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Andrea Currie

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   RED INK FODDER
Edited by Carrie Dennehy and Lindsay Milligan
                 March 2003
        The creative writing anthology
                      of
            Professor Phil Milner’s
                  333 posse

            2002-2003




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                  Andrea Currie
Andrea Currie is from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She is in her fourth year at St. Francis
Xavier University with a major in English. She plans on becoming an elementary school
  teacher and enjoys creative writing and hopes to continue on with it throughout her
                                    teaching career.




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Scavenger

The white sea gull walks with an eloquent expertise.
Foot
        placed
                just
                    so.
Foraging and scouring the vast gray parking lot for remnants of discarded French fries and
half-eaten pizza crusts.

I enter the florescent glow of the classroom.
Head
         held
              just
                 so.
Laughing and talking, smiling and pretending; waiting for a scrap from your table of glances.


The Renaissance Man

Pig and goat cries filled the air and carried through the French doors, down the marble
hallway and into the study of one John Anderson-Hiscock III. Slamming the Definitive
Works of Robert Blake Volume 1 with a triumphant thud the copy of Mad Magazine almost
slipped out onto the freshly polished oak floors. His slippers glided across the sitting room
floor where he found his wife Rebecca filing her nails with a bored look crossing her face as
he approached. “They need to be fed! Can‟t you hear them?” He railed at her like this for a
while and as he stopped she got up of the Italian leather ottoman and stretched her thin
body out and pulled the burgundy silk robe tightly around her. “I‟m freezing John!” she
whined. “I don‟t care! Now go and feed them!” John yelled back. “Just get Dixie to do it”
Rebecca sighed falling back onto the couch. “How many times do I have to tell you? We let
her go a month ago!” “Oh Hell John” As he watched his wife stomp out of the fresco
inspired sitting room he couldn‟t help feeling a little guilty but that feeling quickly left as
soon as poured himself a Colt 45 into a crystal goblet.
Life for John had gone downhill since his eldest son Gerard left for the modeling academy.
Everyone at the Harbor Hills Country Club asked where had Gerard gone. “No doubt
raising hell in Europe eh John?” or “He must be off studying at Yale or Harvard right?” „Ha
ha ha!” John had desperately wanted to say “Yes, Yes of course!” and he did but then
quickly changed the subject back to golfing or the new CEO position opening up at Dascow
Ltd. In truth, one unordinary day Gerard was lying in his boxers in the den watching T.V. on
the big screen. He saw an ad for a modeling agency that was visiting the Golden Market Mall
and was calling all prospective models ages 15-25. He jumped up and ran up to tell his
parents he had finally chosen a career. John was horrified at his son‟s behavior even before
this new announcement. Gerard at 26 was still living at home after his first drunken stint at
Brown. Failing out was no big deal… there was always money to go back and try again but
the university had refused him entrance along with many other ivy leagues Rebecca had
applied Gerard for. This had irked John to no end to know that his sway in the upper circles
was no longer working for him and Gerard‟s perfectly straight smile was a constant reminder
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of it. However, John had paid the $500 “convenience fee” for the competition and Gerard
had actually won a position among the other 300 contestants. The judges smiled
encouragingly as he tripped down the runway and glanced at their shiny new Rolexes. He
was off studying the newest moves and facial expressions sweeping the fashion world.
Gerard was an obvious homosexual but this was not what bothered John, it was becoming
quite fashionable to have a gay son these days. What really bothered him was the fact that he
would have to lie from here on about his son‟s whereabouts. The only job Gerard had
landed was modeling cheap Halloween costumes in Wal-Mart‟s catalogue. Looking down at
his son in a pirate costume, John tore the catalogue and cursed his fate. “Who would
recognize him and would it get around?” Although after he thought about it none of his
important friends read Wal-Mart catalogues anyways.
John Anderson-Hiscock III was the youngest child of the late John Anderson II who was
the eldest son of John Anderson I. John Anderson I hit it big in the industrial boom of the
turn of the century and cashed in big with his Carbonated Flavored Water Company in 1906.
The name did nothing for the company but the product swept the nation and soon everyone
was drinking sodas; the rich kids for after school and for the less advantaged masses as a
treat. John Anderson II had inherited the company but didn‟t have to work by this time he
sat back and garnished the profits and bestowed endless gifts upon his friends and all of his
closest mistresses. His children enjoyed a free education and summers in Martha‟s Vineyard.
But John Anderson III was now feeling the fallout and the competition of the evil soft drink
industry and cried every night into his cold Pepsi. The Anderson‟s money well of flavored
beverages had literally dried up. John had adopted the second last name Hiscock in
desperation. Having two last names always sounds more affluent and classy to banks and
loan sharks.
John had been married to Rebecca for 30 years now. Rebecca was an elegant woman with an
elegant past. Her thick auburn hair touted to the world her advantages in life and she was
always dressed in the latest fashions. She smelled of the most expensive fragrances that
brought John so much pleasure. Theirs was an arranged marriage in the sense that they had
met at Rebecca‟s father‟s annual Christmas soiree and it was assumed both being single and
being from the appropriate social circle that they would marry. But life had become
progressively worse for Rebecca for the last few years of the marriage. She had to cancel her
annual appointment with Dr. LaHarvey and she cried every night into her sagging breasts.
John had always suspected Rebecca was suffering from depression ever since their
appearance on Oprah in 1987. Their story was featured in a segment devoted to child safety
and the hazards of household items. Richard, their second son had choked and died on a
marshmallow in the summer of 1985. Two years later, flipping through the channels she
spotted the plea to the American parents about the dangers of the household and how to
keep children safe. Anyone who had personal stories of loss of this kind were encouraged to
go to Chicago and share with Oprah and the nation. John had reluctantly agreed and they
flew to Chicago. They were taped relating their story. “My son Richard asked for a
marshmallow from Dixie (our maid) and he choked and just died right there! When I came
home I almost died myself!” Rebecca told the story with vigor and in a mass of tears that
made her Maybeline mascara run down her red cheeks. Their story, however, did not make
the cut and Rebecca hadn‟t been the same since. She now spent her days watching “Days of
our Lives” and avoiding her husband.
John‟s youngest son Conrad was an aspiring pianist who recently landed a “sweet gig” at St.
Georges‟ Catholic Church playing organ Saturday and Sunday nights. Conrad had invited
Rebecca and John to mass. John‟s balding head swelled red as he watched his son‟s shoe-less
foot control the peddles up and down up and down while “Ave Maria” lilted through the
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church and the congregation hummed along. On the golf course John belligerently spoke of
Conrad joining the Philharmonic as the new pianist. He explained loudly how he and
Rebecca were trying to plan a much-needed trip too New York but that they had to travel to
France first to visit his mother which was such a bother but a necessity. “You know how it is
boys.” “Ha ha ha!”
John had no idea how to make money to restore his life to normalcy again. He cursed
himself for not finishing his finance degree but at the time there seemed to be no point as he
expected a free and comfortable life without the bother of working. Reading the local paper
one day he stumbled across an article about local farmers taking in increased revenue over
the past number of years. A number of them had found buyers in Europe ever since the
Mad Cow scare and they were able to make a “heffy” (little farm humor that John did not
pick up on) profit and some even were able to retire early. “Now that„s the ticket” thought
John. He had purchased the pigs from a nearby farm and the goats were a gift from another
farmer delighted to get a visit from John Anderson-Hiscock III. He had no where to keep
the animals so he had Wilbur (the handy man) construct a pen before he fired him.
Neighbors inquired of course but John had already prepared an answer for them. “Oh you
know the wife! All these ideas in her head… yesterday it was charity work today she wants to
hobby farm! Imagine that. I offered to buy a ranch for her, but she flat out refused saying
she wanted the beasts close to her so she could visit them anytime…oh that woman‟s a
firecracker! Ha ha ha!” Rebecca despised the animals. John made her trudge out everyday
and feed and cuddle them just in case the neighbors were watching. “I‟m not a farmer John
and neither are you! What in the world do you plan on doing with these swine?” Rebecca
howled every night. John hadn‟t thought of that yet…“Oh you know dear, there is a huge
market over in Europe for this sort of thing, I‟ll find a buyer, you know with my contacts
that will be a breeze, and we‟ll be sailing on the Danube next year!” But finding a buyer
wasn‟t as easy as he had thought. John swore in a rage as time after time clients turned him
away. Apparently you needed to actually know what you were doing and having a name like
John Anderson-Hiscock didn‟t really mean anything in the meat and milk business. “Infernal
Hell!” became a catch phrase in the mansion. John was now stuck with the animals until he
could either sell them or give them away.
John‟s next big scheme was in sales. Watching a pro-mo one night John saw a lady proclaim
that she had earned $10,000 a month selling decorative items and gift-wrap from her home.
By recruiting a few other people into the business you could climb the pyramid and then you
could retire! A few weeks later the merchandise came in big brown boxes and John rifled
through the knick-knacks. Many of the ornaments were gaudy and obviously cheap but John
thought that if a man of quality were selling them then people would think the items were
quality as well. Of course he was not going to sell them himself; a man of his wealth could
never be seen selling door to door, he planned on recruiting a staff first and then reaping the
benefits. He stared into the face of a bald ceramic eagle and laughed at his own ingenious.
The first recruit in his little scheme was his own son Conrad who was in desperate need of
money. It turns out that one can not make a living being an organist at St. George‟s Catholic
Church as Conrad soon found out that it was a volunteer position. “Oh Infernal Hell!”
shouted Conrad to Father Peter and Father Peter replied he was well on his way. John and
Conrad decided to become partners and renamed the business from “Swartz Enterprises” to
Anderson-Hiscock Ltd. That sounded so much better. They managed to dupe some others
into their business by swooning the less fortunate down at the welfare office and soon had a
full staff working under them. “It‟s my way of giving back, you know I‟m what they call a
„philanthropist‟” „Ha ha ha!” Good Chap!” yelled back the drunken country clubbers. (It had
become quite fashionable to adapt this English-inspired way of speech ever since the
                                                                                             6
summer‟s re-release of The Great Gatsby the movie) However, John and Conrad quickly
discovered that it was illegal to steal and try to make a business out of an already existing
one. A few of the employees were arrested at the Golden Market Flea Market to John‟s utter
embarrassment. The whole operation was shut down and John got off quite easy thanks to
his „sway‟ and this made up for all the bad feeling. “I still got it honey!” John smiled as he
came back from the county jail.
Gerard had returned home around the same time. Apparently Halloween comes once a year
and he was now receiving unemployment but was consoled by the fact he got to keep some
of the costumes and was now entering the world of acting. “It‟s really a natural progression;
I mean all models become Oscar-winning actors!” Gerard related all this to his avid audience
while flipping through the channels. John just smiled and nodded but gritted his teeth
knowing that here was another mouth to feed. This was a peculiar feeling that struck him at
the most absurd times like when he was eating his chicken courde-en-bleu at the club or
when he served stuffed mushrooms to his dinner guests. “How quaint! John you really are
too much of a nice guy giving your maid a break tonight!” „Yes, yes, well you don‟t win the
Philanthropist Award for nothing eh old sport? Ha ha ha!” John was getting good at things
like changing the subject and lying.
John found Rebecca one day in the front hall with all of her designer luggage heaped around
her freshly waxed legs. “Going somewhere my pet?” John yawned…you know we can‟t
afford another trip to Paris dear…but don‟t let that on to others, you know how it is” “I‟m
not going to Paris John, I‟m leaving for good. I‟m moving back home…do you know how
embarrassing that is? I‟m 50 years old!” John knew that this was coming. “Well don‟t make a
spectacle of it! Just go and try not to tell too many people!” “I wasn‟t planning on it”
Rebecca left in the taxi and John walked back into the mansion feeling a little dejected. He
would miss Rebecca. She always looked so elegant beside him at Opera or at Auctions and
the such. Having someone to share things with was important too, like her jaguar given to
her by her father when they first married. “Infernal Hell….now here comes the alimony
payments!” John slammed the door and went to bed cuddling another Colt 45.
Around the same time Conrad had left and was off to another church now, where it didn‟t
really matter as long as he was away. Gerard occupied his time by practicing his acting with
scenes from “Baywatch”. “That David Hasselhoff…now that‟s a man who knows s what
he‟s doing… and he sings too!” As luck would have it Mr. Hasselhoff had recently
advertised his new acting school on TV and Gerard was on the next plane to Las Angeles.
That took care of Gerard at least for a few months or until the school would inevitably go
under.
One night as John drank his glass of Pepsi his mind wandered back to his childhood. He
remembered how he had always been praised for his remarkable singing voice and how he
always had the highest falsetto in the choir. He thought that if David Hasselhoff could do it
than so could he. He dreamed like this for a while then suddenly his chance came.
Advertised on TV was a competition. It was a „Sing-off” and the winner got to record a song
with Michael Bolton. The song would be featured on a new sitcom about a talking rat
featuring the voice of comedian Pauly Shore. “And that‟s royalties every time they play the
damn thing Dad!” Gerard cheered from the couch. Gerard had returned home from Las
Angeles a few weeks after leaving, he was unable to find any jobs but was hopeful and was
now planning a trip to New York. John began his voice training with Edwardo Langley the
soon to be world-renowned tenor. He actually went to a Pavorati concert three years ago
and this gave him the utmost authority on the subject of singing. John learned quickly and
Edwardo praised him for his obvious natural gift, nothing close to his of course but it was
good none the less. John practiced day and night and amazed Gerard with his renditions of
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“The Phantom of the Opera” .The competition was only a few days away and John was
beginning to feel anxious but was satisfied. “Rebecca will come crawling back when she
hears me sing” John dusted off his best suit and slept in it hoping it would give him good
luck.
The day of the competition rolled around and John was nervously running up and down the
vocal scale he had learned from Edwardo. There seemed to be a sea of people watching him
in his wrinkled suit. He took a deep breath. He needed this or his mansion would be up for
sale in no time. It wouldn‟t be easy explaining that one down at the club. Somehow everyone
had found out about Rebecca and he got many pity-filled glances and pats on the back, all
which did nothing but annoy him. The piano music started and John began to sing. He sang
like he‟d never sang before and the notes filled the auditorium and flowed through the air.
The judge smiled as he stepped down. Now all there was left to do was wait and ridicule the
other contestants. “You nailed it Dad!” Gerard whispered into his Dad‟s ear.
Weeks passed and he heard nothing from the contest. He fed the pigs from the table and let
the goats wander around the mansion. They nibbled at the Venetian drapes but this didn‟t
seem to bother John. Finally one day he heard the postman drop something into the mail
slot. He tried not to get excited, it was probably another bill or supeona. He picked the thick
letter up and opened it quickly with shaking hands. The letter opener rattled against the
paper and John read it immediately. “Dear Sir, We would like to congratulate you on
becoming the winner of our “Sing off”. Mr. Bolton looks forward to working with you. See
you in the studio” John couldn‟t believe it! He knew that he nailed it but underneath didn‟t
expect to win. He sat down on the Italian leather couch and drank a Colt 45. Tomorrow he
would buy some red wine and maybe call Rebecca. Life was looking up for him there was no
doubt about it.




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      Genevieve MacIntyre
 Genevieve MacIntyre is currently in her 4th year of study in the Bachelor of Arts program
 at St. Francis Xavier University with a major in English and a minor in French. She comes
  from a smalltown Cape Breton Island background. She particularly enjoys writing short
 stories and tends to have a knack for comical writing. In what one would perhaps call her
'spare time' Genevieve enjoys writing and editing news stories for the campus newspaper.




                                                                                         9
Beneath the Light of a Lamppost

         She sat beneath the light of a lamppost. He told her to meet him there at half past
eight. He told her he‟d bring his violin. She promised to bring a picnic basket. He told her
he‟d play her favorite piece, Canon in D. She promised to sing for him.
         The incandescent light shone down on her creamy skin. Falling snowflakes reflected
off her auburn highlights. She blinked the snowflakes away from her long lashes. The night
was silent; each flake fell one on top of the next; thousands, millions of snowflakes. As they
fell separately they converged to one. Separate in the sky, joined on earth.
         She was starting to shiver. She folded her arms while pressing her scarf tightly against
her neck, forbidding any cold air to violate her. She tapped the wicker picnic basket with her
booted toe. He told her he was going to take her to the theatre for a picnic. There was no
show tonight, but he, being the stage manager, told her that they could have a picnic on the
stage. All would be dark; no seats would be visible. Only the spotlight would shine down on
the couple as they nibbled chocolate-coated strawberries and sipped on zinfandel. He told
her he‟d play his violin for her.
         She stood up from the cold concrete and paced around the lamppost, seven
complete rotations. She had no daisies to determine if he loved her or if he loved her not.
She hopped up and swung herself around the lamppost Gene Kelly style, but there was no
rain for her to sing in. He told her he would meet her at half past eight.
         She glanced at her watch. The big hand pointed north to twelve and the small hand
pointed southwesterly to the nine. She warmed up her voice since the rest of her body was
shivering. Doe rae mi fa so la ti doe. Doe ti la so fa mi rae doe. Tonight was a night of
planned romance. For the first time they would have planned romance. Not, the bar‟s
closing. Not, practice is over early. Not, I don‟t want you to walk home alone. A spotlight,
music, chocolate, zinfandel. Two people alone before the hollow eyes of spirits of past
thespians.
         She looked up at the lamppost. The white ball dilated her brown eyes. A snowflake
blanketed her pupil; she blinked it away. Spreading out her arms and legs she fell backward
into the soft snow. She waved her arms and legs into a snow angel. Her concern now was
how to get up without erasing the angel. Lying in the snow, facing the lamppost. She laughed
at herself for being so juvenile.
         She wasn‟t cold lying in the snow. The elevation of banks sheltered her. Glancing at
her watch again, it was nine twenty-three. He told her that he‟d be there at eight thirty.
Rolling through her angel‟s wings she returned to her feet. The snow now was above her
ankles. She was cold again.
         The lamppost stood about ten feet. It shone down on her in the black of the night.
The snow was her stage and this was her spotlight. She greeted the ladies and gentlemen and
thanked them for joining her this evening. There would be a fifteen-minute intermission and
complimentary refreshments would be served. She paid her regrets that her vocals would be
unaccompanied this evening. The violinist failed to attend for matters unknown.
         From her larynx emerged a beautiful aria that he had written for her to perform in
the Spring theatre festival. She held her clasped hands before her diaphragm, feeling the
muscle rise and fall. After three minutes, once her piece was finished, the snowflakes gave
her their applause by landing in her hair and tickling her nose and eyelashes.
         She sat down on the concrete beneath the lamppost. She glanced at her watch. It was
now ten fifteen. He told her he would be there at eight thirty. She opened up the picnic
basket. She popped a chocolate-covered strawberry into her mouth and chased it with a swig
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of zinfandel right from the bottle. The tear that escaped her eye froze before it reached her
jaw line.

