Pictou felt himself being shaken awake as he slept deeply. He woke up to see Port Hawkesbury, sniffing the air. “Good morning, my dearie,” she greeted him, touching and stroking his hair sweetly. Opening Pictou’s curtains to let the sun brighten up his room, she picked him up and carried him downstairs to the kitchen, where Stellarton was reading the Pictou Advocate while he munched on a bacon sandwich and sipped on a cup of tea. Port Hawkesbury placed Pictou down on his favourite chair, and she sat down to begin eating her breakfast.
Stellarton swallowed a morsel of his bacon sandwich as he turned the page in his newspaper. He scanned the left-hand side briefly… then he gasped in shock. Port Hawkesbury and Pictou spun around to him. “Hmm? What is it, dear?” asked Port Hawkesbury. Stellarton looked up from his newspaper, and an awkward, long silence hung in the air as his eyes darted across the room…
Port Hawkesbury also gasped in shock, and she began to cry. Pictou relieved himself as he stared with eyes wide open at his father, clutching his spoon. Port Hawkesbury caught the ammonia stench in the air, and she cried even more. Pictou continued staring into Stellarton’s face, still shocked. “Seriously?” he exclaimed in French. “Yes, seriously,” Stellarton replied in French. “We’re moving to the City of Canada.” “Eh?” said Pictou, confused, and Stellarton showed him the advertisement for the City of Canada. “Oh.”
Port Hawkesbury picked Pictou up and rushed up to the bathroom in tears. “Better start packing our things, then,” said Stellarton in French, jotting down some notes in his notebook.
Later on, the Denoons were fixing up some details for their upcoming housewarming party.
“So, the DeCoste Centre?” the Party Planner confirmed. “Yes,” said Port Hawkesbury, and the Party Planner typed it in onto his computer. “It’s gonna be casual outfits. It’ll be an informal occasion,” Pictou chimed in, and the Party Planner added that to the itinerary. “You pay for food and drink?” asked Stellarton. “Yes.” “Good. That’s easier on us,” Stellarton nodded, jotting down some notes in his notebook, and the Denoons continued to negotiate more details with the Party Planner.
The night of the Denoons’ housewarming party had finally arrived. People from all over town were flocking to the DeCoste Centre to enjoy a night out and have a good time. As the Denoons approached the entrance, the bouncer spotted them. “You are the Denoon family, aren’t you? Your party, isn’t it?” he asked. “Yes, we are,” Pictou, Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton chimed all together. “You may enter.” Pictou turned to look behind himself as the Denoons strolled down the hallway. “Huh.”
The Denoons arrived at the party room, where bright disco lights floated across the tinted walls and catchy music blasting out of the large onstage speakers. The dancefloor lit up in many colours, creating casts on the ceiling. People chatted amicably as they nibbled, sipped and danced away. The Denoons passed by a reveller drinking a mug of home-brewed beer. “Heh,” said Pictou, “the party’s just started, and already people are boozing!”
The Denoons toured the bustling party room. In a corner, the Lobsterman and the Lighthouse Man chatted with the Crabman. Some fiddlers were tuning up their fiddles by practising some melodies, while a young poser strutted about on the stage in his kilt. The Denoons made themselves comfortable in another corner. “I’m worried,” Pictou moaned, nervousness tickling inside him. “Aw. What about, my little Pictie?” asked Port Hawkesbury sweetly. “Those Canadian Boys.” “Hmm?” “The ones who bully me at school. They may be here at the party.” Port Hawkesbury disapproved, and Stellarton jotted some notes down in his notebook.
Gabarus, Morganville and Culloden smirked. They’d been overhearing the Denoons’ conversation. “The stinko’s here,” Culloden announced proudly. “Let’s go get ‘im, then!” Gabarus laughed in his familiar Scottish-Canadian trill. “Alright!” Morganville yelled excitedly.
Culloden and his buddies crept up to the Denoons, and Culloden grabbed Pictou’s shoulder. “Stinko,” he greeted him mockingly. “Oh!” Pictou exclaimed, whipping around to see Culloden and his buddies. He gasped in horror, and so did his parents. On seeing her eleven-year-old son meeting his foes, Port Hawkesbury began to become distressed. “It’s you,” she hesitated. “It’s you.” Her face twisted, and her voice swelled. “It’s you!” she sobbed, beginning to pour tears. Stellarton stared in shock, and Pictou gave Culloden and his buddies a blank look, frozen on the spot. Stellarton jotted down more notes in his notebook.
Pictou’s nervousness eventually caused him to relieve himself in front of Culloden and his buddies, gasping in shame as the stench of ammonia wafted in the air. Port Hawkesbury thought fast and quickly picked Pictou up, but Culloden and his buddies only smirked.
Port Hawkesbury dashed off to the changing room, quickly locking the door, because then Culloden and his buddies went dashing after her, taunting Pictou. “Get back here, stinko!” Culloden hollered after her, sneering. Port Hawkesbury lay Pictou down on a soft mat and pulled his pants down, removing his wet diaper and disposing of it. At that moment, Culloden and his buddies started to bang on the door, calling Pictou demeaning names. “Stinko.” “Pee-pants!” Port Hawkesbury gasped, and she wiped Pictou’s backside clean. Morganville began to hoot and howl, trying to scare Pictou and Port Hawkesbury. “It’s the Housewarming Party Ghost!” he cackled creepily, and so did Gabarus and Culloden. Port Hawkesbury uttered another gasp as she replaced Pictou’s pants and picked him back up. Culloden banged on the door again. “Come here, stinko!” he laughed nastily, and Gabarus and Morganville laughed too. Port Hawkesbury hesitated to open the door, and Pictou felt anxious about letting Culloden and his buddies in.
