“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?

“ready for the feel of fire” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
11:51pm
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

The last time I spoke to him I lied and said I had roasted his favourite shoes over the open fire. I told him I made chestnuts out of them. He believed me. I guess that’s saying something about me. About him, sure, but about me first because I must be pretty convincing. I suppose he has good reason. Once when we were laying in a sleeping bag somewhere in Tobermory, I said I’d stab him if he let go of me and when he did, so did I. Stab him, I mean. It was only a little, and he bled but not for long, but I said I would do it and I did it and that’s when he started to get a little scared of me. Even if it was only my thumb nail piercing his upper thigh. He’s entitled to his opinions. He can think I’m whatever he thinks, but I would never actually roast somebody’s shoes on a fire. I’m not a monster. He didn’t even respond right away when I told him I did it. He took a few long breaths and then said that was all he could take for right now. I think that was a tactic his therapist told him to practice. I don’t think he would have thought of those words on his own.

“when my father went crazy” by Julia at her parents’ house

Friday December 22, 2017

11:43pm

5 minutes

The Monsters Inside

By Eric Sherman

There wasn’t enough breadcrumbs to coat the chicken the way he would have liked. Mom suggested cornflakes instead but he didn’t want to hear about it. The roads were too wild to go into town. Marge begged him not to leave but dad wasn’t one for heeding warnings. He went outside to dust the snow off his Corolla, something he’d done a million times in his life. Mom watched from the kitchen window as she always did, sending him warmth or hope or speed. Then he looked up at her and started taking off all his clothes. First went the winter hat, spiking his thinning hair into a little tuft pointing upward. Then he removed his winter coat, and threw it over the windshield of the car. Mom started laughing. Dad’s face didn’t move.

“We assumed he did.” By Julia at the studio


Tuesday August 22, 2017
8:40pm
5 minutes
Equus
Peter Shaffer


Got to the street light we agreed upon and lit up before he could get get there.
The quiet twitched my ear. Listening for night crawlers. The ones with the feather step.
Smoked slow till the light swallowed me. Bathed me. Made me thicker-skinned.
Hair a dusting of lamp and ash. He would smell it on me quick. Always looking for that kind of thing.
Assumed he did on account of all those backs up. Too many. Only two arms on him. Not enough to fend off.

“comrade in arms” By Julia at her dining table


Sunday July 31, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
from a text

I asked Lindsey if she wanted to come to my sister’s citizenship ceremony and she told me she wouldn’t miss it. When I reminded her that it was this week, she told me it was a date. When I called her that morning asking what she was going to wear, she gave me a detailed description and helped me choose a necklace for me over the phone. So when she didn’t show up for the ceremony I knew something wasn’t right. I called her a million times and it went straight to voicemail. I was freaking out, trying not to let my sister see me. I had a terrible knot in my stomach. Nothing was making sense, the room was spinning, and I was struggling to stay standing. My sister caught my eye and looked concerned. She motioned for me to leave. I nodded, I ran, I stumbled out of the auditorium and into a burst of fresh air. When I saw Lindsey standing there I almost threw up. She was holding her throat so the blood wouldn’t spill out.

“within the high-rise’s stairway” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday June 7, 2016
11:01pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca


Ellen told Brody she wouldn’t be joining him on the hike this year but she didn’t give him much notice. She had been holding off on saying anything until she knew for sure if she could or not. Brody didn’t think to ask if there was a reason. He focused on the fact that Ellen bailed on him so last minute and he had already put his money down. Brody sent a lot of passive aggressive messages telling Ellen that he wished he could “find a way to make some much needed cash asap–life is so unexpected, you know?” Ellen didn’t have the heart to tell him what was really going on in case he decided not to go all together. The last thing she needed was her best friend giving up something he had looked forward to every year just to stay at home and offer some unwanted pity. Ellen toggled between telling him the whole truth, and avoiding anything but.

“Grab whatever looks good” by Julia on the 84


Wednesday May 11, 2016
7:52pm
5 minutes
from a text

Knock at our door, Lizzie quickly throws on one of my shirts. She slides over the peephole cover. She opens the door without wasting a breath.
Robert is standing there. We haven’t seen him in years. Lizzie goes to hug him, he stops her.
“We don’t have time for that right now. ”
Lizzie grabs him again and this time it’s not optional.
“You do not get to come here and pull this shit on me again. Tell me right now what is going on. ”
I’m on the bed, inching closer to Lizzie’s night side table. I don’t want to cause a commotion. I want her gun in my hands and nobody else’s.
“You guys have to leave. They know. They know about me. About us. We have to grab whatever we can and go. Now. ”
Lizzie sees me moving closer. She offers a tiny nod in approval. I see it. Robert doesn’t.
“Who is they, Robert?” Lizzie asks, conjuring up all the softness inside of her.

“How cool would this be?” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 26, 2016
5:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Yew St.

