Saturday, October 29, 2005

"IN THE BALANCE LIES A CHOCOLATE BAR" is such a special fast fiction that I can't even find superlatives suitable to describe it. What makes it so great ? Well it's based on art by the very talented Anders Nyberg for starters...
The rest of the magic lies in you putting on your halloween costume, reading this story out loud to trick or treaters at your
door and enjoying the looks of confusion and terror on their faces when they realize candy won't come easy this Halloween. Enjoy...


"I think we should have a big basket full of nothing and then when the trick or treaters arrive at the door, scoop up a big handful of that nothing and then drop it into their non-biodegradable plastic bags. As we're dropping nothing into their bags we can say something like, 'This year we're giving you a reminder of your innate creativity to imagine this nothing as anything you want it to be.' That's my proposal for this year," my mother smiled firmly. "It's just a suggestion."

My father cleared his throat.

The tension was as thick as soup, left-over soup that had been forgotten and abandoned in the corner of the fridge, only to be discovered by nostrils upon the opening of the fridge door. That was the foulness of this tension which existed every time we opened a family meeting about creative ways to circumvent corporately highjacked celebrations.

Especially Halloween.

In spite of all this building tension, all this talk of trick or treaters was making my sweet tooth ache for a chocolate bar.

"Michael, what do you think ?" my father asked. I knew I was expected to take an active role in the creation of our anti-consumer stance on this day in particular, especially after the fiasco of two Halloween's ago.

A mother dressed as an astronaut had spent a goodly chunk of the night berating my parents on our front steps: "You're trying to pawn off little poems about starvation in the third world to my kids while my husband is at home this very minute handing out candies for free that your son is gladly stuffing his bag full of." And that was how it was discovered by my parents that I had been sneaking out the bathroom window to run around the cul-de-sac for five minutes getting as much ill-gotten booty as possible.

"Well what do you say champ ?" my father was eagerly waiting for my decision. He was hoping that I would side with his idea of mirroring the trick or treater's actions after opening the door. Throwing back a reflection of the bloated beggars they'd become.

And I held the deciding vote.

Three hours before our family meeting, my father had promised that if I sided with him he would turn a blind eye if I disappeared for a few minutes on Halloween night.

He wanted more than anything else for his idea to come to fruition.

I let my sweet tooth vote for me.

Friday, October 28, 2005

"ANIMAL TESTING" is an extremely special - Holy shit !! it can't get anymore special than this !!! - fast fiction based on this work by the psychedelically talented duo Kozy n' Dan:
So clutch your four pet chickens nice and close to this computer screen, read this in a clucking voice to them, scatter seeds on the keys in case they lose interest and enjoy...


"After I fed some ketamine to my hairless guinea pigs, they were stuck in a k-hole for days," Stan Smerkson, a writer of no small import, snickers through his nose. "But when they came out the other end, I swear they were mouthing the words 'holy shit' again and again."

The circle of six people around him burst out laughing. He is brilliantly perverse and warped and they can share in that brilliance without being tainted by his perversions or warpedness. They are simply the audience.

"I just gave lysergic acid diethylamide to my pet ferret the other day," comes a voice from across the room. Patrick Donaldson, literary rival to Stan Smerkson, steps into the room playing with his scarf. "He started scratching iridescent mandellas into the walls."

The ensuing silence is filled with nothing but their total hatred for each other. They are both up to their elbows in research and manuscripts about living with unusual pets on drugs. They accuse each other of plagiarizing the idea.

One of them will be killed by animal rights activists.

The other will write a book about dealing with the lose of his best friend and rival, while brain damaged animals stumble around at his feet.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"IDEALS GROW RUSTY ANGER" is a special fast fiction based on this work by the very talented Eleanor Rosenberg, an art student from Emily Carr.
So curl up within your blankets, put your cheek against the computer screen expertly installed within the middle of your mattress and enjoy...