Eventually, common sense made Port Hawkesbury open the door. “Ah-ha!” Culloden yelled proudly. “Sorry,” Pictou apologized, ordering Culloden and his buddies to move out of the way. They guffawed manically as Port Hawkesbury stepped outside of the changing room and returned to the Denoons’ space. “Stinko,” Culloden smirked at Pictou. “My dear,” Port Hawkesbury sobbed, touching and caressing Pictou’s hair.
The party was now in full swing. Pictou watched the revellers dancing about in the colourful disco lights as Port Hawkesbury touched and stroked him sweetly. Opposite him, Stellarton chatted to a young Canadian Boy.
Port Hawkesbury massaged Pictou’s back. “Here, Picky-tou,” she called softly, putting her hand out to him and making sweet sounds. Pictou sniffed the air, then he sniffed her hand. Port Hawkesbury giggled. “Sweet beauty, my picky-Pictou,” she called him. “Here. Go look round the place. But be careful.” “Alright,” Pictou accepted, and he skipped off. “My beauty,” Port Hawkesbury called him affectionately.
Pictou explored the party room, passing by a reveller crunching on some sweet chilli pretzels, breathing heavily with the spicy heat. “Ooh,” Pictou winced. He passed by another reveller, who was munching on fried pork rinds. He broke wind quite loudly, and Pictou shook his head disgustedly, waving the bad gas away. Beside him, a reveller downed a shot of whisky.
“Two lemonades and an orange juice, please,” Stellarton asked the bartender, who quickly juiced and whizzed up his drinks. “Thanks,” said Stellarton, and he carried the drinks back to the Denoons’ table.
Pictou passed by a reveller who was disco-dancing on the dancefloor. Right beside him, Gabarus, Morganville and Culloden breakdanced and stepped from side to side rhythmically, seemingly not even noticing Pictou, who skipped back to the Denoons’ spot.
Everybody was seated at the table, chatting to each other. Pictou and Port Hawkesbury arose from their chairs and entered the kitchen, where a pot was boiling. “Is it ready yet?” Pictou asked. “Almost ready,” the Head Chef replied. “Alright,” said Port Hawkesbury, and she and her eleven-year-old son returned to the table.
A few minutes later, a Canadian Boy wearing a suit emerged from the kitchen, carrying a covered platter. “Ooh.” He then spun around and rapidly removed the cloche, revealing a lobster supper. Everybody cheered and applauded as he placed the lobster in the middle of the table. “Let’s dine, everybody!” someone shouted, and they all took a platter, beginning to savour the delicious, delicate flavours. All except one, who was pleasantly munching away on a dark chocolate bar.
One member of the fiddling trio swallowed down a ball of lobster’s meat. He lifted himself slightly off his chair and quietly broke wind, the back of his kilt whipping up. “Ooh!” people beside the fiddler complained, trying to fan the smelly gas aside, while people further away only exchanged confused looks with each other. “Eh?” said Pictou, raising an eyebrow. “What happened?” Someone sitting beside Pictou turned to him, giggling. “That fiddler just farted,” she whispered in his ear. Pictou flinched in disgust. “Ooh.” Culloden and his buddies, who were seated just beside the fiddler, held their noses and complained about the bad gas, fanning the air to freshen it up. But their frowns soon turned into smirks as Culloden thought of a nasty idea…
While the fiddler wasn’t looking, Culloden stole his fiddle and began to play a very unmelodic song, prompting everyone else to complain and cover their ears. “That’s the worst song on a fiddle I’ve ever heard!” Pictou yelled in all brutal honesty. “And rightly so!” shouted Port Hawkesbury in agreement. But Culloden only laughed. “Wanna hear another song?” he asked mockingly, and he began to play another screeching song on the fiddle. “No!” everyone screamed as they covered their ears again.
Culloden paused for a second, smirking, and he began to play a song that sounded even worse than the others – speeded up. “Argh! Not again!” everybody complained. The fiddler glared furiously at Culloden, but he only continued to play the fiddle in the most ear-splitting ways possible. One of the fiddler’s colleagues turned to Culloden. “Give his fiddle back!” he shouted at him in his Cape Breton twang, slamming his fist down on the table. “Ooh!” everybody jumped up in astonishment. But Culloden ignored his orders. “Pull your fiddle off him,” the fiddler’s colleague told him. “Mmm-hmm,” he nodded. The fiddler arose from his seat and bent slightly over Culloden, staring at him angrily, fists on his hips. He waited a short moment…
Snatch! The fiddle was back in his rightful possession. Everybody uncovered their ears – all except the Canadian Boy eating the dark chocolate bar. Culloden and his buddies glared at the fiddler, folding their arms. “Hmm,” he smiled rather crossly.
Reunited with his fiddle, the fiddler returned to his spot, smiling. Culloden and his buddies laughed out loud. The fiddler’s colleagues also arose from their seats. “How about some fiddling to accompany our dinner?” one of them suggested. “Alright!” cheered everybody, but Culloden and his buddies only smirked. “Let’s have the true sound of Nova Scotia!”
