I wrote the script Ferges in Newfoundland as in my third year of Film at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Based on my hitchhiking trip shared in Young Chronicles VII – XX of this blog, it details experiences and conversations from the Newfoundland section of the trip. I have no idea why I called the main character Ferges, except that I wanted a name that was different.
The idea was to have Ferges act as a fly on the wall for different perspectives – RCMP officers, poachers, zealots, old-timers, single mothers, ragamuffins – so that the reader go a small picture of the people of the island.
But it doesn’t work, because Ferges is pretentious and the secondary characters serve only as explication.
Nobody does anything except Ferges, who hitchhikes across Newfoundland in one day so that he can take a boat to the French island of St. Pierre Miquelon. Why? None of it is explained.
Just a gentle reminder that the pandemic is still a thing, that we need to maintain social distancing, that vaccines are the next step, that another pandemic is coming, that black lives matter, that for society to work, we actually have to act responsibly, that it isn’t up to somebody else, but each one of us, that the rich are getting much richer and nothing is going to stop any of that, that leaving for another planet isn’t an answer but I wish it was.
I finally got out of the city for some exercise and air. Most on the trails were courteous and respectful regarding the mask. They either already had it in place or quickly slipped it on as we passed.
Others not so much.
When asked how I was doing by an older white fellow without his mask, I replied, “I would be doing better if you were wearing a mask.” His reply: “I don’t believe in that stuff.“
Further down the trail, a second man, similar age, ethnicity and lack of mask, replied with a chant, arms in the air, “Vaccinated! Vaccinated! Vaccinated!” I reminded him that I and many others still were not.
I left, half expecting her to be beside me, but she wasn’t and I found myself alone on a darkened path going toward the harbor. I listened to the sound of my shoes on the cement, sharp and clear and then gone.
There was always death, an expiring, a no longer. The world as only I know it – my memories – all of that done. Then nothing, a stone, dead and gone. Whatever I did, good or bad, it was just some story.
I’ve seen death hanging about lately, mostly in odd faces and dreams. Not Death death. More like vice principal death, the sort that stands there, arms crossed, desperate for attention and has a bad temper.
Anyway, amidst my physical therapy appointments and travel plans, death cropped up in my messages. It wasn’t a surprise, given the many mortality-based messages I’ve opened as of late.
The message from death was better news that I had expected. A room had opened up with a view of the desert. And so I booked that.
They were down from the mountain, the sun hazy through the low trees, so much hotter here, already past the conservancy camp, walking along the rocky edge, when Apollo ran ahead through the tidal pools and leapt at a hawk on the rocks.
Everything else scattered – cormorants, boobies, sea lions and crabs – as Apollo pinned the bird, the frantic brown bird fighting back, catching Apollo with its beak and talons in rapid succession.
“Apollo! No!” Dee stumbled down the rock face.
Apollo held hard to the bird as it flopped around, reared up, spasmed and shrieked.
“Let it go!” Dee yelled at him. “Drop it!”
Apollo hunched away from Dee, gripping the bird firmly.
“Apollo! I said drop it!”
“What the fuck, man.” Pax arrived from the other side of the pool. “Seriously, what the fuck.”
“Galapagos Hawk.” Dee sighed. “It’s a threatened species.”
Reviewing my notes for the Young Chronicles section of this blog reminds me of how little I had a sense of who I was as a young man. More to the point, it makes me realize how much I remain the same person. My sense of self lost in mist.
I am a writer. I know that. I’ve been writing for 37 years – novel after screenplay after novel – but remain unpublished. I’ve also taught for 22 years and enjoyed that. But I feel more the actor on that stage. I do not belong there, as administrations remind me again and again.