Friday, June 7, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Then there is the man who sells roses. That is all he does, day and night, walking the busy city streets with an arm full of roses. Red, white, and pink. He traipses through all the local hotspots and no one ever seems to mind. In the daylight he is seen in the coffee shops and bistros and at night he can be spotted in a busy club pushing his way through a crowd, always with his roses in tow. He doesn't ask if you want to buy a flower, he doesn't say a word, he just walks by and if you want a flower you have to go to him to get it. He wears a top hat and a leather jacket with dark jeans and a band t shirt, he is rarely clean shaven and it suits his style. If I was to guess I would say that he was in his late thirties, early forties. I haven’t seen any other rose sellers in this city, but even if there were some they would not be like this one. He is not like any other. This rose seller comes with some mystery.
If this rose seller was to stand still and quiet you might just see him as a normal guy selling roses, maybe as a side gig. But the moment he moves or tries to talk the mystery begins as your brain starts to turn in wonderment, trying to piece together the life of this rose seller based solely on what is standing in front of you.
This rose seller walks with a bad limp. And it is a tough limp to pin down. It is hard to say whether the limp is a result of some accident or birth defect or a birth defect that subsequently caused him to have an accident. The limp seems to derive from his right hip, the leg doesn't hinge properly so he lifts it up as if it was a peg leg and drags it forward. Needless to say he doesn't move fast, a fact that I have come to realize through observation may be beneficial to his sales. I ran after him once. I was on a date and it was going well. We had had some drinks and decided to walk a bit before saying goodbye. When I saw the rose seller a few blocks up from us, his head dipping up and down with every step and drag, the liquid courage took over and I decided to roll the dice and buy my date a rose. Slightly breathless I caught up to him and asked to buy a rose, he said something that I could only assume was the price so I gave him a five hoping that would cover it. It was an awkward exchange, I haven't bought a flower from him since.
Aside from the rose sellers limp there is also his speech impediment that may or may not be caused by the left side of his face being slightly droopy. His tongue sticks out a bit at the corner of his mouth, even when he is not talking. And his smile is always askew.
He could certainly be viewed as someone with a mental handicap or challenge or difficulty – insert whichever term offends you least – but according to what I have heard that is not the case.
The word on the street is, and I have heard the stories more than once, that it was an accident and that he used to be ‘normal’. The most popular history of the rose seller is that before the accident he was a handsome business man, well off even, and that because of all the money he made he sells roses now because it is easy and keeps him busy. I once heard that he was left heartbroken when his fiancée left him after the accident and that because of his heartbreak he sells roses to be closer to love. A couple of times I heard it told as a failed suicide attempt and not an accident at all, that his fiancée unexpectedly died and he couldn't take it.
They all say he fell from a few stories up and landed on concrete and that it was a miracle he lived at all. But whether he fell or jumped doesn't seem to matter much. Now he is the rose seller.
Friday, April 19, 2013
So there is a good possibility that I will have another book of short stories coming out, though I really have no idea as to when. As I mentioned before in a previous post, Update: Spiders, this collection will be themed around the subject matter of arachnids. I have been seriously into spiders/tarantulas lately, possibly bordering on the line of obsessed. I am currently working towards becoming the proud owner of my very own pet tarantula, ideally I would like to own a Brazilian Black. As you can see from the photo this species resembles a soft furry teddy bear that I would like to hold in my hand.
The point of this post is to inform you that spiders are cool and I have written a handful of fictional stories about them filled with interesting facts that will leave you hopefully entertained but also informed!
Here is another snippet from one of the stories in the collection:
My plan was to (for lack of a better word) create the largest living tarantula, and probably not for any reason you would expect like fame or scientific discovery. It was something much more basic. I was simply not satisfied with the current known size of tarantulas as prescribed by Mother Nature. I felt that they could be bigger, should be bigger. Even if it was just one. I was not looking to create a new species, just, through various way I will discuss, allow for one to grow impressively and maybe even terrifyingly large.
To be clear, when I say large I do not mean impossibly large. I am not talking about a tarantula the size of a car. What I mean is, and what I meant was, something possibly large.
In our own species there are those of us who grow, for one reason or another, significantly larger than the rest. Excluding diseases like Gigantism, I am referring to largeness through genetics or naturally through happenstance or chance. Since I had no intention or capability (financially or intellectually) of increasing a tarantulas size through genetic modification, I was more or less left with chance. Fortunately for my endeavour chance is something that can be modified, and I planned on tipping the scales in my favour through aggressive breeding coupled with a high protein diet.
