“I tell him how a blimp once hit my head.” by Julia on the 7

Tuesday September 4, 2018
7:26am
5 minutes
DADDY
Prathna Lor

I used to tell everyone that I was struck by a truck when I was little. Story goes: I was on my tricycle and the truck smashed me and I was very badly injured and everyone came running because they were so worried. Story is: I was on my tricycle and the truck backed up slightly and bumped me and I was fine.

Maybe the real story is better in the first place. The one that has me up against a monster truck and being saved in the 11th hour. The way I was saved in the 11th hour when I was 18. Swerved in the ice slush, totalled my parents’ Corolla, suffered back and wrist pain, but was still alive enough to get my charges dropped down to “Failure to Share The Road.”
Their car was a write off. they ended up getting more because of me.

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“I’ll back my car up” by Julia at her desk

Friday, May 11, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
Catching the Westbound
Corvin Thomas

It was a nice time to drive then
you behind the wheel and me out the window tracking waterfalls
(There, another, did you see that one? On your left. I said on your left!)
I suppose I wasn’t doing any of the driving
too much fear built up over the years, too many MVA and physio
You never wanted to ride shot-gun, and I don’t think it’s because
you liked the sound of me narrating the outdoors to you, the roadside, the clouds
You liked the finger feeding, the tiny snack bites of cheese and olive
You liked choosing the music
You liked letting me sleep
And it was a good time with a car that was ours for the first trip of our lives
It was good after that with the duct tape holding up the under side of the car
(I call it that to this day because neither of us know much about automobiles, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Human carriers? Life holders? Vessels of transformation and transport?)
But soon after you were screaming your frustration into the pillow
Geeva had died again on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
And we mourned her then: her and her licence plate namesake

“A queen travels” by Julia in T’s car

Saturday, February 24, 2018

12:57am

5 minutes

Winter Watch

Jennifer Elise Foerster

A queen travels in the backseat of a Honda Civic. The front two seats have zebra print covers. The heat doesn’t work. She falls asleep with her neck jammed to the right. She is mushed up, her bones all squeaky.

A queen takes her shoes off because her socks are wet from the tiny hole in her boot. She spreads herself out when she thinks she’s earned it. After reminding herself how many conversations she attempted to start; how many thick silences she endured. At the border she smiles at the man on duty. She lets the others do the talking. She shakes her head from highway sleep.

“Then he yawned and returned to his deckchair.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday November 2, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
Life & Times of Michael K
J.M. Coetzee

RUDY: “I love you, Nina. I love you. I love you. I watch you and I’ve never felt such love. I don’t want to sound – … I’ve never loved someone like this before. I’ve never felt such – … Shit, Nina. Would you look at me? Could you please – … I don’t want to be inappropriate, I don’t want to be – … I… I can’t find the words to tell you how I feel, how I want to – …”

GEM: No. You can’t say that. She will sue you.

RUDY: Sue me?

GEM: Sue you.

RUDY: SUE ME?

GEM: Rudy. Yes. She could sue you! It’s bad conduct, or whatever. It’s a misdemeanour.

RUDY: It is definitely not a misdemeanour.

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Julia at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
from a text

It is not more important to check your texts while operating a vehicle. I believe this. My mother would say, PRECIOUS CARGO BACK HERE, EH? We once were with Justin, watching helplessly from the back seat, when he got caused a minor fender bender cause he was trying to text his girlfriend a shooting star emoji. My mother yelled at him that their stupid love could wait and Justin never really forgave her for that. She was fed up. She had a right to be. His girlfriend broke up with him a week or two later anyway.

“Trucker’s Haven” by Julia in the car


Friday July 21, 2017
7:03pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the 401 on ramp

Wendy and Adele try and stuff their pot into the glove compartment before the state trooper gets to their car.
“Stay cool,” says Adele. “Stay so fucking cool, Wen.”
The dark sunglasses slide down his nose, aided by the tiny pools of sweat collecting on the bridge of it.
“License and registration.” he says, his want poking uncomfortable holes through Adele’s ribbed tank top.
She hands him the paper and pretends there’s a wad of gum in her mouth. She bites her tongue not to address how he is addressing her.

“Destiny Number” by Sasha at Elysian on Broadway


Thursday January 19, 2017 at Elysian
4:35pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

You buy a car and drive across the country. You wear only your mother’s clothes, from the time before she knew you. Remember that that time existed, you say, under your breath like a rosary. You buy a car the colour of sunset and sand, wondering if chrome can chameleon. You paint your face with mud and forget. You go into a diner and order a mushroom omelette and extra crispy bacon. The waitress smiles at you. She knows where you’re coming from, and maybe even where you’re going. You eat with your hands.

