Chapter five: Why now?
No clue. Why now? Don’t honestly know. The city was calling me. All the way from the Prairies. [add Darth Vader-like voice here] “James. Come back to Toronto James. It is your (wait for it) D-E-S-T-I-N-Y…” Something like that. One day I’m driving to work, next thing I know I am parking at the airport and catching the next flight to Toronto. I can’t go and quit my job. It’s my company. But truthfully it never entered my head anyway. Toronto is calling. I have to go there. Stat.
And when I took the cool new train from the airport to Union Station I felt like I was catapulted head first, maybe face first into the history and the future.
Some things I recognize as I roll into the station. Funny old city landmarks like the Mr. Christie’s water tower now surrounded by glassy shiny condos or the old Inglis roof sign on what always looked like a dilapidated factory, now more so.
Some things I do not recognize as I walk out to the sunny streets. Some fantastic junky fire trap bars I used to visit close to Union Station are now high end lighting stores and micro-plate tapas hipster red lumberjack bearded $10 craft beer long table no atmosphere man bun stand around hang-outs. That is progress hard at work.
The only place I could think of to stay was the Sheraton Centre across from Nathan Phillips Square (across the street from the photo). It’s a horrible hotel right in the heart of the city. One review said the rooms “are not as clean as perhaps they should have been.” Very kind review. They are DIRTY. The hotel is not just tired. It gave up on life. There’s an old line that says you can’t be in critical condition forever. The patient either lives or dies. Except when you visit the Sheraton. Critical condition since the 80’s, and still no one has pulled the plug. Heaven knows all the organs stopped working long ago.
When I lived in Toronto there were three pizza places within three blocks of here. Two-for one, three-for-one and seriously, four-for-one. They were the same sizes but just cut more, and they were equally terrible. But cheap and open at 3 am when you will eat sheet metal you are so hungry and probably drunk. But I digress.
I came all the way here without anything. No luggage. No change of clothes. No toothbrush. Not even my medicine cabinet full of vitamins I take every day as if life itself was on the line.
So I just moved about $12,000 in dirty money to my pants and coat, stuck the dirty money carrying case still stuffed full of cash (and the gun) under my hotel bed, and ventured out to buy a suit (who knows why), some other basics, and stopped at the front desk and prepaid a month in my hotel room using cash.
If I did my counting right I will be down to just over $280,000 after the $12,000 withdrawal. So I’m good for the next month if I watch my money wisely.
And just to be sure I scanned for any truck or anyone carrying a camera, just in case someone was broadcasting a new version of the Truman Show. And I am Truman. That get away from Euclid had me a bit rattled.
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