“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

“Response rate: 100%” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 26, 2018
6:54am
5 minutes
poparide.com

If you call me and I can’t pick up but I CALL YOU RIGHT BACK
as in I do not let you finish your voicemail
as in your phone should still be open on my number
can I just ask one little question?
WHERE THE EFF ARE YOU?
Seconds have past
Has the urgency left?
Are you passed out, dead, on the phone with someone else?
Is your ringer on?
Would you like to join the conversation?
Here’s my two cents
People who call you and then have their phone on silent
shouldn’t be allowed to own a phone
They have classes for driving a car
And if you don’t pass, you don’t drive
You should have to take a test for the use of your dinky cell phone
“Oh I don’t know how that happened, that’s weird, it was in my pocket”
I don’t want to have to wait to talk to you
if I call you I am CALLING YOU
but if you don’t pick up I will be on the phone with someone else
because you forfeit the right to speak with me and I have shit to discuss
I hope you’re not dead

“Sometimes I can hear Harry’s voice” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
11:09am
5 minutes
#WeAreHarryChang
Thomas Lee

Sometimes I can hear Harry’s voice. Especially when I’m driving. Especially on the highway. Especially at night. Harry’s voice is just like it was – booming, deep, a bit of lilt to it, like at any moment he might break into some kind of dirge. He’s usually telling me to slow down, but the words he chooses are never, “Slow down.” He says something like,

“Beni, driving is best enjoyed with the window open and slow like molasses.”

Or,

“Slow and steady wins the race, my boy.”

When my Mom married Harry, I hated him. He was so big, and had baseball gloves for hands, or, that’s what I thought when I met him. I’d never seen someone so tall.

“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’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.

“it’s too much sugar” by Julia in the rideshare


Tuesday July 11, 2017
10:44am
5 minutes
overheard in the ride share

He pulls out a Kit Kat and starts offering it around. Everyone is saying no. I know I don’t trust him the moment I get into the van. He is complaining about his phone plan. He is loud and obnoxious. He is trying to flirt with the woman beside him who is being polite when he complains about his phone plan. I want the Kit Kat but I do not want to take anything from him. When my seatbelt lock gets stuck below the seat, I ask the driver to stop. The Kit Kat guy tells me we aren’t going to get into a crash and die or something. I say, then you can sit here. He says he would.
He offers his chocolate around again, appalled at the lack of positive response. I know I do not trust him. He says, don’t you know it’s rude to say no when someone offers you something?
And my skin tightens.

“wild horses” by Julia at her desk


Saturday June 3, 2017
10:45pm
5 minutes
from the microsoft home-screen

On the road trip, Marco presents the game called Animals.
It’s simple, really, when you see an animal, you yell out what it is.
My favourite one to yell is HORSES.
Marco’s favourite is GOATS.
We’ve been playing since the bad burgers and the overpriced fruit.
Marco won’t let me drive even though he’s nodded off twice. I told him
he could rest if he wanted, but he didn’t want me to miss all of the
waterfalls, happening exclusively on my side.
I try to present the game called Water Falls.
But only I can play. Marco can’t take his eyes off the road
on this mountain because every turn is very important.
After we stop for gas and retape the underside of our car,
Marco snapps at me for trying to put down his sun visor and blocking his view.

“I don’t ever think about death” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Kelowna


Monday March 13, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
Glory And Gore
Lorde

He breathes fire
He drives a yellow Honda
Civic and always
goes at least thirty
kilometers over
the speed limit

I’m not sure if
he thinks that
he’s beyond the
parameters of life
and death or if
he’s just jacked
up on energy drinks
and the fact that
his muscles are growing

He isn’t interested
in women or girls
He goes to work at
the lumber yard and
then he drives to
the gym

That’s it really

Sometimes he’ll go
to a party at Steve’s
place and when he’s
there everyone will
say

“Why don’t you ever
hang out, man?”

