Nothing Happened in Coronation
I lived in Coronation an Alberta village in Canada, until I was 18.This is the 7th of 25
Coronation stories & essays.
The Curious Case of the Boy With The Large Head
They say nothing happens in Coronation.
I proved the fallacy of this in Part l. Part 2 concludes this amazing story that had its roots in Coronation.
As you will recall, I promised to explain how George, a boyhood acquaintance with an enormous head, became the subject of a bizarre investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, of which I was a part.
To understand George’s link with the RCMP, you must first understand Corporal Soda. He lived across the street from us in Edmonton.
Soda was a terrific Mountie. He looked like a poster boy for the RCMP — in fact I used many of his character traits in a novel called “The Soda Cracker” that was later made into a terrible movie, “The Kill Reflex.”
Soda often took me (a mere civilian) on stakeouts. I was given a small hammer and when the bad guys went for drinks I would shatter one of their taillights.
That made it easier to follow them after sunset. Also, it was a good excuse to stop the thug’s car since it’s an offense to drive with a broken taillight after dark.
Mostly Soda and I went to movies, double-dated and had a good time on weekends. He ate dinner at our home several times a week.
Soda was promoted to undercover work at the Edmonton International Airport. In those days the RCMP was involved in national security.
One Sunday, Soda phoned to say he would be late for dinner. He spoke of uncovering a super spy ring that the RCMP was on the verge of cracking.
When Soda finally arrived he explained that the RCMP had identified the mastermind behind a secret Asian spy ring that had infiltrated every area of Canada.
RCMP officers had recognized the ring’s mastermind when he boarded a commercial aircraft in Toronto. A few hours earlier that flight had landed in Edmonton.
Soda had caught a glimpse of the mastermind when he stepped off the plane in Edmonton, but the super spy was so clever he had slipped through a police dragnet.
Soda speared a carrot as he confided that the Spy Master had managed to evade even Interpol. “My God, there he is!” yelled Soda, dropping his fork and reaching for his revolver.
George, the Chinese boy I had taught English to, froze in our dining room doorway.
“It’s all right,” said my mother. “This is our friend, George. We’ve known him since he was born. He’s no spy.”
Soda checked and rechecked George’s driver’s license and reluctantly realized my mother was telling the truth. George had been going to school in Toronto and had flown home for the summer.
We sat down for dinner but there was little talk. George and Soda kept looking at each other.
What a coincidence. Imagine one of your dinner guests shooting a Chinese-Canadian from your childhood in your dining room because of a mistaken ID and a large head.
Months later I asked Soda why in the world the Mounties had assumed that George was a super spy.
Soda said his superiors had reports of some kind of Asian intrigue and concluded someone with a large head could possess a tremendous and possibly evil brain.
George, totally innocent, was the only Chinese the Mounties could find who fitted their profile.
The Mounties might always nail the man, but they sure didn’t always nail their spy. Shortly after this, the federal authorities assigned spy catching to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
And that, Dear Reader, is how I, lad from Coronation, was linked to a top-level investigation by the RCMP that involved a boy with a very large head.
Here is some additional information about the RCMP and how it started, featuring one of the most famous Mounties of them all. Sam Steele. If the image is clipped, please click on the full screen icon at the bottom right hand of film.
If the above makes you want to find out even more about Steele, then the best place in the world to check things out is almost in my backyard in Edmonton.
And the library has the most helpful research experts in the world.