You and me
?
midnight hiking!
Nothing on our backs…
but the idea…
that we couldn’t….
And the wouldn’t
?
Gone long and far because
We chose to set it free
Not worth
Keeping
Repeating
Glorifying
But now is
good!
And!
wide!
And!
invigorating!
because we chose to give ourselves
over to the truth
So no more lies
?
If we say so
We can could do-
We can anything:
Be
Do
Anything anything
Until we decide–
Stand firm–this
way
or
sideways

“SUPREMEBEING” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 25, 2016
11:27pm
5 minutes
Treasures & Travels Blog

You yelled in the car ride over to Tessa’s gallery opening and I had to beg you to pull over so I could get out before you killed us both with your rage. When I got out of the car I wiped my eyes, reapplied the lipstick I had chewed off and walked so fast ahead of you it may have seemed like I was trying to lose you. For the record: I was. I forced a smile to peel onto my lips and I strut through the trendy studio space like I invented the idea of putting so many pillars everywhere. Tessa was happy to see me and she hugged me tight and said How are you though?! I lied through my teeth and said Your art makes me want to be a better person. She was thrilled and then she left me alone. You finally entered the gallery and by that moment I thought you had decided not to come at all. I was planning my way home in my head and how when I finally got back, if you were still awake, I’d just walk straight to the bedroom and close the door. You saw that I saw you and even when I turned my back to you, you came right over to me and kissed me so sorry I forgot for a second how scared I was just minutes ago. I didn’t mean it, you cooed in my ear. I didn’t mean any of it.

“tossing rolled oats” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday February 21, 2016
12:19am
5 minutes
from a recipe

Karma comes calling, knocking on my door, middle of the night, full intention of awakening, startling me from my sleep. In the form of a dream, in the guise of a nightmare. I get the message: loud and clear and painful and frightening. I don’t know what I did but I’m paying for it, I can assure you. Tossing in my bed like rolled oats in a bowl of coconut shreds. I am not good at the thing where I see one thing in my head and compare a real life thing to that to express myself, describing something. I am maybe suffering the consequences in more than just sleepless nights. Feeling inept, not having the right words to say, to feel, to communicate. I am being punished by Karma in a way that doesn’t feel so obvious. I know how she rolls. In and out of view, thinking she’s gone for a little bit, then rushing right back in to remind me that I am not rid of her yet and that I am not safe in my alone. I am least protected when I leave the comfort of crowds and people with worse problems. She knows that and comes in when I’ve shaken off the possibility of seeing her at all today.

“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!

“This is fantastic!” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Saturday September 19, 2015
9:25pm
5 minutes
http://www.food.com

I’m scratching my wrist too hard for comfort but it’s itchy and I need to.
You look down at my red flesh and you say, “remember when you used to scratch your hands raw? Remember that summer you did that? What a nervous tick that was.”
There’s a permanent furrow line on my forehead that deepens when you say things like this.
“It was a hot summer, my skin got itchy, and so I scratched it. It wasn’t a tick, Remy.”
“Well you did it almost unconsciously! Look! You still even have the scar.”
You go to reach for my left hand but I swat you away. I don’t need you making a circus out of me.
“Stop it, Remy.”
“Oh come on,” You say, “I’m not being mean to you, I’m just saying–”
I stand up from the couch and storm off to the studio room. “I think you should go.” I say, not quite knowing why.

“What a liberty!” by Julia on the train to London


Saturday December 27, 2014
12:22pm
5 minutes
from Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren
edited by Giles and Victoria Coren


I’m stuck on a train with a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He’s reading right now, don’t worry. But he just spent the last half hour explaining the plot of his book that he’s trying to get published. He doesn’t have an agent. His protagonist just so happens to be a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He lives alone. So does his protagonist. He’s a lumberjack. Has access to an axe. Knows how to wield one. So does his protagonist. Captures a traveling circus that’s moving through town. Don’t know how to prove that both of them do it. But his protagonist does. Told me he’d watch my bag while I went to the bathroom. Didn’t trust him. Didn’t go. He doesn’t know yet that I don’t trust him. Too big of a smile trying to reassure me he absolutely will never kill me. I think surprise murderers have to practice that smile. Over and over and over again.

“clean, soft” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday December 28, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:12pm
5 minutes
HandiBac tube

Like a baby’s face,like a sky’s blank slate, like a call in the wild, like a fresh wall of paint, I’m your sinner, you’re my saint.
I can’t cause these power outages to last longer.
I just keep seeing myself in the mirror and I know it’s clearer than it was before.
With the lights out I know, that my problems are gone, so I keep myself in the dark dark until I can understand my mark.
On the world.
Just a big splatter of poetry. I put on to you so you can see.
My life is a coiled up wire that is exposed and could explode into a million sparks of gold if I let it. If I’m not careful.
Clean minds like to clean mine, all my troubles go and into the black hole they blow.
I know I know. I can’t keep the image staying untarnished cause I just like finger smudging and floor rumbling.
They try, they try. But I’m alone most of the time and I can’t hear, what’s inside, I can’t hear all the pride I store away.
They try to keep my anger at bay.

“Where are you going?” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday November 12, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:44pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus

He was waiting in his underwear for her on the couch when she got home. She hadn’t given him a key yet, so he had to charm her neighbour into believing she had and he had just misplaced it while helping another old lady cross the street. It seemed like a likely story. When he let himself into her apartment, he washed all her dishes, then washed between his legs, put back on his underwear, a bow tie, and some coconut body lotion, and sat himself on the couch to surprise her. He was planning a big night. One that would start out as a joke and end up as a proposal. He wanted to “open her mouth with laughter and then shove the truth down” as he had heard his acting teacher say in second year. He agreed with that sentiment, and knew she would be disappointed with any other display of something that meaningful. He had heard her say millions of times that if anyone ever proposed to her with her family around, or in a public space, she would have no problem breaking up with him right then and there, on his knee or not. He knew that he would have to stand out and showcase that he had heard her all those times. He also wanted to make sure she wasn’t even slightly suspecting a ring, because that, he was sure, would ruin things. He had been waiting for a long time. She had failed to mention that she was flying to Montreal to visit her grandmother for her birthday that weekend.