And with that, the fiddlers all began to play a sweet, melodious song on their fiddles. “That’s better,” Pictou smiled, but he then wet himself, releasing ammonia into the air. However, it was overpowered by the sweet, juicy aroma of lobster’s meat. Port Hawkesbury picked him up and took him off to get him all sorted out.
Now, the party guests were beginning to do more extreme things, like dancing intensively and blasting dance music out of the speakers at high volume. Some of the guests were even drunk, whether a little tipsy or deeply intoxicated. The Denoons sat at their table, away from all the drunken action and antics. Port Hawkesbury massaged Pictou’s shoulders, keeping him calm and relaxed.
Suddenly, a slightly drunk Canadian Boy teetered up to the Denoons and messily sprawled himself all over the table. “Oh!” cried Pictou. “Feeling a little bit tipsy, eh?” He giggled blissfully. “Dear little sweetheart,” Port Hawkesbury called him, rubbing his shoulders with care. Stellarton jotted down some notes in his notebook, and the tipsy Canadian Boy tottered over to another reveller, who was drinking red wine. Nearby, an already-drunk reveller was swigging down an entire bottle of vodka, and his drunkenness was beginning to worsen.
Pictou gazed up at Port Hawkesbury. “Let me massage your back,” she suggested. “Alright,” Pictou accepted, and he began to sigh blissfully as his mother began to massage his back. Stellarton jotted down some more notes in his notebook.
The party over, the Denoons stepped out of the DeCoste Centre into the late, orange-tinted night, Port Hawkesbury carrying Pictou in her arms. Suddenly, a heavily-intoxicated Canadian Boy began to totter dizzily down Caladh Avenue, crashing into telephone poles and streetlights. “Be careful, my dear!” Port Hawkesbury called after him as he woozily teetered down the street to return home.
Pictou then relieved himself. “Oh,” said Port Hawkesbury, sniffing ammonia in the air. “We gotta get home quickly.” Stellarton made some notes in his notebook, and the Denoons began to stroll back home for the final time – because soon enough, it wasn’t going to be their home anymore.
“Little dearie,” Port Hawkesbury called Pictou sweetly as she emerged from the bathroom, she wearing her nightdress, and he wearing his dark emerald-green pyjamas. He sniffed around himself.
Port Hawkesbury carried Pictou into his room, closing the curtains. She tucked him into bed, and he sniffed the air, his duvet and pillow. “There you go. All feeling comfy,” she said, touching and stroking him so tenderly. Pictou sniffed the air again. “Sweetie,” she called him, touching and stroking him with care. “My little honey.”
Just as she was about to leave Pictou’s room, Port Hawkesbury took one last little glance at her eleven-year-old son, making sweet sounds to him. He gazed up at her, sniffing the air. “My little tenderness,” she called him sweetly. Smiling, she shut the door. Pictou thought of how much his parents cared for him. Sniffing the air again, he fell asleep immediately.
Port Hawkesbury closed the door quietly so she wouldn’t wake Stellarton, who was already fast asleep. She carefully slid into her space, slowly pulled the duvet over herself and dropped off to sleep instantly, just like her husband and her son.
The Denoons watched removals empty the house of all their possessions, loading them in the back of a van. Port Hawkesbury sobbed, and Stellarton jotted some notes down in his notebook. The remover ascended the stairs to Pictou’s room to clear all the boxes out, then he emptied the Denoons’ room, and finally collected all the miscellaneous boxes. He left the now-barren house, the Denoons following him outside, and shut and locked the back doors. “Don’t cry,” Stellarton comforted Port Hawkesbury in French, touching and stroking her tenderly. Pictou touched and stroked her, too. The remover started the engine and drove down to the harbour, the Denoons tailing behind on foot.
Arriving at the harbour, the Denoons watched the remover give each of the boxes to the captain of a large cargo ship. First were the boxes from the sitting room, then came the boxes from the kitchen. Next came the boxes from Pictou’s room, followed by the boxes from the Denoons’ room, and finally the miscellaneous boxes. Stellarton gazed at Port Hawkesbury, and he and Pictou both touched and stroked her tenderly, Pictou sniffing her.
The captain undocked his ship as the remover started his engine back up, waving goodbye as he drove off. The captain blew the foghorn as his ship began to sail away. Port Hawkesbury cried at the top of her voice. “Don’t cry, sweetheart,” Stellarton begged her, touching and stroking her. Pictou touched and stroked Port Hawkesbury too, sniffing her. Stellarton jotted some more notes down in his notebook. “Come on,” he called Pictou on, and he nodded seriously. “Alright.” The Denoons all set off for a final stroll around town in the early morning sunshine.
As the Denoons waited patiently for the ferry to the City of Canada in the sunset, Stellarton jotted down some notes in his notebook, while Port Hawkesbury made sweet sounds to Pictou, putting her hand out to him. “Pictou,” she called softly. Pictou came closer, sniffing the air and her hand. Port Hawkesbury giggled heartily. “Sweetheart,” she called Pictou, touching and stroking his hair caringly. “Here. Let me carry you on my lap.”
Port Hawkesbury picked Pictou up and placed him on her lap, making more sweet sounds to him. “Pictou Denoon. The love of my life,” she called Pictou softly, touching and stroking his hair sweetly. “I know you are, my dear. Hmm?” Pictou sniffed the air and her hands. “Yes. You really are,” Port Hawkesbury agreed, touching and stroking his hair again. “Dear sweet little Pictou.” She embraced Pictou, touching and stroking his hair so tenderly.
