Moncton — Since its closure in 2015, the old Moncton High has sat unoccupied, collecting dust, mold and asbestos. Last week, however, the city announced that they had finally sold the gothic-style building to one Andrew Johansen, a 2005 graduate of the school.
“Shit, son, works for me,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers, sitting at her desk with her feet up, a cigarette between her teeth and one breast hanging out of her blouse. “Helluva lot cheaper than having to fix it up ourselves, amiright? Man, that’s finance for you. Easy.”
Days after the announcement, a letter was sent out to local news offices. It was an invitation, ostensibly from Johansen, to come and visit the premises and to speak with the new owner.
That night, as requested, reporters from across the province gathered outside the entrance and knocked. After a moment, the door creaked open, and a shadowy figure emerged.
“I apologize for the inadequate lighting,” said Johansen, flatly. In his hand was a green glowstick — seemingly the only source of light in the building. “I so rarely entertain guests.”
He wore a long, black cloak and cardboard mask vaguely shaped like a cat’s face. His strange appearance aside, he was a cordial host, inviting the reporters in for a tour of the former school.
“You see, this is where it all happened for me,” he said, wistfully running his fingers down an ornate door frame. “The location in which many of the greatest moments of my life took place…as well as the spot where some of my deepest regrets first began to take root.”
By the greatest moments of his life, he elaborated that he mostly meant sitting by the lockers playing Gameboy and eating 99 cent “sloppy joes” from the cafeteria. As for his biggest regret, well…
“Here she is,” he said, stopping short before large framed portrait of a redheaded woman that took up the majority of the far side wall. “Stacie,” he moaned.
“This,” he added, with an obnoxiously long pause, “is a painting of the only woman I ever truly loved.”
In truth, it wasn’t really a painting, but rather a profile picture ripped off of LinkedIn. Still, its stretched-out, pixelated quality did give it somewhat of a painterly feel.
“She was the one that got away…and I let her,” he said, wiping a tear just as it began to soak into the cardboard. “She had given me every indication that she felt the same way I did, and yet I was too cowardly to pursue it. I mean, look at this note.”
From his cloak, he removed a folded piece of lined paper, and opened it. “See here…‘Stacie, do you like me? If so, check yes, if not, check no’…”
He turned to reporters and held out the paper with a desperate look in his eyes. “She checked ‘yes’! She CHECKED ‘YES’!!”
He collapsed to the floor and brought his legs up into the fetal position. As he began to stroke the page and tearfully mutter to himself, reporters showed themselves to the door.
After the interview, The Manatee shot a quick message about Johansen to the aforementioned Stacie Larkin over Facebook. She replied promptly with a single word: