“There is a dream I remember having” by Sasha in the wicker chair

Thursday, February 22, 2018
6:59am
5 minutes
The Wilds of Sleep
Kat Duff

Dr. Sandhu is wearing a linen cream pantsuit today. Did she think of me as I thought of her when choosing my blue sweater that covers my bum and stretchy grey tights and my fun boots that I usually only wear out in the evening for evening plans? WHY DO MY BOWELS FEEL AS THOUGH THEY WANT TO EMPTY?

“How was your week, Claire?” She says my name like it’s a pastry or a perfume or something a little bit biblical.

“It was okay. I brought my Dad a roast chicken on Sunday because at the home the chicken is dry and I never hear the end of it.”

“Tell me about your Dad.”

“What do you want to know?”

“How long has he been sick?”

“Both my parents had Alzheimer’s at the same time so if you want to know about him you have to know about her, too – “

“Your mother?”

“Yeah, they really overlap a lot inside my – “

“ready for the feel of fire” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
11:51pm
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

The last time I spoke to him I lied and said I had roasted his favourite shoes over the open fire. I told him I made chestnuts out of them. He believed me. I guess that’s saying something about me. About him, sure, but about me first because I must be pretty convincing. I suppose he has good reason. Once when we were laying in a sleeping bag somewhere in Tobermory, I said I’d stab him if he let go of me and when he did, so did I. Stab him, I mean. It was only a little, and he bled but not for long, but I said I would do it and I did it and that’s when he started to get a little scared of me. Even if it was only my thumb nail piercing his upper thigh. He’s entitled to his opinions. He can think I’m whatever he thinks, but I would never actually roast somebody’s shoes on a fire. I’m not a monster. He didn’t even respond right away when I told him I did it. He took a few long breaths and then said that was all he could take for right now. I think that was a tactic his therapist told him to practice. I don’t think he would have thought of those words on his own.

“ready for the feel of fire” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
7:16am
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

I keep having dreams that I’m pregnant, or giving birth, or losing a baby, or holding a baby, or handing you our baby. I google what this means and google tells me that I’m “pregnant with change” and that “there’s a part of me that I’m neglecting that needs nurturing”. Um. Kay. I’ve never been more sure of not wanting to have an actual real life screaming shitting baby, so it’s absolutely not “a baby dream may be telling you that you are actually pregnant. Congrats!” Um. Nope! I don’t tell Todd, and I don’t tell my therapist because there are more important things to discuss with both of these people.

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
Multitudes
Margaret Christakos

Earlier today I was on Facebook deleting all the people who I no longer want to have access to my life. You don’t get to see what I’m up to if you’ve been a bad friend. Or not a friend at all. It isn’t your right! I decide, okay? I’m getting heated up forof a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole damn world is watching. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Tina and Guy send messages from each other’s accounts and that drives me up the wall. Speaking of walls, I don’t need some stranger commenting on a conversation I’m having with my sister’s boyfriend. I don’t need to be having conversations at all on Facebook but I’m on it and that’s that. I don’t want to miss anything. My brother posts videos of his kids in the pumpkin patch. I don’t want to miss my mom accidentally telling me she misses me on my profile picutre. But I don’t want the people who don’t deserve my time to witness my activities. If they can’t be in my life, they shouldn’t get to see it. I don’t just post all the best stuff either so it’s really, really my life.

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 18, 2018
8:02am
5 minutes
Multitudes
Margaret Christakos

I fucking hate Facebook. I think it’s all posturing and must-be-seen-as and “come see my show!” BARF and “this is how beautiful I am this is how talented I am this is how political I am this is now armchair activist I am!” I fucking HATE Facebook. I wonder how many hours, as a society, we waste zooming in on the face of someone we went to kindergarten with, someone we made out with once, someone we forget how we know but damnnnn their baby is cute. I fucking HATE Facebook. But I spend hours on it. Every. Single. Day. Especially when I’m trying to avoid the gym, or crossfit, or my best friend who just went through a breakup and “needs to talk RIGHT NOW.”

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

Can’t tell her the truth even though that’s what we both promised we’d do.
When she tells me hers, she apologizes a month later and says, “Maybe when
you asked what I thought that night I shouldn’t have answered at all.”
I tell her “No, you should have, I want you to be honest with me,”
but I don’t know if that’s just because I don’t know what else to say.
I have some ideas about the questions she doesn’t ask me and
I know I can’t tell her what I think so I agree inside that maybe she is right.
A blanket gets thrown at me when I look cold but feel sweaty.
That’s probably on account of all the discomfort.
Some people sweat when they lie.
I put it on my toes and count the minutes before the pizza arrives.
Maybe when we’re eating we will have less time to peer into each other’s
souls and risk ruining a perfectly good family.
Suddenly her phone rings and she answers it in the middle of my good story.
She covers the receiver, tells me that our mother is frying shrimp dumplings again and asks if I want any.
I tell her to tell her yes.
She tells our mother we’ll be right over.
When she hangs up she shakes her head.
“Not sure what Mom is doing making dumplings at midnight.”
“Not sure what Mom is doing thinking we all still live in the same time zone.”

