Briefs of Fiction, December 17, 2008 at 07h28

Everybody delights in asking me if I brought the weather with me when I moved here. I laugh like I know they’re kidding, but not so hard that they suspect the truth. You see, for the past few nights I’ve been unwilling to sleep. Instead I sort through the boxes in my closet. There are three that contain Alberta weather; blistering sun, blistering snow, and blistering cold. I’ve only opened the snow so far as last night; but really, these people are asking for it.

Karma Confession

Crime of Life, December 16, 2008 at 10h24

She was right, it was all karma.

Around the end of elementary school, I was a great big bully. Well, more accurately, I was an associate bully. The actual bully was a friend of mine, and we used to pick on his little brother and all of his friends. I remember a lot of spinning them around by their feet at lunch time, but then again I also remember it being voluntary. One afternoon, I was called to the principal’s office. I walked out of the room angry, and my teacher, M. Cuisson, tried to grab me by the arm, get me to calm down. But I threw his arm away, stormed off and away from my favourite teacher. Continued…

So It Goes

My Regular Mind, December 15, 2008 at 06h49

It feels like Kurt Vonnegut is reaching across the table, forcing his novel upon me. I can hear him shouting, “Do you see? Do you see what I’ve done here!”

And I say, “Yes, you’ve repeated yourself.”

“No, you nitwit,” he says, rightfully condescending, “I’ve tricked you. Look again.”

His father died in a hunting accident during the war. So it goes. Continued…


Crime of Life, December 15, 2008 at 01h10

There is only a single instance in my life when I’ve dated the same woman twice. The relationship had expired after a couple months because at the time I had no idea what I was doing. She was older than me by a few years, which, in my eyes, gave her infinite wisdom on these matters, and somewhere between Christmas and New Year’s was when we agreed that it simply was not working and that we should be friends instead.

And so we were. Months and months went by where we chatted casually and met infrequently, until one night when we got together for drinks. Continued…

The Short Version

Briefs of Fiction, December 14, 2008 at 08h33

The old man was standing, hanging onto the rail with an exaggerated unbalance, while the girl sat in the seat next to the aisle. There were other seats all around them, all empty, but he’d been sitting in this particular seat every day for a year now, because he needed to see the street signs, and it wasn’t his fault that he’d missed the earlier bus. Which is true, of course, but he explained all of this to her twice without even remotely catching her attention. People listen to some awfully loud music these days, he thought. Continued…

Being Human

My Regular Mind, December 13, 2008 at 04h16

The nice thing about people is that sometimes they are so unexpectedly human. They do things that surprise you, taking you from frustration to grateful in a second. Last night, the taxi we’d hailed pulled up and a woman ran across the street and got in. The driver pointed towards us and she got out, giving us a sour look as she walked away.

On a business level, a fare is a fare; but this man went out of his way to be human to us. Sometimes this world doesn’t seem so lost after all.


My Regular Mind, December 12, 2008 at 11h54

It has been a productive morning. I gave Josephine an oil change and a wash – since winter is going to be coming soon – did laundry, dishes, and tidied up my kitchen. In the afternoon, I will go somewhere to write, find a nice bottle of red wine for the evening, and then wait for tomorrow to arrive. It shouldn’t take long, seconds don’t tic away any slower than they have in the past.

Last night, I was asked if I saw the world as shades of gray. I thought about it for a moment and couldn’t see anything but this. Sure, it would be so simple if it weren’t; if our monochrome society could be black and white with nothing between. But this is not how it is. Good and evil are arbitrary. We define these shades with our choices. And so, I choose to see in gray, just as much as I choose to dream in colour.

The Return

Crime of Life, December 11, 2008 at 11h57

I wasn’t sure why I was walking away. It was a cold night; I could see the frost of my breath, and that’s how I knew I was alive. We’d just had our first kiss, which had taken me by surprise, and each step I took in a direction away had me wondering more and more why it had been so brief. I stopped, turned around, and called. It rang forever until she answered.

“Are you upstairs?” I asked.

She was.

“How long would it take you to get back downstairs?”

“A moment,” she said.

She came out of the door with her phone in her hand, but the conversation wasn’t in our voices anymore. Pulled together, we lingered in the slow winter chill, fighting it with the warmth of wanting.

Balancing Act

My Regular Mind, December 10, 2008 at 06h04

There is a man that I see nearly every day running in the park. He does chin-ups, acrobatics, martial arts; and then he walks on a fence. He balances across it, step by careful step, and stops half way every time.

Consider your life linearly. Between the time that you begin and the time that you finish, you will rest. You will see things all in their order, that one thing leads to another, that there is only one way across. Successes immediately follow failures, confidence follows doubt.

Take a moment to rest, but keep your balance, and don’t stay long. You’re one step away from something good.

Bonding With Rage

Crime of Life, December 9, 2008 at 11h54

When I was in grade 12, I was part of a group of students that went to Italy and Greece. When we arrived, we joined a group of grade 9 students from Kentucky. They were all much younger than us and despite where we were at the time, we all had very little in common. When this sort of thing happens, it makes all similarities that you do find that much more vivid in memory. In this particular case, I remember walking down a street late in the evening with one of the boys while we sang the entire length of a song by Rage Against The Machine. Every word perfectly in time with drum fills and solos exactly as they were on the album; an album that we’d both listened to countless times in our own city in our own country. This was what brought us together that night.