“and a quiet evening sipping whiskey” by Julia on the Brown Line

Wednesday September 12, 2018
7:16pm
5 minutes
Mr. Bright Eyes
John Barton

Who had the bright idea to go to Target and buy a 12 pack of Miller Lite? Must have been you since you’re the only one drinking Miller Lite these days. Me, I can’t swallow the stuff. Not just Miller Lite, but beer. The only thing they drink here. Not beer as in here take a sip, take a load off, take the edge off. Beer as in, here, here, here, and here, and more, and more, and more, and here. I can’t do it like that. I was told not to. My body has been trying to remind me that. You wouldn’t want me that way anyway. Those days when I used to drink beer and beer and here and here I wouldn’t know where here was or me, or my desires. I don’t recognize the person who used to drink in the shower, before the comedy show, before leaving the house. I could ask us to stay in one night, have a quiet evening sipping whiskey but, you are not the kind of person who sips anything. You like the feeling of being tipsy with me, but I can’t seem to get there anymore without losing myself. I don’t like the action of sipping things when I am simply not thirsty.
My guts have been full since I got here. You had a Miller Lite in the closet yesterday and I had one more reason to stop. The dreams come worse when I’ve been filling all the holes with the wrong kind of gold. The kind that costs four dollars at Target.

“creamed corn with beer” by Sasha at Foundry Rd.


Monday July 4, 2016
10:16pm
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Vince likes his creamed corn with beer. He eats this on Sundays, because Sundays are lazy. Mondays Vince has a tuna melt with three dill pickles. Counts as his vegetables. That and the celery. “Good amount of veg,” thinks Vince. Tuesdays Vince goes for wings with Andy. Might even have a beer if he’s feeling deserving. Always gets Honey Garlic. He can’t handle heat. Andy makes fun of him, every week, because he gets Suicide. Vince used to laugh but doesn’t anymore. He doesn’t get how a joke can be funny the four hundredth time.

“creamed corn with beer” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 4, 2016 at Starbucks
6:57am
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Only had one plan for the entire weekend and that was to roll out of my house and down the hill to the corner store and buy a banana or two and maybe a variety pack of mini travel cereals. Frosted Flakes. Had some nostalgia for times past, for the flavours of my youth. I turned off my phone and I bundled myself up in flannel and wool. I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t expect to. Hart had been gone for almost a month. He wrote me a letter saying it would be his last and that I should probably do my best to move on and not take the break-up too personally. Okay, Hart, I thought, I will only take it medium-personally. The teenager working the cash was on her phone and I was not in the mood for kindness anyway so it was fine. Then I heard my name being hollered from behind me. I turned around reluctantly and saw Hart’s oldest daughter, Carmen. She was holding a can of creamed corn and carrying a case of Labatt Blue.

“round their throats” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, March 25, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

She keeps her secret safe around her throat a
red ribbon tied in a bow the edges fraying the
fray undoing the past and what is heavy there.
She keeps her secret safe drinking beer with
breakfast drinking coffee with lunch drinking
no water only brown liquids to keep the pain
down below the sludge. She keeps her secret
safe by only calling him on his birthday and
making sure it’s at a time he won’t pick up.

“Happy birthday, Owen. Hope you’re well.”

Dial tone like the drone note of a prayer she
won’t do this again. This is the last time.
She keeps her secret safe until it doesn’t
want safety. It wants air it wants light prisms.

“his eyes were heavy, his muscles ached.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday March 3, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Walkabout
James Vance Marshall


She’s not sure if she has anything left to write. All the stories are the same the same the same the same the same. She burps beer and swallows it down. His eyes look heavy across from her. “Go to bed,” she thinks. “Want another?” She says. They both have notebooks open, filling the space between them. At least something is. She wonders whether the sex will ever get good again. She wonders whether his twin has a nicer jaw. She goes to the bar and gets another pitcher. She refills their glasses. His head is resting on his arm. Is he sleeping?

