Sunday, November 26, 2017

1143. The Jockey

To anyone who could be bothered, the broken-down old jockey was known as "Cutter".
Depending on who you asked, he'd been trampled by a horse in 1939 or when he was thirty-nine.
He used to sit in the jockey club looking disinterested but listening for tips.
As I understand it, he's not allowed in the club anymore--not since getting wound up in one of those race fixing scandals that is periodical to our business.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

1142. Out in the grey and blue

I raised my shaggy buffalo head and looked out over the dunes to the sea.
A teacher had wondered once how a great shaggy buffalo head had ended up on the body of a boy like me.
Out beyond the dunes, I could see a ship crawling against the horizon as it hauled salt from the mine.
My mother had taken more than five thousand photos of this ship and others in her lifetime.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

1141. Thank you for your service

Tom was a jerk.
We all knew that.
In 1990, he did nothing but drive through town blasting Creedance.
He used to stop at drive throughs, order nothing, and thank the teens at the window for their service.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1140. Subtle indicators of power

At five, Toby padded whisper quiet down to the basement, where the treadmill lived.
She laced up her shoes slowly, methodically.
As she ran, the light through the basement window grew slowly more intense.
When she finished, she thought she could almost hear the quiet sigh of a thousand thousand machines as the city slid back into darkness.

Monday, September 18, 2017

1139. Detergent

I was sitting on the floor in the closet swapping our old door knobs for modern silver ones.
The air was thick with the smell of my clothes--a mixture of the deodorant I always used and whichever laundry detergent had been last marked down at the supermarket.
This reminded me strongly of hiding in my parents closet as a boy and the smell of my father's clothes; deodorant and detergent, yes, but also the deep bass note of aftershave.
I was there the whole of the robbery, officer, trying to remember which brand he favoured.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

1138. Brad has been to a seminar

“You’ve got to understand the basics of ‘the personal brand,” Brad was shouting.
“Trust me; I’ve been to a seminar!”
He’d been to a seminar.
As we watched him waving the red-hot branding iron around the conference room, it wasn’t clear Brad had learned the basics of ‘the personal brand’ from his seminar.

Monday, September 11, 2017

1137. Hyatt and his brother, Pep

Hyatt has a brother, Pep.
Presumably, he has some other brothers, and maybe some sisters.
But, Pep’s the one what concerns me.
He shot me – here in my leg – and made off with my valuables.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

1136. Ghost ship

They’re bringing up the wreckage of my great grandfather’s ship.
They found it two weeks ago, bouncing sonar at the bottom of the Great Lake; two years it must have taken to search those grids of theirs. 
A DNA test, they said, from my father or me, would sort my great grandfather from the other bones they found.
We could keep his bones, they said, and do what we would with them.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

1135. Gemini adjacent

My twin sister is two years, three days, zero hours, and two minutes older than me.
There's no magic or mad science involved here.
It just is.
My dad says things just are sometimes.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

1134. Iowa Caucus

I've been thinking lately -- daydreaming really -- about driving a car through a cornfield.
There's a couple of ways you can go at this.
You can either go straight on at ninety degrees, or sidle up to it at some oblique angle.
The thwap thwap thwap sound of six-foot stocks against metal; I can't get it out of my head.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1133. Hopes

"Hopefully there's no murder," I thought as I made my way to the dining car.
I poured a cup of coffee from the dispenser as I thought, "Hopefully there's no murder."
But the dining car was empty and there was no murder or murderer.
This was just one of those regular trains -- with a dining car.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

1132. A way about her

She had a way about her when she was imagining things, which she was doing right now.
Her car was nearly ready; just the wiper blades to install.
She drove the Prius off the lot, looking left toward downtown and then right toward the shimmering vortex.
She took the right turn into the portal and that was the start of everything.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

1131. The Eulogist

The chair in the witness stand had been replaced by a wooden perch.
On the perch sat Grandfather's parrot, Evelyn Waugh.
Evelyn Waugh squawked out the six stories Grandfather had drilled into him - including the one pertinent to this case.
"Those stories are bee ess and the bird knows it," Uncle Harold interrupted from the back of the courtroom.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1130. Bindles

"Actually, I think you mean 'bindle', you guys," he shouted, leaning over the overpass.
The two hobos looked up at him from beside their fire.
He smiled down at them beatifically.
One of the hobos threw a well-aimed can that plunked him in his well-heeled face.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

