Moncton, the Hub City of the Maritimes, was recently terrorized by Justin Bourque, a resident of a local trailer park, and as I watched the story unfold from the unnervingly safe distance of Saint John, I became aware that this person was strangely familiar to me. That’s when I remembered a conversation I had with this individual at a collectors show a few years ago.
CS (cowardly shooter seems an appropriate moniker, since I wasn’t aware of his name until recent events): Whoa, cool! [Pointing at a 1974 OPC hockey card of Larry Robinson] Check out the facial hair on that dude. And that stare, that’s intense – you can see the determination in his eyes. I wouldn’t want to run into that guy in an alley. How much?
Me: It’s only $5, it has a couple soft corners.
CS: Don’t we all. These old cards crack me up. Look at the sideburns on some of these fuckers. And the goalies didn’t wear masks, that’s real boss. Men were really men back then, everybody fightin’ and shit – not held back by those pansy-assed pigs in stripes. They can’t do nothin’ these days, they’ve even added an extra pig to suppress those players even more, but who’s watchin’ them? [He looked up, making eye contact with me for the first time] You know what I mean?
Me: [A little unnerved by his stare] Well, the league watches them, I would imagine.
[Thankfully, he looked back down at the cards]
CS: Yeah, sure, a fuckin’ whole hell-of-a-lot of good that does. They need another player in that role, maybe some bad-ass retired fighter who knows what it means to have to be out there every game tryin’ to live your life without the man getting all in-your-face about it. Fuckers. You got a Claude Lemieux card? He was a cool player.
Me: No, I didn't bring any.
[His eyes see something in my case] Oh, fuck man, now we’re talkin’ – it’s a goddam Patrick Roy rookie card! Can I see it?
[I hand him the card]
Here’s a real man, he goes about his job quietly, while others keep trying to humiliate him, show him up, but he keeps blockin’ that little fuckin’ puck and givin’ them the finger and, when they least expect it, boom! He fucks them up – pummels some wimpy little American goaltender that’s too cowardly to even drop his gloves. That dude's got his shit together. [He looks up at me again] His son plays hockey too, did you know that? [I nod and he looks back down to the card] What a great father, I wish he was my dad. I bet he doesn’t slap his kid every time the little bastard does something stupid. Some day I hope a girl will let me have a kid with her. I’d be a great dad. No stupid fuckin’ rules for my kid and I’ll teach him to hunt and fish and all the important stuff you need to survive in this fucked up world.
[He pauses for a long time, seeming to look at the card, but his eyes have glossed over and it’s clear he’s not exactly present. Then he gives his head a shake]
Me: I need $200 for that.
CS: Yeah, I thought so. Some day I’ll buy all the Patrick fuckin’ Roy rookie cards I want and all those fuckers will wish they were me.
[He looks up at me]
I’ll show them, I really will.