“We like what you’ve got to say” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday, August 27, 2016
12:07am
5 minutes
Penn’s Sunday School

The sound of the dry erase pen on the whiteboard makes my stomach turn. It’s hour five of eight and Henry’s voice woos me in and out of sleep. He came up and pinched my ear just after lunch when my head hit the desk and distracted everyone. At least that’s what he said. I could still taste him, which made that extra weird. It was our special arrangement – I’d blow him on our fifteen minute break in exchange for free driving school. On the fifteen minute break, everyone was either smoking or at the Seven Eleven buying coffee and Slurpees. Henry came in under six minutes, so it wasn’t an issue in that way. When he’d propositioned me, at first I said no. But I really wanted to be able to get to my job at Shoppers without having to take the bus.

“disaster in one form or another” by Julia on the Greyhound to Toronto


Monday, August 10, 2015
6:38pm
5 minutes
Courage
Debbie ford


I stabbed my eyelid with my thumbnail and it started to bleed so Rainbow or whatever the fuck her name is won’t let me participate in the fucking step class. So now I’m sitting outside the gym waiting for Deanna to finish “getting her sweat on” cause she has our locker key and Rainbow’s stupid bitch face said I wasn’t allowed to reenter the class after leaving cause it disrupts the other “athletes”. Jesus fucking hell, it’s not a broadway show! Are the “athletes” really going to have to stop on account of the squinty eyed bleeding girl taking a place in the room? I’m the fucking victim here! Probably my last day of seeing and Rainbow STILL refuses to grant me my dignity.

“and I’m not driving!” By Julia on her bed


Saturday, August 8, 2015
2:13am
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

See I got this problem and it’s not a very big one, in the grand scheme of life and stuff, you know? But this problem of mine, it’s a very annoyin’ situation so I just can’t stop talkin’ about it. See I was drivin’ to the corner store last Wednesday cause I needed those new chips they had out? You know the Lays, how they have those flavour competitions and you got to vote for the best one to see which one gets to stay in the natural rotation of things? So I had this deal with myself, a bet more like it even, and I had to try all of the chip flavours but completely blind to avoid all bias. And I knew I wanted to taste them one by one side by side to get the true reaction of my mouth goin’. Anyway, I was really lookin’ forward to having this taste test cause after Arnie won the kids I was drinkin’ more than ever and felt like I needed some kind of comfort that wasn’t clear and all consuming. So as I’m drivin’ I start to cry, real big whimperin’ whinin’ kind of tears and it makes it real hard to see…

“and I’m not driving!” By Sasha in a parked car


Saturday, August 8, 2015
4:53pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I am sitting in a parked car outside a liquor store. I am a progressive, independent, feminist, free-thinking, multi-city living, graduate student. I do not, however, have a driver's license. I am both embarrassed and charmed by this, I am proud and filled with shame. I diverted around the 16-year-old wheel-craze and instead opted for a bicycle and a bus pass. I went for my Learner's Permit and failed, having only studied the first three pages of the manual. I remember saying to my friend, “Dumber people than me know how to drive! I don't need to study!” Cocky. Now, thirteen years later, I humbly search the internet for a cheap driving school near where I live. I don't have a parent's car to practice on and I will most likely be the oldest person in my driving school class. I am terrified of getting in a car accident. I am afraid of pissing people off on the road. I am so excited to rent my first car and hit the open highway, snaking up a mountain.

“within 15 days” by Julia on her bed


Thursday, July 9, 2015
11:42pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

“Or maybe we could rent a van and pack it up tight with all our stupid stuff that we don’t care about and just drive it across the country like we did last time?” She says this, rubbing an ice cube side to side across her collar bone, making him sweat, making him want her even more.
“Yeah, we could, or we could purge all our stupid stuff that we don’t need and just be free and minimal.” He says this with a knowing smirk that she’d never go for something like that.
“You mean minimalistic?” She pops the ice cube into her mouth and lets it melt there for a second.
“I don’t think we need to purge. Maybe get rid of a few things. The waffle iron. We could get rid of the waffle iron, and maybe the second set of measuring cups.”

