Wednesday, December 30, 2015

920. Carpetbagger

What does it mean when you hear a strange word twice in short order?
It's weird, right?
There, now you've said it a third time.
You're making me fucking paranoid, man.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

919. Miracle miracle

Rachel sat on an airport toilet.
She swiped this way and that, eradicating any chance she'd cross paths with a person whose digital opinions she found distasteful.
"It's all shit," she thought.
But what an age of miracles.

918. The Clay Eaters

There's an old quarry near where I was born - red sandstone.
The stone formed over millennia as the red clay in the ground dried.
I think about that red clay sometimes; generations of people here with that clay in their blood.
I bet they shit the stuff.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

917. Lung capacity

They breathe deeply; drowning men and women savouring their last sweet fix of air.
The driver won't wait any longer.
Dejected, they stub out cigarettes still long with promise.
The last man, flicks away the smoldering edge and tucks half a smoke in his breast pocket.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

916. No one is greater than the municipal building code

The town had a fraudulent geography.
The buildings - all the same height, give or take - made navigation almost impossible.
He wandered, at last, to a church with an unfinished sign: Jesus' word.
"Which one(s)?" he wondered.

Monday, December 14, 2015

915. AC/DC

Mom, Dad, I'm leaving school to join a tribute band.
You'll say dentistry is a secure and enviable career, but I have to follow my heart.
I hope you understand.
You've been, Thunderstruck.

Friday, December 4, 2015

914. The Doctor

One day, quite out of the blue, the doctor came to believe he was a dog.
He thought as a dog, behaved as a dog.
After awhile, there was not so much of the doctor left anymore.
He was a good boy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

913. Post-apocalyptic horses

The nuclear war was kindest of all to horses, which grew into gigantic, six-legged beastly things.
These four, in particular, were named after Renee Zellweger roles.
That wasn't so bad given the names of the farmer's children: Muck, Mire, Dirt, Crud, and Sludge.
The nine of them - the four horses and the five children - bounced along the crooked path fleeing the farmer's anger.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

912. Red menace

That's when the ladybug bit.
Do ladybugs bite?
He obsessed over the question as he scalded the bite under the tap.
Maybe it wasn't a ladybug at all - just something worse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

911. One Two Three Four

One, two, three, four, the beast's hooves beat against the water.
Such as it could, it was afraid - terrified.
The ship was burning as it sank.
The horse was drowning.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

910. Capital A

This is a story about adultery.
It takes place between 9:00 and 9:15 in the morning on the leftmost of the twin beds in the upstairs bedroom.
It's the story of a man and a woman who is not his wife.
Neither the woman nor the affair are real - except they are.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

909. Corn

Mary-Margaret kicked at the dirt.
She was alone in an empty field.
"Maybe Thursday," she wrote in her little notebook.
That's when people would eat the corn.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

908. The old church

Their grandfathers' grandfathers cut its stone from the Quarry by hand, everyone said.
It was a part of their heritage, they all agreed.
How could those idiots at City Hall approve its demolition, they all demanded to know.
But, when the hat was passed around, they all turned out their pockets and cried poor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

907. Just checking in

Dear Simon, I'm writing to you from "the other side" - lol.
All in all, it's pretty good, but maybe a bit too crowded.
Thumbs up to free tennis, but thumbs down to no longer being among the living ;).
Well, talk soon - probably.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

906. Moths

I went for a walk the other evening - in the twilight.
A moth flew right in my eye and scared the piss out of me.
But, I'm ok.
We're all ok.

Friday, July 31, 2015

905. And the Lord spoke

Moses looked to the sky, palms raised.
"Lord," he said, "Give us your laws that we might know we are your favoured people above all others."
"Uh, geez guy," said the voice of God ringing out from the heavens, "What if you were all like, equal and we played this cool."
Moses opened his mouth again to answer, "..."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

904. 100 and 80

We keep a dartboard in the living room.
It's used for settling things, like who's right and who's wrong.
Sure it's dangerous, but it works.
Just try me.

