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Friday, 30 April 2010

Ring

Shelly dropped her ring down the drain. This was not a deliberate act, one to show scorn to her husband for being such a deadbeat that she had to work the night shift as a custodian. No, this was an act of complete stupidity, mixed with a little bit of clumsiness and a dash of bad luck.

She told Lou, the foreman, about the incident, and he had laughed. Actual, gut jiggling guff-ahs, as though losing a wedding ring was not only perfect comedic timing, but it actually added to Shelly's humiliation and rank.

People like her didn't get a lot of breaks in life, as a matter of fact, they usually ended up in dead-end jobs, with loser partners, a mountain of debt, and a series of leech-ish children.

Shelly would likely be no different.

And her over-extended belly was a reminder to her, and everyone around her, that the baby part was about to begin.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Vampire

All her life she had dreamt about vampires.

First, there had been the cute ones, like The Count on Sesame Street and Count Chocula. As she grew older, she decided that cooler vampires would be more fun, like the ones in the Meyer novels and the ones on television.

On her twenty-first birthday, feeling in the prime of her life, she decided that the notion of looking this great for all of eternity sounded pretty appealing. So every evening, once the sun went down (of course) she would troll the dark alleys, looking for that elusive rave, the one that was invitation only, where the truly cool people would hang out, stay up all night, do strange drugs, and attract all of the night creatures.

At first, this plan failed. She mostly found herself in the seedier parts of town, worrying for her safety, and spending the wee hours creeping through alley after alley, industrial park after industrial corridor, and finding little more than garbage, rats, and all manner of disgusting creepy crawlies.

One Tuesday, at precisely three-thirty-seven am, she stumbled across a huge metal door, behind which the unmistakable sound of music thumping brought joy to her heart. She knocked, and the quintessential sliding view-window showed her a pair of dark red eyes.

"Yes?" said the man.

"I'd like to join the party."

"Password," he demanded.

She took a chance, "Blood."

He opened the door, and sniffed at her hair as she entered their lair.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Key

She kept his key in the inside pocket of her leather jacket, tucked inside a worn pair of blue gloves. When she drove, she could feel the bump pressed between the seatbelt and her shoulder. And when she would pull it out, the warmth of the metal would feel comforting against her skin.

Any reminder she could hold onto added a blanket of peace around her frustrated soul. Mitch had made a commitment, to the armed forces, to his unit. Under no circumstances would he or she ever consider breaking the commitment. But ten months would stretch into two years, and every time the news reported another casualty, Helen would wait, holding her breath, listening for the name, or the location, or a hint of whether or not she would find herself alone.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Flop

Bernie loved the word "flop" in poker, not because the flop could make or break his hand, but also because he was intimately familiar with the word. As a matter of fact, people had been teaching him its meaning for a very long time.

For instance, in his first grade spelling bee, when he heard the word "straight" and after hearing it in a sentence, he spelled it "strait," he lost not only his geekish crown, but the admiration of Jennifer Cornwall, the prettiest redhead he had ever set eyes on. Little did he understand, at that moment, that poker would soon play an intimate role in his future.

Bernie did so love the game. He would play it on his phone, online, even watch it on television. His mother thought it exceptionally unusual that a grown man would watch other grown men sit around and play with cards for money. In the same breath, she would curse his name for never figuring out that moving away from your parents' house was not only liberating, but it might actually mean you could go about your life without worrying about discovering that your favourite shirt has been bleached from red to pink.

Sure, women understand that bleach can suck a man's masculinity faster than Lik-M-Aid through a straw. But they also comprehend the power of the slow and painful death.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Basement

They say that the basement represents our past. The place where we store our history. Mine is no different.

I've spent the last several hours tidying my basement. Deciding which toys can be donated to charity, which items I will sell online, and which I will be packing away in boxes to take to the next house. It's a soul-numbing activity. Putting aside items that matter. They all remind me of happy times, or sad, busy times, or quiet ones. So many pieces that attach themselves to our lives. Sometimes we forget how much of the now is actually constructed mostly from moments long ago.

Funny, there is no "next house" yet. Only the idea of one. It seems that when you intend to sell your house, you have to make it perfect. Not only pristine, from a tidy point of view, but also neutral. So neutral, in fact, that any item of a personal nature must go.

All that furniture you've had since high school -- gone, because everyone is supposed to have new, coordinated furniture. All of the photographs and artwork that has any meaning to you, whatsoever, must be removed and stored. Because, God forbid, no one wants to imagine you living there. No, they must only see themselves living in your house.

Even though, you're technically still living there.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Thimble

I poured her a thimble-sized taste of tequila into the fanciest glass in my cupboard. She wasn't much of a drinker, so I chose not to pressure her. Just a taste, enough to show her what to expect from tequila, but not enough to force into some kind of obligation to drink more than made her comfortable.

This was our first date after all.

The fact that I managed to convince her to come inside my house, after dinner, after the first kiss, was an f-ing miracle on its own. Combine that with the fact that I convinced a self-admitted non-drinker into trying tequila straight out of the bottle and you might suspect I'd slipped something into her crème brulé.

Nope.

I'm simply charming. And handsome. And humble.

Oh, and most importantly...insanely lucky!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Munchkin

Bob thought one of the most terrifying creatures in the world was the munchkin. With their beady eyes and their squeaky voices, they could sneak up on you, out of your peripheral vision and bite your ankles before you had a chance to run.

Bob would actually have nightmares about them, hundreds of them, gathered along brick roads of all colours, waiting to pound on innocent victims of healthy height and proportions. Sometimes, they would each carry a magic toothpick, far too short to be considered a wand, and use them to unravel all sorts of unholy magic.

Once, they had turned the sky to purple and made it rain miniature marshmallows. Bob had awakened in a cold sweat, his hair plastered to his skull, feeling as though he had just taken a bath in a hot pool of melted mallow. Another night, they had chanted his name, their voices a cacophony of terror, until the sound itself lifted him off the ground and slammed him back on his feet, over and over again, until he actually began to shrink in size, his body squishing together like a worn feather pillow.

At night, Bob had begun the ritual of taking a shot of vodka to try and soften his mind, quiet his fears, and best of all, muddle his imagination. Unfortunately, it hadn't kept the dreams away, only shortened their duration or made their effects less frightening.

Bob wondered how much more vodka might be required to cure himself completely of the munchkin plague, without actually turning him into an alcoholic.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Post-awafflelyptic

I had the post-awaffleyptic blues, which is the state of mind one finds oneself in, after consuming far too many waffles during Sunday Brunch.

First, the heartburn began, followed by the flop after the sugar rush of the syrup and whipped cream subsided. I chewed on three antacids, knowing even two wouldn't be quite enough to buffer me from my earlier stupidities. Why is it, that I can't figure out a way to watch what I eat.

Okay, technically, I do watch the food, right before I put it in my mouth. I have no willpower, no switch in my head that says, "enough already, you're full, stop shovelling it back."

Yeah, miss the switch. Need the switch.

For now, I'll be booking another trip to Wal*Mart to buy myself some stretch pants in the next size up. You'd think that the notion of spending more money on clothes would be enough for me to stop, maybe even go for a walk once in a while.

But no.

I did mention that total lack of willpower, right?