Welcome back, folks. So that wasn’t exactly the end. This is getting like those songs that seem to fade out, then they start up again.
Scuse me while I ramble. I’m turning into you know who.
Honest, I thought it was the end when I said that about never seeing him again. Mark, that is. I’d listened to his tape. Yep, same one I’m talking on now, you’re listening to. I didn’t figure we’d ever meet up again after that. And then we did.
I’ll tell you about that, but first....
See, I had all this other material, you could call it. Wesley’s papers, this other reel of tape, from that envelope Mark found. Stuff he told me to take. So I looked through it. I ended up reading a good part of those typed-up pages, listening to his tape too. I should get hazard pay for wading through all that crap. Glad I did though.
Well, I didn’t go through all of it. I skipped a lot that repeated itself like gas. Specially the tape. Show you, here’s something from not too long ago on the tape. I wrote out some till I got sick of it. Here’s a bit. You have to imagine Wesley speaking in his hushed way like he’s revealing the secret of the universe. I picture him standing by his car like he did when we were travelling with him, balancing the machine on the hood of that car. He’s whispering and whining into this dainty little microphone, looking off in the distance like he’s recording words of wisdom for the future … his vision or something … like a poet looking into what poets look into. See for yourself. It goes something like this. My totally unfair imitation of Wesley.
This morning I awake to find myself standing on a precipice.
I stand poised between the constant absolute and complete relativity.
Most of all, I smell.
I smell it deeply.
I sense it all about me.
It is life, it is the fabric of existence.
I locate my self as present nowhere and everywhere an absence.
This vessel is but a marker to show my essence in the world without being of the world.
I am not to be found there.
My true essence is but a singularity which exists outside space and time.
With the knowledge that this is all a human on this plane can expire to.
This perfect knowledge that all seven levels of life are both relative and absolute at the same time.
The diametrical resolution of opposites.
Oneness with the material world and with the potential immaterial beyond….
Brrrr-rrr. He goes on like this forever. He smells all right. I mighta got some of the words wrong, I mighta mixed it up a bit and I maybe made up some bullshit. Makes no difference. You get the idea. I don’t even have my BS detector going off when I listen to this crap cause there’s nothing there to detect. Except that smell. I admit it, I’m not being fair. This was just Wesley — whadda they say? free associating? Maybe it was for a new book he was working on. Getting it all out before getting down to it, a spiritual exercise. Someone might think it’s poetic or profound. Me, it’s just smelly crap.
Like I said, this was from the tape, his more recent crap. Not exactly surprising. All that time we were travelling in his car, remember, and before and after, he was recording these bits, like his thoughts, observations. Mostly what you’d expect if you knew Wesley. That is, if you knew him the last while. Some of it’s word for word, exact same bullshit we went through with him on the road.
Now the pages, the older stuff, it’s a lot easier to follow, more like a diary. The beginning’s missing but it’s, uh, interesting. Basically the life and times of Wesley Arnold. He’d been recording it on tapes, mailing them off to some secretary of his father’s back in Montreal to, whadya call typing it up? Transcribe, that’s the word I’m looking for. This poor woman back in Montreal transcribing it for him. Probably hated it but she worked for his old man, had to do it, I bet. No way I’m gonna tell you everything on those pages. This is supposed to be about Mark. Still, there were some parts of Wesley’s crap kinda, well, like I say, interesting.
Seems a couple years back Wesley was busted. Actually. Not for demonstrating or politics or anything. He was caught holding half a kilo of hash. He never told us any of this, not a bit. When we were with him on the road and Mark was all freaked out over the cops chasing us from Winnipeg, he never told us the cops had busted him and told him they had him for trafficking. That’s a big thing, could be serious. I dunno if he was actually dealing or pushing. You have to doubt it, cause he didn’t need to, did he? His rich family and everything. But you get caught with a big stash, they automatically make it trafficking. He was looking at some heavy jail time. So he made a deal. I wonder if it was his idea maybe or maybe the Mounties put it to him. He doesn’t say, which makes me think it might be his idea. They musta had him in their files as this activist guy or maybe they figured with his family and everything he’d do anything to protect his name, save his inheritance. I dunno how those things work and he didn’t spell out the messy details. The long and short of it, he’s caught, he makes the deal. Becomes an informer in return for the charges being dropped.
Yep, Wesley was a police agent. How bout that? Petra was right, her suspicions.
I’m not saying it was easy for him, that he wasn’t forced into it. Who wouldn’t make the deal in a situation like that?
All right, I wouldn’t. Though I’d probably give it a moment’s thought over before realizing I couldn’t live with myself. There’s lotsa stuff in his pages agonizing over the right and wrong of it all. In his precious way. Like there’s a place later on he’s raving about it. Where was it? I had it right here — I’ll read just this bit. Remember, this is earlier Wesley.