Suddenly, a loud foghorn disrupted the tranquility as the ferry sailed towards the stop. “Oh,” said Port Hawkesbury. “Here it is. Come on, dear little sweetness. Let’s go.” The Denoons all arose from the bench, with Port Hawkesbury carrying Pictou in her arms, and Stellarton jotting down some more notes in his notebook. As the ferry halted, it blared its foghorn again. The Denoons boarded the ferry, passing by people chatting and dining in the restaurant, and entered the Captain’s office. “Hello. I’m Port Hawkesbury,” she introduced herself. “And I’m Stellarton,” he added. Pictou stepped forward. “And this is our son, Pictou,” Port Hawkesbury presented him. “Right,” the Captain nodded, and he carefully examined Pictou. “How old is he, then?” “Eleven,” Port Hawkesbury replied. “Oh,” said the Captain. “He’s sweet.” “Yes, he is,” the Denoons both nodded in agreement.
The Captain sat back up. “We’re leaving in a few minutes,” he announced. “Oh. We better find ourselves a room, then,” said Port Hawkesbury. Stellarton jotted down some more notes in his notebook, and Port Hawkesbury scooped Pictou up in her arms in search of a room to stay in.
“This one’s good,” Port Hawkesbury commented, opening a door. “Alright,” Stellarton accepted, and the Denoons entered the room, making themselves comfortable. Night was falling, so Port Hawkesbury drew the curtains, pulled the duvets back and plumped the pillows up. Pictou suddenly relieved himself, causing the room to stink of ammonia. “Oh,” said Port Hawkesbury. “Here. I’ll get you all sorted out. My dear.” She took Pictou into the bathroom to change his wet diaper.
“Lovely,” Port Hawkesbury called Pictou when she left the bathroom. He sniffed the air. “Let’s get you tucked into bed. We didn’t get much sleep last night.” She lay Pictou down on the bed, removing his shoes and sliding a soft, comfy pillow under his head. He sniffed the air as she pulled the duvet all the way up to his neck. Port Hawkesbury touched and stroked Pictou’s hair, kissing his cheek. Pictou sniffed out delicious fruity aromas from his pillow and duvet. Port Hawkesbury slipped her boots off and got herself comfortably into her bed. Just as she lay her head on the pillow, the foghorn blared loudly, and the ferry began to set sail. “Oh,” she said softly. Stellarton turned out the light and got himself into bed, then they all fell asleep instantly. The ferry blasted its foghorn as it sailed further out to sea, far away from Nova Scotia. The Denoons slept peacefully as the ferry sailed through the night towards the City of Canada.
He felt his sleeping body quiver slightly, hearing a familiar sweet voice.
Pictou woke up to see none other than his mother. “Good morning, little one.” She touched and stroked his hair sweetly.
Suddenly, the foghorn blared. “Oh. That means we’re almost there. Come on, sweetie Pictou. Let’s go.” Port Hawkesbury propped Pictou up and slid his shoes back onto his feet, picking him up and opening the curtains. Stellarton sat up and replaced his shoes, too. Standing up off his bed, he jotted some notes down in his notebook. The Denoons descended to the restaurant to eat a quick breakfast of buttered toast and a cup of tea while people around them chatted happily as they also ate their breakfasts.
At last, the ferry arrived in the City of Canada, blasting its foghorn as it halted beside the Canadian Pier. Everybody disembarked the ferry, nodding and chatting to each other, passing by some sailors, who saluted them as a way of welcoming them to the city. The ferry turned around to return to Nova Scotia, blasting its foghorn again as it sailed back out to the open sea.
The Denoons scanned the surrounding area to familiarize themselves with the new place. Nodding at each other, they set off down the street. As they turned down another road, Harrigan Cove suddenly appeared. The Denoons almost literally bumped into him!
Pictou, Port Hawkesbury, Stellarton and Harrigan Cove all gasped in shock, then Port Hawkesbury giggled. “Sorry,” Pictou apologized. “That’s alright,” Harrigan Cove accepted, and Port Hawkesbury giggled again. “Oh, we’ve haven’t seen you for years!” she exclaimed, rushing up to Harrigan Cove and embracing him, stroking and patting his back, and he nodded. “Huh? Harrigan Cove moved to the City of Canada, too?” thought Pictou, with an eyebrow raised in bemusement.
Harrigan Cove turned to Pictou. “Hello, Pictou,” he greeted him in his familiar Irish-Canadian brogue, rubbing his stubbly chin. “Remember me? I met youse when youse was jus’ a little beaut.” He touched and stroked his hair tenderly. “Yes, I do,” Pictou nodded, and Harrigan Cove chuckled heartily. “So, how old youse now, little one?” he asked. “Eleven,” Pictou replied. “Oh,” said Harrigan Cove, and he gave another chuckle. “Now youse becoming a little man.” He touched and stroked Pictou’s hair again. “Mmm-hmm,” Pictou replied, nodding. Harrigan Cove stood tall. “I’m 31,” he announced proudly. “Oh, really?” said Pictou, surprised. “Yes. Still quite young, me,” Harrigan Cove chuckled deeply. “Hmm,” Pictou grumbled, looking somewhat cross.