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
12:22
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

She reaches into her pocket and there’s a melting Hershey’s kiss, six fifty in change, a receipt for a mini bottle of vodka, and lip chap that she’s scraped out using her pinkie nail. This is the state of her life. This is what she deserves. This is forty-two. She pulls her hand out. Step back.

She caught his eye in the elevator that first time only because that one asshole who had to stand facing the opposite direction. It’s eight thirty in the morning, dingus. Now is not the time for a social experiment. He’d smiled. He’s gorgeous. She’d blushed. Game over.

She packs her desk up into a banker’s box – lemon hand cream, a framed photo of her nephew, her BOSS mug, the succulent that’s hanging on by a thread. Is that what it’s come to? Step back.

He texts her and says that he’s thinking of her. He’s on a beach in Playa del Carmen. His kids are probably squishing guacamole all over his torso. His wife is probably emerging from the ocean, tan and beautiful.

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
1:08am
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

He hit the road on Friday after supper and didn’t stop driving until he was just outside of Moose Jaw. He couldn’t get enough of the sky and watching it turn from morning to noon to night. He couldn’t get enough of the open highway, ebbing and flowing with cars, depending on when and where he was. John Prine on the tape deck. Townes Van Zandt up next. He’s never been happier. The highway was calling for thirteen years. He put it off and put it off and put it off and put it off.

“I’ve been hiding who I am” by Sasha at her desk

Monday February 5, 2018
7:06am
Sisterly Love
Elise Pallagi

I get tired of your texts at twenty to eleven. I want to shut my phone off, but I can’t because I’m addicted. I get tired but I want them, and when they don’t come I’m twitchy and sad. I run a bath and then my phone beeps and I’m up and out of there making puddles across the hardwood. Shit. I’m addicted. You aren’t clever in your seduction. I never thought I’d sink this low. Shit. When did my standards get so low? “I’ll be over in an hour.” It’s like my thumbs have a mind of their own. Good grief. Quarter to midnight and I’ll be riding the elevator up to tenth floor. Your door will be open a crack.

“Ninety pounds.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 4, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

Hardly ninety pounds soaking wet, Kenny didn’t have a friend ’til he met Burl. It’s not like Burl had a softball team waiting to eat lunch with him or anything, but he did have Henrietta so that’s something.

Henrietta did not like Kenny from the moment she met him. Something about a boy in sweatpants just got her goat. When he walked over to her and Burl, acting like he belonged, she wrinkled her forehead and looking back and forth from Kenny to Burl like she was watching a badminton match. Silly birdie.

“Hi Burl.”

“Hi Kenny.”

“Would you like to come over and play after school today? My brother has chess, and Joan would rather not have to entertain me.”

Anyone who calls their mother by her first name cannot be trusted, thought Henrietta, picking the lettuce out of her salami sandwich.

“children dawdling to school” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 3, 2018
9:04am
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

You forget what you came into the kitchen for. You don’t think much of it. These things happen. You have been working long days. It’s taking it’s toll.

You put the sponge in the freezer. You know that you have one and you can’t find it. This pisses you off. You scream swear. You’ll go for the frozen bananas tomorrow morning when it’s time for a smoothie. There it is. Frozen solid. Shit.

You forget why you got on the bus, and where you’re supposed to be going. Your heart sinks. You wonder if this is what happened with your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. You wonder if you should’ve eaten more broccoli, less sugar. You wonder if this is your destiny, riding the bus across the bridge unsure when to get off.

“like a man swallowing clay.” By Sasha in the bath

Thursday January 25, 2018
10:43pm
5 minutes
Fish-Eye Marble
Sophia Lecker

Yogi swallows clay to clean out her toxins. Yogi does a headstand. Yogi drinks ginger – pure ginger – liquified. Yogi swallows soft white fabric and shits it out and pulls and now she’s clean.

Beth fries chicken in a cast iron skillet. Beth wipes her hands on a cloth that she found in the laundry room. It has small blue ducklings. She thinks it might belong to a baby. Beth stole from a baby.

