“Modern medicine clashes” by Sasha on her balcony

Thursday May 17, 2018
8:43pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

“You must be Mrs. Macarthy? It’s nice to meet you, I’m the resident who assisted Dr. Chokrany in Stephen’s surgery. I’m pleased to say that it was a success, and your husband is in post-op and he should be waking up in the next hour or so…”

“Hi Mom, I only have a minute and – … No, Mom. I don’t get long weekends. I’m – … Mom, I only have a minute so please let me finish. I didn’t get the fellowship in Halifax so I won’t be back for Gus’ wedding… Mom. Calm down. I, I – … Shit, I have to go. I’ll call you back when I’m out of surgery. I love you.”

“Babe? I’m going to be late… I’m sorry… I, I – … It’s been a long fucking shift, okay, and – … I’ll be home by ten at the latest.”

“Are you Sue Rothstein’s son? Hi, I’m Dr. Gold, I’ve just come out of the OR and I’m so sorry to say that your mother’s tumour had spread into her brain far more intensely than we could see from the imaging. She didn’t make it through surgery. I’ll give you a minute, and if you have any questions – … We always do our best, that always what we do… I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Intelligent, quirky, passionate” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 15, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
from Quill and Quire

Welcome to Search-and-Love and thank you for joining our community. Setting up your profile is going to take some time, but you can save as you go and come back to it as many times as you need to. Remember that the love of your life is going to see what you write here, so make it count. We congratulate you on taking your love life, and your future, into your own hands.

“I don’t think this is for me,” you say, and you’re right in some ways.

“Of course it is! Come on! It’s now or never!” I pat your arm.

“It hasen’t even been a year, Kel…” Tears fill your eyes and I –

“We’ve talked about this a million times. You have to get back on the horse. You’ll go on a few dates and you’ll see how you feel! If you hate it, you’ll take your profile down. Okay?”

Now, let’s start easy – describe yourself in three words.

“My mom calls him that” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday May 14, 2018
1:13pm
5 minutes
from a text

“Scrub-a-dub”. That’s what Mom used to call Dustin. He hated bath time, he hated water. He didn’t even want to drink it. Mom would have to add a splash of cranberry juice to his water bottles that she’d send to school. If it was straight water he simply wouldn’t drink it. Kira and I used to joke that he’d have a heart attack if he ever fell into a bath, or the lake.

“Come on, scrub-a-dub,” Mom would say, trying to distract him or something, trying her best to get him to bathe. He would scream and cry. He would tantrum. She’d usually resort to a sponge bath. We didn’t know that Dustin had a lot of other fears, too. We didn’t know what was going to happen.

“Manifest plainness” by Julia in her bed

Sunday, May 13, 2018
6:19am
5 minutes
From a quote on by Lao Tzu

The colour is right
Light pink, baby blue, hazy orange

The wake up is long
pushing the eyelashes open slowly
almost drifting off and farther away

The label on the alarm is a message from past me, wisdom and honesty
Please Write. I Love You.
And it works by the time I travel there

Eyelids weigh a wet feather or a hundred pounds and we take it easy
The body machine is working hard at staying up to see the seagulls swooping close to the window but not quite
The body machine is looking for excuses to stay asleep

One eye open, seeing the room through a dream

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 8, 2018
8:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

The job wasn’t that bad. It was the people. It wasn’t even the people. It was the person. She’d never met anyone like Mel, so angry, so vile, so bitter, so angry, so two-faced, so angry. She’d never met anyone like her.

“You’re a real asset here, Beth,” Mel said back in October.

“Aw, that’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

“Any chance you’ve got the time to proof my pitch for the Silverstein’s?”

“Uh, I mean, I have an appointment at five thirty, but – …”

“Reschedule?”

“I… I can’t.”

“But I need your help.”

“When is the meeting?”

“Tomorrow morning!” Her voice started to get louder.

“Why are you just asking me – “

“Never mind. I’ll stay up all night. Whatever.”

“I, I’ll… I’ll help you. I just have to leave by five…”

“Whatever.”

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday May 7, 2018
11:10pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

“I’m so glad you’ve come, Genevieve! I didn’t think you were going to – “ Katherine smells like Clinique.

“You didn’t tell you Mom I was coming?” Genevieve whispers out the side of her mouth.

“ I did,” says Sara. “I absolutely did.”

Katherine’s white collar is popped in a way that Genevieve has never seen, and somehow it looks good on her. She dyes her hair a deep red, almost purple. Somehow it looks good on her.

She’s slicing watermelon for the salad. “Sara says your almost done your thesis, is that true?”

“Why would I lie?” Sara looks at Genevieve like, “I’m sorry.”

“Oh you exercise?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday May 6, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

Comes out to meet me with
his shirt off and I’m like dude those wont work on me, save your six-pack for someone who cares. And he’s like this is for you and I’m like this is what I just said and you are not listening. Then he does up his shirt and starts to pout and I say, hey that wont work on me either cause I’m not into crying for no reason. And he’s like, this is not for you, it’s for me and don’t you get it? And I’m like get what? No? Get what? And he’s like never mind you don’t care. And I’m like, about what though?

“Oh you exercise?” By Sasha on Oak St.

Sunday May 6, 2018
7:55am
5 minutes
From a text

One two one two one two one two shin splint shit shin splint one two one two…

Marla runs for her life. She imagines that she is being chased by a King Kong sized giant, but it’s not a gorilla, it’s a moose. Is King Kong even a gorilla? Who knows. It’s not King Kong.

One two one two no pain in the lower back no pain in the toes hitting against the three hundred dollar running shoes no no no nope one two one two one two one…

The first time Marla ran she hated it. She was a year away from her wedding and she read in a magazine in her gyno’s office that running was the best way to tighten your whole body all at once.

One two one two meathead on the treadmill beside her side-eyeing her tits.

“a giant note to self” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday May 5, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
@a_belovedgreen Instagram

I never wanted a fancy Bratwurst or a beer stein or anything. I don’t know why he brought all that stuff back. I found it all – oh, and don’t forget the Leiderhosen – on the coffee table. Mark had gotten home and then left again. He was probably at the gym. He’d written a note – “I really missed you XO”. No punctuation. I blinked because it was like the items were all a banner saying, “LEAVE! GO! NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!” I blinked because I had less than half an hour before he’d be back.

“earth, sky, water, fire and wood” by Julia at R’s house

Friday May 4, 2018
2:00pm
5 minutes
From a Caitlin Press newsletter

They told me I was air and I never forgot that.
Not the feeling in the room when they all thought they had figured me out.
Not the pang against my guts when my insides begged to differ.
I wanted to be earth, steady, unmoving.
I wanted to be tethered to feet and stone.
I wanted to be fire, holy, hot and badass.
And though I fight it, when I spill over I know again and again that I am not air.
Not light like this. Not a carrier of plastic bags and other floating, diacarded.

“It works excellent!” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday May 3, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
From BUNZ trading zone

I want a really nice blender. One of those high-powered bad boys that will make nut butter, salad dressing, and grind fresh flour. So sue me! I want a really nice six hundred dollar blender. Please don’t lecture me about my privilege. I know all about it. My privilege chokes me half the time so that I’m voiceless and like, I might be white but my Mom was a single mother and she raised my two brothers and I in a trailer park on three hundred dollars a month in child support payments so please don’t lecture me on privilege. I just want a goddamn blender that really works.

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday May 1, 2018
9:19pm
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

“Never get rid of useful things,” Homer says, leafing through a Chinese food take-out menu from 1993. The restaurant’s closed. He’s comparing prices of spring rolls and proving his point about inflation. I wouldn’t call Homer a pack rat, or a hoarder, but I would call him a bonafeid collector. They say that our greatest gift, is also our greatest challenge, and that definitely applies to Homer.

