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01 July 2017 @ 04:39 pm
Sesquicentennial  
“Oh, boy! ‘Man and his World’, yeah!”

The other two looked at Schanke, wondering what he meant. The phrase “man and his world” had cropped up in their own conversation; but, as he’d been typing up the day’s report, his focus had been on the form in front of him. Whatever he thought he’d overheard, his enthusiasm was contextually incomprehensible.

“Man and his World!” he repeated, looking at them. “You know—the Expo ’67 site, only the next year.” He looked a bit glum. “We never did go to Expo ’67, would’ve been great. But we did go to Man and his World. Drove all the way … ROAD TRIP!!!” He grinned broadly, and pumped the air.

Natalie grinned back, even as Nick racked his brains to remember nearly thirty years ago.

“Didn’t you go?” asked Schanke, looking from one to the other.

“We never went to Man and his World,” said Nat. “Expo ’67 we did. I was pretty small, mind; but, yeah sure, I have some memories. Standing in line for ages in the hot sun, mostly.”

“Come on, Nick—surely you must have gone,” urged Schanke.

In fact, he had not. He could have, sure. Any vast immigration to a major fair naturally attracts vampires, who can hide in the crowds of anonymous visitors and pick off easy prey.

He shook his head, and simply said, “No, we didn’t go,” wondering whether he could speak for the rest of ‘we’. He had no idea what either Janette or LaCroix had been doing that particular summer.

“You know,” Natalie said thoughtfully, “I was too young to really appreciate the festivities for Canada’s Centennial. And by the time the country’s two hundredth anniversary rolls round, we’ll all be dead.” (Well, except for Nick, she thought. But, with Schanke there, she couldn’t say that.)

“Well, there’s the middle option,” Nick pointed out. “The sesquicentennial.”

“The who?”

“The 150th anniversary,” Nick said to Schanke. “It’ll be in …” He stopped, doing a bit of mental math.

“In 2017,” said Schanke. “Yeah, you think there’ll be another Expo?” He looked thoughtful. “It’ll be Jenny taking her kids by then.”

“I don’t know about an Expo,” declared Natalie. “But whatever they have, I’m sure I’ll go. I deserve it after all those long line-ups to get into Pavilions I mostly was too young to appreciate. Trouble is … I’ll be too old to have the energy.”

“Speak for yourself,” said Schanke firmly. “Myra and I will be there, just you wait and see.”


******



Later, in the loft, sitting in front of the fireplace with a glass of white wine, Natalie brought the matter up again. “Will you be there?” she finished, after expounding a patriotism that Canadians usually felt more than they uttered.

“Depends,” said Nick. “On this,” and he raised his own glass, which held her latest horrible-tasting cocktail. This one was a putrid shade of mauve, quite offputting even before he took a sip.

She pointed to it with a slight admonitive frown; and he dutifully set it to his lips.

When he got back from the bathroom, wiping his mouth ruefully, she said, with a faint sigh, “You’re saying that if I find a cure, you’ll still be in Toronto.”

“Basically. Maybe no longer on the police force by then; but, if I’m mortal, I’ll have no reason to move on, and—” he smiled winningly “—every reason to stay.”

She beamed back.

“But,” he warned, his smile fading, “if we don’t find a cure, I’ll have had to move on long before then.”

“Come back,” she said impulsively. “I mean, we’ll keep trying; and I hope—boy, do I hope!—that we succeed. But, even if we don’t and you have to leave, then let’s make it a date: in 2017, you’ll come back. Old friend of the family, or whatever: you’ll come back to Toronto, and we’ll get together, and go to celebrate.”

Nick hesitated.

“Come on,” she urged. “What’s a few decades?” Airily, she added, “I’ll be alive. So will Schanke (though running into him might be risky). One thing’s for sure: you will still be here! Come on: let’s make it a date.”

“Sure,” he said easily. “If I am still here, and you’re still alive—then yes, I’ll return.”

With a glance at his glass on the coffee table, she raised her wine in toast and said, “I’ll drink to that!”

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