I know who this is. It's my Uncle Ted, my father's brother. His face is turned away, and I have never seen him naked, the way he is now, but I recognize his clothes folded up alongside him, and I recognize his general shape, his soft well-groomed hands. And I recognize the gun, which had been my grandfather's from the war, old and decrepit, that I was told never to touch. His shoulders are lightly furred with dark curling hair. He is the first fully naked man I've seen, though not the first dead one.\n\n[[woods]]\n\n[[leaves]]\n\n[[stream]]\n\n[[dog]]\n\n[[blood]]
The gun flies backward and out of my hand and I fall, as one side of the dog bursts into blood, flesh and bone. It lets out a horrible yelp as it collapses, and the man lunges out from behind the tree towards it. \n\n"Whisky!" he screams. And I scramble up, spin round, and run, and run.\n\n"You fucking bastard!" he yells. "You and your faggot uncle! I'm gonna come for you, just you wait!"\n\nI run along the stream, cross at the right point, race up from the woods to my grandmother's house. I tell Mom and Uncle Jim everything while my grandmother sits by the window, staring into the deepening dark, and then Uncle Jim goes with the corporal from the Headingly RCMP to find Uncle Ted. He and his clothes are right where I said. The gun is found back in some brush near the stream. The dog and the [[man]] are gone.\n\n \n\n
The shirt is white and crisp and clean, neatly folded. My grandmother washed all of Uncle Ted's clothes. He didn't have a wife. All the other men in the town had wives, it seemed, wives and children, and some grandchildren too. Ted lived at home alone with my grandmother. He and Jim farmed as my grandfather had, but Jim lived with his wife, a widow named Clara, a little over a mile away. Clara already had two children by her late husband, but now had one of Jim's on the way.\n\nThe dog raises its head and growls at me as I move closer. I pull my hand away from the shirt.\n\n[[tie]]\n\n[[pants]]\n\n[[socks]]\n\n[[shoe]]\n\n[[gun|not the gun]]
The stream is more of a trickle, and some summers is more of a long narrow mud trail than anything else. This year it's actually a few inches deep, and on warmer days was a haven for peepers and garter snakes and thirsty birds. It's chilly now, and numbs your fingers if you run your fingers through it. I know if I follow the stream one way and cross it at the right point, I can find my way back to the house.\n\n[[woods]]\n\n[[leaves]]\n\n[[dog]]\n\n[[body]]\n\n[[blood]]
Fall has come early this year. We had a late frost on my birthday in mid-June, and we nearly had another just two days ago. My grandmother and uncle are worried about the crops--I don't understand much of what they say, but I have learned a few words from my summer visits, and I can hear how nervous and fearful and angry they are. \n\n[[woods]]\n\n[[stream]]\n\n[[dog]]\n\n[[body]] \n\n[[blood]]
I can't. I can't touch the gun. I have to try for something else.\n\n[[tie]]\n\n[[shirt]]\n\n[[pants]]\n\n[[socks]]\n\n[[shoe]]
The dog is coming closer.\n\n[[woods]]\n\n[[leaves]]\n\n[[stream]]\n\n[[body]]\n\n[[blood]]
The socks are just socks, plain and black. They could be anyone's, they wouldn't prove anything. I have to try for something else.\n\n[[tie]]\n\n[[shirt]]\n\n[[pants]]\n\n[[shoe]]\n\n[[gun|not the gun]]\n\n
\nI reach for the tie, dark blue with black stripes, the tie that Uncle Ted would wear to church. We would go together, him and me and Mom, and some of the people in the town would whisper to each other as we sat ourselves. Something wasn't right with Uncle Ted, but I didn't know what. I didn't ask. No one would say.\n\nThe dog raises its head and growls at me as I move closer. I pull my hand away from the tie.\n\n[[shirt]]\n\n[[pants]]\n\n[[socks]]\n\n[[shoe]]\n\n[[gun|not the gun]]
These are the [[woods]] near my grandmother's house. I'm seated in a pile of fresh-fallen [[leaves]]. The [[stream]] runs alongside where I'm sitting. Somewhere there is a [[dog]] barking. There is a [[body]] here, the body of a man, lying face-down on the ground. There is [[blood]], possibly from his head, or maybe from his chest. I'm afraid to go closer to look, and I'm afraid to leave. It's 1970, the first weekend in September. I'm just eight years old.\n\n
I'm not supposed to be here. The woods are not very thick and there are few animals, but the bend in the stream makes it difficult to find your way out or back, and when you are too far no one can hear you. I used to come here with Dad but...\n\n[[leaves]]\n\n[[stream]]\n\n[[dog]]\n\n[[body]]\n\n[[blood]]