“I found an opossum” by Julia at the studio

Monday April 23, 2018
6:07pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

Opossum, opossum, where for art thou possom?
Are ye brothers? Are ye sisters?
Are ye an April Fools joke played by the World Wide Webbeth?
I don’t care much for either or, IF I’M BEING COMPLETELY HONEST.
When I was a kid Haley Halpert had a weird-ass obsession with
opposums and would correct everyone if they dropped the O because
HOW THE HELL WERE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?
It’s right up there on the old crazy train with people who are
obsessed with alpacas. They are not cute. They are not sweet.
They are just creepy things that look like llamas. Which is what
makes alpaca lovers even crazier.
One of my first boyfriends was obsessed with alpacas along with
saying “It’s an alpaca not a llama, the two are NOT the same.”
DID YOU KNOW THEY CAN SUCESSFULLY CROSS-BREED, GARRETH?
I had to break his heart into a bazillion pieces over e-mail.

Protected: “Do everything as slowly as possible” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

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“You could get lost there.” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday April 17, 2017
12:02am
Up
Margaret Atwood

“Claire?” A gentle, but assured knock. “Are you alright?”

How long have I been here? How long have I been hosting a Moon Circle for one?

“Um, yes, yes, I am. Be right out.” I pull up my underwear (threadbare and elastic a bit stretched out), my jeans, and then realize I forgot to wipe. GET IT TOGETHER, CLAIRE. Back down, wipe, up, wash hands, holy eff, here we go.

“Come on in,” Noreen opens the door to her office and I go first. She is the perfect gentlewoman.

A lavender couch underneath a window. Spider plants, succulents and African Violets line the sill. Not one dry leaf. Of course she has a green thumb. She sits in a caramel leather chair, perhaps Moroccan. Paintings on the walls, all in blues, greens, purples.

“Jon came home” by Julia on the 99

Friday, April 13, 2018
2:20pm
5 minutes
Modern Grief
Nancy Westaway

I saw him first bundled up from the cold in my godmother’s arms. I didn’t like him from the start-he was too young to play with. All he did was roll from side to side and collect dribble in the pocket of his 35 neck rolls. My mother served Cynthia tea in the new dining room that she had just painted “lilac.” Cynthia was commenting on the drapes and the new walls and blah blah blah. She didn’t even bring me a necklace or a new ring this time and I had been waiting very patiently for them too. So I sat at the top of the stairs planning how I was going to kill this new baby who was responsible for zapping everybody’s brain into caring more about the freaking “lilac” walls.

“Jon came home” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, April 13, 2018
5:22pm
5 minutes
Modern Grief
Nancy Westaway

Jon comes home and he’s angry and shivering.

“What’s for dinner?” He says, like I know, or I’m keeping it a secret.

“I just got home too, Jon,” I say, and he doesn’t like that. He opens and closes the fridge a few times. Same with the pantry cupboards.

“Can ya make something hot? It was all icy on the rig today.” Jon fills the kettle, which I can’t say I’ve ever seen him do.

“How about spaghetti?” I lean back in my chair.

“Spaghetti?” A small smile curls over his lips, like fog.

“No?” I watch him turn on the wrong burner, and then realize and move the kettle.

“Spaghetti sounds good.”

“They would tell everyone” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, April 12, 2018
7:09am
5 minutes
Audience of One
Rob de Boyrie

Gert’s getting better at keeping quiet, but it’s never been her strong suit. She learns something new (needle-point!), or makes a goal (half marathon in September!) and she wants everyone to know (especially Henrik, Shantini, Vanessa, Nicole, Hashim, and Monique). But then when Vanessa tells her new girlfriend and Hashim and Shantini tell Kenton (the Kook) suddenly Gert loses her love of needle-point and her passion for running. Just – poof! So she practises keeping quiet, maybe telling Vanessa only, maybe not even that, and seeing what happens. It’s going well.

“Very rarely patients develop __________.” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday April 11, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

She’s got a real fear of sickness so she runs for ninety minutes on the treadmill every day after work. She thinks that if she sweats, if her heart rate is increased, she won’t get sick. She’s most scared of cancer and diabetes. Her father had type 2 and died of a heart attack at sixty-five. She only eats chocolate when she’s about to get her period because she should be allowed a tiny indulgence, right? Even then, it’s two squares of dark chocolate with no added sugar. Sugar is the enemy. Sugar makes sickness. So does salt, so does fat, so do carbs. The fear’s been getting worse, as she gets older, because older people are usually sicker people.