MY 14: I keep flashing on it, whether what I am doing is morally defensible. No, THIS WILL NOT DO, putting it like that. Whether what I am doing is the moral thing to do is not precisely the question. It is not putting it quite right. I have already been through the pros and cons of that decision at the point when my future was at stake. I am still convinced it was the right thing to do in the circumstances. Consider. Like a doctor I am first creating no harm. Further and more to the point, I am performing a service, despite the fact that neither the state nor those on the other side appreciate it. Perhaps Sergeant Harlin does. As the state’s intermediary he seemed somewhat appreciative of my moral dilemma, perhaps not at first but he came around. Beneath his RCMP officer exterior and despite his initial threats, Harlin has come to reveal a more human understanding than I had at first recognized. Without which I might not have agreed. Nonetheless I doubt anyone else is likely to see it this way, nor would they understand what I am doing here if they knew. They wouldn’t see I am helping save the movement. What the police have inadvertently given me is a secret weapon to use for the movement!! My assessing and passing on of information is solely against the destructive fanatical wing. What I do, I do to blunt their power, to keep them from leading everyone over the edge. I protect us all from actions that would bring compromising charges and pointless violence. I help keep them seriously focused on constructive change, so they can grow stronger. To my regret, I must occasionally demean myself. I am often forced into the role of the clown. This may be the most serious role I have ever played, for it allows me to point up the absurdities in the status quo, to strike at the heart of convention, and at the same time lead the people away from hardline actions that would discredit the peaceful revolution. It was Harlin who first hinted at this, the good I would be doing. Furthermore — and this is the best part — the authorities can and will do nothing to stop me from performing this service. Because they think I am working for them! I am turning the very power they think they have over me against them!! Moreover, I am taking their money to do so. Yes, I did insist on payment. I had to. It is a point of principle. I have a little of my own money, my dividends will eventually kick in. And all I have left of the establishment’s money after covering my own expenses goes to the struggle against the establishment that gave it to me. They fund their own opposition, so to speak. The Loyal Opposition — or so they think! So, yes, I can live with myself, I can live with the morality of what I am doing, what I am doing for the people. It is my side of the contract: ONE FOR ALL!
MAY 17: I have re-read the previous entry and I have to say I completely agree. As far as I go. As far as that earlier Wesley went. For whether I am morally fair to the people before whom I needs must dissemble is no longer a question for internal debate. The deeper question faced by this Wesley you see before you in all my inglorious glory is: Am I being morally fair TO MYSELF? I am splitting my psyche so many ways. Twentieth-century schizoid man. I have that syndrome all right. I am daily adding layers of schiz that most people never experience. I wear a mask twenty-four hours a day against all sides, for I am walking my own fine tightrope with the understanding of neither those who think I work for them nor those I really work for. No one understands what I am ultimately up to or who I ultimately am. Perhaps Harlin. He never pushes me further than where he seems to understand I can go….
On and on. Wesley was saving us all, no one knew his pain except some cop who played him like a fucking fiddle. Poor baby.
He mighta believed his own bullshit too, I dunno. Bet he liked feeling superior to everyone else, secret life and all. He never comes out, says in so many words what he did for the cops. Pages from that time may be missing. Blown away where I found Mark? Or he never put it down in writing. But you can work it out. Mainly informing. Telling them what radical groups were planning. Giving names. I dunno anyone got arrested or anything from what he told. He doesn’t mention anyone anyways. Little things here and there. Misdirected things. Gave warnings. Like for that faculty club occupation. Have to tell Petra about that one, I ever run into her again.
Lotsa stuff on her in those pages. Lots. Like he’s carrying on an argument with her she didn’t know was going on. She obviously bugged him. I could be wrong but I don’t figure he ever informed on her. She had to be one of the dangerous people he talks of, so-called fanatics, her and her comrades, but he seems to have left her alone. Was he in love with her — like everyone else — couldn’t stand the idea of it? Or it was just him being careful. Like it’d be too suspicious if people real close to him got picked up by the cops. But he does go on about her. Guilty conscience, I’m figuring.
After a while he got so sick of it himself, he quit. Not quit exactly. Took off. Back to Montreal. Started writing that book based on the whole experience. Recording it, getting it transcribed. All about being an undercover agent in the counterculture. I Was a Hippie for the RCMP. He was actually gonna call it that at one time, like it was a kinda tongue-in-cheek exposé, if that’s the word. Exposé of both the cops and the people the cops were spying on, but semi-humorous, more like a takeoff on it. Satire, what they call it.