“Northern Adventures” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
11:03am
5 minutes
from a pamphlet

Taking a road trip in September to a new place a new hideaway a new home and you’re gonna drive and I’m gonna pick the mixed CD and you’re gonna say “look at that view” and I’m gonna take a photo of it in September when the air is still warm and the trees still green that’s when you promised me first and that’s when I said yes I’ll do it I’ll follow you if you lead me to the best parts of me if you show me I won’t be missing anything here or if you just keep loving me the way you do I’ll go with you anywhere and then one day when we’ve seen the world we will curl up in front of the slideshow of our lives and be perfectly content we only have to wait until September that’s when everything good can begin to be born and develop and flourish and nourish and save us

“Choosing what is important for her” by Julia on the 504 going west


Friday March 27, 2015
1:08am
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

When Andrea lifted her head from steering wheel she didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know that she had just crashed her cream coloured Toyota corolla into a city transit bus, inhibiting 50 people from getting to work on time, or to school, or to the first job interview the two or three people were able to secure since getting back on their feet. She felt her stomach doing summersaults, regretting in that instant her choice to consume only spicy salami cut up into thick round chunks for breakfast. She saw smoke all around her and thought it was only a dream; the rising and falling of a dragon’s breath, heating his layer and keeping himself warm in his cave.

“breaking laws and regulations” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 22, 2015
5:50pm
5 minutes
Nothing But Money
Greg B. Smith


She never had a record until she did and couldn’t say that anymore. She didn’t say it enough, in fact, when she could freely and honestly do it. Now she has to announce that it’s no longer clean, pristine, untouched. She has to tell potential employers that she isn’t legally allowed to drive until 2017 because of a current DUI charge. She’d like to tell them that it wasn’t really her fault in the first place, but people don’t hear excuses when all they can see is “criminal record”. Criminal. That’s what she had become. And again, she wished she would have started more conversations with “I’m not a criminal” because now she isn’t able to identify with anything else. She hugged the woman she got to chatting with in the line at the post office who said to “try to stop identifying yourself with things in this world. Things are not you. And you are not things. Your failures do not define you. Your successes, though we’d like them to, don’t either.”

“the volcanoes of Central Africa” by Sasha on her couch


Monday November 17, 2014
10:03pm
5 minutes
Genesis
Sebastiao Salgado


Do not bring a fucking cheese plate, Jerry! Bring, bring… I don’t know bring a bean dip or something. Bring some damn tortilla chips. He can’t eat cheese, for shit’s sake. It’s his goddamn graduation party! Oh, and did you get him a present? JERRY! Are you fucking kidding me?! This is – … No! You can’t hang up on me! I – …

Shit. Shit shit shit.

Jerry. I really don’t appreciate that you hung up on – … Okay. Look. It means a lot to Ken that you and I both be there today and if we can’t be civil then… I’m sorry. I’m sorry about snapping there but, I’m, I’m stressed out and the cleaning lady cancelled and the house is a mess and thirteen people are coming over in forty five minutes and – … Shit, shoot… Ken’s on the other line. Jerry, can I count on you for the damn bean dip? And that you’ll have a gift for him? He’s into poetry. Did you know that? Poetry. Like, Leonard Cohen. He’s reading Leonard Cohen.

“in the passenger seat” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 26, 2014
6:12pm
5 minutes
from the early draft of a screenplay

He’s in the passenger and he adjusts the radio and you snap. “What the fuck?” He retracts his hand. He leaves it. He turns to you and starts to say something and then turns back, eyes on the dusty road. It’s Cat Stevens. Anyone who changes the station when it’s Cat Stevens isn’t invited. “I need to pee,” he says, twelve kilometres later. You sigh and he looks at his hands. He’s been biting his nails again. “No problem,” you soften. You need a Diet Coke, anyway. “Sorry, I’m just nervous,” you say. “Me too,” he says and then you feel worse than you felt when you heard the news.