        He held his arm against his chest. He blinked his eyes and through dust and tears a
lamppost stared him in the face. The glowing white ball flickered at level to his eye not even
two feet away. Pain shot from his wrist to his chest and back again. He turned his head and
saw his violin case on the floor of the passenger side. The case had opened with the impact
and its occupant had broken its long slender neck.
        The snow was falling as the evil incandescence shone in his eyes. He wanted to shut
away the light, but he feared that if he closed his eyes they would not reopen. The light got
brighter. He couldn‟t determine if it was the lamppost taunting him, or the angels calling to
him. Smoke rose from the car‟s hood contaminating the pure white snowflakes. The clock
on the dashboard was gone dead. He wished he knew if it was past eight thirty.
        The air was cold and millions of snowflakes fell, but he was warm. His brown sleeves
were now crimson.
        Shouting and sirens were heard from outside. A man dressed in blue opened the
door on his left side and asked him his name and the date. He didn‟t reply. His name and the
date were the least of his worries right now. He had broken his pride and his joy was waiting
for him with a picnic basket.

Charlie

          Oh, the life and times at college pubs. Horny guys holding up the bar with their
backsides. Drunken girls stumbling by them, many wearing next to nothing and then getting
angry when a guy checks them out. The „cha-ching‟ of the cash register as thousands and
thousands of dollars are shamefully wasted Saturday night after Saturday night. The smell of
tequila and rum from all sides and broken beer bottles blanketing the dance floor gives it
that „it‟s alright to procrastinate my honours thesis one more night, I mean look what I‟d be
missing!‟ feel.
          The best is when after you‟ve been waiting in line with your friends for over a half
hour, and then once you‟re in you never see them again, just gives you that safe and secure
feeling. And those fifty-year-old men that lurk around in the corners of the pub, eyeing every
nineteen-year-old girl, gives the girls that special feeling that at least this guy finds them
attractive.
          Being sandwiched in the middle of the dance floor to a techno beat that makes your
heart palpitate at least wakes you up when it‟s one o‟clock a.m. and you are ready to pass out.
Hmmm…being home safe and sound in your bed where if you are loaded and in need of a
good session with „the porcelain throne‟ or „Uncle Ralph‟ or „Ray Telluver‟ definitely doesn‟t
beat having your friends carry your drunken ass to the washroom at the pub, only to find a
huge line-up and your friend has to beg and swear to the others that you are not cutting line
but going to puke in the sink. Doesn‟t this sound like a fun time!
          Charlie was one of those guys that one would be sure to see every Saturday night at
the pub. He would dance with the ladies, shoot tequila with his buddies, and nearly
demagnetize his bankcard from swiping it through the machine so often. He would usually
put enough gel in his hair so that as every limb, digit, and joint of his body moved with the
music, his hair would stay neatly in place. And every girl likes a guy with nice hair, right?
          By Charlie‟s eighth beer of the night he was good and ready to break the seal. He
pushed his way through the ladies and gentlemen who flooded the dance floor. Moses had


                                                                                            11
an easier time parting the Red Sea than Charlie had getting himself to the washroom. Oh
great, a nice long line-up for Charlie to wait in outside.
          Outside the washroom, while impersonating Olivia Newton John „getting physical‟,
Charlie impatiently waited. He looked over at the girls‟ washroom line, which was much
longer. He breathed a sigh of relief and at least told himself that he‟s better off in this line
than that one.
          Suddenly he heard a lot of giggling and smelled a lot of perfume. A group of about
five girls ran right past him, they went right past every guy in the line-up and pushed their
way into the men‟s washroom. Not a single guy stopped them. One or two guys shouted,
“Hey girls! Wait your turn!” But other than that the girls were Royalty. Charlie could see
them all immediately rush into the stalls while the men used the urinals and some desperate
guys used the sinks. The first girl that exited a stall shouted, “You guys are pigs!” when she
witnessed a man relieving himself in a urinal right next to the sink where she was reapplying
her lipstick. Imagine, a guy peeing in the guys‟ washroom! The nerve!
          Charlie had enough of this wait. He rubbed his eyes and ran his fingers through his
hair to make sure that the condensation of the packed pub hadn‟t caused his gel to run away.
He got out of line and headed for the girls‟ washroom.
          About twenty girls stood in line. He overheard a lot of girl „bathroom talk‟ that he
wished could have been erased from his memory, but this was impossible, he had been
tainted.
          The girl who stood at the end of the line-up smiled at him, thinking that he was just
there to pass a message on to some girl or something of that nature. But nope, „Not this
time, sista,‟ Charlie thought. He breathed a huge breath, which engulfed a hefty helping of
second-hand smoke, and maneuvered his way through the maze of tank tops, tube tops,
halter tops, and „would one actually call that a top?‟ tops.
          A few girls gave him the evil eye saying, “What do you think you are doing?” while
others just smiled with bewilderment. Finally, Charlie got to the threshold of the girls‟
washroom.
          „Yes! I made it!‟ he thought to himself. He went in. Every girl who stood at the
mirrors stopped applying her make-up. The girls in the stalls „held it in‟ when they saw big
man shoes underneath the doors enter. The girls in the line-up stopped yelling at the girls in
the stalls to hurry up. All was silent. All eyes were on Charlie.
          Charlie just bit his tongue as he made his way to the sinks. He overheard some girls
say, “What the hell is he doing?” and “Who let that guy in here?” As he approached the sink,
he unzipped his fly.
          The girls at the mirrors screamed! “What the hell are you doing?!” and “Who let you
in here?!” pierced his tympanum. The girls threw the empty beer cans they smuggled into the
pub in their purses at him as well as empty paper towel rolls. “You pig! Get out of here! This
is the girls‟ washroom!”
          In fear for his life Charlie re-zipped. He didn‟t even have a chance to explain himself.
He didn‟t understand how girls would always go in the guys‟ washroom and see guys urinate
in the urinals and in the sinks all the time. He didn‟t understand why the guys would allow
these girls to make use of their stalls, no questions asked. Now when it was a guy doing it in
a girl‟s domain, what girls regularly do in the guy‟s domain, all hell breaks loose.
          Charlie painted the wall with his back as he made his way out of the washroom. The
girls screamed at him and told him how inconsiderate he was. How dare he enter the girls‟
washroom!
          He was greeted outside the washroom by a huge bouncer as the girls at the back of
the line shouted, “Yeah, that‟s the guy!” The bouncer grabbed Charlie by the scruff of his
                                                                                               12
neck and pulled him through the crowd. Charlie was so embarrassed. The guys in the guys‟
washroom line laughed and yelled at him. At last, Charlie felt the crisp winter air against his
face as the bouncer chucked him outside.
         Charlie got up, standing still a moment to compose himself, realizing what had just
happened. Then he saw it. The one thing that could relieve him of the pain that caused this
awful incident to occur. A tree. It was the most beautiful thing he had seen all night. He
stood behind it, and unzipped.

Eve’s View of the Matter

         “God damn it,” Eve said as she turned around to see the wide distance that
separated her from the golden gates. She covered her mouth. “Whoops, do you think he
heard me?” She watched Adam staring at her in disgust. She knew exactly what he was
thinking. “That bitch. She was told to not do one thing. One thing! And then she goes and
screws it up for the rest of us!”
         But it wasn‟t all my fault! Eve thought. That God damn, whoops, I mean gosh darn
snake that gave me that fruit. He caught me when I was tired and hungry. Hey anyone would
be hungry after a long day of walking all corners of Paradise. That‟s a lot of ground to cover!
Of course I was going to eat when I was starving, forbidden fruit or not! He gets a good
laugh. I get kicked out of Paradise and a husband that spreads it around that I made the
original sin. Ruin my reputation, will he?
         And what‟s next? We have two strapping young boys who grow up to be strong and
handsome. Then what? One kills the other! I mean I try to be a good wife and mother but so
much crap always lands on my shoulders. God did make me from Adam‟s rib did he not? So
what does that say about Adam when he insults me?
         Maybe I wouldn‟t have eaten that fruit if Adam had cooked dinner for once. He just
struts around the place acting like he‟s all high and mighty. Isn‟t that God‟s role? So what if
he‟s God‟s creation of his own image? Does that make him special or something? I find it
rather interesting that Adam was supposed to be God‟s most beloved creation, and then he
goes on to build me? If Adam was so perfect, then why was I his second try? Makes you
wonder. I hope Adam didn‟t assume that God built me to be his little servant. I am to be the
mother of humankind. That‟s right. I said humankind. Adam may try to tell you the term is
mankind, but he is sadly mistaken.
         Now here we are out in the middle of everywhere with the scorching heat, the rainy
days and nights, blizzards and hurricanes. We are conscious of our bodies. I mean now I
have to wear leaves? We have the whole Earth to play with and we get stuck with leaves? I
won‟t even go into the time Adam accidentally used poison ivy. It was a bad scene.
         And if I have to listen to Adam complain about that pain in his chest one more time!
He thinks I should be grateful to him for being constructed from his rib. He is lucky that
God chose the rib and not another part of his body. A rib, a tiny rib! What a crybaby.
         We now have a murderer in the family and one dead son. Real good way to start off
the existence of humankind. And I still don‟t understand where the rest of the world came
from. I mean, Adam and I only had two sons. One died. The other is a little jealous bastard.
I guess he technically would have been a bastard. I don‟t ever remember wedding vows
being exchanged between Adam and I.
         So where did everyone else come from? I know there‟s a lot of gossip going around
all the mortals that I partook in incest with my son. But I mean hello people! There are a
whole lot of you on Earth and a single woman can only do so much! And be incestuous with
my son? I am sorry but that is just wrong.
                                                                                              13
         That snake. That damn snake! Why did he have to be so sly? I knew I shouldn‟t have
eaten the fruit, but as I said I was starving and Adam had no intentions of making me
dinner. And what a beautiful tree it was. That Tree of Knowledge, I missed the whole
metaphor thing in its name. Knowledge of our bodies, knowledge of our faults, knowledge
of all existence. I really didn‟t have to learn all that. I just thought that Adam was holding me
back from more than I could‟ve been.
         Now here we are. On Pangea is it called these days? One giant land mass. I can see
the gates in the distance. I wish I were still on the other side of them.
         But if we were still in Paradise I would be stuck living eternity with Adam. I shudder
at the thought of living with that lazy good for nothing jerk. Well I can‟t say he is good for
nothing. Without him the world wouldn‟t be graced with the presence of yours truly.
         I am just tired of the world saying that this was all my fault. That if I hadn‟t eaten the
fruit then we would all still be in Paradise. Somehow I doubt that. We were not conscious of
our bodies until we were expelled from Paradise. And, in order for reproduction bodies must
be involved, right? Unless God had some plan for continually removing ribs from Adam.
Then Adam would at least have an excuse for being a floppy mass of useless flesh.
         So here I sit. Listening to Adam and everyone else criticize me. When women screw
up at something, they often blame it on their lineage to me. If I hadn‟t been the one who
happened to be near the tree that day, the snake would surely have eventually tempted Adam
and he would‟ve eaten the fruit. It was tasty fruit too. You‟re damn right I ate that fruit and
I‟d eat it again too.




                                                                                                14
         Jeaniece MacIsaac
 Jeaniece MacIsaac hails from Giant's Lake, Guysborough County. Currently in her 3rd
year of a Social and Criminal Justice Degree, she plans one day to be able to write perfect
                 evidence reports while employed by the Canadian RCMP.




                                                                                         15
Motherhood

Children disappear everyday,
And their parents will continue to pray.
That they will come home safe and sound,
Hoping that they will be found.

Challenges we face everyday,
Hoping your own don‟t go astray.
Keeping watch of them with gentle care,
Always remembering to say a little prayer.

Finding the courage to be strong,
And always singing that little song.
Hush little baby don‟t say a word,
Mommy‟s going to buy you a mocking bird.

Feeling powerless when determining their faith,
Just praying that you will find them before they turn eight.
Remembering their every little word,
And hoping that they always heard.

How much you love them.


Another Monday Morning

         “Get out of my way you little squirt”, I yelled, as a little girl bounced across my view.
         I looked forward to every Monday morning at 7:15. He was never a minute late. He
always walked in, grabbed a cart and this week‟s flyer and started browsing through the fruit
and vegetable department. I could smell his Polo cologne for miles. But this day my in
depth analysis happened to be interrupted by some annoying 2 year old who wouldn‟t get
out of my way. Every time I shooed her away I‟d look up and he would be gone. Don‟t
worry though I found him again. How could you not? This was the best looking man I ever
saw, his little black round framed glasses how they sat at the tip of his nose made him so
irresistible.
         Each and every Monday I would pretend I needed many groceries but really I just
went to follow him up and down the aisle and look at the cute little bottom waddle back and
forth. I loved it when he had to bend down to get something on that very bottom shelf. I
sometimes would knock something off the shelf accidentally and then without even asking
he would pick it up, it was great. I could watch that pincushion behind all day long.
         I loved watching him shop in the bakery department, the way he would toss the buns
around made my heart skip a beat. I would let him toss my buns anytime he wanted.
Morning after morning I would just follow him around, like a lost puppy dog looking for a
bone to play with. I know this sounds pathetic but I couldn‟t help it. I was a 40 year old
women never married a day in my life and I finally found “Mister Right” and I was not going
to let him get away.

                                                                                               16
         His short plump figure reminded me of Drew Carey and that made him look even
more attractive. Sometimes I would even take pictures of what he was wearing and what he
looked like when he first walked in each morning and run and drop them off at the one-hour
photo developing station so they would be done when he was done grocery shopping. I had
a whole photo album just for Monday mornings. I just wish that some morning I would
wake up with enough confidence to ask him his name. Then I would have a name to put
with these breath-taking pictures. But who would want to talk to a middle-aged women, who
had nothing better to do than to play cat and mouse at Super Value every Monday morning
and watch a man shop for his weekly groceries.
         I knew the first day I saw him that he was Mister Right, the way he walked, sort of
like Mr. Bean, just made me want him more. But today was special; I went out that weekend
and bought a special outfit, just in case he noticed me. I had on a pair of tight black leggings
that ended just at my calf, and I had a tight little belly top on that said “Sweet”. I had my
hair freshly cut and I even applied makeup.
         I always wondered if he noticed me each and every week, but I never caught him
starring. He always just continued on his daily business. Today was going to be the day I
could feel it. He had to notice me. I decided to follow him to frozen food department. I
was right behind him watching him like a hawk, when he abruptly stopped. I drove my cart
right into the back of his heels, but he didn‟t look back he didn‟t even turn around. All I
could do was mutter I‟m sorry under my breath and walk away as quickly as possible. I was
so embarrassed, how could I be such an idiot. He likely thought I was a walking disaster. I
sure did get him to notice me that I know for sure. How could I have been so stupid!
         I did not know whether or not I should continue shopping, I was so ashamed. He
would remember me that's for sure, as the women who almost cut him off at the ankles.
         I decided to aim for another aisle to stay out of sight for a few minutes. I spotted
him across the way. He was still smiling, that knock dead gorgeous smile that would make
anyone melt at the knees.
         I had to try to tell him I was sorry, so he would not think I was a complete moron. I
followed him once more, up and down each aisle.
         We just arrived at the dairy department; he was buying Scotsburn 1% milk the same
2-liter jug he bought each and every Monday. When all of a sudden that brat of a two year
old came tumbling around the corner holding a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi. I should have known
that brat was trouble cause not even two seconds after she rounded the corner the pop when
flying and exploded all over the floor, and on me. She stood there laughing until I gave her
the evil eye and then she took off screaming.
         It was horrible, I looked like a drown rat from head to toe. I just stood there too
shocked to say anything. I wanted to find that child and grab her by those cute little pink
tails and hang her by the ceiling. I did not know what to do, when all of a sudden an
“Angel” came to my rescue. My “shopping cart lover” was standing in front of me holding a
package of Bounty. I felt week at the knees and accidentally fell into his arms. Now both of
us were wet, but it didn‟t matter he finally noticed me. I had been coming here every
Monday for the last 9 months and he finally noticed me. He asked me if I was all right and I
muttered, yes. I was thankful the little brat was there today even if she did ruin my new
outfit. She made “Mister Monday shopping cart cutie” notice me.




                                                                                             17
For Father

I admire you more each day.
You where there to lift me up when I
Fell off my tricycle and convinced me to try again.
When I was scared of monsters
You looked under my bed.

When I was feeling down
You always knew what to do knowing that a
A walk in the woods usually did the trick.
When I was mad at mom, you said you sometimes
Were mad too.

When I had my first breakup
You responded by saying theirs more fish in the sea.
At high school graduation you were there
To tell me you were proud.

