Saturday, April 16, 2005


This guy is nosing around for cocaine . He asks us if we know where he can get some "magic nose powder". I wish him luck.

He leans very closely into me and threateningly whispers: "You are a Norwegian.” He’s already so high on something that he can’t really focus on anything. It seems as though his entire face can’t focus on the world around him. His out of focus head knocks mine in the little scrum of two that he’s created.

“You are a skirt-lifting Scandinavian!” he shouts. He stumbles back, pointing at me like he’s ratting me out. Yeah, that’s me, one of those stereotypical Scandinavians running around town lifting skirts, searching for illegally gotten reindeer undies.

“You are a skirt-lifting Norwegian!” he shouts again. I’m neither of the two but a fist is forming in my mind. I’m out for a quick drink at a little fund-raiser for some friends’ weekly paper. This was not on the agenda for my Monday evening.

He suddenly loses interest in me, stumbles out into the night in search of coke and that’s the end of that.

I find out later that he is a columnist for a daily paper that features in-depth coverage of hockey fights and the breasts of celebrities. For ten years he has written a column on urban living; he doesn’t write about hockey fights or breasts, which perhaps explains his bitterness.

The items that I stole from his jacket while he was leaning in close to me have helped make my week a better week.

This is the end of my simple bar story.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Admonitions administered ad nauseum.

His tiny hands are folded on his desk like a good student in a prayer pose. A model student praying for more education. But while he gives the appearance of politely listening to his teacher, every couple of seconds he snatches glances at his dictionary which hides on his lap.

Adoptees adore adumbrations.

"So remember to get your parents to sign the hot dog day form. You will not be able to buy any hot dogs unless this piece of paper gets signed by one of your parents. Is that clear ?" He speaks to the class as though they are mentally handicapped deaf children learning English for the first time. This is the image that passes through his mind as he looks at the large hairy oaf who claims to be his teacher.

Aeronautical aesthetics affect agencies.

Things have been going very differently than expected. After a lifetime of daily visitations to the same fantasy, he has suddenly found himself in the body and world of his ten year-old self. But beneath all the towering and booming figures of adulthood he has lost his nerve. He doesn't write a letter to the Prime Minister requesting a scholarship to the top university of the country. He doesn't write an award-winning novel. His plans belong to some far off world that is now nothing but a fading memory of a faded reflection of fuck all.

His hands are smaller than he remembers but now they are folded in front of him. Attached to the rest of him by youthful arms. His memories search for physical connections to a foreign flesh

Agape's agates aghast agnostics.

"And now we're going to line up, but remember to walk towards the door slowly. If you cannot do that we will start again."

He thinks he might be going insane.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


While in other restaurants across the city diners savoured fine foods and conversations, laughed over clinking glasses and tipped waiter's polished smiles, an undeclared war was being waged between the patrons and the staff of Stanley's Bar and Grill.

Nobody was sure how it all began. One rumour had it that all the trouble started in the late 80's with a new owner who had burnt out on the set of Miami Vice and was looking for a little R and R as a restauranteur. When it turned out to be more work than anticipated, he simply let things go to pot. Others swore up and down that the restaurant began as a kind of dinner theater where the staff put on a show of being rude for everyone's amusement. One waitress had carried it too far however by deliberatly dumping coffee on the lap of a regular. "Oh and that's me just pretending to be a bitch," she supposedly shouted at the man. Clearly, the origins for the current state of affairs were unclear.

Everyday a collection of new and familiar faces would scrutinize the workings of the staff at Stanley's Bar and Grill. At best the service was slow and surly. Regulars tried their best to fight back with penny tips, notes of complaint or just plain old looks of astonishment and invokings of basic rules of conduct.

The food was less than delicious, but there was simply a stubborness that brought people back again and again.

One summer a Catholic nun took up the challenge to bring the staff to their knees. "You fight with love. You've gotta be kind to be cruel. That's how you really stick it to somebody. They'll feel ashamed of themselves," she told several of the regulars after she was seen giving flowers to one particularly rude waitress who simply snorted and mumbled her way through her shift.

In revenge the staff of Stanley's hired a punk rock puppeteer to put on a lunch time show which featured heart, liver and kidney puppets coming out from an autopsied Pope (made out of paper machet).

And that's when all hell broke loose.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


After double (and triple) checking the numbers on his lottery ticket against the winning numbers in the newspaper, after jumping up and down in a clunky hug with his wife, after calling up his boss to tell him where to go, after making the all important phone call that would change his life forever, after changing his telephone number, after going to pick up the giant check for the photo-op for a group of jealous reporters, after all of this Mark DeJamminglon decided on his new vocation.