“Detour 23” by Sasha on the porch at Knowlton Lake


Sunday Aug 3, 2014
3:11pm
5 minutes
from a Pembina Hwy sign

At Detour 23 I pull over and change Lenny’s diaper. He’s been wet since Detour 17 and screamed bloody murder for the last handful of miles. “What kinda mother are you?” Cody kept saying. “Go back there an’ do it! I’m driving!” Cody got a DUI last November. His favorite thing to do is drive. It’s made him a different kinda person… The kinda person you wouldn’t trust around a kitten or to make you breakfast. “He’s your kid!” Cody screamed. I will not get into this, I will not get into this, I will not get into this, I will not get into this… I close my eyes and imagine the Old Growth forests we’re driving towards. I imagine climbing into a tree, Lenny strapped to my bike, and living there for a very long time.

“Parking available at the rear” by Julia on Jessica’s couch


Monday, July 7, 2014
12:02am
5 minutes
from a window sign


I don’t know if you know this, but I just got my license so I am free now and I can ride.
I can be the party bus.
I can be the one you call. Don’t drink and drive! So if you want to, I’ll take you there.
I’ll go anywhere. Just as long as I can get out of the house. It’s stuffy inside. It feels like the walls are made of rock crumble and at any moment it could come crashing down on me, burying me alive in all the rubble.
My mother is a sweetheart. She watches TV all day and tells me to heat up the carrots for dinner.
Nobody likes cooked carrots around here. Not even her. But she doesn’t know what else to feed me and she’s scared if she doesn’t I’ll go blind.
I heat up the carrots and put them on her TV tray beside the couch. She doesn’t even sniff them. They sit there all night. I don’t eat mine either so the house smells like warm mushy carrot and I don’t know if she knows this, but it’s not helping her case against my future blindness.
I want to get out and just drive along the highway.
I want to roll the windows down and breathe in the fresh freedom that I’ve been so hopeful for.
I want to drive away and never come back.
My mother is a sweetheart, but she won’t even know I’m gone.

“1 Eastside” by Julia at the motel in Thunder Bay


Friday June 13, 2014
10:56pm
5 minutes
The front of a bus in Sault Ste. Marie

We ended up taking a bus to a reserve somewhere with a sign that read “Gravel River Motel: Food, Gifts, Amethyst”. I didn’t realize how important amethyst was, but it happened to be my birthstone so I was intrigued enough to go in. We talked to the shop owner for at least 10 minutes, him asking me how I found myself here and me asking him why he was selling amethyst like cigarettes. He told me that I was here now and that’s all that mattered. I bought two or three of his little sacks filled with the stuff. I said, Thanks, I’ll give one of them to my sister when I see her next. Then we waved to him as we left the shop and wondered out loud if that entire experience was one we had dreamed up or one that truly transpired. I thought about the shop-owner later that night as I laid on the motel bed, counting the times the guy in the room next to ours, separated by a paper thin wall, said “Please” to his girlfriend or lover or something like that.

“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

“A deliciously wicked pleasure.” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 6, 2013
1:02am
5 minutes
ad for The Silent Wife
on the TTC


It’s a rocky road to somewheresville. Don’t know won’t care somewheresville.
It starts with a blurry line and ends with someone without a license free riding on the midnight highway.
With the windows down just a crack; enough to let the demons out. Enough to let the soul creep out and into the sky.
It’s a beautiful and and deliciously wicked pleasure. The path to uncertainty wrapped so tightly in a bow it suffocates. They would let that happen. Because it’s bigger than stopping it.
It’s a rocky road to somewheresville, with a stack of rebellions so high the Empire State Building starts to wince from anxiety. Toppling into the streets, the youth and the present all at once. The search is on for great and grand. The road is a rocky one…

“That was my first personal encounter” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, May 18, 2013
8:31pm
5 minutes
Some Freaks
David Mamet


