“I step into the cold silence.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday December 4, 2019
9:15pm
5 minutes
New Planet
Misha Penton

 

I wish my back didn’t hurt so damn much. I don’t say these words out loud, but they echo as though my head is an elementary school gymnasium and it’s indoor play for the younger grades. Goddamnit, I’m not going to be able to go near a school for awhile. Dad taught Grade Seven for forty three years. Can you imagine? I step into the cold silence of the basement, down the stairs, around the wall, hear the hum of the furnace and see the boxes, piled as neatly as they could be. Dad was organized. That’s one thing he was. Was. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that.

“he became a living legend” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday December 3, 2019
4:29pm
5 minutes
from Elvis Presley’s gravestone

 

Billy never thought he’d learn to ride bareback. He never thought he’d be able to bake a chocolate cake. He never thought that he’d write poetry, or learn to play slide guitar, or have an old mutt named Sam Cooke. Billy was born on a farm and when you’re born on a farm you think you’ll die on a farm. At least that’s how it was for Billy. He was one of six siblings, two of them twins. He was second youngest. He faded into the background in photos, at meals, in school cafeterias. Billy never thought he’d get a motorcycle and ride through Chile. He never thought he’d learn Spanish. He never thought he’d fall in to love with Carmel.

“the deity manifest” by Sasha at the kitchen table on Nassau Street

Wednesday November 27, 2019
10:03am
Egyptian Mythology
Geraldine Pingh
I never wash my hands after I pee. I always wash my hands after I poo. I know that Mama said wash your hands whenever you do your business, but I do not see the point when peeing, cuz pee is sterile! It’s probably more sanitary to pee in the bath if the tub hasn’t been scrubbed than not pee! It’s your own pee after all! Shit. I mean… Haha! How did I get talking about this? I guess I just wanted you to know something intimate about me, something that I wouldn’t normally tell someone, especially not someone who I barely know… Do you wash your hands when you pee? I have my best ideas when on the toilet. Crap. I really want to move away from the toilet talk. But… I guess I’m just nervous. Really nervous.

“niches of great magnitude” by Sasha at the kitchen table on Nassau Street

Monday November 25, 2019
9:08pm
5 minutes
At the Mountains of Madness
H.P. Lovecraft
Cherry invites Roland over for coffee cake and Earl Grey Tea. She doesn’t know how he takes it, but she guesses sugar, no milk. When Cherry’s daughter Erin went vegan three years ago, and started sending Cherry articles and documentaries to watch, Cherry stopped buying cow’s milk. She still ate Brie cheese sometimes, and chicken if someone was serving it, or bacon with brunch at Christmas. Erin was very convincing from the time she was little. Roland arrived three minutes past one. Cherry hadn’t known what time to invite him for – late morning? Late afternoon? Early afternoon seemed like the best option, following lunch, before things got close to supper, or the sunset. Roland’s wife Augusta had died in August, and Cherry  waited the appropriate amount of time before she invited him over for tea. She had butterflies in her belly when the doorbell rang.

“Still coughing” by Julia at her desk

Friday November 22, 2019
5:04pm
5 minutes
From a text

Bitsy’s brother clears his throat over the phone and it is the worst sound he makes.
It is the worst sound to hold there in the ear, without warning, right there.
He doesn’t know how loud it is, or how frequent, and telling him now after all
these years might be hard. Might be hard to say, Listen I Love you but your throat-clearing
is aggressive. My Bro, I love you, but you just need to pull the phone a little bit away
from your mouth when you feel one coming on. Listen I love you.
He’s not coughing anymore which is good. Now he believes he has to clear it even if there’s
nothing really there. It’s a trick of the mind. The old sickness still clinging.

“Still coughing” by Sasha in the office on Nassau Street

Friday November 22, 2019
10:31am
5 minutes
From a text

Vera’s still coughing seven weeks after she first gets sick. She goes to the walk-in clinic on the corner by the bank and waits for a long long time in a waiting room with lots of sniffly children and elderly people wearing masks. Finally she sees a doctor who looks like her granddaughter (who looks like she could be her granddaughter) and says that she’s still coughing. The doctor smiles, and asks why she isn’t wearing a mask. The doctor prescribes a puffer and cough drops. Vera scoffs at the cough drops but says she’ll get the puffer from her pharmacy, not the one in the building.