Kenneth makes his fiftieth egg sandwich of the morning. He wonders if Jess is up yet. He hates working brunch.

“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Tuesday January 23, 2018
6:52pm
5 minutes
Institutional
Tamas Dobozy

I bring a book when I go to chemo with Tom. He never asked me to go with him but I do because it’s nice to spend time with him and everyone else is freaked out. Sometimes he doesn’t want to talk, in which case I read the Sports section or listen to a podcast. Lily’s got me into podcasts. I love them. Listen to them on my long drives. Tom didn’t tell us until he was really sick. He kept it from everyone except Sas. When he told me and Lily we both cried. It was the first time we’d done that together.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Sunday January 14, 2018
11:35pm
5 minutes
Bluegrass
Rhona McAdam

It’s hot as balls back here and Dylan keeps throwing prawn bits at me. Fuck off, I say, but he doesn’t.

When I first started here I was at the cold station, but now I’m at the fryer.

Chef said we’ve got some VIPs coming in tonight, but none of us ever want to know who.

We did three hundred and nine covers last night which might not sound like a lot but if you saw the size of our dining room, you’d get it.

Turns out the VIPs are a hockey player and his family, some old guy who doesn’t play anymore but is on the Sports Network now. I couldn’t give a fuck about hockey but I know more than to open my mouth in this kitchen. Dylan played AAA before having one too many concussions. He stares at the guy all night, grinding his teeth, flipping steaks on the grill.

“Does it not sound like shouting to them?” By Sasha at the Intercontinental Yorkville

Saturday January 13, 2018
5:46pm
5 minutes
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick DeWitt

Ginny goes to dance class. She takes the streetcar across town, and walks twelve minutes to the studio. She’s glad that she doesn’t have to wear a leotard, but that she does have to wear ballet slippers. She used to dance when she was young, but then her teacher, Natasha, said that she doesn’t contain an “iota of grace” and so she stopped. But it haunted her. Natasha’s British accent and her delivery, not exactly cruel in tone, but direct, icy. Ginny changes into shorts and a baggy tank top. She smiles at Leanne, a sixty-nine year old former pastry chef, who is wiggling into tights.

“if she was obligated to say” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 9, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
Pamplemousse
Dominique Bernier-Cormier

Monique makes the bed with hospital corners just the way Nana taught her. She tiptoes down the stairs. Ever since Graham became a teenager he’s been sleeping until the afternoon and he gets very very angry if anyone wakes him up. Dad says that it’s fair game after ten on the weekends, but it’s before seven so she’s got to stay quiet as a mouse. Dad must be out in the barn. She wonders how he slept last night. Sometimes she hears him pacing in his room hours and hours after she’s gone to bed.

“Resist the millionth purchase” by Sasha at JJ Bean in Olympic Village

Sunday January 7, 2018
5:15pm at JJ Bean
5 minutes
Advice to Myself #2: Resistance
Louise Erdrich

She tries to resist the sale on tank tops at The Gap (who makes their clothes? How are the workers treated in the factories? Where did the cotton come from?)

Emma finds resistance ridiculously challenging.

She tries to resist avocados (the carbon footprint), coffee (labour exploitations), cleaning products (what happens when all that shit goes down the drain?).

She tries. She fails. She tries. She fails. Is this what life is? She thinks.

She tries to resist the space heater in the office. Just bring another sweater. Buy warmer socks. Turn off the light. Turn down the thermostat at home. Recycle. Compost. Ride a bike. Take transit. Resist. Rise up. Resist. She tries. She fails. She tries.

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Thursday January 4, 2017
6:09pm
Shrill
Lindy West

It smells like old bacon fat and pinecones here. I hate your apartment, but you don’t like going outside so you never come to mine. The TV plays the news news news news news. Turns to music if you let it. Turns to grime if you let it. It’s all a frame of mind. You reach over and touch my nipple with your beer can. OUCH. I go to the kitchen and open the fridge even though I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I think resolutions are bullshit but you like them so I humour you and we talk about them forever. And ever.

Yours:
More exercise (what else is new)
Less TV
Call your mother

Mine:
Less beer
More vegetables
Clean your front hall closet (just threw that one in so that you would think I really cared)

“All tickets sales are final” by Sasha on a bench near the water

Sunday December 31, 2017
1:32pm
5 minutes
From a ticket

You get tired thinking about who you can’t be. You buy a ticket for a cross-country train ride. You’ll write. You’ll sing. You’ll buy bad small town coffee. Really, you’ll spend a lot of time looking out the window. Really, you’ll finally stop dreaming about giving birth. You start reading the books you’ve always wanted to read. You start learning survival skills, karate, rock climbing. You have more space now. You call your brother on Sunday mornings and ask about his daughter. It hurts less and less. You aren’t sure about resolutions. You aren’t sure about numbers. You aren’t sure how long it takes for turkey to go bad in the fridge. You think about how you’ll wait however long it takes. You’ve got time.