Pictou looked back up at Harrigan Cove. “I live jus’ round here,” he told Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton. “Oh, right?” said Port Hawkesbury, pleasantly surprised. “Yes,” Harrigan Cove replied. “Jus’ a block away from the Canadian Park. I’ve been there jus’ the other day. Beautiful.” “Aw, sweet,” Port Hawkesbury cooed, and Stellarton jotted down some notes in his notebook.
Harrigan Cove rubbed his stubbly chin again. “Well, better get going, then,” he said. “Alright,” said Port Hawkesbury. “See youse all sometime later,” Harrigan Cove bid goodbye. “See you!” the Denoons called as he strolled away. “And don’t forget to visit sometime!” Harrigan Cove hollered to the Denoons just before he turned the corner. “Alright! Goodbye!” the Denoons called out to him. “See youse later!” Harrigan Cove called out for the last time, then he disappeared around the corner. “Now, let’s go look for our new home,” Stellarton suggested in French. Pictou and Port Hawkesbury nodded in approval, and they all set off into the city in search of their new home.
After a good stroll through the city streets, the Denoons finally found their new home, nested in the heart of a suburban-style street in deepest downtown. Stellarton made some notes in his notebook while the Denoons waited a short time. A courier van cruised up the road, stopping when the driver spotted the Denoons. He opened the back doors, and out popped some couriers, all carrying the Denoons’ boxes. The driver handed Stellarton a keychain. He noticed a label on one of the keys – FRONT DOOR. Separating it from the other keys, he inserted the key into the lock, turned it and opened the door. The Denoons and the couriers all went inside, beginning to put the boxes down, while the Denoons looked around themselves.
“Well, here we are,” Stellarton announced. “Our new home.” Pictou sniffed the air to familiarize himself with the new house.
Port Hawkesbury picked Pictou up and took him into the sitting room. Pictou sniffed out the lovely aroma, and Port Hawkesbury carried him upstairs to a room with a double bed. “This’ll be mine and Stellarton’s room,” she said, and Pictou sniffed the air again. Port Hawkesbury crossed over to another room with a single bed beside the window. “And this is going to be my little Pictou’s room,” she said sweetly. Pictou nodded, and he gave the air a good sniff to become accustomed to his new room.
Port Hawkesbury placed Pictou down on the bed and cut a box open, retrieving Pictou’s precious lamp. She placed it on the bedside table and plugged it in. Port Hawkesbury cut another box open and fetched Pictou’s pyjamas. She opened the wardrobe, took a coathanger out and hung the pyjamas on it. Port Hawkesbury removed all the pairs of socks from the box, opening a small drawer and neatly storing them inside, then she fetched some pairs of panties. “I don’t even know why you have panties, Pictou,” she said to her eleven-year-old son, opening another drawer and neatly stacking the pairs inside. Pictou shook his head slowly and sadly, and Port Hawkesbury closed the drawer, looking a little down.
Port Hawkesbury picked Pictou back up and carried him over to the attic. “Here’s the attic, my dear,” she said sweetly. “We’ll put all the boxes and our old things in here.” Pictou sniffed the musky air, and Port Hawkesbury carried him across to the bathroom. “And here’s the bathroom.” Pictou sniffed out the briny aroma of the sea.
Port Hawkesbury placed Pictou back down on the floor, and they both went downstairs to the kitchen, where Stellarton was taking down notes on the new house. “Let’s have something to eat now, shall we, my little lovely?” she asked Pictou, and Stellarton turned to her. “Mmm-hmm,” Pictou nodded. “Alright,” Port Hawkesbury accepted, and she began to hum to herself pleasantly as she approached the storecupboard, with Pictou and Stellarton coming closer. Port Hawkesbury opened the storecupboard, and she immediately stopped humming as she realized that, to her astonishment, it was completely empty!
“Better go shopping, then,” she smiled rather angrily, and Pictou and Stellarton stared after her.
Port Hawkesbury pushed Pictou in a trolley through the entrance of the Canadian Hypermarket to the fruit and vegetables aisle. “We’ll need to get lots of things, won’t we, little Pictou?” she asked. “Uh-huh,” Pictou nodded, sniffing the air. Port Hawkesbury picked up some apples, bananas and oranges. “This’ll go in our fruit bowl,” she said. “Oh, and some berries, too,” she added, picking up boxes of assorted berries. “Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries – and blueberries. Oh, good old Nova Scotia blueberries, eh, Pictou?” “Yeah,” said Pictou, sniffing the air.
The Denoons passed through the dairy aisle, where Port Hawkesbury picked up some skimmed milk, butter, margarine and cheese. “Oh, and not forgetting the cream to pour over our strawberries,” she giggled, picking up a pot of cream. Over to the daily essentials aisle, and Port Hawkesbury picked up a loaf of white bread, a box of fresh eggs, a few boxes of cereal, and a sack of porridge oats. Pictou sniffed out a grainy aroma. Then to the snacks aisle, where Port Hawkesbury picked up some bags of potato chips, biscuits and cookies. Pictou sniffed the sweet and salty air.
Without warning, Pictou relieved himself, the stench of ammonia filling the air. Port Hawkesbury caught the odour. “Oh dear!” she exclaimed. “Oh, dearie me. I better get you all sorted out, my lovely. Oh, dear.” She picked Pictou up, Stellarton jotting down some notes in his notebook, and she began to carry him over to the bathroom. “Oh dear. Oh dearie, dearie, dear,” she repeated as she passed through the aisles to reach the back of the hypermarket. Port Hawkesbury entered the bathroom, pulled Pictou’s pants down and lay him down on a soft, comfy mat. “Oh dear,” she repeated softly.
