“hello, you!” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday, December 15, 2015
10:31pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the bus

That’s what he says to me when I call his cell while he’s at work. He doesn’t want to let anyone know that it’s me. He refuses to use my name. I get it. I don’t want anyone to know either. It’s nice anyway, like he’s happy it’s “me” when he says it like that. Like he’s relieved. He sometimes answers the phone with just a “hello” when he picks it up in the company of others. He leaves quickly enough to go into another room, pretending always that it’s work related or family related, depending who’s nearby. I clear my throat twice, quickly, and that reminds him to adjust his volume. You never know who could be listening for key words or a flirty laugh. I can’t wait to be alone with him and when his volume is lowered I tell him this. He laughs because if he doesn’t he might do something he regrets. I laugh back.
“Were you able to rent the cottage for the weekend? Boys trip?”
“I’m working on it.”
“When will you know? I want to see you…”
“Yup! Let me get back to you, hopefully it all works out, sound good?”
“I miss you..”
“Thanks, I’ll see what I can do.”

“Closed now” by Julia on her couch


Monday, December 14, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
From a Google search

Nobody is here to take your coat. Nobody is here at all. They all went home. Sanders said they could go early for Christmas. Sanders told them all they had to come to a unanimous decision. At first Donna didn’t want to go early because she was worried she wouldn’t have enough money to buy her son the snowboard he wanted. She cried for about 30 minutes straight until Lise and Desmond told her they’d chip in to help. They just wanted to get out of there. They were worried that Sanders would make them stay the whole night just cause he didn’t have anyone to go home to. Donna finally agreed and wouldn’t stop saying “thank you so very much. Thank you to the moon and back!”
I’m only here because I was waiting for you…

“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.

“The oldest surviving” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 14, 2015
12:17am
5 minutes
from a tweet

Memo to staff:
Someone left their banana peel in the office garbage can again. Thank you for putting it in the trash receptacle this time, that is much appreciated and far more so than a little office prank of leaving said peel at the entrance of the co-ed bathrooms last Wednesday (Side note, Jamella is fine and will be returning to work on Monday following her post op). But now there are greater issues at hand. The peel left overnight in the bin has caused the entire office to reek of bananas and for some, that is an unkind order. Please ensure to remove the peels at the end of your break and retire them to the outdoor compost bin that has been highlighted on all of your maps in the welcome package that you received upon hire.

“211 Bannatyne ave.” by Julia at Horseshoe Bay


Friday November 13, 2015
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Remember when I used to come by your work and wait till you got off so we could go get ice cream and caramel sauce and walk the perimeter of the property together before you’d have to go back to your desk and count the hours till you were actually free? Remember how you’d try to take the long way around so you could spend more time with me without saying that you wanted to? Those sticky summer evenings when you would start late and work late and forget which day you were on. Those are the ones I think about when I think about you. Those are the nights I remember how lucky I used to be. Your building looks different now: someone tried to wash off the graffiti and now it just looks uglier. I have to stop myself from going to Nucci’s Gelati so I don’t get tempted by nostalgia to buy you a coconut cone, even thought we were always so disappointed by the shreds that didn’t even taste real.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“really only happy when working” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 3, 2015
10:46pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

I called him from the parking lot on my lunch break.
“Hi!”
“Hi? Is everything okay?”
“Yup! It is okay. It is all okay!”
“Okay….did you need something then?”
“Why, do I need to need something to call my lover in the middle of the day?”
“No…not exactly…What’s going on, seriously?”
“I’m just so happy. I wanted to be happy in this moment with you.”
“Oh.”
“You got cynical!”
“And you’re cured now?’
I kicked a giant rock at my foot toward the fence. I debated hanging up right there on the spot, calling back, and pretending to be in pain.
“I didn’t say I was cured. I’m just trying to be positive.”
“Oh.”
“If you’d rather I didn’t try to turn my life around and try to change my opinion, just say the word.”
“You know that’s not what this..that’s not what I mean.”
“No, I know, I know what you mean.”

“When, Finally and inevitably,” by Sasha on the 99 going West


Tuesday, September 1, 2015
1:22pm
5 minutes
Bits
Louis Taylor


Let’s say that the grass was damp with dew
and the day was grey
like this one
Let’s say that Johnny Cash was playing from your
tinny computer speaks
like now
Let’s say that finally
inevitably
you put on your socks and boots and left for the factory
“Twelve years, Leila,” you say
“Eight more to go and I’m free”
Let’s say that I stand on the lawn
Watching as you pull out of the driveway

“OH MY GOD” by Sasha in the basement at Bowmore


Tuesday, August 11, 2015
11:47pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Gerrard St.

