At the centre of Stonewall, there is a large sculpture of a whale, an eyesore to say the least whose eyes stare forlornly at the sky as on the hour a burst of steam erupts through it’s blowhole, while the toot toot of passing motorcars hustle and bustle to compete for destinations. It was on a park bench where two men informed me that the whale, called Jackson, was commissioned by a past mayor in a bet with its sculptor. Led into the bet, by wine, the mayor had wagered a hefty sum of the town’s money that its creator could not make good on completing such a grand affair by sunrise. Deftly pulling a small implement from beneath his attire, the sculptor set to work immediately, spreading flat mortar into a grand affair. One of my interviewees exhaled deeply while explaining that they do not take the whale down, because anything that would replace it would only bring up the story of the whale before it.
I took to making a chart, involving three circles, each representing a portion of the town. The councillors had their views while the townspeople had their own and the third, I marked with my silver pen, anything that seemed important. The two men delved into a discussion of why they returned to that bench in particular, and onward I moved to the library for some type of answer.
Structure, I guess – maybe that was what bothered those that wanted it different – really, it mattered not one bit that the library, tucked under the big tree, should keep its white haired caregiver longer than she required. I suppose that people just like things in a certain order.
It was worth conjecturing I suppose, looking for a spark, some type of answer, some way to come to terms with how the town should progress with Gertrude. Something had to happen, because I clearly had no answer. What was the point of so much time spent?
The next morning I approached the library at 7:15am, past the toot toot of the whale, feeling its steam rinse the humid air around me. The men had returned to tell their same stories, I’d imagine, until noon time, where they’d take a break and resume recycling tales long into the afternoon. .Around me, people started their day, focused on what lay ahead and I felt an urge to avoid them, out of contempt for my scheming employer.
The shade of the tree had already made its way to cover the library, recessing it back into Gertrude’s sanctuary and I was taken aback at a steady sound of clackclackclack, following it around the corner to the main vestibule where a man, who I later discovered was named Julius Brix, pounded away at a typewriter (a typewriter!). He, I suppose was a regular, arriving every morning before 7:15 to clackclackclack, but once he was two thirds down a page, his eyes would stare furiously out the library window, and with the sound of a man casting a fishing line, the page would be flung from the roller, crumpled into a ball before it hit the floor.