Saturday, December 03, 2005

"THE PROPHET PEELS BACK ANOTHER LAYER OF TRUTH WHILE GETTING PAID MINIMUM WAGE" is an almost impossibly special short-short story based on a great little work by Nicholas di Genova. Check his shit out before it checks you into the hospital. Yes, his work is good and has the power to hospitalize if you stumble across it unawares.


"And in the end times all of the oceans of the world will dry up and fish will evolve stupid little feet that will enable them to waddle along in a Charlie Chaplin gait. They will stretch up like giraffes to suck perspiration out of the sky !! Would you like any fries with that ?" the prophet asks. His face is a collection of different razor cuts and lengths of facial hair, which move sharply from length to length like an attempt at a terraced landscape. The prophet has worked at this fast food joint for seven months and is slowly working his way through his daily grooming routine. Someday - his manager tells him - he might make employee of the month.

The prophet is the manager's uncle who went off sometime ago.

Proving once again it's who you know.

Friday, December 02, 2005

"BLOOD CUTS GLASS" is an illustriously special short-short story based on this stained glass work of brilliance by Judith Schaechter:


Moving into the remains of a church was one thing but replacing the saintly stained glass windows - which could be seen by everyone on the somewhat busy corner of Yew and 9th - with three equally colorful scenes from her childhood was another thing entirely. The image that brought the greatest amount of opprobrium from everyone in the community was a six by four foot stained glass of Janet weeping over her run over bunny rabbit. Disgusting, sick and tasteless were three of the most commonly bandied about words which over the weeks became entangled into clumps of ugly variations: sickeningly disgusting, tastelessly sickening, sickengustingly tasteless.

"Oh how I loved Bundles," Janet thought every time she heard a litany of harsh words outside her precious window. "Can't they understand that," she whispered to herself, sitting in her favorite chair knitting pajamas and other items of clothing for a rabbit that would never come back.

The neighborhood's ire found its physical expression in a brick that went right through the window one night at around eight o'clock and the remains of her beloved bunny were once again in pieces on the ground. She was too in shock to race after the culprit.

And so the second scene of tragedy was turned into a stained glass scene which, after it went up for all to see, sent shock-waves of shame through the streets.

And no one spoke ill of her ever again.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"SWEET NOTHINGS FOR SOMETHINGS" is some very quick-lit for you to enjoy while you're tying your shoes, brushing your teeth or simply taking a deep breathe. A simple jolt of lit for any occasion.

Inspiration for today's story comes from the talented Wylie Fisher.


The flight through the friendly skies was less than amiable as Mark and Susan bickered back and forth over the whole point of the trip.

"There was still so much to see in Santiago," Susan said with her eyes fixed on the blended blue of the ocean and sky outside her cramped window seat.

"It's a once in a lifetime chance to see the Moais," Mark said, repeating his main rationale which was starting to wear thin with overuse.

"What isn't a once in a lifetime chance. Jumping off a bridge is a once in a lifetime chance."

Mark put on the cheap headphones provided and rolled the volume up to ten. There was an hour left in the flight and he was intent on losing himself in something better than stupid squabbles. He closed his eyes and tried to think of the most amazing thing that could happen on Easter Island. He imagined meeting a couple that on the surface seemed friendly and excited to be traveling to such an exotic locale, but on closer scrutiny there would be fear in the woman's eyes which moved back and forth between Mark and Susan at odd intervals. Morse code - one long pause followed by one quick glance - for "help me he's holding me against my will". And Mark would help her because of his knowledge of morse code and he would be a hero on Easter Island. This little fantasy was like a consoling whisper in his ear.

And that bitch Susan would feel ashamed for having complained about the idea of the trip.

Meanwhile, right next to him, Susan imagined pushing over a big stupid stone head right on top of the big stupid head seated next to her.

But their daydreams were cut short after a stone head, catapulted off of Easter Island by a group of drunk engineering students with way too much money and technology, smashed into the front of their plane.

And they never had anything to argue about ever again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"CONSPIRATORIAL CARBONATION" once again ups the ante of how incredibly fucking special one eansy-weansy short-short story can be ! Aiding me in this never ending endeavor is the very talented Rik Catlow, a New Jersey purveyor of urban pop art who creates art on found objects such as discarded beverage cans. Graffitied garbage has never looked so good.
Canadian culture note: We call cola "pop", which makes a nice little pun within Rik Catlow's work and also helps you to understand the following story. And including this word makes my work eligible for a 10 thousand dollar Canada Arts Council Grant.