1129. Simon Says for the decidedly resistant

Simon says, look at anything other than me.
Simon says, kick listlessly at that clod of dirt with your right foot.
Simon says, roll your eyes and wonder how long this will all take.
Tell me how this is all going.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1128. Apple juice

Today, I let the juice from a green apple run down my thumb and around my wrist.
I looked at the sticky-sweet trail for what had to be forever.
The fruit's white flesh turned brown and became disgusting to me, I left it so long.
I threw the apple in the trash bin and washed my hands.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1127. Padre down the line

I think he preferred we not call him "vicar" -- ours not being a Church of England.
The vicar was perched on a motorcycle.
He was wearing goggles that were steampunk in their fashion.
Giving us a nod, the vicar kicked his bike to a sputtering start and hit off down the road toward adventure.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

1126. Cowgirls Rule

“Cowgirls Rule,” the painted signed declared in capable lettering.
So far as she could tell however, this piece of road was home to neither girls nor cows — just the sign.
Being time for a stretch anyway, she climbed out of the car to check.
Satisfied at her assessment of the barren road, she tossed her coffee cup in the ditch and got back behind the wheel.

Monday, July 31, 2017

1125. Quantum mechanics

The old man smoked a dirty cigarette, or maybe a small cigar.
I paid so little attention to him as he gathered sticks in the park that his movements appeared conspicuously random, an electron jumping its orbitals.
His appearance at our table, asking for a couple of bucks, surprised me; no change on me, pal.
I thought about him all the way home from the restaurant then never again.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

1124. Brake Light Mafia

Simon pulled apart the rear light on his bike only to find the bulb had been stolen.
Who steals a light bulb from a bike light?
Twelve hundred miles away, a flunky from the Brake Light Mafia screwed it into place, joining other bulbs beyond count.
The lights pointed skyward, waiting for nightfall, waiting to beam out a message.

Friday, July 28, 2017

1123. Kicking around

The old bell didn't clang any more.
A bunch of the local boys stole it one year, welded it to a junk of wood, and called it a rugby trophy.
They were good boys -- especially the mayor's son -- so they didn't catch much trouble.
The parish sexton still rings the mute bell on Sundays and that trophy is still kicking around a basement somewhere.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

1122. This old truck we had

I had this old truck of my father's I drove after he disappeared.
On the night the mall burnt down, Jeff and I had to take the cab off the back so we could shimmy through the back window because the door locks didn't work right.
Who's Jeff?
I'd rather not say.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1121. Your Uncle Harold

I saw your Uncle Harold today, I think, in the parking lot of the Starbucks on Main.
He was blowing his nose, you know, like he does.
At least, I think it was him.
We're all a bit nervous about Uncle Harold, so please give us a head's up.

Monday, July 24, 2017

1120. Waiting to turn into a coffee shop parking lot

It happened while I was waiting to turn into a coffee shop parking lot.
There were three of them.
Three transfer trucks piloted by three men with handlebar mustaches were lined up one after another at the traffic light headed in the other direction.
I worried for five solid minutes that the universe was warped in some unspecific way.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1119. We always used to?

The town, only half-remembered from when I was a kid, was now a busted-down, grown-over ghost town.
We'd stop at the gas station for ice cream or to "go to the John" because it was about halfway to my grandma's.
Did we ever care about this place?
Did anyone?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1118. It's like that movie

It was like that movie (not the tv show), The Fugitive.
Basically, my boss yelling at me for over-promoting my 1997 Eagle Talon on the company message board; totally unfair in my opinion because I needed to sell it.
So, he was yelling at me so loud and so long that I thought I was getting a condition, but I wasn't.
I guess it's not really like The Fugitive after all.

Monday, July 17, 2017

1117. New things I'm worried about after failing to properly understand they lyrics for "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel

Space monkey mafia.
Chubby Checkers, psycho.
Arsonists avoiding police capture.
The grim, unrelenting march of time.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

1116. Lava

"Bobby, don't touch the ground; it's lava," one of the boys said.
What if it's all lava, Bobby?
I mean, the world is coming apart at the seams and we're all as good as doomed.
It's a metaphor, Bobby.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

1115. Top shelf

The top shelf?
No, that's not for me.
The top shelf is a tall man's game.
Every once in a while though, I see a mote of dust escape its orbit and float past me in the golden afternoon.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

1114. Getaway driver

It was a hot Tuesday in July.
She had no text messages.
Her seat reclined backward until she could see sky at the end of the alleyway.
She strained her ears for an alarm from around the corner.