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Sasha on her couch

Monday December 25, 2017
3:15pm
5 minutes
Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me
Charlotte Joyce Kidd

Heloise listens through the wall. Dan caught her twice last week so now she has to be much more stealthy.

“I’m going to the gym!” Dan calls, already half out the door, scarf pulled up over his nose.

“Bye, hon!” Heloise shouts back. She runs to the kitchen for a glass. She runs back upstairs and almost wipes out. Must get socks with grips on the bottom, she thinks. It’s not like she runs any other time.

She puts the glass to the wall. She can hear Liam typing. He must be writing again. Good for you, she smiles. Footsteps. He gets up. Maybe watering a plant? Maybe stretching? Writer’s block?

“turns up the heat” by Julia in Nicole’s bed

Thursday December 21, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
a flyer from The Cultch

Her room, she says, is too cold to sleep in. Except when he’s here and he’s furnace and he’s dripping sweat in her sheets. I ask if I can turn the oven on tomorrow. She says it might blow up the whole place and better to put on a better sweater. I have a better sweater now. It was the only thing I told myself I’d bring and then I packed too many what ifs and accidentally forgot to leave some things behind. I forgot that I told myself I wouldn’t smoke so much.
She says we’ll have to make sure to look out the window. When I ask if there’s a meteor shower she doesn’t laugh. She says 10 somethings of snow will be falling tonight. I don’t remember the measure of snow she used. It wasn’t what you would have expected. He’s not coming by to warm the bed. She says I won’t be meeting him until tomorrow.

“And we’re looking for a few more faces” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 14, 2017
7:12am
5 minutes
From an e-mail

She knows that he thinks he’s better than her.
But that’s only now. Three years, seven months, and two weeks later.
When he invited her to collaborate, she thought that it was because he respected her work. She thought that perhaps he even thought that she had things to teach him.
But now she knows the truth.
Ego is a word that’s haunted her since middle school.
“You’ve sure got a big ego,” Mr. Spence said when she shared with the class that she had been cast as Young Jane in Jane Eyre at the Rep, the biggest theatre in town.
She’d blushed and made sure never to speak with such exuberance in front of peers again. (Also, fuck you, Mr. Spence.)
“You need more of an ego,” Brenda, her painting instructor had said in her second year of college. “Defend your work! Defend your life!”
(Shit.)
And now, Julian.
“People keep saying that our styles aren’t compatible anymore… I’ve surpassed you in some regards, I guess.”
Who are these people?
Your fuck-buddy Lena?
Your mother?
Your best friend from childhood who wishes that he could be you?
“Sure, okay, sure.” She says.

If you believe it has been lost, stolen or compromised.” By Sasha at her desk

Wednesday December 13, 2017
10:14pm
5 minutes
BC Revenue Services

Bernie isn’t sure which way is up and what, “everything happens for a reason” even means. Kim keeps saying that to him and at first he really tried to understand what it might mean, and how it might help him, but now he just thinks it’s a crock.

It’s been a bad month.

Bernie got fired at the end of November. He’d worked at the same paper mill for twenty three years. It’s closing. It isn’t personal. “Everything happens for a reason”. Kim says that “when one door closes another one opens,” and Bernie agrees but what he thinks should be an immediate follow-up is that who knows where that door is going to lead. It could be a basement with rats and mould.

“How could she comprehend what it was like” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday December 5, 2017
4:42pm
5 minutes
Super Sad True Love Story
Gary Shteyngart

The oven keeps setting off the fire alarm.
Somebody (you) spilled cheese and forgot to
clean it up. You told me it wasn’t you.
I don’t really eat cheese.
Every time we take something out of there,
even if it’s a slice of bread at 350 for
2 minutes, the smoke gets the yelling
started.
I want to tell you to clean up your mess
but I am afraid you will tell me that
there isn’t anything to clean. I hate being
right about you.

The stove keeps setting off the fire alarm.
Somebody (me) left a penne noodle underneath
the burner and refused to take it out.
I told you it wasn’t on purpose. It was.
One day I discovered that if you leave a
penne noddle close to the burner but not in
a pan, it will cook it crispy enough to eat.
Everytime we boil water the smoke gets the
screaming started.
I want to tell you to take out the battery
but I’m afraid it might be too easy to
burn the whole place down with you in it
if you do.

