Monday, November 17, 2003

Professional Stool Pigeon

In today's economic climate, with downsizing and cut-backs, it is refreshing to know that there are some people in this world who still love their job.

Take my recent acquaintance at the corner of Yonge and Dundas for example. His chosen vocation, as he proudly announced, was:

A- "I'm a professional stool pigeon, ya see."
B- "A what?"
A- "A stool pigeon. There are a lot of guys that wish I didn't see, didn't know, what I do. I'm a listener, and then I go straight to the police when I've got something."

So a professional stool pigeon he was. He looked the role, squeezed into a ratty corduroy suit, peering out from behind glasses that looked thick enough to be the windshield for a space shuttle. But who did he squeal on?

A- "The underworld in Hamilton knows all about me. Most of the good stuff I know has already been used by the police. Now I specialize. I can't go to Hamilton anymore--they hate me there. They'll put me to bed with the fishes."
B- "I don't think that there are any 'fishes' left in the water around Hamilton."
A- "Then I guess that I'll be pretty god-damned lonely, smart ass."

I wasn't trying to antagonize him; I just needed to know more about his job. Don't people in his position usually try to hide the fact that they are operating in criminal circles as snitches? To him I must have reeked of innocence--even if he revealed himself to me, who was I going to tell. I don't, to my knowledge, have any mobsters or drug cartel kingpins programmed into my cell phone.

A- "I have a vivid imagination. I imagine that I'm James Bond when I'm crossing the street--it's the only way to get across alive! The people driving those cars are crazy!!"

Professional stool pigeon and international operative for MI-6? This little troll leads a more exciting life while he makes coco than I do even in my most daring moments.

A- "Tell me your birthday, and I'll tell you a bit about yourself. Tell you who was born around your birthday."

AND astrologer AND 'Entertainment Tonight' birthday almanac? This lake has many tributaries!

He did not proceed to reveal any truths about who I am, as May 17th proved to be a relatively boring birthday compared to February 7th, or even December 25th. But he did seem to have an impressive collection of notable Hollywood birthdays floating around in that nut of his. It was a marvelous display of 'stream of consciousness' that ended all too soon; pressing business at Dundas and Sherbourne ended our conversation abruptly, and left me on the streetcar wanting more. It was like watching half of the movie 'Rainman'--there was no heartwarming bit at the end to rationalize all the mystery and eccentricity.

And he claimed to have a special knack with the slots.
Look for this 3 Bar fella out and about, dodging cars like an international man of espionage and intrigue--you'll know him when you see him.

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