Saturday, April 30, 2011

84. Loose shoelaces

It sat there like some bizarre inukshuk.
It looked strangely normal despite being completely out of place.
It’s how they knew where to start looking.
One solitary running shoe marking the spot where the bicycle had skid off the road.

83. Bedroom politics

The bedroom was filled with the sound of opinions.
Maybe, she argued, he shouldn't watch if it bothered him so much.
He couldn’t believe she refused to get irate over this bullshit jingoism.
She shut off the light, ending the disagreement.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

82. Celluloid memories

The first movie I saw in a theatre was, “E.T.”
I was four.
I remember because my parents were building a new deck and I stepped on a nail.
Henry Thomas got a magical alien with healing powers and I got a tetanus shot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

81. Lesser Saints of Saint Morenz, Ontario

To the townsfolk of St. Morenz, the Friday night hockey games of their beloved Saints are sacrosanct.
Of all the Saints, the fourth-line centreman, a wiry thug, delights most in bringing sacrifices to the alter.
He once [supposedly] trekked into the stands and punched seven men, two women, and one mascot of undetermined gender.
But hey, the kids love him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

80. Dirty words

For just a split second, he lost his place and his temper.
In less time than that, four pointed letters escaped his lips.
Without looking up, he said a silent prayer to the Patron Saint of Limited Acoustics.
The expressions on those little faces were knowing ones.

Monday, April 25, 2011

79. People’s revolution

Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl.
The air was filled with the sound of screaming.
A strange whirring added to the din.
The children shouted until they were out of breath as their father heaved the ancient playground merry-go-round forward again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

78. Personal Meccas

He was desperate to become a comedian.
He was so desperate that he would visit Rodney Dangerfield’s grave on Thursdays.
He would go there and sit for hours on end, looking for inspiration.
Dangerfield's tombstone reads, “There goes the neighborhood.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

77. Men of a certain age riding a train together

Sitting together are rows on rows of young men.
They are dressed smartly in uniforms.
There is an air of adventure and of apprehension to their talk.
They are going to a place they’ve never heard of to wage a war they don’t understand.

Friday, April 22, 2011

76. Scientific measurements of time

He pulled out another Pringle and ate it.
There was precious little light in the elevator but he could just make out the hands of his watch: eleven p.m. - on Friday.
Monday morning was an awfully long way off.
He pulled out another Pringle and ate it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

75. The practical problems of building impractical objects

Two young men were sitting at a table.
They'd pushed their pitcher of beer aside, leaning in close to whisper conspiratorially.
When they left, I wandered over.
On a napkin, was a diagram that looked suspiciously like a flux capacitor.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

74. Perpetual motion machine

The telephone receiver sat face down on the desk.
She’d been talking for over an hour without signs of stopping.
From time to time, he paused from Solitaire to pick up the phone and grunt an acknowledgement.
Eventually, she’d tire herself out, but not yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

73. But it pours

His shoes squelched as he shifted his weight.
The ledge above him was too narrow to afford him much shelter.
He was wet and cold and late.
A set of headlights appeared in the distance signalling, he hoped, rescue.

Monday, April 18, 2011

72. Elucidations

“The problem, you see,” he said, leaning forward and pointing a half-eaten Charlestown Chew for emphasis, "is you young people.”
Sensing he was on to something, he elaborated, “You lack discipline.”
He leaned back in his chair, satisfied that he had made his point.
As his bulk shifted, a button on his shirt popped, exposing his ample mid-section.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

71. The Pluto Paradox

It hangs up there, the embodiment of ambiguity.
To some, it is the same planet it has been since 1930.
To others, its status has been rigorously reviewed and revoked.
To the toddler, it is a projectile, to be plucked from the mobile and flung at the door.