“Coming today” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 17, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
From a note on the table

B’s coming today from Thunder Bay. She texted earlier saying she doesn’t know exactly when she’s set to arrive now on account of the highway moose.
When I asked her for details I didn’t get a response for over 2 hours and that worried me. Finally she wrote back saying, “Dead already, RIP, still coming” which from B is a miracle. I think it was blocking the road but I’ll have to wait till she gets here for the information. If she had hit the moose she would likely cancel her trip without even telling me. B is prone to last minute cancellations depending on the severity of the unexpected circumstance.
When I was last in Thunder Bay I also saw a dead highway moose and to tell you the truth I wasn’t as shocked when B told me about hers because of it. I somehow planted that in my memory as a Thunder Bay thing, which is unfair since I was only there for a few hours. I guess I could remember it for having the “Best Chinese Restaurant” as well but I ate at that restaurant and it was clear that Thunder Bay had a penchant for hyperbole. Well I don’t know about all of Thunder Bay, again, it was the only place I ate.

“Coming today” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday November 17, 2019
8:24am
5 minutes
From a note on the table

We’re awaiting the arrival of the scented candles but they should be coming today. Deliveries usually arrive in the afternoon… The ones named after the neighbourhoods, right? Which one are you after? High Park. High Park… Okay. I haven’t been to High Park in a long time. My aunt Jessica used to take me skating on Grenadier Pond. Have you ever done that? She’d force me to wear her fur hat. I would put up a valiant fight, but she always won. Aunt Jessica is dead now. She never had kids of her own. She was a very good aunt. I think she might’ve been a lesbian, but never came out to family. She had a “friend” – Ethel – who I imagine was her lover. You’ll be back later for the candle? Oh. Okay. Yes. Well… try to make it for a skate this year, yeah?

“There are moments when art attains” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday November 16, 2019
10:47am
5 minutes
From a quote by Oscar Wilde

Mina tells me and Candy that she’s writing an opera and we roll our eyes because what does someone like Mina know about op-er-a… but then, then she comes over and talks to my Dad about sheet music and baritones and other fancy things and I mean holy crap, she is writing an actual opera. I hate how impressed Dad is, like Mina is super smart or something. She’s not. She’s just regular smart. In fact, I helped her with some geometry homework just the other day! I try to tell Dad that Mina isn’t all that special, I mean, writing an opera as a seventh grader is cool, I guess, but it’s not special. Dad says that I should celebrate my friends, not feel threatened or jealous. “You have your own gifts, Jeannine,” Dad says, folding the corners of his stupid dumplings.

“I remembered a story” by Julia at her desk

Friday November 15, 2019
4:40pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Laurens van der Post

papa used to make up stories on the spot
after being begged
after we climbed him like baby baboons
after we heard one good one and knew
there had to be more where that came from

sometimes he’d do it with his eyes closed
and the telling would be the only thing
keeping him from sleeping
he’d say “I’m just resting my eyes”

mama never made up stories
but told the same ones over and over again
usually to teach us a lesson
but sometimes because she couldn’t hold
a memory any better than she could hold space
for Bastien’s learning disability

mama didn’t want any stupid kids and that’s
what she thought she got
she and Bastien were so much a like
you’d swear he had the same thing she did
although she’d never admit that she had
anything but a lack of patience

papa doesn’t remember the tales he used
to tell us, and that’s how you know he
was really in the moment and not somewhere
else wishing he wasn’t

mama doesn’t remember hating Bastien

“A flawless flagpole clinks” by Julia blow drying her hair

Thursday November 14, 2019
3:32pm
5 minutes
Small-Town Autumn
Donna Steiner

According to the other people’s house in a new life that is so far away from the city, we have to pay for the first day of the year and then we can go back into town. I’m sorry I’m late for these things but you know how much you love me.
One day it will make sense for us.
I don’t want anyone to figure it out so for now you have to try to drive the truck back to the shop..try to find out how much you owe…you see what I am trying to say? Don’t let them catch you.