“to bring supportive people into your life” by Sasha at her desk

Monday December 4, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
Feng Shui Dos & Taboos
Angi Ma Wong

She leaves the brown brick building with volcano steps and thunder tears. She runs down down down around turn left right right straight all the way to Domino’s. Glad she packed her toothbrush and a change of socks and underwear. Kay isn’t answering her cellphone so she’s not sure where she’ll go but she’s not there with him and his hands around her neck she’s not there with him and the fucks and the bitch and the spit and the slap. She orders a slice of cheese pizza and eats it very slowly because who knows when Kay will call back and who knows how long this square of space will need to be hers.

“I don’t want to sit” by Julia on the 16

Friday December 1, 2017
9:29pm
Overheard on the 16

I don’t want to sit and I don’t want to stand. You do the math. Tonight a friend charmed the crowd with her offbeat, non threatening quiet and her sex dripping metaphors. Mmm.
I was getting wet just listening to her talk about egg yolks dripping down the blender. And I thought of you. How one childhood fantasy and a couple thousand viewings of The Show Must Go On has lived inside me for decades and maybe I would like to finally see if you’re down. I think you would be. It was fucking gross but I have a feeling you’d be into it. I used to think about having eggs mashed all over me. I want to tell you more but first you need to sign off. You need to tell me one of your deep secrets. You need to prove that this won’t get wasted or chopped up into tiny pieces or used against me. I mean if I knew already I would let you use anything against me but that’s a BONUS. That’s for good little exhibitionists.

“Calls of guilty thrown at me” by Sasha at her desk

Monday November 27, 2017
10:51pm
5 minutes
Cherry Wine
Hozier

Mariah Carey makes me think about the Christmas that Ken dressed up as Santa and got wasted. Her Christmas album was playing, that must’ve been it. I don’t know what Ken was thinking. Dressing up was Dad’s thing. He found the suit when he was looking for tinsel in the garage and I guess he just couldn’t help himself. He was already starting to lose weight, so he wrapped a bungee cord around his waist as a belt to keep the pants up. Dad was a bit pissed, but he got over it and I think he actually was relieved that he didn’t have to sweat his balls off in that suit for four hours.

“Orange County wild fire” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday November 26, 2017
9:41pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

Vivian isn’t sure if anyone will remember her name. This is a big fear, taking up the space between temples, up neck, across shoulders. Fredrick suggested that she take some sort of weekly class, and at first she said that they didn’t have enough money and then she came around. Fredrick is virtuously patient. That’s the main reason she married him. She also very much likes his hands and feet. She parks near the entrance and checks her face in the rear view mirror. She isn’t sure what she’s looking for – salad in her teeth? She hasn’t eaten salad since last Tuesday. Fredrick was surprised when she chose a pottery class because she doesn’t like getting dirty. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

“All I’ve ever learned from love” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday November 24, 2017
10:47pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen

Love knocks you around
Especially when you’re young
You throw yourself at every blue eyed Casanova

Love scoops you up
Carries you for awhile
And then drops you
Sound of a cracking egg
Sound of a sizzle
Sound of morning

Love requests nothing
That’s not what you’re used to

Love ruptures
Love rips
Love heals
Love leaks
Love laughs loud
Open mouthed

Love grabs you hard
Hand on the small of your back
You’ve never been touched like this before
You’re breathless putty

“Can we burn something, babe?” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday November 23, 2017
11:29pm
5 minutes
Love On The Brain
Rihanna

Larry drinks a macchiato sitting at the bar drawing hangmen on a napkin waiting for Liz to arrive. She’s notoriously late. He’s spoken to her about it twice and each time she says that she’s sorry and that she’s trying to change. Maybe it’s because his father was in the army and if he was ever late for anything he’d get a slap on the side of the head maybe it’s because his father loathed him most of all more than his three brothers and one sister. He fumes. He checks his phone again and nothing from Liz nothing from Liz only the same old time and date and three unread emails he’s avoiding from work fucking Cathy and her meeting notes fuck fuck fuck.

“We are writing to confirm” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday November 21, 2017
10:53pm
5 minutes
From an email

We are writing to confirm that you will be joining us for the safari in the Sahara from September 19th-29th, 2021! We want to commend you on your extreme foresight in booking your vacation four years in advance. While we know that many of our clients are busy, and book a year or even 18 months in advance, we have never had someone schedule a safari for four years away. We want to reward you with a special full moon feast.