“Twenty-seven fifty three, please,” I try not to yawn. The baby in her cart is screaming, his face turning purple, then blue. I cock my head sideways and stick out my tongue. Nothing. His mother is rifling around in her purse. “”OH MY GOD hurry up!” Hunt Wilson is three people behind her in line and I know why he’s grouchy. He’s run out of smokes. “Shut up, Hunt!” I call and then look behind me quickly to make sure that Kevin isn’t there. Safe. He’s taken me into his office before and said, between puffs on his e-cigarette, “Three strikes and you’re out, Christie!” I can’t count how many strikes I’ve had but Kev has a soft spot for me because he lost his virginity to my oldest sister Charlene. “Twenty-seven fifty three…” I say again. I meet her eyes, tears about to escape. “I only have twenty five,” she whispers, desperate. “No problem,” I take her bills and coins and bag her groceries. I add “$2.53” to my list beside the cash. I’ll top up the till before giving it to Kev at the end of my shift.

“Feed your creative juices” By Julia on her bed


Tuesday, August 4, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
from a pencil case

Lana blotted the excess lipstick off with a square of toilet paper, remembering how her aunt Kathy showed her while she was living with her. Apparently Aunt Kathy was only supposed to stay for a couple weeks-a month tops- but things got complicated and before they all knew it, it had already been 4 years. Lana used to hear Aunt Kathy in the early morning when she would get up to shower and get herself ready for her receptionist job. When the water would stop, Lana would crawl out of bed and go sit beside the bathroom door, tapping on it quietly. Aunt Kathy would open the door, scoop her up and sit Lana down on the toilet seat while she did her makeup. Lana would have been two years old. She didn’t say a word, but she watched Aunt Kathy’s every move from the blush to the spacing out of her mascaraed eyelashes with the tip of a safety pin. On some days, Aunt Kathy would even put a little eye shadow on Lana, or let her taste a bit of her vanilla lip gloss.

“And she put her arms around me,” by Sasha on the 99 going East


Tuesday, July 7, 2015
6:10pm
5 minutes
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews


Fiona put her arms around me and coo-ed in my ears, “Shush, baby girl… Shushhh…” I cried until I couldn’t cry and then I cried more.

The next morning I charade as okay and eat too much granola and then feel sick.
“Can’t go to work today,” I say, rubbing my belly.
She keeps her eyes on her grapefruit and says, “Go on. It’ll do you good.”
I go but regret it.
My boss tells me I “look like a bag of shit.” He’s right, but has some nerve saying it. Henrietta jumps to my rescue and says, “Allergies, eh? So bad right now.” She winks and it feels like a kiss on my temple.

When I get home, Fiona has left me pancakes on the counter with a note that says, “Breakfast for dinner!” And a smiley face.
And a heart.

“It is impossible to live without failing” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Tuesday, June 23, 2015
5:23pm
5 minutes
A quote by J.K. Rowling

She came home huffing in and out like she was attached to a ventilator. It was exaggerated and annoying and I wanted to punch her strong in the throat to get her to just shut up and stop bragging about how gassed she was. She had seen me earlier on the couch with the TV blaring and I guess she thought I hadn’t left that spot all day or something? I did, for the record, in case anyone’s actually keeping tabs on me. I’ve been working more than ever, more than I should be, more than her and I combined, but sometimes it doesn’t look that way at all. She was smiling at me as if she pitied me and was trying to include me in something. Conversation, self-improvement, something like that. She asked, “How was your day?” And I pretended I didn’t hear her. She repeated herself, “How was your day today?” And I refused to turn around when I said, “Oh. It was fine. Thanks so much for asking.”

“cake and frozen yogurt” by Julia on the Greyhound


Sunday, June 7, 2015
9:01pm
5 minutes
From a sign on Queen’s Quay

He worked in one of those giant lobbies, his shiny desk the only fixture in the entire space. From the outside his place of employment was like a fish bowl: glass windows all around, anyone looking in whenever they wanted to, the room itself encasing a slab of marble and a couple sparse plants. He had been trying to figure out just what exactly made him so damn anxious everyday about going to work; about sitting in his fish bowl. It wasn’t the fact that he was completely visible and couldn’t risk doing his alone behaviour. He did whatever he wanted without hesitation. It was something else. Perhaps the feeling of intense loneliness mixed with the artificial comfort of being the most important thing in a room.

