The New Girlfriend: A Short Story

No one would admit it to his face, and certainly not to hers, but people in town weren’t happy with Todd Brown’s new girlfriend.

Practically everyone had heard that Todd and Stacey Green had broken up. News like that doesn’t just lie around, you know. This was Todd after all, respectable Todd, handsome Todd, Todd who would someday take over his father’s grocery store, Todd who was not above jumping behind a cash register when lineups started spilling up the cracker/cookie aisle. Todd would gladly drop everything to tally up your empty bottles at the courtesy desk, even if the bottles were loose in plastic bags. Todd was a catch, and Stacey Green had caught him, all through high school and then ever since.

And what a delight she was, what a match! She worked at the store too, so sunshiney and bright. Stacey would make a fine second-in-command when Todd took over. A goldmine this place was, the only grocery store in town. Not that the Browns exploited the fact. They were fair people, generous. You could count on the Browns to provide lunch at Founders Day or donate a gift basket for the Rotary Helping Hands Auction. Stacey and Todd were the future of the store, the future of the town, and their coupledom was as comforting as the smell of fresh bread, baked daily right on the premises. Continue reading

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How not to die on Mount Everest

Photo: Getty Images

More than 300 people have died climbing Mount Everest over the past nearly 100 years. This season alone, the death toll has reached 11, primarily caused by overcrowded trails hindering oxygen-deprived climbers from ascending or descending.

As a public service, therefore, we offer this handy guide on how not to die climbing Mount Everest.

Tour Operators
There are an increasing number of tour operators in Nepal, some of whom are less scrupulous than others. It is important to do your research to ensure that your operator has the experience and know-how to properly lead an exhibition. A good suggestion is to seek recommendations from other climbers who have not died climbing Mount Everest. Once you have settled on an operator, phone them up, ask as many questions as you need, then purchase an expedition gift certificate for your very worst enemy and do not climb Mount Everest. Continue reading

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A Guide to the Toronto Raptors for Americans

Praying to the mighty Friendly Giant in the sky
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A form of basketball was played by the Ojibwe people on Lake Ontario and went by the name of “beaktukk tagaka,” which, roughly translated, means “lacrosse played badly.”

Almonte, Ontario native James Naismith “invented” basketball in 1891 by stealing it from the First Nations people, which is perfectly acceptable Canadian behaviour.

In 1897, a group of young men in Toronto (then known as Cootieville) founded the Birds of Prey Basketball Organization for Young Gentlemen Who Find the Sport of Hockey Too Barbaric. In 1908, the name was changed to the Toronto Raptors Athletics Club for Not Necessarily White People. The team became known as simply the Toronto Raptors in 1932 following a national referendum, narrowly edging out “the Toronto Compromisers.” Continue reading

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New law restricts a woman’s right to shoes

Fresh off the most hardline abortion legislation in generations, several US states are now planning to regulate not just what women can do with their bodies but what they can wear on them. Specifically, their feet.

Alabama is the first to introduce the Calcaneus Anti-Elevation Bill, more commonly known as the High Heel Ban, which would forbid publicly wearing shoes with heels higher than half and inch.

“Despite what is claimed by the liberal media and the fake news and my mother-in-law Trixie, this is not a law targeting women,” said Alabama Rep. Wilbur Bitkins (R), who introduced the bill. “It is a law protecting the podiatary and spinal health of all citizens, to prevent strain on posture and feet that can be caused by prolonged wearing of high heels, including men, because we are a progressive state and we recognize and respect that some men are fairies.”

Wearing high heels, said Bitkins, can cause irreparable harm to “a person’s ability to perform her – or his! — housewifing and childbearing duties. And ain’t nobody wants that.” Continue reading

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My neighbour, cancer

Like living next door to this

As a writer, I strive for accuracy. So it’s been a bit of a struggle to find the right expression to describe my life since prostate surgery six months ago. Am I living with cancer? No, the cancer is out of me. Does that make me a cancer survivor? Well, no, the cancer could always come back, although the longer I go without cancer reoccurring, the less likelihood it will.

So when expressions fail, as a writer, I turn to metaphor.

I’ve decided that my cancer is a thermonuclear warhead in my neighbour’s backyard. It just shows up one day. Before then, he was a quiet neighbour, lived a moderate lifestyle, not someone you’d think would bring home a thermonuclear device. Indeed there were no warning signs that a weapon of mass destruction was ever in the offing.

Not content to simply have a warhead in his backyard, the neighbour sometimes pulls out a ladder, climbs to the top of the warhead and whacks it with a giant hammer like some kind of crazed Looney-Tunes character. Or he takes some other tools and rips open panels marked “DO NOT OPEN! THREAT OF DETONATION! KABOOM!” Sometimes the warhead hums and buzzes, with the occasional ticking sound. Continue reading

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Notes from an ongoing territorial dispute with the cats

Background

The queen-size bed situated within the master bedroom (hereinafter known as the Territory) has been officially occupied by two economic partners for more than two decades, and clear title and ownership of said Territory is undisputed, with divisions between the two partners clearly delineated by the Your Side/My Side Act of 1998.

However, both parties were remiss in clarifying a straightforward policy in regards to third-party settlements within the Territory, instead addressing claims on an ad hoc basis (see “An Act Allowing the Toddler to Stay Between Us Until She Falls Asleep,” 2002-c.2009; see also “A Treaty Forbidding the Dog on the Bed, And I Mean It!” 2010 [contested]).

It is not surprising, then, that into this legislative vacuum have wandered migrant felines in search of a better, softer life, disrupting sleep patterns and putting a strain on the Territory’s blanket resources. Continue reading

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Thoughts on Avengers: End Tables (with more spoilers than a Stanstead car show)

When we last left our heroes in Avengers: Infinity Loop, the villainous Thermos had obtained all six Infinity Carbuncles and with a snap of his fingers had caused a waiter to appear with his bill. After heinously paying in coins and leaving a lousy 10 percent tip, Thermos let out a belch so noxious that it wiped out half of all living things and left the other half fretting on Twitter that this time Thermos had probably gone too far.

So that was kind of a bummer.

This past weekend, we got to witness the final chapter of the MCU (Magnificently Cash-Driven Undertaking) that has taken 34 years, 213 films and 1600 tons of Spandex to complete. And, boy, did we witness it! In the first weekend, Avengers: End Tables made $1.5 billion at the box office! And those are US dollars. In Canada, at the current rate of exchange, that converts to 3.2 billion Timbits!

I am proud to say that I was one of the millions of people who saw Avengers: End Tables this weekend. Proud because for once I get to be part of the pop culture of the moment, especially since I have no idea who this Arya person is. Continue reading

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