FIDO CASTRATO nipped and tucked away – Of dogs and dictators.
Back in the 70s when I worked for a store-front lawyer in The Purnt, as the locals called Pointe St Charles (old-timey working class district in Montreal South), a yelping tan dog that had just been hit by a speading car on Wellington St. limped through the open door of our humble establishment and into my life. It was Summer. I took the dog home with me because I had a car and after a visit to the vet for an x-ray, my boyfriend and I nursed him back to health. For some reason we called him Mario. He made a speedy recovery after two weeks and we considered keeping him but thought we should at least try and find his rightful owners, just in case they wanted him back. And so in the evenings after we’d finish work, the three of us would drive down to the Purnt and walk through the various neighbourhoods, French, Irish/Scottish, Polish-Ukrainian, asking anybody and everybody if they recognized him. Nobody ever did. I think we even made a sign which we hung around his neck or my neck explaining where he’d been found. There were always lots of people & kids about trying to keep cool outside on a sultry Summer’s evening (sultry is a mite too romantic a word to describe an evening in The Purnt.) Old women in rocking chairs on sidewalks, day-labourers on their stoops sucking on stubbies and kids playing ball-hockey in the middle of the street. And everybody smoked even the babies. Ok you had to be at least four to light-up. The Imperial Tobacco plant was nearby. After a few unsuccessful tries at reuniting Mario with his family we lucked out one night. As I remember it we were on a little shady sidestreet of two-up two-downs with grey facades when three small blond children spotted him and began running towards him calling him by what was his real name. Fidel, Fidel, Fidel. He ran off to them taking our leash with him and never looked back. So long Mario, hello Fidel.
So long Fidel. Hello Raul.
Some friends have just had a baby girl and one of her given names is Che.