“Though I had quit drinking” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday November 13, 2019
7:20am
Free Rent at the Totalitarian Hotel
Poe Ballantine

Quiet fell like a blanket over my head, weighty and full. I wished that I’d known what quiet would do to me earlier, before today, before Wednesday. That stroke of genius could’ve come on Monday. So be it, though, so be it. Samson keeps talking about wanting something and then when he finally gets it he doesn’t even want it anymore. Not my relationship to this quiet. A raven picks at a pile of leaves to my left and I remember when Samson told me that Gilly was pregnant and how we drank beer on the wrap around porch. I had already quit drinking, but Creemore’s on the porch was our thing. I could never refuse him. I still had a beard. We didn’t kiss that night, but we did the next time we saw each other. We did kiss that time. When did I start measuring things in kisses? When did Samson tell me that we had to stop hooking up? When did Gilly look at me like she knew about us? When did quiet begin to feel like the real escape?

“Later I found the fork” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday November 8, 2019
7:38am
5 minutes
Because These Failures Are My Job
Alison Luterman

I used to steal rice pudding from Mrs. Crasinski’s house. She paid me five dollars to feed her demented cat when she went to Sarnia to visit her sister and I justified the inconveniece (which, in hindsight, was minuscule) by stealing her delicious homemade rice pudding. She always had a big jar of it in her fridge. I think she served it to the ladies who would come over for Bridge on Tuesday afternoons, and to her granddaughter, Cassandra. I feel really badly often about a whole milieu of things, but at the top of the list is stealing rice pudding from this poor, lonely old lady. She never noticed I don’t think. I never ate enough to really put a dent in the big jar. I’d take a fork from the cutlery drawer and eat it with the fridge door still open, a rush of adrenaline and milky sweetness surfing through my veins. 

“I am a young, talented writer.” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday November 7, 2019
8:32am
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

Mike thinks he’s got the best ideas. Everyone thinks theirs ideas are best, but Mike is really out there with how he thinks his are. He fights for his ideas. This goes against everything I’ve been taught about collaboration and about general good manners. And, I want to be more like Mike. His ideas are usually pretty decent, but they aren’t the best. But the fact that he is so committed to them, to getting through to the rest of us, to being clear – leads to a lot of the content we’re creating being Mike’s. I hate the guy. Let’s be clear about that. His ego is B-I-G. Seriously. But maybe I hate him because I actually wish I was a little more like him? Maybe I loathe his tenacity and self-assuredness because these are qualities that I do not, in fact, possess?

“choose return” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday November 3, 2019
8:19pm
5 minutes
Google flights

Lois has never been on an airplane. She has never been through airport security. She has never purchased overpriced nuts at a kiosk near the departure gate. When she booked her trip to Nashville, Lois went on Google flights, like Dennis had recommended. “They somehow aggregate all the flights,” (Lois does not think Dennis knows the meaning of aggregate), “and then you have all the information about all the flights in the world right in one handy dandy place!” (Oh Dennis, who wears loafers and uses terms like “handy dandy”). When Lois packs her carry on suitcase, she carefully rolls each T-shirt, tank top and pair of underwear. She’ll wear one pair of black pants on the flight and bring her jeans. Who needs more than two pairs of pants over a long weekend? 

“Get yourself a back brace” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 29, 2019
12:23pm
5 minutes
Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris

You let things get messy. Dishes pile up on the counters. Recycling balloons. Newspapers and flyers on the porch. Leaves collect, and then begin to decompose. You’ve always had a bad back. Started as a football injury in the tenth grade. Some elephant of a guy took you down and you felt something snap. You didn’t cry on the field, but you wanted to. You cried later, alone in your room, in your twin bed with the red flannel sheets. Your feet hung over the end. Your mother knocked on the door and brought you your favourite minestrone soup from the diner on the other side of town. Margie used to say that men have back issues because of unprocessed anger. You wonder about that now, lying on the floor, dust bunnies under everything, mess all over the place. Your eyes sting.

“everything seems to happen to music.” By Sasha in her bed

Monday October 21, 2019
1:49pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Tennessee Williams

The good stuff always happens to music, right? The first kisses. The quiet goodbyes. The waking up on your birthday. The Christmas dinners. Music is the thread that holds the beads of what life is. I truly believe that. I bought us a record player at a garage sale a few years ago and we’ve been slowly adding records to our collection. We aren’t doing it to be analogue or ironic or anything. We’re doing it because the act of placing the needle, of blowing dust off the surface, of flipping a record over… it’s sacred. It really is. Lying on the floor at the end of a shit day is made okay as soon as the volume gets turned up. I feel my body sink into the carpet and the music fills me, it fills me up.