The sun sets as though it were taking its time, dawdling with dreamy colors over the cityscape, shining oranges and reds this way and that against glass skyscrapers and loitering in front of convenience stores. A beautiful evening for a stroll to troll the streets for garbage, Troy Guillaime thinks to himself every time there's a pink sunburst on glass out of the corner of his eye. A great evening to learn a thing or two about the world, he thinks, looking over fondly at his five year old son.

"You see son that's a very interesting artifact," he says, pointing to a crushed can beneath a bus-stop bench.

"Wow," his son squawks in the high-pitched tone of youth. He holds a pop-can with a sci-fi alien painted on top between his two tiny hands.

"You see this pop is called Exposed because the man who made it believed that creatures from other planets are using cola companies as a front to infiltrate our society. He wanted people to know how Coca-Cola and Pepsi are operated from other planets."

"Is that true ?" his son quiries, looking up to him with eyes as big as the world.

"Oh no the man who started this company was very, very, very insane and he just hallucinated these things. Hallucinate means see something that isn't there."

"Why did people let him make his company ?"

"Because people will do anything for money no matter how crazy you are."

Everyday after work, Troy Guillaime carefully places prefabricated garbage in various spots to later be discovered in the company of his son. Troy, who works as an insurance broker, can keep his creative faculties alive and kicking and his son can learn fanciful stories. Other children's heads and hearts are filled with Christmas hokum or religious mumbo-jumbo, I'm just creating non-traditional lies, Troy tells his wife.

As long as these fictions end with kernels of truth, the boy's mother doesn't mind.

"I can't believe you found one of those. They aren't sold much anymore. Tonight's a special evening," Troy Guillaime laughs, touselling his son's blond hair.

And the last light of the day signals the end of their stroll.

But on this night, unbeknownst to Troy Guillaime or even the laws of physics, a few rays of sunlight are left behind like so much garbage on the top floor of a building to later be cleaned up into the dustbin by a midnight janitor who's never seen anything like it.

Yes, a very special night indeed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"CURING A BROKEN HEART BY BREAKING INTO YOUR HEAD" is an immensely special micro-fiction based on this amazing work by Doug Boehm, a really rad painter from the States.
So take a break from the research you're doing for that trepanation pop-up book you're working on and enjoy...


Samuel Clementine the 3rd had reached the end of his frayed, weathered and pissed upon rope. His beloved buttercup had left him for a muscle bound grave-digger, a rapscallion who, after having been employed to bury the poor woman's departed father, had concocted stories about seeing his spirit. Samuel Clementine the 3rd would have no congress with snake-oil charlatans and refused to allow his lovely, button of a wife to converse with this man who seemed to have untoward aims in his eyes. But his sugar-piglet was seduced by the promise of stories of her father's spiritual status and one morning she was gone with nothing but a misspelled good-bie note.

After her departure, Samuel Clementine the 3rd was a different man. He drank spirits, smoked cigars, used the Lord's name in all sorts of vainglorious ways and played poker often all on the same occasion; previous to his tragedy he had only allowed himself one vice a week but now they came on like gangbusters.

Yet this errant behavior was not fated to last as beneath it all was a sorrow too deep to deny. His poker cards were often drenched in tears and his alcohol was watered down by his blubbering.

And after sobering up, two months to the day his pussy-willow-pillow left him, Samuel Clementine the 3rd set upon all manner of cures: from tea-reading Chinamen to diviners who tried to locate the hairline fracture in his heart at the end of a twig.

But it was only until an incompetent trepaneur from Normandie came with a drill and a promise to release all the sorrows trapped in his head, that Samuel Clementine the 3rd was put out of his misery.

For eight dollars and 32 cents.

"Oh dearest honey-bucket of love," were his last words.

Dear reader, avoid the fate of Samuel Clementine. Call your sweet-heart by her real name.

