Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fragment 26: Seneca

First memories. Irrelevant.

Grew up middle-class.

Mom a lawyer.

Dad a prof.

We were the All-Canadian family!

Cross-country skiing on winter weekends. Summer cottage canoe escapades.

Teen years lost necking in the dark in the boatslip.

Hidden, seeming always, beneath emotions lost and found.

High School a blast of the usual shit.

I suppose being from where I was from left too many options. Too many places to go.

Well, I wanted to make a difference.

Change the world.

Went into social work.

Four years of pseudo-Marxist bullshit followed by day-upon-day of driving around the city's projects monitoring people's kids.

I was a prick, a fucker, a cunt, a faggot, a sack-of-shit, you name it. From revolutionary to fifth column for the police. From idealism to...

Well, one day Celeste's father made me an offer.

Seemed the big companies were downsizing. And the one he was high up in needed a shoulder to cry on.


They needed some brave soul to counsel those who were to be cut and to encourage those left behind. Keep the company cohesive and all that.

It paid over double what the city did.

By then I had kids to raise, and, after all, these folks needed help.


If you don't work within the system, how can you change it?

And that is the point...


Anyway, by my second year I had supervised the effects of twelve hundred layoffs. The counseling was always the same.

The tears. Fears.

What about my family?

I don't understand, I always did what you wanted me to.

I'll change....

I'll do anything...

They never got it.

There was, no joke, absolutely fucking nothing they could have done.

The company needed to satisfy some anonymous set of invisible shareholders. Their families were, in the final analysis, of no consequence.

Peripheral to the broader vision.

Eventually, come mid-December, they flew me out to Winnipeg for another round of purges.

One hundred and twenty seven employees.

One third of the office.

A pre-Christmas Santa Claus surprise.

Most of the sessions were the usual shit, but towards the end of the second day this middle-aged guy, crumpled suit, dirty collar, five o'clock shadow that seemed semi-permanent wanders in.

Now, remember, the counselling is voluntary. People come to let it all out.

But this guy, he just kind of sat there. Said nothing for ten minutes.

It was really unnerving.

Finally he reaches down into the blue canvas bag he had brought and pulls out a .38 caliber revolver.

Places it gently in front of him on his side of my desk.

I thought of lunging for it, then thought that that was a rather insane idea.

George Crandell, it turned out that this was his name, gives me a little, I guess ironic, look.

I came here today to kill them. I was going to go up to senior management, floor three, and put a bullet into everyone of their fucking heads. Fantasized about it all night. The chaos. Their screams.

God it would have been great. But you see the problem is that it is not them, its me. The failure lies within.

Now that, of course, was total horseshit, and without encouraging him to revert to his original plan I was about to say as much. But he snapped the gun up as I started to speak and shot himself in the side of the head.

The only words I managed to get out were hold on now before his life dissolved into a crimson cloud of blood and brain matter.

Saying I was in shock would be to understate matters significantly.

Gazing emptily at his half skull. A glazed look in the eyes.

After the police, I recall that I called Celeste's dad and told him that I was done. Forever.

She and I separated shortly thereafter.

A couple of years later I was in this antique shop in Kingston, right near Queens. Full of all manner of junk and ephemera. I have no idea what I was looking for. Just looking.

Moving aside old military uniforms. Shifting through dusty prints. Thumbing pages of leather bound volumes of Dickens and the Bard.

I saw that behind some ancient, tattered, dangling Soviet banner was a hidden shelf. Drawing it away there he was, Seneca, looking at me.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fragment 25: The Story of N.

I first met N. at the Tropical House. It was the centre point of the little touristy seaside town that I called home.

She was looking prim and proper, black skirt, dark, opaque, stockings, striped man's dress shirt.

I can't say why but I could not stop looking at her.

Coy, flirty but pretending not to be, she would glance back with head slightly lowered, briefly meeting my gaze.

That first day she left after but a few minutes, brushing airily past, making sure I felt her ever so slightly.

This became our ritual. Same time everyday. Same tables. Many weeks past. This obsessive repetition the Ptolemaic focus of all I did. I was utterly incapable of placing her out of mind.

