Aviator sunglasses, middle aged, balding, beard, he's just in for a beer, aloof, watching me. Anyone new here is an object of suspicion to the locals.

After a bit a couple of the local girls join him. I know them, have seen them at the Balfour Superette, party girls, if you know what I mean. They're acquainted, sit together, everyone in town is acquainted if you think about it, out here, population 350, ... they have a couple of drinks, I bring him another beer.

"You know a lot of unusual people?" he asks me, I laugh, "Look where I'm working...". He could take this two ways, he takes it the right way, "...and you decided to settle here...", he parries, introduces himself. 

Paying his bill, the girls, they're trying to persuade him to "go out", "come over", oh, I know this story, P4P, he's not interested, just wants to go home. I look at him...

"Cue Circus Music?" I ask...

"You know the actual title of that is: 'Entry of The Gladiator'" he tells me, then: "No, no, I gotta get home, get some sleep. Funny title for the song..."

"It's because you gotta be a fucking gladiator at 6:00 AM when you're up searching for blow-outs and crumbs....".

"I never looked at it that way before...." he replies...

We're completely on the same page, I've been to the same party a hundred, thousand times, at the old restaurant, the Bosses Nephew, J**, it's reassuring, this, so much unspoken yet we both completely know what's going on...

Already I can tell there's going to be a lot of interesting conversations here. Short, I'm generally too busy to sustain more than a sentence or two.

Girl on the patio reading a book...

"What is it?" I enquire politely.

- "The Holy Road" - she shows me the cover, then explains "It's the sequel to 'Dances With Wolves' only it doesn't have a movie. I try to read it every 6 months. There's a lot in it..."

Even if I wasn't busy I'd be running from this conversation...

I'm talking with R**, #4 of 5 (R#3 is his father, R#5 is his son). He's talking about the fixed income plan being trialed down in Ontario, whereby a family of 4 receives a guaranteed annual income of roughly $32,000.

"Nobody will ever want to work..." He's telling me..."I've never earned that much money in my life...".

He's my boss. I gotta keep looking for gold...

Carrying 4 plates, 3 in my right hand, one in my left, I stop at the side-station to grab the pepper mill. The nephew's behind me, he's grabbed a couple of the side dishes, one in each hand, like a truck stop waitress...

"How long have you worked here? And still only 2 plates?" I ask. He shrugs.

"Look at me bro...do I have 3 arms?"