Tim Stephens.cover.J#7B6373
Note: this is NEXT WEEK’S forecast. To read the present week’s column, please scroll down to “RECENT POSTS” on the right margin, and click on “July 19 – 25, 2015.”


ALL TIMES/DATES ARE PDT (Pacific Daylight Time Zone). PDT is 8 hours “before” Greenwich (England). (As long as Britain is also on Daylight time.) For example, when it is noon PST, it is 8 pm in England. The “World Clock” in the right margin gives you some clues. (You can also Google “time zone converter.”)


START NOTHING: 2:14 am to 5:24 am Sun., 6:37 am to 11:47 am Tues., 11:50 am to 2:40 pm Thurs., and 3:02 pm to 3:36 pm Sat.





Next week, I hope, I’ll start on the new luck cycle for every sign.


My instincts like Jeb Bush for the next U.S. President – but I need to do charts first. Hillary’s “easy honors” will change slightly, this late August to Sept. 2016, into a growing popularity. And Trump’s maverick run seems almost designed to win her the crown (by splitting Republican votes). And yet, by mid-September 2016, she’ll start to go into emotional retreat. In October, her luck and energy will fade a little more every day. The question is, by election day, will her early momentum carry her through, or will her “fade” be too strong? I’m guessing it’s strong enough to keep her out of the White House – but I could be wrong.


When my “entity” whispered in 1986 that “bush” would be the next president, I hadn’t even heard of George Bush. So I wrote that the next U.S. president would probably have “bushy eyebrows.” But she (Nima, the entity) also said that he would be “the father.” I thought she meant the father of the country, like the other George, or a fatherly figure. But maybe she meant the father of a line of presidents? Anyway, let me do the charts in – well, a few months.


Gemini Donald Trump will get “smacked” for his outrageous comments August 8 to late September. Say what you like about him, though, at least he has the courage that the professional politicians don’t. He’s like a kid out there, you have to laugh. Many politicians are two-faced – Canadian PM Harper, for example, is remarkably mild and reasonable in public, but a book by an insider (a member of parliament in his party) shows Harper behind closed doors: swearing, maniacally controlling, hyper and vicious. (Richard Nixon, anyone?) Well, it’s a tough job.

Trump just hasn’t mastered a politician’s prime qualification: hypocrisy. He has Leo rising so he loves attention. (The Leo is in some doubt – his birth time is only about 30 seconds from Virgo rising, easily within the margin of error of a hospital clock. And the first degree of Virgo loves attention also.) His Moon’s in Sagittarius, so he has a more philosophical mind than is apparent, and Uranus sits right on his Sun, so he’s a maverick, unpredictable – and he delights in shocking people. The Trump you see now is not beleaguered – he’s having the biggest adventure of his life. It’s stressful, though – so he’d better watch his heart. He’ll calm down soon – by October if not sooner.
Canada’s commodity companies (oil, minerals, etc.) will probably hit their early year lows once again, a deflationary indicator for the world, and a caution for stock pickers. Wish I’d said this a month ago. Canada in general escaped unscathed from the world wide 2007-2009  crash; but now is the time: I’d be wary.



(I did predict that stock markets would rise until June. In June, the Chinese exchanges fell 30 %. The U.S. and Canadian markets also fell. But I’m not sure where we go from here. One piece of advice, though: none of us should start a new business, or acquire or start a major new “section” now through August 11.)

The long story, “1969,” continues below, after PISCES’ forecast.


Aries.svgARIES March 21-April 19
Romance, love, creative surges and risk-taking urges, beauty, poetic moments and charming kids – these fill the weeks ahead. You’ll be riding a winning streak! (About 8 weeks a year, you are favoured in gambling situations – 4 of them lie ahead. But that’s only 8 of 52 – one reason gamblers seldom prosper.) You’re still experiencing friction on the home front (2 more weeks) but your work place has grown pleasant, even affectionate (this week only). You might, at last, start speaking of love. A co-worker romance that starts now probably won’t last. Sunday to Tues. forenoon emphasizes the broad picture, other cultures, law, higher learning, understanding, far travel – you could fall in love! Be a bit careful Sun. night – someone has the wrong idea about your sexuality, or wants to “con” you. Be ambitious Tues. noon to early afternoon Thurs. – this period starts well and ends well, but might be a bit rocky Wed. pm. Your popularity and happiness rise Thurs. pm to Saturday afternoon. Again, love could carry you away on his rushing waters. That’s good until midday Saturday, when rocks stick up above the water. Jump to shore/dry land for a little while to rest, contemplate this eve.

taurus weekly forecastTAURUS April 20-May 20
The weeks ahead lull you into a snoozy, nappy rest. Certain conditions will end, and certain people will exit your life. But new conditions and people will enter and grow – which can lead to great things, great luck, great love, creative surges, gambling urges, scholastic success (especially in research) and just a lot of pleasure, over the 13 months ahead. But for now, you’re still in the “ending” stage. If you want to buy real estate, change homes, find a good rental, or simply heal a family wound, do it now or the first third of August – before luck deserts this zone. Sunday to Tues. noon opens a door to life’s deeper side, to financial and intimate opportunities, to research and health diagnoses, pregnancy, lifestyle changes and commitments – all of which fit into, and benefit from, that real estate and family luck mentioned above. For example, Monday night and pre-dawn Tuesday (PDT) is one of the luckiest in a lucky year for real estate. (The year is/was from July 2014 to August 11, 2015, so yes, there is an urgency now.) Gentle love and understanding, life philosophy, cultural rituals, far travel and intellectual pursuits bless you Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon – but take care Wed. pm to early (pre-dawn) Thursday, when friction makes tempers raw.

