Jesus of Vancouver: the Left Coast Memoirs

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Chapter 2: Ambition and Desire

The small boy that was born in the suburbs of Winnipeg was always a unique child. For example, he never cried, ever. He could also read fluently before most of his classmates had picked up a book, and he loved animals more than humans. He was the son of a Russian man with a dark side, and a mother that only knew love. He was not raised by the Russian man though. He was raised by a stepfather and a pack of wild hippies on a farm in the rural countryside surrounding Winnipeg, after the family had escaped the violence his real father emanated in drunken rages. The time on the farms, surrounded by a community of men and women from the Age of Aquarius, helped heal him from his troubled childhood and the violence his life began with.

Commune life ended abruptly when the boy was eleven, when the family inherited some money from a long-lost relative in England. The idea of electricity and indoor washrooms inspired them all to move westward with that money. The shock and excitement of this move, from parochial hippie life to the redneck culture of a west-coast logging town, had its effect. Alcohol became an option for the young man in this town famous for its drinking, as did evenings out with new friends, smoking pot and cigarettes. Days were spent skipping school, playing pool in the local arcade, and all the other pastimes of a young life in a resource extraction town. The logging culture directly contrasted the peaceful hippie world he came from in the prairies, and it was at a time in his life when he was very susceptible to the social pressures around him.

For this narrative, we will call the boy Jesus. The intention is not to describe him as a messiah or even a religious figure. In fact, he was quite the opposite. This Jesus rejected religion and any other supernatural experience wholeheartedly - until certain moments affected him in ways that left him unable to deny there was more to this world than what his senses and mind could possibly comprehend. As you’ll see in this narrative, if there was a higher power in Jesus’ life, it must have liked him.

This Jesus created values in the communities that he spent time in, often telling other kids what was wrong and right, and he did his best to empower those that needed it. He also certainly had others follow in his footsteps, as he created a path for those around him, showing them how life could be lived to its fullest. Whenever life brought him a decision to help someone that needed it, Jesus went out of his way to provide for those that he saw deserved this kind of time and energy.

This man may not fully deserve the nickname Jesus, but for all we know, nor did his namesake, the Christian Jesus we think we know from history. Jesus wasn’t that guy from the middle east’s real name either. It was Joseph. So we’re going to steal the name and make it our own. Like the Jesus before him, this Jesus was just a man trying to make the world a better place than when he got there. For that reason alone, his story deserves to be told, and we get to call him whatever we want.

Jesus came to live in a small, logging town on Vancouver Island in the early eighties. He migrated with his family from Manitoba to the logging town called Duncan, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. His family had enough money to rent a nice house on the edge of town with running water, power, and all the things he wished he had growing up on the hippie commune back in Manitoba.

Soon after moving to their perceived island paradise, Jesus was kicked out of school for his persistent absenteeism. The move had been troubling for Jesus, and his behavior reflected that. The Principal of Duncan’s Cowichan Senior Secondary School had called him to his office to notify him of the school’s decision.

“You do realize why you are in my office today, son?”

“No idea, and I’m not your son. I already have a dad. Technically, I have two of them.”

“Well, let me tell you, young sir. Cowichan Senior Secondary School has recently attained the title of having British Columbia’s worst record for truancy. You are Cowichan Senior Secondary School’s most absent student. By my reasoning, that makes you the most absent student in the entire province. I’m afraid we are going to have to cut you to help change these statistics. As of now, you are no longer a student in this school.”

“Sounds good to me, Mr. Folton. One thing though. You might want to change the calendar hanging on the wall behind you. Someone has taken a pen and filled in every single day of the month of October with a reminder for you. They have written ‘Wack-off session with Bud Folton’ in every square.”

Expulsion from school meant Jesus could spend his days as he wished. That kind of freedom at that age often leads to dramatic changes when you least expect them, especially with Jesus’ fearlessness for choosing friends, regardless of (or because of) their reputation.