University you said would be a challenge
And you were right like you always are.
I had some obstacles to face,
But you said I would do just fine.
I‟m finally getting the hang of it,
Even though I‟m in my third year.
But couldn‟t have done it,
Without having you here.




                                                       18
            Maggie MacIntyre
    Margaret (aka Maggie) MacIntyre was born and raised in the small, northern Alberta
 community of Peace River. She has however officially earned 'Honorary Cape Bretoner'
 status due to the many summers she spent there as a child. She is graduating this year
(and proudly wearing her X-Ring) from St. F. X. with a B.A. in Celtic Studies. She hopes to
   one day write a novel/collection of short stories on something great which has yet to
                         inspire her without fear of being declared
                                          Insane.




                                                                                        19
Watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

         Miranda closed and relocked her apartment door behind her. The apartment was
darker than it had been only a few weeks ago at this time due to the shortening days. Had it
not been for the lamp on the timer shining from the living room, the apartment would have
been darker than the far side of the moon.
         Sometimes that didn‟t seem like too bad an alternative to city living - the far side of
the moon. At least there she wouldn‟t be bombarded by the world which all seemed to want
something of her. Well, screw them. Miranda thought to herself. She had been at work until
past nine every night this week. It was Friday night now and all she wanted was to recoup
and relax. Let everything else fall into the city sewers - she wasn‟t taking care of it, she
decided, as she took off her classic navy pumps and returned them to their place in the front
closet along side all her other size six and a half shoes. She closed the closet door on the
two rows of shoes sitting on their low shelf that made up the flooring of the closet. Two
rows, ten pair per row, twenty shoes in a row, forty shoes in all - all various styles and colors.
All with a heel more than ½ and inch and less than 2 inches. All either gray, navy, black,
cream or beige. Her work shoes. Soon it would snow and instead of wearing these shoes to
work, she would be in her Eddie Bower boots, her shoes in her bag for office wear.
Nevertheless, that wasn‟t yet the case and she closed the closet door tightly before walking
down her apartment hall to her room to take off her work clothes.
         Miranda took out and placed on her bureau the seven bobby pins and two elastics
that held her shoulder length chestnut hair into her daily sophisticated bun. She flipped her
head forward, letting her hair fall in front of her as she ran her fingers through the roots and
then carefully brushed out all the knots. Although looking in the mirror, she didn‟t pause to
admire her hair before pulling it into a tight French braid.
         Her black silk pajamas were decided on as the evening's outfit of choice. It was
nearly ten, no point in putting on real clothes. Besides, these pajamas made her feel
luxurious. There was nothing particularly sexy about them except their tempting black
material. They were designed the same way as her flannel pajamas that she wore at the lake
cabin - long selves, long legs and a dress shirt neckline. All the same, they were slimming, or
at least forgiving of her body‟s extra few pounds on her slim frame and that always left
Miranda in a more positive state of mind. Bradley had given them to her for Valentine‟s
Day. He always tried so hard to please her with his gifts. She had been happy, of course,
with them but she still hadn‟t given him the privilege of seeing her wear them. She slipped
on her black slippers and went in search of supper in the kitchen after hanging her work
blouse and skirt on the „to be dry cleaned‟ side of her closet.
         The light on the kitchen phone was blinking. After punching in her eight-digit code,
that she religiously changed every twenty-seven days, the electronic however sweet lady‟s
voice of her voice mail depressingly announced, “You have (pause) six new messages.
Please press one to…”
         “Or, I can just hang up and ignore you.” Miranda said the phone as she returned it
to its lever. The messages could wait. Supper couldn‟t.
         Well theoretically, supper could wait. Food could always wait as far as Miranda was
concerned. However, she had an appointment with her dietitian next week. If she made a
conscious effort to eat her three meals a day she felt far less guilty about lying about her
calorie count. A few hundred calories more or less weren‟t going to matter one way or
another. She was eating.

                                                                                               20
         The fridge was relatively bare: the basic fruits and veggies, low fat yogurt, skim milk,
Brita water, a bit of tofu, a half full bottle of white wine, some condiments (mostly low or fat
free) and left over smoked salmon from the other night when Bradley had come over and
made her a surprise supper.
         She hadn't been in the mood for a romantic dinner that night. It had been a hard
day at work and she had been looking forward to the evening to herself to get a head on a
few projects from the office. All through dinner, she struggled to remain civil to him as he
tried to charm her. His charming gestures were lost to her as she was too busy regretting
having given him a key to her apartment.
         So left over salmon it would be for dinner - left over salmon salad. She flipped
through her recipe box on the counter trying to find the new recipe she had found in her
“Living Lite” magazine and cut out, wait for such a chance to try it out.
         There it was Salmon salad with Arugula Vinaigrette.
              1 salmon fillet
              ¼ tsp. of salt
              Cooking spray
              1 cup trimmed arugula
              2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
              1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
              ¼ tsp. black pepper
              1 garlic clove crushed
              ¼ cup feta cheese
              337 calories, 11.1 grams of fat.
              Only 8 grams of fibre.
         She was not supposed to worry about those numbers but old habits die-hard. And if
she switched the regular feta for low-fat feta it would bring the fat and calorie count down.
She would only eat half.
         Miranda always missed her own version of low-fat meals when looking at these „lite‟
recipes. People buying these magazines to loose weight would never succeed. Eating all-
bran and water rather than all this food was the way to go. Miranda‟s dietitian disagreed
unfortunately.
         With the salad prepared, Miranda carefully divided it into two servings, returning one
to the fridge and pouring herself a glass of wine, also left over from Bradley‟s dinner. She
carefully arranged on her serving tray her salad plate, glass of wine along with a burgundy
napkin, and brought the tray out the living room.
         Normally Miranda did not allow herself to be so informal about dinner. During the
week and most weekends, she ate at the dining room table. The TV off. She often read the
paper at this time. Tonight was pampering night though so dinner was served from the
comfort of her basket willow chair. The serving tray was near perfect level when placed on
the end table by the chair.
         The time was easing on to ten thirty and old Friday night movies would soon be
coming on. She let the TV guide channel roll by waiting for something to catch her eye.
Channel 36 had “Breakfast at Tiffany‟s” with Audrey Hepburn in Technicolor on at eleven.
She had seen the movie she did not know how many times already but it was better than the
other options. Besides one could never have too much Audrey Hepburn. In the mean time,
she flipped over to CMT. They were doing a biography special on Carol King.
         Carol King always reminded Miranda of her mother, in a good way. She could
picture her mother bopping around the house dusting while singing flat to the record player
in the next room blasting out “Natural Woman”.
                                                                                              21
          The phone rang. That too reminded Miranda of her mother, in not so good a way.
Only her mother or Bradley would call her this late. As she walked back to the kitchen the
memory of those six unheard messages crawled up behind her, waiting to bite her for not
listening to them.
          “Hello” she answered the phone trying to not sound annoyed.
          “Oh Miranda, I‟m so happy I‟ve finally caught you.” She had been right. It was her
mother with her regular all too happy voice. “I‟ve been trying to get a hold of you all
evening. Why haven‟t you returned my messages?”
          “Honestly mom, I just walked in the door from work.” Miranda lied. It wasn‟t
worth trying to explain to her mother how she had simply chosen to not check the messages.
“I haven‟t had a chance to do much of anything yet.”
          “That‟s strange. I tried your office an hour ago and they said you had already left. I
figured you must‟ve been home a while by now”
          “Well…” Miranda scrambled her brain for a further excuse. “I would‟ve been if I
hadn‟t gone in search of a drug store open late. I have a splitting headache and needed to
pick up some Advil.” Maybe that lie will cut the conversation short. Miranda had suffered from
migraines since grade eight. As she had inherited them from her mother, so this was a fair
bid for a safe escape.
          “Well you just take those pills and go straight to bed. Sleep is the best cure you
know.” Her mother‟s tone changed to the instant mothering sympathetic tone letting
Miranda know she had won.
          “That‟s the plan. So I guess…” Miranda was going to give her mother the slip.
          “But before you go rest your head, I just had some things about the wedding plans
that I need you to answer to discuss with you first.” Oh, Shit. thought Miranda I think I really
do feel a headache coming on. “First of all, I‟ve had to add a few people to your invitation list.”
          “A few people? How many is a few mom?” Miranda had come to regret ever giving
her mother control of the wedding. It would have been simpler to do it herself or even
better hired somebody like she had originally planned. Was it so hard to keep a wedding
small and simple? In all honesty, Miranda could care less about the wedding. It was just a
social courtesy as far as she was concerned.
          “Well you left so many people off the list dear. You are lucky you have me to help
you. Did you realize how many cousins you forgot?”
          “It wasn‟t that they were forgotten. I‟ve decided to keep it small like I‟ve said before
mom. I don‟t plan to invite everyone in my whole life, especially not cousins I haven‟t seen
in ten years.”
          “That‟s no attitude to have towards your wedding Miranda. This is a very big deal
and besides I am keeping thing relatively small. We‟re going to have to go through this list
together. I‟m still missing a few people. I only have three hundred for your side as it
stands…”
          “THREE HUNDRED? Who are you inviting? The circus? I gave you a list of
twenty people! How did twenty people become three hundred?”
          “Like I said Miranda, you are terrible about forgetting people. I‟ve had to invite all
your father‟s clients and Cynthia‟s family and then a few of Ryan‟s partners and…”
          “Mom I am not inviting people to better my father‟s career. I haven‟t heard from the
man in three years. I thought I was doing good inviting him and his new wife. There is no
intention on having his clients and her family comes along. And as for Ryan‟s partners - the
same thing goes for you. My wedding is not going to be a networking opportunity for your
boyfriend.”


                                                                                                22
          “Well like I said we‟ll have to discuss the list of invitations. I haven‟t sent them out
yet so we‟ll do that when you come up next weekend.”
          “Fine.”
          “I did however order the material for your dress. I found the most beautiful white
silk…”
          “White silk mom? I thought we decided on a cream colour.”
          “Well I thought about it and decided that white was a better colour, after all this is
your first marriage.”
          “But I don‟t want white mom. I‟m thirty three - a white dress isn‟t necessary at this
point in my life.” Miranda's voice was starting to rise.
          “Didn‟t you say you have a headache Miranda?” Miranda‟s mother was great at
changing the subject when confrontation was about to start. “Getting upset isn‟t going to
help your head. We will discuss this when you come down next week. Why don‟t you go to
bed?”
          “Sure. Whatever mom. Talk to ya latter.” Miranda hung up the phone in
frustration. The red light was still blinking from the messages left on her phone earlier. May
as well check them, I cannot ruin my mood any more now after that call.
          “You have (pause) six new messages. Please press one to…” Miranda pressed one.
          “Hi honey. It‟s me.” It was her mom. “I guess you are still at work. I‟ll call you
back in an hour.” Miranda deleted the message. The next message was from her
enthusiastic fiancé, Bradley.
          “Hey Sweetie. I‟ve missed you. Wanna give me a call when you get a chance? I
haven‟t heard from you since dinner on Monday night. I love you.” Pretend you didn’t hear it.
The closer the wedding came the more Miranda wanted to avoid it and Bradley. She
thought she would grow accustomed to the idea of love. It wasn‟t working. Miranda just hit
delete.
          “Mandy! Oh My God Girl it‟s been so long! I was just talking to your mother and
she told me about your upcoming nuptials.” Who the hell is this? Miranda wondered “She was
telling me all about the flowers and the catering and the dresses and well anyways its sounds
fabulous. I can‟t wait to see you when you! You‟ll have to give me a call when you come
home to make plans. We‟ll have to have coffee for old time‟s sake and catch up. We were
beginning to give up hope of you ever marrying! Ta ta Darlin‟”
Miranda had to listen to the message a second time before realizing who it was from, an old
high school „friend‟ who Miranda hadn‟t talked to since graduation. Ally and Miranda had
been friends growing up but when Miranda had gotten sick and had went to the hospital for
three months, Ally started spreading nasty rumours about her. After that, their friendship
was an appearance only and didn‟t last a day past high school. Miranda had heard that Ally
had been married two years after graduation and then divorced eight years later but up for
that their lives hadn‟t touched. Now a call from her just brought up all the old memories of
days gone by, boyfriends stolen by friends, taunts in the school hallways, academic struggles
through university and a list longer than Miranda admitted of psychologists.
          Miranda listened to, however did not take in, the last three messages - two more
from her mother and another from Bradley for his “Mandy Baby”. Miranda never
understood people who shortened people‟s names. It made them sound fake. Bradley, not
Brad as his friends called him, had decided Miranda was “working too hard” and “needed a
break”. He said he would call back later that night, if she didn‟t call first, to arrange a
“special date for just the two of them tomorrow.”
          When Bradley had first proposed to her three years ago she had said no. She did not
want to be caught in a marriage like the one her parents had been - a marriage without love.
                                                                                               23
She managed to block out his repeated vows of love for her be making herself believe that
she couldn‟t and didn‟t return his feelings. Eventually she successfully did convince herself
that she would never love him and didn‟t deserve his love. He just did not know that there
was somebody better for him out there.
         She had accepted his proposal of marriage finally in the hopes that if she gave him
what he thought he wanted he would realize that he was only in love with the idea of having
what he couldn‟t have. She had postponed the wedding twice waiting for him to come to
this realization. Apparently it wasn‟t coming. And she had now completely grown past any
love she might‟ve had for him, finding it only replaced with a fear that her life with him
would become a nightmare - Just like her parent‟s had before her. Just like her life had
always turned out before and how guys always left her when they saw a „prettier face‟, which
was normally attached to a skinner body.
         Miranda went back to the living room, trying to push away these thoughts that had
been lurking at the back of her mind for the past two months, since they had set the official
date for their wedding. She started to eat her salad. Her wine was now warm. She let her
mind focus on the country music videos that played on the TV for nearly half an hour
before realizing that she was missing her movie.
         Switching the channel, there was the sad face of Audrey Hepburn climbing up the
fire escape to sleep with her new stranger neighbour who she had christened „Jack‟. Why
can’t I have that life? Miranda lamented. The simple life of being able to escape to the bed of a man who
would accept her, not ask her any questions, and not pressure her for anything more than the company of her
body in his bed. Audrey Hepburn was her idol. There she lay, so sad and yet so at peace,
snuggled in the arms of Jack.
         Miranda was jealous. That is what she had wanted with Bradley - comfort without
commitment. Miranda sipped her wine, remembering how it had been when they had first
starting dating. They had been perfect. So casual and professional - each too involved in
their career to have a serious relationship however still young enough to be looking for a
good time on Saturday nights and a person to call during the week when you needed to be
told you were fabulous, even though you had due dates looming over your head. They were
able to accompany each other to dinner parties and concerts. They had romantic get away
weekends and „accidental‟ nights spent at the others house after a movie. She had believed,
again, that she was in love. She was in love with his football shoulders and crooked nose
and steel eyes. She was in love with his ability to pick wine and the way he drove like a
maniac but when he told her that he was in love with her, she became scared. She had never
heard those words before. She had said them to have them thrown back in her face - but
she had never heard them. She froze. The more he said them the more she doubted her
own feelings. Now after being together for over five years she was about to marry a man
she could not even bring herself to talk to. She wanted to be Audrey Hepburn at the party,
flirting with all the men without loosing herself.
         The phone rang. Miranda walked over to the phone anticipating Bradley‟s voice.
“Hello” she answered the phone.
         “Well if it isn‟t my mysterious fiancée! I thought you had disappeared.”
         “Hey Bradley. Don‟t even ask me about going anywhere this weekend, I can‟t do it.”
Miranda was going to cut straight to the chase, not even willing to give him a chance to
convince her.
         “Come on Babe, I haven‟t seen you all week. Don‟t you have any time for me? I
have a special treat for you.” He was trying hard to be cute.
         “Well either I go with you this weekend or I take off next weekend to go home to
make wedding plans. Your choice. I can‟t take off both weekends.”
                                                                                                        24
          “Not even a few hours for a movie and…”
          “Nope. Not even one hour. I‟m not negotiating this.” Miranda did not have the
patience for his sweet tactics.
          “Mandy, sweetie, I think you‟re trying to avoid me. What‟s wrong?”
          “Maybe I am. Did you know my mother has three hundred people on my list to
invite to the wedding?”
          “Yeah she called me a couple times about that. I have my list up to two fifty but it
still needs some work. Your mom is going to do an awesome job with this - it‟s going to be
the event of the season.”
          “You‟re on her side! I thought you wanted a small wedding like I wanted!” The
color in Miranda‟s cheeks rose with anger.
          “Oh, I didn‟t realize you were going to be that upset about this. Maybe we can work
something out that will make both of you happy.”
          “Both of us happy? This isn‟t her wedding to be happy about!”
          “Well you‟ll have to talk to her to find out what will make you happy…”
          “What will make me happy right now with this wedding is if it stops all the
performance. I don‟t even care if we get married…”
          “Hold up there Mandy - you don‟t mean that.” She could hear the fear in his voice
and didn‟t care anymore. This was the first time she had said this to him, or to anyone. It
felt good; she was escaping the pressure it had created on her.
          “Yes Bradley, I do mean it. I do not know why I even said I would marry you. Just
because other people think „it‟s the right thing to do‟ does not mean I should do it. I‟ve
learnt that before.”
          “Ok Miranda, take a deep breathe. You don‟t know what you are saying.”
          “Bradley, have a good time planning the wedding with my mother. I don‟t plan to
be there. You should know me better than to accuse me of not being in control of what I
want or say. I mean everything I say. Obviously, you don‟t know me as well as you thought.
I don‟t want to waste my life with somebody who takes my mother‟s side or who under
estimates me.”
          Bradley tried to interrupt her “Honey. All that doesn‟t matter. I love you…”
          “No you only think you do. Goodbye.” And with that, Miranda hung up the phone
and turned the ringer off.
          She went back over to her still mostly uneaten salad. Who cares about the dietitian?
Miranda scraped the salad into the garbage and poured herself the last glass of wine. She
turned off the light in the kitchen and went to return to her movie but paused before sitting
back down. She put down her glass of wine on the end table, and returned to the kitchen.
She angrily took off her diamond ring and placed it beside the phone, which was now again
blinking. She smiled.
          Her and Audrey Hepburn finished their Friday night together. Both drinking away
their old life under the facade of their new-sophisticated one. Miranda looked around the
room at all her awards she had won at work and school. They proved how capable she was.
She won them by herself. She didn‟t need anyone else.
          After the movie, Miranda turned off the TV and went out into the kitchen to prep
the coffee machine to go off in the morning. She loved to wake up to fresh coffee.
          Looking at the ring a temporary wave of girlish weakness came over her. She wanted
to grasp the ring and slip it back on her finger before it was too late. She wanted to embrace
all it held, her young dreams of romance and forever. But she left it, wiping away the tear
that had polluted her eye and forced a smile. She wasn‟t going to fall for those dreams. She


                                                                                           25
was a big girl in the „real‟ world. Sure, it wasn‟t a happy ending like in „Breakfast at Tiffany‟s‟
but it was one she was in control of.
        Before climbing into bed, Miranda stopped in the bathroom. She threw up her salad
and wine and whatever else she had eaten. She wiped her face with a damp face cloth and
admired her reflection in her black silk pajamas. Tomorrow was the start of her new life.
She would go to the gym early to celebrate.