He and I, remember Andy? Didn’t like to be called Andrew, God knows why. I tried, Sal, I did. I used to say, Andrew my love, to disguise it and he would see right through me like a piece of plastic wrap on a bowl of cold noodles. Anyway, Andy and I, we met that day on the bridge because my car stalled and he was the only nice son of a bitch to stop and help me. I was losing my mind about it and he kept me real calm. So then he asked what I was on my way to and if maybe I wanted to grab a coffee with him. I was sort of amused that he thought I was just driving on the bridge and had all this free time in the world to grab coffee with a complete and utter stranger! Anyway I told him, remember what I said? I told him, You can call me tomorrow afternoon and ask me out for a proper date! That’s what I said, Sal! It’s true, don’t act like I made that up; you can’t write that shit, you know you can’t! Then he did call me. Remember? The next day, at the strike of noon like he was waiting there all morning for it to be “afternoon” so he could call. And that night we ate at, uh, what’s that place? Well good thing I don’t remember because we didn’t last thirty seconds before we snuck off to the bathroom and he fucked me against a urinal! I’m sure those snobby bastards won’t want to see me again anyway!

“15 people lost limbs” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday April 26, 2013 at Starbucks
11:55am
5 minutes
The front page of the Metro Weekend
April 26-28, 2013


It was a nightmare the day she lost her left arm. A softball player since she was big enough to hold a stick and swing it at tossed pebbles at the end of her driveway. Marissa was the catcher for her team. It would make more sense to address that first, but she’s sensitive and doesn’t want everyone in the town to pity her. Marissa was in a car, driving, sleeping, driving. She woke up on the wrong side of the road once and was shocked so intensely she swore she’d never drive tired again. She had been on her way home from the big away game. It was the playoffs. Her team had won, Everyone was celebrating. Marissa didn’t drink, she even took a nap before talking on the three hour drive. She is still confused about what happened. How it happened. How she ended up in a ditch with her arm out the window–crushed beyond possible repair. She woke up in the hospital with her teammates all around her crying. She hadn’t even looked at the damage yet. But, she knew. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, she thought.

“Richard Rooney” by Julia at Cafe Novo


Saturday, January 26, 2013 at Cafe Novo
1:38pm
5 minutes
the program for This Is War at Tarragon

God help us if he gets his license back. Sort of just hoped he’d stop driving when his eyes went. But nope! Grandpa Jerry doesn’t know how to say no to “perfectly good pudding” which is an expression he uses all the time even if food is not actually in the picture. Once he took me and Emma to go get ice cream and because he let us eat in the car, Emma was freezing for a whole 16 minutes because he swerved and she ended up with the ice cream all over her lap.
Emma wasn’t impressed.
Then another time he was driving just too slow because he couldn’t see, but auntie Ray missed her flight because he insisted he was “just fine thank you very much.”
So now he’s under strict surveillance because if he drives right now while his license is suspended he’ll never get it back. I can’t say I haven’t thought about begging him for a ride to Amber’s soccer tournament in Woodstock.

“Serving 4 blocks” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, December 20, 2012
12:46am
5 minutes
From the back of a Godiva chocolate bar

I’m not sure where to start, really. I think it started somewhere near Whitehorse – the snow, the hail, the big buffalo clouds. My cell phone lost reception and I was afraid that if I pulled over the other cars on the road wouldn’t be able to see me and I’d be more at risk. I’d never driven so many hours before, I’d never been alone, province after province, stopping for tea and a “hello” with gas station attendants, just to make sure my voice still worked. I could barely see the road in front of me. I was crying and praying, neither of which I do regularly by any stretch of the imagination. I decided I needed something divine, I needed an intervention. I turned up the Arcade Fire. I took a deep breath. With my eyes on the road and one hand on the wheel, my other hand reached around in my pack for the chocolate bar that Fran had given me before I left Salt Spring Island. I ripped open the package and broke off a square. I laughed out loud at the insanity of my desire to drive to the North. I laughed at my unwavering desire to make it to the Reservation before the end of the month. I sucked on the chocolate, just like Fran taught me, the flecks of sea salt and caramel melting on my tongue like angel snowflakes.