“Then it went shooting back from the window.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday April 10, 2018
12:45pm
5 minutes
Pope Hats
Ethan Rilly

I think it was a raven, you said it was a crow. Either way we’re both inside the house, close to the maple candied pecans, and not planning on leaving to prove the other one wrong. I love Sundays. You don’t make me put on pants, and I don’t make you put down your gingerale. We argue about which birds are hanging out on our back porch, but we’re not angry. We’re not anything that is not easy. Easy as Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon! We’ve got scrambled eggs and chocolate eggs! We’ve got rich cheeses and no place to be-ses! When the sun sets we don’t miss the day. We say hello to the stars from the couch and we count commercials instead of hours. We put on something more comfortable than before. We’ve earned the night. We rest like it’s the last day before you leave again. And it is the last day before you leave again. We do not waste a second.

“there are still shoelaces to be tied” by Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Sunday April 8, 2018
1:36pm
5 minutes
Ten Seconds for Each Year
Fernando Raguero

get out of bed cry cry go to her then him then her again get dressed “no you can’t wear that dress” “because it’s winter!” “because it’s snowing!” “okay, fine… but wear pants underneath!” brush hair brush teeth wait there’s breakfast fuck breakfast. “what do you want for breakfast?” “i can’t make pancakes because there isn’t time.” why did I ask why didn’t I just put something on the table and say EAT PLEASE why doesn’t Simon ever make breakfast why is it all up to me why does he get to read the paper and drink his coffee and be the sane one and then leave before the cyclone of getting out the door.

“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday April 3, 2018
5:24pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

When Kimbra takes the podium, we listen. We stop chewing bubblegum, and picking knee scabs, and looking at cutie-pie Hammy MacDonald with the freckles and the swimmer’s shoulders. Today’s debate is about Saddam Hussein and I don’t even know which side Kimbra’s on but she’s winning, she’s always winning.

“Look at her eyebrows,” Jimmy says and I am, and I do again, fresh slate, eyes blink, there they are the most perfect caterpillars.

“Do you think she waxes or plucks?” I say, not looking away.

“Neither,” whispers Jimmy, and goshdarnit, I think he’s right.

“And made of no special wood.” By Julia at her desk

Sunday April 1, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

And maybe I should have turned around then, when he was pressing himself into me. Bending me over at the crease of my dress, his hands roaming in and out and around. Maybe I should have kissed him then, when he was busy wanting me. I didn’t do anything. I moaned a little. I liked how hard he got at the curve of me. In that moment, his desire was enough. I should have closed my eyes sooner, out of respect for him and for me. He couldn’t see my eyes, but they were scanning the backyard and the pigeon shit on the barbeque. He didn’t know that I was moaning a little on cue at the same time as deciding to change the tarp. Things take longer when the mind is wandering on the deck outside the window of romance. He told me he liked my dress and I told him I liked pretending to be his secretary. He let it slip that Joan’s hugged her hips a little tighter.

“And made of no special wood.” By Sasha at the Airbnb in Saskatoon

Sunday April 1, 2018
8:13am
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

I have something that I need to tell you and I’ve been putting it off because I’m a scared scared person, but it’s all getting too much and so I need to – … Because you are more well-read and educated on all of this, and have spent so much more time in the world of climate change education, I notice that I often feel like I am being educated and explained to when we’re discussing the upcoming re-writing of Bill 1305. On the one hand, I love getting the education and so appreciate all of your knowledge and expertise! On the other hand, it can be disempowering and I leave these sessions feeling like I don’t know anything and don’t have a doctorate and can’t articulate half of what I want to say… Does that make sense? Am I even making any sense?

“I think you’re really mean” by Sasha at her desk

Friday March 30, 2018
11:04am
5 minutes
Not Fair
Lilly Allen

The rehearsal hall is hot. The air conditioning broke last week and the producer has “called the fix-it guy” but who knows what that even means. Lila and I are supposed to be in our corsets and rehearsal skirts but she’s trying to reason with Jerrod that there’s no way in hell we’re going to survive six hours of this heat in those costumes. Jerrod is one of those directors who is handsome and charming, and probably used to get a lot of actors into bed. Lila says that they made out once, when she was still in theatre school, but she wouldn’t let him come back to her apartment. She’s still got leverage with him though, I can tell.