“We say our work” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 28, 2015
12:18am
5 minutes
Overheard at Lansdowne Station

Our work is good when it’s good
And when it’s not
Because our work
is whatever we need to keep going
even when it feels pained and full of punishment
It’s still ours
It’s still ours
Out hands and our hearts
Our hands and our burning bleeding hearts
When we wake from a bad dream
We shake imagination from our backs
Do we listen to what the muse is telling us?
Or do we toss her recklessly to the floor
Where she can’t bother us anymore?
It’s there
Our work
even though it feels secondary
It’s still ours
It’s still ours
Our hands and our hearts
Our hands and our thumping drumming hearts
Say hello to her
pick her off the earth
And tell her that she’s welcome here
Tell her that she’s beautiful

“Is it coffee time yet?” by Sasha on Sarah’s bed in Abbotsford


Sunday, April 5, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the bus station in Kitchener

She ties the rubber in a knot and flicks the white liquid. She scrunches her nose. She adds it to the jar. Thirty five. She texts Bec. “Up yer game bitch”. Flat Face Pug Man was completely quiet when he came. His Flat Face barely changed. She’d watch them, all of them, number six through til now, focused on the tiny muscles around their eyes, the purse of the lips, the flexing biceps.

“Thank you for using Bell, how may I help you today?” She gulps from her coffee mug. “Nancy?” She recognizes the voice. Her heart drops, a bomb in her stomach. “Hold please…” She crawls under her desk and sucks her thumb. Chris finds her like that, three hours later. “Are you okay?” She nods. Her phone vibrates on the cubicle desk above her head. “It’s from Bec,” says Chris, getting down on his knees and taking her face in his hands.

“twists the whip” by Julia at her desk


Friday April 3, 2015
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Zurau Aphorisms
Franz Kafka


Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Practices in the mirror
One, two, Go on three
Takes one for the team.
His own team
He’s the captain and the coach
Ready
Ready
Ready
Today’s the day
The song sings in his head
Right now is the only thing that matters
Manic energy
Checking his watch
Tick
Tick
Boom
He’s off
And running
Twists the whip
Cracks it in the air
No more practice shots
It’s real now
It’s real life
Dangerous
Destructive
But he has his weapons
He has his tools
Don’t forget to breathe
He hears his mother’s voice in his ears
Don’t forget to feel
The magic urgency fuels him
It’s exactly as he imagined
Only nothing like he hoped
Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Now he’s ready

“Ann hasn’t spoken to anyone for a month” by Sasha on the streetcar going West


Sunday December 28, 2014
2:13pm
5 minutes
rom an AgeUK overground ad /em>


Ann hasn’t spoken to anyone for a month. She smells like cat food. Her toenails are long. She might consider waxing her above lip fuzz. Ann picked Jeffrey in the Secret Santa draw and it sent her right over the edge. It went a little bit like this:
1. Ann wears a blue sweater and Jeffrey says, “Nice sweater, Annie. Really brings out your eyes.”
2. Ann vomits in the Handicapped Bathroom. Melinda knocks and knocks and Ann feels so guilty because Melinda really is handicapped and isn’t hiding from anyone, she just needs to pee.
3. Ann sits at her desk and bites her fingernails so low that they bleed.
4. “Secret Santa Draw at 1pm! Meet in the Conference Room” says the e-mail. Ann deletes it.
5. “Annie, aren’t you coming for the draw? Last year I got these earmuffs!” says Jeffrey. Ann lets him drag her to the draw, in the conference room. She placed scotch tape on her fingertips to stop the bleeding. “Why are your fingers wearing hats?” asks Jeffrey.
6. She reaches her hand into the santa hat, terrified one of her bloody finger beanies is going to slide off and then someone will pick it and everyone will wonder why and how and if she is clinically insane.
7. JEFFREY – in black block letters. Her armpits feel like Niagara Falls, her teeth are chattering. She notes Melinda, her hand plunging into the red and white and runs for the handicapped bathroom once again.

