Saturday, April 02, 2005


She opened her mouth to the size of a small black hole which was immediately filled with a spoonful of pablum. She watched the yellow goo swirl around in her daughter's mouth like yellow clothes spinning around and around in a dryer. Without knowing why she thought of how the Canadians were responsible for the invention of pablum and the space arm. She let this thought drift out from the orbit of her mind.

From the living room, the television blared out the importance of clean clothes.

She looked at the filth fringing the sleeves of her sweat top. She stared out into the world with open eyes. She sat there waiting for more.

She would never again revisit this thought of pablum and the space arm. She sat like a baby thinking of what she was doing to her.

Friday, April 01, 2005


"It's too fucking weird, that's why !!!" Manfred Starnbroom hollers out at his artist in residence. He huffs and puffs and walks back and forth in the "green room", a living room fringed with cherry blossom trunks and branches held up by thin, tight wires bolted into the walls and ceiling which are themselves adorned with murals of marionettists whose hands "hold" the ends of the wires. The marionettists are dressed like lumber-jacks in drag. The artist in residence is called Fratique de Parmeli.

"No but listen to the idea as if it were a child whispering it's first few words. Listen for the beautiful potential in these ideas. Listen to its... comment ca veux dire ?! Listen to it's profusion of profundity. Ommm !!" Whenever Fratique finishes speaking he returns to the beginning with a ceremonial incantation of the universe's first sound, an eccentric habit which has endeared him all the more to Manfred.

Fratique de Parmeli's patron has made hundreds of millions of dollars through overseas trade and investments; Fratique sometimes jokes that he is a billionaire-in-waiting. In spite of his millions, Manfred loves nothing more than to sit down and enjoy a cold beer and a baseball game but he indulges his artist in residence with his plans of "an interior designing of the interior self through creative design." Whatever that means.

"Fratique, just let me keep my den, that's all I ask. I just want to keep my den in the west wing."

"You will sit down to enjoy some theater of the absurd tomorrow night and every other night after that. Of course this is etrange. I have written this play about ten year old astronauts exploring space along with their juvenile notions of sexuality for you. We are all children shaped by the geography of our childhood. Ommmm."

If only they could express their man-love for one another, their lives wouldn't be so contorted into such ornate absurdities.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


His innermost thoughts shuffled across the floor of consciousness in the voice of Groucho Marx. It had happened well over a dozen times over the course of his life: at his aunt's funeral, in a paralyzed elevator, at the end of an extremely long line-up for a bank machine that ended up not even working, on his back looking up at the stars, etc. Whenever his thinking took a dip into the profound, the tone of his inner voice took on the bouncety-bounce of Groucho Marx's trade mark intonation. "I guess it all just goes on forever," would have come across in a jokey way if his brain had been miked for an audience. He wasn't a fan of the Marx Brothers or even comedy films really and was quite oblivious to the humour of the situation.

One day he went out to the store to buy a can of tuna and a newspaper.

On his way back, leafing through the arts section of the paper he found himself reading an article of no consequence about a Hollywood actor.

"I just wasted one minute of my life," he thought to himself but instead of laughing at the absurdity of it all he started to cry.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


"I didn't intend on pissing anyone off. In fact, I assumed that people would respond with... weird smiles, some surprised expressions and a couple of playful middle finger returns. I mean the middle finger is almost like a greeting by now. Johnny Cash has done it to all of us so many times from t-shirts and posters and that's a guy who's almost universally admired. I mean maybe the Chinese have never heard of him but then they also don't know what a middle finger means so you know..."

He doesn't know what his point is and his voice trails off into the nothing that surrounds him. The whiteness holds his silence indifferently. He blinks down on the whiteness of his eyes.

"I don't think that it was justified. No, I think it was just stupid. I mean you don't just run people over because they finger you. I had an eight thousand dollar Canon. It's huge. You can see that someone's a professional when they bring it up to their face to take pictures. I wasn't just some stupid kid fucking people off for kicks. I had a deadline. I mean I had to get three hundred reaction shots by the end of the month. I fingered him for professional purposes."

He doesn't know why but he feels compelled to plead his case, to explain himself to something hiding in the white. It's like the whiteness is a drug that's motivating the chemistry of his mind in a certain way. Or maybe it's just good old fashioned other worldly magic.

