“if indoors, stay indoors” by Sasha at her desk


Monday June 26, 2017
11:51pm
5 minutes
From the Central 1 credit union emergency response plan

It all starts when you get hives, clustered around your collarbones, reaching up your neck. You think it’s a spider bite and then Janis says, “What’d you have for lunch?”

Dr. Klein is useless. He tries to put you on anti-depressants. “I’m not depressed,” you say. He gives you a look like you will be, or you should be, or you could be.

Soon, a triad of plantar warts sprout on the ball of your left foot. You hobble around the office and Janis says, “What’d you have for lunch?!”

“in her full out pajamas” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 9, 2017
9:44pm
5 minutes
overheard in the hallway

walks into the store
in her full out pajamas
b lines it all the way to the frosters
pumps two XL cups in rainbow layers
chugs half of the first one then tops it off with more
green syrup fuses to the corners of her mouth
lime flavoured wings
drags her feet to the counter
pays in bottle caps and pocket lint
throws in a box of saltines
at the last minute
wipes her mouth on the arm of her fleece
drags her sneakers too big for her feet
across the floor
laces trailing behind

“I’m ecstatic to announce” by Julia on the reading chair


Friday September 30, 2016
7:34am
5 minutes
a Facebook post

There’s a new woman in my father’s life. He has been hiding it from me since they started seeing each other and maybe he had good intentions and maybe he was just being a coward. Either way, I got a Save The Date in the mail for three proposed coffee occasions that the new woman in my father’s life would like me to choose between. I think it’s funny that she chose not to even bother sending a singing telegram! Who doesn’t love getting an embossed card in the mail with tiny kitties in silver dresses, asking me, not to meet her, but to pick a time that I’d like to meet her. Then what happens when I send this back? Wait two weeks to get another Save The Date for a cappuccino and a butter tart?

“If you have already completed” by Julia on the 99


Saturday May 14, 2016
5:39pm
5 minutes
The Canadian Census

So I walk on the bus and there’s a woman in a jean ball cap flipping through flyers and ripping out coupons. She’s sitting by the window, taking up two seats to do this and there’s nowhere for me to sit. So I say, very politely, excuse me may I sit there? And she grumbles to herself and then instead of moving her papers off the aisle seat, she moves herself over and makes me climb over her to get to the window. I’m already miffed, but then the bus jolts and I go flying into her flyers which makes her grumble even more. I make it a point not to say I’m sorry. If I don’t say anything I can’t say anything mean either, right? Then she moves herself to another seat near by, and she keeps clicking her tongue like she can’t believe “this person” and “this person” is clearly me, even though I’m just on my phone writing a grocery list for later. Then she moves herself again to a completely different seat, complaining to the woman beside her that I’m going to give her cancer for being on my phone near her!

“The people Fred wanted me to meet” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 20, 2015
7:12pm
5 minutes
from the back of matches

He was excited to have me over, I could tell cause he was wearing a pressed shirt and up until then I had only ever seen him in a hoodie. I was impressed too, his fingernails were clean, his apartment smelled of cinnamon, and there were place settings on the table. Fred told me there was a surprise and I started to get nervous, but he told me there was nothing to be worried about. Then the doorbell rang. I was like, what? What is happening? Fred sprung to the door and I was instantly upset that his efforts weren’t for me alone. Who could I possibly be meeting?
Fred came back from the door with a dark haired woman and her perfect little arm linked through his.
Amy, this is Katya.
It’s so very nice to meet you, Amy. Fred has spoken about you at length.
I laughed quietly shifting my eyes from her succulent mouth to her dainty wrist hanging in Fred’s elbow bend.
How do you two know each other?
Oh, Katya’s my ex-girlfriend!

“Letter Writing” by Julia at her desk


Thursday November 26, 2015
11:44pm
5 minutes
from the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear guy from the Turkish market buying one kilo of sun-dried tomatoes while wearing a safety vest,

You may have just stolen my heart, permanently, and I’m okay with that.
See I was looking for someone new to give it to, after I got it back from the guy I lent it to without knowing. I was tricked into telling him things about me and letting him see a version of me that most people don’t want to see, or shouldn’t see, or…Oh…now I wish I hasn’t mentioned that part at all cause it’s a bit embarrassing…..
Umm….If I hadn’t written this in pen, I would have erased the aforementioned weirdness but because I hate the way stuff looks scratched out, I will leave it in hopes that you don’t actually mind a little oversharing every now and again.
Back to the important matters at hand, guy wearing a safety vest.
I love sun-dried tomatoes so much and to see you buying them in such a large quantity is incredibly heartening. I can only begin to imagine what you’re planning to do with so many beautiful tomatoes. My biggest fear is that your wife or girlfriend or mother sent you here to buy them for the big party you’re announcing your future plans with a woman other than me at.
….Oh boy.
I wish I could erase that part too.

