On his special day, The
Cliks’ Lucas Silveira yells fire.




When I was asked to do this piece, I didn’t even have to
think twice about what I would write about.


About three years ago, in early January in my hometown of
Toronto, I woke up to the day I would sign my very first major label record
deal. I peaked out the door to see how cold it was because if I could avoid
driving, I would like to walk to my manager’s office and relish the exciting
moment without having to deal with downtown traffic.


It wasn’t that cold so I put on my winter gear and headed
out the door. I crossed my favorite park, Trinity Bellwoods, and made my way
down to Queen Street.


I was about five blocks away from the office and strolling
along when I heard a woman bellow at the top of her lungs in what seemed to be
Chinese, mingled with screams of horror. Overlaying the racket was an extremely
loud “thunk” that played itself out over and over.


As I got closer I saw the woman along with two other Asian
men. I saw that the thunk was from one man’s snow shovel smashing the other
man’s head. I was completely horrified and of course grabbed my cell phone and
frantically dialed 911. The guy with the shovel was well on his way to killing
the recipient of the blows.


On the very busy street it seemed no one would come to help but
me. As I ran toward them, I screamed for the man to stop. The victim’s face
swelled in violent bloody bulges before my eyes. He held what looked like a gas
canister and it seemed that the attacker was trying to get it away from him. My
mind raced-what the hell is happening?


Suddenly, the victim raised the canister and poured gas all
over himself. The man with the shovel rushed him and tried to pry something
from the victim’s hand, but was pushed away.


As I frantically tried to explain the details the 911 operator,
the most fucked up thing happened: the dude set himself ablaze.


I was in complete shock. I ran down the street away from the
burning man, who seemed to lunge toward everything in sight, setting fire to
anything around him-mainly the store front he had just come out of and a car in
front of it. All I could think was, This
dude is going to blow out the whole fucking block!


Finally, from across the street a man came running with a
blanket and he, along with another shopkeeper and the man with the shovel, got
the man to the ground and threw piles of snow on him. They succeeded, but were
burned themselves.


The air reeked of fuel, burned flesh and hair. The woman wailed
and sobbed; the shovel man attempted to comfort her. Her hair and clothing looked
singed although she hadn’t been in direct contact with the burning man. I
assumed he must have attacked her, and that’s why the other man beat him with
the shovel.


It was unreal, as though I had just walked into a movie. Everything
happened in a span of about three minutes-and that’s probably an exaggeration.


After I gave my account to the police, I walked like a
zombie to my manager’s office and told everyone what had just happened. They
looked at me like I was crazy. Mind you, at that moment, I felt crazy. I signed the contract and left.


Within the hour, I received an email from the office
receptionist with a link to the story already on a local news website. Apparently,
the burning man had walked into what used to be his and his ex-wife’s textile
store planning to set her and the store on fire. They had divorced the past
year and she had remarried; he was out for revenge. The man with the shovel was
her new husband. The ex-husband had in fact lit her on fire, and the new
husband put her out and then pushed the ex- outside, grabbing the snow shovel
and smashing it over his head.


I’ve been told that in some cultures burning is a form of
cleansing. I don’t know if that was this man’s intent-not that I give a shit,
because he was obviously fucking crazy to do what he did.


I hope he’s in jail. I hope I never see anything that fucked
up ever again. And I hope that it wasn’t some cosmic warning not to sign my
soul away to a major label.


The Cliks’ latest album, Dirty King, is released on CD by Tommy Boy on June 23, although it’s already available as a digital download from the usual retailers.

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