                                                                                                26
             Lindsay Milligan
Lindsay Milligan, born and raised in the capital city, has nicely suffered many capital ideas
over the course of her writing career. A second year student at St. Francis Xavier, it is her
greatest wish to successfully find the time to declare her major within the coming months.




                                                                                          27
The Snuggle Bear

A matter of contention
What a scary thing
The Snuggle bear
(fur, winks, smiles, voice creeping into my head)
And a pool of soap-foam.

I don‟t understand
What a happiness
Tossed into the watery divide
(I know that I would not be so easily resigned)
He lost childrens‟ hugs for dirty stuff

One little question:
What‟s wrong with the dirt?
The smell of “you”
(people notice when you come into the room)
A natural voodoo

I question what‟s wrong
What‟s so bad about that
Foul-smelling splats
(splat to splat from splat)
What‟s wrong with having a maze on your back?



I remember the good old days when the day ran like a seven-eleven and I would knock, not
phone, and play baseball on the street. And I still remember those good old days when I
would hate to clean my teeth and when hiding in the backward until quarter-past was the
raunchiest thing I could do. So I may still get up, come in at seven, but I go out again and in
and out five more times before my night is through. Still, on a damn cold night I make a call
to be tucked in. I miss hugs goodnight and bed times. I miss Full House, and the Beach
Boys. I miss one plus one and Luc et Martin, and I miss never missing anything because I
didn‟t know that there was life beyond me. But I think I‟m still the center of my world, while
I know you‟re at the center of yours. And God is up in the trees looking around at all of us
(but he can‟t see us all for the billboards in his way). One thing doesn‟t change: my room is a
mess.




                                                                                            28
Cornered at Second Cup

I sit, not awaiting, but waiting
Hoping you might pop in
(make me feel a way I haven‟t felt since you made me feel)
So nice
(so long ago).

This week has been so unkind and all I want is someone‟s arms to bury myself in. All I want
is some physical connect to remind me that I am capable of feeling my own feelings. (They
latched onto me. And this doesn‟t feel like my life, no, not my life at all.)

Then Sylvia said, “This feels like Hell. This hurts like Hell, but I don‟t do it very well. This
cannot be real.
Something for me: sitting under a tree.
Noontime. (Lord how I need something for me:

A touch, a kiss, a memory for the night.
A face for me to touch,
A neck for my thoughts
The divit I once fell into (a divit to fall into again.))

My fingers are permanent calloused, my eyes are tired and blurred and I‟m thinking I‟m
understanding why you invited me over at twighlight, why you never stopped my crawling
exit at dawn.

My world is upside-down again,
My walls getting fogged
And I sit here not awaiting, but waiting for you
(or someone like you) to use me again.

Fill me with something foreign-familiar.
Warm-sticky in the nighttime. Not knowing,
but knowing why I‟ve added one more blanket to the pile.
(Not knowing, but knowing why)
I keep myself waking-up surrounded by my sweat
In uncomfort, twisting I am
Submissive and lonesome.
Submissive and sad.

He said, mornings are the hardest. Wait, no, wait… afternoons drive me nuts… wait, no just
wait, it‟s all about the nights when I‟m left to over-think. It‟s all about those conversations I
fall in and into, those horrible conversations I keep having. “Can they tell I‟m not listening?
I‟m not listening… Listen, jerk. Listen, just listen.” -Mantra-

All I want is to be home,
all I want to do is leave.
                                                                                                   29
I want so badly to…


POOF!


Vamoos. Vanished into thin air or into the body of some virginal saint. Three miracles wise,
she might know how to avoid, evade this self-pity, self-something, self-get-me-out-of-this-
life (for a minute, for a day, for a year…)

Teach me something new,
Show me something wise.
And of how I had you fooled, just know: I had to lie,
compulsive to lie
I knew, for a time, how to fit in your bed.

Compulsive: I lie and lie and lie. (So Sylvia said: This is a game I play real well, I play it
though it hurts like Hell.)

I stutter,
I trip,
I miss or chew a cue,
I break character- I cry.
I‟m caught naked.
I‟m caught failing, falling, failing.

I pour more caffeine into my throat, pump-up my chest „til I‟m shaking- unfocussed.
Artificial energy. Artificial. Unfocussed. Don‟t, can‟t, won‟t, focus. Can‟t think about it, can‟t,
can‟t, cannot.

Save me with a call,
a touch, a smile, a wink,
or promise.

So I asked, “Can I have another coffee?” “Can I charge that to my VISA?” (“Can I deal with
my depression, my self-protection, my great repression at the close of the month with my
phone bill?”) Or, have I reached my limit for this month? Or, am I overdrawn, cartoonish
and embarrassing.

No.
Yes, yes- though I am embarrassed.

In Praise of October

Allan Cadbury licked his
long tongue over his
slopping wet lips
scanned a bag of candy corn
-bleeeeeeeep-
                                                                                                 30
the purchase is over and into a plastic bag.
Supervisor Willie went
wonky with delight.
Sales up 40%
in the last quarter of October.

The Pillars

Lookatme boy, I said
look here! I‟m a-standing „round
here, standing with my
belly in hand, my hind hangin‟
outta my ripped and
dirtied trousers that you gave
to me „cause you ripped
and dirtied them and couldn‟t
say you liked them anymore.

Short, fat, and black
pressed up against your
tall, slender, newly-renovated
white body. I‟m a-standing
round and talking with
the ground while the
sky is running right
afraid of you. You perfect
pillared fool. And no one ever
touched ya; they taint you.

I‟m a-gonna tear you
down. Pickin‟ at your feet
make you meet me at the
level you put me and someday
I‟m gonna have you
bend to me and make you be
short, fat, and black
like me

The IS Student

The student sits detached from most others
Shaking her feet under her computer desk,
I sit beyond her wondering what she is doing
Her hands, frozen in action, over a keyboard,
And her eyes blink sorely at the screen ahead.

Holy cow, and how, and wow, and how the art of people got so strangled
By a horrible muffled calamity that is the misery of machinery
And this and that and that and this became us who are lost as we are click,
                                                                              31
Click, clicking and plugging in and tuning into the next big boom of children
Who are and will be raised to work the machines we nursed better than our own flesh




         Mary Ellen Scribner
Mary Ellen Scribner, a native of Cape Breton, is currently in the Jazz program at St.FX
University. She is a song writer and has recorded six of her songs to CD. Most of her
creative writing has been in the form of letters and e-mails to her family and friends who
have encouraged her to submit some of her stories to publishers as a result of the
humorous side to her true life situations and how faith plays a major role.

The creations written for this submission have been inspired by her professor and fellow
classmates in English 333.




                                                                                             32
Wildflowers Are Forever

         In her state of mourning she would visit this austere milieu at the same time each day
when the mysteries of God‟s plan had yet to be revealed to the rest of the world. Void the
demands and noise of the everyday hustle she would curl up on the window seat facing the
eastern sky. The torment of another day filled her heart with grief as she watched the sun
come up beyond the waters edge. This was her way of keeping some part of Katie close to
her. She wanted to leave it this way and resolved that there was no reason to change a thing.
She needed time and was in no hurry to remove any trace of her only progeny. Even the
bed remained unmade with the tapestry of multi-colored quilted patches angled in different
directions partly hanging over the side, barely skimming the once shining, golden, laminated
hardwood floor now covered with a film of gray misty dust. Amongst the scattered dainty
daisies and embroidered trimming of her fluffy pillow, remained an imprint of her head
along with strands of her long shinny black hair. The white laced eyelet curtains covering the
top part of the window matched the ruffled skirt that surrounded the bottom of her princess
bed and the canopy over top. Laundry in the hamper, socks on the floor, and towels strewn
over the back of the chair still lingered with her scent. Drawers to her colonial white dresser
left partially opened signaled the panic of the morning ritual to catch the bus that did not
wait for stragglers. Pictures of friends and family adorned every shelf on her bookcase
intermittently displayed amongst the assortment of the eleven collector dolls to
commemorate every year of her birth. The selection in the CD player ironically was Sarah
MacLaughlin. One of her favorite songs on that CD, “I Will Remember You” was played at
her funeral.
         There was nothing average about Katie. She excelled at everything she did including
her exit from this planet. There were no warning signs or clues to her family of this
inevitable event that left behind an empty hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach, followed
by endless tracks of tears for her grief stricken mother. Katie‟s energy could still be felt
among her lifeless possessions she used to animate to share her dreams. Each doll would be
addressed by name characterized by some fictitious personalities she would drum up from
stories read to her as a child. There was Esmeralda, Mitilda, Anastacia, Rapunzel,
Belladonna, Nala, Suella, Jazmon, Odette, Alaya, and Bryonia. Katie would take them
down from the shelf and surround herself with who she referred to as her "bestest" friends.
They knew her fate, but were confined to Katie‟s naïve imagination which limited her from
any premonition of threats to her innocent mind. Camouflaged beside her entourage of
collectables, Katie‟s bright blue eyes, turned up button nose and cherry red lips against her
porcelain textured skin would stop passers by on the street at the sight of her. With long
flowing black curly hair falling to the curve of her lower back and wispy strands accenting
her face, she had the makings of a Hollywood fairy tale princess. An irresistible target for
his demented mind.
         Her bicycle was found at the edge of the wooded area of town. Katie used to take
this short cut and stop to pick up some wild flowers for her mom who loved the fresh smell
of the forest. She would often fill her basket to the brim and Katie‟s mom would find a
home for every last one. Deep shades of yellow daisies, sky blue pansies, purple lilac and
scarlet red dahlias accented with white hyacinth, babies breath and green eucalyptus gave off
the sweet aroma of spring and brightened up the warm and cozy décor of their home. There
seemed to be an endless supply of this beauty and Katie never tired of going to her favorite
spot year after year to gather these treasures for her mom. Being such a social butterfly,
                                                                                            33
Katie would stop to talk to everyone despite her mother‟s numerous warnings about
strangers. Katie saw the good in everyone and could not imagine what there was to fear in
any living creature. This day she would discover a side of life that not only she would never
imagine, but even the most sophisticated minds could never have thought humanly possible.
        In the wake of this horrific tragedy the shaken town of Sechelt would never be the
same. Brutal murder of this nature left many souls wide eyed in the wee hours of the
morning, dead bolts installed on doors, and a diminished supply of ammunition befell the
local hardware store as panic set in. Countless hours of pacing the floors, the burning of the
midnight oil and the aching fear of darkness overwhelmed the hearts of the residents while
threats of this mysterious creature lurked in their midst.
        Adding to the numerous lists of unsolved crimes, this one overshadowed the rest.
Katie‟s parent‟s marriage did not survive this test of strength and her mom was left alone
many nights in what now seemed like an empty shell they used to call home suffering her
pain in silence. She became removed from society and the blinds were no longer raised to
allow the once welcomed sunlight to filter into this morbid existence. The vases of dead
wild flowers blended in with the atmosphere and it was evident that Katie was not the only
one who died that day.


The Aftermath

         It was not at all what she had asked for. Day after day the situation seemed to get
worse and her patience was growing thin.
         “You‟d think after all I‟ve done for this child she would at least get it right!”
         These were the words spoken by the cold hearted recipient of that fateful night. It
didn‟t seem to matter, it was never good enough and it was usually followed by a lecture and
insensitive remarks about the past.
         “Amanda!! Where is that child??” fumed Aunt Freda in a frustrated tone of voice.
         There were not a lot of choices for Amanda when her parents left this earth so
suddenly. The courts gave her some options and in retrospect she may have reconsidered
some of them. She knew there may be problems, however, an underlying belief she shared
with her mother, that blood runs thicker than water, swayed her decision to come live with
her Aunt Freda.
         Although her mother never spoke badly of her, Amanda knew how unkind this aunt
had been over the years. It was never clear what made her so miserable but her face had
permanent lines that seemed to be there forever. Her large forehead, framed by her tightly
pulled back dull strands of streaked grey hair, seemed to be in constant frown and her
eyebrows pointed like daggers toward the center of her long thin nose. Her bluish lips never
smiled other than the forced smile to the social workers when she reluctantly accepted the
burden of taking in her orphaned niece.
         There was something about Aunt Freda that Amanda could not put her finger on,
but she could instinctively feel the constant effort to appear like the bad guy. Could there
really be someone so bitter on this earth who seemed to resent even the sun for shining?
Was Aunt Freda always like this?
         “I‟m coming, Aunt Freda.” Amanda cried apologetically.
Amanda was a very accommodating child who was raised to work hard and give help
wherever needed. However, she was still in a state of confusion over her parent‟s accident
and was not given any time to absorb the shock. Her gruff Aunt repeatedly told her, “Get
over it! They‟re not coming back!”
                                                                                           34
         “Maybe you are not happy here?” sarcastically barked Aunt Freda.
         “Oh, I am, Aunt Freda, it‟s just that…..” stuttered Amanda.
         “Get over it!!” shouted the insensitive relative.
         Amanda‟s feet could not take her fast enough down the stairs and out the back door
to her place of refuge. She would slide into her hide-a-way spot where she knew she would
be safe from the unforgiving world. Her place where she found solitude to listen to the
birds singing and feel the suns rays seep through the branches she placed over her head for
those days when it rained.
         Aunt Freda‟s sobs could not be heard from here. Night after night Amanda would
try to block them out as she tried to sleep. Here, she would not hear them and she would
not have to feel her pain any longer. Yet she knew what she needed to do.
          When she opened the door to her Aunt Freda‟s bedroom, the creaking of the rusted
hinges echoed through the big old empty house, piercing the silence that fell when fatigue
stopped the retching sounds of this poor wretched soul. As the trembling little girl knelt
down beside her on the hard wooden floor, she placed her hand gently on her suffering,
ailing, frail, bony, structure to try to absorb some of the pain.
         “It‟ll be Ok, Aunt Freda.” Whispered Amanda, “I promise it‟ll be OK, you‟ll see.”



                                                                               May 12, 1869

Dear Mom,
         I can‟t believe where the time has gone. I‟ve already been here three months and it
feels like I just arrived yesterday. Thanks for all your help getting me this job at the Palace.
I‟ll try not to let you down and hope I can be the son you will be proud of. I‟ve been
working really hard since I got here and so far I think they are starting to see some of my
potential. I‟m particularly grateful to you for all those years you spent showing me how to
sew. I‟ve just recently been promoted to the wardrobe department where I will assist the
emperor‟s tailor, Bernard. It seems they can‟t keep anyone around for very long in that
department and rumor has it that the townspeople have even banned him from coming into
any establishment in town. Guess he has a bit of a drinking problem and a major temper. I
figure I won‟t have too much of a problem with that after living with dad all those years.
         Things didn‟t work out for me in the kitchen area mostly because I had a hard time
translating the measurements. It was all this metric language stuff. They had to rush the
emperor to out-patients last week when I put 5 cups of Tabasco seasoning in the chili sauce
instead of 5 ml. The time before that I was in housekeeping and I made the emperor‟s bed
the only way I knew how. The way Aunt Jenny‟s kids showed me when they came to visit us
that summer. Still don‟t know why Grandma was so upset that night. She kept murmuring
something about short sheets and rotten kids. I could never figure out why she was so
ungrateful.
         Anyway, this new job seems to be very challenging. There have been a few obstacles
to overcome as I had mentioned earlier but you know me, mom, never a dull moment if I
can help it. I never told you this before but I really miss having you around to talk to.
People here can be so strange. I had no idea that the emperor was so full of himself. He
never seems to be satisfied with anything and comes in demanding something new almost
every hour. I‟m a little worried about my future here though mom. Bernard, the tailor, is
planning to teach the emperor a lesson. He calls him a spoiled, selfish, royal brat. I guess

                                                                                             35
having everything you want under the sun is not all it‟s chalked up to be. Gee mom,
everything you‟ve taught me growing up is starting to hit home to me now.
        The plan Bernard has in mind sounds pretty risky but he says it‟ll be what the
emperor needs in order to reach manhood. This Bernard has been around for a lot of years
and I guess he feels an obligation to the emperor‟s parents to do this. He feels it‟s a
foolproof plan. I‟m not sure how foolproof this is but I‟ll let you know the next time I
write.
        Hope all is well at home and that you‟re getting out walking everyday now that the
weather is getting warmer.
                                              Your loving son,

                                              Junior


P.S. I sure miss your home cooking mom. Love ya.