He smiled like the Buddha receiving his first taste of enlightenment under the Bodi Tree. He smiled so big his mouth threatened to explode. He smiled a brand new smile.

"I'm gonna get a plasma screen t.v. and a super comfy chair and I'm gonna get some handy guy to build me a little bubble that I can relax in. It'll be clear so everyone can see how much I'm enjoying myself. There will also be wheels. It'll be my little leisure mobile. There'll be a mini-satellite on top. But most importantly of all, I'll park it in all the super busy business centers of all the cities in America. I'm starting off here; all those assholes at Martin and Woodston will see me and realize the daily hell that they're living. I'll be dozing off watching the Godfather part two while they're racing to work," he said, without once flinching from his newly acquired smile.

"Wouldn't you just rather move to the Cayman islands ?" his wife said while looking through the catalogue of an expensive furniture store.

And so he decided to have a leisure mobile built for two with flight capabilities. That's how it all began.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Fat raindrops fall from an indescript sky onto a city that was once young. Buildings crumble out in all directions and weeds crop up from the rubble like hands (in green gloves) raised for help. The occasional rodent will scurry through a patchwork of dark paths.

This is how he imagines the city as he walks along a wet Main Street. This is how he calms himself. He imagines how it will look when it all comes tumbling down. He reminds himself that all is vanity. In the end nothing matters.

A bundle of bright flowers are held in his right hand, but his thoughts remain buried in a grey future.

This is how he keeps his expectations from rising to impossible heights. This is how he remains calm.

This is how he will be single for the rest of his life.

Monday, April 11, 2005


You're my wife, tutor, mentally handicapped client who I'm paid big bucks to care for and sometimes you're even my sister. These characters come into my head and out of my mouth like mischievous kids jumping the queue at a waterslide park. I open my mouth and they plop out of the tube. My accountant over there will have a latte.

You keep metaphors straight. You remind me to
anchor myself on the solid rock of reality. You are there for me, even as I royally piss you off. You show a great deal of love.

"My pregnant wife will have another double," I smile with sincerity at the waitress. "We still haven't decided on whether were keeping it so..." I present this information to her with a very serious face and my voice trails off as though I've suddenly found myself in the midst of contemplating our unborn's fate.

You kick me under the table with the pointy tip of your shoe which alerts the world to my lie. The waitress figures that she's being fibbed to and her personality disappears behind a door of indifference that's slammed in our faces. There's no point in knocking again at that door.

You don't indulge in metaphors. You keep things literal. Literally literal.

"That very cruel. Don't lie like that. I don't think that's very funny. That's too harsh."

You're my wife, tutor, parole officer and the victim of my jokes but you're not for me. There's a sweetness to you but I will be single again soon. I will be lost in a cyclone funneled garbage dump of ideas that will spin me around and around.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


(The following monologue and narrative play over one continuous close up shot of a six year old chewing gum and staring up.)

"If I give you change how am I to be certain that you're going to remember this act of charity ? I'm sorry to say this but your father and mother have not educated you in the basics of human decency so how am I guaranteed any kind of genuine gratitude ? And how do I know you're going to remember this down the road after you're all grown up ? On top of all this even if you had a shred of civility in you there are still the essential failings of memory that we must consider." At this point he usually pushed his false teeth out of his mouth in a habit that demonstrated he was deep in thought.

"My memory remembers forgetting so many things, so many times and on so many occasions... Oh Christ if I had a dime for everytime I've forgotten something major I would... actually I would be very cheesed off because I'd be in a room full of dimes that would have to be put in those little dime holders to be taken into the bank and exchanged for something useful. Oh I hate dimes anyway. They are deceptive. They are the tiniest form of change and yet they are ten times more valuable than pennies which are their betters in terms of size !! The universe presents us with enough mysteries and uncertainties as it is, do we really need to add to the troubles ? But don't get any notion in your head that because I hate dimes I'm just going to toss them aside in your direction. They go in my wallet along with the full arsenal of other forms of currency. You must have a well rounded mind and a full compliment of money in your pocket if you're going to step out into that world. Unless you're some kind of fool." Around this time he usually exhaled with puffed out cheeks.

"So the short of it is that I'm not going to give you any change. Go hit up your grandmother. See if you can extort some hard currency out of her by flashing those big blue eyes of yours. Oh you're cute alright but that in no way entitles you to money. You must learn right here and right now that cute is not something that can be bartered for filthy lucre. Cute only goes so far. Industry is what you want !! Go work for some money instead of waylaying me like a bandit. Get a stinking job."

My grandmother always gave me a sizable chunk of money for listening to my grandfather's rants about not living life on a free ride. I understood this to be one of my weekly chores. Now I work in a complaints department which I find quite satisfying. My name is Marcus Dowlings and this is my life.