“slow puffs of steam” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 16, 2018
6:02pm
5 minutes
What Happened During The Ice Storm
Jim Heynen

She bakes because her favourite thing is the smell of bread rising, butter browning, cookies crisping. She bakes because her mother bakes, and her grandmother baked, and so on and so forth.

She limits her baking to Saturday, and brings the treats to her meditation group on Sunday afternoon.

“These are the best lemon squares I have ever had, Rachel,” says Glenn, who lead today and accidentally hit the gong with his foot when he was readjusting his seated position.

“Aw, thanks,” she says, and she knows he’s telling the truth. Her lemon squares are the best.

“You should open a bakery,” says Carol.

“I’ve thought of it, but I worry that if it’s my job I won’t love it as much anymore.”

“Maybe you’ll come to love it even more,” Glenn smiles. “That’s just as much of an option…”

“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.

“Jobs for college students” by Julia on M’s front porch

Sunday March 11, 2018

7:08pm

5 minutes

Seediness

James got me a job working the phones at the writing centre after he heard me give an improvised tour of it even though I had only just walked into the place five minutes prior. He liked my spunk and I liked that he needed someone to replace him while he worked out or read a book to his kid over lunch hours on Mondays Wednesday and sometimes Fridays. His wife let him see her during the days because she didn’t want her getting used to seeing him only before bed. She was convinced that’s how you give a child nightmares. I presume she meant when he couldn’t make it at nighttime, as understandably, he sometimes would not. I used to steal pens and post its and I never felt bad about it. I guess I thought James wouldn’t care because I assumed he did the same thing. I felt like a rockstar scheduling students in for their one on one essay appointments. I wasn’t there enough to be invested, but I wanted James to feel validated by his instinct of me.

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Sasha at her kitchen counter


Wednesday April 19, 2017
7:11pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


When I start working for Mary, she’s shaking and scratching but still won’t let go of the wheel. I’m there to help her, at least that’s what her daughter Clea said in the second interview. I didn’t meet Mary until after I was hired. Maybe Clea didn’t want her condition to scare me off.

“How many attendants has Mary had over the past few years?” I asked.

“We need someone who is the right fit,” Clea evaded the question, smiling.

“Of course,” I folded my hands in my lap and knew what I was getting myself into.

“what he did before fame” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday January 18, 2017
6:30pm
5 minutes
from a Google search

He was selling used cars on his uncle’s lot
working the graveyard shift at Tim Horton’s
crossing his fingers
dotting his eyes
dressing up as a Smurf for a promotions company
working as a phone sex operator on his sister’s landline while she was at work
selling cannabis products at the dispensary near his house
raking leaves at the cemetery
hosting murder mystery dinners
taking photos of his feet and selling them on Craigslist
building radios
teaching creative writing to the elderly
selling lemonade on the side of the road for 25 cents a cup

“With a couple of girlfriends” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday November 26, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

“What are you hoping to get out of this position in regards to personal growth?”

Genevieve squints at me and re-crosses her legs.

“Um, well, I’ve always wanted to work in the charity sector, you know, like, give back?”

She doesn’t move a muscle. Didn’t they teach you about mirroring body language in your HR trainings? Are you capable of nodding or saying “Mm-hm” or something?

There are five seconds of agonizing silence. Are you waiting for me to say more? What more is there to say? I thought that this job was mine? What is happening?

“You aren’t really a people person, are you Becky?” Genevieve pulls her Blackberry out of the pocket of her blazer and starts typing furiously.

“Am I supposed to answer that?”

“so that we can contact you” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 4, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
from a contest information sheet

Paulette: Yeah, that’s just the thing, you give them one high five and they’ve already saved your phone number to their contacts list and found you on Facebook! Ha ha ha, you know it’s true! You’re jus–we could be having lunch tomorrow you’re right–no we won’t! Definitely not and–okay you too. No you too, I mean it. Goodnight Jerry. Goodnight. Goodnight.

Paulette throws her cellphone into the waste bin beside her bed. She tightens the belt on her robe and pulls the flask out of her gym bag.

