Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bonne fête ma chouette

«Es-tu mal au ventre, maman?» Every year on her birthday, mom would ask her mother if her stomach hurt. Mémé, who produced a bakers dozen, never got the significance. But most of us remember birthing our babies. Twenty-two hours of labour took me from insisting I deliver in a salt-water bath, the air replete with the sounds of whales and patchouli-scented vegan candles to maniacally screaming “Get that fucker out!” By the time the catheter arrived, I saw yoga and sheep breathing for what they were: chimerical hippy hogwash. But I’d have done it again in a heartbeat.

Photo: Zebra Photography

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Raiders of the Lost Schmutz

So they found King Richard under a car park. Now that’s a dig. Back in the Jurassic when I trained as an archaeologist we did a field school in a parking lot. Filled with salady earnestness, I thought we’d discover something: The lurid tracings of Matthew Elliot’s slave cabins or Tecumseh’s moldering head—Essex County treasures just waiting to be unearthed. Instead we amassed a greenhorn’s cache of Styrofoam cups, nails, and broken glass. Turns out our slacker prof hadn’t applied for a field license. We were lucky we weren’t arrested or press-ganged to work the Scrambler on Boblo. Photo by P. E. Reid

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Proliferation of Popes

Yesterday two Popes lunched. We smiled; it seemed so sunny. We should've been afraid. I don’t mean just Catholics worried that Benedict might cleave the Church with a chance utterance about preferring pickerel to cod. Rather, as the moral majority of Star Trek viewers should've known, a space-time discontinuity had formed. Francis is but the first of the Popes who’ll be popping in from alternate dimensions. Come Tuesday, Popes will fill our screens, like in the old “Which twin has the Toni?” ads. About a week later, the exponentially-growing mass of Popes will tweak Earth off its orbit. Goodnight moon.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


On our trip back from the Jersey Shore, we passed through the town of Intercourse, a small town in Pennsylvania with a shop on one side of the road—selling assorted knick-knacks and quilts made by the local Amish—and a lonely motel on the other. I insisted we stop, hoping to find something to add to my collection of kitschy souvenirs, but we really should have stayed overnight, if only to have the town come up in conversation one day, and so allow us to dismiss it with the weary cynicism of the seasoned traveller: “Been there, done that.”

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Potato Salad Mystery, part three

Adela rootled in the cutlery drawer, but her forks and spoons all lay dispiritedly in the still-clogged sink.
     “I hate my life,” she thought, turning back to the potato salad that she supposed the cleaning lady had left behind. It wheedled forth aioli and memories. Of a picnic spread on a chequered cloth on the Riviera, and a man feeding her fingerling potatoes with sandy, long-fingered hands and…
     Adela stopped short. “I've never had a boyfriend,” she thought crossly. “Let alone a cleaning lady.” Somehow, being near that salad was giving her memories of another life, better than her own.

Part onePart two

The Potato Salad Mystery, part two

Enticingly unctuous, the tang of aioli wafted up her nose and she found herself salivating. It was seven pm after all, and any ounce of satiety gained from that penitential gluten-free bean bake she scarfed at noon had long since evaporated. And here sat fingerling potatoes dotted with chives and dusty paprika. The temptation to eat this Trojan Horse of a supper was strong. But wasn’t it just last Saturday that she watched The Apartment? Who was in her house and left this behind? Could the cleaning lady be entertaining gentlemen on Tuesday afternoons, fueled by lust and high-end carbs?

Part one  *  Part three

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

So Hip It Hurts

After months of relatively unsuccessful chiropractic treatment on my hip, Dr. Ho now thinks it might be my sacroiliac that’s causing the pain.
      “There’s something we can try…” he says with a grin that suggests he’s as reluctant to tell me as I’ll be to hear it. And he’s right, because what he wants to do is inject anaesthetic directly into the joint, and if the pain goes away, it will confirm the underlying problem.
     Understand, shoving this needle into the base of my spine is just part of the diagnosis.
     I don’t even want to think about the cure.

Image based on a drawing posted to The Dance Training Project.

The Potato Salad Mystery, part one

When Adela Littleshank came home that night, the last thing she expected to find was a container of potato salad sitting on her kitchen table.
     She checked the back door: still locked. She yanked her bedroom closets open, peered under the bed, and inched the shower curtain back, ready to shriek: no one. Yet, in the kitchen, this potato salad, provenance unknown.
     Not quite unknown, she corrected herself; the salad bore the label of a rather upscale deli.
     It’s an upscale hallucination, she thought, poking the container to see if it was real. It was, and in fact, enticingly cool.

Part two  *  Part three

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