Friday, July 7, 2017

1113. Modern romance

I've gotten in the habit lately of writing love letters to think tanks.
The economic ones really make me swoon.
I've received no replies to date.
Modern romance is hard.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

1112. Modern calisthenics

Why yes - thank you - I have been working out.
My regime?
I've been running with my upper body completely rigid.
It's not really approved per se; more of my own thing.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1111. Motocycliste

At first, the motorcyclist is sitting on his bike.
Then, he is standing on the motorcycle; known as stunting, I think.
I am watching this in my rearview window.
Next, we are both idling at the intersection, me in front and the motorcyclist in back.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

1110. The world of tomorrow

"This astronaut food tastes like crap, Jenny."
"Well, it's all your father brought down to the shelter, dear."
"How long are we going to be down here - without my real mom?"
"Oh, I don't know: forever or until Kevin Costner shows up."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1109. A fistfight with Art Garfunkel

I thought I heard on the news that Art Garfunkel had been in a fight.
As I heard it, someone had got in Art's face and Art had kicked his butt--good for Art.
But, this was wrong--and absurd.
It was James Taylor.

Friday, June 30, 2017

1108. Airplane

The old man wore a shambling grey suit, stained and stinking and threadbare everywhere it met one of his joints.
He was screaming about the end of the world as he drifted ever closer to the street.
That's when the airplane landed on him, ending his little world quite sufficiently.
I 'spose many things are true at the correct scale.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

1107. Welcome to the utter wasteland of our pop culture-themed restaurant

"Did you order the Code Red...? 

"Yes, I ordered the Code Red. 
I'm sorry; I thought you were speaking to that gentleman over there."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1106. Jeff, man

Jeff, man, we gotta get rid of all these people.
I dunno, play "Closing Time".
That usually works.
All I know is the seniors from the bus tour won't stop setting fire to the bar and the men's room is full of bees.

Monday, June 26, 2017

1105. Genus and species, chapter and verse

They named the cat Desmond after a former friend they didn't see anymore.
On the good days, his name was a wistful reminder of a friendship lost.
Those days when he pissed on the counter, hollering his name was a catharsis.
They never saw the man, Desmond, again, but they often saw the cat - especially when he was hungry.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

1104. But also profit

I am compiling a thin volume of historical wisdom; tips for living you might say.
This is an important job.
I hope that it will make me a bit of money.
This volume should be quite popular among several folks - not only rubes and saps.

Friday, June 23, 2017

1103. Can we please talk about our demands now?

If you want even one single hostage to walk out of this building, we want a helicopter.
And, world peace.
Wait, Dave has some pretty strong concerns vis-a-vis a one-world-government scenario, so we'll hold on the world peace.
But, the helicopter, the helicopter is a must.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

1102. Selected chapter titles from my forthcoming book on newborn branding

1. Talent acquisition: better babies, better brands
2. Nativity narratives that move consumer preferences
5. Data-driven decisions on diapers for selfies
8. Segmenting your market: Are you ready for baby number 2?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1101. The bird

The bird was a boat-tailed grackle.
He knew all the tunes: mating and danger, call and response.
This was his yard now; his yard in the morning.
They would listen to his tunes because he wasn't going anywhere.

Monday, June 19, 2017

1100. Honey

She flicked a dab of honey idly from her index finger as she surveyed the carnage and loose bank notes.
"Now that's a robbery," she observed.
She took a swig of what, from my vantage point, appeared to be gen-u-ine Kentucky bourbon.

With a sharp tug of the same finger, she fired another shotgun round into the bank's plaster ceiling.

Friday, June 16, 2017

1099. ampm

A silly thing some people do is to try and "wipe the sleep from their eyes".
This is an expression and does not work.
As if removing the dried rheum from your eyes could make up for failing to adhere to a responsible sleep regiment.
Do you think you're fooling anyone, Fred?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

1098. Miniature things

A tiny rainstorm in a bell jar.
Scientists shrunk to the size of a pinhead through their own hubris.
The impact zone of an earthquake on a planet orbiting a sun in a universe contained in a grain of sand.
My own feelings of adequacy.

Friday, June 9, 2017

1097. Mother's blessing

"Ransack the universe." his mother wrote on the card.
It was taped to a packaged wrapped in brown butcher's paper.
She threw the package, arcing the box so it landed in the boat as it drifted away from shore.
He struggled against his bonds, wondering what was inside.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

1096. Westbound lanes

The thing she remembered most about the drive was the rain; crackling against the windshield like the sound of fire.
They drove west, murderers committing major crimes and minor ones.
Their destination was Wyoming or maybe Oregon: places where you could still get lost.
They made it as far as the compound and were never heard from again.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

1095. A whip and a chair, I guess

I am training a bear to do office tasks.
It's not going great.
He's eaten several of my fingers.
I don't think he likes the fax machine.

