My introduction to Luc and the friendship that followed instilled my life with a holy glow. The whole affair has become even more important in hindsight. Having obsessively analyzed Luc, my subject over the past five years, I am convinced that my association with him (and perhaps, with everyone I have ever met) is nothing short of the work of the divine. Maybe this is simply a navel-gazing, manic and excited account of one convinced that everything is, indeed, holy: ‘God is alive, magic, afoot!’, all that jazz. Like when you’re walking home and a particular street light inevitably either turns on or off as you walk underneath it and you assume it, an inanimate object, is doing its best to bow at your feet in spite of the undeniable fact that you are drunkenly stumbling home in order to vomit and masturbate (in that order) into familiar, dirty toilet. It’s really easy to get wound up, you know? I do, I did and, I do. You’ve been warned.
That being said, meeting Luc was, perhaps, the most important moment in my life thus far. In the midst of the stink, the bull-shit and the fury of all those years at the Butcher Shop, I had no idea what they would, in time, come to mean to me. At once a baptism and an escape from, and back into, infancy, a ten year sentence and an education. While working at the Butcher Shop, I caught only glimpses of the truth and the life I would receive during my time amongst meat. I found a host of fathers during those years, but they were all mere whispers, prophesying the gigantic yawp of he, who would eventually greet me at the doorway to my manhood with stained lips and comical moustache.
It was he who turned me on to the nobility of the animal, carnal intelligences that are hidden, or even worse, despised by men. A light in the darkness of the dank, cool confines of the sound proof walls of lonesome butcher shop. Many who bore witness to Luc’s light were burned by it. Unused to a raw, angelic and, yes, at times, demonic force, most cast Luc off as a brute and a letch. Some, however, were able to recognize the strange manifestation of truth among us. On us, consequently, lay the honorous duty of bearing witness to he who came, seemingly only leave us: when Luc left, we were all tragically alone.
For those who received him as he was intended, as a gift, a precious memory, not meant to disappear into grey skull, but to burn brilliant, illuminating the impenetrable darkness of foggy, grey-stone prairie night, were blessed and word spread. In these days, conquered by spirit and soul imaginations and longings, in these very hours, hours in which the flesh is constantly forsaken, Luc reminds us that we are not the sons and daughters of spirit alone. He commands to enter in, once again, to the creamy, white-milk profundity of the carne; he offers to lead us into our own, peculiar enlightenments as well as equally enlightening destruction. That’s the tough part; that is where we get into trouble.
And Luc’s Soul was made flesh and dwelt among us. And the flesh was made spirit, forcing us to remember. We bore witness to his Truth and beheld his glory, his infinite splendor. He came to us in yellowed rags, huge eyebrows and moustache. Yet, many were unable to comprehend Luc’s light. He smoked with us. Word was made tangible, but it was sucked into the same miserable vent as all the rest: pipes filled with his profane, yellow speech, almost bursting before they emptied into then-clear Alberta blue sky. Many of us looked up, momentarily mistaking it for some yellow, emphysemic cloud. We didn’t know any better, back then.
This is the record of Nick. So, when the head office sends duty-managers to ask, “Who was this man?”, let no mistake be made between he, the subject, and me, his faithful scribe. If any shall ask, “Are you whom ye speak of?” I shall say no, and confess not. And when he, Luc himself, was asked, “Are you he?” He smiled and simply saying, “Fuck you, I’m goin’ for a fuckin’ smoke”.
And though our beast moan baritones were often mistaken over the phone, though he would often take meat orders using my name and customers, upon coming to receive their pound of flesh, would swear it was I who they had spoken to: I remained knowingly baffled and confused. While, on a number of occasions, I was called into the Meat Department’s windowless office, accused of being the man behind the voice who, in the sanitary mist, had baptized shocked customers’ ears with an eloquent, though vile, form of slander, simply for opening the doors to our lair, I would say, “It is not I, for I am not able to even comprehend that kind of verbal jazz lunacy. My argument, though simple, was sound. I kept tight lipped for most of my time there.
There were many, during my years in the Butcher Shop, who saw me as the light, the one hope in the midst of blood and music and bone, for I was somewhat separated from the place, curiously uninvested. But when they asked me who I was, I just smiled and said, “Have you met my friend Luc?”
“Him? He’s from Ontario! Nothing good comes from out East. He is always dripping with sweat and blood and burger and anger!” They were blinded by Luc’s tremendous light.
Sometimes, Luc happened upon us in our eager chatter: “Hey, you—fuckin’ fag!” Our collective eye would instantly become a-glaze, affronted by the Luc’s linguistic alloy of homophobia and vulgarity. And yet I know that he might be an example to all of the brave. He walked alone, truly alone: wilderness alone. Indefinable by race, creed, or departmental loyalties (for Luc had also worked at the gas-bar and was well-received there too). He was the sheep cast into the desert to die of thirst. I knew him. I knew him not. And yet, I saw him adorned in light and rags. He received a blessing from his mother above, a crow descended; it was good.
In the days that were to come, many would follow him but many more despised him. He transferred from store to store quite frequently- never setting down deep root. Miraculously, though, his seed bore fruit. There was a small group of people who attempted to remain in his company, who transferred stores a couple of times, in order to keep up; he always returned to the Richmond Center, the most despised of stores, talking over smokes and endless coffee of possibly assembling an “A-Team” there. He spoke in spring’s early morning light and a murder of crows gathered around the bone barrel feast he had prepared for them at the band saw. The sky broke under the weight of light and warmed the black backs of bird. And it was good.