Archive for July, 2011

16th July
2011
written by amber

Dog My Cat

I’m not asking for much. I just want a touch. It would be great if he’d come when I call. And if he’d fetch things, that would be so cool.

I don’t want his appearance changed substantially, but I do like a longer snout, you know, a bit of border collie, and floppy ears, spaniel ears.

How many genes did you say? That many? And it’s still $9000 per gene? No volume discount?

Can you make it so he sleeps all night long? Dogs do that, don’t they? I tell you, between midnight and day, he’s a pest. A real midnight rambler. He slept a lot when he was a kitten, but now he sleeps all day and is up all night, and it’s no thrill for me when he’s prowling around on the bed or yowling at the door. He was a cute kitten but now the thrill is gone.

Of course it would be cheaper to just buy a dog. But my wife wanted a cat and she loved the cat and I kind of got used to the cat and the kids would hate me if I got rid of the cat now, you know, that she’s gone. He’s a good cat, he just needs some tweaks. He’s everything I need in a pet, almost.

But if he’d come when I call and give me some loving when I need it, not when he deigns to be nice and cuddly, that’s the most important thing.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by Harry Manx, who is performing this weekend at Hinton’s Wild Mountain Music Festival.

16th July
2011
written by amber

Connor at the Piano

The young man sat at the piano and began to play a dramatic tune. Three girls listened to him play.

One thought the song sounded too classical and assumed he was probably a snob, not the sort of boy she’d like. She preferred to have fun. She wished he’d play some rhythm and blues.

One thought his execution of the piece was very poor. He flubbed too many notes and his timing was off. If he wanted to impress her, and she was sure he did, he should have picked something easier that he could play perfectly. Maybe someday he’d be worthy of her.

The third girl thought the song was beautiful. She’d never heard it before but the melody seemed to express everything in her heart – her loneliness, her deep feelings for nature and unhappy people, her yearning to commune with the one person meant to be her soul mate. She was certain that person was Connor.

Connor thought one girl was too loud and pushy, one girl was too quiet and dull. But one of the girls intrigued him. She had a dry sense of humour and a way of noticing everything without being too impressed by anything and she was sexy as hell.

He played for her.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

Thank you to Dr. Lyle Benson for suggesting the first line.

14th July
2011
written by amber

Jessie Gets Her Hopes Up

I allowed myself to be happy, despite my misgivings. Jonah was the bad boy when I was in high school, walking down the hallways with his gang, talking loudly, laughing, suffering not an iota of the teenage angst the rest of us suffered. One on one, he could be nice and that’s why I liked him, but it was a pivotal moment in my life when I called to ask him to go to a dance with me and he laughed. I could hear his buddies in the background, laughing too.

I learned not to trust guys like that, those popular golden boys, eternally young, never serious about anything. Too bad I didn’t recognize in time that the professor I got involved with in university was simply an older version of the same golden boy.

And now Jonah comes back into my life, and he’s in a wheelchair, and he seems serious about getting on with his life – getting fit, participating in sports, dating me. But he hasn’t said a word about employment, come to think of it.

And it looks as if I’ll have a lot of time to think about Jonah’s short-comings. He came to my aid when that pest, Steven, cornered me in a parking lot after crashing my birthday party, so I agreed to go on a date with him. My plan was to tell him why I had said no to all his previous date requests and why I’d say no to all future ones: that just because he’s had a bad accident doesn’t cause him to be a different person from the one who set the gold standard for me of the type of guy not to date.

And, damn it, he charmed me. He remembered that silly party game when we were in grade three, when we played bride and groom.

And I agreed to go out with him again, to a blues bar with fantastic music, one of my favorite places. And I got all dressed up and I even told my girlfriends that I was finally going out with Jonah. And I was looking forward to it.

I wasn’t surprised when he was late. It can’t be easy for him. But then he was two hours late and now he’s four hours late and it’s midnight, and I should go to bed. And I shouldn’t cry from disappointment, or from anger.

But I am.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

The Jessie and Jonah stories come out every Thursday.

13th July
2011
written by amber

From Broken Vessels

We learn so much. We sometimes find the fingerprints of the ancient potter; we sometimes find burned remnants of their meals.

We crouch and we sweep with increasingly tiny brooms; we blow dust away with imported air in aerosol cans. What would those long ago people think of such things?

Under the Mediterranean sun we burn and we shrivel; we age quickly on our digs and yet our life span may be three or four times what they had. I look at the older archaelogists and I cringe. I love this work, but I don’t want to look like that when I’m only 40.

Broken vessels symbolize the soul’s departure; a woman’s cooking utensils are cracked so they can no longer hold the stuff of life, the nourishing food she once cooked.

I don’t think her life was as simple as I earlier believed. She may not have known about political troubles around the world, but she probably heard about battles in the next valley that could spill over into her valley. She perhaps cooked a meal in this vessel to give to her son before he went off to war. And maybe she collected her tears in it when he failed to return.

She might not have had to learn how to balance a cheque book and use the internet, but she needed to remember which plants were good and which were poison, how to prepare the meat so that it lasted long enough, how to help her widowed daughter-in-law give birth. How to survive on the land, something I could never do.

Ancient vessels put our modern life into perspective.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by the title of a song by Orphaned Land.

12th July
2011
written by amber

The Murderer

I went to Calgary to kill a man.

The man who killed my brother.

The police had him but I paid their only witness not to testify.

I didn’t want it to go to court because the maximum sentence for the man who tortured and killed my brother would have been too few years.

I wanted to torture and kill him exactly as he did my brother.

But I decided to show mercy and give him a swift death.

After a little bit of torture.

My brother was a street pastor to the homeless.

But recently he had started using drugs.

He was taking oxycontin for pain from being mugged six months ago.

At first he had his meds on prescription but his friends told me he’d begun to buy them on the street, and to steal money to finance his addiction.

He called me last week to ask me to help him go to a rehab clinic.

I was so busy last week, I told him it had to wait until this week.

I was helping a friend with terminal cancer move from her apartment to a hospice, but that’s no excuse for turning your back on your brother.

The truth is, I never liked my brother and I probably would have found an excuse not to help him this week either.

When you find this note, you’ll know I’ve put everything right.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

I wanted to create a story in a sort of ‘good cop, bad cop’ format, with one sentence giving you a negative view of the protagonist and the next sentence changing your mind.

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