                                                                              June 15, 1869
Dear Mom,

         How are you? I hope you are well. I really can‟t believe where the time goes around
here. There have been a lot of changes to the palace and I must say for the better for some
folks.
         Bernard‟s plan that I had mentioned to you in my last letter seemed to work. The
emperor has picked up some valuable lessons in life over the past couple of months.
Bernard‟s clever mind drummed up a scheme to stop the Emperor‟s shenanigans once and
for all. He expressed to me that he couldn‟t work another day with the way things were. His
plan included me, which I wasn‟t too sure about but in the end I thought, what the heck. I
figured I could always come back home and live with you again eh mom? I told you before
how much I miss your home cooking. Anyway, Bernard told the emperor that he was
making a costume for him to wear in the Mayday Parade. He appealed to his vanity and told
him that he would be the most stunning creature on this earth.
         I couldn‟t believe how the emperor bought this cock-n‟-bull story about the outfit
being so special that only the intelligent and sophisticated individuals could see it. Bernard
told the emperor that it would be beneficial to know who was in their rightful positions at
the palace and who should be let go by who could see the garment and who couldn‟t. I
guess through all those years of living an introverted life, the emperor has lost touch with
reality.
         The day of the parade came and it was all I could do to keep from laughing as the
emperor pranced around the wardrobe room pretending to see this supposedly elegant piece
of work that just didn‟t exist. Some of the other subjects of the palace who played along
with the joke were better actors than I could ever be. They went on and on about the
exquisite craftsmanship of the tailor. They were all in cahoots about it. It seems the
emperor has many enemies. You‟d think that someone would have spilled the beans to the
poor sap. Finally some smart little kid in the crowd yelled out that the emperor was in his
underwear and the whole town broke out into laughter.

                                                                                           36
        Well, luckily for us the emperor saw the humor in the whole thing and granted us
pardon. The guy is a bit of a wacko I think. How could you not be upset after being set up
to walk around in your underwear all around town?
        Anyway, as a result of this, things have slowed down in the wardrobe department
and I‟ve been laid off. There would be no more hourly changing sessions like before and the
emperor has decided that clothes are not as important as he once thought. Even old
Bernard is pounding the pavement looking for work. I guess the Emperor wasn‟t the only
moron.
        So, mom, I hope to find some work here in the near future and if not I‟ll be heading
back home. Wish me luck.
                                              Unemployed and hungry,

                                               Junior




                                                                             August 23, 1869
Dear Mom,

         Sorry I haven‟t written in awhile but I‟ve been pretty busy here. Remember that
fellow I worked with at the palace, Bernard? Well he opened his own shop in town and
made me his partner. I guess it really paid off to go along with his wild scheme.
         It‟s not the same as working for the emperor. There is a lot more variety and we
have a steady clientele. After that incident at the Mayday parade, Bernard‟s name became a
household word. They even held a ceremony for him in the village to honor him as their
hero. I guess the changes to the emperor‟s attitude and his lack of vanity has made him a
better ruler. He is not nearly as selfish as he used to be. He‟s lowered the taxes, mainly
since his own budget has been cut drastically now that he doesn‟t need to dress up in
extravagant clothes anymore. He‟s so much more generous now too with the people.
Shortly after that parade, he gathered the people together and started giving away all the
outfits he had stashed away in his palace for years. Now when you walk around town you
will see people dressed in these fine elegant clothes. It‟s really quite something to see, mom.
You‟d enjoy all the colors and regalia. Some people took the emperor‟s hand-me-downs and
had Bernard take them apart and design new styles.
         I guess I‟ll be here for awhile now mom. This job seems pretty secure and it looks
like we‟ve got more than enough business. It‟ll be a long time before Bernard‟s popularity
will die down.
          I‟ve enclosed an outfit for you and I hope it fits as I guessed at your measurements
and you know that‟s not one of my strong skills. It was made from the Emperor‟s clothes
and the jewels sewn on the front are all authentic. Since we have been doing so well with
our business, I‟ve also enclosed a ticket for you to come here for a visit. I hope you‟ll be
able to get away and come see what the rest of the country is like. I‟ll even introduce you to
the Emperor.
         Bye for now and hope to see you soon
         Your successful son,

                                               Junior


                                                                                            37
                  Sally MacKay




Sally MacKay is the wife of one, grandmother of six, and has discovered a new
love in her life: writing.




                                                                                38
Today is the Day

The day is here, I wake at five
I've waited so long for this day to arrive
The sun comes up, golden and red
I fail to notice, I'm thinking ahead
Today is the day.

Excitement is rampant. I'm unable to eat
I feel like a child with a bag full of treats
I find silver scissors, they are tarnished and old
I search till I find scissors plated with gold
Today is the day.

I look for velvet cushions there's some on the bed
I can't use those they're tattered and red
They have to be purple or maybe black
I know that I have some, hidden out back.
Today is the day.

I put on my best dress, it just isn't right
I change into something, shimmering and tight
I put rings on my fingers and pearls on my neck
With all this excitement, I'm just a wreck
Today is the day.

It calls for a toast, I have Chardonnay
A 25-year old bottle, hidden away
My very best crystal, I sit on the stand
I see the tension in the shake of my hand
Today is the day.

The joy, the excitement, a feeling so pure
This is the day that I've been waiting for
The time is approaching, I'm almost afraid
Alone in the house, without even my maid
Today is the day.

I sit on my Queen Anne chair
Sip my wine, pick up my gold plated scissors
Place my foot on the black satin
And I begin, cutting my toenails because
Today is the day.




                                                     39
My Cat

I haven't time to introduce you to Jill and Adam
They will be here for supper later tonight, I've lived next door to them for years
and oh yes, I must run to the vet
My cat is sick
Imagine that
I love my cat.

First I must tell you about Fluff, my cat
She is fifteen years old, and She arrive on my sixty fifth birthday
She was just a kitten
Jill and Adam moved in next door the same year
The vet said there is no hope
Imagine that?
I love my cat.

Jill and Adam didn't like Fluff
They had a black poodle that chased Fluff up a tree
I called the fire department, and cried as they firemen rescued my shivering cat
They laughed!
Imagine that?
I love my cat.

Adam caught Fluff's tail in the elevator door
Jill arrived with a pair of scissors, Jill cut the tip off Fluff's tail
They didn't take her home or say I'm sorry
They laughed
Imagine that?
I love my cat.

Fluff was howling in the middle of the night
Jill threw a pan of cold water on her, Jill and Adam laughed about it
Fluff hated water on her soft fur
I didn't laugh
Imagine that?
I love my cat.

Each time Jill and Adam walked past my door
Fluff would snarl and make a fuss, She hated them as only a cat can hate humans
I understood
Imagine that?
I love my cat.

I just got back from the vet
I put the bag in the fridge
I invited Jill and Adam for supper, they said about eightish and that they felt bad about
Flufff's death
                                                                                            40
I thanked them
Imagine that?
I loved my cat.

I have no appetite because of Fluff's sudden death
I planned the meal with care, rice pilaf with slivered almonds, water chestnut casserole,
frozen strawberry cream pie, the tenderest meat in ginger sauce
Not too much meat, just enough for two people
With every bite, they sucked the bones and raved about the taste.
Imagine that?
They loved my cat.


Hotter Than the Hinges of Hell

         Events that happen in your life can be recalled by a scent, a sound or a touch. At
what age do we begin storing memories? August 18, 1948 I was seven years old. That day is
etched in my memory, it was the day my life changed forever.
"Row, row row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream"
         We sang as we splashed in the warm brook water. "Hotter than the hinges of Hell"
muttered my father. That evening I felt feverish and sick. My mother prepared me a cold
drink of icy spring water mixed with molasses and oatmeal. I remember crawling to the
stairway and dragging my self across the wooden floor and into our bed.
         The next morning I lay in my bed watching the thousands of dust particles dancing
in a ray of sunshine. I could see my arms and legs and hear my sisters and brother playing in
the yard, but I could not move. My limbs felt like they were not a part of my body. I did not
know it than, but I was paralyzed.. This was the day that I was stricken with polio. August
18, 1948 it sure was a scorcher of a day.
         I spent a week in Saint Martha‟s Hospital, in total isolation. The room was kept in
darkness day and night. The only people allowed to see me were nurses. One nurse, Claire
Chisholm is a friend of mine today. This whole time is a foggy memory of whispered voices
and long needles. Our family doctor, Doctor Cedric Griffen was not prepared to diagnose
or treat polio patients at that time. He later became an expert on the disease. After being in
the Antigonish hospital for over a week Mrs. Chisholm told me that I could expect a big
surprise. They wheeled a crib into my room and presented me with the surprise. It was my
younger sister Geraldine. She had also contracted the virus and became my roommate. They
did not know what was wrong with us or how to treat the strange disease.
         My uncle who was about the only one in our family that had a car and enough
money to do anything about Ruthie‟s two little girls who were dying and not receiving any
sort of treatment. He demanded that we both be released from Saint Martha‟s and sent to
Halifax for further analysis. He had the back seat taking out of his car and made into a small
bed. Geraldine and I were carried and tucked into the snugly bed for the long ride to Halifax.
The only other person that came with us was nurse, Mrs Chisholm We survived the trip and
were transferred to the Polio Clinic. It was here that the Sister Elizabeth Kenny treatment of
hot packs began. Hot packs were a new treatment and one that required many woolen
blankets. These blankets were donated to the hospitals by the army. The war was now over
                                                                                            41
and the blankets would be used to fight another war. Woolen packs were put into an old
wringer washing machine filled with scalding water. Woolen packs were cut to fit each part
of your body. They were immersed in the boiling water and left for a few minutes. The bag
was than removed and opened with huge tongs. The small pieces were than put through a
wringer and each piece of steaming, damp wool was wrapped over every part of your body.
This was covered with a rubberized material and than another layer of dry wool. The hot
packs had three layers, and many safety pins were used to hold them in place. Not only did
the hot packs burn like heck, but if the nurses didn‟t get time to return to change them they
would get cold and than start to itch like crazy. This went on every half hour. There were
many blisters and rashes and really I don‟t know which was worse. To have an itch, that you
cannot reach and scratch sort of works wonders with your brain. My sister made remarkable
progress, because they began treating her soon after they discovered that she had polio. She
was free to leave the hospital after only three months. That was the only time I saw my
mother since I left the hospital in Antigonish little did she know or I know that it would be
almost two more years before I would see her again!. She arrived with my uncle to pick up
one of her little girls, the other one got a coloring book and crayons, but I still could not use
my hands to color, so I spent hours just smelling the paper. I still smell every new book I
get. The smell of paper always gives me a warm feeling.
         The doctor that I had was called Dr. Kinley, he was short, plump and looked very
much like Elmer Fudd, but was a very kind old man. The two nurses that I remember as
being so very kind are Miss Veronica Richards and Miss Bernice MacDonald. I still have
pictures of these wonderful women. There was also one nurse that I did not like, her name
was Miss O‟Brien. She was a terror and all the other nurses would warn you not to do
anything to upset her. I had more than one little run-in with this stern lady. She was tall, thin
and wore gold rimmed glasses. Her hair was pulled tight behind her head in a bun. I always
felt the perpetual scowl on her face was caused by having her hair pulled back too tight. I
had never seen her smile. One particular day when I could turn over in bed and regained the
use of my arms a young nurse was passing out the evening medications. She set the tray
filled with pills on the stand beside my bed. She was called away and and I looked at the tray.
There were tiny brown things that looked like chocolate. This was too good to be true. They
were within my reach. I grabbed a hand full of the sweet tasting things, and looked like a
little angel with brown lips when the young nurse returned. She didn‟t notice that many of
the pills were gone. Late that night I remember Miss O‟Brien screaming at the nurse as they
stood over my bed. I had an accident and believe me it was every where. The young nurse
had to wrap me in a sheet and carry me to the bathroom and put me in a tub of water. There
was pooh all over the place. This was the only time I remember having a bath in a tub, we
were so used to sponge baths, but they didn‟t make sponges big enough to clean up the mess
I was in. Miss O‟Brien came into the bathroom once and turned the hot water tap on. I
think that was her way of punishing me. Miss O‟Brien hated me from that day forward.
Today I can see how, as supervisor she must have been terrified. My friends the two nurses
that were motherly to me were never told about what happened. I was too ashamed of
dirtying the bed and I am sure the nurses on duty that night were also afraid of losing their
jobs. The nurses took me under their wings and treated me with kindness and sympathetic
understanding, but they could not protect me from the cries of the other patients and cries
of the mother‟s who had children dying on a weekly basis. The polio epidemic that year was
so severe, that a ward which should have held five beds often held twenty or more. It seems
strange to me, but I remember this time as being very happy. There are only two things that
I hated about the hospital. Every morning for breakfast you would get cold scrambled eggs.
They would be soft and watery. Your piece of toast would arrive limp and soggy. Wet from
                                                                                              42
the runny eggs. Some how we were expected to eat this. I often would be gagging trying to
please the nurses. I swore if I ever got out of there I would never eat a scrambled egg again.
Today I love them, especially if the toast gets a little soggy, how things change. Another
thing I hated in the hospital was rest period. Every day at two o‟clock sharp all the blinds
were drawn and we were expected to sleep until four o‟clock. I hated this. Someone, I don‟t
remember if it was a nurse or a patient gave me a little flashlight. What feelings of joy and
evil to cuddle under my blankets and try to read a book with this little flashlight. Such delight
to be doing something really naughty, and getting away with it. I also love my little afternoon
naps to this day.

         After the first year I was moved to the adult ward. This was like getting your
doctorate. It was such a thrill to be allowed to stay up until nine o‟clock. Many of the
patients in this ward were paralyzed and living only because they were enclosed in big iron
lungs. The iron lung has often been compared to boiler-shaped coffins. Some of these
patients began painting, using only their mouths. The amazing thing is that many became
world famous artists. When I became well enough to use a wheel chair I would clean their
brushes and sometime mix the paint for them. Some older patients were well enough to
send out for fish and chips on Friday nights. They would all contribute a little money and of
course I joined the feast. Many nights I would lie in my bed and watch the white clad
strangers, across the street, in the high rise buildings. There movements fascinated me. They
seemed to work night and day. I would imagine them discovering some wonderful new
scientific information and I longed to be one of them. I left the hospital using crutches and
wearing braces. I was fitted with brown boots that came above the ankle. How I hated those
boots. I was encouraged to wear them for support and also because one was connected to
steel rods that surrounded one leg. I was fitted with a body brace made by Spence Support in
Montreal. I fought with my mother over wearing the leg brace and the boots, but I loved my
body brace from the first. It enabled me to stand up straight. To this day I still wear a body
brace, unfortunately Spencer has gone out of business and I have never been able to find a
brace as comfortable and sturdy as the ones that they made.This was the time that I returned
to my home and family in Malignant Cove. The only requirement was that I returned to
Halifax every six months for a check up. This continued even after my marriage. I am still
checked every year, this has been going on for fifty-three years and I have never questioned
why it is necessary. The half yearly trip was in itself a nightmare. My standing appointment
would be at ten o‟clock on Friday mornings. We still did not own a car, in fact my father or
mother never owned a car. The only way we had to get to the city was by train. This meant
we had to be at the station at three o‟clock in the morning. There were many times my
mother and myself would get a taxi into Antigonish around ten at night and sit in the train
station until train time. This meant we did not get any sleep the night before the train trip.
Almost every time I arrived at the hospital I would be sick to my stomach. It is easy to see
how a small child could not sit up all night and than make the long trip sitting up in a train
seat without getting sick! I don‟t know how my poor mother did it. We usually returned
home on an Acadian Lines bus and would have to get another taxi home the next night. I
recall asking my father for some money for my trip to Halifax and he gave me two quarters.
That indicates how poor we really were. There was no money for a restaurant, my mother
would pack a lunch of sandwiches and cookies for our return trip, the only extra that we had
was a bottle of orange pop each.
         I could not go to school because we lived a mile from the little two room
schoolhouse. I dearly wanted to attend. My mother taught me at home. She was a tough
teacher. She enrolled me in a correspondence course from Halifax and I had to work hard at
                                                                                              43
it. I did not get back to school until I was 11 years old. I had missed three years of school
and three years of playing with friends my age. My best friends had new best friends. I could
not play hop scotch, play ball, skate or run. I felt left out of many things. I would usually stay
in the class room during recess and read. We did not have a library, this was a two room
school house with a big fat pot bellied coal stove in the center of the room. In the back
room where the coal was kept, there was a pile of old Treasury readers that belonged to the
older students. I gobbled them up. I still remember their dark blue jackets with orange
writing on the cover.