Port Hawkesbury disposed of Pictou’s wet diaper and cleaned his backside with a piece of toilet tissue. She slipped him into a fresh, dry diaper, replacing his pants, then picked him back up and returned to the snacks aisle, where Stellarton was waiting beside her trolley. Port Hawkesbury placed Pictou back in the seat. “Alright, then?” Stellarton asked her in French. “Oui,” Port Hawkesbury agreed in French, and Pictou nodded. The Denoons resumed their shopping trip, Pictou sniffing the air and Stellarton making notes in each aisle they passed through.
The Denoons approached an empty till, and Port Hawkesbury placed all her shopping onto the conveyor belt, reaching the cashier at the end, who scanned in each item in one at a time. Port Hawkesbury watched the total mount up on the small LCD screen beside the till as each item was scanned in.
“That’ll be $297.39, please,” announced the cashier when she’d scanned everything in. Port Hawkesbury gawped at her, absolutely flabbergasted, and so did Stellarton. “THAT expensive?” Pictou wondered slightly angrily, then Port Hawkesbury smiled. “Well, obviously ‘cause there’s lots of things,” she giggled. “Alright.” Retrieving her credit card, she paid the cashier the full amount. “Thank you.” “Well, I’ve only just moved here today – there was nothing in the cupboard when we moved in!” Port Hawkesbury laughed as the Denoons headed for the car park. “Alright.” “Still can’t get over how expensive it was, though,” Port Hawkesbury added as the Denoons crossed the exit.
Outside in the car park, the Denoons handed all their shopping to the home delivery van driver, who loaded them one by one into the back of his van. Stellarton jotted down some notes in his notebook as the Denoons watched. Loading the last bag into his van, the driver shut and locked the back doors. Climbing into the front, he started the engine and drove off to the Denoons’ house. Stellarton patted Port Hawkesbury’s back. “Let’s go home.” “Alright,” she accepted, and the Denoons set off on the way back home in the late morning sunshine.
As the Denoons arrived back home, Stellarton began to pack all the shopping into the appropriate places. Port Hawkesbury nodded at him. “Now, while Stellarton’s putting our stuff away,” she said to Pictou, “let’s have a good old hot bath, eh, Pictou?” “Mmm-hmm,” Pictou nodded in approval, and she carried him upstairs. “In here, sweetie,” Port Hawkesbury told Pictou, opening the bathroom door, then shutting and locking it behind her. She placed Pictou down on the floor and began to undress. “Alright, let’s get your clothes off,” she said to Pictou, removing all his clothes and hat. “Okay…” she said softly as she slowly peeled Pictou’s diaper off…
“Oh!” she exclaimed, noticing a clump of dark hairs sprouting around Pictou’s crotch, then she giggled. “Well, you’re growing up now, aren’t you, little Pictou?” Pictou nodded again. Port Hawkesbury plugged the bathtub and turned both the taps on. As the tub filled up, steam began to billow across the room. Port Hawkesbury sniffed out sweat in the humid, sticky air. “Where could that horrible stench be coming from?” she wondered, smiling rather angrily.
With the tub full of hot water, Port Hawkesbury turned the taps off, picked Pictou up and sat down on the floor, turning Pictou around to face her and placing him down in front. She gave both herself and Pictou a good splash of warm water, then squeezed a little minty scrubbing gel into her palm and rubbed it well all over her body and Pictou’s. “Let’s wash you under there,” she said to Pictou as she lifted his arms up…
“Oh!” she clamoured quite loudly, spotting patches of small, black hairs growing on Pictou’s armpits. “Not a little kid anymore, are you, Picky-tou?” She laughed heartily. “No,” Pictou replied, shaking his head rather slowly and sadly. Port Hawkesbury scrubbed Pictou’s hairy armpits with another handful of gel, popped out a razor and gave them both a good shave, the sweaty odour being replaced with a delicious, fresh minty aroma.
Suddenly, Pictou relieved himself into the bath again, briefly yellowing the water, which then turned a dirty pale grey. Port Hawkesbury glared down at the filthy hot bathwater and began to grumble. “Oh, Pictou!” she shouted noisily and angrily. “That nearly always happens!” “Oh. Sorry,” Pictou apologized in French, which Port Hawkesbury quickly accepted. She scrubbed her armpits with a little gel and shaved the hairs off, finishing with a good rinse of tepid water. Port Hawkesbury washed the minty lather off herself and Pictou. “So, you loving our new home, Picky-tou?” she asked him sweetly. “Yeah,” Pictou nodded. “But I’m missing our old home already, too.” “Aw,” Port Hawkesbury cooed. “But you’ll soon get used to it.” She touched and stroked his hair tenderly.
Port Hawkesbury gave herself a good downstairs clean, and she helped Pictou wash himself with his hands. She splashed herself and Pictou with a finishing bowlful of hot water, then she unplugged the bath, picked Pictou up and lifted herself out of the tub, wrapping each other in a towel and entering Pictou’s room. Port Hawkesbury slipped into some clean underwear and slid a fresh diaper onto Pictou, then lifted his arms up and gave his armpits a good spritz of deodorant. “This is so you don’t smell all sweaty and dirty,” she told him. Pictou nodded in approval, and he sniffed out the refreshing, cool fragrance. Port Hawkesbury slipped back into her dress, plopping her hat back on her head, and she helped Pictou back into his clothes.
