked up one welfare cheque with his own ID papers and another cheque in the same building with false papers. On boxing day 1985 I sat with Bill in his room having coffee and looking out Bill’s window. His view was an alley just off east hastings street. A man in bums clothing was feeding a pigeon and when the pigeon was close enough and let its guard down long enough for the bum to catch it and break its neck. Bill and I looked at each other shocked and finally Bill said as the Bum sauntered off with the dead pigeon. “Dinner, I’m guessing.”

That was as hard-core as anything I ever saw. I saw what was considered to be the best looking Transvestite in Vancouver. A beautiful Philapino gal that I never met but I wanted to. I saw a Hooker wearing a bikini walking up Hastings Street on New Years Eve in the cold and later in her room she main lined heroin. I saw a band singing a song entitled, ‘ I was fucking Donna the night that Elvis died,’ and and another band who sang a song called, ‘Your Old Lady is my Old Lady Too.’ But I never found my father; not in Vancouver. That would happen 14 years later in Kingston Ontario.

Dennis Mantin

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