The last post was an excerpt from Pool Party due for release Jan 31, 2014. Following is a link to my author page:
Monthly Archives: December 2013
“You’re really doing this.” Dennis stared at the square of paper Marcie had given him with her new Florida address on it. He’d come over to her nearly empty apartment to say good-bye.
“I told you I was.”
“Yeah, but a lot of people say they’re going to do stuff and never do.” He stared at her packed boxes.
“I’ll still illustrate your next book. I can show you the pictures by phone or e-mail, and then send you the hard copies when they’re done how you want.”
“I’m jealous. You can just leave.”
“I’m not married with kids.” That was always the reason Dennis gave for not sleeping with her. Marcie fiddled with a flap on a box of winter clothes for the Salvation Army while Dennis stared with the same seeming wish-lust he always did but never acted on. Waiting any longer probably wouldn’t change his mind about remaining the faithful husband and dad, and having given up the hope of ever getting something going with him, her time in this Arctic dirt-bowl was done. Calgary had been fun when she first got here during the oil boom—with its men and money—but life as the one night stand, or the five minute fuck in the bathroom, park, staircase, cab, behind the bar after closing—wherever—had worn quite thin by thirty. Being the dirty-secret mistress—a step up—had also gotten old. Waitresses, on or off shift, weren’t ‘quality people,’ or so Marcie had heard enough times from men looking for girlfriends and wives. Sure, she was making money in the bar, but what was there to spend it on except leaving? Between her savings and Dodger the Dog royalties, she had enough to take off. If she had to come back to Canada, she’d go to Vancouver, someplace where the grass was at least green.
Dennis held out his arms for a good-bye hug, which, with any other man, would have gotten carried away and landed them in bed, but Dennis just held her. She wished rape worked for women, but even if she could overpower a man, pinning him to the ground against his will wouldn’t exactly get him hard.
“If we were to, you know, do anything, my stuff would end up like yours.”
“I know. You keep telling me.”
“And if not, sex now would make good-bye worse. I’ve never lost anybody so important to me.”
“You’ve lived a sheltered life.”
“Without you, I couldn’t have accomplished my dream.”
“Same for me.” But history wasn’t enough of a reason to hang on.
“You’re used to men leaving. Maybe when I’m the next famous children’s author, Julia won’t care what I do, and I could afford a divorce and come and live where you are, or visit a lot.”
“I’ll make sure you always know where I am.”
“You never know. One day when it’s fifty below…. I have your address.”
“I won’t be holding my breath.”
“Call to let me know that you get there, okay?” He kissed her on the top of the head.
“I will. As soon as I get a phone.” She closed the door behind Dennis. On Dennis. She laid some photograph albums and several copies of Dodger the Dog on the bottom of one of her suitcases and sang, “Oh, say can you see? By or from the dawn’s early light.” Marcie fumbled her way through the beginning. They were the only words she’d sort of picked up after fourteen years of listening to big screen TV sporting events, often several per shift. She folded in a few sweaters on top of her shorts, tank tops, bikini, and art supplies.
Effeminate Ed likes to evacuate. Every evening he uses an enema to ensure his entrails are empty. After that, he expectorates, exfoliates, and effuses on emollients. Also to eradicate toxins, he eats edibles like endive and eggs, and extols Echinacea. He eschews enchiladas, and everything ethnic. Ed the epitome of elegance, emblazoned in emeralds, enshrines himself in the East End. An electronics engineer from England’s upper echelons, he edifies the area with his extraordinary evergreen and edelweiss Eden. Essentially, though, his ecological environment, complete with estuaries and earthworm encrusted escarpments, evokes the impression of evil. Eagles encamp in ebony edifices, eager to eat ermines. This engenders Ed very emotional, especially at Easter, an electrifying experience he’s enlightened by at the Emanuel Temple. When he finally expires, his epitaph will likely elaborate on his enthusiasm about everything, even Elsie, who, with too much extra energy to exist with only one man, treats everyone equally – especially in the sexual sense. She exemplifies Eros, and established early on in their relationship that she needed her freedom to elope with everyone. Such an elusive soul mate exasperates Ed, but he accepts the existence he ended up with.
C Controlling Cathy coerces her coworkers into covering her shifts when she can’t cope with her cramps. Keeping her code of comportment, when curled up in convulsions, requires copious quantities of composure so that customers can’t complain about her incapacitation. Crabby, and craving to be in the comfort of her home, accompanied by crème caramel and coffee, she crawls into her Corvette convertible, careens around corners, and charges through cross-walks, until she comes upon her cozy condominium complex. No camping trips this coming weekend, she coos to Carrie, her cockatoo, cooped up in her cage, Cathy’s closest companion since Cam, her common-law husband, became convicted on criminal charges of Consorting, or some kind of crap, concocted by crafty, corrupt, corpulent politicians in cahoots with their cousins in the capital. She’s campaigned and connived to get her cutie-pie out, but always encounters some crazy credence to keep him contained. Convinced his sentence will be cut, her conniptions have calmed considerably. Instead, she concentrates on the coming craft fair at the Convention Centre, for which she’s constructing a car made of cat-tails, collected from Columbia Creek. Many corporate companies in cooperation with local carpenters create a new consortium every year close to Christmas. One has to celebrate life, and not get caught up in the colossal inconveniences to caring citizens close to the 25th calendar day of December. “I might bake Cam a cake,” Cathy considers after chasing away the carolers. A creamy creation chock- full of currents, carrots, cranberries, and cherries; glazed with canned cinnamon icing; laced with Caribbean Rum, Crème de Cacao – and maybe a carving knife, or a cleaver in the center. Then she cried, mostly because her uterus contracted again.
Busy body bartenders Betty and Bonnie blew billows of smoke from their Benson and Hedges behind a bar on Bute and belted back brandy and Benedictines. Before bussing to the bistro, they had just baked bread in their brand new bungalow beside the abandoned barracks in Burnaby, and were beat from brandishing bicarbonate. They preferred bantering with their buddies, one being Bob, a bon vivant biologist, who was late. “He’s probably bonking that bitch from Bosnia, Beatrice, the babe with the boobs.” The previous night’s brouhaha from the basement next door hadn’t boosted Bonnie’s mood, either. “Did you hear the banging from Brad’s basement before breakfast?”
“I told Barbara she shouldn’t rent to a bachelor.” Betty butted her cigarette, burning the blister on her finger. “And to think she balked at renting to us because we breed birds. Beastly bats, she calls them. Just because Bennie the budgie bolted from his cage and buzzed her beehive, she got all bent out of shape.”
“Not as bad as her brawling brats. Those boys battered my begonia boxes. I hope they brought home bugs.”
“Wasn’t Barbara bedridden with Barr Epstein?”
“Bosh! You mean bulimia. Did you get a boo how much she blimped out?”
Bob and Beatrice bellied up to the bar to buy beer, bowls of borscht, and biscuits with brie and bacon bits.
“Beautiful.” Betty boogied off to the kitchen, bumping the billiard table.
“Then, after, let’s blow out to the bay for a blast in the boat instead of bivouacking around here bickering on such a balmy evening.”