“residents at a homeless shelter” by Sasha at 49th Parallel


Wednesday December 10, 2014 at 49th Parallel
6:13pm
5 minutes
from howlround.com

The night I net Terrence it was one of the worst snow storms of the year – the flakes were so big that you could of used a baseball glove to catch them. It was well after midnight and most of the residents were in their cots. During storms like this we are always full to the brim, overflowing. It’s awful to have to turn people away, so we did our best to fit people wherever we could. Someone was sleeping in the reception desk chair, a few were on mats in the kitchen, and the common room was like the site of a slumber party. It was almost fun, almost exciting. These nights, though, we have to patrol extra carefully. Things tend to go awry. Someone has an episode. Someone has to go to the hospital. Someone forgets to take their medication, or couldn’t afford it so doesn’t have it to begin with. Terrence knocked on the window and I opened it to see who was there. He had the kind of nose that a lifetime of whiskey and frost-bite gives birth to. “Darlin’, got any room?” he asked. Maybe it was his accent. Maybe it was the way he smiled when he asked, in the kind of laid back way that always gets me. No sense of desperation. “You bet,” I said. I met him at the front door.

“Optimal health” by Julia on a bridge in Venice


Saturday December 6, 2014
5:49pm
5 minutes
The back of the chia seed bag

Mom got sick, mom changed her diet, mom stopped working, mom ate only air and self pity, mom waited for the mail everyday, mom bought a yoga mat she never used, mom began to juice, mom began to sing, mom began to smile, mom began to coach, mom saw her worth, mom hid her grief, mom preached without being preachy, mom reminded us of our lives, mom made sure we knew we were not too young, mom made sure we knew we could help ourselves, mom started saying I love you, mom started laughing at nothing, mom started seeking alternative medicine, mom started smoking pot, mom started sleeping again, mom started resting again, mom had a million phone calls, mom stayed home in her PJs.

“Now get your ass over here!!!” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday October 18, 2014
12:18pm
5 minutes
Advanced Italian Grammar
Marcel Danesi


“Alan! Get your ass over here!!!” Bernie has one of those voices you hope you’ll never have to hear at seven ten in the God damn morning. “Do you have to shriek like that? It’s early…” I want to kick Leonard. Bernie takes a long pause and then rises from his desk. “What did you just say to me?” “I just, ah…” Leonard shrinks into his sweater vest like a fucking turtle. “I’ll talk however I want, Leonard, because guess what?! I’M THE FUCKING BOSS HERE! I’M THE BOSS! So, shut up, drink your orange juice and get to WORK!” Poor Lisbeth is plugging her ears. I think there’s a tear forming in her eye… If she cries, I might. It’s that bad. Alan’s made his way to Bernie’s desk and he’s waiting, shaking. Poor guy’s wife just gave birth to a stillborn. He does not look good. I try to catch his eye to wink at him or something, but his gaze is fixed on the floor.

“All of you come here” by Sasha on her futon (on the floor)


Sunday September 21, 2014
10:43pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the beach in Levanto

Hey,

I’m writing because Skype is bullshit. When your face freezes I feel like I’m losing something I never truly had and I can’t bear it. So, what I was saying when we got cut off is… I’m glad that you’re taking care of yourself but I worry about Bubble Syndrome. You know, that thing that happens and is awkward to talk about when you forget to call your father and you forget to text me and you end up in the bubble of your own head, of your own Halifax and it’s… painful. It’s painful the most, it’s the most painful for you, I think. You have this notion that you’re taking care of yourself, that you’re holing up with your work in a good way, but, be careful. Sometimes it’s not good. Sometimes it’s nasty and you smell like a hedgehog. Eat spinach and stuff, okay? If you only eat beef jerky and barbecue chips you will get scurvy. That’s not even a maybe. That’s a for sure.

“they are content with burning my books” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, July 13, 2014
4:42pm
5 minutes
Freud, 1938, Vienna
Lou Lipsitz



So I come home (hard day), the radio’s blasting (of course it is), and Jeremiah is sitting cross-legged on the cold linoleum (of course he is) surrounded by a perfectly stacked circle of all my books. I stand there in the doorway (leaning) just looking at him (confused), while he hums the alphabet song (leaving out J and S, I can only assume), and touches each book as if for the very first time. He’s deciding (magically) which ones he’ll discard (burn) at the final moment (3:33pm), while I question every single reason (mole, laugh, orgasm) why I’m still with him.

