I was 16, had just turned. It was my second time on the streets that year. Edmonton Alberta, living in a squat house just off Whyte avenue, 107 st. Now a Condo sits where the abandoned house we called home use to sit.
There was about 7 of us living in one room, the youngest was a kid named Small Fry who was 13 and on crutches. I liked him. I had only been at the squat a few days, or maybe a week; a guy I hardly knew named Justin had shown me the way there a few nights before and I stayed. I crashed hard that night, sleeping through everything that was to happen
Devon wasn’t a very popular guy, in part cause he was one of those guys who can be hard to like. In part cause he was openly bisexual in a very homophobic place. A case of wrong time, wrong tastes. I liked him though, as he was nice to me. About an hour or so after I fell asleep, Devon came ‘home’ quite drunk and ready to pass out. There was a young girl visiting us, I can’t recall her name, but she had a home yet would come to the squat to hang out with the street kids. Everyone liked her. She was drinking with the others when Devon came in. She was using the pallets he slept on as a chair. This is what lead to the argument. I slept through it all, so all I know was from what i was told after I woke up.
When I woke up, people were practically celebrating, partying and bragging about how fun it was to kick the shit out of Devon. They told me “you missed all the excitement!” Glad I did. I was told that Devon had pushed the girl to get her off his bed after she refused to move, and so Justin attacked him, and everyone else jumped in to help in the assault; everyone that is except me and Small Fry of course. They bragged about how he had “turtled like a coward”, and drank in celebration of their assault. They pretended that they beat him for “pushing a girl”, but the real reason was more a mix of homophobia and a desire for violence.
I asked where he was now, and was told quite gleefully how after beating him unconscious, they had drug him outside into the alley way. They left him there then walked to the near by Mack’s store and claimed to the worker that they had found a guy beaten badly in the alley way. They left before the cops got there.
Months later I heard rumor that Devon had been in a coma for a few months, and when he woke up he had no memory of what had happened. I never saw him again, and can;t verify if it was true or not
I feared Justin, and no one dared to stand up to him after that. None the less every so often he would find an excuse to attack someone, turn on someone.A few months after the assault on Devon, Justin beat another kid into a coma for breaking a alcohol bottle in the park and refusing to pick up the glass. He justified it by saying that people bring their dogs there and the dogs could step on the glass.
He left the squat, luckily, and I lived there until police busted it some months later when the parents of a girl named Sarah who had been kicked out decided to claim she had run away because she wouldn’t stay in the shelter where her parents had left her. So they came to find her, apparently knowing for months that we were squatting there. A while after that I was in a car accident, along with that girl, and had to return ‘home’ to Kitscoty do to my injuries. Her parents refused to take her back and told her on the phone from the hospital “It’s just like you to get yourself in trouble.” So she moved in with me and my mom and after she healed enough she went to school with me in the town I had tried so hard to run away from. The town where I had been bullied nearly to suicide.
A year later I heard Justin was convicted of attempted murder after pulling a knife and trying to stab a Sikh guy in Gazebo park.
I was 16 then. I am 33 now.
just over half my life ago.
This is how I remember it. There is not a single person from that scene I have talked to in over a decade. But I remember most of that year like it was just weeks ago.
by Comrade Black