         There were also other problems associated with going to school. There was an
outdoor toilet and in the winter I could not walk to it alone. It was deep in the woods
behind the school. Each week a new girl would be given the chore of helping me to and
from the toilet. This was very embarrassing for me and not too pleasant a task for the poor
girls. Many days I returned home with wet bloomers and red rings around my legs because I
waited too long to go. In winter if the snow was too heavy, my father would arrive with the
horse and sleigh to pick me up. The rest of the kids loved this, most of them would jump on
the sleigh for the ride.. The best times were the Christmas concerts and driving there after
dark in the sleigh with lots of sleigh bells ringing in the cold night air. The night before the
Christmas concert our mother would tell us to listen. Sure enough we would hear bells
somewhere in the distance. She would tell us that Santa must have decided to come early this
year. Mary, the oldest would be sent to check around the backdoor to see if he had left any
presents, sure enough she would come back in with arms full of gaily wrapped presents. This
was the only way mother could buy us new clothes for the Christmas concert and provide us
with Santa gifts too. How I believed. I think I must have been the oldest child in the world
that learned the awful truth that there was not a Santa Clause. I was eleven. I was pretty well
protected from the facts of life because I had been around adults all the time. To discover
that Santa didn‟t exist was devastating for me than and even now I can‟t quite believe that he
is not real.
         In 1954, at age thirteen I had a spinal fusion. I was put in a plaster cast that covered
mostof my body. It began under my arm pits and reached down to my hips, one leg was
bent in an upright position and it was also enclosed in the plaster cast. The only movement I
had was in my right leg and arms. I had to stay in this position for six months, the nurses
were not even allowed to turn me over. Thank God for modern science. I again went to the
hospital in Halifax, this time it was The Children‟s Hospital. I was admitted in May and was
put in the cast. In August they cut the back out of the plaster with a small power saw, it
didn‟t hurt but the buzz of the saw was pretty scary. I kept waiting for the doctor to cut right
through my spine. I knew they were going to do that the next morning, but at least I would
be asleep when they were doing it. Bright and early the next morning they lifted me on a
stretcher and rolled me up to the operating room. The walls were green and there was a big
white light beating down on me. They inserted a needle into my hand and I don‟t remember
a thing about the next few days. I was told that they had to replace three of my ribs and
straighten out my spine. I have a vague memory of a feeling the warm blood running into
the fresh plaster that they had used to fill in the cut out hole in my cast. I was to remain in
this position until November.
         I returned home in September and my parents set up a cot for me in the kitchen.
Back to bed pans and sponge baths. That didn‟t seem to be a problem because we still did
not have running water in the house. It is amazing to me how my mother managed. She did
not have a wringer washer or a fridge. She milked the cows, hauled in wood and cut the
kindling, carried water from the well, did the wash in a wash tub, after heating the water on a
                                                                                               44
wood stove and scrubbed the clothes on a wash board. All this and still managed to care for
me and three other children. My father worked away in a lumber camp and only returned
home on weekends.
         Since that time I have had a hip replacement and am on a waiting list for another
one. Today I suffer from post-polio syndrome. There is no treatment for it. Since that time I
have never played hop-scotch, skipped rope, played ball, ran, skated or rode a bike. Those
are things most people take for granted. We never stop to appreciate the simple things in
life. Yes, Aug. 18, 1948 was hotter than the hinges of hell.

         I do not want to end on a depressing note. I have had many wonderful opportunities
and experiences. I have lived a wonderful life I really feel that I have been blessed. If you
have never felt thirst, you would not know the joy of a drink of water, if you have never
known cold you would not appreciate a warm fire and a cup of hot soup. Be thankful for
Gods‟ gifts. Unfortunately there are people in this world that are not so lucky. I have had
two young students approach me and ask what exactly is polio? This got me to thinking
about writing this story and it felt so good to know that it has been eradicated in North
America. This is not the case throughout the world. It is still a raging disease in Third World
countries. One in every 1000 child is afflicted with it. They are left disabled for life, and what
I think is the saddest part is that Salk vaccine is available, but not affordable. The cost of the
vaccine would be equal to fifty cents Canadian and those poor parents can not even afford
that. The World Health Organization hopes to have polio conquered before the year 2005, I
hope that in twenty years time one of their young citizens will be asking their grandparents .
Just what is polio?




                                                                                               45
                   Philip Fozard
 Philip Fozard hails from Calgary, and finds that the rain in Antigonish melts him. He is
currently working on an English honours degree, but the spellchecker insistently informs
 him it is an honors degree. He is in his fourth year of university and is thinking about a
                            fifth, which he keeps in his desk.




                                                                                         46
Zoë

        A series of small rooms dimly lit with votive candles, one per table no more than
eight tables per room and five rooms in all. Capacity of one hundred twenty-one, but this is
a free-range farm. The occupants peck out their own stomping grounds and flow between
each area, mingling, or if you are new, networking. The owner is a glass blower, or was I
suppose, before she realized liquor, especially in a trendy uptown bar, is considerably more
profitable than working as an artisan. Each table held four, and four only – lifeboats in the
frothing sea of hip people flowing through each room. Ornate martini glasses decorate their
manicured hands and painted lips, each sipping disinterestedly from their hand-blown
objects d‟art.

         Room one holds the bar, a metal sculpture; in the shape of an irregular hexagon,
twenty feet long and twelve feet at its widest. Built by the owner‟s boyfriend, expressly for
the purpose it now serves. The frontispiece is a cage, and hand twisted wrought iron bars
hold row upon row of guns disassembled and rearranged: shiny, dirty, black, antique,
modern, and an assault rifle in perfect working order, and all welded forever into their
places. Bullets, some in their casings, some out, epoxied to the bars or the guns, gunpowder
or something that looks like it, sparkles over everything, and a thick coat of shellac ensures it
will stay. Empty shells litter the base and if you look carefully at the bars of the cage you can
find mushroom-headed spent slugs; their mutilation a result of being shot through a side of
beef and into a cinder brick wall. A careful observer can easily deduce this origin; because,
the artist welded a small picture frame into the right hand corner, in lieu of the traditional
signature, complete with a photograph taken by a high-speed camera of said artist
performing this very act, seconds after the bullet erupted from his gun. There is enough
space between each row to see the liquor stored inside, tantalizing the criminally inclined.
Just enough space for a child‟s hand to fit through, but much too small for a fully-grown
man. A long, grey and veiny slab of marble caps acts as lid and bar. Engraved into the
stone, right across its widest point: “The Koop - Established 1984.” “The Koop”, a
reference to a chicken coup said the glass blower, designed for aristocratic fowl. The
sculptor, that is to say my father, once said it was actually about counting coup. He
explained that “war count” was a close definition. Natives counted coup in battle by
approaching an enemy close enough to strike him with a hand-held object. Warriors
received recognition and honour for coup and the greatest coup went to a warrior who could
capture the horses, weapons and medicine bundles while counting coup. I am not sure
which one is true, or which is less disturbing.

        Sunday nights are probably the busiest in the bar; everybody who is anybody comes
to The Koop. Last night a famous politician spoke to her for a long time, and they left
together in a limousine. I know who she is and despite the subterfuge, I know what her job
is. She always sits in room one, at the silver and ebony table, drinking wine out of a chalice
decorated with the moon. “A wand or a scepter” she once said, “is a tool for boyish kings
or old wrinkled men.” Her vantage, ideal of course to watch the bar, is on a small dais. The
tiny yet powerful spotlight, eight feet above her head adds to the sense of regality. While
most tables in “The Koop” are slightly elevated or set apart, hers radiates. Think Marilyn
Monroe in the white dress, Lolita with a lollipop, that girl next door whose hand you wanted
to hold, the one you wanted to kiss and . . . and . . . the warm feeling in your belly you could
not explain. That is what she is. A cruel and unusual punishment, a “terrible beauty”, a nun
                                                                                              47
with no underwear on, your best friend‟s older sister and your high school . . . (insert subject
here) teacher. That is what she is. “I am only a bitch because I won‟t sleep with you,” she
once said to an aggravated man in leather, “all the boys over there call me a slut.”

         She paid for everything herself, charged to a discrete monthly bill. She never let
anyone buy her anything, except that once. She came in on the afternoon of the last day of
each month and paid with her credit card. When I saw her in the daytime, without her glitz
and the glamour of the night gone, I understood where the phrase “I would crawl through
broken glass” originated, and I have cut my hands and feet on her broken glasses as well
from all the others, and mother gets pissed because she thinks they still hold some life from
her lungs. I wasn‟t even allowed to talk to her by myself. “It would not be good for her
work to be seen with boys of my age” mother always said. But, she used to tease me by
calling me her cinnamon peeler, which mother didn‟t like and wouldn‟t explain. But I found
the poem and kept it in with my own writing.

         So, nobody expected her on a Monday morning in the middle of the month. If she
were, expected mother would have been there. So on that Monday morning, mother was at
her boyfriend‟s house and I was supposed to be doing my schoolwork.
         I just let her in when she came asking for my mom. She tried to explain, and I just
nodded and made some mint tea. Eventually she wore herself down and fell silent, looking
into the mug with red-rimmed eyes and shaking ever so slightly. When I touched her, she
cried a bit but didn‟t offer much resistance when I took off the torn bits and pieces that was
once her black Christian Dior dress. She put on a set of my kitchen whites and we set about
addressing the concerns.
          Most of the bruising was superficial, and tiger balm made them feel better, but some
of the deeper lacerations needed cleaning. I could tell by the way she sat that there were
injuries in other places. I cleaned and dressed each wound, dropping a bit of vitamin E oil
onto each cut, hoping to prevent scarring on her legs, back, feet, calves, belly, breasts (but
not her face, nobody would touch that face). Getting the permanent marker off her back
was difficult, rubbing alcohol, hand cream and a green kitchen scrubbie, God that must have
hurt. She only cried a little bit, and I don‟t think it was about the pain.
         When we had done what we could I gave her a sweatshirt and a pair of Mom‟s jeans.
Both were too big, and the jeans were too short; but she didn‟t look any worse than the
college girls who walk home early in the morning in borrowed clothes. “We probably
shouldn‟t bother telling anyone about this,” she said. Then she let out a long sigh and
looked right into me, shrugged and in a resigned voice said, “Well, it probably won‟t matter
if we do or do not, because my little cinnamon peeler has at last laid his hands upon me, and
someone is bound to be able to smell it.” She let me buy her a coffee (black) and a muffin
(bran) before she got into a cab.
         We didn‟t see her for six weeks. We saw the politician; he was running for another
term in office. In two years and six months, I‟ll be old enough to vote. We also don‟t talk
about it. The way I understand things, my parents have seen some crazy shit. When you get
Douglas drunk, he will tell you stories about a guy named Simon, and the end of the world.
When he comes to The Koop, which isn‟t often, he stares at his sculpture for hours and
when we close, they talk about some bookstore and the trickster. The Trickster I know, I
guess I met him. But I think the bookstore is a dream, and I think they have both had it.




                                                                                             48
Douglas

           “Universe Books” states the sign hanging above the door. Snuggled in next to a
coffee shop and a laundromat the bookstore easily escaped attention. An offset entrance,
recessed into a small alcove facing away from the street obscured the door; in fact, if
summer heat and high humidity had not necessitated leaving the door propped open I might
never have smelled the presence of the shop.
         It was the smell that stopped me; the way books smell when they have been sitting
for a long time, the faint, dusty smell of old books in the special reserve section of a library.
The scent of books, what is it? The dust, paper, and the knowledge that something
microscopic is chewing away at their pages. The smell that makes things turn yellow. You
can smell it on people sometimes, like baby vomit and a senior‟s breath. The scent of
slowly becoming jaundiced. The reek of death by old age, and the perfume of newborn life
simultaneously. Captured life. Paperbacks smell different from a hardcover and age
differently. Paperbacks just go to shit and fallout through the middle. As if they experience
a mid-life crisis and instead of fucking the secretary and buying a Harley – they fall apart.
Hardcovers just take a slant, as if the circus fat lady sat on them for a long while. Their
spines arch and the whole book shifts toward the beginning or the end. Not to say that all
paperbacks age poorly. I have seen some that get a characteristic “U” shape through the
spine, their middles arching out like an old man with a potbelly. I suspect members of their
audience of bending their covers back over their bindings so they can read with one hand
free, free to eat potato chips, drink coffee or smoke, or masturbate. I am not sure what
causes the slant in hardbacks, perhaps, with age; the views they espouse have mellowed and
shifted left or right on the ideological spectrum. The Oxford Dictionary has not shifted.
Instead, it has taken on the potbelly extrudence of a fine paperback. Comic books never
change – sometimes they fall completely apart, but usually they are whole, except for a torn
cover or just a bit dog-eared and well thumbed. Neil Gaimen‟s “Sandman” I am sure is
bound for immortality.
          Universe Books was stacked floor to ceiling with books. The proprietor, a middle-
aged woman with blond ringlets, had organized the shelves carefully, alphabetically where
possible and into rough categories when no one author has been prolific enough. I briefly
considered a thick paperback about vampires that the cover informed me was “a marvel of
modern fantasy” with “over a million copies in print”, but new bookstores, like new friends
or lovers should be examined with patience. A store always displays the flashiest wares in its
front; the real depth is usually in the back or beside the counter in a glass case. I laid the
vampires back down and glanced around. The universe was quite small. The tall cases
created a labyrinth, and a nightmare for security I would assume. I wandered to the rear of
the store and into the Canadian section. Robertson Davies “Fifth Business” stared down at
me from the uppermost shelf. Standing on tiptoe to reach it I pulled it down and opened
the cover. My heart gave a little leap when I saw the price penciled into the top right of the
first page. $5.00. I scanned the copyright page, and re-checked the inside cover page to
ensure I hadn‟t missed a zero. A first Canadian edition of Fifth Business, for five bucks. I
have been told that it is a similar perverse pleasure that compels bargain hunters to garage
and yard sales. The distinct hope that they too may find an art deco sculpture considered
too garish by its owner for a pittance. “How much for that lamp?” asks the treasure hunter,
trying desperately to keep the urgent need out of their voice and the dollar signs out of their
eyes. I glanced round, flushed with guilty pleasure and nonchalantly walked to the front
desk. The woman peeked at me quickly, offered a lopsided smile, and rang up my purchase.
Five dollars plus tax.
                                                                                              49
         Sometimes when nice things happen the world around you looks at little bit brighter,
the trees are greener and the sun warms your face in a more pleasant sort of way. Feeling
satisfactorily smug I went home, made myself a late breakfast of sausage, eggs and fried
potatoes, and washed it all down with a pot of sweet and milky tea. I spent the remainder of
the day enjoying an old friend whom I had not visited in a long time.
         I awoke with the intention of making a full survey of “Universe Books”. If there
was one gem hidden among the stacks of paperbacks, there might be more. The store might
be like a vein of gold hidden in the ground, and perhaps, I had only panned out a valuable
nugget. I felt slightly guilty, intending to bilk this woman out of the rarities of her
bookshelves, but I really just couldn‟t help myself. No doubt, there was the distinct
possibility of profit in this venture, if I could bring myself to sell the books I acquired. This
was mere speculation, it was possible that my find was a fluke, but the only way to find out
would be to investigate.
         The owner sat behind her desk, reading a romance with a slight smile on her face.
She nodded at me and returned to her bodice-ripper. I tried to act casual: looking around,
letting out an occasional hum and feigning interest in a book. I would lift the book from its
place, peruse the back or inside cover and return it to its home on the shelf. I arrived in the
Canadian section as though it were an after thought. The space that yesterday‟s treasure
occupied was now filled, with two more books by the same author, “World of Wonders and
The Manticore”. Each first edition and each for the bargain basement price of five dollars.
“Christ, I might not have to get another job after all” I thought.




                                                                                              50
                Aaron McBriarty
 Born December 19th, 1980 in Cornerbrook Newfoundland. A lover of music in all tastes
and talents. Currently in the third year of a B.A. in English. I hope to find a passion soon.




                                                                                           51
Highway Man

 From yesterdays that can lend full pardons,
to sceneries where we committed foolish crimes.
Give the proof to the correct consolers.
So we can start too amount and chase the time.
Wasting days with precise calculations.

And again to masquerading occasions.
Where long or short we identified the night.
For woman you could offer up too.
Just an innocent man who hasn‟t paid a price.
Holding more in his heart than he can fit in his hands.

Determined to respect one woman.
Such a crime for one in reconstructing beauty.
Saving the easel just to paint another face.
Froze in decision in my coldest condition.
Choosing to travel as highway foolish man.


Pascal’s Dream

Pascal‟s dream…..
don‟t mean a thing to me,
to some solves a mystery
of faith and love.

When it ends,
we may meet the twilight hour,
the sunset man in his see-through tower,
mirrored by the face of many sins.

It‟s a mystery,
when the time is up.
It‟s a mystery,
when the love is gone.
It‟s a mystery, in the distant reaches of your soul.
When a man has to make on his own.

I being not a perfect man
But I know enough that I can take a fall
For it may be, that I‟ve been a failure,
For now a gowned savor comforts me.
In a crazy Pascal Dream.




                                                          52
In the Middle of Tigo

The shadows mirror between these two streetlights
As a man meets the middle of his world.
A pale intruder in a land that might take him days
To find out just what he‟s facing towards

And I am that pale figure in the frozen light
Pacing circles in the streetlamps nightly glow
Just another frost that cools the night
Caught in the icy smile of the snow.

No Mereish savior.
No horse drawn carriage.
No chariots will hasten his retreat.
Only His decision from a poor position
concoured by a love‟s defeat.


Conversations at the Nickel and Dime

Faith, my dear friend, come walk with me.
I need direction, in your shadowy face.
You paint my pictures, I read your lines.
Some reminded resemblance
Some a beautiful mystery

Love, my old friend, come in and have a drink.
Tear the labels off, so I can have some time to think.
We'll count the shots that counted,
Some lined up on this table,
Some spill all over me.

Now there's a chosen few, who walk before they run.
Who need a bow n arrow to send themselves to someone.
They never hesitate, they cheated and they lied.
Some fail before they lose.
Some struck it in the eye.

I chase my Whisky, with a shot of better times.
My head in a bottle, my mind on the lamb.
Faith gets a pardon, while love commits no crime.
Sentenced to ponder,
At the Nickel and Dime.



                                                         53
Whidden Bridge

I could toss my last dime over the Whidden bridge tomorrow.
All the wishes in the world can‟t bring me home.
All the lights are going down upon the streets of my perfection.
Standing like a statue on the snow

The snow storms and rain have been the causes of my pain,
Now I sympathize with every hopeless soul.
The lights are going down over the streets of my direction,
and everywhere I look an unknown road.