The largest species of tarantula is Theraphosa Blondi, also known as the Goliath Birdeater. At maturity their circumference can equal that of a large dinner plate, about 12 inches/30 cm. Impressive to many, but not to me. Most of that size is all limbs and can only be properly viewed when the legs are completely stretched out, which never happens naturally unless the tarantula is sick or dead. However, as it is the largest of the kind, it was through this species that I hoped to achieve success.
Image taken from: https://www.google.ca/search?q=brazilian+black+tarantula&aq=f&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=2kdxUY-2O4ep4APzqYDgBw&biw=1366&bih=600&sei=3UdxUeWnFvDB4AO49YHwBQ#imgrc=_VG2jEpjFRIVrM%3A%3BHlCdpyuRdNndvM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%252F-poGtd3_bdOs%252FTYDkw4EYXcI%252FAAAAAAAAAEo%252F-BXIEpW6HbQ%252Fs1600%252FJust_Moulted_Club_Gpulchra2_by_pitbulllady.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fexoticsandmore.blogspot.com%252F2011%252F03%252Fspecies-of-day-brazilian-black.html%3B1024%3B768
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
The first thing They did was kick The Guy in the face. It was done merely out of convenience as he was already on the ground when They spotted him. If someone finds themselves in the unfortunate position of being roughed up, whether by fate or design, it usually doesn't start out with a kick to the face. That tends to be more of a coup de grace than an opening move. But shit happens. It was not the end of the world. It was just a kick to the face. And It became the warm up, a pre-emptive strike, a deterrent for The Guy to not fuck around, to know They meant business. Not that there was much to worry about handling a guy like this, short and pudgy. The kind of guy you can tell pulls a string of bad luck behind him. Still, you never know. If you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate position of working on the wrong side of the law and putting food on the table by roughing people up for money, than it is probably good to not take chances. The Poor Guy never saw the kick coming, his focus was solely on finding whatever it was he needed to find, maybe car keys. The unexpected kick landed square in the middle of The Guy’s face and caused his head to whip far back. If it hadn't already been attached to The Guy’s body that kick would have sent his head flying across the parking lot. Instead The Guy cried out in pain and spew out a series of coughs and whimpers. He sucked in mouthfuls of air while he slowly crawled around on the pavement, dirtying up his dress pants. Hard to tell if The Guy knew what was going on at that point in time or not. Who knows what goes through someone’s head right after it takes a hard hit that seemingly came out of nowhere.
If The Guy’s nose wasn't already broken, and he was pretty sure it was, it would be soon. He dabbed at the bottom of it with his index finger as he leaned his head back against the front of the car, still ignorant to the presence of the two hard looking men watching him. The Guy seemed surprised as to how much blood was still trickling out his nose and running off his chin. They let some time pass for The Guy to catch his breath and take in what was happening, it was important to them that he understood both what and why this was going on. In fact, it was a part of their job.
JOB: Give The Guy a roughing up – make sure he knows why.
WHY: Hopefully he already knew the answer to that.
People don’t just beat each other up for no good reason, no one has the time for that any more. This isn't the 20s or the 50s. Time is more precious now than ever, just like money, and a good beating can take money and time. If you are the one(s) doing the beating then you are probably charging a pretty penny, it is not just about the time but the risks involved. You could physically get hurt, maybe even fatally wounded, and/or get arrested. If you are the unfortunate one getting the beatings then let’s hope whatever you did to deserve it was worth it, and/or that you are schooled in some form of deadly martial arts and you are just waiting for the right moment to strike.
The first thing The Guy noticed once he could concentrate on something outside of the blood and pain was a pair of oddly fashionable dark brown shoes. Possibly the very same pair that had just kicked him in the face. Creamy leather finished in a rainbow of hand-patinated hues. They are hand crafted loafers, the same kind of loafers Andy Warhol wore. 2,000 dollar loafers. Berluti loafers. For a brief moment The Guy forgot about his current situation and focused in on the shoes, wondering how much money someone would have to have in order to justify kicking someone else in the face with a pair of Berluti loafers on. He surely would never wear those shoes for such an occasion. Unfortunately, day dreaming although pleasant is brief and he quickly remembered that he had seen those shoes before on the feet of a man who worked for another man that The Guy knew but really wished he didn't. As the dots connected themselves an uncontrollable surge of panic welled up inside of his chest and then spilled over, forcing his body to flee out of fear. But that didn't do him any good. This wasn't their first day on the job, They knew what to expect, They knew all the tricks. The Guy made a short deep moan as he was brought back down again onto the pavement with a quick kick to the back of his ribs. Lying on his side, he struggled to breathe more dots connected.