Monday, November 28, 2005

"WHEN GUTS GROW ON TREES" is an enormously special short-short story based on this sketch which was made by 10 000 people who all hated each others guts. No, I don't know how these people felt about each other but it is a fact that thousands of people collaborated on this doodle under the auspices of Peter Edmunds whose Swarm Sketch is billed as a Collective sketching of the collective consciousness. Something a little different from our regular fare at fast fictions.
And relating all this to language, does anyone know if there's a literary equivalent to Swarm Sketch where thousands of people work on one story together ? I would really love to see something like that grow out of parts of the world where people have historical grudges and hatreds towards each other. Imagine the IRA and UDF, the Hutus and Tutsis, the Isrealis and Palestinians weaving stories together. There must be ways to use technologies (where they are available of course) to allow for this kind of shared experience. Come on people get off your blogs about potty training your cats and start something useful !!

Okay I'm now stepping off my soapbox to get back to the business of dada slapstick which I hope you'll read even though I just insulted a lot of you because you're so useless.


"When guts grow on trees, you'll finally stand up to mom, but before this grody miracle ever comes to pass you'll spend your days hiding in your hole of a home." Sally reads out her father's birthday poem in a belligerent fuck-you tone of voice.

Seated in his lazy-boy, her father smiles lamely revealing a set of sharply crooked teeth as though the muscles responsible for raising the edges of his mouth have been torn to shreds inside this maw of misery. A razzle-dazzle birthday party cone is perched on top of his head.

"Thank you for spending the time to labor over a poem. That's thoughtful," he sighs with no evidence of appreciation. His right thumb twitches at a remote control that isn't there.

Sally rolls her eyes and steps aside to let her younger brother get his kick at the can. They have bet good money on the power of their gifts to get their father off his listless ass. To stir shit up within his soul. Sally is now torn between wanting to see some emotion come to life in her father and losing fifty bucks to her brother.

"Here you go Dad," Stan holds out a frame wrapped in toilet paper and scotch tape which is already starting to come undone. The toilet paper is swept away like a cobweb and the portrait within is revealed.

"That's a picture I made of you using dead worms that I burnt with a magnifying lens. I glued them to the canvas using spit and glue. Don't you think it looks like you ?"

Their father sighs the millionth sigh of his life and nods a tired agreement.

"You've got quite the imagination there," he says as though auditioning for a part that he does not want.

And another birthday passes.

Like gas.

When useless dads grow on trees.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

"VIDEOGAMER'S BELOVED" is today's micro-fiction which, like a black hand reaching out from a flat video game screen, will grab you, pull you in and make you dance with the blue, green and yellow pixelated characters inside. Inspiration comes today from the very talented Matt Clark.
Oh and I just wanted to squeeze in a little mention of Chris Elliot's new book Yes, the Cabin Boy has a novel out there. That fact alone should be enough to make it a hilarious read.

But for now drag your computer - however big and clunky it may be - back into your bed and enjoy the following Sunday morning read...


A cat-scan revealed that circuitry had woven its way around his cerebellum. No one at the hospital had ever seen anything like it and the senior staff fought over who would do the interviews to explain as much to the general public. Several of the doctors spent the morning scribbling down notes detailing how science could explain away such seemingly miraculous events. The conclusion that they wanted to dispel was that the microchips in Brian Fanlick's brains were in any way similar to the hardware within the video game he had played for three days straight in a comatose state. That was a definite impossiblity.

Brian regained a kind of hazy consciousness encircled by a ceremonious looking group consisting of his fiancee, her sister, his brother, a priest and three kids he'd never seen before in his life.

"Hey mister can I have your autograph ?" the one with the thickest glasses smiled.

"Now what did we say ?" Brian's fiancee put her hand up and the boy lowered his head.

"These boys were the ones cheering you on as you wasted your life away at that video game," she explained very carefully to Brian not knowing how much damage had been done to his brain. "I wanted you to see what you left me at the altar for. A fan club of little snot-nosed nerds but I will forgive you marry me right now."

The three boys, oblivious to the insult, watched Brian carefully, hoping to pick up some tips on how to high-score Galactablaster. Perhaps it was in his hands or the way he moved his eyes. He was their God.

"What were you thinking," Brian's brother asked. Brian's fiancee knitted her brow in consternation over this question which would further delay their "I-do's". Brian's fans waited eagerly for him to open his mouth with the truth.

His mouth opened but nothing came out and it was only after one of the kids rammed a quarter up his left nostril that he uttered those lovely words: "I do."

And the world was set to rights once again.