As I sit here, construction workers are tearing up the sidewalk and driveway outside my building. The noise is deafening. I have fucking had it with construction in this city!
Worse, there seems to be a lot of concern over the large number of gay men missing in Toronto. This morning, the Toronto police issued a statement. "Investigators are aware of the similarities, but there aren't enough facts to connect the cases," said Constable Allyson Douglas-Cook.
There are two immediate responses. One is that the police, who have access to files and information that the general public does not have, have hit a dead end. Maybe there are twelve separate killers out there.
The other response is that the cops could not give a fuck. After the last two years, some members of our community will believe only the worst about the cops whether that supposition is logical or not.
Of course Facebook is all abuzz. One guy assembled all the missing reports into one big sheet, showing 12 missing men! Though some of those disappearances go back to 2010, most of them have occurred this year. Assembled this way, the finger does point to something suspicious.
So who do we believe? Are our minds so full of serial killer fiction that we believe that a Toronto Hannibal Lecter is out there, cruising the Village? And what is the impact on the community, other than lots of people posting drivel for us to "beware and take care?"
I actually did have a friend who 'disappeared.' Harley Walker was a technician who worked on The Kids in the Hall TV show. We got along famously and were long-time brunch buddies. Then one day in October 2006 his face was all over CP24. "A Cabbagetown senior is declared missing," said the reports, leading one to believe some old coot with Alzhieimers had wandered off to die in a snowbank. But that wasn't Harley, who at the age of 72 was fit, active, and still hooking up with hot guys on a regular basis. One of his tricks was a closeted married suburban dad whose plan was to extort money from gay seniors. They had seen each other several times, and lots of money was paid out, but one day Harley had had enough. I speculate that he may have decided to tell the guy's wife or something, but whatever he did, a kitchen knife was plunged into his back, then into his chest, and he bled to death on his own kitchen floor. The killer put his body in a large plastic bin and buried it at his family's cottage. He was caught soon afterwards, having left a paper trail of credit charges, and he is serving 18 years with no possibility of parole. Harley's body was found in the spring once the permafrost melted. The whole thing was tragic, but I resented that so many people turned it into a cautionary tale. As gay men, we often go home with strangers, who sometimes later become our lovers. Just because one person fell down a staircase does not mean we all stop using staircases.
So now we have a situation with multiple Harleys. They may be connected. They may or may not be murders. (So far, no bodies or blood evidence have been found). I have to assume the police are smart enough to scour their laptops looking for clues, as well as watching hours of surveillance tapes and interviewing friends and neighbours, because that is what they are supposed to do.
Disappearances are so frustrating. At least in Harley's case, they found the body and caught the killer, even if it took the better part of a year. All we can do now is clutch our pearls and think "There but for the grace of God go I."