“A utopian vision” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday November 15, 2017
11:47pm
5 minutes
from a quote by bell hooks

“He’s in Kingston Pen with twenty three years left on his sentence. That’s where he is. Now. You have a choice. Are you going to follow in his footsteps? Or, are you going to blaze your own trail – succeeding in your final year of high school, coming in top of your class at George Brown Culinary School? Getting a fine job under a celerity chef at a high-end restaurant? Being promoted to sous within your first year?” Stephen’s voice is booming. Cynthia looks at me. I look at Cynthia. We’ve both stopped worked. We are riveted. We are electrified. Holy EFF STEPHEN YOU ARE A GOD AMONGST US SIMPLE FOLK.

“We can’t get nothin’ tomorra.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday November 14, 2017
11:36pm
5 minutes
Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

It’s just after the first bell and I’m shredding confidential documents. Stephen is meeting with Gunther Cyr, who may or may not have stolen chemical compounds from the Chemistry Lab for drug experimentation. I’m doing my best not to listen but I can’t help it, Stephen has a commanding baritone. He is mostly an excellent principle. He is definitely much, much better than Sheldon Halitosis. I’m good at not reading confidential documents. I am not quite as good at not listening to confidential conversations. I do not listen with my eyes, like so many women I know. I listen with my ears and my ears alone. It’s why I don’t wear earrings and it’s why my ear holes (all six of them) have closed up.

“I didn’t hear that part” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday November 13, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

A lavender couch underneath a window. Spider plants, succulents and African Voilets line the sill. She sits in a caramel leather chair, perhaps Moroccan. Paintings on the walls, all in blues, greens, purples. An Indigenous etching of two women paddling a canoe, a Georgia O’Keefe flower, lily pads on a lake. I take it all in as quickly as I can. I can’t get enough. I’m dizzy.

“It’s so good to meet you,” she says.

“Yes. You too.”

“A first session is a time for us to get to know one another, to see if this is going to be a good fit.”

WRECKING BALL. OH MY GOD. If this is a good fit? It fits! I’m well fitted! My core is getting stronger by the minute! You mean this might not be –

“You seem distracted. Is there something on your mind?”

“Um – …”

“You’re flushed.”

“Yes. Well…” A silence longer than the GO Train ride to Union Station.

“Along with underwear, love is a woman’s work” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 10, 2017
11:16pm
5 minutes
How to Be A Woman
Caitlin Moran

Love’s her work. She doesn’t say it, but it is. Fold the t-shirts, ball the socks, and L-O-V-E. She keeps saying, “I’m tired,” and she’s not sure why, what could it possible be. “Women’s work”. She hasn’t heard that term since her grandmother was alive, doing crossword puzzles in the sunroom and asking for another peppermint. She wonders what would happen if she left a note on the table that said, “Make dinner for yourselves!”

“We’ll look into this right away” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
11:20pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

You’re running again
feel it
feel that
it’s your feet
they’re tired of carrying you
they’ll do it
they’ll always do it
but they’d like to rest
they’d like you to get
that wart on the side
of your foot checked out
it hurts
it hurts when you run
and you’ve been running again
do you ever thank them
your feet
your tired aching feet
they might carry you further
if they knew you cared
it doesn’t need to be big
not a singing telegram
or anything balloon related
but a rub would be nice
a rub with oil if you have it
if you have the time
You’ve been wondering why
it feels like you’ve slowed
and if we’re going to look
into this right away we need
you to first look into this
we on behalf of your feet
the representatives you chose
before you started running
before you started moving
so fast and maybe too fast
we’re not mad but we do
want to make sure you know

“We’ll look into this right away” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

A: Hello? Hi, I just wanted to unsubscribe from –

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive our emails. A representative will be with you shortly.

A: Oh good God.

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive –

R: Thank you for holding. Rebecca here.

A: Rebecca. Hi. How are you? I just, I want to unsubscribe from the mailing list and I can’t believe that this requires a phone call, who even calls anyone anymore –

R: Could you please tell me you nineteen digit PIN?

“You are a joke cookie” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday November 5, 2017
11:23pm
5 minutes
From the postcard from Amanda

You, MR. SWANSON, are a joke cake, doughnut, um, loaf, no… cookie. YES! That’s it! You’re a JOKE COOKIE! You may not think that it’s your best attribute, but I do, oh I do. You are most possibly the funniest manager I’ve ever had. NO! You’re the funniest man I’ve ever met! NOW, I know that this might mean that I’ll be in some sort of trouble, but no one appreciates you, MR. SWANSON. In fact! Everyone says terrible things behind your back. “He looks like a turtle,” that kind of thing.

