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Tag: John Uren

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37

She scaled up her efforts to find out what it was in the air. Her rounds of the coffee houses got slightly frantic. She crossed the border sometimes now, to The Sippin’ Lizard in Flint or The Red Door in Detroit. In February she went to see The Beatles land in New York. After that she ventured there the odd time. Bob Dylan at The Gaslight did similar kind of stuff to the air as Joni did back home. The vibe was everywhere, but all in all for some reason still nowhere as strong as at The Depression. And nowhere else did Juno get that feeling that she sort of, almost, kind of belonged.

Jock grew a little moustache and developed a taste for cigarettes and whiskey. Since alcohol didn’t have any effect on Juno he got quite a reputation. In March John sold up. Clearly he’d got itchy feet and longed to move on to greater things than Alberta. Just like Juno. But who wound up running her favourite basement? None other than David Wiffen. Juno spent night after night waiting for the chance to make Jock leave the building and Juno enter, so she could get that rare pleasure of talking to a guy who was temporarily an equal.

Months passed that way and another summer began. Juno hardly ever saw daylight. She didn’t even go to ‘The West’s Greatest Hootenanny’ in July, which was part of the Calgary Stampede and organized by ex-Depression John. She was real tired now. Tired of putting spells on her parents, tired of not having a companion, tired of her life. There seemed no point in having Magic powers. Not if all you ended up doing was sit in a basement desperately waiting for one guy to get drunk and one girl to sing. Even if the latter did have a proper guitar now.

Then, over a year after she’d last met him, Juno saw Kent Keogh at the Inquisition.

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36

But where to after that? That was the question Juno still wasn’t at all keen on, once she’d calmed down.

At The Depression that night the protest songs weren’t on hold. Folks were saying that the dead president had just been beginning to see the light, that he’d decided to bring a thousand troops home from Vietnam by Christmas. Some said that what would come now could only be worse.

They were proved right within days. As I’m sure you’re aware, the thousand troops stayed in Vietnam and the man who shot Kennedy dead was shot dead.

And Juno stayed officially in school. When her birthday came ’round, she still hadn’t figured out what to tell grandma and pop. Nothing and nowhere she could think of, not Paris, New York, Toronto or Rome, called to her strongly enough for her to give up her cozy set-up for good. It was nice to have someplace familiar to lay your head.

She put a blanket spell on Templeton Secondary, as Templeton Junior High was now called after the addition of grades eleven and twelve, for everybody attending the school in any capacity to forget all about her. It wasn’t an ideal solution, but it didn’t impact on people’s lives in any major way and was therefore low-maintenance. It would have to do for now. (‘Kids sure are weird at this age,’ Doris’s mom said to grandma sometime around Christmas. ‘Our two must’ve fallen out real good this time. I asked Doris how Juno got on with that Spanish paper and all she said was, “Who?” Can you credit it!’ ‘No,’ replied grandma, wondering if it could be the change already that made sensible Mrs Martin fantasize Juno had anything to do with a Spanish newspaper. Yes, grandma and pop had had some low-impact, low-maintenance spelling done to them, too. The fact that school had anything to do with tests and reports would’ve come as a real surprise to them right then.)

Juno knew she was only buying time. But she hoped, how she hoped that something would happen any day now to tell her what to do. She sure felt like she was breathing nothing but expanding intensity.

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33

Jock the art student became Juno’s main Depression persona. She found that here she actually liked fading into the background a little, and hearing people talk about music and politics and stuff that was going on, which gave her a chance to try and figure out what that feeling in the air might be all about. She even came to enjoy being talked to in a relaxed way, and talking to people that way too. Folks seemed to like Jock. In the afternoons she sometimes had him strolling ’round the Alberta College of Art and Design, so he’d be seen by the Depression regulars among the students. One of them turned out to be none other than Joni Anderson. Looking at all the silent paintings and drawings and sculptures while the leaves drifted past the windows actually made Juno feel kind of calm for a change. 

For a little while the plundering of her coffers slowed almost to a halt.

Jock only got occasional nights off, when Juno reckoned that Peter, John and Joni deserved a break from his face, and once when David Wiffen passed through and she went as herself. That night he was sober, though. He still managed to hold off furtively scratching his balls until after each final chord had rang out, but when Juno went up to talk to him as soon as he’d finished his third and last set, he looked like all the headlights in the world were bearing down on him, just like the rest of them.