“We should be there by then” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday, July 27, 2016
7:23pm
5 minutes
From a text

Reese made me throw out my slushie before I got in the car and I wanted to strangle him for the next six hours as a result. I thought it was stupid of him to be a dick to me as I was the only thing keeping him from driving off a cliff. But whatever. It’s like, maybe if you would drink some slushie I wouldn’t have to throw it all away just so we don’t risk getting your stupid car dirty. It wasn’t even going to happen again but Reese holds grudges, like woah. Like woahhhhhh. So. Whatever. I threw it away. But then I sat with my arms crossed the whole time because car tension really messes with a driver’s head. Especially Reese because he holds grudges but he also holds on to guilt. When he’d ask me to change the music, I did it and everything. I’m not a monster. But I took my sweet time and I made him wait for it. And if he got hungry I would give him a chip or or a piece of cheese, but then pretend to fall asleep in between bites. I don’t know if I wanted an apology or if he was waiting for me to be sorry that I was trying to have a little fun on this road trip, but whatever. I think we both lost or something.

“In terms of expenses” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 10, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
from an email

Mia and I have plans on the weekend. She wants to go camping and I want to go where Mia goes. So we’re going camping. She says it will be really easy if we just pack a tent in my car and then sleep in cornfields or daisy patches or whatever the fuck she actually said. I said yes. I said, I love camping, and I’ve been camping many times, and I am not afraid of getting caught by police or bears or raccoons or snakes. Mia wears an anklet that drives me wild. It’s a gold infinity rope thing and I didn’t know I liked ankles, but fuck hers are nice. She asked me recently if we could squeeze one more person in the back. I heard myself say yes but my whole body was screaming no. My body was too late to the party. It was distracted by the smell of her ponytail.

“cultural and community differences” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday March 13, 2016
5:24pm
5 minutes
From a sample CV

A stench in the music of his voice he invites
me into the backseat and I’m wary of the way that
his hands dance. “Make a kissy face make a kissy
face” he says taking photos on his flip phone my
femininity is not enough for him without pursed
lips. The sky is shitting hail and he rolls a joint
on my thigh jeans like armour legs spread.

“You want to go to the falls?” I know there isn’t
actually a question in there even when I look
inside the spaces between want and to.

“Our favourite woman is missing!!!” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Valens Restaurant
10:02 pm
5 minutes
From a text

I wait for Dany to close the door fully before I utter a single word about Cynthia. I hear the click. Dany waits at the window watching Mitchell get into his car. She makes sure he drives away then she slowly turns around.
“He’s gone.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah. Watched him drive off. ”
“I don’t think she’s dead. ”
“Don’t say that. I knew you were going to say that. ”
“Hear me out, Dany. I’ve given this a lot of thought. ”
“I don’t like that she could be alive and wouldn’t tell us. Or wouldn’t even tell her own brother. ”
“That’s just it, Mitch can’t know about her. No one can. ”

“He always was kinda young looking” by Julia at Valens restaurant


Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at Valens
5:31pm
5 minutes
overheard at the ferry terminal

My brother Reid’s eyelashes were so long they used to get caught in his eyes, like a little cow. He hated how they tangled into each other and refused to grow outward. Because of them he always had red eyes as if they had just been rubbed or showing the effects of recreational substance use. Once this got him in trouble with a police officer who believed his red eyes to be a sign of impaired driving. Reid was embarrassed to admit it was because his eyelashes were so long. That answer doesn’t sound real but I swear to you it is.

“Call it what you will” by Julia in the motel in Sault Ste. Marie


Thursday June 12, 2014
9:55pm
5 minutes
A song by Joe Pug

Caroline and Eddy had been driving for what felt like days. Eddy had begun to smell, refusing to put on deodorant because he said he was on the “open road” and if he couldn’t smell like the earth here, then he didn’t want to be alive. Caroline was battling her car-colepsy and told Eddy that if he was going to take pictures of her sleeping with her mouth wide open facing the roof of the car then he better not post them online or she would punch holes in his tires and make him drive back to Sugar Lake by himself. Eddy didn’t care about Caroline’s sleeping habits, or her poor taste in music. He didn’t care about anything except for getting really far away from everything he knew back home, and finally starting over without anyone knowing who he was. Caroline didn’t know about Eddy’s friend, Liam, with whom he had helped burry a curious large sack that weighed as much as an elephant.