Dry and dressed, Pictou and Port Hawkesbury descended the stairs to the hallway, where Stellarton was waiting by the front door. “Let’s go, then,” he said in French, and Pictou, Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton stepped out of the house. Stellarton locked the door, and the Denoons all set off into the city.
Strolling down the street with cars cruising by, the Denoons made a turn and headed for the Canadian Park, where people were relaxing on the grass and playing games under the sun. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, Port Hawkesbury began to cry. “Oh, what now, Port Hawkesbury?” asked Stellarton, feeling rather annoyed. “A lot of things,” Port Hawkesbury sobbed. Stellarton gazed at her, touching and stroking her sweetly. “Aw.”
As the Denoons strolled on, they heard little kissing sounds. It was Sudbury, laying down on the grass, comfortably tucked up in his sleeping bag. Port Hawkesbury snuggled up to him, and he embraced her. “Hello,” he greeted her kindly. “I’m Sudbury.” “I’m Port Hawkesbury,” she sobbed. “Oh,” said Sudbury softly, then he giggled. “Here, sweetie.” Port Hawkesbury came closer, and Sudbury began to touch and stroke her. “My dear,” he called her affectionately. “My little sweetheart.”
Sudbury kissed Port Hawkesbury. “Tell me, my lovely-jubbly,” he asked her. “Whatever’s troubling you?” “Just about everything,” sobbed Port Hawkesbury. “I’ve only just moved here today. And my son, and my husband.” “Aw,” Sudbury cooed. “Seems like you’re going through some hard times.” “Yes,” Port Hawkesbury agreed, sobbing. “Well, here I am,” Sudbury smiled sweetly, and he continued to comfort Port Hawkesbury, calling her by different terms of endearment as she gradually began to cry a little less. Pictou and Stellarton watched, Stellarton taking down more notes in his notebook, feeling pity for them both.
“There you go, my dearie,” Sudbury smiled kindly. “Thanks,” Port Hawkesbury sniffled, and she arose from the ground. “Alright,” Sudbury nodded. “Come on, then,” Stellarton called Port Hawkesbury on, and the Denoons set off towards the play area, where Pictou could spend the rest of the sunny afternoon having fun, Sudbury smiling after them.
Port Hawkesbury was speaking to the Enrolment Officer at the Canadian Junior High School, answering all the questions being put to her.
“So, what’s your name?” asked the Officer. “Port Hawkesbury Birchwood,” Port Hawkesbury replied. “Alright. And what’s your child’s name? Male or female?” “Pictou Denoon,” said Port Hawkesbury. “And he’s male.” “Okay.” Pictou sat on Port Hawkesbury’s lap, overhearing the conversation. “Can you come in with Pictou today?” asked the Officer. “Alright,” Port Hawkesbury accepted. “See you.” She hung up, and Pictou suddenly wet himself from nervousness. Port Hawkesbury picked him up, the stench of ammonia wafting in the air. “You’re gonna go to junior high school soon, Pictou,” she told him softly. “Oh,” said Pictou. “Alright.” Port Hawkesbury carried Pictou over to the bathroom to change him.
The Denoons strolled down the corridor at the school where Pictou would soon be continuing his studies, passing by the janitor mopping the floor, whom they all shared quick greetings with. As the Denoons approached the Principal’s office, Pictou pressed the buzzer. “Who is it?” the Principal asked over the intercom. “Pictou Denoon, Mr. Principal,” Pictou replied courteously. “Enter.” Pictou opened the door, and the Denoons each took a seat at the Principal’s desk.
“So, your son, Pictou,” the Principal began. “That’s me,” said Pictou. “Is he coming to this school?” “Yes, he is,” Port Hawkesbury replied. “I think your son has a lot of potential,” the Principal commented. “He’s going to do very well in class.” “Oh, that’s good,” said Stellarton, jotting down some notes in his notebook.
“You speak a foreign language?” the Principal asked. “Yes, we speak Canadian French and Acadian French,” Port Hawkesbury replied. “We’re Acadian.” “Oh,” said the Principal. “Say something in French, Pictou.” “Je m’appelle Pictou,” Pictou introduced himself in French. “Oh, good boy,” the Principal praised him. “Yes,” Port Hawkesbury smiled. “The school is very diverse, you know,” the Principal added.
At last, Pictou’s first day at junior high had arrived. Carrying a rucksack packed with his school gear on his back, listening to the other students chattering to each other made nervousness tickle his innards again. Mrs. Balsey arrived, unlocking the door. “Come in, everybody,” she called, and her class all found a desk to sit at. Pictou found a planner lying on his desk. Fetching his pencil case, he labelled the cover with his full name and teacher’s name. Mrs. Balsey stood up, and so did her class. “I’m Mrs. Balsey,” she introduced herself, writing her name and today’s date on the whiteboard. “Morning, Mrs. Balsey,” her students greeted her, then she spotted Pictou at the back. “New student, everybody,” she announced. “Come up here and present yourself, please.” Pictou looked up from his desk, and he stepped up to the front, turning to face the class.
