Saturday, December 31, 2022

The New Year’s Pre-Party

“Let’s ride,” War said, emptying his cup into the fire. “We’ve got work to do.”
     “I’m still peckish,” Famine said. “Let’s finish the wheat before we head out.”
     “If we do, there won’t be any for Lebanon . . .” 
     All four horsemen laughed raucously. 
     “Mind if I bring another ‘friend’ this year?” asked Pestilence.
     “Bah! Your friends always wimp out.”
     “This one’s a finisher.”
     War rolled his eyes as he climbed onto his horse; there was an immediate rumble in far-off Ukraine.
     “Guys! Wait up . . .” 
     Death hadn’t even saddled his horse yet! Typical, thought War. He’s always the last to the party. 

Image by Bryant Arnold, Inspired by Black Swans and, well, the newspaper.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

My Husband Helps Flood the Ice Rink

Four times over the holidays he has abandoned the warmth of my bed to visit her—his winter mistress. He is but one of her minions who bathe her daily, smooth her furrows, see to her ablutions. A cold demanding creature, she soaks in all that they give her and asks for more. Nothing will do except the sheer perfection of her icy skin. But I know this love affair is as variable as the weather. She runs hot and cold. And with the final thaw, he will return to me, though a little heartbroken and dreaming of next winter.
Inspired by Winter. Image by Doug Bennet.

Friday, December 23, 2022

God Father Christmas

Graham’s Christmas letters were always neatly typed and funny enough that, even as a kid, I looked forward to reading them. Back in Canada, he had hoped one day to be a playwright, but ended up living illegally in New York, taking on a series of editing contracts that even he found too dull to describe in any detail. He was my godfather, although I doubt he remembered. He took on the responsibility only after my mother promised she’d never hold him to it, and skipped the ceremony, concerned that he wouldn’t be able to get back across the border.
I was enthralled by this man I’d never met, by the letters, by his hand-painted postcards, the random photos in the family album growing up with my mother, the trick shot he took of himself looking unimpressed by his new toupée. When I thought I might want to be a writer myself, I worked up a fantasy of dropping by his apartment and introducing myself. I was going to dedicate my first science-fiction novel to this illegal alien, until the day he took a ferry to one of the more isolated islands near his favourite city, and the letters stopped.

Inspired by Minuit Crapaud. Photo by Graham Murray with himself, circa 1957.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Minuit Crapaud

One minute after Tante Annemarie arrived on our porch dressed in Santa drag, I had my doubts. These were confirmed later in the evening when I snuck downstairs to see the back of Fake Santa, a Benson and Hedges wedged between red manicured fingers, drawing a pull from a stubby and watching the game. From what I was led to believe from television and Kresge’s, Santa smoked pipes. He didn’t drink beer, he didn’t wear a cheap-ass wig and he didn’t smell like Rive Gauche. Yet a glimmer of hope survived: I knew Santa, like dad, was a Habs fan.
Inspired by Christmas Came Early at Our House. Photo by Norman Potter of the Daily Express.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Christmas Came Early at Our House

“Santa comes in the night, so don’t get up till it’s light out,” Mum said, standing. “Sleep well.” Seven-year old me tingled. I knew I wouldn’t be going to ssssszzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZ . . .
I awoke to a dim light seeping around our door. The house was silent. I remembered Mum’s specific words: till it’s daytime.
     Well, dawn is still day, I reasoned, thinking like a lawyer. I kicked my brother Gord in the back, shouted “IT’S CHRISTMAS!” and dashed down the hall. Yes, Santa had come! And my insomniac Dad was reading on the couch under the swag lamp. It was 3:00 A.M.

Inspired by Like in the Magazines. Image by Pathos Media.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Like in the Magazines

I was making the wreath—you know, the one with the pom poms? But I burned myself with the hot glue gun. So I ditched that idea and then I thought I'd do something simple—like print my own wrapping paper, like on Youtube. But I cut myself making the potato stamps and bled all over the craft paper. It’s not funny. No, no, I am not crying—that would be stupid. I just wanted Christmas to be perfect for once—like in the magazines. Can you just come and pick me up? I’m at the ER; I needed stitches.

Inspired by the annual holiday anxiety I feel kicking in right about now. Image by Craiyon.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Oh, that’s just Tom.

For a while there, Tom was the veteran of Tech Support, hired by Rambunctious Software back when it was just two developers, three telephone lines, and 435 customers starving for his attention.
     He worked there for ages, cranky and largely ignored, but surely the world’s authority on R-Mail—or Err-Mail, as he’d started to call it.
     In the end, he knew more about its many problems than the developers themselves—and constantly reminding them pretty much guaranteed he’d have stayed forever on the phones, talking down another frantic sysadmin as she watched two-year’s worth of messages vanish from her server.

But that’s the thing, those early days just naturally attracted an exciting crowd of talented misfits, cranky and mouthy, but good at pretty much anything. The problems came only when things started getting Corporate, and Management arrived to work their eccentric systems and find us some better employees–like the guy with the speech impediment they hired to work the phones, the accountant who paid bills twice, and person after person who’d show up for orientation and never return.
     The only solution, clearly, was to hire a proper HR Specialist, who promptly fired the talented misfits, and promoted the freaks.

Inspired by Romeo Oscar NOVEMBER. Image by DALL-E.

AddThis Widget (for sharing)

Crazy Egg (Analytics)