“I could use another drink,” Jenny said as she got up. “Anyone else want another round?”
She took both their glasses, refilled their drinks, poured herself a double and rejoined the conversation, which had stayed still for her.
“So they did they really want to plow under bits of the city to make it a minefield?” Tia asked.
“Oh, they talked about it,” said Nana, “but like all the big talk for years, there’s always more words about a project than money to pay for it. And unless the folks with the money want to actually spend anything, it goes nowhere. I tell you, it’s because there’s too much money being thrown into Mexico, keeping what’s left of the tobacco and coffee they can grow there coming, holding on to the last easy oil, that made us lose the other war. It was such a waste, and we didn’t have to go after them like we did.”
“So when it came to the war, you don’t believe Canada started it?”
“Oh, give me a break,” Nana exploded politely. “They may be saying that away from the border, but around here we saw the build-up for a few weeks before it started, and they never talk about how there were already troops driving towards Winnipeg before they blew the Peace Bridge. They started to cover this like it was going to be a big party those first few hours, right up until things went bad. Supposed to have had some sort of virus infect our troops’ software, I’d heard; never should have underestimated the Canadians.”
“So what was the war like for Buffalo?”
“Oh, after the first morning, there was a lot of panic that they’d come back and bomb the city, but there was also a lot of clean-up going on at the airports. And that was the other thing; all those helicopters at the airports that got blown up on the ground. If this was such a surprise, how’d we have that many helicopter gunships in the area for them to bomb?
“And that’s the other thing; if this was such a surprise, where did all of these troops that got driven down to Niagara Street come from? Fellas coming in trucks, a lot of them patched up and looking a little nervous, setting up gun positions every few corners, all before noon that day. There were more people in camo waiting for the Canadians to come than there were people fighting the fire at the truck plaza, and they had to call in two thirds of the fire companies to keep that from taking out the armory, which we didn’t find out until the next day had been emptied a week ago in anticipation of going over the border.
“Now they may have stopped giving money to schools and colleges years ago, but that doesn’t mean people would just turn out stupid on their own. A lot of people here realized almost right away that this was us trying to go into another war we didn’t need, and that this time it was not going to be so easy. And the fact that we could still get news out of Toronto despite the best efforts to block all bandwidth on this side didn’t help; hearing about the Battle of Soo Locks from their side, we knew that we were going to find a way out of this pretty quick, though I got to admit that when we ‘declared victory’ and Canada didn’t take any land in return that we were surprised it went so easy.”
Jenny noticed that Tia was no longer writing down what Nana was saying.
Nana continued, “And the weird thing of it all was what I kept thinking about. Because part of me was thinking, maybe they’d rebuild the Peace Bridge and my daughter could go north and find her ex-husband and get their family back together, because in the middle of all that, the bombing, the siege, the lies, I kept in the back of my mind one thought. It was silly, but I made it personal, about what happened between my daughter and her ex being tied up in this, how he went north in the middle of the night, left her here with her daughter with me, and from that point on how it all went so, so bad for everyone.”
“Nana,” said Jenny, “I don’t think Dad going north caused the war.”
“The way your father looked at the world, I would not be surprised if Anthony DiNapoli took all the money he brought north with him, bought a minister in Ottawa and tried to get back at your mom with a war.”
“Which you said we started.”
“The way he talked his way into my Klara’s pants, he could have,” Nana stated with a hard head snap. “I wouldn’t put it past him.”
Jenny noticed Tia’s shocked reaction and said to her, “Hey, it’s okay, really,” before she said to Nana, “Now look what you did. Happy now?”
Jenny heard a slight gurgle from Tia as she tried to find her voice…
All content Copyright © 2012 James Ryan