Gemini.svgGEMINI May 21-June 20
The weeks ahead emphasize everything you like to do: errands, communications, reports, daily business, paperwork, short travel, news. Be curious, ask questions, read and write. You’re still making and/or (more likely) spending gobs of money – this will end in two weeks. (Then, August 8 to late September, be very careful what you say or write, and avoid buying a new car, telephone, etc. See the Preamble comment on Gemini Trump.) Your home began to grow more peaceful, affectionate last week, and this continues – but only to Friday. Still, it’s a valuable clue or hint of the year that begins mid-August, a year that will bring you great luck in home, family, property, gardening and such areas. Keep your eyes open while travelling now – you might pass through a neighbourhood that will later become your home. Relationships confront you Sunday to Tuesday noon – in splendid ways (except for a confusing Sunday night). Life grows new horizons, your “profile” rises, you could even meet your future mate or a great new associate. Be diplomatic and sensitive, though, as these people have hair-trigger tempers, and they hate having holes pricked in their balloons. The doors open to life’s mysteries, sexual yearnings, financial treasures/opportunities, research discoveries, health news, and, ultimately, to your subconscious. All’s well, productive, except Wed. night to about 5 am Thurs. (PDT) – hopes dashed, fiery words released, perhaps. A sweet, wise, mellow mood steals over you Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon. Buy travel tickets, enroll in school, publish, chase intellectual and cultural venues – you could fall into, or attract, love – but start to be cautious, “tragic” attractions grow more likely, now to August 5.

Cancer.svgCANCER June 21-July 22
The weeks ahead emphasize money, income, buying/selling, possessions, your memory and sensual attractions. (Usually when I say sensual attractions, I mean easy sexual liaisons that lead eventually to boring relations. You can easily fall into one of these now, as Mars in your sign – until August 8 – makes you burn hot, and dissolves your diffidence.) If you want to make a bid for a pay raise, attract new, lucrative clients, or somehow grab a horse on the money merry-go-round, do it soon, as your luck here, presently very high, dims a bit August 11 onward. Tackle chores and protect your “daily” health Sunday to noon Tues. All goes well, especially Monday, when your work output could convince a higher-up that you deserve a step up, or more pay. Relationships, relocation themes, opportunities, fresh horizons and dealings with the public fill Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon. Best day: Tues. Caution: Wed. night to 5 am Thurs. (PDT) when you and another might argue. Be diplomatic, realize others hold the aces, not you. Your subconscious rises to the surface Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon. Everything’s good in the beginning – investments, intimacy, research, lifestyle choices, commitments – but you begin to see the barriers Sat. Be cautious! Saturday eve, night brings a sweet mood, broad, gentle vision.

Leo icon, Luck ForecastLEO July 23-Aug. 22
Your energy, charisma, clout, effectiveness and sense of timing triumph now! You’re noticed! (If you act or otherwise entertain – and what Leo doesn’t? – your star rises quickly now – but act quickly, too, for a long year of heightened personal “presence,” of lucky “emoting,” is almost over.) Start significant projects (especially monetary ones, August 11 onward). Get out, see and be seen, ask favours. Sunday to Tues. noon heightens romance, creativity, and speculative talents. Charming children, beauty and nature’s poetic moods fill your heart. You could fall madly in love – but if you do so before 11 pm (PDT) Sunday night, don’t expect great sex in future. Monday, though, to Tues. dawn, could ring love’s bells in splendid, workable, and “happy future” ways. Forget hesitancy – be bold, be brave, charge forth – express yourself! Tackle chores and deal with machinery, health repairs Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon. Be cautious, take safety precautions (and DO NOT BUY machinery, electronics, etc.) Wed. pm to 5 am (PDT) Thurs. Otherwise, good, steady progress. Relationships, opportunities and confrontations face you Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon. Again, the possibility of love arises – but this time be sceptical. In fact, be self-protective to August 5, as loves starting now to then could have bitter endings.