“Let me just check the mail” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, June 25, 2015
12:06am
5 minutes
Said by Nadeem

SOMETHING BIG is coming. I CAN FEEL IT. I have that tingling in my fingertips. It’s not pins and needles, it’s INTUITION. I once felt the VERY EXACT thing in the tip of my nose and it PROTECTED me from danger of the VERY WORST KIND. Can I get into that right this moment? No. Why? Because it would CHANGE YOUR LIFE and you must be very ready for that kind of SHIFT. The tingle, if you were wondering is almost the same feeling as getting splattered with VERY HOT OIL. If you were also wondering, I don’t enjoy the feeling of getting oil splattered on me, or candle wax dripped on me, or anything else that could SUGGEST SADOMASOCHISM. I am not speaking about ANYTHING EROTIC IN NATURE. This is all free from that zone, I’ll have you know. The tingling is a warning that I must heed. The outcome does not necessarily have to be life-threatening or even negative. But I’m asking you to trust me that THERE WILL BE A CHANGE HERE. THE EARTH IS SHIFTING ON ITS AXES AND THE WORLD WILL TILT TO OFFER CLARITY.

“This is a highly competitive, adjudicated process” by Julia at the Bloor/gladstone public library


Monday March 30, 2015 at the TPL
5:46pm
5 minutes
The BC Arts Council website

I have never been so nervous! I’m sweating behind my knees and I’m gassy like a bagel on a cow’s hip. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? BECAUSE I CARE WAY TOO MUCH?? IS IT MY FAULT? I just want them to like me. To accept me and recognize me for my efforts. I think that’s a normal human thing to want. But this is big. It’s not just like, oh, you didn’t gain approval, it means, oh, you didn’t get funding, validation, encouragement to continue trying, etc, etc. I’m fully aware of the competition. I don’t want to be the kind of person who competes with the people out there who compete in these things for sport. But can a nobody compete against his or herself? Can this be turned into a positive somehow? I can’t think, I just want this. But did I do enough work to earn it? I don’t know, I’m sitting here waxing ridiculous to a bunch of overly medicated rich people who all equally believe that their kid deserves this over me.

“This is a highly competitive, adjudicated process” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday March 30, 2015
2:13pm
5 minutes
The BC Arts Council website

Ladies and gentlemen, theys and theirs, it is of the utmost importance that you understand that this is a highly competitive, adjudicated process. Not everyone will succeed. In fact, look around you, look at the over-plucked or unkempt eyebrows and the chapped lips and the waxy moustaches… Only a handful of these toenailed toes will make it onwards. This is not to dissuade you. This is to INSPIRE YOU! This is to set you FREE! Competition is the fire in your loins or loinettes! It’s the rumble in your belly (and not from burrito night!) It’s setting your mind to something with the whole-hearted belief that YOU CANNOT FAIL! (But you can. And you most likely will. Always allow that littttttle voice in the back of your head that says you’re a loser to taunt you and judge you and keep you in check.)

“with my name on it” by Julia on the overground


Monday December 29, 2014
9:14pm
5 minutes
Little Lord Love
Mary Oliver


It’s mine, it’s mine, can I have it, will you give it, it’s mine, I’m behind, can I will it, can I kill it, will you let it, high and set it, a thousand dreams to forget it, it’s mine, all the time, can I drink it, can I sink it, it’s mine, with my name, can I own it, can I show it…

Sebbie had a crazy way of looking at the world. She was cold a lot. In her bones. So she didn’t know when she was uncomfortable or just unlucky. Instead of saying “it happened for the best” Sebbie goes out of her way to say “it happened for the worst”. I don’t know anyone who goes out of her way to say the “worst” of anything, but Sebbie did. She was trying to stay strong and good and alive and alert. She was trying to win the game of life, and by being a bit nutty, a bit realistic, she believed she was doing it. She was never good at sharing. She had a possession problem. She wanted everything to say her name and to have her fingerprints all over it. She wanted to prove she owned something in this life, not that you can take it with you anyway, but in case you could…she wanted it.

“You steal the water from the valley” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday September 16 2014
11:35am
5 minutes
Screenplay
Sid Field


I would pickle you if it didn’t mean you’d have to be dead. I would pickle you, just as you are, and you’d keep your shape like the best cucumber does. I’d leave out the garlic and the dill. I’d want you just as you are. I would pickle you if it didn’t mean I’d have to stop hearing your songs. See, those songs are the key to my unfolding. When you play that banjo my heart breaks and is whole and breaks and is the most whole she has ever been. I’d pickle you with your hat on, because I love that hat, I bought you that hat at that stand in Brooklyn.