Jesus found the friendship of a particularly cool kid who’d also been kicked out of Cowichan Senior Secondary School in the little town of Duncan. Instead of classes, the pair spent most of their afternoons in the school parking lot. The other boy’s name was Tony and Tony drove a Camaro. Any sixteen-year-old kid that drove a Camaro was tremendously cool in any kid in Duncan's eyes. Jesus was different. Jesus hadn’t planned on being Tony’s friend and wasn’t drawn to him for the Camaro’s remarkable ability for social mobility. He just liked that Tony liked action. It didn’t matter what night of the week it was; Tony wanted to get in his car and seek out the most fun place he could possibly be. It was a daily adventure for him. This shared addiction to action often resulted in the two boys being in the same places at the same times. Friendship became inevitable.

The rumor that Tony may have been gay didn’t trouble Jesus either. In fact, I don’t think Jesus really knew what that meant yet. I mean, he knew it involved guys blowing guys, but that didn’t seem all that troubling to him. It was rather inconsequential at a time when it seemed awfully consequential to many others. They would whisper this bit of gossip to him when Tony wasn’t around.

“Tony’s gay you know.”

“Oh.”

“You better watch out. He’ll try and have butt-sex with you if you fall asleep around him.”

“Hmm. I dunno about that.”

They never seemed to tell Jesus this bit of gossip twice and they never mentioned it when Tony was around. Once they realized Jesus would continue cruising in the passenger seat of Tony’s Camaro, regardless of any suspicions, that conversation ended. Some of the gossipers even asked to join them. Tony and Jesus usually obliged, packing them into the back seat for an evening of beer, pot and back roads patrolled at break-neck speeds. Passengers were especially welcome if they bought the beer, or better yet, the gas. The Camaro mattered more than the beer. Without it, they were just two more kids, walking the streets of Duncan.

Kids on the sidewalk would constantly wave and whistle at Tony’s car to beckon him to stop and pick them up –pick them up and take them anywhere there might be action. The car was a portal and its potential for excitement and its mysterious notoriety held more promise than a day in the park, smoking pot, watching for cops. Inside the leather-bound interior was solace –safety from the sidewalks and the unwanted exposure. They knew once they were behind Jesus and Tony in the back seat of the Camaro, anything could happen.

A culmination of events resulted in Jesus losing his virginity on a warm summer night. It was Swiftsure weekend in Victoria and the Camaro would take them there, two bottles of Southern Comfort and a six-pack of beer along for the ride. Swiftsure was a sailing event that drew thousands to the streets of Victoria, a city that was an hour’s drive south of Duncan. Swiftsure was infamous for the anarchic mayhem it would inspire. The streets would be filled with revellers openly drinking in public, girls waiting to be picked up and boys eager to do the picking. It was action; big action that every kid on the sidewalks of Duncan wanted to be a part of.

Swiftsure was talked about in the hallways of Cowichan High School for weeks. Everyone needed a ride from Duncan to Victoria that weekend, and there were only so many seats in a school where there were only a handful of students old enough to drive and fewer that owned a vehicle. In the days before the notorious weekend, the high school parking lot was a frenzied hive of kids trying to secure a ride down to the action. When they saw Tony’s Camaro cruising past the morning of the event, they knew he would be going and they all wanted in. They waved and whistled like their lives depended on getting in that back seat.

Tony and Jesus didn’t stop. They had made the decision together that the back seat would be left empty on the ride up as it may be required for the girls they were certain they would meet once they got to Victoria. Tony even told Jesus to pretend not to see the kids shouting from the parking lot for him to pull in, but Jesus didn’t listen. He watched them all, and waved and smiled as they drove by.

The trip south into Victoria passed with a blur. The bottles of Southern Comfort poured into songs and imaginations ran wild with anticipated action. Stories from the years before were told and retold, enriched with hyperbole and grandiose conquests for the retelling.

“Parminder made it from the liquor store in Duncan to the liquor store in downtown Victoria in seventeen minutes last year. He had that Trans-Am with the three sixty engine and fifty series tires. I tried to keep up with him, but he was passing every car by driving in the oncoming lane. It was totally fucking insane.”