Virgo.svgVIRGO Aug. 23-Sept. 22
The weeks ahead place you in a background position. Seek quietude, watch and listen, examine where you are in life, and plan where you go from here. Seek your spiritual center, be charitable, forgive others. Deal with civil servants, institutions and large corporations. You might be invited to closed-door meetings. In all this, you might end an association, or find some new secure “base.” You’re going to enter a very lucky year soon. Prepare for it by resting and contemplating your life now. Sunday to Tues. noon brings domestic, real estate, nutrition, garden, security, and retirement themes – these can succeed superbly. But avoid seeking co-operation or chasing someone Sunday night. Otherwise, luck abounds. Romantic notions (more likely than the real thing) creative and speculative urges, pleasure and beauty charm you Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon. Be cautious Wed. night to 5 am (PDT) Thurs. – sensual, sexual, financial and health situations can crack with conflict. Tackle chores Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon – one of these might come to a peak, and be solved/accomplished. Dress and eat sensibly. All goes well, but don’t push a conversation or anticipated visit Saturday if obstacles arise…an obstruction now is a hint of a fairly major “dead end” that is forming until August 8, in love, travel, or communications. It won’t hurt you, unless you insist on these (travel, love, or communicating with someone toward whom you feel 1) affectionate or 2) greedy.

Libra.svgLIBRA Sept. 23-Oct. 22
The weeks ahead bring optimism, bright plans for the future,, social joys, popularity, friendly romance, entertainment and general happiness. This zone has been luckily starred since July of last year, and hopefully you joined a new group or two, for new circles you enter(ed) will tend to benefit you for years to come. It’s not too late – but the main thrust of this luck wilts a bit by August 11, so you’ll need to get busy soon if you want to jump on this horse. Still, little will dent the happiness you’ll feel for the next few weeks. Remain diplomatic, long-suffering on career fronts, until August 8. Sunday to noon Tues. is filled with errands, calls, trips, visits, paperwork, details, and casual acquaintances. Be curious, follow your nose. You could make a good new friend, or dive into a compatible social scene. If in love, you can contact that person now (and feel very good about it later). One caution: work, health might confuse or a movie might disappoint Sunday night. Embrace your family, enhance your security, dig in the garden, review retirement options noon Tues. to Thurs. afternoon. Be careful Wed. night to 5 am Thursday (PDT) – disruptions, spousal friction, arguments over “ambition” are possible. Thursday eve to Sat. afternoon bring romance, creative and risk-taking urges, beauty, pleasure, and charming kids. But don’t fall in love with anyone new now to August 5 – tragedy would hit, sooner or later.

Scorpio.svgSCORPIO Oct. 23-Nov. 21
A zone that has been lucky all year, intensifies during the few weeks ahead – but the strongest luck will end August 11, so the earlier you push the better. This zone encompasses career (especially in a money way) prestige relations, reputation, dealings with authorities. For example, if you have to face a judge in court, he/she will be much more on your side than most years. (But strictly avoid lawsuits until August 9 onward.) Or, you can use the days ahead to ask for a promotion, apply for a new position, etc. I wouldn’t start a new business now, though, as it’s too late – and the ultimate result would be failure. Sunday to Tues. noon brings great money luck – charge ahead! But don’t ruin your chances by gambling or chasing romance Sunday night (don’t over-imbibe this night, either). Errands, calls, emails, trips, visits, paperwork, media, news, curiosity, casual acquaintances fill Tues. noon to early afternoon Thurs. Be cautious Wed. night to pre-dawn Thurs. (PDT) – fender-benders, electrical glitches, arguments of opinion can occur. Not the time to write someone. You’ll feel deliciously tired Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon – take power naps, embrace your family, garden, putter around the house. Keep a low profile, enjoy nature, correct any security flaws (e.g., fix that back door lock) and contemplate retirement. However, DON’T commit to anything big in these zones – don’t buy a new lawnmower or harvester, etc.

Sagittarius.svgSAGITTARIUS Nov. 22-Dec. 21
The weeks ahead emphasize higher learning, expansion of your viewpoint, compassion, gentle love, social and cultural rituals, far travel, law, religion, and a mellow mood. These have been lucky for the past 12 months, but continue so strongly to August 11, then more softly to late August. So if you want to buy travel tickets, or apply for school, etc., do it soon for the best results. This Sunday to Tues. dawn is a good time for this – but watch Sunday night, when your actions might impinge on your security or “peace at home.” Otherwise, these few days bless you – your charisma jumps, your clout and effectiveness climb, you can attract new friends, a lover who would make a pretty good mate, even a favourable legal ruling. This is usually a good interval to start a major project, but be a bit cautious here in business areas, as late August into the summer of 2016 will be much better for career, business starts, etc. Wait! Chase money, new clients, buy and sell, protect possessions, and enhance your memory Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon. Be cautious Wed. night to Thurs. dawn (PDT) when a gambling, lustful or greedy urge could throw an unwelcome disruption into romance – or romance could put a hole in your wallet. Errands, friends, short trips, visits, paperwork and details, curiosity and communications fill Thurs. afternoon to Saturday afternoon. Be careful about launching new projects – it’s the opposite of “all’s well that ends well.” A friend might be falling for someone new – counsel caution, and you could save them a bit of heart break. Sleep early, deeply Sat. night.