“a wise man” by Sasha at iDeal coffee


Tuesday April 22, 2014 at iDeal Coffee
3:12pm
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

You ever get that feeling you wanna run away? You ever get that itch, but it’s inside you and to get it scratched you gotta bust out?

Isobel?

I been saving, baby, I been saving. I been saving my money since last year, since we were back home.

I got $15,000… Over $15,000… $15,213.

Isobel?

I’m gonna find us our own house. None of this sharing a room with other people. How are we supposed to really love eachother? I’m tired of listening to Jerry snore!

We’ll keep it so clean. Our home. You won’t have to work or nothing. Maybe we can have a goat and some chickens!

“chicken liver pate”by Julia on the plane to Philadelphia


Monday April 14, 2014
2:59pm
5 minutes
The Grid
April 10-16, 2014

He said he’d return it if it got sent over to his table. Said he thought it was inhumane. Said don’t even bother trying to impress him by sending over your best items. It was already too late having things like that on the menu in the first place.
When I met him I thought I was going to shoot myself in the face. Out of just being so tired of dealing with his ever present presence and his attitude toward the waitstaff. I wanted to shoot myself in the face. I wanted to shoot him him the face. But instead I smiled politely and I worked harder then I thought I would just to distract myself from his persona.
I knew about his disdain for foie gras. I knew he hated it and was making a big scene. So I’m the one who got it sent over to his table. I admit, I wanted to see what he’d do. I wanted to see what he’d do when the cameras weren’t rolling, when the reporters weren’t reporting, when he was alone, or thought he was.
And I watched him look around and take a bite. And then I watched him smile and take another.

“the porn industry” by Sasha at the kitchen table in Mississauga


Saturday March 15, 2014
12:07am
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I’m not fuckin’ judging him. I mean, who am I. Who am I to judge, I shake my fuckin’ tits and bring assholes beer and who am I to judge him. But I get home and I been lookin’ at that fuckin’ shit all day and, like, I jus… I don’ wanna see that. I threw… I threw his laptop and it smashed and then he freaked, like, he really did and he said to me I better take Clara to my Mom’s place or he was really gonna lose it on both of us… I don’t know what he had on that laptop, why it mattered so much to him. I said I’d buy him a new one if that’s what the problem was… Fuck… He said, no that wasn’t the fuckin’ problem. He said there was things on there that he can’t salvage. Whatever the fuck that means. I had to get Clara from her bed, right, cuz it was late and she was sleepin’, I mean, I’d just gotten home from work and all. Sometimes when I wake her up and she’s dreamin’ she doesn’t know who I am. That really freaks me out. I really hate that…

“the porn industry” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 15, 2014
3:07pm
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.

“With lots of ice-creams” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown


Saturday March 1, 2014 at Moksha Yoga Downtown
5:14pm
5 minutes
My Dream World
Parul Naveen


You got those leetle ice-creams that aren’t reeeealy ice-creams but they look like them in those leetle cookie cones. Monique says, “Why you not put the diapers in the kitchen garbage? Smells like poop in Isabelle’s room!” Monique isn’t the boss of me but I pretend it’s ok for her to talk like this to me. “I put, I put…” I say, quiet. I put those diapers in the downstairs garbage but it’s full so I bring it to the garage. Nice garage. You know, this word, “garage”? Strange strange. I look at all Missus’ nice boxes with big labels and I think about how much they have they don’t use ever. In the box. In the garage. Monique says none of my business. I say, is my business because this is my job.

“while the real work is done outside” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 3, 2014
2:08pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Rumi tr. Coleman Barks


Get on those steal toes, that hard hat, that tool belt. Get on outside where the real world fights its fights. Protected by the construction of our warm and cozy houses, we sit and we contemplate. We fear the windows when the blinds are drawn, we fear the callousness of strangers we have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. We fear the ambulance and its never-ending cries. We stay indoors, thankful for running water and a steady stream of television programs or movies ordered by e-mail. We don’t leave the couch to see the world in action outside of us. There is a whole big thing out there, and it looks just like your imagination dreams it does. Only worse. Only better. There’s no way of knowing if the dead bolt on the front door stays locked. Just a thought. Just a hunch. That we thank those pillars and roofs and hardwood floors for keeping us safe and sheltered and avoiding anything that might cause us even the slightest amount of pain. There are people living in their nightmares all around, and not in a house with books rescued from the streets. Not in a house with a pumpkin loaf baking in the oven. Not that we should choose sadness. Choose hardship. But we should not stay in our pyjamas until noon, just because our jeans are cold from the wind blowing in through the cracks.

