Saturday, December 31, 2011

328. Where the pavement meets the dirt

Shortcuts are a funny thing.
On paper, it's as easy picking one line over another.
In practice, it's an altogether different thing.
They sat in the dark, waiting for headlights.

Friday, December 30, 2011

327. Hydrodynamics

The water spilled over his hand, eddying around his knuckles.
When it pleased him, he toggled on the shower.
He stood in the heat and watched the steam escape.
The sound of the toilet flush downstairs reached him before he felt the temperature change.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

326. Choosing gifts

A package sat in front of her on the coffee table.
The giver of the gift waited anxiously.
She carefully separated the tape from the wrapping paper using her thumb.
Underneath the wrapping paper was a velvet painting of a chimpanzee wearing a tweed jacket.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

325. The shortest distance between two points

He walked with his hands behind his back, thinking.
It had the effect of making him look vaguely professorial.
He thought of at least sixty things as he walked.
He looked up, having arrived, entirely unintentionally, at his old elementary school.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

324. Points of origin

At the border, there is a small booth just big enough for one desk and one person.
The purpose of this booth is to house an individual to note the number and origin of motor vehicles entering the province.
The woman in the booth is fifty years old.
When she was fourteen, she wanted to be a singer.

Monday, December 26, 2011

323. Cabin in the woods

Twelve of them went to a cabin in the woods.
There were no horrific or supernatural goings on.
The had dinner and after dinner, port.
The next day, twelve of them went home.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

322. Gossip, damn lies and murderous innuendo

Her phone rang with news.
It was her neighbour to the left.
Apparently, the husband of her neighbour to the right was leaving her for a much younger woman.
She had to tell everyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

321. Tap tap tap

It started with his foot.
Next it was his fingers.
He was in full-on fidget.
He was bored.

Friday, December 23, 2011

320. Downtown

The old downtown was a brickwork canyon.
Lining Main Street were abandoned buildings that were once actual destinations.
Here and there the odd soul made up the daytime traffic.
A banner, erected by the Downtown Enhancement Authority, promised big changes were coming - two year ago last October.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

319. Support groups

Dozens of men an women walked in lockstep.
It was too dark to discern much about them.
In the dark, they all looked the same.
They walked up the rickety steps into their meeting room.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

318. Open doors

The door opened precisely as she passed by it.
There was a dread sense that someone had been waiting and watching.
Being a curious sort, she stuck her head in for a look anyway.
The door swung closed behind her.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

317. A former boxer brushes his teeth

He reached into the medicine cabinet for his toothbrush and toothpaste.
Sliding the mirror closed, he came face to face with himself and stopped.
A twelve-year career in the sweet science had beaten various disfigurements into the face of his youth.
After ten minutes of poking and prodding at old war wounds, he wandered out of the bathroom without ever brushing his teeth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

316. Proper hygiene

The common pen is actually an amazing invention.
It is a stunning combination of written human communication with technological magnificence.
Modern man has gone so far as to make this marvel imminently disposable.
The woman in the food court was using it to clean her ears.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

315. Couples

I'd been holed up in the hotel for a week, writing.
It seemed there were only two other guests: a couple who I saw in the exact same seats each night at the hotel's shitty bar.
One night when I stopped by for a drink, the woman was sitting with a new man.
I didn't know how to feel.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

314. Body ink

The woman on the beach had a new tattoo at the small of her back.
You could tell by the perfection of the inky borders.
In time, it would age to a smudgy, blue parody of itself.
For now, it was perfect.

Friday, December 16, 2011

313. Vaccination records

The elderly gentleman and I were sitting on the side of the road with the rest of the passengers watching our bus spew angry steam from its radiator.
He was dressed in a three-piece suit like a proper gentleman.
He'd loosened his tie and rolled up his shirt sleeves against the heat.
The vaccination scar on his arm reminded me of my father.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

312. Perspectives

He was quite tall.
Maybe I was just shorter then and he wasn't so very tall.
Either way, he towers over me in my memories.
When he picked me up, it felt like flying.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

311. Vacancy

Her eyes had taken on a vacant quality.
It wasn't sad so much as peculiar.
She was somewhere a thousand miles from there.
A voice from behind her brought rushing back.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

310. Doing something

We live in a world where it's important to be doing something.
We're so devoted to this idea, that even doing nothing becomes something to be done, to be scheduled.
In our world, the calendar is sacred.
By his fourth day on the beach, his calendar had been eclipsed by the tropical sun.

Monday, December 12, 2011

309. Cloud patterns

You can look at clouds all day, puzzling at their shapes.
Most people see animals - I have no idea why.
Then again, some of us see something more risque.
In the end, that shape is a pattern of your own making.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

308. All inclusive

Close to the equator, the water is wash-basin warm.
Northerners flock there in the winter flush with pesos.
They go there to be waited on by locals in exchange for tips.
They leave with sunburns and memories bought on the cheap.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

307. Late dinners

The restaurant wasn't fancy, but it was intimate and quaint.
They were in the midst of the kind of classic four-hour dinner where old stories are well remembered and new ones well received.
Their conversation was interrupted by a horrid cackle of a laugh.
Like that, the evening slipped away.

Friday, December 9, 2011

306. Golf buddies

There were four of them: golf buddies.
Every year, they'd go on a trip to play golf.
They'd golf, drink and look at girls.
Their humour was neither funny nor charming.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

305. Nautical miles

They had grown up next to the ocean.
They knew it.
Most days, it was cold and dark and unforgiving.
That December night, they stood in that same ocean thousands of miles away, drinking a beer with a Spanish name.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

304. Introductory Swedish

She looked quite bright with an armload of books written in Swedish.
The pile dwindled as she wandered from room to room dropping off books.
She picked up her pace, knowing the IKEA where she worked was opening soon.
Incidentally, she was quite bright.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

303. The squeaky wheel

The old women fought to stay on course through the slick, slushy snow. Her little cart fishtailed through the parking lot as she dragged it toward the bus stop. Its load of groceries for one wasn't especially heavy, but her shoulders and back were beginning to ache. She arrived just as the bus rumbled off to its next stop.

Monday, December 5, 2011

302. Surface tension

Six-year-old Patty could see sunlight through the chlorinated water.
Suspended under the surface of the pool, she felt an eerie sense of calm.
Then the panic set in.
Her brain screamed as she thrashed upward, chasing oxygen.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

301. The big musical number

She was in the midst of a daydream.
In that dream, she was in the middle of a crowded street.
All at once, the people in the street behind her broke into a choreographed musical number.
It was a dream of course, but it's good to believe we live in a world where ridiculous things are possible.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

300. The whole enchilada

He could hear crying, dimly.
At his current level of consciousness, it wasn't immediately clear if it was cats or children.
The movement to his left suggested she was already springing into the role of the responsible parent.
He rolled from his side to his back, expanding to fill all the warm corners of the bed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

299. Chasing a man called Q

The whole town was waiting for the man on the radio. He was coming from the big city. Everything was scrubbed clean; even down to the tiniest nook and cranny. They were expecting him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

298. Sugar horse

The horse burst in half.
Its insides spilled out onto the grass.
Dozens of children rushed towards it.
They scurried back and forth grabbing up toys and sweets and jamming them into their pockets.