If all the film I could‟ve owned, were only lost and not forgotten.
I wouldn‟t have to write my memories down.
The lights are going out upon the streets of my remembrance,
A photograph to hold a shiver down.

Please lay me down before my late may away trip.
Buckle my knees and surrender my name
In these long afternoons in the county of the college.
Mary, do you have a serious reply?

Now the lights are going down over the streets of my protection.
The solid road I‟ve walked has grown slippery in the snow.
If I tossed a coin over the rails of the Whidden,
All the wishing-wells and luck won‟t bring me home




                                                                      54
             Steven Roberts




Steve Roberts, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, came to StFX to play football,
and found other things to love after he arrived.



                                                                                55
        Some people have specific events in their lives that they remember and wish they
could have back. World events such as, the World Trades, Gulf War and most recently,
Space Shuttle Columbia. These events, without a doubt have impacted the lives of many.
From the smallest tear to the loudest cry, we have experienced peaks and valleys that cannot
be weighed by anything. On a world scope, these tragedies will never be forgotten. But what
about personal tragedy? For every world tragedy, there are virtually millions of stories that
are looked over and go untold. The story that I am going to tell is true in every sense of the
word. It is an event in time that I would give anything to have back, even my life. Before
now, aside from my immediate family, I have never uttered a word to any living soul about
it.
        The day was June 23rd 2000, a day that has branded me forever. High school exams
had just ended and it was party time. Graduation was in 3 days and everybody went into
party mode. Semi-formal was always the year-end blast, people would get dressed up, drink
and just make it in time for the dance. Me on the other hand, decided to bring a date and go
for the entire evening. Besides, if I was paying 30 dollars a ticket, I was going for the entire
party. A month previous, I had broken up with my girlfriend of two years but I was still able
to convince my friend, Heather, to accompany me, she was a fun date. As I was leaving my
house, to pick her up, I noticed how humid it was outside. I felt like I was breathing from a
brown paper bag; it gave me a tingling feeling. Ironically, I took this as an omen of the good
time I was about to have.
        I pulled up to Heather‟s door, promptly I might add, at 6:15 pm. I didn‟t experience
the nervousness that most people encounter when they are going on a date for the first time.
There were no butterflies in my stomach, or knots in my throat; just me and a red rose. She
was already waiting at the door, wearing a black evening gown with a slit up one side,
revealing her silky white leg. Her red hair was tied up and little ringlets fell from the top of
her head. She was gorgeous.
        I escorted her to the passenger side of my truck and gingerly opened the door. She
climbed in with ease and I carefully shut the door, making sure her dress would not get
caught. I briskly went around to the other side and hopped in. On the ride over to the
banquet hall, we chatted and talked about how excited we were to finally be done high
school and how good of a time we were going to have. I definitely caught some sexual
overtones in her speech throughout the drive, which made my imagination run wild.
        Being 19 years old and immature, I snuck a pint of vodka into the semi-formal so
that Heather and I could get an early buzz. I wasn‟t going to get hammered, just a nice little
buzz. We found our designated table in the middle of the hall and directly in front the dance
floor. As I sat, I scanned the room to see who had shown up early; to my surprise 3 quarters
of the hall was full.
        Dinner was served at 7pm; it was the sort of meal that is typical of a Banquet hall.
Lasagna not quite cooked, followed by soft potatoes and greasy chicken, what a meal. After
hammering back half of the vodka, I was in no mood to eat, neither was Heather. We poked
at our food for a while and then decided to go for a walk. On my way out of the building, I
saw a face that I had not seen in 4 years, it was my cousin Chris. I knew he had been dating
one of my friends but our paths never crossed until that night. I stopped to talk to him and
we exchanged handshakes and brief pleasantries and then I politely said I would be back and
we would catch up.
        Heather and I continued on our stroll, she walked around the parking lot and chatted
almost until dark. She was that girl in school that you always wanted to date but because of
different circumstances, it never materialized. We held hands for a while and headed back to
                                                                                             56
the party. We could here the slight echo of Ol‟Dirty Bastard‟s “Got Your Money” in the
distance; the party had started. We re-entered the hall and had to almost go through a strip
search with the security guards, not that I would have minded to see Heather naked. We
ascended the stairs and made it back to our table, the dance floor was packed. Heather
nudged my side and asked me for the remainder of the vodka, I obliged and handed it to her
forthwith. She quickly made a run to the washroom, where I assumed she was going to drink
the remaining contents.
         As she was pre-occupied, I made the rounds and said hi to everybody I knew and
eventually made it over to Chris‟s table. As I sat down, I punched Chris in the shoulder and
said, “hey you little bastard.” Chris laughed because he knew that I was messing with him.
You see, Chris was 3 years older than me and he was also somewhat bigger. It was an
ongoing joke. He was the kind of person that could draw a crowd simply on his rugged good
looks. Every girl wanted to be his girlfriend.
         We began to talk and catch up. His great aunt, who happened to be my
grandmother, had just passed away. We talked about her and how sad her funeral was,
overlooking the fact that we hadn‟t seen each other there. We then began to talk about how
dispersed our family was in terms of not having close bonds with one another. It was at
about this time that my date tracked me down, wanting to dance. Being the gentleman that I
was, I obliged and excused my self from the table. As I was leaving, Chris said, “Cous, don‟t
be a stranger.” I replied with “never again.” We then quickly made plans to go out on my
boat the next week as a double date. I gave him a soft chuck on the shoulder and exited his
company.
         My date dragged me onto the floor and we began dancing, it was a good time, this
was the culmination of my high school career. Everybody was dancing and having the time
of their lives. After about an hour of ass grabbing, I noticed an argument taking place over
around Chris‟ table. I quickly bobbed and weaved through the crowd and came upon my
cousin and my friend, Mike, immersed in a heated conversation. Mike threw a punch and
Chris being Chris, retaliated as well. I jumped in the middle of the two and caught a punch in
the back of the head. I still managed to keep my feet underneath me and severed the two of
them. I dragged Mike into a corner and told him that Chris was my cousin and to not touch
him. I went over to see if Chris was okay and he was. But as soon as I turned away, Mike
came from over the top with a haymaker that would make Joe Louis proud. Being drunk,
Mike missed his target and fell on the ground. Chris saw this as a problem and stormed out
of the hall.
         I quickly chased after him and caught up at the front entrance. “Where are you
going?” I said.
         “This isn‟t my scene, I don‟t want to wreck your good time or my girlfriends by
fighting.”
         “Don‟t be fucking silly man, he‟s drunk.” I replied
         “No cous, I think I am going to go home.”
         “Why? C‟mon we‟re having a good time, he won‟t bother you anymore.” I
countered.
         “I think I am just going to walk. But I will call you in the next couple of days to plan
the boat trip.”
         “Okay,” I said. “Can I give you ride?”
         “No, that‟s fine, I‟d rather walk, see ya later” he said. I quickly gave him a guy hug
and watched his tall body vanish into the dark night. I walked back to the dance floor to tell
his girlfriend what had happened. She seemed kind of upset but knew his leaving was
probably for the best. Heather came up from behind me and jerked me onto the dance floor.
                                                                                              57
         An hour had passed and it was around midnight, when the “graduation” song came
on. All of the seniors quickly made it to the dance floor. Half the song was over when the
entire class decided to join hands and form one large circle. I remember this moment like it
was yesterday. The feeling of finally graduating and the emotions of not seeing some of these
people ever again began to sink in, I was growing up. At that instant, the bright lights of the
hall illuminated throughout and the sentimental song quickly faded. Right then and there, I
knew something terrible had happened.
         A tall gray-haired man was standing on stage and I‟ll never forget the words in which
he spoke. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am detective Williams. There has been a tragic accident
and no one is leaving here without giving a statement.” I couldn‟t believe what was
happening. I did not know where surrealism ended and reality began. All of a sudden my legs
got really heavy and I had hard time walking. I approached the detective and said, “You can
start with me.” We walked over to the nearest table and he asked me about the night‟s
events. My legs were killing, my heart was racing and my hands began to shake. I went over
the night‟s details, ending with the fight between my cousin and my friend. The look on the
detectives face went blank. “What‟s your Cousin‟s name,” he asked.
         “Chris,” I stuttered. The detective grabbed my hand and head very firmly and said,
“I‟m sorry son, your cousin was a victim of a hit and run, he‟s dead.” In that instant, I felt
my youth slip away and the rest of my life waiting. All of a sudden I was seeing through
tunnel vision, I couldn‟t swallow and I was hyperventilating. All I could think about was
Chris saying “see ya later.” And me saying “can I give you a ride.” Tears began to flood
everywhere; the detective pulled me into his body for comfort.
         I refused his sympathy and stood up and walked to the door. Everybody wanted to
know what was wrong; I was being barraged with questions left and right. It sounded like I
was in barn full of chickens, chirping back and fourth. I just wanted to get out of there. I felt
Closter phobic. At this point, I had lost track of Heather; I really didn‟t care anyway. I went
out side and began walking around in aimless circles crying at that top of my lungs and then
very abruptly, I threw up everywhere and fell to my knees. Paralyzed. 15 minutes must have
gone by, I am not sure because time seemed to stand still. I walked over to my truck and
drove home in shear agony.
         I walked through the door and my mother was up making coffee, it was around 2
am, this was habit for. She saw me close the door and asked how my date was. I said,
“Good, but something went wrong.” I then recounted the story to her, trying to fight for
breath I finished and went to bed. The next couple of days were hazy at best; in fact, I don‟t
remember them at all. The only thing I could think about was Chris and having to face his
family at the wake. The time eventually came and ironically, I wore the same suit from semi-
formal. The line was long was long and endless. I kept getting flash memories of that night,
wishing I could have done something different. I reached the receiving line and there were
John and Holly, Chris‟ brother and sister. I hugged both of them and said I was sorry.
Penny, Chris‟ mom, was crying hysterically, I grabbed her tight and said, “I wish I could
bring him back.” I fought back the tears and quickly exited the funeral home.
         To this day, the person responsible for my cousin‟s death is still walking a round
free. Since his death, Chris‟ mom, Penny, committed suicide. The note said she could not
bare being without her first-born son. A wooden cross stands where his body was found,
baring the words, “Christopher Borland – 1978 to 2000” Along with the cross are pictures
and flowers from friends and family, as a constant reminder of a man who would never be
and a day that I wish I could have back.



                                                                                              58
               Lauren O’Brien
A native of Ottawa, I ventured to Nova Scotia to study Human Kinetics at the renowned St
   Francis Xavier University. My second year brought about a change in programs as
English had become a fascination for me. After a few variations of 'minors', I'm finshing
my last year at St.F.X with a major in English and minor in Philosophy...what a ride it has
                                           been!




                                                                                         59
Amber

         They weren‟t even white walls! The sterility of this hospital was lost beneath the stale
paint job. I continued, my feet tracing the lines on the tile floor making every 90* angle with
precision. The floor was made from the emblem tile of the late 80‟s. It was various shades
of brown divided into squares which were filled with, what seemed to be the image of
scattered rocks. The patterned tile became a sort of game. Narrow wooden bridges swaying
over a hundred and fifty foot drop to boldering quicksand. As I etched my trembling body
across the decomposing bridge, a melody with the lyrics, “step on a crack and break your
mother‟s back” penetrated my thoughts. Even games become distorted in this hospital. I
turned yet another corner to find what I had just left. This maze of medical melancholy
distracted me from the reality of my journey.
         It had only been a hundred and twenty two days, twelve weeks, or four months,
depending how one chooses to depict time. It was irrelevant to me seeing as all seemed too
short for such an eminent change to have occurred. I had returned home after a brilliant
first semester of university packed with endless pictures of new friends, teammates, and even
a boyfriend. I had also returned home to the news about Amber which had been
conveniently left out of every Sunday night phone call home.
         I met Amber when I was in grade one but after a few short years her family moved
to Cornwall…meaning we were separated by an hour. She returned as the „new girl‟ in grade
nine. It was her necklaces that had originally stole my gaze. The one in particular was an
ivory turtle which was identical to the symbol on „The Spirit of the West‟ album. I‟ve never
been a fashion star but I‟ve always appreciated distinctive accessories. She had an amazing
talent for acquiring obscure toques, bags, scarves and shoes. Her dark hair fell straight to
her hips which carried a thick brown leather belt securing a pair of worn-in jeans. She was
the type of girl that magnetized people towards her and who had won „best smile‟ two years
in a row at our high school Grammy awards. Even in grade nine she had a grace that
bewildered the seniors. I loved being her best friend and knowing her thoughts that others
longed to understand. But now I roamed desolate halls, hoping that her electric energy
hadn‟t succumbed to her surroundings.
         Situations like this silence my entire being. Would I recognize her face in a place that
melts individuality? I don‟t even recognize where I am since I‟m struck by deja-vu at every
corner. I‟ve been too afraid to ask where the „psych ward‟ is, for fear of being politically
incorrect. A standardized blue hospital shirt and pants emerge from a door marked „staff‟.
Upon approach, the words “I‟m looking for Amber Batho, she was admitted for not being
right in the head”, staggered past my lips. I might as well have done the classic coo-coo
description, just in case the nurse didn‟t fully understand.
         The door separating the Psychiatric ward from the rest of the hospital was
distinctive. It was a special door. A special door with a bolt lock, intercom and small
window. A distant voice wrestled through the intercom, “Name and person you wish to
see”. After the gracious greeting, the door was buzzed open. The nurse approached, her
body struggling to find her childhood muscle that had since withered into bone. You could
tell that standing for too long took her breath away. After raping me of my belt, sharp
jewelry, hair pins and defiling the neatly wrapped gift I had brought, she stammered back to
her desk with words of advice that came across as gibberish. I had been told that she spent
most of her time in the “Gathering Room”, reading. The “Gathering Room” had windows
displaying the picturesque courtyard which, to me, seemed like a cruel joke. There were
                                                                                              60
recliners sporadically scattered throughout the room but were in unison as they all faced the
television. The room was fairly empty considering it was in fact the “Gathering Room”. I
saw the toque from across the room but her chair was turned from me. I stood, my body
buzzing, quivering, trembling, pulsating.          Yeah, I stood, my body pulsating with
anticipation. I found awkwardness in every body position. „Why does she have to be sick?‟
„Why couldn‟t she have been stronger?‟ She was strong enough to voice her opinion against
anyone willing to banter. She was strong enough to contain all the emotional turmoil of
being the lead role in a chic play. She was strong enough to be my friend. And she was
strong enough to rid herself of those pills that night. “Have the doctors even categorized
her condition…manic depression…schizophrenia?” and “What if I can‟t see any trace of
Amber in her eyes?”
         I began towards her and gently spoke her name as a warning of my entry. Her chair
turned with hesitation and I remained,…presenting myself to her. Her hair was tied into a
significantly shortened braid and her body hid beneath the conventional light blue hospital
robe. I smiled goofily which was acknowledged by a faint grin.
         “It‟s good to see you,” she said with a sincerity that wouldn‟t survive outside these
walls. She was pale and drug induced but I found Amber, in her eyes, in her smile, in the
way she sat crunched in her chair.
“How are you feeling?” I strategically asked.
“Good, but I think this place is driving me crazy!” she answered with a mischievous smirk.
         Without any verbal agreement of any sort, we were in the midst of “Care Bear
Countdown”, a card game we use to play at my cottage. We tried to act „normal‟, talk
„normal‟, move „normal‟ while delicately assessing each other‟s comfort level. Consciously
trying to act normal is more unnatural than it seems. The placement of my leg became vital
as well as the solidity and sincerity of my voice. “Thank God it‟s „normal‟ for me to bite my
nails” I thought, as I switch to my other hand as an escape. I filled the silence with unrelated
stories that were even boring to me. And they were about me!
“You know what bothers me the most?” Her slight whisper hit like a roar.
“What‟s that?” I responded
“I‟m going to be known as „that girl‟” she sighed. “I‟m no longer Amber. I‟m the girl that
tried to kill herself and that‟s it”
I replied with the standard speech of comfort but understood what she was saying.
         Mrs. Batho told me that Amber has her good days and then days when all she can do
is cry and cry and cry. I had expected strangers‟ eyes, a mute personality and a prematurely
aged face. But I saw Amber……I saw Amber struggling with her biggest obstacle and
mustering the strength to fight it. But mostly, mustering the strength to stay awake.

THE TYPICAL JOCK

        He walked into class with a smug disposition that you knew was unwarranted. It was
rare to have many males in an English class but especially one of this type. His threatening
broad shoulders were only contained by his under sized shirt that read „Football Forever!‟
He grabbed the first seat available which happened to be in the front row. Honestly, this
caught me off guard! I would have assumed that he would place himself out of the firing
zone. Yet, he sat with an emanating confidence that bewildered my instincts. He seemed
like the type of guy that over-exaggerated every moan while working out in the gym. The
type that fell asleep each night reading his own stats. He had a militant hair style on the go
which wasn‟t conducive to the shaggy haired look that appealed to me. Class began and I
sat, eagerly waiting the moment when his shoulders would sink back into the chair. Instead,
                                                                                             61
his hand bounced into the air. “Here we go!” I thought. “I believe that Miss Merchmant is
preaching the acceptance of denial. Also, Bronte invokes the idea of Providence…which
implies that God has a predetermined plan for us and guides us towards the right path but it
is our free will that determines the overall outcome” he gallantly proclaimed. What a prick!
I guess he‟s only a prick for making me feel like one. I quickly picked myself up after
noticing that it was I who had slunk back into my chair. The class heated up in discussion
and everyone was working off each others ideas. August, as I heard the Prof address him,
continued on his streak of not completely unrespectable thoughts. I noticed that he was
adamant on giving his appreciation before countering another students point of view. “Shit,
he‟s a nice guy too!” I thought in despair. I‟m suppose to be the open-minded person yet I
ended up being the one in which I was trying to idealize him to be. Not only did I feel guilty
for my preconceptions but just to finish it off, he started looking really cute. This sucks!


