“Good morning!” The man hailing me adjusted his hearing aid with one hand and waved with the other. His neatly pressed shorts stood to stiff attention around his thin legs — more a cordon than clothing. His short-sleeved shirt and sturdy leather sandals completed the image of a man who took pride in his appearance and valued how he was viewed. Thinning white hair parted with each gust of wind to reveal the pink of his scalp. I noticed his hands as he released his small, wiry-haired dog from its leash to complete its morning ablutions — speckled with sunspots on almost translucent skin, a railway track of criss-crossing veins bulging at the surface, knuckles bent and gnarled and probably arthritic.Read More
Yet another rejection email has hit my inbox. Yet another chip has been eroded from my soul. I don’t know how rejections affect everyone else, but I assume it’s similar. There’s a level of deeply intimate, deeply personal critique in the sharp hidden edges of an email thanking me for my work, noting the large number of high quality entries, and wishing me luck elsewhere. Those words morph and reshape themselves into cheery proclamations of my fears.Read More
CN: graphic description (no image) of burned animal
I fill my glass to the brim with ice. So much ice that the water I pour in has to jostle and squeeze past, hugging corners, slipping salaciously past curves and furrows like it’s making a run for the bar in a crowded nightclub, arms high, eyes on the prize, ‘excuse me’ and ’sorry’ and ‘pardon me’ flung in every direction. I check my phone as a slow stream hisses from the fridge. Twitter and Facebook flick images of leaping flames, and singed landscapes so barren they look otherworldly, and animals, caught fleeing the conflagration, trapped in fencing wire, their faces contorted by fear and fire.Read More
Buy the finest roast coffee beans you can afford. Do not buy ground coffee, it’ll only go stale before you get to the bottom of the bag. Don’t think about the thick murky Indonesian coffee you sipped on humid mornings on the porch of a Sumatran hotel till your tongue recoiled at the muddy sludge lurking at the bottom of the cup. You’ll only long for a time before the complications that beleaguer children who inhabit the liminal space between childhood and adulthood.Read More
“Internet friends are real friends!”
We’ve all heard the claims and counter claims. Most people have picked a side. Which is inherently weird since nobody has bothered to define what friendship is, or what constitutes real friendship.Read More
He flicked the butt, still glowing, out of the car’s open window. A jogger or dog walker would stamp it out in due course.
He filled his lungs, checking his bank account with a smile. He expected more ceremony, more import to his last ciggie.
Image credit: El Caminante/Pixabay
Breathy whistles of calliope music swallowed his words.
“Come,” a silken voice commanded from the darkness. Swirling, slithering white-gloved hands led him forward. An impuissant marionette, he followed.
Behind him, a closing door’s click ushered a silence so complete his ears ached.
Released, he clawed at slippery surfaces searching for an exit, mocked by grotesque reflections of himself.
- Tiles are a godsend.
- Carpet accidents happen. Despite your best efforts.
- Money spent on a good carpet cleaner is never a waste.
- Reading instructions and learning the proper use of your carpet cleaner is time well spent.
- Puppies (like teens) eat a lot. They will eat
pretty much anyeverything.
- Puppies have two speeds; full throttle or fast asleep.
- You will walk more than you usually do or care to. You may even run.
- The older dog will teach the puppy good habits. And bad ones.
- The sound of dogs play-fighting is different from the sound of dogs actually fighting.
- Puppies learn rules quickly. They will flaunt them. While looking at you from the corner of their eyes.
- Puppies will bring out the gentleness and sweetness in recalcitrant teens.
- You will be responsible for the puppy (even though it will “belong” to the nearly-adult child).
- You will not mind this responsibility. You always wanted a horde of kids and dogs.
- You can teach a puppy to boop noses.
- Clever dogs learn quickly. Good behaviour, and bad.
- There is intense joy in being greeted at the door by excited dogs.
CW: mention (no detail) of dog death in children’s literature
When Child 2 was five he started a reading program at school. He was an early reader, like his brother, and the teacher was gently extending his skills. Every day, he had to pick a book from a specially marked box, bring it home, and get one of his parents to read with him. The idea was that he’d read, we’d listen, and if he stumbled, we’d help him sound out words and figure out meanings from context.Read More