Friday, 1 July 2011

Happy Canada Day!!! PLUS: A Novel Proposal: Chapter 1, Part 1

         Happy Canada day everybody!  July 1st!  Half-way through the year...I oughta do another "round-up" since we made it through another quarter but that'll have to wait for next week cause for now we get part one of a short story I wrote recently.  I'm thinking of expanding it past what it is now, thus Chapter 1 of an as-yet-untitled work.

Oh, it's long so I'm feeding it out in about 500-600 word increments.  Enjoy!


           A lightning storm in late February is rare, even in the chaos that is Toronto weather.  I couldn't help but watch, wondering if tonight would finally be the night.  Outside, standing on the balcony, I look out over the world.  The sky is bruised, a dark purple, blue and black over black and white, the dirty grey filmstrip quality of the city streets in Winter.  Hail falls in sporadic bursts.  From my spot on the balcony I can see the people below waiting on a train.  Hunched and miserable, they wait, resigned to the cold and useless February existence.  A train arrives and they shuffle dutifully aboard, visibly relieved to be out of the elements, if only for a short time.  Over it all, the lightning crashes, stark and white, the pure embodiment of violence.  Thunder rolls over the world a few seconds later, cannon booming in the night.  Somewhere I hear a dog barking, or maybe it's a child crying.  

            Inevitably, my thoughts turn to her, the girl that started it all, or perhaps ended it all.  She used to feel guilty when we made love.  Visualize shades of a dead grandmother watching over her with a disapproving gaze.  We are all haunted, in our own minds.  Some are more haunted than others.  Of course, it turns out that she doesn't feel guilty about sex.  She only feels guilty about sex with me.  

           I don't think I am crying but my face is all wet.  Another train passes by in the night, lights flashing.  A dead-head train, it does not stop.  There is no relief here.

            Lightning crashes once more and shines its light on the naked steel held in my hand.  I look down, surprised to see it.  It's a knife, the big butcher knife from the wooden block on my kitchen counter.  The knife that I never make use of on my microwave dinner diet for one.  A useless tool, but still very sharp.  Like brand new.  A glass of bourbon sits next to me on my dirty, winter-stained patio table.  It's a cold night, but the ice cubes are still melting away into nothing.  I take a sip and contemplate the knife in my hand.  I hold it close to my face and see my reflection in the unforgiving steel.  I look into my own eye, extreme reflected close-up.  My eye is bloodshot; I contemplate the tiny webs of blood without comment.  My skin looks too cold and pale in the white flashes of electricity made light.  There's a dark blue circle under my eye.  My skin looks as though it is already dead.  Only the tiny lines of blood in my eye betray my essential aliveness.  I set aside the knife and light a cigarette.  I like to breathe the smoke from my lungs into the whisky glass.  It lingers like an early morning fog, wrapping around the remains of the ice, providing an illusion of warmth where none can be found.  Creeping, cancerous death masquerading as life.

            I haven't slept in 6 days.  Hail or perhaps freezing rain starts to fall again, heavily, and I know that the storm is getting closer.  I take another sip of bourbon.  I can taste the sticky, nicotine quality of the smoke entwined in the bitterness of the brew.  My tongue and the tips of my fingers have gone numb.

To Be Continued....


  1. Nice prose thus far. I'm liking it. Looking forward to reading more.

    I must admit I cracked a smile while reading this because it makes me think of the song "Civil Twighlight" by The Weakerthans which has often reminded me of you when I hear it, mostly because of your line of work. And while the tone of that song is obviously not quite as sombre as what you have written above, and your character is only watching commuters and not actually driving them around, the song does also deal with pining for a lost love at dusk and cold stormy weather.


  2. Nice one! Yeah I can't IMAGINE why you'd think of me with that song :)

    Well stay tuned. I've got parts 2 and 3 typed and part 4 got started longhand earlier today...

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