Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

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Lost Sons

February 1, 2010

I considered not posting about this.  I actually held off for about 4 days.  But it’s on my mind and I’m excited so here it is.

After 6 months of hard work, 9 months of writing partnership, Aaron and I have finished the First Polish Touch Up Version Draft whatever.  Basically it’s at a place where we’re ready to show the world.

World, consider yourself showed.

🙂

p.s. it’s a Western.

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Superbutterflies

January 25, 2010

Takka-takka-tak.

Barry sits at a table at the Shaw/College branch of the Toronto Public Library. He’s at one of those small tables at the front, the kind that really only have room for one laptop. Maybe two, if you squeezed them together, but then no one would be comfortable.

Across from him sits his friends Dominic.  The two have known each other since the prim young age of, yup, two. Dominic casually sits sideways on his chair, his back to the large windows that look out onto the street, his legs stretched out in front of him. He’s reading a book, something you probably wouldn’t be interested in, and he seems pretty focused on it, a focus that’s amplified when he abruptly looks up and turns to Barry.

“You know what’s funny?” asks Dominic.

“No,” answers Barry, not bothering to look up from his laptop.

“That saying, ‘butterflies in your stomach.’ You’ve heard it before, right?” Dom’s face twisted into one of those ironic smiles that usually means Barry is about to be annoyed.

“mm-hm” replies Barry, head still down, trying his best not to provoke his friend into continuing. Despite Barry’s uninterested grunt, Dom considers the sound an invitation, one that he gladly accepts.

“Everyone always uses that phrase, “butterflies in your stomach” as though it were a good thing, y’know? But if you really sit down and think about it, having butterflies in your stomach, especially living, fluttering, excitable butterflies, would probably be a shitty experience.” Dom takes on a didactic tone. “Biologically speaking,” as though Dom knows anything about biology, “it wouldn’t be a good feeling at all.”

“No kidding,” says Barry, simultaneously typing something else on his laptop.

Dom continues. “If you really think about it, having these relatively large living organisms floating around inside your stomach, well, you’d have to think that they’d be super butterflies.  Can’t be easy to survive in the acid and bile environment that exists in your stomach, right? So to live in there, you’d probably need to have a super strong exo-skeleton or something, right? Like, titanium wings, or diamond antennae. And if that’s what it takes for our winged little buddies to survive in our stomach, well, it can’t be a pleasant feeling for regular people like you and me.” He looks up, now really deep in thought. “In fact, we’d probably die, cut to pieces from the inside by cute little Super Orange-Barred Sulphurs and Invulnerable Purple Spotted Swallowtails. Ergo, having butterflies in your stomach would probably be a terrible feeling of agony, not one of wistful love and longing.”

Barry’s a pro at handling Dom when he dives into these “philosophical explorations” of his. He’s also a pro at multi-tasking, hence his eyes still staring at the glowing screen. “That’s cool,” he says.

Dom smiles. “Yeah, it is. Isn’t it?” He takes a moment to think on it a bit more until, abruptly, he turns back to his book.

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Cities and Dirt

January 20, 2010

Last year, I spent some time in India, and while there, I read a book called Invisible Cities. It’s by Italo Calvino, and was recommended to me by a friend. The book is a series of very short stories about different fictional cities. Well, sorta fictional. Hard to explain, but it’s certainly worth the read, if for no other reason than to see which of the many cities stick with you, which stories make that impression on you.

While in India, I spent 4 days in Varanasi. While there, I wrote my own story a la Calvino.

***

The first thing you will notice upon arriving in Varanasi is not the calm of the Ganges, a river of great religious significance as a place where many hope to end their life, to end the cycle of rebirth and as last find peace. You will not first notice children huddling in the shade as the midday sun visits its undeniable wrath upon the stone steps, the tin roofs, the dirt roads, the broken pavement.  You will not first notice the goat chewing on a green plastic bag, still strained pink from Holi, the festival of colour, now over one month gone.  You will not first notice the signs of three different bakeries, each claiming to be German, each painted onto walls lining the many Ghats, each crumbling with age.  You will not first notice the inner city, filled with people an dtheir wares and their children and their scooters and their cows.

What will strike you first is the air, filled with dust that bounces off your lips, stains your teeth, collects in your mouth. Your face will twist and you will notice an elderly person, dirt lining every crack and wring of his face. You will ask the people of Varanasi, “How do you handle it? The dirt, the dust, the very spirit of death is all around you. How do you cope?” The people of Varanasi will look at you and will smile. “It is true that there is dust in the air, clutter on our streets, stains on our goats, ashes in our river and dirt in our skin. But this is not a symbol of death, for it is this that ties us together. It is the dirt that gives us life.”

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Bookworm

August 17, 2009

“The things you don’t know could fill a book,” she said, an unattractive sneer curving her lips.

“Just one book?” he smiles, victoriously.