“Let’s start at the top of scene six, beautiful people!” Jerrod says. Lila rolls her eyes.

“someone else’s sext” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday March 28, 2018
8:20am
5 minutes
from a cybertip.ca ad

So I get this message from one of my clients. It says he can’t wait to see me again and he’s been thinking of LICKING me up and down in HIS BED. So at first, naturally, I assume he has sent it to the wrong person. I’m like, Unprofessional Bro, this is someone else’s sext! Then I don’t respond, because what good can come out of it when I’m actually supposed to babysit his kid in two days? I mean, it’s a trap, right? Even if I said I didn’t appreciate it? So much weirdness. So when I don’t respond, ten minutes later, I get another message rom him. AND THIS TIME HE USES MY NAME. “What time should I expect you, Alana?” And usually his wife is the one in contact with me, arranging when SHE should expect me. So I’m like, are these texts together? Is this intentional? What the mother eff am I supposed to say?

“into an unmarked grave” by Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Monday March 26, 2018
7:36pm
5 minutes
Alternate History
Bill Glose

It’s okay if all you want to do is eat corndogs and pick your scabby nails. It’s totally fine if you want to bite your toenails and only drink orange Gatorade. I’m not gonna judge you! I’m not ever gonna judge you. That’s not what roommate life is about. Seriously, Kyle.

Who am I to judge?! We all do weird shit, man. It’s part of being human. I’m just gonna put it out there that when I first moved out on my own, I stayed up until like five in the morning every damn day because I could. I get it. Eat the ice cream for breakfast! Do it! You’re a fucking grown man with his own bedroom in his own apartment that he pays for with his own money! GR-YAH!

“into an unmarked grave” by Julia at the studio

Monday March 26, 2018
10:58am
5 minutes
Alternate History
Bill Glose

Cayenne and Didi exchange worried looks as the elevator doors closed on them.
“Are you sure about this?” Didi whispers “Cause I’m not sure I’m sure about this at all.”
“Pull it together, D, we’re going to be fine. Kaz told us to meet him in the parking garage with the stuff and he would arrange the rest.”
“You’re very good at projecting this cool-calm-collected thing, but I don’t buy it. You said yourself you don’t trust Kaz.”
“I will admit,” Cayenne inhales, “I did not exactly think this thing through.”
“WHY ARE WE DOING IT THEN?” Didi shrieks.
“No, no yelling, that won’t help us. That’s the one thing I know for sure.”

“Bill and Madge” by Julia on her couch

Sunday, March 25, 2018
11:24pm
5 minutes
The Wreck Up Ahead
Poe Ballentine

M: Billy, come down here, the darn TV went off again!

B: So turn it back on again dear Liza!

M: Har har very funny. It won’t stay on, I already tried.

B: Did you unplug it, plug it back in, wiggle the cord, and say a little prayer?

M: Billy, for Chrissakes, get down here!

B: Say it, Madge.

M: Say what?

B: The magic words. All of em, in a row: Billy, my one and only, I need your help.

M: Are you out of your goddamn mind? Why do you think I’m asking you to come down here in the first place you egomaniac!

“Bill and Madge” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, March 25, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
The Wreck Up Ahead
Poe Ballentine

Bill and Madge meet in their fifties. Bill is younger by five years. Madge had been married once, fresh out of nursing school, but Lionel was a drinker and so she left after a year and a half. Bill had never been married. He’d lived with a woman once, Genevieve, in Montreal, in the 80’s. Bill was an illustrator, working mostly in children’s books and magazines. He’d been mostly successful, which is really something given that career path. Madge was a gardener, and then a midwife, and then a bread maker, and then a gardener again, and then an early childhood educator. She swears that she used to read her students books that Bill had drawn pictures for.