“what power does it have?” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday October 20, 2019
5:16pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Eckhart Tolle

Police swarm the square where your grandmother used to take you to throw pennies in the fountain with the angels dancing. You’d make a wish, and she’s buy you a sweet from the bakery around the corner. You remember her smell – vanilla, amber, old photographs. Now you wear a gas mask, a black t-shirt and denim overalls. You aren’t sure what your grandmother would say about your haircut. You wish that pennies were still a thing. You long for the innocence and clarity of childhood.

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“I cried during the silent walking meditation” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 15, 2019
7:19pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

Alice left Jim on a Wednesday. It was a long time coming. At least that’s what everyone said. It wasn’t dramatic. It was deliberate and soft. She had packed a black suitcase, as she knew that she needed to actually leave, not just figuratively leave. The suitcase had been Alice’s mother’s. It was worn on the bottom corner, but still zipped up. Their other suitcases, stored in the basement next to the box of Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper, belonged to Jim. At least she thought they did. It was the division of things that most overwhelmed her. Not the conversation, the “leaving” conversation. The division of their items, their life, parsed out in “I’ll take the immersion blender and you take the coffee grinder?” The older Alice got the more she didn’t care for things that she could turn on, hold in her hand, or cart around. She cared for the feeling of her blood pressure lowering, the October wind bringing her closer to herself.

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Sasha in her bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:03pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

Mickey thinks a lot about independence, and how people end up like they are. “We’re in a real mess, Mick,” papa says. “I guess so,” she replies.

She reads a lot. Goes to the library and takes out a few books on capitalism, and then reads and reads until she might understand. She’s not sure if we ever truly understand anything, as there’s always more to learn, or  another way of looking at something.

Mickey walks her German Shepherd rescue Troy by the river most days, except when the snow rises so high that she can’t step. Troy never struggles, no matter how high the drifts get, leaping and bounding towards the water’s edge.

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 1, 2019
4:43pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

Under the porch floorboards, under the house built on the side of the world, under the sky turning mauve in her changing, a mouse sings to her children a song that her mother taught her a long time ago.

Above, in the house, a woman brushes her hair after a hot bath, long strokes, like her mother taught her a long time ago. She knows of the mice in the house, the ones that live in the porch a wilder breed. She has come to see them as her tiny roommates. She no longer resents them, as she did her ex-husband, the only other roommate she’s had.

The mice children curl up into their mother and they mew and peep towards sleep.

“How could God?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 26, 2019
8:02am
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

Snaking through the aisles of the Seven Eleven, Rory catches a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye. Steve. Shit. Steve. STEVE. He grabs a pack of gum, a bottle of orange Gatorade, a bag of Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s. The man behind the cash has the eyes of someone who has seen a lot. Takes one to know one, Rory doesn’t let himself think. Steve won’t see him. Steve will get a can of Diet Pepsi, maybe a Mars bar. He’ll be lost in the forest of his thoughts, of his hangover, of his wish for love. Rory pulls his debit card from his wallet. Taps. Tap. Tap on his shoulder. Steve. Eyes of someone who shares a secret.

“As a consequence” by Sasha on the couch

Saturday September 21, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You beg her to think about consequences and she says that she doesn’t believe in morality, or ethics, or anything like that. Okay, you say, unsure where there is to go once someone says something like that. Maybe that’s judgement. Maybe that’s difference. Who knows. You wonder what her mother would say, wrapped in pearls, her curly haired beauty a wild, hedonistic animal. Something crashes outside. Raccoons, she says. She goes to window to see. It’s dark outside. Could be cats, you say. No way, she says.

“Please, just think about cause and effect, think about consequences,” you say again. Sometimes in the saying of something a second time, it lands. Not this time.

“Is it starting to rain?” By Sasha at the dining room table on Oak Dr.

Monday September 16, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

”Is it raining?” Bronwen asks Doug.

Doug has no idea but he wants to tell her something true so he quickly checks the weather app on his phone. “Nope!”

Bronwen wonders about whether or not Doug has ever had a platonic relationship with a woman. He doesn’t strike her as one of those guys. He strikes her as someone who has probably fucked or at the very least kissed most of his female friends.

”I’m going to go for a run after work. Wanna join?” Bronwen can only see the top of Doug’s head over the divider that separate their cubicles. Tufts of grey and black.

“I’m not much of a runner…” Doug wishes he was, but he’s not, and it’s better she finds out while he still has his dignity.