“be this comfortable” by Sasha at Blue Skies Folk Festival


Saturday Aug 2, 2014 at Blue Skies
6:14pm
5 minutes
dipped from Joe’s wallet

When Marc and I roasted those awful hotdogs on the fire in July 2011 until they bubbled, he told me about the time he paddled in the Arctic. I made him into a statue, no… I made him into a hero. It’s hard when your hero falls from their high up place, you know? That really sucks. When Marc and I snowshoed in Algonquin Park in February 2013 he told me he’d never felt so at home, so content, so comfortable. My toes were freezing, but I nodded. He was still my hero. This year Marc climbed Kilimanjaro but I stayed home.

“we pass the time very well” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday May 24, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5:20pm
5 minutes
Sambuca Grill Drink List

we have a garden in the backyard that we’re just waiting to use. the guy who lives upstairs says DO NOT TOUCH and he says it with a sign and also with his lawn gnomes. we are not phased by lawn gnomes. he should have picked a scarier thing like a troll or a baby. we stare out into the yard every night and we plot our moves. we tell ourselves that when he goes away for the weekend we’ll take out our wheelbarrow and bring in some quality garden goods to our side of the house. we say to ourselves that we won’t need to take a lot, but enough of everything. he wants the red stuff and i want the green. we make sure that even in our minds we don’t take too much. can’t be greedy in fantasies because that’s being ill-prepared for realities. we pass the time very well when waiting for the upstairs guy to go away for the night or for the whole weekend. we make shadow puppets on the wall and tell each other stories in cooky voices. we drink flat ginger ale and ask each other questions about the rain forest and the prairies. we put an egg timer on the stove and try not to move until the timer goes off. we touch each other up and down our bodies using only our eyelashes.

“You don’t have to look at me like that.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday January 22, 2014
12:00pm
5 minutes
http://smittenkitchen.com/

“Let’s bury it in the back garden, near the chives,” you say, and your eyes shine like they do on your birthday. I guess I should start at the beginning. Not the beginning beginning but the beginning of you and I being the unlikely guardians of a gym bag containing half a million dollars. You’d been on the train to Kingston to visit your mother, all failing health and permed maroon hair. A man in a jean jacket and sweatpants with what you called “crazy eyes” sat down beside you and started talking your ear off. You’re a good listener. Thank God for that. You’re a trained listener, MSW on the wall in your office. Thank God. Before you knew it he was confessing and crying and eating peanuts and you were flabbergasted and overwhelmed but somehow still calm and breathing. And then he said he was going to the washroom and would you watch his bag. You said you would and were glad you’d have a second to absorb it all, to think about what should be done. And he never came back. You opened his bag, one of those cheap GoodLife gym bags you get when you sign up for a membership. Your heart sank and then rose and then sank again, at least that’s how you describe it. I’ll never forget your face when I picked you up from Union Station later that night, confused at your arrival, at your luggage, at your incessant laughter and utter disbelief.

“you can ride on it’s back” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, January 2, 2014
12:14pm
5 minutes
The Yak
A poem by Hilaire Belloc


There’s nothing about your face that makes me feel safe. And these fucking seasons! They keep cycling round and round and I can’t deal with it. Show me one or two of those playing cards, cuz that’s all I can handle. Oh baby oh baby. Please don’t think I’m strange, cuz I’m just trying on your windbreaker. Bring those black strap molasses and I’ll drink them down, creating the glue that will hold this together inside of me, deep inside, where the angels live. Tell you dog to shut up. I know that’s rude. It’s true though. She needs to stop barking. She’s wrecking my zen morning peace. Suck on the lemon that is the dissonance of this fabricated reality. You’re trying so hard to find the fortune in the concrete. It’s not there, baby. It’s in the woods, buried beneath layers of birch bark.

“LESS ORDINARY” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday December 14, 2013
3:46pm
5 minutes
Guinness Black Lager streetcar ad

Oh yeah I’d definitely define him as a curve ball? Sort of just your crazy man but without looking like that on the outside? Less ordinary than most people in his category and I’m sure I’ve seen my fair share of them. I think I noticed it first when he came over to my house to help Rodney with his math homework? He brought over a baseball glove and bat and the two of them played outside for hours. Rodney aced his test but I don’t remember them studying at all. I guess he has a way with explaining? Sort of never cared to question it further, cause we was seeing results and that’s all that mattered to Al and me. I think, no, I wouldn’t necessarily call him strange although he didn’t act like I ever expected. Strange sort of has a negative connotation and that’s not the kind of label I’m trying to give him. But different, maybe. Definitely special if you want to make sure he knows that I’m on his side? I never once worried when he’d spend time with Rodney. I think he liked being around kids cause they never judged him or nothin. They just sort of, let him be was all.