Saturday, November 05, 2005

"THE FISH HEAD MARKS THE SPOT" is a very special fast fiction based on a photo by my best pal Paul Pratte who is just your typically talented writer, artist and musician kind of dude. Keep your ear to the ground for his band's debut performance in Vancouver in the next couple of months.
So gather together all of your fish head stuffed dolls, read the following and enjoy...


The cold barrel of the gun presses painfully into his temple. It will leave a bruised ring. A dark pox. He shakes and whimpers under the threat of the gun.

"Where do you keep your money !! Where is it !!"

He walks in a straight line to the back fence of his back yard. "There's something buried under the compost. Under that fish head !!"

The screen door from the well lit kitchen opens and Miriam shouts out: "Sam what are you doing ? Who are you talking to ?"

Sam quickly takes the gun away from his own head and turns around quickly. "Nobody, dear. I'm just talking to those cats that are... those cats that are caterwauling again."

He doesn't want her to know about the cash buried under the compost heap. He doesn't want her to know about his weekly tests to see if he'll crack under the pressure of a home invasion. He doesn't want her to know that he's caved in once again.

Friday, November 04, 2005

"YOUTH IN ASIA" is a delightfully slapdashed little fast fiction based on this wonderful work by Geoff Keong, a Vancouver artist who'll be exhibiting four of his works at the Wicked Cafe (1399 West 7th Ave) from Saturday, Nov 19.
So sit back and enjoy the following story which involves one joke which has been stolen from a Little Britain episode. Thank-you England !!


He punches out the final words of a four hundred page novel which has mined every nook and cranny of his life, work, philosophy and lexicon. He is spent, having invested all of his soul and time on this priceless collection of prose which champions his belief in life at all costs, even in a body of pain.

He punches out the tenth to last word: serenity.

It is the first novel in history that has been pummeled into existence and this guarantees its success, he keeps telling himself, hitting one of the giant keys which is slightly larger than his fist. His own fists pulsate with a dull throbbing agony. For a year he has bashed away at the alphabet. His initial plan of wearing boxing gloves through the writing was thrown out after he discovered that his hands welted up with rashes beneath the thickness of the gloves so he opted for a bare fisted approach.

He punches away at the fourth to last word: zenith.

The crux of his story, he will tell people time and time again, is that there is greater respect for the elderly in Asia. He has never been to Asia mind you, but he loves Chinese food. Most of the time. His favorite dishes are number 32 and 67. But more than Chinese food he loves life in all its resplendent forms.

He punches out the last word: God.

Having completed a year's worth of work, he shouts out: "The very title of my book will become synonymous with a renewed respect for life. It will be chanted on the streets. Youth in Asia."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

"OIL BARREL MEMORIES" is a very special fast fiction based on this wonderful piece by Rebecca Miller.
So curl up in the corner of your boxcar, clutch this laptop close to your chest and enjoy...


You've heard dozens of competing back-stories about the crazy lunatic living in the boxcar which used to operate as a sushi restaurant. He was once the owner but after a religious experience with a fish he threw in the towel. He was an oil tycoon who abandoned and was in turn abandoned by family and friends in his mad pursuit for profit. He was a train operator from Cuba who was involved in one of the lessor known plots on Castro, involving a Marilyn Monroe look alike.

Naturally, you're curious. You pass the purple boxcar on your way to and from work.

So one evening on your way home from work, you step a dozen or so meters off your beaten path to inspect the boxcar. You hear a muttering from within:

I will bottom out where we put the top in, top spin I win if you touch my whereabouts unknown togethered unglued through a sky blue cobalt sunrise that will explode all fads that will fade into the sunset to leave us forever alone and then love will come home and we will sing of fears falling like shackles that have been heard around the world. I will, I will, I will roll around in this old oil barrel, I will I will I will spin myself around in this barrel that rolls down the hill, I'll barrel, I'll barrel, I'll barrel down in this old oil barrel. In my youth I fit snug in the cold metallic memories of a world spinning around. I will, I will, I will go back to these days of the summer that warmed my young cheeks red with screams projected out of an old oil barrel. I will, I will, I will feel the forward push of my pals that gave the barrel gusto and hell as they pushed kicked it forward. Even now as the barrel continues to roll to the grave. The barrel continues to roll me to my grave. The barrel continues to roll me to my grave. A grave mistake. A grave above ground. A grave mistake of a grave. I calculated thousands of liters of oil on paper, on computer screens that never spun. All I wanted was to go inside an empty barrel of oil to once again spin my youth around the eternity of circle. I wanted to hide my calculations so that I could spin fear free. I wanted to forget the numbers of barrels and live once again inside one garbage dump oil barrel with brand new words like "fuck" cursed on the inside with teenage markers. I had no idea the world was within barreling towards death.