His forehead has the imprint of the buses' license plate but there are no mirrors for him to see this. He will never again see a mirror and someday he will forget what mirrors are as he repeats his story again and again. His body will slowly fade into non-existence and nothing but his voice will remain repeating the familiar phrases. And eventually these words will also lose their flesh and bones until there will be silence.

"Okay well maybe the whole idea was kind of stupid. I mean I guess people are going to get pissed off with me for flashing them the bird but it's not like I was living in New York. Vancouver, man. Vansterdam. Everyone's stoned and mellow and smiling. I just wanted to shake things up a little with something funny. I thought it was a funny idea for a coffee table book. I didn't intend on pissing anyone off."

The silence betrays no signs of being pissed off.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


The apparently simple act of taking a roll of photos would introvert him for several days. After an afternoon of picture taking he suddenly wouldn't return calls, emails or even an exceptionally overdue video to the local Blockbusters. He would hole himself up at home developing these images from the world outside and after his work was finished he'd unwind by getting stoned and playing Classic Nintendo for marathon stretches of time. "Getting high with my Italian friend, " is what he called it.

Consequently, it came as no surprise to anyone that he wouldn't be stepping out the front door for a long time after completing the photos for a ridiculously named coffee table book published by Vice Magazine. There were many questions however as to the manner in which he accomplished the great task of taking over a hundred photos of drunk people from around the world.

De-de-de-de-de-de- Mario jumped through desert snakes with the power of invincibility.

"So what was your hardest shoot," Matt inquired keeping his gaze fixed on Mario's salvation.

"I dunno," he said behind a billow of thick haze seeping out of his mouth like a building vomiting its burning contents.

"Yeah how did you get the deal through Vice anyway ?" Matt continued questioning and playing.


"Ahh just.. you know... hanging out with some buddies and..."

Matt was in town for a week and visiting his brother had been at the bottom of his list of priorities but he thought that maybe he could find a few toeholds into the matrix of his brother's networking web.

What was he thinking, he thought as Mario died another death. Later that week Matt got slobberingly drunk and ended up in tears with a lady friends' handbag on his head.

No photo was ever taken of this.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Every book he wrote was a bridge burned with a loved one.

It started with his wife of ten years who saw herself in horrid fun-house poses on almost every single page of his first novel.

"Those were just passing thoughts that might have come to mind when we were- But they don't reflect... what I truly feel about..., " he explained through fits and starts. He longed for the precision of a pen on an empty page. He tried to explain all of this to Pamela as she packed her bags, their daughter's and one of his as she didn't have enough luggage for her own clothes.

With the slam of a door that chapter of his life was over.

In trying to explain the mercurial nature of metaphor and misunderstanding, he wrote his second novel as an apology to his ex-wife. She didn't open any of the copies that he sent to her. The novels were fished out of the trash however by their daughter, Lucy. She saw herself depicted - zits and all - in hideous pubescent detail.

"He hates me because I'm a zitty monster," she concluded to herself after finishing the novel. He wasn't even given a chance to stumble his way through an apology.

His third novel deftly explored the difficult balance between family and work, leaving his agent's nose out of joint.

"You think you know people don't you and then they turn on you and make you out to be some kind of money grubbing slug that you're not." Once again he couldn't muster up the words needed to make amends.

The last book that James Bannister ever wrote was about an artist who burned images into wood. Upon completing it, he recognized himself in the title character.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Heckling your Funny Bone

Ulner nerve entrapment is what the doctors call it. I call it my funny bone losing it's sense of humour. Shitty luck is what my wife calls it.

It all started with an overlooked injury at the lumber yard. A pile of 2 by 4's came down on my right arm pretty hard. My funny bone was fucking hilarious that afternoon I tell ya but it was just after Christmas and we needed the money so I kept working and tried to put the pain out of my mind. The injury in my arm went from bad to worse though and I ended up unable to grasp anything with my right hand.

I'm currently looking through the want ads in search of suitable work. Maybe I'll go into politics since grasping things doesn't seem to be a prerequisite for the job. Maybe I'll become a joke writer for the Pope 'cause Christ does that guy ever need some new material.

A relocation of life plans is what the therapists call it. I call it a paraplegic landing on his feet. Doing whatever the fuck you can to stay afloat is what my wife calls it.

Unexpected is what everyone else calls it.