Monday, July 27, 2015

903. "Robert"

My father has his own nickname for Bob Dylan.
Because he knows him.
Except he doesn't.
He shook his hand once at a concert - before he went electric.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

902. The sweet smell

Do you know it, the smell of success?
I imagine it as earthy and primal.
No?
Then what are we smelling right now?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

901. That girl, in that Paul Simon Song, has feelings too, bub

Sometimes, my life feels like the lyrics of a Paul Simon song.
Like, there's this one verse - the third verse in "You Can Call Me Al" - 
that's beautiful right down to its guts - Amen and Hallelujah.
But that's not me.
Why am I soft in the middle?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

900. I can't get California off my mind

Can't get California off my mind.
I just feel like my life would be ok if I was drifting up some coastal highway in a 1962 Triumph Spitfire.
The average mpg of the Triumph Spitfire is 31 miles per gallon.
I need to pick up eggs.

Monday, July 13, 2015

899. Blah, blah blah

It's a pretty simple formula.
Blah - first name, one syllable, solid, All-American, stoic.
Blah, blah - last name, two syllables, syncopated, hero poetry.
I guess, Howard, what I'm saying is that no one's going to have any fucking faith in a hero with the last name Pemberley-Willow.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

898. Weather line

Meredith rang the Weather Line most every day.
Ping - Mostly sunny and 89 degrees Farenheit.
Ping - Rainy with gusty winds from the Southwest.
Today, the vaguely British gentleman calmly announced the Apocalypse would begin on Thursday - around noon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

897. Carnival rides

This is how it happened that I learned a small something about sex.
I was the county fair in Plattsburgh with my grandfather.
I leaned against an old Buick, smoking a cigarette I'd lifted from his jacket.
Behind me, a single palm fouled the lusty perfection of the windshield's dew.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

896. Hard hands and wet feet

From the beach, the ship's journey across the horizon seemed to take forever.
It was laden down with salt from the mine around the cape.
At times, it seemed to hardly move at all.
From the beach, they could never know the ship waited for a helicopter searching for a murderer.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

895. Man, with bouquet

The man at the urinal held the flowers high, like an Olympic torch bearer.
He grasped them tightly in one fist, lending the other to the business at hand.
Maybe it's like Dan said - an offering. 
I'm not sure what he was praying for, but I hope it worked.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

894. Dirty Thumbs

It's not like the good ol' days.
The fingerprints; it's the fucking fingerprints.
So beautifully damning, like smudgy little stool pigeons.
A perfect thumbprint in the chocolate sold him out to his mum and dad. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

893. Data visualization

"Go to Italy," her dreams shouted at her.
Italy, Italy, Italy.
She started seeing it, hearing it everywhere she went.
Obsessively, she began to doodle it, until it covered her entire house - window, wall, and wood.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

892. Scuff

Over the sound of a podcast in my ears, I could hear the scuff of my runners on the concrete.
Then I heard the rustle of the leaves in the trees.
Then I heard the sound of the animals in their nighttime routines.
By the time I heard the scuff of the footsteps behind me, it was too late.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

891. The shoes on our feet

They made everything you'd expect: runners, tennis shoes, cross trainers.
And sure, they made a little money on them.
But the most profitable of all, were the plain white shoes they made for the prison down the road.
Because someone had to.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

890. Context is king

She was on the bus of the damned.
It was hurtling straight to hell, packed with the stuff of nightmares.
With her last breath, she wrote "help" in the steam on the window.
"What does 'P-L-E-H' mean?" passing motorists wondered.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

889. Bone Music

There were movies once.
I remember the sound the punches made.
That sound is in my mind often.
I think of it when they try to take what's mine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

888. Fences

Do you think the person who built the stone fence over there imagined it would last forever?
I dunno.
I'm going to take a piece for my desk.
And maybe think about that for a bit.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

887. The Hollow Man

He built a legion of clay men.
Into them, he poured all the parts of himself he hated most.
Then, he visited on them the most vile means of destruction he could devise.
He barely even noticed himself fading away.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

886. The Eddie Murphy Suite

All her life, she had dreamed of being a composer.
She'd prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed for one soaring melody.
Try as she might, everything she wrote came out sounding like Axel F.
Worse still, they weren't even good knockoffs.