"You've sold out for free, man. Can you believe that ? You not only sold out but you also have the added insult and injury of leaving without a penny in your fucking pocket !" he screams through a balaclava. He makes his point by pistol whipping the man tied up with a rubber hose.

The two other hooded thugs stand silently behind him. Every so often one of them - I'm not sure which one really - checks his breath with a cupped hand. The other one - who I know for a fact is the other one - stands with his feet firmly planted on the ground. Obviously he is confident in his ability to stand and look tough.

"You went and made yourself into some big shot. Happy cards sent out for free to CEO's and their corporate lackeys and all you wanted was fame. Oh there's the guy who was brilliant !! He sent out works of art directly to the top. Oh he made it big by knowing whose ass to suck !!"

Beneath the balaclavas they are Marxist art critics who want something more out of their art.

They are angry.

Well one of them - I'm not sure which one - keeps glancing at one of the cards of a man, his daughter and their dog, only their heads are all switched in this picture. He quietly chuckles at how cute it looks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"TERROR COMES IN TWOS" is a very special fast fiction based on work by an artist from Korea. Jisung Bahng's work strips down unexpected moments from fairy tales and then gussies those scenes up with humour, quirkiness and dread.
So take a break from your halloween dress rehearsal at the front door, read this story and enjoy...


Shin-pori Kim arrived in Vancouver in April with the highest of hopes and expectations and tolerance towards alcohol. He was certain that after several months he'd be shooting the breeze and chewing the fat and using all of his newly acquired idioms to communicate with English speakers around a table full of spirits and drinks. Most of all he was looking forward to living with a Canadian family in the most beautiful of environs in North Vancouver, a part of the Lower Mainland that was minutes away from either the culture of the city or the quiet depths of nature.

For the first time in his life, the world was about to become his oyster.

This dream was dispelled in two hours.

The family that he moved in with consisted of a father, a mother and their twin boys, Hans and Lutz. They had only lived in Vancouver for five years and having emigrated from Germany they still retained very thick German accents. Instead of the mellifluous tones of English, Shin-pori struggled to decipher nouns and verbs that came out of their mouths as though coated in slabs of sausage and sauerkraut.

"Vat should ve do tonight ?" his "home-stay" mother inquired, after Shin-pori's bags had been unpacked.

"Maybe we could just shoot the breeze," he politely suggested.

She stared at him blankly with total incomprehension.


She smiled and nodded a hundred agreements.

"Or would you like some traditional Korean alcohol ? Makoli is very sweet !" he looked at his home-stay parents expectantly. Again they stared blankly.

They didn't drink.

All the while the twins watched as Shin-pori tried to make himself understood. They could understand most of what he was saying but they realized that he spoke with an accent. If he spoke with a German accent he would make a better playmate, they decided later that night.

As Shin-pori lay in bed, trying to reconcile his expectations with his new fate, Hans and Lutz made sketches in the next room of a contraption consisting of lip clamps, jaw grip and a tongue hold which would move in accordance with their way of speaking. Once they built the machine and used it on themselves to record the movements of their facial muscles, it would be ready to be tried out on their new playmate. An electric stimulator would be placed on the vocal chords to ensure vocalizations would be made. Late into the night they discussed how they could lure him into the forest and then knock him on the head and place there speaking contraption on him.

And he would speak just like them.

The twins were excited and started this new project with the highest of hopes and expectations and intolerance towards difference.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"CINEMATIC PAP" is a very special fast fiction based on work by the very talented
Josh Cochran.
So lean back in your theater seat, pull that blanket over your head, turn your flashlight on, read this story and enjoy...


Every waking hour of everyday my brother reminded me of why, as a young woman, I had wanted to move out of the house, but after he called me one night in the grips of despair over his wife's suicide, I couldn't help but take pity on him and made the wrongheaded decision to allow him to crash at my place. Crash land into my home. Crash into my marriage. Crash into my sanity. Crash, crash, crash, as he went through wall after wall after wall in my house.