“a seagull just horns his way in.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday October 6, 2016
6:47am
5 minutes
twentytwowords.com

We went down to the water because the house had turned into an inferno that was trying to steal our souls. Those were your words. I think I called it Hell On Earth and you tweaked it so it would apply more to our situation as individuals and as atheists. Before we found a place to sit on the sand, you told me you needed a chocolate swirl or you were going to fucking kill somebody. I paid the little boy who was so proud to be working at his dad’s shoppe for the summer selling aggravated and overheated people their necessary fix. He smiled like this was the best job he would ever have the great pleasure of holding. But that little moron was so busy joking with the swarm of people also ready to fucking kill somebody that he didn’t give us a spoon. By then it was too late. You had already cried once. You sucked the top layer off, shoved the rest in my direction, and walked ahead of me, kicking the sand up at a seagull that had come to watch.

“round their throats” by Julia in her bed


Friday, March 25, 2016
12:23am
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

i remember my father teaching me how to tie a tie. he told me it would be good for me to know.
i remember telling my father i didn’t plan to ever wear a tie. i told him that i would prefer to learn how to plant things and build my own garden. he told me that someday, even if i didn’t wear the tie myself, i could help someone out who needed to but didn’t know how. i asked him again about the garden. he told me that if i learned how to tie a tie he would teach me about herbs and tomatoes and hot peppers and garlic. i asked him who would need to tie a tie. he said anyone could need to know. i asked him if he ever had to tie a tie for someone. he told me that he was once that person in need. he told me that he had a job interview, two weeks after landing in PEI. he told me how he met a woman on the subway who took him aside and showed him how to do it properly because he had done it wrong. he told me he barely spoke English but that day he realized how important gesture is. he told me that it’s better to know as much as possible in case one day someone needs to be taught but is too afraid to ask.

“but also for the people in the neighbourhood” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 15, 2015
10:12pm
5 minutes
from the Union Gospel Mission calendar

Karen sat patiently by the phone willing it to ring and wishing that it had already. She had, earlier that week, applied to be a member of Neighbourhood Watch and was told that all successful applicants would be contacted by Friday at the very latest. Karen didn’t have anything else particularly pressing to do since she fell ill two months back. She wanted to fill her time with meaningful activities since she wasn’t fit enough to return to the grocery store. Emirel said she might have overextended herself there anyway, coming into help stack and pack when she wasn’t even scheduled to work. Karen wanted to do something other than tend to the plants she had been growing in her laundry room. She didn’t think she’d have a very strong harvest the first time around, especially because she had been relying on various youtube videos to teach her how to grow a crop of marijuana properly. Karen got bored easily. She wanted to have at least two things to watch, if she could help it.

“make strong choices on the fly” by Sasha at Horseshoe Bay


Sunday November 8, 2015
11:16pm
5 minutes
from nativeearth.ca/w28series/

A: Are you even listening to me?
B: Of course I am –
A: What did I just say?
B: “You want to quit.”
A: NO!
B: Something about quitting…
A: Why is it so hard for you to just pay attention to me? Why are you always looking at the clock?
B: Do you really want to know?
A: Yes!
B: We ordered that pizza exactly twenty seven minutes ago… And, if it’s over a half hour, we get it for free. We could really use a free pizza.
A: Grrr…
B: I’m just excited about the pizza!
A: I want to quit my job of ten years and you’re thinking about pizza.
B: Tell me you aren’t thinking about pizza?
A: You love pizza more than you love me!
B: Not true.
A: True.
B: Not at all true! That would be so so sad!
A: You do love pizza…
B: I really do.

“the height of professionalism” by Julia at Sarah’s house


Tuesday, October 13, 2015
3:14pm
5 minutes
howlround.com

When Jeanie finished her job interview she had sweat drenched through both her undershirt, her blouse, AND she was beginning to show through her blazer. That is a lot of perspiration for one human being, and Jeanie is not a very sweaty person to begin with. She ran to the nearest restroom to dry her pits and take a look at her face. Jeanie sometimes needed to see herself in a mirror right after high stress situations where she couldn’t fully tell if she was being the true Jeanie. She didn’t mean to put on a face, but she did feel herself floating outside her body and not fully remembering what had happened in the last hour. Of course as she whipped open the door she saw there was no electric hand-dryer with which she could dry herself. She stripped off all the layers she could. That was hard. She was soaked.