Capricorn.svgCAPRICORN Dec. 22-Jan. 19
The emphasis, now to late August, is on mysteries, secrets, research and investigation, health diagnoses, lifestyle changes, commitment and consequences. This influence brings your subconscious closer to the surface, so your intuition improves, and your basic “species” desires grow stronger. Food is a personal desire, but sex/lust is a species desire. This influence usually benefits you in finances and investments. The past 12 months have blessed this entire arena, and this luck continues, but only until late August – and only strongly until August 11. So if you still have an investment to make, a consolidation of loans to accomplish, or an intimate desire to reveal to a special person, you’d better hurry. One thing: extramarital affairs are always wrong. Lie low, rest, contemplate and plan Sunday to Tues. noon. Though your energy will be low, this is a splendid interval to deal with civil servants, institutions, large corporations and head offices, charities and spiritual matters or groups. A deep rejuvenation slated. Your energy, charisma and clout rise Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon – good. But don’t risk money nor enter an argument Wed. night to Thurs. pre-dawn (PDT). Chase money and new clients, ask for a raise Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon. Realize, if you’re shopping or purchasing investments, that prices might be higher than usual. DON’T start a love or lust affair from Friday to August 5. If you’re single, real, big love could come in the year ahead. Be willing to wait!

Aquarius.svgAQUARIUS Jan. 20-Feb. 18
The weeks ahead emphasize relationships, relocation, dealings with the public, negotiations, litigation, opposition and co-operation, new horizons and opportunities, challenges and competition. Realize that others hold most of the aces – it will benefit you far more to jump on their bandwagon, than to try to haul your own wagon around by yourself. This August will end a year (since July 2014) in which all these things – relationships, opportunities, negotiations, etc. – have been “golden.” Some of you have grabbed a great opportunity, some of you met an exciting potential mate, some have relocated, etc. The results should be (or have been) splendid! If you still have not jumped on any of these opportunities, not met that exciting person, you’d better act quickly – this Sunday to Tuesday noon, or Thursday eve to Friday dawn, or August 5 (late day, PDT) to August 10 are best. (DO NOT start a love affair from 8 am PDT July 31 to August 5 morning, unless you love misery.) Wishes come true Sunday to Tues. noon – social delights, friendly romance, popularity, optimism, entertainment pour into these days. If single, you might meet an exciting person who is very viable mate material. If attached, ask for something more. (Unhappy couples might separate now, with good future auspices.) Retreat, rest, contemplate and plan Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon. Avoid conflict, verbal arguments, careless driving and “chasing lust” Wed. night to pre-dawn Thurs. Your energy, charisma and sense of timing soar to good heights Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon. You could fall madly in love – but it better occur before 8 am PDT Friday, or regrets will be like vines, choking hope. Bosses are a bit stodgy, sceptical until September 17 – but they might shunt you into a management position.

Pisces.svgPISCES Feb. 19-March 20
The whole past year (since July/14) has tended to increase your work load. Well, you have one more month of this, then it’s on to freedom, fresh air and new horizons! But not quite yet. There is, of course, one benefit of working more: increased income. Your efforts now could bring you a long-term pay raise, a bigger stable of clients, could put you in line for a future promotion, could even “set the stage” for two major opportunities to come in the 13 months ahead. If you do want more work, bid for it now, as this trend of expanding work dies somewhat by August 11, and almost completely by August 23. Watch your health during the weeks ahead. Eat, dress sensibly. Sunday to Tues. noon brings career/employment opportunities – jump on them, these are good ones, the best of the month ahead. Your popularity jumps Tues. noon to Thurs. afternoon – enjoy, have some fun. Social joys, entertainment, flirtations, optimism, wish fulfilment lighten these days! But proceed carefully Wed. night to pre-dawn Thurs. (PDT) when money surprises or lover’s quarrels could disturb you. Retreat from the crowd Thurs. afternoon to Sat. afternoon; rest, contemplate or meditate, examine the course of your life thus far (how you got here) and where you would like to go in future. Let new plans slowly emerge from your imagination. Be charitable, spiritual. Soon, doors will open!

The End.
The Story, Continued:


“His name was Dietmar Stoltz. Dietmar,” I said. “We saw his wallet, Paul and me. Maybe he was German,” I hinted darkly. As in spy. But they didn’t seem to get the hint.
“You took your brother?” Ger asked. He wasn’t surprised, it was more a blunt little dig at me, because they all knew how Paul treated me. It was raining, but the sun danced through every once in a while, lifting our hearts.
“As far as I know there’s no Stoltz in town, or even on the coast. I looked in the phone book – not one on the whole Sunshine Coast,” I said. I was explaining everything, I was like a tour guide, excited by what had happened.
Then we reached the yellow tape.
“See?” I said. “I wasn’t lying, man.”
“Holy Cow,” Ger said.
“Holy shit,” Dave said quietly. “— Hey, you can’t go in there.”
“Bullshit,” I said, “It’s my crime scene.” And with my young bravado (pleased they could see it) I didn’t bother to duck under the tape, I broke it in two, and stepped in. “See? The body was here,” and I gestured lengthwise, to indicate his whole body. They cautiously ventured in.
Then they both knelt, to examine the bits of dark spots on the dirt. Ger found a stick and poked at them.
“His guts were lying out here,” I said, pointing.
“Have they caught the guy?”
“Not that I know.”

