In Thunder Bay I lived in three areas really. The city is huge area wise but smaller population wise compared to London Ontario. If that’s not true than that’s how I saw it.
It was a truly beautiful place to live and I would move back there easily. On the night I’m thinking about, there are more circumstances that came about before going up the mountain and I will try to keep to the one story as best I can.
It was fall, early winter and I had just driven all the way back to the south to pick up a friend to come live with me in the north. I had a job lined up for him at my workplace and everything. Rocker, a co-worker and wonderful friend, wanted to go for an adventure so he offered to drive. I remember telling him how to get through Toronto and that if he took the wrong exit we would end up going to Niagara. Well I fell asleep and awoke just in time to see Young St sign pass over head. I got him to pull over and he was exhausted so it was my turn to drive. His monte carlo had an after market exhaust on it so it
sounded like tin cans rattling was loud. Every time I touched the gas he would wake up and start on me about the speeds.
“Jess! 140?! What the hell?”
“Rocker, look around us”
He does, BMW, Mercedes Benz on either side…. speeding buy..
If I touch the breaks we will be in an accident, I am going with the flow.
“Oh wow! It’s a lot faster here isn’t it”
“Yes and the police have different lights.. they look purple”
Anyways, we successfully picked up my friend and introduced Rocker to Mennonites, horse drawn carriages and what was a real mall compared to the one back home.
A few weeks had passed since my friend arrived and hadn’t had the chance to get him to see any beauty yet. My boyfriend at the time, was working on two festivas and had gotten the one running using parts from the other. One night we decided we were going to show him the mountain. The view from our front window was of Mount McKay and was stunning. We were about to pile into the one car which was not changed into anyones name yet or anything, when our old room mate – Stone – showed up with his cousin. We explained what we had wanted to do – he says “ok we’ll go to! Meet ya up there!” and runs out the door. Didn’t think anything of it but knew neither of them had a license, figured his girlfriend was with him.
So we go out the back door and I ran back in for something stupid, a two second trip in and out.
Got into our car and zzzzzzoooooooooooooooooooomm there goes Stone, okay lets go! The ex drove and we were puzzled from the get go, Stone was driving very erratically in front of us. We crossed the old wooden bridge that makes that clicking noise like going up a roller coaster does, just creepy enough you have to think that trucks and larger vehicles managed, this tiny thing will be fine.
It’s pitch black out and not many lights on the reserve. Any encounters we had with natives was not good and a co-worker had his arm slashed open when he saw someone around his 68 Chevelle and stepped outside to say something.
After crossing the bridge it was clear there was a van following us.
Stone’s driving got even worse, did brake stands ahead of us, turned around drove back and past us again, we were scared and starting to think that maybe we were going to be jumped by this van of natives. Once we got closer to the mountain road, he then just took off and we tried to follow as closely as possible to find out what was up and to also try and loose the van. The road is narrow and not maintained. That fall I had popped a tire on my Mustang and had to get a friends spare to get off the mountain – the 4 men I was with started picking up huge sticks and clubs and I joking say, “what scared of a bear?”
“No, get your ass back in the car, there’s natives here and they will strip the car with or without us trying to keep them away”
I listened. But now I’m up the mountain in the middle of the night… all 5’2″ and 90lbs of me is in the dark and not somewhere I know I can just run and get away, no I was on their land now.
Near the top of the road there’s a clearing just enough for a few cars to pull off to the side if the other area is full. Our headlights light up the back of the car Stone was driving.. the customized plate I’ll never forget R00STER, both doors are wide open and just barely getting a glimpse of one of them disappearing into the dense bush. Still haven’t a clue why this van is following us we try to turn around and get by but as the van nears the opening it turns to block any way of us passing by and then the lights get turned on. I see there’s no back seat in this van… and a man in a yellow raincoat does a push up off the floor opening the door at the same time.
R00STER was a stolen car.
Our hands shot into the air.
Hearts just racing.
All I can hear is THUMP THUMP THUMP from my chest like its going to explode.
I can’t remember the conversation as this was a stressful moment…. But something like this….
“Why are you running. Hands up where I can see them!”
“Where’d your friends go?!?”
“We’re from Aylmer!”
“I’m deaf!” – in my friends best vocabulary he can manage.
My ex and friend were cuffed and we were questioned until the cop fucked up by asking me why I ran back inside. That let my ex and I know we were watched the entire time and they already knew we were not involved with the theft. That’s when they separate us as we had been speaking in unison the entire time.
My ex went in the back of one car.
By this time the female officer arrives to pat me down and she scoffs about how small I am and that I had no pockets or anywhere to conceal anything – she barely touches me.
My friend and I get in the back if the other car – he’s still handcuffed, an is now complaining the cuffs are too tight. To my knowledge its illegal to cuff a deaf person as their hands are their communication. I signed to him the entire time what was happening over the radio – the cousins were out running or out dodging the police dogs while runnin down the mountain.
The officer turns the light off to try and stop me from signing.
After a while the officer gets tired of my friend’s complaints, I can’t remember if he removed them or if this was the point where the officer decides we need to come down to the station.
He tells us to get back in our car and follow him back. I’m told I must drive as I am the only one who had a license. So I drive, what at the point is also being considered as a stolen vehicle, very nervously back down the mountain.
The sight down the mountain I will never forget. The entire force was on the mountain, lining the road with their lights on. It was like driving down the side of a Christmas tree, lit right up with red and blue flickering. Once we got to paved roads across the rickety bridge the cop speeds up through town, doing about 90 in 60 zones, I was told to follow so I did.
We get to the station, which was also across the street from work. Thank goddess it wasn’t open.
My ex explains the reasoning behind the car not being registered and the person we bought if from (a co-worker) would get into a lot of trouble with his grandfather for our stupidity. They actually understood we were telling the truth. We explain that Stone had given us a room to rent for some time (they knew this to be true as I had to become comfortable with driving my 5.0 and being followed by a cop at least 4 cars behind me a bare minimum once a week.)
Explaining to an officer that we knew he was a trouble maker but we weren’t involved and we believed he had been trying to change his live with his girlfriend and her child, made it seem like we were just really stupid. Then I just flat out say, the less we knew about Stone’s past the better for cases like this. It wasn’t our business to know and he treated us well, we weren’t goin to ask questions when we didn’t want to know the answers. Stunned the cop moves on, you need to pick him out from a photo line up. I believe my ex went first and it was video taped to show who we chose.
My turn, go in and sit down to look through the photo album of people that look so similar I paused at a couple photos questioning what didn’t match up until I turn the page over and see Stone’s photo and then a few more pages there’s his cousin. After that was said and done the cops have us an option as we were falling asleep on the bench between being told what to do to sleep there or drive home.
We went home.
Two hours later we wake up to two feet of fresh snow on the ground and we’ve gotta run to catch the bus….