Friday, June 2, 2017

1094. Consequences

The Buick was parked in a very clearly demarcated "No Parking" zone.
It was clearly demarcated.
We live in a society of rules; rules with consequences.
That's why I dropped the wrecking ball on it, your honour.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

1093. Office pets

There is a tiny spider in my office that I have not killed.
I can't tell you why (I haven't).
He is interesting to me because he is a jumper.
I'm not sure how I'll feel when he dies of natural causes or moves down the hall to another office.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1092. Ankles

My ankle socks went quite well with my new dress shoes, thanks.
I have nice ankles.
My ankles (and my wrists) were shackled.
I was being carried along by rough men.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

1091. HB2

She smoked the end of her pencil like a cigarette.
She had seen this in movies.
Depending on the movie, this made it seem to her like she was either quite glamorous or the villain.
She was making an enemies list.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

1090. A chorus of owls

Behold an owl choir; a choir of owls.
I have trained them for two years.
They do not take requests.
They do not sing.

Monday, May 15, 2017

1089. Beep

Beep beep...beep beep.
Beep beep...beep beep.
Beep beep...beep beep.
The garbage truck inched backward through the neighbourhood, its driver trying desperately to pry his way back inside.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

1088. Stretch

These garbage bags contained patented "stretch-o-flex" technology.
They were a premium product always placed at eye level in better grocery stores.
Laboratory testing suggested they'd never break under most conditions.
The stranded climbers didn't know about the laboratory testing as they watched the plastic continue to stretch.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

1087. Client!

Thank you, cherished client, for your continued patronage.
We put your organs in some salvaged jam jars and placed them on a shelf next to the rest.
So, never mess with us.
And, thanks again, for your patronage.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

1086. Wood pulp

The veneer of the table was peeling at the corners.
Books were piled, pyramid-style, in the centre.
They - the books - were bloated beyond use from weeks of rain.
According to the sign, they were still free.

Monday, May 1, 2017

1085. Founding mythology

Inez stopped her bus one day, and refused to ever move it again.
The stop became a snarl.
One day, the snarl grew to a city.
Welcome to Boise, Idaho, my friends. 

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

1084. Above all, manners

Entering the club, the two men hung their fedoras on the claw-footed rack.
Each of them paused to dust the road from their shoes.
They pulled guns, politely.
And they took every dollar and diamond in the place; quietly, brutally, but politely.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

1083. The growth of technology

A woman in Kansas City lovingly cultivates a garden of abandoned things.
Over there, in the corner, is a Telex machine.
It mostly receives messages from the plants in the garden.
Every other Thursday, it's wholly given over to manifestos from disgruntled Cypriot astronauts.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

1082. The Kennedy Cha Cha

My parents hosted the best dinner parties in the sixties.
People - real grownups - would crowd the recessed living room, dancing and smoking.
We'd listen at the top of the stairs where even dropped glasses had the tenor of music.
I think that's where we first heard them float the divorce.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

1081. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The cat lay lazily like a Roman emperor waiting on whatever passed for grapes - to him.
I sketched him quietly in charcoal.
"Brenda," I imagined him saying.
"There's a lot of pornography on the Internet."

Monday, April 17, 2017

1080. Rules for training homing pigeons

First, we must give the fowl a sense of advanced engineering, the combustion engine, and interstate commerce.
They must then be made to understand the working of wings and feathers as human hands.
The next thing is a training regiment suitable for the procurement of a valid driver's permit. 
Finally, they shall be taught the appropriate disdain for their fellow motorists.   

Sunday, April 16, 2017

1079. Of course it's a dolphin

There are rules.
We never look at the tattoo.
Yes, I can clearly see what the dolphin is doing; very detailed.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

1078. Nothing much to show for it

Mad scientists lead a dangerous life.
Tony was the inventor of disappearometer.
Unfortunately, he became infested with disappearion particles.
Slowly slowly everything in his life began to disappear.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

1077. Limbs

The three-legged dog bounced into the surf.
His strange gait carried him after a ball which he fetched and brought back to his master.
The three-legged man considered the ball for a moment - a red rubber thing - and then hucked it back into the ocean.
They did this for an hour or so then disappeared down the beach.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

1076. Intent

"What is your intent in asking these questions? 
I hear them.
You are asking about my past.
What is it to you, the how and why of my lost leg and the wheel that replaced it?"