“increasing numbers of cars” by Julia in her bed

Saturday, March 24, 2018
12:34am
5 minutes
Three Dollars A Day
The note accompanying a photo series by Amlan Sanyal

I am going to drive by your parents’ house every chance I get and stare longingly at your garage where we hung out that one time with Natalie and a game of truth truth lie. I’ll be the world’s most respectful stalker. I’ll only wish I had enough courage to follow you to your car from the music store. I don’t actually know if you still go to the music store. See, I’m not really paying that close attention. You might be a car salesman now, or a dog whisperer. I realize the number of years since we’ve seen each other exceeds the number of years that I even knew you. I don’t know you now even a little bit. I am slowly coming around to the realization that i never really new you back then either. I thought I knew. I thought the you you were would really like the me I was.

“Luke punched a boy” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 23, 2018
12:11am
5 minutes
Two Moons
Debbie Urbanski

Luke Walker had a feathery step

He made a dark room lift

He loved his dad more than his mom

On Tuesdays he would pack his own lunch

On Wednesdays he would walk through the park, by the ducks chasing hunks of bread

Luke walker kissed his cousin on the mouth once during truth or dare

He liked it

On Christmas morning he would drag the cassette player to the kitchen to make everyone listen to his favourite Yoko Ono song on repeat

“It’s always too soon to go home.” By Sasha in the bath

Thursday, March 22, 2018
11:35pm
5 minutes
Hope In The Dark
Rebecca Solnit

My sister makes a mean coconut curry. She roasts squash in the oven first, and then just when it’s starting to get sugary and brown, she throws it in the bubbling yellow. I haven’t had my sister’s curry in a while though. I don’t get home much. It’s not like it’s far, it’s not like I can’t, it’s just that I don’t, I won’t, I can’t.

My sister is a woman of few words. She’s almost a full foot shorter than me. She had a growth spurt in fifth grade and then stopped growing. She was the tallest for awhile and now she’s the shortest. That’s how it goes sometimes.

February is the month that I crave my sister’s curry. I wake up with the taste on my tongue, but it’s a ghost.

“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.

“boys can be dangerous.” by Sasha at Physio Room

Monday, March 19, 2018
6:53pm
5 minutes
Undue Familiarity
Ellen Collett

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”

Sofie is the fastest girl in her class and all the nine-year-olds love nothing more than watching Gurmeet (the fastest boy) chase her.

“RUNNNNNNN!”

“Fasterrrrrr!”

“She’s so fast, ohmygosh, look at her go!!!!”

“Gurmeet Gurmeet Gurmeeeeeet! You can’t catch her! She’s fast as the wind!”

He can’t. It’s true.

“seemed to love us anyway” by Julia on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

We stole little things from her vanity-a ring, a sample bottle of eau de toilette, a hair pin. It didn’t look like she would notice them gone. There were so many more important things to notice. After she told us about the robbery and how they found Granite’s debit card being used in six different diners in two days, we felt bad. Here she was telling us about how people keep stealing from them, and we were there, stealing from them. It was so easy to convince ourselves she wouldn’t notice on account of how many stories we’ve been forced to listen to for the 60th time. People who tell the exact same story to the exact same people year after year are not the look around and see what’s new about the room kind of people. People who are so damn sad do not have time to count their broaches, or their Jean jackets.

“seemed to love us anyway” by Sasha on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
7:23am
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

I have lots of keys to lots of very important places and for once in my life I feel like I’m worth something, Rudy! Can you understand that?! I spent forty-six years doing everything for everybody and then you just, I mean, I just woke up one morning and thought, “That’s IT. I’m DONE.” I’ve got keys to the storage locker, and Mom’s place, and Wendy’s cottage and the Dawson’s whose dogs I walk when they go out of town to visit their kids in Sherbrook! I’ve probably got even more keys than that! It’s a lot of keys! I’ve earned them! I’ve earned the trust to have them! RUDY!

“writing poems on placemats.” By Julia on the 99

Thursday, March 15, 2018
6:44pm
5 minutes
Garlic In My Ear
Sparrow

Jerie told me she’d only move back to Vancouver if I could find her a two bedroom apartment that wasn’t being eaten. By what she did not specify, but the easy answer would be “at all”. I first asked her to come back when Elliot got in that car crash and was put into a coma. Surely someone in a coma couldn’t work the corner office. I wasn’t hoping for him to die, just, stay where he was. Jerie said it was a shitty thing to do and wasn’t moving on principal. I hadn’t touched her skin in 5 months. I guess I got desperate. She was right. But how do you woo someone with a bachelor apartment and a bachelor salary? The second time I asked her was after I got the side job at McDonalds. I started writing her reasons why on napkins. Wrote her sonnets on the backs of greasy placemats.