First, maybe I should explain my mother. I don’t know why. She has nothing to do with what happened to me. No, I’ll just describe her. Who could explain her? She was about late thirties or just forty. No grey hair yet, and she still dressed for men, you could tell that. There were the little touches, perfume and a nice scarf. But there wasn’t a man around that I could see. At least not permanently. Once in awhile some man came home with her after a date, and usually spent the night. I didn’t mind these guys, but they never stayed. Except one guy I hated, because he teased me. At about the time of the dead man I was going through a period where my mother for some reason repulsed me; I recoiled at the sight of her almost ferociously. I’m shy and quiet and I never let on, but inside me it was like a huge cat leapt away from the sight of her. Her glasses seemed to cut into me like sharp shards, her voice had a cutting edge, and you could see her going to pot a little bit, getting fat around the butt, and that really repulsed me. I don’t know why that was. But now, being older and remembering it, I find my mom was quite attractive looking, and I can’t picture her in any way except soft, gentle and pretty. Maybe that’s the truth. People have told me – women have told me — that she was a beauty. She had dark thick hair and large brown eyes. She was usually quiet, but sometimes in her bedroom she would break out in large, loud sobs that filled the house so you had to run outside and run up the paved road so you wouldn’t hear it, and probably get soaked. The damn rain. It’s always fucking raining here. God can just fuck me, sometimes I hate the rain and everything about Him so much. That’s how sometimes I feel now when I remember my mother weeping those loud, forsaken, musical sobs. Now, when I’m telling this. I forgot to tell you, I’m eighteen now. But at the time I was sixteen, and nothing angered me. I just fled to get away, and then walked quietly. I’ve never found sadness to be a very repulsive thing. I enjoy it sometimes.
I guess she was sobbing, in particular, because some man had not come back, or they’d had a fight. But I felt she was sobbing, in general, over the whole state of things. In her worst moods she would threaten to get rid of us, Paul and me. She’d declare us “incorrigible” in court, she said, and we’d be put in juvie – juvenile detention home. I can remember having specifically no reaction to that.
So I’d tell you what she said and what she asked about the murder and finding the body and the RCMP’s questions and etcetera, but it seems rather superfluous. All you have to know about is her sobs, and that tells you everything.
“Hey,” Dave said. “Look!” On a knob way up a wooded rise, we could see more yellow tape. We scrambled up. Mostly we could follow an old skid road. (They aren’t really roads, just paths the machines had made by dragging logs through the woods.) It was infested with young alders so thick you had to push through them, so we were soaked by the time we got there. It was April, so the weather was still cold, the rain chilled you, but there’s some sun too, and it’s light to about seven. When we reached the spot, the sun came out and shone down like sweetness. But otherwise, we were disappointed.
“There’s nothing here.”
“This is where he stood, to shoot. See the broken ferns?”
“Hey, watch out – there’s footprints!”
There they were, partial indents in the soggy ground. We stared at them for a whole minute.
“They seem pretty small for a man.”
We stared at them a little longer, but no one said anything.
“Well, the cops got everything. No shells. No torn clothes. No condoms! HA, HA!” That was Ger. He often made embarrassing remarks, then laughed really loudly. In class, he sat, knees crossed, bent over his desk, twirling his compass, ignoring the teacher. Every day. Every hour.
Then, silently, Ger, began poking around in the area, lifting ferns, etc. By now, we just ignored the yellow tape.
After a few minutes of hopeful searching, of pretending we were the rifleman, gazing down along our outstretched hands to the dead spot, I could see Dave and Ger were a bit bored.
“Let’s go back.”
But I was still listening to that soft, private feeling inside.
“Aren’t you coming?”
I shook my head.
“You’ll get cold, man!”
They waited, already ten feet down the slope.
I waved them off, and watched them go.
I stood around awhile, looking in a circle at everything, but seeing nothing. I thought I’d give it one last shot, so I heaved up the hill a little more, then more, then more, thinking I might find something – footprints, maybe. Maybe even another dead body. (I knew that was too much to hope for, but, you know, I was sixteen. Anything was possible.) Finally, I thought if I reached the top of the hill, I could see further. If the shooter had shot west toward this Dietmar, then I could look east from the top, maybe see something.
But as usual in the woods, the top was just an introduction to another hill, and its top to another, and so on. I knew the real top was still in snow, and there wouldn’t be anything east of that summit anyway, but a wilderness of summits. So, disheartened, I started to wander back down. A bit of curiosity made me turn right (that’s north-west) into an overgrown skid road I hadn’t noticed before.
At times the trees cleared, and you could see the land below was all misted and grey. Suddenly, pushing through some particularly strong alders, I fell into a ditch and scraped my hands on sharp gravel. There was a real road here, a gravel thing about twelve feet across. I began walking in the direction I assumed led down, back home. I was tired and wet, the adventure was over. If I’d only gone with Ger and Dave, we’d be sitting in the café with hot coffee right now, and I envied them.
