Canadian culture note: We call cola "pop", which makes a nice little pun within Rik Catlow's work and also helps you to understand the following story. And including this word makes my work eligible for a 10 thousand dollar Canada Arts Council Grant.
The sun sets as though it were taking its time, dawdling with dreamy colors over the cityscape, shining oranges and reds this way and that against glass skyscrapers and loitering in front of convenience stores. A beautiful evening for a stroll to troll the streets for garbage, Troy Guillaime thinks to himself every time there's a pink sunburst on glass out of the corner of his eye. A great evening to learn a thing or two about the world, he thinks, looking over fondly at his five year old son.
"You see son that's a very interesting artifact," he says, pointing to a crushed can beneath a bus-stop bench.
"Wow," his son squawks in the high-pitched tone of youth. He holds a pop-can with a sci-fi alien painted on top between his two tiny hands.
"You see this pop is called Exposed because the man who made it believed that creatures from other planets are using cola companies as a front to infiltrate our society. He wanted people to know how Coca-Cola and Pepsi are operated from other planets."
"Is that true ?" his son quiries, looking up to him with eyes as big as the world.
"Oh no the man who started this company was very, very, very insane and he just hallucinated these things. Hallucinate means see something that isn't there."
"Why did people let him make his company ?"
"Because people will do anything for money no matter how crazy you are."
Everyday after work, Troy Guillaime carefully places prefabricated garbage in various spots to later be discovered in the company of his son. Troy, who works as an insurance broker, can keep his creative faculties alive and kicking and his son can learn fanciful stories. Other children's heads and hearts are filled with Christmas hokum or religious mumbo-jumbo, I'm just creating non-traditional lies, Troy tells his wife.
As long as these fictions end with kernels of truth, the boy's mother doesn't mind.
"I can't believe you found one of those. They aren't sold much anymore. Tonight's a special evening," Troy Guillaime laughs, touselling his son's blond hair.
And the last light of the day signals the end of their stroll.
But on this night, unbeknownst to Troy Guillaime or even the laws of physics, a few rays of sunlight are left behind like so much garbage on the top floor of a building to later be cleaned up into the dustbin by a midnight janitor who's never seen anything like it.
Yes, a very special night indeed.