Dan of the Galapagos (4 of 7)

March 2018

NQonline.ca is pleased to share new work by St. John’s playwright, Monica Walsh. We’ll be publishing Dan of the Galapagos in its entirety over the course of the next several months. See the cast of characters and the first installment here.You can also read installment 2 and 3. Enjoy! 

(Dan reflects on a simpler time in his life when he was a drummer in a two-piece band)

Narrator: Dan thinks back to the incident with his cousin Doug White, who is also in his 30s. Dan and Doug were once in a very casual band. Dan played drums, Doug guitar. They played favourites and covers, and were especially good at the song 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. Dan and Doug played around town, and at certain bars they were quite popular. They wouldn’t t make much money, but enough to buy some alcohol and get a cab home. They always had a tip jar – that’s where they made the most of their money. So one evening, after a night where people seemed to like all the songs, Dan felt confident that there would be fairly decent money in the tip jar. At least 20 dollars each. Dan begins to tell the story to Ralph, who has often wondered about Dan’s family.

Dan: So, after we’re done, I gets up and goes to the bathroom. When I come back, there’s Doug, going through the tip jar. I seen Doug pocket a 20 dollar bill. The bar tender would change up our tips with $20s, like when he needed change. I never cared about him taking the $20 at first, I thought maybe Doug needs it for something and he will replace it later. So I goes up to get a drink. Doug comes up to the bar.

Doug: Not a bad set!

Dan: Not bad at all!

Narrator: Dan is pleased with himself. He really felt he hadn’t messed up once that night. Doug goes over to get the tip jar.

Doug: Oh my. Not a very generous crowd.

Narrator: He dumps it out on the bar. In it there is a $5 bill, three twoonies, three loonies, and a few quarters.

Doug: Well b’y we can either spend this here on beer, or use it for a cab home.

Narrator: Doug and Dan don’t live far from each other, or the bar. Dan stares at Doug, confused.

Dan: Wait now – what? That’s it?

Doug: Yes. I know – slow night.

Dan: But … what were you doing with that twenty dollar bill I seen you putting in your pants when I walked out of the bathroom?

Doug: What twenty dollar bill?

Dan: The twenty dollar bill I seen you with just a minute ago, you took it out of the tip jar and put it in your pocket. It’s probably still there.

Narrator: It was.

Doug: OH!

Doug coughs a little, takes out a smoke.

Doug: That twenty dollars belonged to Matt (the bartender). See, I told him he could take some of the tip money – like he’s not making anything here working, you knows no one tips him – I felt bad, all these nights, we make more than him! So I told him a few months back, I said some night take twenty dollars or whatever you want from the tip jar, even it out a little!

Dan: I’m like, wait now . This is something we never talked about. I mean, its’ ok to share … but this happens all the time with Doug, and Doug calls all the shots. It is easy to take over around me I spose. So Doug goes outside for a smoke. I sits down, drinks my Blue Star. A few minutes later, Doug comes back in. I look at him, he puts a fresh $20 into the machines. So then Matt the bartender comes up to me, says Can you spot me twenty dollars? I want to put some in the machines, but the cameras will notice if I take it from the cash and I am broke.

Narrator: Dan and Doug had an awkward evening after that. Doug was intoxicated, and didn’t quite notice, but Dan was seeing things through new eyes. He kept looking at Doug, wondering if he is wrong. Dan is sometimes wrong.

(walking home)

Dan: I’m goin home.

Doug: Already? You’re goin home NOW? Sure it’s only early.

Dan: I feel like goin. You can stay.

Doug: No, b’y, I’ll go wichu. DON”T GO WITHOUT ME hahahahahahahahahaha.“

Dan: come on b’y, if you’re coming, come on.

(Dan is too kind to leave Doug in the bar in the drunk state that he is. They leave the bar.)

Doug: Lets see who’s over to Koolers’.

Dan: No, b’y. Can’t. Besides, I got no money left.

Doug: Waiinow, you needs to get a cab. You needs to pay for it, I got no money.

Narrator: (However, Dan knows he is not wrong right now. Dan is always the nice guy. He is always the one who does the favours, the one who doesn’t’ get the girl, the one who is last to be chosen and first to be bossed around. But that night in Ropewalk Lane, he walked home a different man. Something snapped. Dan feels he is like a salmon, only a weird salmon that instead of returning home, has an overwhelming urge to leave it. She was happy for him. But he had picked a spot at random on a globe. There was a plastic EARTH at the It Store in the Avalon Mall.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Dan of the Galapagos, coming soon!

The Healers

BY Shannon Webb-Campbell

While I was home in Newfoundland this past summer, I was given a copy of a series of graphic novels by David Alexander Robinson dubbed Tales from Shadow River, illustrated stories about Indigenous people (Highwater Press). The Healer: Mary Webb, retells the life of my paternal great-great-grandmother, Mary Webb, a Mi’kmaq healer and midwife to 700 babies around Bay St Georges on NL’s west coast.