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

1075. The smell of memories

I was breathing deeply of the air in my water bottle.
This is not weird.
The hint of city-mandated chlorine cast my mind back to my youth and summer swimming at the municipal pool.
I found myself curled up on the floor, remembering a time when I nearly drowned.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

1074. Those first few rays of dawn

"Walk until dawn," the voice said.
"Walk until dawn," the voice said, "or we'll kill you."
So he walked, blistering his feet and bending his back.
The sweet relief he thought he'd found was just a Home Depot, its digital clock blinking 2:15 a.m.

Monday, April 3, 2017

1073. Bertha and the Eleven Twelfths

Bertha was the headliner of a band, The Eleven Twelfths.
Except she wasn't.
She knew that there was no band named The Eleven Twelfths.
But, believing it was so made her happy - especially the guys and girls in the horn section.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

1072. Tumble dry, high heat

I was trying to finish a load of whites.
The house was on fire.
A piece of the burning roof landed in the laundry room.
I still needed whites.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

1071. The Giver

I've started to feel like every part of my life wants something from me.
It's like there's a bucket I can't fill for trying.
My neighbour Patricia, a world-class astrophysicist, says this is because I have a microscopic, hyper-localized black hole orbiting around me at all times.
She says this is quite peculiar.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

1070. Xeroxed

As an artist, Betty wasn't a world beater.
All her sketches were crude things done in charcoal.
The old copier in the basement that brought them to life didn't care.
Her creations - crude charcoal things - would putter around doing little things to draw her attention.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

1069. Time traveler

"It will be better when you're gone," someone shouted at the old man.
What could he do?
He was a boy when the old regime came to power.
Now he was a last, broken down partisan crying in front of a broken statue.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

1068. Lurid taxonomy

He scratched the fifth name off the list.
Burying his head in his hands, he allowed himself to weep for two minutes.
Even his beloved mahogany-lined study offered him no comfort.
He would never be a proper pornographer with names like these.

If you're curious, I wrote five names. If you highlight the numbers below, you can read 'em.

1. Lord Reginald Bottomsly
2. Llewellyn Longfellow 
3. Peter Petersmith
4. The First Earl of Henley on Balls
5. Cecil Sexworth

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

1067. Hungry eyes

They bought a house.
Inside was a black market audio cassette recording of the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack.
It was a trap.
They were never seen again.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

1066. Slightly chapped

For the purposes of this story, please assume the world is down to its last ChapStick (cherry).
Further, please allow that this occurred due to a complex interplay of societal and economic conditions.
In this scenario, world leaders and billionaires haggle over who would own this ChapStick and how.
Bart - a security guard - renders this discussion moot after using the aforementioned salve on his lips after a day in the dry air of the vault.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

1065. Post-industrial production methods

The cardboard cube was waiting on her step when she got home.
Opening it, she paused to pop, pop, pop some of the layered bubble wrapping.
She breathed deep, savouring the contents - ethically-sourced, small batch hope.
Closing the box to trap the remaining sentiment, she wondered if she'd be able to afford market rate for hope once her free trial ended.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

1064. Healthy living

How fragile is this thing called health.
He realized that now.
Each moment was a new anguish that felt like it would last forever.
And that - shhh - was the end of the first day.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

1063. Name, rank, serial number

"Sir, I'm Special Agent Johnson and I need to ask you some questions."
"I'll show you a special agent john-"
"Sir, I've heard that one before."
The scene ends with the sound of closing handcuffs.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

1062. Marmaduke

It was the Marmaduke sweater.
It was the vital clue.
It was the key to all things.
It was the Marmaduke sweater.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1061. Ned

Ned's face was hot under the mask.
Sweat was beading and sliding down his neck.
What was this protest even about?
Was this even a movement?

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

1060. Famous yet

The World Famous Actor was 78, which she thought of as old but not dead.
Her appearance in The Academy's annual "Those we've lost" tribute segment came as quite a surprise - a shock even.
But, The Academy refused to admit their mistake, so she was dead.
Eventually, everyone came to believe it was so, so it was so.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

1059. Famous last

"The debit machine didn't even have tap," he whispered through his death rattle.
"What'd he say?" the lawyer asked?
"Rosebud," said the dead man's mother.
"He said, 'Rosebud'."