Who knew where this road went? I’d heard there was a long, looping road from Gibsons right over to Sechelt. Maybe this was it. But there weren’t any of those yellow metal forestry signs that show every mile. That was strange. After an hour I was befuddled. I didn’t seem to be any closer to anything. I wasn’t really scared, because I was far away from the dead stuff. If the murderer saw me here, I’d just be another pedestrian. But the road grew more and more lonesome as I walked, and I began to feel unsettled. I’d look around me slowly, then go on. I thought I’d probably get stranded if I went a lot further, say another hour, because night would come before I could then turn and take the whole afternoon to get back to the skid roads I’d followed, back to some terrain I’d recognize, much less home. But maybe I should have gone the other way. There were stories about people being found dead on these logging roads, after they wandered for days, lost.
Yet something drove me on, rather than turn back. Maybe there was a community at the end of this road. With a store or café so I could eat. Or maybe there wasn’t. And what would I do anyway, stuck overnight in some strange community? I should go back. But I knew if I turned back, I would never come here again, down this road. And why should I? What a futile stupid ass thing to do, to be here! Fuck me. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that there could be something down this road, something I wanted to find. Not the murderer (who I definitely didn’t want to find!). But I didn’t have a clue what it was. It was very lonesome now, but the world, the round tunnel of the road in the trees, seemed almost to lay around me in a protective way, as if it embraced me, and subtly nudged me on. I wasn’t wet and cold anymore, I was in a rhythm, jerking along with tired, warm legs. I didn’t notice anything beside me. It was so comforting, so easy, and …there was some promise, something delicious waited for me, I couldn’t quite grasp it, but it called me almost as if someone was singing with a soft, beautiful soundless voice. It was like that time last Wednesday on the dock, when something had pulled me away from Paul, made me go private, except now it was pulling me on.
Then suddenly I “woke up,” I kept walking, didn’t break stride but suddenly fear struck through me like unseen lightning, I was alert, my heart pounded in my ears. I started to run, but not away, I ran further down the narrow road. Because the fearsome thing wasn’t ahead of me, it was around me, in the trees and the earth and the sky and the ferns and the leaves and in the damp clear air between the trees.
I ran until the road rose and leveled and ran directly beside a large cut, maybe a few acres, between the rocky hillsides. Four or five black ponds lay like mysteries out there in the expanse of the cut, surrounded by salal and ferns and brush. Logs, some bucked (that means the branches are cut off, in case you live in the desert) ) but most still branched, lay helter-skelter everywhere, including half their lengths in the black ponds. Maybe five hundred trees, big ones, bucked into logs, laying everywhere. It looked like a massacre. I was still feeling the fear, but I stopped and watched. Mostly, I was out of breath. There were no machinery tracks anywhere. It was cut in the last six months, maybe, because none of the branches had turned orange. Someone had come in with a chainsaw, and worked a long time, maybe weeks, and hadn’t hauled anything away. Maybe it was the dead man. He was shot for hacking down someone else’s trees. But I knew that was a stupid idea – the dead man was no logger. (No logging clothes, no sawdust on him, no chainsaw oil on his jeans.) For just a minute, I felt that a strange compulsion had drawn me here.
Or something. The bare truth is, as soon as I saw this massacred place, all the fear and all the urgent searching feeling disappeared, so silently I hardly noticed.
But that was my story if the RCMP asked me, a log poacher was murdered, and I stuck to it in my mind, mainly I guess so I could just turn that part off, like an irritating radio station, as I bandy¬ walked over and along the logs, trying to keep from falling between them. You could fall in this kind of mess and break a leg or get stuck ten feet below, or be belly-gutted on a sharp dead branch. It was such a wealth of logs I felt like stealing it myself. But it was also the slaughter, the chaos, lying like sticks thrown from a giant’s hand, not felled in any care or order. They were handsome logs, straight and thick, you could just wrap your arms around one, with healthy firm bark like black turtle skin, and red and yellow where the round butts were cut off. The carelessness, the pell-mell slaughter, and just left here… It was one of those strange, inexplicable things with motives you can’t understand.
I slowly made my way to the nearest pool, hoping it had no beaver disease in it. That gives you the runs. I had a huge thirst. The pool was really just a big hollow in the granite, maybe where long ago the stone had cracked deep; I knew that before I got there. On this part of the mountain, the mountain showed through, its flesh and skin were rock and the trees were hairs. The deeper hollows stayed filled all year from rainwater. Through the logs and salal below me I could see glimpses of the pool as I all-foured along a big log that hung in the air near the pool. I jumped down, onto the rock face, and clung to some cedar branches, went to my knees, and gazed into the huge crack. The water was black. I couldn’t see the bottom. It could be four feet deep, or sixteen. I just wanted to take a deep drink, then head home. The sky was light yellow on my jacket sleeve, but I turned to see that some gold on a strip of cloud showed the sun was in or near its last glow.