The blood is thick and dark and still, and its smell hangs in the air, tickles the back of my nose and throat like pennies held in my mouth. If I can smell it, other things can too. I start to wonder if I'm safe.\n\nAnd, just then, the dog appears. He barks at me, approaches, sniffs, moves toward Uncle Ted.\n\n"No," I say. "Leave him alone."\n\nHe comes closer to the body, the blood. I look around, find a stone, pitch it at the dog. He dodges it easily, then licks at Uncle Ted's blood.\n\nThe dog isn't right. It's thirsty and hungry, and maybe something else.\n\nI stand. It watches me warily, keeps lapping at the blood.\n\nI need to go home. I need to go now. But I need to take something of Uncle Ted's with me, to show Mom and my grandmother and Uncle Jim, to prove what I've found.\n\n[[tie]]\n\n[[shirt]]\n\n[[pants]]\n\n[[socks]]\n\n[[shoe]]\n\n[[gun|not the gun]]\n
I reach for the gun.\n\nThe dog raises its head and growls at me as I move closer. I grab the gun and jump back as it bares its teeth at me, snarls menacingly. I freeze.\n\n"Whisky," a voice says flatly from just a few yards away. "Whisky, come away from there." Whiskey turns his snout back to the blood, now cold and congealed. He scrapes it up off the ground with his teeth.\n\nI look to where the voice has come from. It's a man, a man my Uncle's age, standing behind a tree. I can't see who it is, but he can see me, and he can see the gun.\n\n"Your dog killed my uncle," I shout, though I know and he knows that that isn't true.\n\n"Whisky. Now."\n\n"Your dog killed my uncle," I repeat, and then I raise the gun, and [[shoot]] it.\n\n
woods leaves stream body blood
David Demchuk
<b>Morrison man not guilty in shooting death</b>\n<i>Winnipeg Free Press, August 16, 1971</i>\n\nA jury has found Alan Fergus, a Morrison area farmer, not guilty in the shooting death of Theodore Hnatiuk, 36.\n\nFergus, 35, was accused of second-degree murder in Hnatiuk's death in September of last year. \n\nDuring the trial in Winnipeg Court of Queen's Bench, the Crown alleged that Fergus shot Hnatiuk in a wooded area not far from his family residence, and arranged it to look like a suicide.\n\nFergus sighed with relief as the verdict was pronounced, hugging members of his family.\n\nThere were gasps in the courtroom from members of Hnatiuk's family and others in attendance.\n\n"This was the verdict I was expecting when the judge and jury heard the full story and the facts," said Fergus.\n\nWhen asked what he would do next, he replied: "Get on with my life, caring for my wife, raising our children."
The shoes are black with a second layer of leather over the toes, delicately punched with an elaborate pattern, nothing like the plain brown and black shoes, the workboots and snowboots that the other men in the town wear. He cleaned and polished them every Saturday night so that they would gleam in church on Sundays. Uncle Ted had wanted to join the seminary, had fought with my Uncle Jim about it, as that would leave Jim farming my grandmother's land alone. They didn't have the money to hire anyone, nobody from town would send their son to help out. (But why? Why did the other kids laugh and avoid me? Why the whispers, the mutters, the stares? Why did Mom pull me out of the general store in disgust, what did she hear?)\n\nAs I look at the shoes I realize: there are two sets of tracks here, Uncle Ted and someone else. Someone made him take off his clothes. Someone shot him, naked, left the gun, walked away, just didn't care.\n\nSomeone else had been here, might still be close by.\n\n[[gun]]
\nThe pants are black and sturdy, and Uncle Ted wore them whenever he wasn't working in the field. He didn't like jeans or corduroys, he was university-educated and liked to be well-dressed and to look serious about things, not 'just a farmer' like the other men in the town. He had been in fights, I knew, because a few of them thought he was acting better than he was. There were other fights as well. Sometimes Uncle Ted would hear a noise no one else heard. "Animals," he'd say. He would get up in the middle of supper and take the gun and leave the house, check around outside the house and sometimes near the woods. I had wondered why he kept my grandfather's gun. Maybe it was more than just animals he was worried about.\n\nThe pants would have Uncle Ted's wallet, with his money, his driver's license. Maybe something to tell us what had happened.\n\nThe dog raises its head and growls at me as I move closer. I pull my hand away from the pants.\n\n[[tie]]\n\n[[shirt]]\n\n[[socks]]\n\n[[shoe]]\n\n[[gun|not the gun]]