You stand stunned at what is inside what you've passed everyday.

You slowly walk the rest of your route home.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN YOU SAY WE FIGHT ?" is once again a very special fast fiction (How can they continue to be special every single day ? I don't know, they just are !!) which is based on this wonderful illustration by the very talented Rina Donnersmarck
So sit back in the autumn coated branches of your favorite tree, read these words on your laptop and enjoy...


He calls the cat by a term of affection which is usually reserved for me. Sugar. What a stupid thing to call someone anyway. My little white crystalline solid.

And I lower my rump into my chair in the living room and wait for him to apologize.

He strokes the cat as though his hand were a rake going through soil. He bought that mentally gimped cat who seems to enjoy mistreatment off of a midget gypsy named Andre-Django. That's what he told me. I don't care. It's his cat. The cat.

Sugar, he says to me in a meow.

Pathetic. I wait.

"Look, what was I supposed to do ? My mouth was pumped full of anesthetic, it had clamps sticking out of it and a drill was going into a back molar ! Yes I saw somebody breaking into your car on the t.v. in the ceiling. I couldn't do anything. And yes I think there's something funny in that !! It's terrible that your car - in my care - was stolen. But I was just channel surfing, thinking holy shit this is kind of cool , I'm at the dentist but here I am watching t.v.: The Simpsons, some MTV, Pootie tang was on. Cool, cool, cool and then I land on some security camera channel of the parking lot. And they're stealing the car, but I was too pumped full of drugs to really care !! What was I supposed to do !! I was on my back and a drill was going into my molar. Of course I think there's something funny in that !! And now we're fighting ? Over something this stupid."

The cat has had enough of his bullshit and takes off. I don't blame it.

I sit and wait for a proper apology.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"BUFFET TRAY PILLOW" is a very special fast fiction based on this wonderful paper collage work by Lynn Hatzius
So jump up on the side of that buffet, put your plate of food right on top of your lap-tap and enjoy...


It's 1979 and the Panavision blares out the ad from America for the new all you can eat buffet, the Royal Fork. Three kings dressed in giant fork costumes fill their plates up while they shout, "Gold, frankincense and more, more, more !! Don't we have something to do ?", one king asks. "Ah it can wait," another king says filling his plate with chicken drumsticks. A young boy watches all this while stretched out on a dirty-gold shag carpet with eyes that will gladly be bigger than his stomach.

And the next weekend the boy's family drive to the Royal Fork, but find it challenging to get past the protesters with placards which decry the sacrilegious nature of the Royal Forks' advertising: "Gospels not Gluttony !", "Man cannot live by bread alone but only on the word of the Lord" and "Teach our Children to Stuff themselves on the Grace of God not Fatty Foods !"

The boy's family have driven for two hours and across the Canadian/American border to get to this restaurant so their intentions will not be thwarted. Protesters or not protesters, they will have their chicken.

And the restaurant is quiet as the local population are afraid to cross through the wrath of their religious neighbours.

"More for us," the boy's agnostic father laughs.

And the boy's mother and father go back two or three times to the eternally replenished buffet while the boy tops them by going back four times. Over plates of food he spits up sentence fragments. He's happy to have his fill of food.

"You're an eater all right," the father laughs, tousling his son's hair and the boy's mother and father go back for some soft ice-cream. While they are gone the boy stretches his body out on the length of the bench. There is a strange smell from the seat and so the boy turns his buffet tray over and rests his head on it. His feels like he's swallowed a wheelbarrow full of fireworks. He images a slit made in his stomach and explosions of food rocketing into the sky.

Outside protesters sing We Shall Overcome.

When his parents come back they don't see him beneath the other side of the table and so they naturally assume that he's in the restroom.

"When should we tell him," the boy's mother says.

"I don't even know if he'd understand the word adopted. I mean he's so slow," the boy's father replies.

And the boy wonders if his real parents could be among the protesters outside or the staff at the Royal Fork or the kings in fork costumes on the ads.

Or you.

Monday, October 31, 2005

"THE WITCH THAT WOULD BE WHICH" is a very special Halloween fast fiction based on the following phantasmagorical image by the very talented Lars Henkel. Today's art comes from work that Lars Henkel did for a beautifully designed site at Meret Becker.