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10:33pm

5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“God may have written” by Sasha at JJ Bean

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at JJ Bean Olympic Village
5:48pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

God may have told you not to cross the desert but you didn’t listen. You went, alone, litres of water on your back. You didn’t take a camel. You didn’t want the company, the sounds, the chewing, the shit. God may have told you to call your landlord but you didn’t listen. You left without notifying your bank, your lover, your brother. You brought enough sunscreen to last you three months. That’s the thing you googled. “How much sunscreen does a red-head need for three months in the desert?” Google knew the answer. You might miss Google. You brought a book that you knew you wouldn’t mind reading and re-reading because you’ve read and re-read it already several times.

“A woman came out of the farmhouse.” By Julia on Kits Beach

Monday, March 12, 2018
6:20pm
5 minutes
Exactly What To Say
Kim Church

In her hand she was clutching a dead chicken by the neck. From where I was standing behind the red Birch, and how its head bobbed methodically, it appeared to be still alive, merely intoxicated. Like Ariane was dragging her drunk friend home after too many jagger bombs.
I don’t know why I thought I could hide from her. She spotted me right away, a twig in these heavy woods.
I froze in my spot and then managed a wave. It was as awkward as I’d ever been. The look on her face said nothing in the world had ever disappointed her more.

“If you want to go out with her or give her a bath” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday March 8, 2018
7:42am
5 minutess
From a text

If you want to go out with her or give her a bath, that would probably make her happy. I’m planning to be home by 4:30, but sometimes class runs late and in that case I’ll text you. Thanks again, so much, for doing this. My Mom has a fever and I don’t want Lily getting sick, so I didn’t have any choice but to – … It’s awkward calling you like this. I’m sorry. I really appreciate it. I know that you said the offer always stands, but you also said that you didn’t want to have any obligations with her, so, I don’t know, I guess that’s kind of a mixed message a little bit.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:31pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Hands on hips and butt naked Martha gives me a look like I’m never escaping. “But you lied to me!” She shouts at the top of her lungs.

“It’s a white lie…” I look at Billie, her mother, and Billie tries not to smile.

“I don’t even know what the is!” Martha wails.

“Why don’t you put on your pyjamas, sweetie,” says Billie and Martha slowly goes to her purple dresser and chooses a striped nightgown. It’s flannel. Billie made it.

“You’ve both really disappointed me,” Martha says, and we can’t help but laugh now. We laugh and laugh and then she laughs a bit too.

“Will you still give me a loonie? Even if the tooth fairy won’t? Can we pretend that she’s real? Just til I’m eight?”

Billie and I pinky swear.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:47pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Okay let me tell you what it’s like. On a good night? He comes home, he kisses me in the driveway, he slaps my ass and then he brings in the groceries from the car, puts them away, then sits on the couch. I give him a back massage and then I cook dinner. He does the dishes, then he reads in his chair and snacks on those chewy mints. He loves those chewy mints even though they get stuck in his teeth. He tells me he loves me. He sings in my ear. On a bad night it’s not much different. He comes home, he reads, he chews, he does the dishes. But on those days he does not kiss me in the driveway. Doesn’t tell me that he loves me. Plays the piano in the other room with his headphones in. Watches reality tv and surfs the web for funny videos in the other room with his headphones in. Doesn’t kiss me before we sleep. Doesn’t touch me in the bed. Doesn’t ask how my day was. Comes home but doesn’t want to be there.

“shit and eggshell” by Julia on the 9

Sunday, March 4, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
My Life Smells Like This
Amy Bloom

You are no longer sleeping here-I beg the smart side of my brain to seize the opportunity: Paint the fucking thing shit brown and eggshell, a reminder of just how useless you were. The smart part of body buys the brushes, borrows a roller and a tray, sticks colour swatches to the wall. The other side, the middle sister side, sits on the edge of the bed and seizes into a chemical tear bath. The salty breath is held there like a brown paper bag was trying to keep it from floating away. Laboured. Inconsolable. The smart side of my brain has it all figured out: Leave, let leave, let live, live, leave. Do not pick up the phone. Do not keep slippers in the room that fit only the feet who walked out on you. Don’t do it. Don’t ask the other side for grace.