And there she was. Sitting on a log, her butt on her ankles, over this pool, staring into its black depths. How had I missed her? My whole body clenched with surprise. She didn’t even seem to hear me. How could she not have, me scrambling over the log, huffing and puffing, dropping to the rock’s cheek, sucking in the water?
I’ll tell you. In March here, if a woman’s sitting down outside you can’t tell if she’s got a good body or not. The clothes are just too thick. But there was something about this woman. You could see she was tall. I guess she was about mid¬-twenties – I can’t tell ages of people older than me. Her hair was like a huge yellow mane, curling and bending and tossed about around her head and shoulders. She was bundled up in a yellow “space age” jacket with matching puffy yellow pants and expensive hiking boots, so she must have money or be from the city. She was warm enough, you could tell. I could see the blue sky and a cloud now, reflected sharper than a photograph on the pond, on the water between her and me.
“Hey!” I yelled, kind of hopeful, more a greeting than anything.
She looked up at me, She had brown eyes and blonde eyebrows, set on one of those regular, soft yet solid, handsome faces that some women have, it makes you think they’re beautiful and wise and reliable and the most valuable woman you could ever share your life with, even if they weren’t particularly your type. A healthy woman, not like the sluts my brother hung around, or the poor (I mean money-wise) girls I knew. (There were both types at our school, but the healthy ones wouldn’t talk to me.) Yet there was a kind of superficial – empty? – look in those large dark eyes and her mouth was twisted just the tiniest bit, like Mona Lisa’s, but into a senseless smile.
“Have you come to get me?” she said. There was a kind of fool’s glint in her eyes, which was out of synch with the handsome solidness of her face. I wondered if she was crazy, yet the thought didn’t bother me, which should have been the first warning.
“No.” I shrugged. “What do you mean?”
She watched me for a moment, then looked back in the pool, the smile still on her face. I liked being there, so I just stayed, standing.
“Do you live around here?” I said. She didn’t answer.
“I mean, shouldn’t you be getting home soon? It’s going to get dark. Do you want me to show you the way out? These logs can be dangerous.” I wanted to talk to her, which was odd. I’m usually shy and uncertain, especially with girls. Words can mean so many things, and your tone of voice multiplies that, so you never know exactly what you’ll end up saying, much less meaning. So this was the first time I’d talked so many sentences to a stranger, and/or to a woman, or any female, since probably I was a child.
She looked up at me and smiled, it was partly the same superficial, foolish smile, but partly healthy and friendly.
I didn’t know what that meant, so I stared at her face. She had brown eyes, with blonde eyebrows, like I told you. The brown eyes were like, endless. She was about fifteen feet from me. Then her gaze left me again.
“Have you come to tell me something?” she asked the water. I thought and frowned at that.
We were quiet again. Then, as I watched, she slowly leaned over and dropped off the log, splashing head first into the cold black pool without even changing her sitting position. I reacted slowly. At first her legs shot straight up and kicked, then they sank and only her boots were left at the surface by the time I reacted. I scrambled across the rock and to my knees, slamming them on the pool’s stone edge. I almost went in myself.
I could just see her boot under the water, maybe a foot down. I grabbed. The water was freezing. My fingers slicked off the boot. I reached into the water with both arms, two feet down, to grab her boot above the ankle with both hands. I just got it. I pulled. How slowly that body, that weight, moved! I’d always considered myself a sort of semi-superman, like you do when you’re sixteen, and this was one of the few times in my life so far when I was shocked by how puny my strength was against something bigger. The other time was when I was six or so, and my uncle tied me to a telephone pole and went away and I couldn’t bust the rope with my chest or arms. I remember the fear and panic that climbed in me. It was the same now, I was pulling with all my might, and she was only coming inches closer to me. I kept tugging. I yelled at her, swearing. I huffed and pulled again, my stomach clenching in a knot tighter than a mattress’s wire coils, my thighs pressing with all their might against the rock to keep me anchored, my head bursting with effort. She kicked at me, slowly, but hard enough to send pain through my fingers where her boot heel caught them. That angered me. In a stupid senseless fit of frustration, I jumped into the pool to grab her and somehow haul her out. But there was no “purchase,” as they call it, nowhere for my feet to grab and stand. The water was freezing. My testicles felt like a hammer had smashed them, and my belly screamed with cold. I was shaking, gasping, clutching, trying to grab her, I was thrashing around wildly. I’m pretty sure I got her, I felt material slip into my hands and out, that space jacket or ski pant material, and I’m pretty sure 1 felt a breast, full and squishy, and other things my hands and hips bumped into, but I couldn’t seem to grab a firm hold on her, I was too busy thrashing. Now I knew the pool was one of the deeper