“Hello. I’m named Pictou. Pictou Denoon,” Pictou introduced himself. One of the other students laughed. “Nova Scotia, are you?” she asked. “Yes,” Pictou nodded, and she laughed again. “I’m Acadian,” he continued. “I speak two kinds of French. Canadian and Acadian French.” Another student suddenly perked up. “Acadian?” he repeated. “Where have I heard that before?” “Didn’t we throw you out of Canada once?” another asked mockingly. “What’s the difference?” smirked a third, and they all started laughing out loud, which infuriated Pictou greatly. “WILL YOU ALL JUST BE QUIET!” he shouted noisily, causing the other students to shut up. “Good boy, Pictou,” Mrs. Balsey praised him, and he smiled at her sweetly. “Sit back down, then.” “Alright,” Pictou accepted, and he returned to his desk, where he was given a timetable. Carefully reading the classes and times, he stored it between the back pages of his planner and filled in more essential details, like adding Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton as contacts in case of emergency.
Suddenly, the bell rang. “Off to your first lesson, kids,” Mrs. Balsey announced, and Pictou left the room, heading off to his first lesson at junior high – Science.
Strolling around the playing field by himself, Pictou spotted three older Canadian Boys, whose names were Hantsport, Aspotogan and Stewiacke, chatting to each other. They turned to Pictou as he slowly approached them. “Hello,” Pictou began. “I’m Pictou.” “I’m Hantsport,” Hantsport replied. “I’m Aspotogan,” Aspotogan chimed in. “And I’m Stewiacke,” Stewiacke concluded. “Oh,” said Pictou.
“How old are you?” Stewiacke asked Pictou. “I’m eleven,” Pictou replied. “Well, I’m fifteen,” Stewiacke declared. “I’m fourteen,” said Aspotogan. “I’m thirteen,” added Hantsport. Pictou nodded. “So, I’m the little one here.” “Yeah,” Stewiacke and his buddies agreed in unity. “And what do you like doing?” Stewiacke asked Pictou again. “Eh?” said Pictou, confused, staring blankly into Stewiacke and his buddies’ faces…
Pictou suddenly felt his crotch moistening and stinking of ammonia as his nervousness gripped him, making Stewiacke and his buddies sniff the air. “So, you like doing… THAT?” scoffed Stewiacke. “Uh-oh,” Pictou muttered under his breath, and he dashed back inside the school, screaming in terror. “GET HIM!” Stewiacke commanded his friends noisily, pointing after Pictou, and they dashed back inside the school, too. Pictou rushed through the maze of corridors and stairways in an attempt to lose Stewiacke and his buddies. “Sorry!” he would apologize loudly whenever he bumped into something or someone. After much running around, Pictou took cover inside his locker, curling up into a ball of nerviness, fear and wetness.
Stewiacke and his buddies arrived in the corridor, scanning up and down the lengthy rows of lockers lining the walls. “He could be hiding in any one of these,” said Aspotogan. “But… which one?” Stewiacke asked. Just then, they heard one of the locker doors rattling. “Ah-ha,” Stewiacke smirked, and Aspotogan swirled his kilt, snapping his fingers. Stewiacke and his buddies ominously snuck up to the jangling locker and noisily threw the door open. “We’ve got you now, stinko!” Stewiacke announced proudly. “Oh, no!” cried Pictou, knowing his cover had been blown.
Stewiacke shoved Pictou into the back of the locker, pressing him up against the wall. “Stinky stinko, aren’t you?” he asked mockingly, cackling as he tried to pull Pictou’s trousers down. “Acadian stinko!” “Oh, please!” Pictou begged in annoyance, and Stewiacke noisily kissed him on the lips. “Ugh!” he complained, wiping his mouth and trying to push Stewiacke away, but Stewiacke only forced himself onto Pictou even more, pinning his hands down to the base.
Luckily for Pictou, along came Mr. Granville-Larringon. “What in heaven’s name is going on?” he asked in astonishment, staring at Stewiacke and his buddies, and at Pictou. Stewiacke and his buddies stepped aside, revealing the anxious, embarrassed and angry Pictou. “I need changing,” he admitted weakly, which only made Stewiacke and friends cackle meanly. Mr. Granville-Larringon came closer to Pictou. “Here. I’ll change you,” he reassured him, but Stewiacke and his buddies only sneered. “You’re a stinko,” Stewiacke laughed at Pictou as he and his buddies walked away. Pictou and Mr. Granville-Larringon briefly stared in their direction, then they both shook their heads slowly as Mr. Granville-Larringon picked him up and carried him down to the men’s room to change him.
“So, how was it? Your first day at junior high?” Port Hawkesbury asked Pictou as the Denoons dined on gammon steaks with pineapple rings and mashed potato. “Eh, it was alright,” Pictou replied, nodding sideways. “But… I’ve got some bad news.” Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton slowly lay their forks down. “Oh, no,” Port Hawkesbury murmured. “What is it, then?” Pictou slowly lay his fork down too. “I’m being bullied,” he announced guiltily.
Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton both gasped in shock, and Port Hawkesbury immediately began to cry. “Are you, Pictou?” Stellarton asked, still shocked. “Yes, unfortunately,” Pictou nodded sadly, making Port Hawkesbury cry even more. “But it’s not my fault. It’s just because of my condition.” “Yes, Pictou,” Stellarton agreed, nodding, then he arose from his chair and curled his arm around Port Hawkesbury. “Here I am, sweetheart,” he comforted her, and Pictou also arose and curled his arm around her. “We’ll get through this together,” he reassured her.