“the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence” by Julia on her couch


Sunday March 22, 2015
1:56pm
5 minutes
The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran


I knew they were going to ask me about it. My job, what did I do? Why was I always home all the time and what was I constantly doing sitting on the couch with 4 notebooks strewn around me? I knew it was coming. They wanted to understand who I was and what my deal was. And when I told them, these complete foreign strangers what my profession was, it all made sense to them. They said “Ohhhhh, okay, we understand now.” They were relieved that they had an explanation for me. “It’s different. Uh..very not common!” Then it went through my mind that they were automatically judging me and talking about me every time they spoke french around me. I started to question myself, was I truly what I said I was? I didn’t want them to think I was a liar or just good at making up excuses. Maybe where they’re from they don’t consider what I do to be a lucrative or respectable career. Or maybe they don’t care about that and are only interested in me because they want to invite me to a threesome.

“you either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.” by Julia at Camera a Sud in Bologna


Monday November 24, 2014 at Camera a Sud
1:10pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Charles Bukowski

Ahh I’m falling. I’m falling. It’s a good feeling. You replace the A, the L, with two Es. You want to know where I’m going? To the place were my brow furrows…concentration and magic and old habits. You want to touch that spot on my face. Remind me not to clench my jaw, hold tension in my forehead. “Don’t get old before you have to.” And I have that falling feeling. It’s a good one. It’s when the inspiration breathes and lives and stays awake next to a roaring fire.
You steal the wood off the side of the road for me.
Stoking my pilot light with a little consideration, saying, “yeah, you need five minutes to get that beauty down on paper, I give you ten. Take a hundred of them if you want. A million minutes, even, and I’ll be here watching you and making sure you don’t loose that spark. And that you don’t get wrinkly from the thinking and the trying hard to focus right.”
I remember you like that, rocking in your reading chair and sitting content in the million moments reserved for being apart but together in the same room.
I tell you after this “I want to drink a bubbly white wine and I want to eat an oven-baked fish with the head and tail still attached.”
You say you have the perfect one and it’s in the fridge when we’re ready.
“How do you already have what I want?” And you smile into your book and say, “Cause we’ve been here before. We’ve done Sunday like this a thousand times already.”
“Ahh,” I say, “You’re right. I guess it’s good this spot, this falling feeling place.”
You chuckle quietly, reminding me, “You’ve said that before too…”

“I don’t have any change,” by Julia at Colazione da Bianca


Friday October 24, 2014 at Colazione da Bianca
3:39pm
5 minutes
Overheard at 49th Parallel

It’s the second time someone has come up to me trying to sell me lazer beam lights as if I could really use a green lazer beam light for my every day activities. Yeah, I almost told the second guy, how much do I have to pay you to get my very own travelling discoteque? You know, in case I’d like to bust it out at my next lecture, or, hey, even while ordering an empty brioche at 8am on a Tuesday? But I get it, it’s a job. Gotta make money somehow in this town. But those guys you can say no to easier because, really buddy, lazers? I roll my eyes and they know they’re trying to sell the impossible if their audience is anyone over the age of 4. The harder ones to shake your head at are the ones who just need 50 cents to help buy a coffee or a pack of cigarettes. Those are the ones who hang around for 6 minutes after you’ve said no, hoping that you’ll change your mind.

“Submit where you can” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday July 15, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
from a scrap paper

Lady at the counter said she saw me slip the lipchap into my bag and I told her, I said, no that wasn’t me, I don’t steal. And she cocked her head to the side all judgy and she said that she knew what she saw and that liars are the worst kind of thieves. I said, no, maybe you need glasses or something, but it wasn’t me, and i didn’t do what you think you saw me do. So I tried to walk out because this lady was just sitting there acting all tough, and trying to intimidate me. And then, the next thing I know, she’s got her hand on my shoulder and she’s firmly pressing in. I was like, look lady, I don’t want any trouble. And she said, well if you know what’s good for you, you’ll let me search your bag. And I hated her even more then because it wasn’t her right to do that, and I knew it. But I didn’t want her to win, so I threw my bag onto the ground. Make her work for it, I thought. Make that damn lady bend over and throw her back out just trying to prove a point. Teach her something today, maybe. Then she grabs my bag and dumps it on the ground. Just everything comes pouring out and I’m standing there hunched over, watching all my stuff fly. I know it’s in here, she said while she emptied it. I know I saw you put the damn thing in.