ones. I had no idea how far down it went, but there was no bottom I could feel. I started to cry, not from fear, but – for God’s sakes, do you know what love is? In that minute I loved her and was crying because she was dying. Because I couldn’t get her out. I couldn’t do it. In a minute I’d have to save myself or I’d drown. The cold takes all your strength away, it seeps out of you like juice from a cut ripe peach. By some miracle, my hand swept across a branch that hadn’t been cut from the log above me, and in case you don’t know, there’s no better hold than a fresh sappy branch from a hemlock or spruce or fir, the sap literally glues your hand to it, and you can’ break a fresh fir branch without twisting and pulling and tearing. I grabbed and my spirit soared, like an exclamation mark. I grabbed and somehow had the cuff of her pant leg in my hand, in a strong hold, and I pulled her a bit and then grabbed higher, and pulled and grabbed again, until I had worked my free hand right up to her waist, and she was starting to curve in the water from this pulling, I could see her back starting to appear out on the water away from me, out of reach. I pulled again, and made a grab for her jacket, and got it. Jesus, I was cold. Her jacket was looser, easier to grab. I pulled and grabbed again, and again, slowly pulling her upper back, then her shoulders closer – then, I had her collar. I pulled her toward me. I yanked her up to my chest. She wasn’t moving. She must have blacked out. I got the same strange dead feeling as from the shot man. But different. That was a dangerous, sharp, frightened dead feeling. This was a – almost a beautiful dead feeling, not that it felt good, but that the dead thing was beautiful and serene and cold in a strange way. But I yanked my arm around her throat and caught her in the crook of my arm, like a chokehold, except I was trying to keep her from floating away. Jesus it was cold. I was almost senseless now. The cold takes away your thoughts, so you just don’t, can’t think. I was just cold. But I was angry, too, or somehow fired up. Not exactly angry, but fired up.
I didn’t have a clue how to get her and me up on the rock and out of the pool. I couldn’t think. I just pulled her up tighter, turned both of us toward the rock about four feet away, and then shoved her as hard as I could toward the rock. This didn’t create much motion. I shoved for ten or twenty seconds, or a minute, and slowly, slowly her bulk drifted toward the rock, closer and closer. Then her head was going under, and I let her go. I grabbed the branch with both hands and propelled myself awkwardly toward the rock. Two strokes and I was there. I pulled myself half out, then reached around and grabbed her hair. It was floating on the water. I pulled now, and for some reason it was easier. I was fired up. I wasn’t cold any longer. My skin burned with a roaring pain, my whole chest burned and my legs burned as hot as matches. I yanked on that golden hair and her head came up, her face, I had her shoulders level with the rock edge, a smooth flat bit of rock, I was standing, knees bent, her hair wrapped in my hands, pulling with all my body. Slowly, I brought her shoulders onto the rock. I kept pulling and she rolled over somehow in the water, and I thought that was dangerous so I dropped her hair and grabbed at her armpits and got a hold somehow and pulled again. Now I was sitting or lying on the rock, and bit by bit, pulling her on her back, I got her shoulder blades over, then the small of her back, then I grabbed between her legs and pulled her around, which was easier than pulling her straight out, and now I had her all out except one arm. I threw myself on her and grabbed that damn arm and jerked it up so it went oddly, almost gracefully, rising into the air, hovering, then smashed down on my face. I pulled her now totally clear onto the rock, on her back. She was a sodden mess. I was a sodden mess. But the burning kept up. My arms and hands were shaking uncontrollably, but I only felt the burning. I tried to pump her chest like you see on teevee, but I didn’t think it was working, and my hands would not stay on her chest, they were so weak, and my muscles didn’t work. Even my chest and legs were shaking violently. I tried using the stumps that my wrists were, but I suspected I was too weak. I threw myself on her, grabbed her face and head as best I could, I was shaking so bad I had to press myself against her and grind her face into mine, to try that breathing thing you see on teevee. I couldn’t keep our mouths together and get a seal with our lips because I was shaking. So I pressed my mouth as hard as I could against her neck to stop my shaking, it worked a bit, then slid my face up to hers, cutting her chin and lips with my teeth, cruel and hard until I felt her mouth, and now I clamped it on, grabbing her hair to hold my shaking head against her. I breathed in my nose and expelled into her mouth. It wasn’t working. I don’t know how, but I got a shaking finger into her mouth, pried it open, then breathed in. I just kept doing that for a few times. Not a lot of times, just a few, because the warmth, the burning had started to fade and a deep cold was setting into me, a deep tired cold, and I lay half on her and half off, I slowly let my head lay down on hers, without breathing into her any more, I just lay, staring horizontally at the cold bright air, over the pond, at the logs, the air was so bright and the sky was gold above and turning pink, and I just watched. I felt peaceful, and the shivering didn’t stop, but it didn’t bother me any more, and there were long queer stretches where I wasn’t shivering any more.

To be Continued.