70. A mostly true story about mostly fake news

When my parents were first dating, my mother used to watch tv at my grandparents’ house because they had one and she didn't.
On this particular Saturday, my father was out of town so she watched alone with my grandfather.
Completing his weekend ice hockey ritual, he turned the television over to her.
When Dan called Jane an ignorant slut, my grandfather rescinded my mother’s selection privileges.

Friday, April 15, 2011

69. Inside jokes

Three people sit in a bar.
Two of them are boyhood friends.
The third is a recent girlfriend of one of the men.
The stories they are retelling are boring her to tears.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

68. The code

His thumbs ached.
He had no choice.
He tapped, “Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start”.
Those 8-bit creeps didn’t stand a chance.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

67. An unexpected journey through a dark place

It waited in darkness.
Sudden pressure forced it into action.
It shot forth like a spring loosed from its moorings.
Cool, minty paste covered the toothbrush’s bristles.

66. Good advice, if followed.

“Stop!”
“Wait.”
“Not yet.”
“Go!”

Monday, April 11, 2011

65. A candidate for political office goes door to door

He was speaking emphatically in support of either bigger governments or smaller ones.
Whatever he was saying, the old woman who owned the house seemed to be humouring him.
Standing in front of her, he appeared the model of a serious challenger for high office.
Unfortunately, some time during the day’s campaigning, he had torn the backside out of his pants.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

64. A brush with fame

On Saturdays I buy bagels from the old-fashioned deli near my house.
Yesterday, they were closed for renovations so I went to the supermarket.
While I was there, I ran into Vin Diesel.
He was buying olives.

63. The subject of dreams

I’m trying to relate to you a recurring dream I've been having lately.
In it, Margaret Thatcher is teaching me judo so I can fight General Zod.
She is unsympathetic to my observation that martial arts offer no practical deterrent to a super-powered alien.
This dream clearly explores the political realities of post-war Great Britain, right?

Friday, April 8, 2011

62. With the holidays behind us

“Your attention please, for a lost and found announcement. The following items were left over the holiday shutdown: one women’s shoe, heel broken; three boxes of wine, empty; and several photocopies...of a man’s...bottom. If these effects belong to you, please collect them at your earliest convenience.”
Jerry’s voice sounded strange over the hissing speaker.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

61. Chewing gum

She stared up at the underside of her desk.
Stuck to it, were dozens of bits of fossilized chewing gum.
Chewing gum stays in your body for seven years - everyone knows that.
With the school on lockdown, this fact was somehow comforting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

60. In reverse

Up, over, around, and through.
In the dim light of the attic, he watched as his life unraveled.
He watched everything he'd ever done undo itself.
As he listened to the gentle "thwap-thwaping" of film against metal, he realized he'd lost track of time.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

59. All signs point

The recently liberated sign slung over his shoulder, he walked through the park.
Neither his sweat-drenched t-shirt nor the bag of tools thudding against his back could dampen his mood.
Walking through the cool of the summer night, he was bathed in the glow of criminal success.
As the police cruiser bathed him in a second, ruby glow, the signs were clear.

Monday, April 4, 2011

58. A disagreement between gentlemen

“I suspect this will all end quite poorly for one of us.”
“I'm afraid I've no choice but to make this the end of you.”
“I expect you will try.”
The conversation ended in a cloud of blue pistol smoke.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

57. Transmission error

He laid his glasses on the table and absently drummed his fingers.
“Of course I'm serious,” she said.
He stared not at her, but at the two tiny versions of her in the glasses.
All three of them waited, tempting him to test their resolve.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

56. World famous cosmonaut

He would be remembered in the annals of the Soviet heroes.
For as long as he lived, comrades in the street would marvel as he passed.
They would beg him, beg him to tell them the stories of his mission to the stars.
He could never tell them the lonely terror he felt strapped to that missile in the dark.

55. Baseball relics

Lot number 32.
Rumour had it, it had once killed a man.
As the story goes, the dispute was over three dollars - a debt unpaid.
He would own Ty Cobb's pearl-handled revolver at any price.