Tuesday, May 31, 2011

115. Crazy from the heat

They say there are more murders when it’s hot.
You bet your ass there are.
A room full of people reclined, suffering, loathing each other.
You could cut the tension – and the humidity – with a knife.

Monday, May 30, 2011

114. Pattern recognition

Thwack.
The composite shaft drove tiny white spheres into the storm-darkened sky.
The shock of white hair suggested he placed his stock in that old adage.
This was an act of faith.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

113. Nowheresville

There is a bridge over a river.
When you cross over the bridge, you officially cross a line on a map.
Technically, while on that bridge, you are neither in the one place nor the other.
As a child, I used to hold my breath as I crossed it – just in case.

112. Missed opportunities

They didn’t meet.
Bending to tie his shoe, he dropped out of her line of sight at the precise moment she crossed his path.
She walked on without seeing him.
In an alternate reality, sparks would have flown.

Friday, May 27, 2011

111. Wakes on a train

A man wakes up on a train.
He does not know his destination.
He has no recollection of how he got there.
In his hand, he holds a manila envelope.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

110. Nothing happened

Nothing happened.
Really, I mean it.
You didn’t miss anything.
It rained and the power went out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

109. Friendly disagreements

I had been having a disagreement with an acquaintance.
Frustrated, I called my mother to vent.
After listening for a few minutes, she paused and then said, “It’s easier to smooth over hurt feelings than six feet of dirt.”
Amen to that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

108. Passing fancy

It is rush hour.
Dozens of cars wait in the turning lane for their chance at freedom.
One driver has sped to the front of the adjacent lane hoping to force his way into this one.
This man is an [expletive deleted] not a genius.

Monday, May 23, 2011

107. The literal representation of old writing tricks

The detective followed a lead to the fish market.
It took her not long at all to realize it was a false one.
Standing amidst actual crates of red herrings, she was struck by the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
Incredulity turned to frustration as she climbed back into the car and headed back to the station to start over.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

106. Pressing matters

The store had ordered three instead of four.
Thank  the lord in heaven and all the saints they had a spare.
They kept it in a locker.
He felt like a total ass at a wedding in a rumpled tuxedo that smelled vaguely of sweat.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

105. A sudden realization with drastic personal consequences

She had a lot of awful bosses, so she changed jobs often.
She had been done wrong by a lot of former friends, so she had few of them.
She couldn’t seem to find a decent, honest landlord, so she moved a lot.
Then, one day, she realized it was her.

Friday, May 20, 2011

104. The third solitude

He found the office’s rooftop access three years ago.
Today, he snuck up to enjoy the Friday sun and avoid, well, everything.
For three hours, he typed and he basked on his own private island.
He worked in the quiet and the sun until the blinking battery light signalled the end of the workday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

103. Maternal instincts

A young mother stood in the mist.
One hundred yards behind her a yellow-slickered form materialized.
As it approached, she shifted her weight slightly, waiting.
There were now only a half-dozen or so puddles for her amateur adventurer to explore before he caught up to her.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

102. Representative customer service

With a cheery, “I’ll be right back,” the stock boy disappeared into the nether regions of the grocery mart.
What a likeable, helpful young man.
I never saw him again.
Nor did I get my sumac powder.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

101. The way she goes

They stood knee-deep in water.
The water, it seemed, was from the rain streaming through the hole in the roof.
The hole in the roof, it seemed, was from the giant tree that had crashed into the house.
That, is the way she goes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

100. Fight music

It started low, like the dull rumble of thunder.
Hands over hearts, they sang.
Bathed in red and white light, they belted out words they'd know since childhood.
They sang, willing their enthusiasm to centre ice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

99. The mystery club

Deep within their secret lair, the four of them swore an oath.
They would protect these people and this place from whatever evils rose to menace them.
But danger would have to wait for another day.
It was time for supper.

98. Train(s) of thought

They were all waiting for the 12:14 from Toronto to pass.
Cars hurtled by, emblazoned with the names of far-off, mysterious places: Churchill, Windsor, Sarnia.
For the briefest of moments, motorists were free to imagine an altogether more marvelous life.
Then the train was gone.

97. In the house of thine parents

It was late.
Creeping upstairs, he made sure to avoid the two creaky stairs.
The subterfuge brought back memories of self preservation.
As he slipped into his childhood bed, he listened to the familiar sounds of a house asleep.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

96. Revised departure time

Against all odds, the unthinkable happened.
She made it through traffic, check-in, and security early and without issue.
To celebrate, she treated herself to three apple martinis.
The gentle nudge of a janitor woke her to the need for new travel plans.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

95. Terminal velocity

In every airport, there are secret places we civilians never see.
You’ll know these areas because airport employees walk purposefully toward them before disappearing behind thick metal doors.
Take these two employees - hurrying to the makeshift bowling alley they've built. 
It’s got two lanes!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

94. The migratory patterns of penguins

Activists broke into the zoo just after midnight on Thursday.
They released all of the animals – the cute ones, anyway.
One of the escapees was a male Adelie penguin who waddled right out the front gates.
He was found the next morning in a local hardware store, curled up in a floor model toilet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

93. Teach the children well

His Saturn idled at a red light.
As he waited, he worked at a stubborn piece of snot lodged in his left nostril.
To his right, was a school bus full of children aping his every move.
Everybody is a damn critic.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

92. Minor observances

The inside joke was a specific ritual.
She started by using a nickname she had created for him.
He completed it with this weird noise thing he'd invented.
It was very good for both of them that this was a very private ritual.

91. Plot holes

The chair was empty.
It held a prominent film critic - five minutes ago
He had left the stage enraged, after describing the film “Brides of Eternity” in some detail.
Unfortunately for him, both the film and the event were hoaxes, fabricated at his expense.

Friday, May 6, 2011

90. Rube Goldberg's children

A bowling ball hit a skateboard.
The skateboard knocked over a bike tire which released three dumbbells which upended a running shoe.
The running shoe opened the latch on a cage releasing a cat.
The cat tipped over a foot-long piece of doweling which turned out the lights.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

89. The world of advertising

A young woman with purple hair plastered posters on an abandoned building.
As she did, she erased history, remaking it in her own image.
Only a tiny gap here and there hinted at something different.
She was a destroyer and creator of worlds.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

88. 12 items or less

An eggplant, two cans of soup, a tin of tuna, saltine crackers, a carton of juice, a box of safety pins, a pint of rum raisin ice cream, a loaf of bread, a package of fig newtons, and today’s newspaper all came out of the basket.
Each in turn was scanned, priced, and positioned carefully in two brown paper bags.
Mentally checking the clerk’s math, the elderly gentleman reached for his billfold.
He paid in exact change, including a weathered two dollar bill.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

87. Pressure points

Lying on his back, the man looked up at his son.
From that angle in that moment, he considered his aspirations for the boy.
It was his most sincere desire that he become a man of substance: a doctor or a lawyer or maybe the Prime Minister.
He should have insisted on chess instead of judo.

Monday, May 2, 2011

86. Nude scene

It was steamy, but discrete.
Thank god his mother couldn’t see him now.
At least his naughty bits were covered.
One misstep and he was flat on his back draped in the shower curtain.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

85. Election Day

A city garbage truck made a slow circuit through the neighbourhood, stopping occasionally to collect unretrieved campaign signs.
People had voted, or they hadn’t.
It had made a difference, or it hadn’t.
Everything had changed, or it hadn’t.