“Cashier: Diana” by Julia on her couch


Thursday October 17, 2013
11:22pm
5 minutes
a receipt from Qi Natural Foods

Orange smock. Check. Green scrunchie. Check. Green scrunchie with extra elastic. Check. Keys. Check. Keys to store on lanyard. Check. Banana muffin for breakfast. Check. Locket of Ray’s hair. Just kidding. He’d never part with it. Good joke to tell family at Christmas. Double check.

If all mornings could start like this one.
If all good things ended but got recycled.
If all afternoons began with his laughter.
I. Would. Want. It. All.

Terri cloth knapsack. Check. Home style chili from Tim Horton’s. Check. Windex refill. Check. Tiny salted almond slivers. Check. Porno DVD that Steven snuck into my bag last Friday. Check. Rubber rat to get him back. Check. Post it notes. Check.

“Freedom to give” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday October 8,2013 at Sambuca Grill
5:44pm
5 minutes
Universal Freedom
George Krokos


Hasn’t she had enough, Tom? Maura asked with concern. Please. We don’t need to be so cruel. She needs a couple of dollars, so what!
She needs to learn how to be independent, He told her. That girl doesn’t know how to do anything but let other people do things for her. I blame you for that, Maura.
Me? She replied. How can you blame me? Because I didn’t want to see our daughter suffer and make the same mistakes we did? That’s what parenting is, Tom, it’s about giving.
She can work for her money if she needs it. She can work just like everybody else has to.
This is different, Tom. She’s not everybody else. She’s gone through something traumatic and it would be nice if you weren’t being such a hard ass.
I don’t think of it like that, I told you. If my parents gave me everything I wanted I’d be dead on the streets by now. By her age, if we want to get specific.
Well maybe she’s not like you. Maybe she’s stronger.

“My bones” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the CSI Coffee Pub
9:36am
5 minutes
From Kat’s warm-up at the these five minutes: resident writing group

Aching, a little sore today. probably not going to make it to the gym, but fuck me, what else is new. Started at 6am this morning. fucking Dee couldn’t get her shit together to call me before 5 on a night where I wasn’t in an almost comas as i’d expect anyone else but Dee to be in because she’s the only one I know who works the morning zombie apocalypse shift. Rog called med to double check that I was coming in. I didn’t answer him, I just said fuck you by pressing the pound key until he hung up. Didn’t know what the world looked like on that end: the sun rising, and me rising with it as opposed to running alongside it with my leather jacket flapping open, trying to race it to see who could get to the end first. I usually win.
Fucking Dee. Probably dead somewhere. She never misses her mornings.
I brought myself a slow burning tab of Ecstasy to keep me going through the morning rush. On days like these, I put on a big t-shirt, and throw my messy hair under a hat and just fucking yawn it out.

“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.

“happy hour” by Julia at the Mariot in Montreal


Saturday , August 17, 2013
5:35pm
5 minutes
from the sandwich board at McLean’s pub in Montreal

Kaleigh came up to the terrace with her lap top and a bottle of merlot. She was expecting to finish everything before Aidan came to join her for a drink and a shrimp skewer. Aidan had promised Kaleigh the shrimp skewer ever since losing a bet about Swiss Chalet and the contents of their gravy. Somehow the shrimp skewer was more of an acceptable payment. Maybe because Kaleigh liked Aidan, and maybe because she hadn’t eaten since last night thanks to her refrigerator that was on the fritz again, along with her water, her Internet, and her cable. She was greeted instead by a group of idiots without shirts, enjoying their own personal happy hour overlooking the city, popping not bottles, but cans, of Coors Light.Kaleigh waited to start her wine but also felt like an exhibit, still dressed in her blazer and heels.