“You are a joke cookie” by Julia on her couch

Sunday November 5, 2017
11:44pm
5 minutes
From the postcard from Amanda

I never meant to run this dry. This many days in a row without even attempting to find the joy behind the keys. And I never understood the power of peripheral vision until now. How have I always been such a tentative typer with this new feature? I am crumbling cookie dry like an over baked chicken over baked chick and I never meant to be. I never meant to fall apart. I have been avoiding some truths to myself and spilling the beans to him.  During the full moon I tell him that I feel like I’m being wasted. He tells me he’s sorry. I have been avoiding. Didn’t want the back ache, the carpal tunnel, the magical erase button. Didn’t want the proof of purchase. So dry the cookie forgets to laugh at itself. So dry the cookie thinks about milk for the first time in years. So dry the cookie asks for help. So dry the cookie tells a joke. Nobody laughs. I never meant to fall apart.

“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 4, 2017
5:36pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

Every Zia made sure we had the right breakfast. Zia one would let us have cookies and milk. Oreos to be exact. Wih a tiny esspreso spoon, we’d crush them all up and eat it like ice cream. Zia two had something good to eat too. Salmon gravlax, snails, probably, and cantaloupe.  Zia three never had to feed us. Zia four had homemade leftover pizza, yogurt, biscotti and homo milk. Zia five had captain crunch cereal. Zia six gave us cadburry cream eggs. Zia seven gave us soft boiled eggs and olive oil. That’s not even all the Zias.

“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Sasha at Moii Cafe

Saturday November 4, 2017 at Moii Cafe
4:45pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

My Mom and Angel have completely different ideas of what’s acceptable for breakfast. My Mom believes that sugary cereals and bacon are only appropriate for Sundays. Every other day has to contain whole grains. Angel will slather anything, and I really mean anything, in Nutella. She loves the stuff. My Mom goes on and on about how much crap Angel eats, but how she keeps the body of “Cindy Crawford”. I don’t tell her that I have no idea who that is. Gotta add that to my Google List. Whenever I have access to my Mom’s computer, or Bruce’s tablet, I go through my Google List and check off the things that have been accomplished.

“The great task in life” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday October 29, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Iris Murdoch

Iris stops smoking on her eighty-second birthday because it’s never too late to change a bad habit. It’s wild to out-live almost everyone you know, Iris says to anyone that will listen – the Wheel-Trans driver, the teller at CIBC, her grandson’s boyfriend. She has everyone over for Nanaimo Bars and sherry, and insists that she does not need eight-two candles. Grey kisses her on the nose and says, “I love you Gran.” She scoffs and says,

“I’m not dead yet, boy.”

“She insisted I make no special concession” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday October 25, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
from Swing Low
Miriam Toews

I told you. She expressly insisted that I make no special concession! Yes, yes, I know that she’s my daughter but she articulated in her own words that she wants me to treat her as I would any other student. Mr. Black. You must listen to me. I know that defacing school property results in two weeks of detention, and probation for the rest of the year. Elizabeth is old enough to know better. I’ve already apologized for her behaviour, as I would with any of my students, but she must take responsibility for her actions. This has gone too far! Mr. Black. Please don’t look at me like that. Please.

“being interviewed” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday October 24, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

Miriam closes her eyes and prays. She would never tell anyone that she does this, a few times a day. It’s new for her and she holds new things close, a smooth black rock in her pocket. She would specify though, if she did tell you, that she isn’t praying to God. She prays to the sky, the colour of raspberry jam right now, sprawling wider than she’s ever seen. She wonders if Dad will still be alive when she gets there. She only brought a carry-on, even though she’s unsure how long she’ll stay. However long it takes. “Some things can’t be rushed,” Dad used to say when they’d be waiting for a calf to be born, clutching thermoses of hot peppermint tea, their breath dancing through the icy barn.

“research purposes only” by Sasha at the casita

Sunday October 22, 2017
6:04pm
5 minutes
From an Air Canada survey

“It’s just for research,” Jonah says, and for some reason I don’t totally believe him. “Would you like another beer?” He has long eyelashes. He has a disarming smile. I shake my head.

He calls me three days later. I’m not sure how he got my phone number, and I don’t ask. Am I doing the thing that I roll my eyes at? Shit. I am. I’m doing the thing.

“What exactly are you researching?” I ask, popping a tortilla chip in my mouth.

“Cultural anthropology,” Jonah says, checking his phone, and then putting it on the table face-down.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Sasha at the casita

Friday October 20, 2017
10:47am
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Mama’s talking about the spaceship’s coming and Papa’s yelling at her to “SHUT UP, CLARISSA!” Petey reaches for Mama and flings his glass of milk off the table and he wails and wails. I take him upstairs and change him into his PJ’s. Mama and Papa yell a bit and Mama cleans up the mess. Kimmy still isn’t speaking and we’re all worried about that.