“new hipster beer” by Julia on her patio


Monday May 25, 2015
4:03pm
5 minutes
from a beer tasting

I didn’t want to go to Portland and see all the hipsters wearing their hipster gear and drinking their new hipster beer. I didn’t have a better answer for wanting to stay at home other than I just didn’t want to go, but Reilly was being such a nag about it, asking me a thousand times a day, “why, Elyse, why don’t you want to go? You hiding something, Elyse? You got better things planned, Elyse?”
My God she was such a rat terrier. I guess when you bail on a plan 2 days before you’re supposed to hit the road, people are bound to get weird about shit. I just never really wanted to go from the beginning but I didn’t admit that part out loud when we were all contributing our halves to the housing and the “unpredictable” fund. It doesn’t feel so good saying it now–Note To Self: Always be up front so that I never have to feel whatever it is I’m feeling now, again.
It just saves everybody a healthy dose of disheartened confusion if we all just say what we need at the very moment that we need it. And guilt too. It saves me guilt.

“a very small quantity of mud” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday December 2, 2014
8:06pm
5 minutes
Cartapaglia notebook

We’re sittin’ there, at the bar and she’s crunchin’ peanuts an’ makin’ a stack of the shells an’ I been keepin’ my distance but like… So, I turn to her an’ I say, “Nice haircut.” An’ she turns real slow an’ says, “I didn’t get any haircut.” An’ I feel like an idiot, right, like, I coulda sworn something was different about her. She’s drinkin’ that Okanagan Springs, right, so I say to the bartender, “Give ‘er another,” an’ she says, “No,” No?! I’m tryin’ ta buy a beautiful woman a drink! She hops off ‘er stool an’ she says, “You know what, dipshit? I can buy my own drinks! Yeah! I have a J-O-B. I probably make more money than you do! What do you think’s gonna happen, you’re gonna buy me a drink and I’m gonna fall for you? Or give you a pity handjob or somethin’? No fuckin’ thanks!” An’ she goes over to the shuffleboard an’ starts saltin’ the table. My, my, my hands are shakin’, you know what I mean? Thank Christ Tom was takin’ a leak ‘cuz he woulda laughed his ass off…

“Until everyone finished performing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday May 21, 2014
11:55pm
5 minutes
winnipeglive.ca

there was a lull in the crowd as we waited for jenny to get the courage to go up for open mic night. it was her first time, so she was nervous, but i’ve never seen jenny like that before. she puked in the ladies’ washroom right when she got there and she drank a whole pint of beau’s–after the whole puking incident. we started calling that move the ‘puke and purchase’. she somehow didn’t pass out, but was still so nervous that she wasn’t being herself. i whispered to her via text-message “girl, what are you doing, it’s going to be fine <3." and she text-yelled back "I AM DYING RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW". so the crowd was all waiting for the next act, and it was really clear that the mc for the night, who did a lot of standup comedy, was even feeling a bit awkward at this point. he didn't even know if he could make fun of her, probably because a) the crowd was doing that enough and b) he must have understood. finally, after waiting way too long, jenny popped up from her chair, her ukelele clutched to her chest. the crowd booed her. she looked like she was going to sit back down. so i instinctively stuck my index finger right up her butt-crack. "GO" i hissed.

“Hooded Shawl” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday February 6, 2014
11:56pm
5 minutes
the Circle Scarf tag
American Apparel


We were wiser when we were younger. Tuned into our hunger and our thirst. Seeing only the best and not the worst. Every person their own snowflake, melting on the tongue of the universe. We were wiser when we were younger. Brewing our tea in tiny cups and shaking hands with every stuffed bear at the party. No fashionably late. Always on time. You would braid my hair, fancy and french, and I would tell you made-up stories about a place we called “Venitaville”.