Then, a Tuesday, nearing the end of season, leaving as always, she dropped the key upon my table as she was drawing past.

It was like a bolt of pure energy had rushed down my spine.

I waited a reasonable amount of time before making my way across the pier to the Victorian beach front hotel where she had evidently spent these summer nights.

Heart racing, mouth dry, I chose stairs over elevator and climbed my way up to 406.

Unlocking the door, not bothering to knock, she fully dressed, same as always, leaning seductively by the open windows, clean fresh ocean breeze cutting stifling afternoon heat.

I made to speak, but she put her thin fingers to her lips and it was clear that I was not to.

Motioning me over to the bed she came across and lay me down.

At bed's end she pulled her stockings off from beneath her skirt, revealing nothing.

Crawling eternally across me she bound my hands with them as I lay, quietly acquiescent.

Closing my eyes she put herself gently down upon my face. Warm, moist and salty, she rubbed, slowly at first, then with increasing vigour, up and down atop me. Deep breathing turning to soft moaning to the delightful squeal of release.

Turning, she lowered my pants and took me in her hands. I was engorged, throbbing with desire. Licking her thumb and forefinger, forming a tight O, she ran it slowly, stimulating only the very top of my head. As I began twitching she went further and further down my shaft, until ultimately swallowing me into her mouth.

Sucking me, still stroking me all the while, she forced herself atop my face, violently now, suffocating me, gushing wet, filling my mouth with her taste, moving so that now her anus was brushing me as well.

As I was about to explode she quickly abandoned my cock and sat upright, cumming loudly, harshly, all decorum now shed.

Several minutes stream by. She remained still there, atop her perch.

Swinging about she took me in her suddenly, her face buried in the pillow beside mine, up against my ear, actually speaking, whispering, yes, but nasty.

Cum in me you pig, get your dirty little reward...

I tried desperately to hold on but could not, exploding pathetically mere seconds later.

Untangling my hands, wordless, putting her stockings back on, she opened the room door.

I, clearly, was now to go.

As I slunk by she stopped me briefly.

I am N.

The next day I went to the Tropical but she, of course, was not there.

Reaching the hotel I knew she would be gone, and she was.

Now every summer, solitary at the table, hoping in vain she will reappear to end my lonely vigil.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fragment 24: Uprising

When Jonah was eight the doctor told us he was going to die.

The cancer was irreversible.


Janice cried for days.

All I can remember is putting Jonah in the backseat. Strapping him into the booster. Nothing at first changing, yet all different. Looking into innocent eyes not knowing.

Am I sick dad?

How is it that a single brilliant sunset can seem eternal? Is it the grasping, the determination not to let the moment pass?

Six months before his...

Well, six months before, Jonah begged me to put him into the local baseball league.

Weak as he was.

Saturday after Saturday wondering why we were bothering. Volkswagen mini-vans to diamonds in parks across town.

He was truly very, very bad.

Couldn't catch a ball.

Never made a throw.

Struck out every time.

Thing was, last game of the season, team already out, stifling hot.

So skinny, so frail.

Refracted sunlight.

He got under it. He actually got under it. The only time.

Up late, final approach.

Janice and I all but done. Married in name only.

She angry...not at me, just angry.

You know, absolutely, he will never play in the big leagues, little leagues, any leagues.

I understood. But she was wrong.

He would play in a league. Of his own creation, yes. But nevertheless a league. And his moment would be as permanent as any from Barry Bonds or Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle.


A 4 foot tall Spartacus.

That's how, when I do, I recall him.

Fragment 23: Blindly

Bright lights on Houston. Up, as always, far too late.

Counter-intuitive this, you and I, rationalist and artist.

Who would have known?

Dark skies over the house, waves loud out the window.

A kind of blissful isolation.

Perfect mornings, days even, in your arms, in your orbit.

If it is all a blaze of glory, then this was a glory differed. A sublimation of self.

A sense of stillness stemming from another.

And now not knowing you.

Not knowing you.

Red skies in the morning.

A sailor's warning.