”I’m not either, DOUG, but I’m trying to offset the fifty hours that we sit in this prison and sitting is the new smoking so come the fuck on!”

Doug chuckles.

“Four beating wings” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 9, 2019
10:04am
5 minutes
The Dalliance of Eagles
Walt Whitman

You drive down the long gravel road to the swamp where Mary used to walk. You feel her when you’re there and that brings something warm to the cold parts brings something soft to the hard parts.

You see a egret and remember the time that Mary made Shepherd’s Pie and set the stove on fire. You hear a crake, a waterhen, a grebe. You long for her in a way you’ve never longed for something. The usual suspects (fame, love, knowing), they pale in comparison to how badly you wish you could hold Mary’s face in your palms and tell her that you finally went to the Elora Gorge. You know what her eyes would do. They’d sparkle before they teared, they’d become pools of goodness. A waterhen lands right near you and cocks her head to the left.

“She has even lost one leg” by Sasha at her counter

Sunday August 25, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

Pam grabs Maxine, her passport, her laptop, and a Cliff bar. Standing outside in her Rolling Stones T-shirt and underwear, Maxine meows and scratches her. They watch the building burn. “Shit,” Pam says, pulling down her T-shirt, trying to cover her bum. Rudy, from the basement apartment comes over and puts his arm around Pam. She’s not into it, but doesn’t shrug away. They are losing everything, so might as well feel “in it” together.

“Nice kitty,” says Rudy. He has bad breath.

“I’m going to go back in… My photo albums… My mother’s engagement ring… My external hard drive…” Pam keeps listing things and Rudy shakes his head and keeps his arm firmly where it is.

“we should not trust the masses” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 15, 2019
10:02am
5 minutes
Discourses
Epictetus

“Do not trust the masses”, Domenic says, drinking his dry white wine and scratching his chin. His beard is turning grey. I haven’t seen him since I was a teenager, and he looks the same but a bit more pickley.

“I don’t, I’m just trying to – …” Domenic puts his hand on my hand, rested on the tabletop.

“You must follow your own sense, or one day you’ll wake up and you won’t know how you got to where you got to. That is not a good feeling. Take it from me.” He finishes his wine. My mother tops him up. She’s been sitting quietly across the table, watching.

“I believe that we can have our own sense, and be contributing members of society,” I look up at the starry sky.

“A funeral” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday August 8, 2019
9:14pm
5 minutes
Sophocles
Charles Kell

We get caught behind a funeral on the way to the cemetery.

“I guess we should pull over?” You say. Everything a question. Everything in question.

“Obviously,” I say. Sour milk.

You pull over and so do the other cars on the road. Let the procession pass.

I’m back the day Steve died. Finding him. Vomiting and screaming and cupping his face in my hands. I’m back at his memorial. Nothingness into more nothingness and egg salad sandwiches.

“You okay?” You say. Everything a fucking question.

“No I’m not okay!” I say. Forgotten leftovers at the back of the fridge.

“I mean…”

“I know what you mean…” I give a one-third smile two third grimace.

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday August 4, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida reaches across the table and takes a sip of her father’s unsugared coffee. It tastes like tar.

“What are you doing?” He’s back from the washroom, hands in his pockets, crease between his eyebrows deeper than when he left.

“I just wanted to – …”

“That’s for grown-ups.” He sits down and stacks his cutlery on his plate, putting the paper napkin, folded, on top.

“I’m sorry, Papa.” Aida gets that sinking feeling in her stomach and wonders when her mother will pick her up. Saturday morning breakfasts with her father were court ordered. No one checked with her.

“found the conversation a burden to listen to” by Sasha in the car

Wednesday July 24, 2019
5:11pm
5 minutes
Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry

On the bus home from therapy. Why did I choose a therapist across the city? I’m sure there are good people close to where I live, but nope, I had to find the dude with the little round glasses and the greying beard two bus rides away. And now I love him and I trust him, and I know about his three sons and his dying mother, and that’s the most personal information I’ve ever gotten out of a therapist before so I’ll see him until one of us croaks.

These two people are talking like you talk in your kitchen after a few glasses of wine. They are riling each other up. One keeps saying, “YOLO, Cheryl! YO-LO!” and Cheryl keeps saying, “I know, but I’m scared!” and in a very quiet voice I whisper, “We all are, but we go about our business anyway.”