My husband maintained a sense of positive composure through the whole ordeal. He also drank. Heavily. All the while my brother would blather on and on about the failings of modern cinema. He was a film critic.

"I had the darnedest dream the other night," Charles yawned, rubbing the sacks of black beneath his eyes with the palms of his hands. "I dreamt that I was flying over a village in the old country. Flying. A special dream. One of those dreams that just make you feel like you've swallowed a whole ocean of freedom." He kissed me on the cheek.

My brother sat at the table listening with apparently little interest but suddenly he started clapping: "While Charles Oberton's latest dream Flying, is ostensibly an exploration of the geography of freedom, it ultimately leaves one empty and dissatisfied. Where is it going ? Where does it take us ? What is the point ? I give it ten thumbs down."

Through the ensuing silence my husband went to the cupboard to put some Bailey's in his coffee while I mustered up the nerve to say something.

"You're going to have to leave," I said point blank.

"As Godard has opined, every film has to have a beginning, middle and an end but not necessarily in that order. Cindy Oberton's latest work Get Out labors under the false assumption that anyone is listening or cares, as she blithely ignores the entire notion of beginnings, middles or endings. I give it ten thumbs down."

And that's when we took matters into our own hands and killed him.

The end.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"FLIGHT PATH OF THE TIMID" is a very special fast fiction based on an image by the delightfully talented Eun-ha Paek.
So put your seat in an upright position, buckle up your seat belt, close your eyes as your captain reads this story to you and enjoy...


After spending several hours meticulously creating a soothing plane environment inside their living room and creating an elephant costume, Cindy was pooped . While she had never been on a plane before, she did her best based on recollections of scenes from movies as well as images off the internet which basically resulted in chairs from the kitchen and backyard aligned in a row along one wall, suitcases perched up on a bookshelf to replicate overhead compartments and small cut outs of blue and white taped onto the wall. She put flowers on the chairs and Brian Eno's Music for Airports on a continuous loop on the stereo. And then there were the small dinners wrapped up within tin foil (from her fathers cigarette packs as there was none left in the kitchen) on trays in the fridge.

Cindy had always dreamed seeing elephants in Africa, but her parents suffered from aerophobia.

Dinner that night was served on flight 302 which was bound for Moi International Airport in Kenya. The sterwardess was an elephant.

"This pasta is great," her father said through a mouthful of food. "But I really don't think we'd be treated to anything this good on an actual plane."

"I don't think they're allowed to give out flowers anymore either. Terrorists," her mom said in a concerned tone of voice.

After it became apparent that all of her efforts were in vain, she announced that the flight had been hijacked by crazies and that they had been flown directly into space.

Floating in nothingness with nothing to do.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"DECORATE YOUR FACE OFF" is once again a super special fast fiction based on artwork by Marc Bell, a Canadian doodle-jockey who'll draw up crazy images of elbows with faces and toes with smiles faster than you can say "All Canadian Wild Balonies !"

Here it is in its amazing splendor...
So curl up in that hammock of yours which has been sewn together out of millions of washing direction tags from inside t-shirts (How did you find the time ?!) and enjoy...


Leo Koenig scootches carefully past C and D and plunks himself down in the middle of the row. He unzips his carry on bag and delicately pulls out a painting of cartoonish faces beneath beautifully bizarre headgear which he hangs from the seat in front of him.

"Art," he says, with a voila flourish of his hand. He shares his smile generously with the elderly couple that he's come between.

"Oh my, that's quite something," the woman in D says, bringing her hand up to her mouth. Her husband, seated in F, shakes his head in disapproval and opens up the inflight magazine.

Leo Koenig proceeds to take out more pieces of art which he tries to place in flattering angles and light. After ten paintings have been squeezed in around him, he turns to the woman in D and asks, "So how much would you pay for a piece such as this ?"

Over the course of the ten hour flight, Leo Koenig, the roving curator, will work on getting a number that he, the woman and the artist can be happy with.

And then they land in France.