Register Friday | April 12 | 2024
Field Recording: Heard in St. Henri Photograph by Justine-time.

Field Recording: Heard in St. Henri

From the collection Malgré tout on rit à Saint-Henri (Le Quartanier). Translation by Melissa Bull.

Couvent Street, a bunch of students after school

It’s not the kind of thing you want to have happen to you—it’s just not. I wasn’t trying to piss anyone off. I was chilling on my own, sitting on the ground and organizing my Dofus cards in order of Stamina. My PSP was open beside me and I’d paused my God of War game. Then Simon Gervais, that fuckin’ asshole, wasn’t paying attention and he went and stepped on it, the shit. It was game over and I hadn’t even saved. Had to go back past the Olympus boss again. Right, so I got up, I said, Gervais, you fuckin’ fat moron, you deleted my game. The pile of lard just looked at me with his acne face. I was super pissed. So, like, I’d decided to fight it out, except I’d had pizza for lunch and my lactose intolerance kicked up full force, all of a sudden. I cramped up, dude, so hard, I just wanted to shit so bad that it all came out when Gervais sort of pushed me on the shoulder. It was just a little pansy shit, but when I felt it in my underpants, my eyes got, like, big as saucers. I dropped all my Dofus cards. I couldn’t move. Fuckin’ stuck on the spot. Man, it’s not the kind of thing you want to have happen to you. So I had to ask my mom if I could change schools. But she said forget it—it’s this or private school.

Restaurant Bitoque, a man and a woman on a blind date

It’s stupid, but seeing her so sad like that, crying buckets, reminded me of when I was in med school, of this human anatomy and dissection class, yeah, that’s was it was, when my dad’s cadaver showed up in front of me. I had the lancet in my left hand, and despite the fact that a technician had covered his face with a washcloth, I recognized my father quite easily. His penis and everything, the giant mole under his nipple. He’d died the week before—no one had told me he was giving his body to science. No one had warned me. My mother never told me.
My mother never tells me anything, that’s why when I saw her crying like that I couldn’t say anything. She didn’t say anything either. We didn’t say anything because we never say anything, and I just thought of that time, that morning when everything was going bad in my life, really bad, my dad had just died of a heart attack out of the blue, my girlfriend had just left me for Pierre Lapointe, telling me she was sure sure sure she could turn him around, but you never met him, you just dig his music and his forced French-from-France voice, and anyway he’s totally gay.

She said no one cares no one cares, like, a whole bunch of times in a row, slamming the door to the residence, so I’d showed up to class kind of out of breath, you know. I was just at the point where I was asking myself about the future of my career in medicine when the technician pushed the stretcher into the room, whistling the melody from Columbarium, and he stopped right in front of me.

He smiled at me without malice. I had the lancet in my left hand and despite the washcloth the technician had placed over the cadaver’s face I recognized my father immediately. The backs of his hands were salt and pepper, he had a scar by his belly-button, wrinkled toes, knees like melted knots. Everything just jumped out at me. I decided that was it. It was too much. I left the room. I never went back. But anyway. I don’t want to bore you. Enough about me.

St. Ferdinand Street, basketball players

Dude, I don’t know, but I just had my shower, listen to this: I was soaping up my back, my ass, all that, when I heard this metallic sound. I turned around, listen to this—there was a nickel by the drain. I picked it up, you know, asking myself some serious questions. I opened the curtain and tossed it on the ceramic floor. That’s it. Now I just remembered I forgot to pick it up when I got out of the shower. I was whistling and putting in my contact lenses. I was thinking about other stuff. I’m kind of dumb, I should have taken my shower after the game. Anyway. It’s probably still there.