When I see these seeded heads, I think of the handiwork of a witch and this leads me to another person whose talents I'd like to praise: the exceptionally talented Kelly Link whose short story about a witch in McSweeny's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales is chock full of bile, black-magic and beauty. And lucky for all of us, Kelly just put out her second collection of short stories.

So without further ado, sit back in that mini-mountain of candies which you stole through some slight of hand off of the children who came to your doorstep and enjoy...


The perversions deep within his gaze are far too much to bear for the Witch and her youthful daughter, Stella. He looks up with lust in his eyes again and again, like a bloated pig returning to a feast which is not for him. Consequently, the Witch's brains are busy searching for the right curse. An immediate punishment which can be effected in the next couple of minutes.

The trolley shakes back and forth under the weight of the pitter-patter of the rain, taking them to their destination which is three stops away.

"What do you have in your purse dearie ?" the Witch sighs and coughs to her daughter. Ever since the Witch stole Stella as a baby girl she has communicated to her in nothing but sighs, coughs, moans, throat-clearings and snorts. This is the secret language of Witches which fails to find meaning on our ears.

"A handful of pussywillow buds which I love to rub against my cheek," she sneezes back. "And a pair of ballet slippers."

The Witch smiles, reaches into her daughters purse and begins a barely audible murmur of a chant which is well hidden beneath the sound of rain.

"But what harm is there really in that look ?" the daughter clears her throat and turns her head in profile against the window of the trolley which is draped in streams of mini-jeweled raindrops. The man can see her.

The Witch, fearing for the lose of her girl's innocence, abandons her chant and quickly instructs: "At the tender age of 17, you cannot realize how terrible men are. They are disgusting beasts who want to do nothing but unmentionable things to any part of your personage."
She returns to her chant all the while concocting the man's fate in her right fist: a couple of pussywillows mixed with her spit and wrapped up in the trolley transfer of a fat man. As the Witch and Stella get up for their stop, the Witch stumbles towards the man and drops this small packet of misery into the back of his shirt. The painful hives which will break out on his body will form lips which will document his wayward ways for any female family members.

"Sorry," the Witch says carefully, righting herself to look the man in the eyes.

"No trouble at all," the man says, suddenly blushing at his previous behavior.

How dare he defile my daughter with his gaze, the Witch thinks, stepping out of the trolley, pondering her own plans for Stella and how for the girl's nineteenth birthday her waist will be encased in a tutu sized roof of her ballet school. While Stella will drag her cemented-self from place to place she will hallucinate seeded versions of her head floating high above her in the canopy of the sky. And the effigies of her head will be empty and innocent enough to float up into the clouds

And the Witch's revenge on Stella's parents who killed her cat and nearly took her witch powers will be complete.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

"AUTUMN LEAVES LIKE HOBOS HANKIES" is a gosh-darn special fast fiction based on this little burst of brilliance by the very talented Vancouver musician, artist, gentleman Lee Hutzulak
So grab your laptop and crawl into that mound of red-orange leaves you've just raked up , read these words like a child reading a tale under the sheets past bedtime and enjoy...


After my parents divorce, they landed upon the arrangement of weekend visitations as being the most efficacious use of everyone's time. My parents were lawyers and while they had representation during the divorce proceedings, they were the ones calling the shots. They retorted over torts.

Visitations. I hated the word for it sounded alien and ghostly at the same time. And visitation rights sounded even worse. Aliens had bartered with ghosts over when they could possess or abduct me.

The typical fatherly trick of holding out gifts as a lure to inspire love and excitement was cold comfort for me as my father had no sense of what an appropriate gift was. I was far too old for the inflatable blue elephant that he brought on his first visit and I was too young for the soddering iron kit he brought the second weekend.

What I remember most about those first weekends of the new arrangement were the crunching sounds of leaves beneath our feet as we walked through the trails in the local park. And of course I'll never forget that first weekend walking with that large blue elephant under my father's arm.

"Your mother is a wonderful woman. A saint. Yet she's also a bitch. I have to be honest with you," he said, putting his smallish hand on my shoulder.

The leaves crunched beneath our feet like the discarded and dried hankies of hobos. The only evidence of peripatetic moments that would never find a home in my heart.

"You know I'm doing all this because we love you," he said.

In my heart of hearts, I wanted to grow up to become whatever the opposite of a lawyer was.