The Bukowski Agency - Midnight Slider - Excerpt

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Blood in the Water
A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes

by Silver Don Cameron


It has been five years since Phillip Boudreau was dropped—allegedly—to the bottom of the sea, but his neighbours would not be entirely surprised if he walked out of the ocean tomorrow, coated in seaweed, dripping with brine, and smiling.

After all, Phillip had often vanished for long periods during his 43 years, and he always came back to where he had grown up—Alderney Point, on the edge of the Acadian village of Petit de Grat, Nova Scotia. Afterwards it would turn out that he had been in prison, or out West, or hiding in the woods. Perhaps the police had been looking for him, and he’d have tucked himself away in other people’s boats or trailers, or curled up and gone to sleep in the bushes of the moorland near his family’s home, his face coated with droplets of fog. He and his dog often slept in a rickety shed outside his parents’ home, where the narrow dirt road ends at the rocky shore of Chedabucto Bay. He had even been known to hollow out a snowbank and shelter himself from the bitter night in the cold white cavern he’d created.

He was a small man, perhaps 5’5”, with a goatee. He usually dressed in jeans, sneakers, windbreakers and baseball caps. Whenever he was released from prison, the word would go around Isle Madame, the island where Petit de Grat is located. Phillip’s out. Lock the shed, the barn, the garage. Phillip’s out. If your boat’s missing, or your four-wheeler, talk to Phillip. Maybe you can buy it back from him. Phillip’s out. If you want a good deal on a hot marine GPS, an outboard motor, a dozen lobsters, check out the Corner Bridge Store and Bakery. Phillip likes to hang out there. He ties up his speedboat, Midnight Slider, at a little dock nearby.

Some people loved Phillip. He could be funny, helpful, kind. He was generous to old people, good with animals, gentle with children. Some people hated him, though they tended to conceal their feelings. If you crossed him, he might threaten to shoot you, burn down your house, sink your boat. If you went to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in nearby Arichat, they would tell you they couldn’t do much until he actually committed an offense. Perhaps they would tell you that you could get a peace bond, a court order directing Phillip to stay away from you and your family and your property. A peace bond, the cops will tell you privately, is a device that works really well with law-abiding people. From time to time the Mounties would arrest Phillip for “uttering threats”—or for any of a dozen other offences—and send him back to prison. But he would be out again soon enough, and if you had helped to put him inside, watch out.

So most people quietly avoided him, carefully steering around him like a lobster boat navigating around a shoal.

He did a tidy little business in hallucinogens, and he was available as a vandal for hire, particularly with respect to lobster traps. A Nova Scotia lobster trap is a baited wooden cage weighted with rocks and lying on the sea floor. It’s tied by a long slender rope to a buoy that floats at the surface. The fisherman hooks the buoy, hauls up the trap, removes his catch, re-baits the trap, and drops it overboard again. The trap is worth about $100, but the value of the lobster it catches can be in the thousands of dollars.

Nothing prevents a poacher from hauling someone else’s traps in the middle of the night, and selling the lobsters. At a deep discount. Possibly somewhere near the Corner Bridge Store.

But what if the buoy rope is cut off? How then does the fisherman find and empty the trap? If I have a grudge against you, what better way to harm you than to sally out in the darkness and cut a bunch of your traps? But if you catch me at it, the outcome won’t be pretty. So if I don’t want to take a chance on doing it myself, it’s nice to know there’s someone I can hire.

Phillip Boudreau was by no means the only man who ever cut traps in Petit de Grat, but he was the dominant figure in that line of work. He would also take credit for things he hadn’t done, just to bolster his reputation as a crafty rascal operating by stealth and beyond the reach of the law. A fisheries officer who confronted him had the tires of his car slashed. When he bought new tires, those were slashed too. Phillip? Try to prove it. If you confronted him, Phillip would smile.

Phillip could make your life a misery—but if he was your friend, and he thought you needed something, he would provide it, whether or not he owned it. So you had to be careful about idly voicing your desires.

And then, from time to time, he would disappear—for days, or weeks, or months. But he always cropped up again.

There had been attempts to kill him—conspiracies, even. And then, on June 1, 2013, he was said to have been drowned—and not by thugs or druggies, but by highly-respected local fishermen. A lot of people thought the very idea was ridiculous. Phillip was wily and resilient, and he swam like a seal; drowning him would be like trying to drown a football. No doubt he was hiding out somewhere.

But he was never seen again.



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