Black Fly

The incessant buzzing black fly,
rebounding off his transparent captor.
Like a ball on an elastic string he attacks.
Freedom displayed as a mirage,
Seeking the taste of normalcy.

My thoughts, my mind, my vacancy;
Racing the minutes of conformity.
To actualize my ideas on this fateful didactic assessment;
with lapses of creation supplemented by hollow words;
Reflect…produce…echoing off each other‟s existence


The Suffering that Never Existed

A young initiative,
caught in the rays of the upward magnetism.
A now old lesson, rebounds through his thoughts
…and still up…
The familiar, continuously drowning in its own tears,
waves a farewell.
A swift jolt and the drunken feathers pursue the warmth.
The heat;
The fall;
The surrounding ignorance;
The moment will never grow old,
for the day will never end.
Blindfolds erase the conscience
so that the sun may continue to shine.
A man gazes into oblivion while a woman labors her soul.
Suffering is captured in time,
its origin lost by the sunset; its end caught in the wake of the boat.
…eternally dying an unrecognized death.
                                                                                           62
In a Margaree Life

        The land slips under me, allowing another century to pass. My seat is a weathered
log that lingers alongside this eroding miracle of nature. The surrounding trees peer over the
carcass of their old friend. In its death it has created a growth of life which breaths from its
skin. Perched upon the ever diminishing ledge, my eyes become those of a curious bird who
remains camouflaged from the day‟s movement. It is an untouched spot that has been
unfaithful to me with an ageless amount of generations. The only importance is that I
believe and feel complete devotion to its isolation. I have been privileged to various
geographical wonders yet I only feel subtracted from social realities in this one plateau.
        The rare faces that surface along the waters curves, seem to mold into the scenery.
A distant figure, protected by rubber boots/pants, a fluorescent orange hat and fishing rod,
moves with a rhythmatic grace as if seducing the fish into flight. The presence of the figure
was as appropriate as the ramped river itself. His face began to take form as he broke free
from the shackles of distance. The wind had aged the skin on his magical face but it
remained an undisputed Best Seller. In my opinion, the water is being pulled the wrong way.
Perhaps, the fisherman knows why! It flows towards the ocean yet there is nothing natural
about the way it looks.
        I sat, trying to find flaw in the beauty around me because without flaw suggests that
Hollywood has stolen the truth of this spot. Yet, I know Hollywood would get lost in its
search….and better yet, I know my spot would never cheat with the likes of them!




                                                                                             63
              Carrie Dennehy
   Carrie hails from Wakefield, MA. That’s right, damn American, she is. She loves the
States, but loves Canada and hopes to stay here past her Graduation this May. Her writing
         style is…still in flux, but she hopes someday to prove her talent to herself.




                                                                                      64
The Mood

        Crazy moods. Crazy moods are fucked up. You have 20 minutes to class, and
   initially you sat down, figuring yourself to spit out some bullshit so Phil Milner doesn‟t
   hate you because you‟re late with your first journal. But instead, you read this story and
   just start typing. And your ears are straining to hear the whispers in the song, and then
   you smile when they come back to normal range and you relax back into your seat while
   your fingers fly over the keys.
   Stop to check your downloads, but your next song is remotely qeued. What do you do?
   Replay blister in the sun and turn it the fuck up, cuz it means something. You still don‟t
   know what, you just know it means something. Possibly that you‟re right out of your
   tree insane. But that‟s what happens when you‟re bugged out and thinking like a crazy
   bugger.
   Pause to dance.
   Drum your pen on the table, James is about to start.
   Head bouncing, legs bouncing in your chair. High school, college, life. Memories flying
   through your head, not meaning a thing. Escape your head and run with whatever you
   feel like. Because it‟s starting already. You‟re slowing down. The expulsion starts to end.
   You‟re pulling back when you mistype, you‟re thinking about how stupid you have to
   sound. But you still got the beat to push you on. But it‟s becoming a bit forced now.
   Once James leaves you behind, you‟re gonna stop, you know it. Or are you talking
   yourself into it? No, you‟re gonna probably do it. See, you just noticed the red lines
   under gonna and realized that ain‟t right……
   End.


Material Girl

        The bar was crazy busy that night. A huge crowd had poured in from the town and
the local university. She made her usual grand entrance, flanked by a friend on each side.
The three of them waltzed in with that purposeful bounce that they must‟ve learned from
Charlie‟s Angels. The slow step with that slight push up of the back foot at the end, the hair
sliding easily from side to side, making them look almost like they were moving in slow
motion.
        He noticed her right away, glancing quickly up and down her body as she stretched
her small frame up to kiss one of the bouncer‟s teasingly on the cheek. Unconsciously, he
picked up his sixth pint glass of the evening and raised it to his lips as he followed her body
across the room. She walked confidently through the crowd, barely noticing as they moved
out of the way for her and her friends. As she slid by the gawking stares, his eyes slid back
up to her face, taking in quickly that “yes, I know you want me” look, framed by her
perfectly mussed curly hair. As she opened the gate and handed the DJ a cd, he caught the
glimmer off of her shimmering shirt, noticing “Material Girl” placed strategically across her
chest. As the music changed, a big smile crept over her self-sufficient face and she bounded
out of the booth, bee-lining across the dance floor to the pool tables. He downed the
remainder of his beer and watched her kick off her shoes and jump onto the nearest table,
scattering the game that was being played there.
        She started to sway and move to the thumping bass and digital sounds of the
“Material Girl” remix that could only be playing for her. His stomach twitched a bit as the
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lights scattered and jumped over her body, a spotlight moving to shine down on her. She
moved her eyes confidently over the crowd as she bounced to the beat, running her hands
up her body and through her hair.
         Eventually, as she scanned the crowd, her piercing blue eyes connected momentarily
with his. Unconsciously, his grip on his glass tightened and his stomach gave a full lurch. “I
think she smiled at me,” he thought and the corners of his mouth slowly turned up. As the
song blended into the next, she jumped down off the table and he turned his tall, skinny
frame back to the bar and ordered himself another beer. As he took a long sip, he stood up
and turned again to look at the dance floor. By this time, the woman of his dreams was
dancing with her friends and giggling a bit as they looked at the rest of the crowd trying to
move as well as they did.
         He pushed his hat up off his head, sliding his fingers through his rapidly thinning
hair, looking quietly around the bar to regain his bearings. The brick walls seemed to pull in
closer with the condensation gripping to them and the faces of the crowd seemed to melt
away through the haze of smoke that hung thick in the air; al the faces except for hers.
         He drew back to her without even realizing it. Again their eyes met briefly and as
her head turned, she laughed a bit. His heart jumped. “She did it, again,” he thought. The
sight of her upturned lips pushed him out of his chair and moved his lanky legs clumsily
toward the dance floor. As he neared the fakes wood covered in spilled beer and cigarettes
he looked down, checking his clothes. The sight of his jeans and ragged Aerosmith t-shirt
covered in paint and dust from the days work made him stop in his tracks at the edge of the
dancing crowd. His body tensed up in anger at himself, for not going home before the bar.
         He cursed himself over and over, ordering another beer from the waitress while he
watched her swaying to the beat. Songs ended and started, blending together with the ever
louder thumping of the bass. As he lowered his glass from his last sip of beer, her friend
tapped her on the shoulder and pointed over toward him. She looked over and locked her
eyes on his. His own eyes widened as he choked down the beer that had caught in his
throat. She laughed again and pushed her friend jokingly.
         “She smiled right at me,” he thought and pushed off his heel, concentrating hard on
his stagger, dragging his untied boots slowly across the sticky floor. With each step his
blood flowed faster through his veins, his muscles strained and his heart pounded harder.
He stopped behind her and took in a deep breath before tapping her shoulder lightly, his
finger feeling a shock of electricity through it as he touched her.
         “D‟ya wanndance,” he slurred at her, cringing inside at the sound of his words.
She stopped in mid sway and turned fully around to look at him. Her eyes glided over his
long, gawky frame and his dirty shirt hanging loosely over his skinny shoulders. Looking
down she saw the tear in his jeans over his right knee and the scraped up toes of his boots.
She threw her hair back and smiled right into his eyes. His feet pushed up just a bit onto his
toes and he started to smile back…
“With you? Yeah, right!” She laughed coldly into his eyes and turned back to her friends,
moving a few feet away from him.
         He stood silently for a few seconds, his finger still crooked where it had been
touching her shoulder, his heart now in his shoe. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath,
walking slowly and sullenly out the door, his shoulders hunched and his hands jammed deep
into his pockets.




                                                                                           66
Black Shoes

           I just sat there, staring at her for a second as she broke down into hysterical tears.
I'm gonna miss him so much, she said. As if the rest of them hadn't already said the same
thing about fifty times throughout the night. As I scanned around they were all in various
states of crying. Curled up in a chair in the fetal position, sitting on the floor, holding
themselves, huddled together on the couch, holding hands. I was leaning against the
doorframe, with my hands in my pocket. I shook my head, looking down past my loosened
tie and untucked shirt, to my black shoes, shined up special for the occasion.
           They kept rattling on, talking about the good times and all the big great things he'd
done and how bright his future had been. I just stood there, shaking my head inside even
more than the few quick movements that kept jumping out unconsciously. I shuffled my
shoe a bit as Karen spoke up, talking through the tears that were making her look sort of like
a raccoon. She started recounting his life from birth on, even though she hadn't met him
until the 8th grade. I had known him since birth. Well, practically. His mom was my mom's
best friend, so we were handed a friendship with our first rattles. But I was fine with that. I
didn't care about her being the one to talk. Because, I didn't want to. I was calm and relaxed.
That is, right up until she started talking about "what a tragedy this was." Her shoulders
started convulsing as she sobbed out again. "It's...just...not...fair."
           It was too much for me. I let out a loud laugh and pushed up off the wall, taking a
hand out of pocket and scratching the stubble on my chin. I felt all their eyes jerk over to
mine, jaws dropping.
           "A tragedy? Not fair? A tragedy implies something that was out of control. Not
fair...Not fair is that I have to be here listening to you all rattle on like he was a martyr. Like
he was taken away by some force of God. He wasn't. He was taken away by some rope and
the forces of gravity. Trust me...I'm the one who saw it. None of...”
           I hadn't meant to go off, and I stopped short. My heart was pounding and all of a
sudden I felt sweat forming on my hairline. I looked around at them, but none of them
moved. Not an inch. I probably would've relaxed, except that my eyes fell on Karen again
and zoomed in as I saw one last mourning tear slide down her face. Instead, I threw up my
hands and stalked out of the room, kicking the screen door open. I heard it slam behind me
as I walked down the driveway and started down the street. I felt the misty rain clinging to
my face and weighing my shirt down slowly. As I walked, all their comments slid through
my head, along with the images I'd been trying to get rid of for four days now. Then the
ideas about what I'd missed and the shots I had in my head of us from our 17 years of
friendship. They all pushed around, fighting for space in my mind. They crashed into and
over each other. T-Ball and the note on his bed. The red lunchbox we both had, the purple
color of his face. The tire swing behind my house, the way his feet swung slowly like there
was a breeze in his room. Before I had realized it, it was pouring out and I had broken into
a hard run. My whole body was tight and focused, unconsciously, on putting one foot in
front of the other. The sights and sounds and smells got more and more mixed, pushing
into fast forward. I pushed faster, trying to outrun my own thoughts or wear them out.
           Out of nowhere, there was a loud crash of thunder. It stopped me in my tracks,
jerking my body back to consciousness. I started breathing really hard, leaned over on my
knees. My whole body was shaking as I desperately tried to take in air. My head started to

                                                                                                67
swirl and the darkness in front of my eyes started closing in on me. I dropped to my knees,
taking in a deep breath. As I did, a jolt of lightning lit up the sky and the graveyard
surrounding me. My eyes flashed in on the one in front of me, knocking the breath I had
been trying to get back, right out of my lungs.
James Windsor
          I looked down at the fresh mud that my knees were sunk into a bit and quickly
stood up. I spun on my heel and took a few steps away. My body slowed up, my brain
forcing my muscles to tighten up and turn back. The shakes slowed down and my eyes
accustomed themselves to the dark. I pushed my dripping hair back out of my eyes and slid
my hands into my pockets. I widened my stance and stood, staring at his grave, unmoving.
My eyes narrowed and my teeth closed in together, my jaw muscles jutting out from under
my skin. I lifted my chin and turned it up to the side, cracking my neck. I pushed my
thumb against each of my fingers in my pocket, snapping them as well, then clenching into a
fist. I stared at his named, etched in the cold stone, the rain dripping down out of the
engraving. My head started shaking again, gliding back and forth slowly at first, then gaining
deliberance.
"You fucking prick." I let the words just fall out into the air and hang there, like the fog that
was rolling in.
          As the silence lengthened I just stared intensely at his grave. I searched every inch
of that stone, waiting for an answer. Waiting for him to call me something back. To
challenge me. But it didn‟t happen.
          The rain started falling harder and I blinked my eyes against the water dropping
down and clotting in my eyelashes. My hands slowly unclenched and I felt my jaw go slack
again. Another flash of light lit up the sky, and I blinked my eyes up to look at the sky as it
faded back to darkness. I hung my head back for a few seconds, staring blankly. Then I
dropped them back down to the mud in front of me. I watched my feet as the mud that
covered them was slowly washed away by the rain.
          I gave one final look at his grave and shook my head one last time. Then I turned
on the heel of my shiny black shoes and walked back home.




                                                                                              68
Teaching 333 for probably the last time.
By Phil Milner

        This might have been the last time I get to teach creative writing, since the university
has finally, in the late late autumn of my career, taken me up on my twenty-year old offer to
teach journalism and creative non-fiction – courses I have long thought the university
needed, and courses that will let me bring my teaching and writing vocations closer together.
No 60-plus year old professor should offer a new course. This is especially true, since
teaching the new courses means I probably won‟t be teaching English 333 anymore. 333 is
the one course that I flatter myself I teach right.
        This year‟s posse (as I see they are now calling themselves) might be composed of
the most lively students I ever taught. They laughed hard enough at the crazy things that
happened and crazy things that were written that some nights it occurred to me I needed a
gavel. They looked forward to each others‟ writing and insights. Never have students
offered each other a better audience for serious writing than this group offered each other.
Never in my experience has criticism of a writer‟s work been sharper, tougher, and friendlier
than the 12 people gathered around the big table in 420 Nicholson Hall offered each other.


                                                                                              69
        It took self-discipline for me not to throw some of my drafts onto the table for their
suggestions. If I could do it, I‟d stick these twelve people (every one of them, and Mr.
Crabbe, who burned so brightly and briefly, too, if he‟d try for a comeback) into a bag and
dump them into English 221/222 next fall. But they are all beyond anything a 200-level
writing course can offer them.
        Some students wrote like angels from the beginning. Others learned their craft in
the class. In November I realized how good these people were, and how much they trusted
me to hold up my end of the learning contract. I spent occasional moments thereafter
sending up silent prayers that April would come, and they not discover my pedagogical and
creative limitations. I am pretty sure this anthology shows that they all learned a lot about
the creativity and the discipline of the writer. They all found a way to say important things
about their experience and life that only they know.
        April has come. They discovered my limitations. I experienced the only organized
student revolt in my professorly career, witnessed, to remind us of its full glory by an
appalled class spouse. It didn‟t matter at all. We discussed matters, adjusted our goals, and
went on (if anything) better than before. I‟d not have believed it had I not been part of it.
        On second thought, this is the way to end my 333 career – with a visible proof I‟m
not getting older; I‟m getting better.




                                                                                            70
Teaching 333 for probably the last time.
By Phil Milner

        This might have been the last time I get to teach creative writing, since the university
has finally, in the late late autumn of my career, taken me up on my twenty-year old offer to
teach journalism and creative non-fiction – courses I have long thought the university
needed, and courses that will let me bring my teaching and writing vocations closer together.
No 60-plus year old professor should offer a new course. This is especially true, since
teaching the new courses means I probably won‟t be teaching English 333 anymore. 333 is
the one course that I flatter myself I teach right.
        This year‟s posse (as I see they are now calling themselves) might be composed of
the most lively students I ever taught. They laughed hard enough at the crazy things that
happened and crazy things that were written that some nights it occurred to me I needed a
gavel. They looked forward to each others writing and insights. Never have students
offered each other a better audience for serious writing than this group offered each other.
Never in my experience has criticism of a writer‟s work been sharper, tougher, and friendlier
than the 12 people gathered around the big table in 420 Nicholson Hall offered each other.
        It took self-discipline for me not to throw some of my drafts onto the table for their
suggestions. If I could do it, I‟d stick these twelve people (every one of them, and Mr.
Crabbe, who burned so brightly and briefly, too, if he‟d try for a comeback) into a bag and
dump them into English 221/222 next fall. But they are all beyond anything a 200-level
writing course can offer them.
        Some students wrote like angels from the beginning. Others learned their craft in
the class. In November I realized how good these people were, and how much they trusted
me to hold up my end of the learning contract. I spent occasional moments thereafter
sending up silent prayers that April would come, and they not discover my pedagogical and
creative limitations. I am pretty sure this anthology shows that they all learned a lot about
the creativity and the discipline of the writer. They all found a way to say important things
about their experience and life that only they know.
        April has come. They discovered my limitations. I experienced the only organized
student revolt in my professorly career, witnessed, to remind us of its full glory by an
appalled class spouse. It didn‟t matter at all. We discussed matters, adjusted our goals, and
went on (if anything) better than before. I‟d not have believed it had I not been part of it.
        On second thought, this is the way to end my 333 career – with a visible proof I‟m
not getting older; I‟m getting better.




                                                                                             71

				
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