“just horrible” by Julia on her front porch


Friday , August 16, 2013
5:09pm
5 minutes
overheard at the metro

She was sitting with her legs up, just barely touching the table. She was trying to make a point about how she didn’t need to be big to feel at ease with the big guys. A lot of them were busy rolling their own tobacco and laughing about Sweeny who allegedly turned in early because he thought he had “food poisoning”. She was hoping they wouldn’t make such a big deal about her being there, knowing full well she’d have to fight even harder just to break free of their expectations. She was waiting for her turn with the tobacco. Her father used to roll so she knew what she was doing. She was just waiting for her chance to show them she was more than just a well dressed and manicured woman. They didn’t say anything, but she knew they were thinking it. She could see it in their eyes every time they spent a little too long looking at her skirt, and her shoes.

“my dog’s shitting all over your stuff” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, August 8, 2013
7:21pm
5 minutes
The Flying Troutmans
Miriam Toews


My dog’s shitting all over your stuff and I’m not sure why winter is still here and all I hear is banjo music and Jesus H Macy I am at a total loss as to what to do. I’m not interested in ramblings or Barcelona side streets or burning a bicycle wheel in an attempt to be ironic or confrontational. I am neither of these things and no matter how hard I try by purchasing fluorescent colours or whatever I will never be I can never be I am not the coolest one. My arch-nemesis is the sound of my downstairs neighbour coo-ing to her record player like she knows the words. I’m working on my shit and I’ve even started that belly-dancing class to try to embrace my curves and you don’t hear me complaining about anything because easy isn’t even in the vocabulary they taught me.

“As Aristotle says” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, April 23, 2013
12:11am
5 minutes
The Screenwriter’s Workbook
Syd Field


What a crock of shit, she said, as she slammed her fist down on the glass coffee table. She was always one for outbursts and dramatisations of reality. He can’t treat you like that, Liddy, he should know better.
It’s fine, Mare, I said to her, Don’t get all crazy. It was an accident, I’m sure. He forgot your name on the payroll? That’s an accident? Liddy, she started, Don’t push me. She had fire in her eyes, her hair. She was just on a mission and I knew better than to get in her way. Yes, I said, despite her warning. It was an accident because it’s never happened before and it will never happen again. He feels bad, I said, He feels really really shitty about it. Mare laughed like it was the funniest thing her younger sister ever said to her. He knows better, Liddy. So do you for that matter. Did he make a move on you? Is that it? Mare, I said, Easy…
He knows you’re married, what the ring doesn’t mean anything? That bastard. How dare he! Mare, I told her, you’re jumping to conclusions. That’s not it.
You refused his advances and now he’s embarrassed, bruised ego, mushed penis, so he’s punishing you, Liddy. He’s trying to teach you a lesson. You’re out of your mind, I told her, and started to clean up the crumbs to the cookie she broke.

“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.

“Don’t you dare” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday January 30, 2013
12:26am
5 minutes
What to Wear section of Fashion Magazine
Winter 2013


If pickles in a jar could last forever there’d be no more angry pregnant ladies running around looking for pickles to put on their vanilla ice cream. There’d be other things probably but not that. I don’t know why I’m thinking of this now, I probably could afford to be “less quirky” says my doctor and especially in times of great “duress”. I just want to know that this war thing is not going to last forever. When I get nervous, and right now I’m just that, I start theorizing. It’s terribly annoying. I recognize that it is. But I can’t really help it. So. There’s that.

“He was a rich asshole.” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday, December 16, 2012
7:12pm
5 minutes
Hands Off
An essay by Miranda July


He was a rich asshole, yes, but he had those hands and those eyes and that sideways smile that makes my heart go BOOM BOOM BOOM so loud I think he might hear it. “Ruth? Can you please bring me the Jefferson file?” He says. I pause. I think. I think maybe he glanced at my boobs, bigger since Christmas vacation, and looking particularly good today in a blue striped sweater. “Of course!” He returns to his office and a few moments later I knock, as I always do, the file tucked under my arm. “Here you go, Mr. Jenkins…” I say, unsure if there’s more maybe, unsure if I could go on and not have it be rambly ridiculousness. “Ruth…” He says, when I’m partway out the door, “if my wife calls – ” “Tell her you’re in the conference room?” He smiles that sideways smile and, you guessed it, my heart makes the sound of a very large drum. A very, very large drum. “God, you’re good,” he says. I wish he was talking about something else, that I was good at something more close and nasty than remembering the memos concerning his diamond-wearing, clutch-tucking, lip-smacking wife. “Have you booked Ballentine in for tomorrow morning?” The intimacy of our interactions are thrilling, aren’t they?