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

1058. Checking out

It was an old fashioned time clock; punch in, punch out.
She took the paper slip with her name on it and punched once.
The hole that appeared in the floor took her quite by surprise.
When next she saw sunlight, she was in a charming A-frame cottage next to a lake she'd never seen before.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

1057. Some things do last forever

Both things were meant to last forever: the cold grey November and the rain that came with it.
That was the way the warlock - Slash - wove his sorcery.
This would be the world now.
This would be Axl Rose's revenge.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

1056. The desert valley

Way out west, there's a stretch of desert where a billionaire will eventually plant a thousand thousand solar panels.
Today, it's just dry, cracked dirt populated by some scattered lizards and scorpions.
Somewhere out there is an old man who lives in cave during the day and only comes out at night.
He scavenges the bleached bones of men and horses for a house he hopes to build.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

1055. Artificial flavouring

My hand was all pins and needles.
I looked at it like it belonged to someone else as I searched for other repercussions.
When the first hints of feeling returned, I stuck my finger back in the socket.
My tongue was seized with a chemical-burnt reminiscence of too many ketchup chips.
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

1054. Woo hoo

I saw Starship Troopers, shortly after it was released in November 1997, at the movie house in my hometown.
This was before they split the big room into two, bringing the total screens to three.
A girl we knew was devastated that - even though it had played prominently in the trailers - the song, "Song 2" by Blur was not in the movie.
This story is completely true as I remember it.

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

1053. Lucky man

He rubbed the silver coin between his thumb and forefinger.
One of the last of thirty, the man who gave it to him promised it would confer a price.
Running his hand along the wall, he felt a click as a small bag of gems slid out from behind a secret panel.
Another black line appeared on his arm.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1052. Accent grave

Her voice was sweet and French.
Behind it, the music dashed along uptempo and filled with joy.
He understood not one word she sang but he loved it and he loved her too.
The lyrics - of course - were vicious old screed.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

1051. What my seventy-unit apartment building sounds like

There are 19 children, shouting their games.
Two dogs are barking at one another, either in hate or in heat - I can't tell.
There's a car, honk, honk honk...honking a syncopated rhythm through the neighbourhood.
I'm wearing headphones, trying to ignore it all so I can continue my work on the tiny Walgreens I'm building in this bottle.

Monday, February 27, 2017

1050. With puppets

The puppet wasn't much more than a mitt with fake eyeballs glued to it.
She held it out to the crowd.
"You can't drink and drive, you guys," she said in a high pitched voice, her mouth turned up at the side.
Several people shifted uncomfortably in the front row.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

1049. The smell of lesser treasons

There was roadkill in the neighbourhood.
On the sideroad and the highway, dead skunks too.
We were at war with skunks.
No one knew why.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

1048. Private games

Out there, right about where you'd place the Rover, is a plastic lawn chair.
It's owner is an old man.
At six each morning, he walks to the diamond and sits in the chair.
The games he watches are privy to him alone.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1047. In the Kingdom of Bhutan

In the Kingdom of Bhutan there is a house out of place.
It looks like a bungalow you might find in 1950s Hamilton or Burlington.
The house is empty save for a Tim Hortons Roll Up the Rim To Win coffee cup.

Monday, February 20, 2017

1046. Law of averages

Am I an average person, or just uninteresting?
I was having this debate while throwing luggage across the department store while Drake played overhead.
Who even is Drake?
I wish I was special.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

1045. The ocean laughs back also

Monique made up her mind to quit believing in the ocean.
She went down to the shore to laugh at it in all its unrealness.
A monster wave knocked her off her feet, spinning and turning her before finally depositing her some twelve miles up the beach.
The ocean, it seems, laughs back also. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

1044. The scrubman

"Soon, Dearest. Soon." he whispered to the toilet brush.
Soon, he'd rule this community college.
He hadn't had much luck with the morning or afternoon maintenance crews, but Brenda from the cafeteria sounded interested.
That just left the details.

Monday, February 13, 2017

1043. The great whale

The great whale circled the deeps of the world's oceans - always moving, never stopping.
It was hunting.
It was hunting for men and women.
It was hunting for men and women to carry inside itself to be complete.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

1042. Six more weeks of winter

It was February.
The countryside was a mix of fallen snow and dead agriculture, like the landscape had hunched up its shoulders and resigned itself to whatever remained of the winter.
Out there among the cornstalks, was a solitary billboard, blank.
A man was there, running up a new advertisement - for hope.