“Fresh Bread” by Julia on her bed


Monday June 23, 2014
8:42pm
5 minutes
the menu at ideal coffee

Today I painted my toenails pink and green and they look like little tiny pudgy watermelon slices. I don’t know what spawned the urge for me to do this, I mean, I was bored, yes, but watermelons? I seriously amaze myself. I don’t even like the way they look. I feel too much like a Latina who calls herself a “freelancer” but really doesn’t have a job so she has enough time to paint her nails to look like she cares only about things like glitter, tacky chachkies, and understated power. I feel like I can say this because my best friend growing up, Selena, who, yes, was named after the Selena, was a HUGE Latina and she liked to paint black wings on her eyelids to look like a cat. And so I say it with love, because I know damn well that Selena never had a real job either. She liked to sit at home and paste butterfly decals on her walls and then with all the extra free time she had, she’d glue on tiny rhinestones on the wings. I’m not exactly like Selena. I mean, even if I’m not working, I can paint my toenails and still have time to go to the market and buy some fresh bread for Ronny when he comes home after his long day at the office. A girl can’t have pretty toenails and only sit at home all day watching her stories. It looks bad.

“Compliment, Congratulate” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday January 4, 2014
3:48pm
5 minutes
Actions-The Actor’s Thesaurus Marina Calderone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams

“I’ll have the garden salad and then I’ll have the Rigatoni.” “I’ll have the soup and Lasagna.” “I’ll have a beer. What do you have on tap?” “We don’t have beer on tap. Only in the bottle.” “I’ll have a Stella.” “We don’t have Stella.” “What do you have?” “The closest thing to Stella we have is probably Peroni…” “I hate Peroni…” “Well…” “Steven, stop being a dick.” “Ummmm…” “I’ll have a glass of Chianti.” “Great choice.”
Step. Step, step step step. Step. Step.
“Ohmygawd I have the worst friggin table…” “Yeah?” “Yeah! Like total friggin bitchfaces!” “What did they – ” “Can I get more bread? Can I get more hot water with lemon? Can I get a punch to the face? Um… Do you have a bathroom?! NO! NO we don’t. We don’t have a bathroom where you can vomit up your cream sauce and snort a rail! Sorry! Fuck you very much!”
Step step step step.
“It says “Chianti.” “Shit.” Pour. “Thanks.”
“Your wine, sir.” “Yup.”
Step step step step step step step.

“working relationships” by Julia at Belly Acres


Monday, September 2, 2013
5:44pm
5 minutes
The Playwright At Work
Rosemarie Tichler and Barry Jay Kaplan


I told you already that I was not seeing him in that way. I saw him at his desk and he looked like he needed help with his contract and getting acquainted with the new space and all the secret rooms and whatever. I obviously took it upon myself to….guide…him…because I’m a nice person with a civil obligation to offer my services to a fellow co-worker. So. whatever, I bought him a coffee and I told him he had a great smile, then he asked what I was doing later and I told him I had a business meeting and he asked if he could buy me lunch and I said, sure, as long as it’s a business lunch, and he agreed, and so we ate to together and he didn’t try to kiss me nor did he pull away when I kissed him, but as you can tell, I was simply welcoming him to our company with….European gusto! So. I was not interested in him romantically, at the time, and I must be excused from these accusations because I wasn’t…and now I am…and those are two separate things! Very different! Then and Now, Now and Then. A movie! Ha! See, people discuss the differences between the two all the time! They do! Otherwise they would call it Now/Then. Now Slash Then. See? One or the other, not one and the other.
I rest my case.

“This job makes me” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, March 28, 2013
8:52pm
5 minutes
All My Friends Are Dead
Avery Monsen and Jory John

I’m a different person now than I was, Melanie says to Rick, her high school sweetheart with a really obnoxious neck tattoo of a pink flamingo laying on a beach. You must be different too, she says as she slurps back the peanut butter smoothie she forced him to buy her. I’m just seeing life as it is you know? Nothing weird about it in my opinion. Rick doesn’t respond. He is busy flicking the dead beer bug back and forth across the coffee table. He shoots, he scores. Don’t you think time is running out a bit for you? I mean, I’ve moved on and you’re still…you know…working at the same place. Rick looks up from the table. I’m just doing what I need to do. Never mind what I’m doing, Mel, you can do what you want. I’m not saying you’re wrong, Ricky, I’m saying you’re too bored with life and you always have been so if you just applied yourself to looking around and thinking, oh hey, I might be good at something else, then maybe you’d have a really good career in Talk Radio or something. Rick stares at her blankly. I guess Roger has nice 9-5 job then? He’s a real man, I’m assuming? Makes you really happy and brings you lots of tulips?
Melanie hides her half smirk. He doesn’t bring me tulips, she says. Orchids sometimes, though.