21 Slices
Medium 9781552452585

Wanted Children

Heather Birrell Coach House Books ePub

Wanted Children

DID YOU SEE THIS? Paul cocked his head to the side then skewed it aggressively towards his laptop, which he had perched on a pile of old newspapers on the kitchen table.

See what? Beth refused to turn from her careful work at the counter. The naturopath had said six drops of the kava-kava root tincture and three of the impatiens, star of Bethlehem, cherry plum, rock rose and clematis. In spring water. She squeezed the top of the dropper delicately. Two drops, followed by a narrow quicksilver dribble. Could the dribble be considered a drip? How many drips in a drop? How many snowflakes in a snowbank? There was a joke in there somewhere. The precision of it all, the crucial measurements and ratios, the equilibrium and relative concentration and dilution – it was doing her in. But the naturopath had said it would help her regain a sense of her place in the world, settle her nervous system, her overactive mind and frequently, inappropriately aroused nether regions. She would feel better, centred, the healer had promised.

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Medium 9781552452677

Jobbers

Spencer Gordon Coach House Books ePub

JOBBERS

 

 

 

Amid a pile of paper plates, pizza boxes and the crumbly remains of breakfast, I stare down at the July ’91 edition of WWF Magazine. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts glares back from the glossy cover, his cocked brow just oozing evil. WWF Magazine is a regular sight in our house. Eddy, my eight-year-old brother, saves all his change to run down to the convenience store every month to grab the new edition. He has me read the articles to him. On this month’s cover there’s a headline about The Ultimate Warrior – Eddy’s favourite wrestler – and his ongoing feud with The Undertaker, who’s one of the most feared heels in the World Wrestling Federation. To Eddy, wrestling is literally life and death, especially when the Warrior is involved. Of course, as his big sister, I know better – I know it’s absolute horseshit.

From where I sit at the table, I can hear Gorilla Monsoon – black, hyperactive poodle, bought for forty bucks two weeks ago from a retired steelworker on East 22nd Street – whining non-stop in the spare bedroom. Gorilla isn’t properly housebroken. Mom and Uncle Keith (not really my uncle – he’s Mom’s boyfriend, most recent and longest lasting) are throwing a party tonight. They want Gorilla locked in the bedroom because if we let him run around the house he’ll piss and shit all over the floors, and for now it’s just too hot to keep him out back, especially with all that black fur. Gorilla’s so spastic that neither of them wants to deal with his jumping and barking, so his prison sentence extends until the end of the bash. Knowing Gorilla, and knowing Mom’s parties, the puppy will be yelping until three in the morning.

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Impossible to Die in Your Dreams

Heather Birrell Coach House Books ePub

Impossible to Die in Your Dreams

Eliza: Soup out of Stones

When my granddaughter Annie was ten, she started talking like a wrestler from a fable. I regard you as a nail in the eye and a thorn in my muscle, shed say. I will trounce you, shed shout, with her arms raised, fists clenched. That was after the three-month period when she insisted on watching As the World Turns standing on her head with the backs of her knees propped against the recliner. She said it made more sense that way. Theres no contesting the wisdom of children. Now, there she is, all dolled up to the nines and tens, ready to wed. And in such a place! Im not one for religion, but still, a brewery tugs at the old constraints of credulity. And her sister Samantha, always the ornery one, scowling in the corner. Went and got herself a P-H-D and traipsed around the world. Places herself above weddings and other normal human interactions. Thinks tripping through a rice paddy in Vietnam lends her some smarts inaccessible to the likes of me and Bea.

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Geraldine and Jerome

Heather Birrell Coach House Books ePub
A chance encounter in a waiting room tests the ties that bind us.
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Medium 9781552452677

This Is Not An Ending

Spencer Gordon Coach House Books ePub

THIS IS NOT AN ENDING

 

 

 

Claude Brazeau: His name is Pierre Lebrun …

911 Dispatch Operator: Does he wear glasses?

Claude Brazeau: No. He stutters.

– 911 emergency telephone call, April 6, 1999, 2:39 p.m.

 

‘Hey, Terry,’ says Joel, a shipper. ‘Ask Scabby what kind of bus it is.’ ‘What kind of bus is it, Pierre?’ asks Terry, a mechanic.

Pierre Lebrun feels a lurching drop in his stomach, a stinging rush of blood to his ears. Although his eyes are lowered, he can still make out the blurry shape of Terry’s smile: a looming, left-leaning grin. Without looking up, Pierre reaches across the central workbench of the garage and wraps his hand around a Black & Decker vise. To calm himself, he thinks.

‘Yeah, Scabby, I think you know what I mean,’ Terry says, taking a sip of his Timmies.

Pierre drags the vise closer. He stares hard at the wooden workbench, watching hazy, oil-stained hands stumble over tools. Someone drops a screwdriver. Someone sorts noisily through rivets and washers. A piece of brake mechanism lies cleaned and gutted on the far side of the hangar-like repair shop, awaiting the strong, dexterous fingers of its operators.

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