The Guy wasn't schooled in some form of deadly martial arts, sadly for him, but one of the men sent to hurt him was. The one wearing the fashionable shoes, the one who kicked him in the face, and the ribs, The Muscle. And the other guy, the one not wearing the fashionable shoes nor the doing the hurting nor the one getting the beating, was The Talker. He says the things that need to be said, asks the questions that need to be asked, and occasionally, when it suited him, he threw in a punch or two. He hadn't started talking yet, and on some occasions he never had to. Sometimes a good beating can say enough.
The Guy stared at the two men, awaiting his fate with wild eyes. The Muscle knelt down and punched him in the side of his face and again when The Guy started talking. His head whipped to the side and the other cheek banged into the car.
‘No talking,’ said The Talker.
The Guy hadn't actually said anything coherent, he had tried but the swelling in his face made it hard to form words. Not thinking properly, maybe because of the hits to his head, he tried talking some more. The Muscle hit him with the fist on his other hand, a short quick jab that brought a crunch sound from The Guy’s nose and a new stream of blood. And just like clockwork The Talker jumped in for clarification, ‘no talking’, and pointed his finger at The Guy’s face.
‘Pick The Guy up,’ The Talker said to The Muscle.
The Guy was pulled up on his feet so The Talker could leer over him with his mean face on.
‘You know what you did,’ The Talker said to The Guy, not as a question but as a declaration of fact.
‘You know why we’re here.’
‘And you know who sent us.’
The Talker finished his speech and gestured to The Muscle with a nod that said, ‘hit him.’ Again The Guy hadn't see it coming. An expanding pain in his gut spread as his body folded forward and then collapsed. The Muscle helped him up again. The Guy coughed repeatedly; his eyes were wide open and looking every which way, maybe he was trying to think of a possible avenue out of his current situation. But before he could come up with something his head received a deafening blow directly on his ear. The contact produced a loud and deep pang sound that resonated throughout his head and was so strong that The Guy wondered if everything in his head had not always made that sound. The Muscle picked The Guy up again, this time noticing the heaviness of his body. The Guy was almost out. With a brief glance The Muscle relayed this information to The Talker who seemed to be taking it into consideration.
‘Drop him,’ The Talker said to The Muscle.
The Guy’s body flopped down quickly and for some reason after he hit the ground he started to talk again. For a few moments the only thing that happened was The Guy talking. He said everything, and he said it through swollen bloody lips that had already begun to show signs of bruising. The Talker and The Muscle just watched, tuning in momentarily. They didn't say a word as They both understood what was transpiring. A man afraid for his life and afraid of feeling any more pain was desperate and vainly attempting to talk his way out, and he would say anything whether it was true or not. He would do anything he could to make this stop. He would forget himself entirely. He would be desperate. He would beg and plead and reason and barter and explain explain explain all the while lying on the dirty black wet cement. It is pathetic and aggravating and useless as They had seen it all before. There was no point in telling The Guy that he was quite literally wasting his breath, that more pain could be caused whether he wanted it to or not. It didn't matter what he wanted. But fortunately the instructions were clear, ‘hurt him, but don’t kill him. Rough him up a little bit. A couple to the head, maybe one in the gut, a little kick to the face. You know, mix it up. Make it so he will think twice.’ The Guy would live.
The Talker and The Muscle looked at each other, some things were said without a word and then all at once it was over. The Muscle turned and began walking away as The Talker knelt down beside The Guy to say one last thing, ‘“It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
The Talker got up and walked off in the same direction as The Muscle had, letting The Guy go back to finding his keys and wondering whether or not The Talker had just made a Harry Potter reference.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
It was all the notes you wrote me. That's what did it. And it was your notes that I missed the most, I think. I missed you too of course, there was no question of that. There were just so many notes. They became a big part of my memories of you, at times they even blotted you out. I remember you left notes for me everywhere. My life with you was peppered with small amorous, and sometimes poetic, little messages, all scribbled on pink heart shaped paper.
