227 Slices
Medium 9781927068151

Shallowness

Hayes, Derek Thistledown Press ePub

SHALLOWNESS

To: Rebecca (rebeccabrown88@gmail.com)

From: Jean

Cc:

Re: your replacement

I haven’t had the best week. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get fired because of the girl who replaced you. This new girl is something else.

She applies layers of rouge, coats her eyebrows and lashes with Maybelline and somehow perks up her breasts and buttocks. She wears garish earrings. The only accessory I have is a headband, and I strap this on only when I want to dress up. I think you’re the only other woman that could wear blue jeans to work and not give a rat’s ass.

There’s a fog of perfume that hovers over her desk. She hung a fuzzy pink Hello Kitty doll on the wall of your old cubicle. I told her this was sacrilegious to your memory and not really appropriate for an office. She whined that it gave her luck. She flaunts the fact that she’s a size two. She laughed when I told her that her waist was the same size as my thigh.

She doesn’t have an original thought in her head. She’s giddy about Will and Grace. She idolizes Ally McBeal. I was discussing the latest Alberto Salazar film a few days back. I looked over and I saw her puzzled look of incomprehension. In fact, she’s probably unacquainted with all foreign films. (Who do I have to talk to around here now that you’ve left?)

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Medium 9781927068304

Silent Night

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub

SILENT NIGHT

It was just before Christmas. She was fourteen years old. She had left a note where her mother, but not her father, would find it, and had gone to sit on a bridge for two hours deciding whether to jump. What finally got her off the bridge, she said, was repeating doggedly to herself, “Just because my old man is an asshole doesn’t mean I have to die.”

When we met, one of the first things she told me was, “I used to be able to deal with my black holes by painting, but I can’t even do that anymore.” I had often pondered for myself the futility of repressing the death impulse, since everything that lives, dies; but I thought of what painting had meant to her, and asked, “What if you don’t take the suicidal impulse literally? What if it’s a symbol of an old way of life coming to an end, so something new can be created?” She replied instantly, “That’s it exactly — something in my soul wants to die.”

Christmas, we know, is the worst time for depressed people. The world is at a party, and they have not been invited. Many who go to the bridge don’t come back. But this girl survived the holidays, and in early January we met again. She spent most of that hour talking about her schizophrenic grandmother — how the rest of the family couldn’t understand her, yet she herself was a good friend of Grandma’s, and the two of them had no trouble whatsoever in conversing. Then, as the bell was about to ring, she said, “But I have to tell you a dream I had the other night.”

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Medium 9781771870948

Toe Covers

Altrows, Rona Thistledown Press ePub

TOE COVERS

LAST WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON I CAUGHT A SHOPLIFTER and followed the protocol.

My absentee boss Frank has made it clear what he wants us to do when people try to steal merchandise from Marjorie’s Lingerie. Many times he’s told me, Irene, bring the police in right away, we can’t let our store get a reputation as an easy target for theft. That’s every retailer’s nightmare. Lots of terrific shops have gone down from not paying enough attention to the six-fingered shopper.

With the incident on Wednesday, it didn’t bother me a bit to call in the city’s finest. The shoplifter was a cool operator, a professional thief. I have no patience with a person like that. Get a real job, sign up for a course, leave us alone. I watched her help herself to five pairs of No Panty Line briefs and four t-shirt bras with stretch cups. She worked fast and went for compact items that were hanging close to one another and wouldn’t bulk up her big bag too much but she didn’t count on my spotting her; the smug ones never do. When I asked her to open the bag, she tried to bolt. Then she saw the other two staffers I had placed at the entrance. She swore, but not with any feeling, more like a darn-it kind of thing, as though she had just burnt a piece of toast, stood calmly where she was and let the scene unfold. The arrival of police didn’t affect her a bit. It seemed to be second nature to her to get handcuffed and escorted to a cop car in front of other people.

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Medium 9781927068151

A Wonderful Holiday

Hayes, Derek Thistledown Press ePub

A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY

RUSSELL LAY IN BED, STILL WEARING HIS light-blue pyjamas. He was watching Magnum P.I. T.C.’s helicopter had a bullet hole and Magnum was explaining to T.C. that he’d compensate him for the damage.

A solitary model airplane, a Sopwith Camel, hung from the ceiling of his room. This was a vestige of his childhood. He had cleared out all the other silly remnants two years before. The Sopwith Camel had been in such pristine condition that he couldn’t take it down. Were he to get a girlfriend — this winter, he hoped — he’d be sure to trash it. With his computer and printer, television and stereo system set up along the north wall, and with a proper queen-sized bed, and with beige paint covering the old wallpaper (which had been spotted with lizards), his life now was almost complete. He just had to find a girl. He would move all of his belongings into a two-bedroom condominium when they got married. He’d be nicer to Mom then. He’d even do the dishes here more often if he weren’t living at home, though on second thought, he’d probably have enough chores of his own to do. The trip he felt obliged to go on was getting in the way of all of his plans. He’d thought of nothing else for a while now.

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Medium 9781771870757

SENSE

Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
“Sense” by Sandy Bonny follows Alwynne, an archaeologist alone on a geographical survey in the Alberta Badlands. Though she enjoys her days exploring, photographing, and sifting the area for artefacts, Alwynne soon begins to suspect that anything found will be gained at a cost, as something unsettling lurks in the night.
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