Saturday, October 29, 2022

Vote for Peanut

My political career began and ended in Grade Four with a bid for class president. My contenders were Suzanne—the monied vote; Suzy—the affable Donny Osmond fangirl; and Anne. Precociously large and favouring yellow pantsuits, Anne was a fellow trailer park kid. While Suzanne and Suzy huckstered, Anne and I forged a pact to vote for one another.
     Suzanne was a 14-vote landslide, Suzy got 7, Anne had 2. And me? Nada!
     “We were supposed to vote for each other!!” I shrieked as she walked away . . . her gargantuan head two dissembling ponytails separated by a pale line of mendacity.
Inspired by Trickle-Down Comeuppance. Image by Roy Schulze.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Trickle-Down Comeuppance

Poor Liz Truss
Begat a fuss
So certain, she
In ideology
She went all-in for the pedigreed
To pay for it— “Well, there’s no need,
Trickle-down will work!”
Hmmph. Indeed.
From get-go, it appeared demented
Her program’s dead now, unlamented
And with tight smile and lame excuse
Poor Liz endures the House abuse.

But soon that cabal of Brexiteers,
Those liars, inbred toffs and peers
Will move to cut their political loss
By offering up another boss
And Charles as King will host to tea
another inept mediocrity.

Pound down, rates up, prices surging—
Starmer's smiling, so too is Sturgeon.
Image by James Ferguson. This drabble was written October 18th, which made it rather prophetic; it was unfortunately “overtaken by events” by publication day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Doug when I first met him

I arrived a little early for the job interview. He bounded down the stairs to meet me at reception. He had a Woodward and Bernstein vibe. Not too tall. Slim. Pencil behind his ear. Carrot-coloured wavy hair. Red beard. Wide glasses. A firm handshake. There was something in his brown eyes that spoke of an openness, a willingness to see the best in the world, to believe everyone he encountered was a potential friend. I don’t possess that quality, but I recognized its worth immediately. I smiled. He smiled back. I got the job. We celebrated his 63rd birthday yesterday.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Close Enough to Spanish

Heading home, one of the guys from the construction crew offered me twenty bucks for my English-to-Spanish phrasebook, specifically because he wanted to write a letter in Spanish to let down the girl he’d picked up in Buenos Aires the Friday before.
     Lucky for them, Italian is close enough to Spanish that he and his pals had had no problem finding dates that weekend, including this particular law student with whom he’d stayed until Sunday afternoon.
     I had to wonder how much she could possibly have cared about their weekend fling.
     Still, he cared enough to be worried she might.

Inspired by Fate and Luck. Photo and fridge-magnet from the author’s collection.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Fate and Luck

September’s storms reminded me of my own month of tropical traumas, in 1999—a year I basically lived in a boardroom or on a plane. First, I was stranded in Sint Maarten for a week when Hurricane Lenny slammed the Antilles, settling over us for two days and dumping 700 mm of rain. Ten days later, I flew Curacao to Costa Rica via San Juan; my suitcase didn’t make it. I spent a week in negotiations in San José in the same suit and shirt. A comical interlude, because two weeks later I got kidnapped in Venezuela. My luck held.

Image of Hurricane Lenny over the Caribbean from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with data superimposed by CooperScience.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Her Only Family Portrait

“My father’s holding his breath so he doesn’t give it to me,” says Mom, pointing to an old photo. I'm sitting in her dining room, where family pictures, decked out in a mishmash of dollar-store frames, adorn the walls.
     Was Mom told this by her mother Alma—here in that same picture holding Mom as a baby? Yes, he has his mouth closed, but he doesn’t look like he’s dying of tuberculosis. Though why else would they spend all that money at the photographer’s?
     “He was very ill,” she says, gently touching the face of the father she doesn’t remember.

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