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The Merritt of a man

June 26, 2009

Reginald A. Merritt was an unusual teen. He often found himself on the wrong side of a bully’s fist, and for some reason this made him feel really, really good about himself. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it made him feel great – he was getting the bare-knuckle massage on his face and stomach and kidney and shoulder and solar plexus and balls, after all – yet, for some reason this made him happy.

To call it satism would be incorrect, because it was pleasure or excitement that made him smile. Rather, these experiences were more akin to that feeling of warmth that surrounds your heart when you get an A on that ancient civ project or when you save a kitten from a tree or when you shovel the snow off the driveway in the morning before your mom wakes up. It is difficult to fathom, but our boy Reg associated getting his ass kicked with “earning it.”

Thus, it should come as little surprise that when good ol’ Reg found a metropass on the sidewalk, he couldn’t shake that horrible feeling of guilt.

“What do I do?” asked Reg.

“You ride Transit free for the rest of the month is what you do,” grinned his friend Devon. “What else would you do?”

Reg muttered through a furrowed brow “I dunno. It’s just that… Y’know. I feel bad.”

Devon laughed softly. “You never cease to perplex me, Reg.”

“Not hard to do, eh Dev?” chimed Angela.

“Bite me,” snapped Devon.

“You wish” she chirped back, smiling in victory. She’d been patiently drinking her coffee, waiting for her chance to burst Dev’s ego. They’d dated once, but that was ancient history. Now she just loved to piss him off.

Reg interceded. “Guys, c’mon. Don’t start with this stuff, again.” Angela and Devon were Reg’s best friends, and seeing them like this always tore him up. Some days he even regretted introducing them to each other.

“Reg is right,” said Devon aloud, while his eyes said “nee-ner-nee-ner-nee-ner.”

Angela rolled her eyes, then, turning to Reg puts on a (legitimite, she was the compasionate one) air of concern. “Was there a name or signature or something written on the pass?” There was a spot on the back of the pass for signatures. It was for tax purposes, but many people signed them right away in a show of the eternal North American need for ownership.

“No,” sighed Reg, and made a face that secured his photo a spot in the dictionary next to the word ‘glum’.

Devon, seeing that this was actually bothering his friend, decided to help, “How about craigslist? Did you check there?” Angela smiled; that’s the Devon she used to love.

“No,” answered Reg again, maintaining his spot in the dictionary.

Devon slapped Reg on the back.  “Well then, hurry up and check it, dummy!”

And somehow, getting attacked and labeled as unintelligent motivated our young Merritt to get his ass in gear.  See?  What a strange boy, indeed.

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Tired Brains

May 12, 2009

Once upon a time, there was a boy with a tired brain.  He said to his brain, “please stop being tired!  I need your help.”

“I can’t help it,” answered his brain.  “I’m just so tired.”

“But we just slept for 8 hours!” exclaimed the boy.  “How are you still tired?”

“Sleep for you is work for me,” said the brain.  “You need to figure out how to get me some real rest.”

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Ah, Kids these days

March 30, 2009

“What the fuck kind of name is Jimmy, anyway?” muttered Jimmy to no one in particular.

He was at the county fair with some people he knew.  He thought this shit was lame, but some “friends” of his wanted to go and they were going to go whether he tagged along or not.  So he tagged along.  Better than being left behind he had thought.

But now, here he was at the county fair and he’d be left behind.  The problem with self destructive people is that they tend to turn their anger towards themselves.  Doesn’t matter that they’re not to blame.  Doesn’t matter that in many cases there is no one to blame.  All that matters is that the Jimmy’s of the world need to place their anger somewhere.  They suffer the unfortunate circumstance of a deep seeded guilt, a guilt that does not allow them to misplace their anger.  Truly, how terrible would it be to express such a volatile anger onto the wrong person?  Or even onto the right person, if they meant no harm?  Doing that would just hurt people’s feelings!  And so, through the journey that is Jimmy’s roundabout logic, he turns that directionless rage towards the one person whose feelings he doesn’t need to protect.

Which brings us right back to why Jimmy is mad at his name.

Jimmy looked around the county fair.  There were people everywhere.  Truth is a good old fashioned county fair is tough to come by.  When a group of people go to the lengths required to actually assemble a wholey anachronistic hoo-haw of a time, chances are that one or more county’s will put aside their worries and just enjoy!

“Fucking stupid.  Why the fuck did I come here.  I should have known this would be stupid and that they’d just leave me here.  Fucking fuck.”  Jimmy had brought his worries with him.  “I wanted to stay home.  I wanted to watch a movie.  Or play board games.  Or anything but come to this stupid place.  But nooooo!  You just had to tag along, didn’t you?  You convinced yourself that hanging with your friends doing something stupid was better than not having friends.”

As Jimmy passed Bob’s Bobbing for Apples, a small group of grade 2ers barreled past him.  “Last one there’s a whore with syphilis!” yelled the brat in the lead.  Kids.  They grow up so quickly.

Jimmy had to work to maintain his grumpy face.