But it started turning into something different. He was in Montreal for it musta been ages. With his folks. Writing his book. Then he makes it sound like some great conversion took place. Some spiritual thing. But I bet the real reason was no one wanted his stupid book, made him give it up. He talks like he saw a light. He sees what he’s doing, it’s destroying his soul. Or his parents kicked him out. Or all those things. I don’t even wanna know. Anyways he’s on the road heading west again. Like a pilgrimage, he says, back to Van. Some idea of doing it all differently this time, get clear of the old contradictions, and his insights are all going into his new book, coming fast and furious now as he drives, as he dreams…. Well, I’m not gonna tell you all this crap. In the story of his life and times, this is about when he picks us up, Mark and me, except he calls us Marcus and Augustus. No use going on about it all over again. That part of his story was maybe ninety per cent accurate, as I remember it.
Thing is, he’s back in Vancouver, this new and improved Wesley, and his old buddies in uniform find out he’s back. They don’t get that he’s new and improved and they wanna recruit him again. I should say the way they see it, he’s still theirs. They still own his ass. Well, he’s not into that any more. He’s not the same Wesley, he tells them, and this sergeant guy threatens him again but he, Wesley I’m saying, doubts they can do anything to him now, all of two years later, about some old trafficking charge.
But the one thing they can do is expose him as a police agent for all that time that he was a police agent, which would be embarrassing to say the least, even if he was doing it for the good of everyone. His reputation would be destroyed. He’d be a non grata person, kinda thing, on the West Coast scene. They threaten to do this. He realizes he’s stuck, they still got him. They don’t give a shit he’s into a different head space, he’s gonna start a new movement of inner discovery, lead the world into the new age, that crap. They’re just cops trying to get him to do this dirty little job for them.
They have him. Anyways, he can use a few bucks. I can’t help thinking of that roll of money he threw on the kitchen table. He just has to give them a couple scraps to keep them happy, play them along, keep promising them some big score against some big-league agitators. Keep them going till he finishes his new book, gets some people together to start his new movement thing. Sounds more like a cult to me, with guess who as the leader. But he doesn’t have to give them nothing important yet. He can pick up some scraps at the demo. Throw them a few names. Some minor drug busts —
Rog and Picket? Or maybe he puts the cops onto our place in the backyard? Who knows, right around there it stops. The rest of the pages are lost. Or he just dropped the whole business. Probably never put that kinda thing down on paper. So, sorry, there’s no solution to what happened to Wesley, far as I knew then. Quit? Overwhelmed by conscience? Went off to kill himself? Not him. He’s the guru who gets other people to kill themselves. Probably just went on to other pastures. Maybe we’d find out from some stupid book a couple years from now. I hoped not.
Something was still echoing in my head: Wesley was the kinda bullshitter who made other people off themselves.
Is that what made him…. But it wasn’t like Mark woulda listened to anything Wesley said. Well, he’d listen. He’d be interested. Like he’s interested in every crazy thing that comes along. He wouldn’t fall for it though. I didn’t think.
Nah, that wasn’t it. It wouldn’t go down like that.
But I bet Mark put it together. That’s one of the advantages of being paranoid. Sometimes you see connections that are actually connections. I bet he figured it out. Wesley having that money suddenly, the arrests, no one knowing how the cops got onto us and who told about us living in the shed when the neighbours were all cool with us and then, what was it he said when he called the house after Rog and Picket were busted? Wesley being strange? More than usual he meant? Then Wesley left in a hurry — what was all that? I can see Mark putting it together.
Maybe he thought we were all in on it. Remember that time I was kidding him about me being a cop and he took it serious? For a minute anyways.
I bet he made a connection with Petra leaving too. Like thinking maybe she had to leave, she got pulled out of the house, sent somewhere else, cause they knew there was a police agent in the house. Petra always wondered about Wesley. Maybe they found out for sure, couldn’t risk her being busted for something he would cook up against her.
I’m not saying that’s what happened. To be honest, I don’t think it was.
I could see Mark might have made that one connection too many. Then he found these papers and everything in the car. He musta read some of them. He had them with him. It woulda confirmed everything in his mind. He was probably linking it up with his obsession with the Winnipeg cops. When some of your fears are confirmed, it makes it like all your fears are confirmed.
I had to find him again. It was nothing that Wesley said about me and Mark or anything. I don’t think. It all just made me think about Mark, all the stuff in his head. When I thought of him and all the stuff in his head it made me feel I shouldn’t have left him alone in the park. I’d called him an asshole.
What was it? Two, three days ago? Maybe he was dead for a fact now. Not from any aspirin overdose. If he found some money to get some good shit…. Bad shit rather.
I knew what I was gonna do for me myself from here on in. I knew what I had to do. I got that part figured out. But I couldn’t just go off into my own brilliant or crappy future without finding him again and putting that part right.