“The vast majority of people don’t want to do anything physical” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday July 17, 2019
10:36pm
5 minutes
Overhead on the 4

The vast majority of people don’t want to do anything physical. They just want to talk, or bitch, or cry, or… you get the picture. It’s nothing like I thought it would be, when I first got into it. I mean, I’ve given my fair share of hand jobs, don’t get me wrong, but, it really isn’t about that. It’s about connection, being heard, knowing that someone is there for you and only for you, and isn’t going to ask for anything in return. It’s cheaper than therapy! Ha ha ha… Am I doing this right? Is this the kind of thing you’re after? I’m trying to be myself but with the camera and everything… I don’t know. It’s hard to relax. I’ve only fallen in love once on the job and that was with Rufus, who died last November.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” By Sasha at her desk

Sunday July 7, 2019
12:15pm
5 minutes
Philippians 4:13

Oh my God! Hey! How’s it going?!

I’m glad that you’re happy. Really I am. I mean, that’s what I always wanted for you, I guess I’m just not really happy about what you being happy means for me. Does that even make sense? Shit, I’m rambling… how are you? I guess I should ask that, right? It’s been like, almost a year, right? Wow. TIME. Haha.

Good. Good. I’m glad to hear that. I guess.

Yeah, it’s been a weird time, to be honest. I finally got a dog! Her name is Carp. She’s a mutt. You’d love her. I love her. I mean…

I’m in therapy. How fucking typical… “I finally got a dog and I’m finally in therapy!” It’s good though. My therapist wears these glasses with different shapes, like, the left one is round and the right one is square. She’s a badass.

“A federal statutory holiday” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday July 6, 2019
7:51pm
5 minutes
From a Wikipedia page re: Canada day

Mona is grateful for Canada Day because it means time and a half. She doesn’t know about colonization or the traumatizing effects of fireworks on refugees from countries where there’s war. She’s ignorant to the questionable politics. She doesn’t even know how much she likes it like that. Mona stocks tampons and pads, adult diapers and lube. She wishes she could listen to music, her own music not the bullshit they play in the store, but she makes due.

“Hey Mona, how’s it goin’?” Says Jeremiah. Jeremi-ahhhh.

“Hey…” She’s holding a box of ribbed Trojans.

“Are you going down to the lake for fireworks tonight?” He looks at his high tops.

“I don’t know…” She touches her braid.

“I was supposed to have the afternoon off” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday April 13, 2019
8:02am
5 minutes
Truckin’
Ken Mitchell

Bill is rolling a cigarette out behind the dumpster and I’m pissed because I’m trying to quit but he’s there tempting me every time I want to take a break.

“WTF Bill!” I say, and he doesn’t look up. He licks his lips. “You know I’m tryin’ to quit! Least you could do is pull that milk cart outta sight, or somethin’!”

I go for a walk around the block. This guy is not going to get to me. This guy is not going to get to me. I’ve smoked for six years and I don’t even want to think about how many days this has chopped off my life. How Bill’s heart is still beating is a question that remains unanswered. The guy must be at least sixty now, but he has that ageless wrinkle thing goin’. Hard life, I guess.

“under his dark eye-lids” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday April 11, 2019
8:09pm
5 minutes
Faces Of The Sun-Man
Rienzi Crusz

Didn’t trust him the moment I met him, something about those deep sunken eyes. He’d seen things, you know? But, we had to work together so I did what I had to do. You spend enough hours in a car with someone and you find a redeeming quality or two… Didn’t like him smoking all the time. Didn’t like how he liked to make rude jokes about women, about how needy they are, or stupid… “Cut it out, Smithers,” I’d always say. Every single time.

“Shoot, right, you got daughters,” he’d roll his eyes, light up a cigarette.

“It’s not about that. You can’t talk like that.”

Smoke rings.

“imbalance and improperly-tuned segments” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday April 10, 2019
8:18pm
5 minutes
Later, When I Am Carried Forward This Far
Parm Mayer

Gladys segments the grapefruit for Penny. She likes Wednesdays, but it hasn’t always been that way. She likes Wednesdays now that Hank drops Penny off on his way to work and she gets to spend the day with her granddaughter. A first grandchild is always something extra special, Doreen said. Gladys scoffed. But it’s true. Penny is the cutest kid Gladys has ever seen. She patiently waits in her highchair, watching as Gladys adds small pieces of apple and a few almonds to the plate. “You’re being very patient, Pen,” Gladys says and Penny smiles.