“shit and eggshell” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, March 4, 2018
10:01pm
5 minutes
My Life Smells Like This
Amy Bloom

I didn’t expect this place to smell like eggshells and sweat, soup and gasoline, wet sand and morning breath. I didn’t expect you to give me eyes like you understand. I pour myself a glass of red wine, something from Argentina, something in the fifteen dollar range. You’re late, and that’s okay. I need to get my bearings. I snoop around. The kitchen is dirty. The bathroom is clean. The window is open in the lounge, and it’s freezing outside so that means that someone either smoked a joint or took a shit. Maybe both. I didn’t expect this place to have the view that it does. I’m taking it in when I feel your hand on my waist, and your breath in my ear.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday, March 3, 2018
11:46pm
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

You used to make jokes about people like me. And now I’ve become one of those calorie counting, jegging wearing, decaf guzzling zombies. It wasn’t the kids. I can’t blame them. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly, right? You used to mock the mother’s, smiling through a scream in the grocery store line-up, buying their kids Timbits in the drive thru just to shut them up for one fucking second?! Hahahaha! Ha. Joke’s on us I guess. You never wanted to be a father, or that’s what you said before Jonah started to look exactly like you and then it was all, “He’s the best little guy…” and “Jojo, say “Li-on”!”

“object of concentration” by Sasha at her desk

Friday, March 2, 2018
5:37pm
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Dass

I keep telling Don that I don’t want anything to do with him but he will not leave me alone and this gives me no choice but to raise a glass tonight, at our Christmas party. Don, you psychotic mutherfucker, I almost admire only your tenacity and persistence. Almost. I almost wish I had your ability to completely ignore all signs, all cues, all “no’s” in pursuit of what I want. Almost. Ladies and gentlemen, actually – NO. Just the gentlemen in the room, because all of the women, even Helena who just turned eighty-two and is still working the switchboard, all of the women know that Don is a scumbag. Has he groped you by the coffee machine? Maybe invited you out to dinner and you thought that other people would be there, but nope, it’s just the two’s of you. Don, don’t look so shocked… you had to know that this was coming? The uprising? The reckoning?

“wedding bells at the airport” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
8:47am
5 minutes
recovery
jessie read

Dev asked me to marry him in the bathroom at the airport. We were in one of those family bathrooms, where you’re only supposed to go if you have a baby or something. We don’t have one of those yet, but we needed to change into warmer clothes as we were still in our shorts and t-shirts. He said we didn’t have much time, that our connecting flight was leaving in under an hour and he wanted to eat something before getting back in the sky. He’s a man of few words, my Dev, so you should know that before I keep going. We were both in that bathroom, and all of a sudden he’s down on his knees and he’s crying. I’m like, “Dev, what the heck is wrong with you?” And, “Get up right now, this place is nasty!”

And then he looks up at me with those brown eyes all filled with tears and he says, “Gillian Larissa Warrington, will you marry me?”

I don’t know why he had to do it there, I never asked him and I never will because I don’t want him to think I thought it any less special. Who needs a fancy restaurant!

“for what little he had left” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
Ordinary
Curtis LeBlanc

This place is good for my pen obsession. Roller tip, flowing ink, black, fine, blue, turquoise. Anytime I’m here, in the copy room, I have to be careful that I don’t get sticky fingers. That’s what Da used to call it, when me or one of the twins would pinch something at the corner store. “How’d ya get those sticky fingers, hey?” He’d say, shaking his big head. “Wasn’t from me, that’s fer sure,” he’d scold us and make us bring the thing back and then Mrs. Dowers would crouch down and look us in the eyes and say,

“Stealing is the devil’s work.” She’d be smiling a little, got some sort of sick pleasure out of tormenting the little ones. Fear of God in us, it’s be months before we pinched something again… at least Tyler, it’d be months before Tyler did. Me and Jim were good, it only took one of those talks.