Friday, April 24, 2015

885. The Thunderer

The locals call it The Thunderer - though I have no Earthly idea why.
It's not much more than a pissy little crick.
Then again, sitting here with my boots off and my feet in the water, listening to the frogs sing mysteries to each other, it might be okay.
It might be very okay.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

884. I came here all the time

"I know this place," he said, rubbing the dust from the bar between his fingers.
The others nodded.
Except none of them did - not really.
One by one, his clone brothers followed him out into the wasteland.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

883. O2

"Ever make it on an air mattress?" he asked, stinking of amaretto.
He pumped like a furious musician on a mute accordion.
Vomit, unconsciousness, and a heart attack - none of them were outside the possible.
Minutes later, he was passed out, snoring in time with the leaking mattress.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

882. Two scoffs

Two scoffs, my grandfather said, would ward off the dark dreams.
"Two scoffs, two scoffs, two scoffs," he'd cackle as he topped up his cup with whiskey.
He died this winter - cirrhosis and old age.
"Two scoffs, two scoffs, two scoffs," his old tool shed seemed to echo as we shoveled out his hoard of broken bottles.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

881. Over the fence

I want to know what's behind that fence, you fuckers.
I see you slinking around back there.
What are you hiding, dinosaurs?
Is it dinosaurs?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

880. Secret ingredient

I have dreams on nights we make love.
They are vivid things.
They're not even about sex, but adventurous things like action movies.
What I'm saying, I guess, is can we have sex?

Friday, March 20, 2015

879. Solar flare

So (gasp) fucking (gasp) angry (gasp).
That's how she felt.
She burned with the fury of a thousand suns, turning the event over and over in her mind.
It had been three days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

878. Sidekick

"That's just a pet rock, isn't it?" she asked.
"Of course not. It's a sidekick," he answered, hurt.
That did seem to jive with the homemade costume he was wearing.
Undeterred, he turned and bashed the rock into the face of one of the attackers.

Monday, March 16, 2015

877. Held self evident

There are only a couple of truths, really.
It's all about which one, you know, speaks to you.
So what's your truth?
I'll buy it from you if you'll part with it cheaply.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

876. Albatross

My regrets hang around my neck like an albatross.
I spend my days perfumed in bird shit, hoping for a whiff of the sea.
I can't escape.
What I'm trying to say, is I'm sorry.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

875. Things unseen

When I wake, I am blind.
I squeeze my fingers against my eyes, but it does not help.
I am blind.
I am searching for you and I hope that you will come to find me.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

874. There are all sorts of ways to divert yourself

If' we're very well behaved, we get a pill on Thursdays.
The warden himself walks up and down the cell block doling them out.
He puts one mustard-coloured pill right there in your hand.
Those pills fuzzy your brain up for another week, thank god.

Monday, February 16, 2015

873. His master's voice

Chester and Arthur sat in the living room - it stank like shit.
"We've got to kill them all," said Arthur.
"You know that, don't you Chester?"
Chester nodded absently as he watched Arthur scratch at his collar.

Friday, February 13, 2015

872. Snow drift

Snow drifted across the highway, teased by the wind like a murmuration of starlings.
Bits of it were intercepted by passing cars, ground up in the grooves of a thousand tires.
Relentless, the rest of the snow passed unchecked over a fallow winter field.
Most of it came to rest in a drift, piled up against the old farmhouse with the dead eyes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

871. Walkthrough

Alice drummed a beat against the wooden box.
"The marks," she insisted.
"Everyone must hit their marks."
They had twenty years - thirty, tops - until her funeral and she'd be damned if they weren't going to get it right.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

870. Sit-ins and walkouts for the shut-ins and standouts

Professor Shea was a tired old radical - a real Long Hair, my father would have said.
He was always on about this or that or civil rights.
It was surreal, seeing him on tv, bruised and black-eyed from the batons but still defiant as he was dragged away from the protest in handcuffs.
"Fuck it," I thought, flipping around for the end of the game.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

869. The way the grass bends

The grass rippled in geometric waves.
The grass rippled, buffeted by the rush of helicopter blades.
Here and there, more helicopters made more ripples.
The heroes and the cowards were all going to hang.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

868. Everybody's mother is already at church

They're all there, row after row.
None of them are going to whisper through the sermon, but they're casting sideways glances.
They don't all know what you did, yet.
But, they will before the coffee cools.

Friday, January 2, 2015

867. Clean sheets

In practice, we all have a conception story.
There is some moment where our parents connect in a biblical and biological equation whose sum is us.
As a parent, you want to be able to tell this story.
This, my mother says, is why I should clean my linens more frequently.