“Really? Wow. That’s crazy.”

When they reached Victoria, the Southern Comfort was almost gone. Next came the beer. Armed with a bottle apiece, they took to the streets, looking for two girls to fill the back seat. Being on foot was a necessary discomfort suffered reluctantly until two appropriate companions could be found. Tony was extremely aggressive on this expedition. He would saunter up to any pair of reasonably attractive ladies and ask:

“Cheap meaningless sex for a quarter?”

After a few giggles and dirty looks, two girls Jesus had briefly met back in the parking lot of Duncan’s high school engaged Tony confidently.

“Sure, we have two quarters. Let’s go.”

The four of them found themselves walking back to the parking lot where the car was parked. The two women were excitedly chatting about how they knew who Tony was and how they’d always wanted to hang out with him. They introduced themselves as Naomi and Sarah. By the way Naomi ushered Sarah into the back seat with Jesus, he assumed Sarah would be his date. He was wrong.

Tony wasted no time furthering his commitment to provide sex for the fifty cents Naomi had given him. He drove out of the downtown core and cruised up the main street of Esquimalt, where all the tourist motels were located. Naomi was stroking the inside of Tony’s thigh and sipping the remains from his Southern Comfort bottle as they debated which motel would suffice. Sarah, in the backseat with Jesus, was far less thrilled at where this was going.

“Umm... I’ve changed my mind. I think I just want to go home. Or, even just take me back down the street and I’ll walk back downtown.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Tony turned the Camaro around and dropped Sarah off back at the edge of downtown. Then he stopped the car in a gas station, turned to Naomi and asked:

“Well, you did pay the fifty cents. Would you do us both?”

“Sure. Sounds like fun.”

The Camaro returned to the street with the motels and one was selected quickly this time. Tony went in to the front office and paid for the evening’s stay. Jesus and Naomi waited in the car silently until Tony re-emerged from the office, waving for them to join him up the outside staircase that led to the rooms on the second floor. As Jesus and Naomi crossed the motel parking lot to join him, the motel manager came running out.

“Hey, there are three of you! I need more money!”

Tony crumpled up a ten-dollar bill and threw it off the second-floor balcony where it landed beside the manager. This seemed to placate him. He picked it up and returned to his office.

Once inside the motel room, Tony got right down to business. He had Naomi undressed in minutes and then proceeded to undress himself. Slightly uncomfortable at seeing Tony naked, Jesus went to the washroom, closed the door and waited. The sounds of Tony and Naomi moaning quickly erupted from the room on the other side of the bathroom door. There was a pause in the action after about ten minutes.

“Hey, it’s your turn. Come out of the washroom. Don’t be a chicken-shit.”

Jesus didn’t move and he didn’t reply. The moaning resumed.

After what seemed like eternity and three crescendos of grunting and bed springs bouncing, the noise in the room outside the washroom ended. Jesus waited another fifteen minutes, just to be sure they were asleep. He was getting tired, as the effects of the alcohol had now worn off. Opening the door enough to pass through it, Jesus made his way to the opposite side of the bed from Tony, leaving Naomi in the middle, and he gently laid down. After a few minutes, Naomi rolled over and whispered in Jesus’ ear:

“Don’t you want to have sex with me too?”

Jesus thought about this opportunity for a moment. He knew that Tony would tell all the kids in the parking lot he had chickened out if he didn’t follow through with the offer. Jesus had always wondered what sex was like and here it was, being offered so freely.

“Sure.”

Jesus climbed on top of Naomi and had sex. It was great for about a minute. Then it was over and it became something else; it was really kind of a gross feeling that sat in his stomach. He laid there staring out the yellow-flowered plastic curtains at the street lights outside, wondering if that was all that sex was supposed to be: quick and kind of gross afterwards. He stared at the lights for another half hour. Then, he woke Naomi up and had sex again. It was still quick and still just as gross afterwards. Her body smelled like Tony and the liquor wasn’t sitting well in his stomach. At least he wasn’t a virgin anymore.

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