In my clothes drawers, between the pages of books and amongst stacks of papers, at the bottom of bags, stuck to the side of almost anything, and once even inside my hat. What came out of this I don’t think either of us had expected. You haphazardly force fed me daily dosages of sweet and loving words. At the time I remember wondering whether it was really beneficial for a person to be subjected to such a constant stream of affirmation, love, and support.
And I kept them all. Every single note. I collected them at first, as I came across each one, unsticking them from wherever you had chosen to stick them, and stored in a shoebox. It felt great to possess a box filled with brightly coloured pieces of paper decorated with your words. But the box always felt empty. I realized then that the notes in the box had lost their charm because I hadn't kept them in situ. Part of what made your notes meaningful was where I had found them, how unexpectedly surprised I was, and how I thought it was so clever too. Writing a note for someone is a thoughtful gesture, something you only do because you really care. It is an action, and true love is all about sweet words and action.
So I stopped putting them in the shoebox. I left them where I found them instead. Read and appreciated. But the problem was never the notes, it was the rate at which they were produced. Do you remember how in the beginning I left notes for you too? I could never keep up with you, I had tried, I wanted to be thoughtful too. I even bought a pink heart shaped notepad.
There were so many notes. Way more than hundreds, still more than thousands. Everything I owned was oozing your little messages on pink heart shaped paper. Perhaps it was because of the lack of free space that you decided to start putting notes in my mugs and egg cartons and inside individual socks and cereal boxes. After which the note piles began, one stuck up on top of the other, reaching several inches high. It got hard to keep track of which ones I had already read. I am certain I missed at least a few. I felt badly about that but it was impossible to avoid, there were just too many.
But then someone reminded me of something I apparently had made myself forget. That you only ever wrote me the two notes, and the first had been from a pink heart shaped notepad. I do remember it. I found it in the book I was reading. You left it there, right where I had been last reading. I thought it was such a clever spot to put a note. And it said, “You make me happy.”
I was touched.
The other came not long after the first, from a generic white notepad. You didn't hide this one for me to find, I remember that but I don’t remember what it said, apparently I won’t let myself.
Monday, December 3, 2012
So I have been working on another collection of short stories, this time though it is a themed collection, all having to do with spiders. My last collection was a melting pot of random stories I had amassed over a period, many from various different genres of writing. I enjoy reading anthologies and collections that do not have a theme, especially any "best of" gatherings. But I also like the idea of a themed collection, it sets a certain tone. This new collection I am working on, although all about spiders, is a combination of horror and experimental fiction.
Anyway, I thought I would add a brief snippet from one of the stories that will be in the collection.
I have a spider in my head, and that is not the worst part. The worst part is that I can actually feel it walking around in there. I can feel each one of its eight long legs moving rapidly or casually across the surface of my brain and along the walls of my skull. I have seen what the spider looks like so I can imagine it perfectly. I can picture it while I lay down to sleep it's nestling on top the front of my brain, leaning up against the back of my eyeball. Or in the motion of my day it's sitting comfortably amidst the wires of its web, stretched across the back end of my skull, from one side to the other, enjoying the cozy tight space but surely wishing there was a bit more room. I can only imagine the damage its presence is causing me, not just mentally but physically as well. Who knows how much damage a spider’s leg can be to a receptor in the brain? While I possibly lay on the brink of death, or worse, mental retardation, I bet it feels very safe in there surrounded by my thick skull, completely void of any predators, with a nice complementary comfy juicy bloody brain to enjoy. The strange part is that this is not the first time I have had a spider in my head. And I can see why it went in there; I bet it had been planning on doing it right from the start.
Since this travesty has befallen me I have spent much of my time wondering why more spiders are not doing this. Why are spiders in heads a more common reason for a trip to the hospital? And could this become a growing trend? Will the word spread amongst the countless numbers of spider species? Is this part of our evolution? Is this how the human race will meet its end?
Image taken from: http://www.google.ca/imgres?start=282&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1366&bih=683&tbm=isch&tbnid=bojGcNySfmALCM:&imgrefurl=http://www.24hrpestcontrol.com/spiders/&docid=pMuDAKHOV-3Q6M&imgurl=http://www.24hrpestcontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/spider.jpg&w=750&h=460&ei=Np-8UI2BAceNyAH_gYHoCA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=428&vpy=134&dur=902&hovh=176&hovw=287&tx=126&ty=91&sig=103347284287404018594&page=11&tbnh=135&tbnw=230&ndsp=29&ved=1t:429,r:84,s:200,i:256