“The room is dingy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday April 7, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

The room isn’t exactly dingy, but it’s nothing fancy. You starfish on the bed and sigh. I check out the bathroom. I start running a bath. I don’t have tub in my studio apartment. It almost deterred me but then I remembered my budget and how I promised myself I’d finish my novel this year and the more I paid in rent the less I could write because I’d have to work at the bar and good grief am I really forty two years old and pouring pitchers of beer…

“Shall I join you?” You call from the bed.

“If you’d like!” I call back.

“What would you like?” You say, appearing in the doorway.

“Maria’s self-view was that she was inadequate” by Sasha at her desk

Friday April 5, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Spirituality in Clinical Practice
Len Sperry

Maria secretly smokes menthol cigarettes. She doesn’t eat after seven o’clock. She starts the day with a jog around the block (“Good morning, Ron!” “Good morning, Mrs. Feldman…”) and makes sure the roses don’t need trimming. Maria eats cottage cheese and cantaloupe for breakfast, and a cup of black coffee in her travel mug to go. She’s got to drive to the other side of town today to prep an open house. Maria worked at a daycare before she started in real estate. Dwayne is on night shifts so he’ll sleep until two or so. She gives him a kiss when the alarm goes off at six thirty and then there’s no looking back. She used to go in to say goodbye before she left but that often resulted in him trying to pull her back into bed and she doesn’t have time for that.

“Eat bread and understand comfort.” By Sasha at her desk

Saturday March 30, 2019
6:21pm
5 minutes
To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
Mary Oliver

She isn’t sure what to make of the fact that Jed is making bread again. It’s been three years since there was yeast germinating on the counter. She forgot what it was like to wake up to the smell of a fresh loaf of sourdough on the counter. She forgot about cutting into the crusty exterior and dripping pieces into olive oil and balsamic vinegar. She doesn’t ask Jed what’s changed, or why he decided to start up again. She doesn’t want to disturb the stillness of the flour, the bubble of the fermentation.

“Is it the beginning of a poem?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday March 28, 2019
10:02am
5 minutes
The Poet Always Carries A Notebook
Mary Oliver

Forest walk. Billy runs ahead. His back legs are starting to go. Happens to German Shepherds. He still runs like he means it. Runs like he’ll live forever. Ferns are shooting out in every direction. I forgot for awhile that it’s spring. Stream under the second bridge is rushing. Stop and close my eyes and breathe in the damp sweetness. Feel Billy’s nose at my fingertips. Start a poem today. Just start. Haven’t written in too long. Fixing the leaky roof. Volunteering at the shelter. Banality. Bathes. Cuddles with Billy and falling asleep.

“tired, bearded men” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday March 24, 2019
9:02pm
5 minutes
Ways To Take Your Coffee
Leath Tonino

I pour another pitcher of beer and bring it to another table of tired, bearded men. These men don’t have manners. One might grunt and I might interpret it as a “thank you” but who really knows. One might look me up and down, lingering on my breasts, and I might narrow my eyes a little before walking away. Back behind the bar I look out at the full room, all these tired, bearded men drinking their beer and talking and stinking. Mari comes and stands beside me and says something in Spanish that I don’t fully understand.

“Everyone deals with breakups” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday March 23, 2019
7:15am
5 minutes
Love Running
Joseph Holt

Keri gets her heartbroken again and we roll our eyes because it happens so often, and it always looks the same. Doesn’t feel the same, I’m sure, but from the outside it looks it. She falls in love with some schlub (man posing with fishing rod! Man posing with woman who has been cropped out of photo! Man holding a bow and arrow!) she met on OK Cupid. It’s all, “Ohmygosh, Glenn is the one!” It’s all, “Sorry I can’t hang out tonight, Chris and I do Wing Wednesdays…” We roll our eyes. Okay, Keri. Whatever. When this one breaks your heart we’ll still be here. We’ll take you our for white hot chocolate, we’ll listen as you sob, we’ll let you sleepover and hog the covers.

“as the cells of his scalp” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday March 21, 2019
7:36am
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

Take out the trash to the bin in the garage. Wheel the bin to the curb. The neighbourhood is still sleeping. Mandy and the boys are still sleeping, too. Jacob was up in the night crying. Mandy went to him, and then came and got me. He was dreaming about monsters again. “No more scary movies,” Mandy whispered as we climbed back into bed forty minutes later. Thank God for the coffee maker, wooing me towards the kitchen when the alarm goes off. Thank God for coffee. Mrs. Henderson across the street in her quilted housecoat and winter boots. She waves.