“The aliens are coming tonight, Phil!” Yells Mama and Papa rubs his temples like he always does.

Petey looks so cute in his one piece red number and I make faces at him so he doesn’t hear the strangeness. He smiles his big toothless moon smile and for a moment everything feels alright.

“It seems to me an awfully silly thing” by Sasha at the casita

Tuesday October 17, 2017
11:02am
5 minutes
The Mystery of the Blue Train
Agatha Christie

It seems to Elizabeth an awfully silly thing that Benjamin was allowed to go to the store on his own and she could not. Mother even said that she had better sense of direction than Ben, and that she was better with her allowance money. Elizabeth sulked on the couch, watching Ben walk down the street. She waited for him to turn around and stick his tongue out at her, or make a face, but he did no such thing and merrily rounded the corner onto Harrison Street.

“Have you cleaned your room, darling?” Mother asked, wiping her hands on her purple apron. Mother recently started dying her hair and Elizabeth isn’t used to it yet. Every time she sees her, she gasps. It is three shades darker than her natural colour, Mother reminds her, and hardly something to get dramatic about.

“Your name is the strongest” by Sasha in the living room at Black River Farm

Sunday, October 8th, 2017
8:15am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

I will never tell anyone that I’m here, I whisper as I exit the elevator and walk left, then right, then left. Never ever, cross my heart and swear to die. What an effed up saying. I wonder why we used to say that all the time. If Al knew I was here he would tease me into eternity. Dad would mock me until I wept silently in the bathtub, a bottle of Shiraz cradled in the crook of my arm, never touching my lips, just there. In case. Dr. Noreen Sandhu, is written on the door. Is there a waiting room? Is this just, like, her office? Should I wait outside? Oh my God. What am I doing? Deep breath deep breath DEEP BREATH THIS IS WHY YOU’RE HERE, CLAIRE. THIS IS WHY. I give a very small, basically inaudible knock, just to test the waters. NO answer. Okay. Hm. Okay. I try the door handle and at first it feels locked but then I realize it’s just a very, very heavy door. I push with all my might, after all I have been going to Pilates most Tuesday mornings and my core is getting stronger, I can feel it even if no one can see it. I told Yolanda that my goal was to feel stronger. I don’t care about how things appear on the outside, I’d said. She’d scoffed. Eff her. I am achieving my goal. I am a goal achiever. A GOAL DESTROYER. I AM A GOAL ORIENTED WOMAN. A manifester. “Claire?” The smell of sage, lavender, ylang ylang. Doctor Sandhu, with perfectly chestnut skin, a deliciously large nose, excellent knockers and wearing a turquoise tunic and white tights. Oh my God. “Claire?” She says again, and for once in my life I am speechless.

“Babysat while Christian went to bingo.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday, October 6th, 2017
8:12am
5 minutes
Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years
Sue Townsend

When Christian went to bingo, Dominique and I babysat Felix. He would pay us ten dollars each, which at the time we thought was a hundred. Mimi would save hers. Right into her bank account it would go. She couldn’t get there fast enough. Christian had to tell her, repeatedly, that she ought to buy herself something. “It’s okay to spend a little,” he’d say, smiling. I would make lists of what I wanted – the newest YM, a watermelon lipgloss, a journal with a sparkly peacock on the front, a set of fine-tip sharpies, an extra large toblerone bar, my own matte scotch tape, Guatemalan slippers, a mini flatiron… The list would be so long that I wouldn’t be able to choose what I wanted first. Sometimes I’d cry and Mimi would console me. By this time, Felix would be drinking out of the toilet or scratching the wallpaper off the walls in the den and we’d have to call the bingo hall and Christian would have to come home early.

“how on earth an idiot like that could be trusted” by Sasha on the dock at Knowlton Lake

Friday October 6th, 2017
7:32am
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

Jack is a namecaller and I know it to be true because the walls are thin in this God-forsaken house. My mother only knew Jack for thirteen weeks before they got married, and yes it was because she was pregnant, but she’s not pregnant anymore. Jack was drunk on their wedding day, even before breakfast. Louelle and I brought them boiled eggs and sliced ham in bed and I don’t know how he did it but he’d definitely already been drinking. Jack calls my mother “idiot”, that’s his favourite one. He calls her “cunt”, which I’m not entirely sure about the meaning of, “twat”, which I think means “cat” like “bitch” means “dog.” Louelle just frowns when she hears it and shakes her little curly head.