“We were wiser when we were younger,” you say, pouring more beer in my glass and getting really whimsical about it. “Remember that hooded shawl thing you had? That you’d wear October to April?” My Bubba had made it for me out of and old sweater. It was pink and purple.

“Her bedroom” by Sasha at Lit on College


Wednesday, September 11, 2013
10:49am at Lit on College
5 minutes
26a
Diana Evans


When she gets home she always changes into one of his undershirts and a pair of his boxers. Their seventh floor apartment is hot, but it's not even that, it's the cling of her work skirt and her pressed blouse, it's the stretch of her nylons across her belly, it's the heels digging into her baby toe. He's been asking her if she's seen his clothes, his underthings, and she shrugs. "I don't know, dude, probably that freaky guy at the laundromat stealing stuff from the dryer." By the time he gets home from work, the door to her room is closed, a fog of soft light whispering through the cracks. She hears him frying an egg and making toast. She hears him pop the cap off a bottle of Budweiser.

“He began patiently” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, July 19, 2013
11:56pm
5 minutes
House Rules
Heather Lewis


Started by brushing his teeth one tooth at a time. Doing circles and shit on each one as if he thought Santa was going to bring him a new toy for every clean piece of enamel. He was careful because he had to put his attention on something. On something other than the growing life inside her or the way she started to only wear oversized grey T-shirts around the house. But he did it well. Those two, sometimes three minutes he’d spend in the morning and the one, but usually two minutes he’d spend before bed. Just thinking and relaxing and taking pride in what otherwise felt like a lost cause. She’d lay on the couch with a half empty bottle of Blue in her hand and a stale piece of peppermint gum rotting the inside of her cheek. And so he decided that there were other places he’d rather be.

Water glass, pint glass and a bottle of hot sauce (photo) by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, April 20, 2013
1:32am
5 minutes
Dip!

When I walked in you had your back to me. Your hair was a bit smooshed at the back, like you’d just woken up, or had been lying in the grass. I approached slowly. “Hey,” I said, and you turned, quickly, and I saw that you’d changed. You’d received a few crows-feet wrinkles around your eyes, your curls had a dusting of grey, your lips sloped ever so slightly downwards. You stood up quickly, to hug me, and I thought, for the first time, how strange this custom was – pressing two bodies together, heads over shoulders. Were you holding your breath? You held on. I had initiated the pulling away, but you were having none of it. “It’s been too long,” you whispered. I imagined that your eyes were closed and as I did, you moved your hand across my back, the way my father does. When you were ready, you pulled back and held me at arms length. You drank me in. “You’ve gotten more beautiful,” you say. “I always knew you’d be one of those people that grow into themselves, that get more and more beautiful as they get older,” you continue, red rising in my cheeks from way, way, down. “Stop,” I say, quietly. “No…” You respond. I sit down in the booth, opposite you. You’ve already ordered me a pint of beer. Yours is three quarters done. Only your face has changed, I guess. Your bad habits are rooted.

‘ONE DRY PINT’ by Julia on her couch


Thursday, April 4, 2013
11:55pm
5 minutes
from the cherry tomato carton

Harry sat at the bar hating his name. He couldn’t stop thinking about how old he sounded on paper–how British. Harry’s mother didn’t speak a word of English and heard the name Harry once while struggling to shop for what she called a “water go, pasta stop.” No one at the store understood her-except for a lucky encounter with a shopper named Harry who recognized her needs. “A colander?” He asked, helped her pay for the stupid thing, then smiled and said his name. She didn’t tell him her name. She was private like that. But she felt like she should thank him somehow for helping her the way he did when she felt all alone in a new country. And unlike any one else who’d buy him a nice bottle of wine or something, she named her first son Harry. Harry always hated his name. He orders a pint of Guinness and stared at it while thinking about his assignment due in the morning for English Lit. He shouldn’t have gone to the bar in the first place, but he was stressed out because his roommate, Ryan, had just gotten dumped by his long distance girlfriend. Harry wished he had a name like that. Ryan.