“How are you holding up?” I say, and then regret breaking the silence, fracturing the stillness of this Wednesday morning.

“exhale passively” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 19, 2019
4:21pm
5 minutes
Physiotherapy Instructions

You always learn things the hard way, Patricia, and that’s just not how it has to be! When I was your age I was cautious, I was careful, I was paying attention to what was happening around me! I see you, all a mess all the time, running around like a chicken with your head cut off and, frankly, I feel bad for you. Why don’t you take a page out of Gin’s book? She’s really got her life together, and she’s three years younger than you! Virginia knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid to go for it, but not at the expense of her pride or self worth… or reputation.

“apartment door was closed and triple-locked” by Sasha on her couch

Monday March 18, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
The Langoliers
Stephen King

Paul doesn’t know when he started checking. He can’t answer Shauna when she asks. He sits quietly, top button of his green shirt buttoned, hands folded in his lap.

“I’m not mad,” Shauna mutters, which is a strange thing to say.

“Is it getting worse?” Paul keeps his eyes on his sneaker laces.

“I would say so…” Shauna takes her hair out of a ponytail. She needs a haircut.

“I guess it has,” Paul blinks ten times.

“I just wish you’d come to me before all of this,” Shauna gestures to the apartment door, closed and triple locked.

“staring into the eyes of a giant wasp” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday March 14, 2019
6:20pm
5 minutes
Micro
Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Man gets on my bus and he smells like piss and oil. “Morning,” I say and he leans in close and shows me his teeth.

“Gotta get to the teeth doc!” Looks like it’s been awhile.

“Take a seat, and we’ll be on our way,” I say. The old lady sitting close moves a few seats back, bringing a handkerchief to her nose. In the rearview mirror I see several people scowl.

“Gotta get to the teeth doc!” My man says again.

I drive because it’s an honourable job. People are always gonna have places to get to. I like my current route. I’m thinking to ask about staying on it for awhile.

End of the line. Man’s still there. He’s fallen asleep.

“**NEW CLIENT TO DAZZLE!**” by Sasha on her couch

Friday March 8, 2019
5:02pm
5 minutes
From Nannies On Call

Hi Rebecca. Good morning. How are you? Nice cardigan. That’s your colour. You must be a True Winter… Are you? Those colour wheels? Do you want Miranda to get you a matcha or something? Okay… okay, so… Okay Rebecca, there’s a new client coming in today and it’s your moment. Stan brought them in, but he’s swamped and we talked and we think that it’s your moment. I know you’ve been here six months and we haven’t really given you the responsibility that you were hoping for. I heard a bit from Janice that you were worried? We like to take our time and really hand select the first big pitch someone does, right? And… the time has come, Rebecca. Are you ready to dazzle?

“He thumped his chest” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday March 3, 2019
4:12pm
5 minutes
Casual Vacancy
J.K Rowling

Bruno thumps his chest and runs around the dining room like he’s high on something. I hate this family. Who has three kids under the age of six and then pawns them off on babysitters ten hours a day? Who expects said babysitters to potty-train their little vermin? Who thinks it’s okay to leave housekeeping duties to a babysitter who is making sixteen dollars an hour and being punched, puked on and screamed at?! Why do I do this to myself! Milo sticks his hand in his diaper, pulls out some shit, and tries to eat it. I’m leaving.

“It’s comfy and cozy.” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday February 13, 2019
11:02pm
5 minutes
From a text

Those wouldn’t be words that I’d use to describe Max… More like gruff… and, and kind. He isn’t the touchy-feely type, right, like, he is a good guy but he keeps people at arm’s length. Might be because he was orphaned when he was young, betcha didn’t know that. Yup, his folks’ died in a train accident and he went to live with his uncle who didn’t have any idea how to raise a child. Poor guy. He’s a dreamer, like, he’s the kind of man that can wander around a city and not care where he’s going. Maybe he’ll end up in a bookstore or a sandwich shop or sitting on a park bench. Max likes days like that. If you ask him how’s he’s doing he’ll always answer the same, have you noticed that? He’ll say, “I’m still here…”