“set a time, a location, and a few basic rules” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence


Monday May 5, 2014
4:01pm
5 minutes
Beautiful Trouble
Edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell


We decided on a Sunday cause of that song–you know the one, it’s that mellow feel good one–Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon….Really couldn’t get away too soon.
It just felt right. We’d meet on a Sunday, get in my car and drive to Nowhereville until the sun set and the breeze got too cold to have the windows down. And that’s when it started. I went to the meeting place, the gate that has all those twinkly lights still up from Christmas, you know, a few blocks away from her house. We didn’t want anyone to know. So the discreet pick up spot made it really fun. And also pretty hot. She was waiting there for me, her face buried in her phone, trying to look busy, trying not to look like she was waiting for anyone at all. Then I pulled up and watched her and I got excited and I got scared. And I got out of the car, and walked over to her slowly. And didn’t say one thing. I just kissed her. Grabbed her hand and led her to the passenger side. I opened the door for her. She said, Wow, you’re chivalrous. And I got shy and I said, I don’t know, you just make me want to be a better woman. Then she smiled and got into my little car. And she fiddled with the radio. And we were Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon.

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:09am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I called you up, I said Vroom Vroom baby
you told me I was out of my mind
I casually laughed then told you I was taking you out tonight
You shrieked a bit and then you were hooked
Where are we going?
And then I said it again, Vroom Vroom baby
You leave that part to me
You had on your jean jacket and you twirled in front of the mirror
Listening to Madonna or Tina
I had the keys and all I had to do was get to you
On my way over I remembered how you liked to bite my bottom lip when you kissed me
I thought about how if I close my eyes and lean into you, I always find your mouth
Or yours always finds mine
I felt cool with the hood down and the midnight air whispering through me
You were just a couple minutes away
And I couldn’t get to you fast enough
I almost ditched my ride on the side of the road
Just to run to you and make the wait disappear.
And then my song came on
Our song
The one you liked to sing in the shower

“BIG NEWS!” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday January 24, 2014
5:49pm
5 minutes
From a nondescript newspaper

Cassiopeia says she’s got “big news!” Turns out she scored big down at the Storage Unit Auction on Princess St. She’s been addicted to those things since the 80’s. You know the ones? Well, if you don’t pay your payments then those owners have the right to sell all of your stuff. All of your things that you’ve been paying to store there! I always scoff at her, saying, “Cass, you better not dip into your retirement fund of you’ll be asking to come and live with me before you know it!” She knows I’m only half kidding. Lucille said that she must’ve spent almost all of Kenneth’s Life Insurance on those things. And then she comes in today, she comes into the kitchen and looks at the tuna sandwiches like she’s too good for them! “What’s with you?” I say. And she says that she’s got “big news!”!! “What is it?” I say. “I bid on a storage locker that had boxes of crap…” “And…?” I say. “And a Rolls-Royce!” Who even knew a car could fit in one of those things.

“in a graceful way” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 14, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
12:35am
5 minutes
Stone Poetry
Satya Pattnaik


In a graceful way, I see your unravelling. It started with forgetting that you left the car on, bad, terrible things coming out the wind-pipe. I got home and thought that you were doing what you sometimes do, listening to the radio, too engrossed to leave the freezing cold, red, Honda. I get excited because I’m going to surprise you and scare you half to death. I rarely get that. It’s usually the other way around. But, you’re not there. I go round to the drivers side and take the key out. I imagine someone having found the car here, your prized possession of true adult independence, and driving it away, no sign of anything out of the ordinary. But you are out of the ordinary. Nothing about the dishes in the sink, or the dying spider plants are ordinary. This is the time before the phoenix rises. This is the time when you sprinkle the one hundred and sixty puzzle pieces all over the living room carpet.

“Behind the new shopping centre” by Julia on the 506 going east


Thursday December 19, 2013
10:48am
5 minutes
The Globe and Mail
Thursday December 19, 2013


Hal had me waiting in the car with the damn thing running because he said he’d be “two secs”. I hate when he says stuff like that. “two secs” sounds dirty no matter how innocently you mean it. So I was sitting there flipping through radio stations, seeking through them hoping to find a song I knew. I feel like I always have a hope for a certain song to come on. As if I deserve to hear it just by being in the car. I heard ones I knew but not ones I wanted to sing. I think that’s the difference. No one sits in a car alone and doesn’t sing! What’s the point of that! I like to belt it. Try to harmonize badly with good songs. Anyway Hal told me he’d be quick and to be honest I had lost track of time. I wouldn’t have minded if he stayed away a little while longer so I could find that song and just sing it out. I must have missed him calling my phone. Turned it to silent so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it every few minutes.

“I want to go in the automobile” by Julia on her bed


Monday June 10, 2013
1:31am
5 minutes
Far To Go
Alison Pick


I want to take a trip, road trip, sky trip, what have you, and go someplace that isn’t here, isn’t anywhere near here. I want to go in the automobile and I want to be the one who is driving. I want to pick my favourite music and blast it till the speakers blow. Let everyone else on the road know that this girl doesn’t take anything too seriously. That this one isn’t too precious with anything.
In the sky I’m less in charge, in control. I would pick the road over the sky any day.
Road trip. Let’s get in the car. Let’s scan the radio for a song you and I both can’t live without. We don’t have to keep it on that station if we don’t like all of them.