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The Legend of the Screaming Woman

(Based on true events) My apartment block has a rectangular floor-plan with the elevators and stairs on the inside of the hallway and the apartments around the outside. From the door of my suite in the centre of one side, I can only directly see the entrance alcoves of the two corner suites. For this reason, my neighbours immediately adjacent

Verdict

(For JayDee with thanks for the kind words) Stan held his hands tightly together under the long wooden table and then released them and rubbed his damp palms on the legs of his trousers. Beside, his lawyer, Bernie Levinsohn, quickly scanned some densely typed pages and, apparently satisfied, closed the folder and placed it precisely squared

Le Nid du Corbeau

Le Nid du Corbeau (The Raven's nest) The restaurant known as Le Nid du Corbeau or, according to its clients' linguistic preferences, more simply as 'The Nest', 'Le Nid', 'Il Nido' and so on, caters to an extremely reserved patronage. In fact, passing from 51st Street East to the left onto the much smaller, one-way, called N Street as many

Mr. Anselmi

I never met Mr. Anselmi or that is what I would wish, for, where a single vision that I had to be believed, then I think I would descend into madness as assuredly as the sun will rise on the morrow for such would be the horror to envelope my mind. Yet, vision as it was, it was so fleeting and indistinct that, even today at a distance of years

Tangents

Pursuing success 'Good morning, Southern California,' intoned the voice over the radio and I smiled, wondering how those deejays always managed to sound so chipper. 'It's a beautiful day in San Diego – 72 degrees at 7:23 in the morning and going up to a high of 85 this afternoon. If you're heading out to Ocean Side or Laguna Beach,

Taxi

The easy part Friday evening and late leaving is not the best way to finish the work week. Certainly it had not been my intention to be late because, waiting at my apartment, my newest girlfriend, Sheilagh, was waiting and we were eager to fulfill the promised requirements of a 'date night'. On the phone, she had sounded a little

The Teachings

Excerpted from; Achermann, JH. (2011) The Teachings: Two centuries of confusion. JABA 127(4):6-9. Much has been made of 'The Teachings' over the previous two centuries, but the truth of the matter is that, despite more incisive research in the past 50 years, the historical context of the manuscript – much less, the identity of 'the

Night Job

“Mickey?” “Yeah.” “It's Spencer.” “What do you want?” In the telephone booth, bathed in the scant light of a single, ceiling bulb, Spencer turned away from the street as a police cruiser rolled past and lit a cigarette. Lowering his fedora, the smoke slithered from his mouth and, through

Dream-scape

Chrissie awoke with a scream strangled in her throat and, already before being fully awake, rising to sitting and her arms flailing defensively in the air before her face. Her eyes, made wide and round by the night-terror, glinted in the darkness with the spare moonlight that leaked through the shades leaving the room tinted in blue-grey.

Red

Growing up I was seventeen and, on a bitterly cold, bright and clear winter day, my father took Red out to the back of the property and shot him. It is as clear to me now, many years later, as it was then. The day was one of those that you find only in the north. At the time, we were living in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba – later, we

Times change

Musical doldrums As much as we are all different, it is my personal conviction that the majority of us have numerous commonalities which unite the weekly or monthly courses of our respective lives. My evidence for this is simply observational: when I go to the corner store to buy cigarettes, sharing a pleasantry with the young fellow who seems

Wisdom I & II

Wisdom (capitolo primo) The horse's hooves fell heavily on the forest bed, thundering, and driven by an impatient rider through the dismal grey afternoon while the trees, similarly grey and nondescript, seemed to carry nary a lark or sparrow willing to show its voice. Presently, the horse, foaming, raced into the camp in a protected hollow and

Still alive

A stroke must be, at least, when it does not – mercifully? - deprive the life, a terrible thing to endure, leaving, as it does, the victim struggling against greater or lesser brain damage due to the haemorrhage and, a body made unbalanced, clumsy and resistant. I have recently encountered such a person – a man of, perhaps, my own

Witness

Club 41 on King Street West “What's going on with you lately?” Monica's question - out of the blue though it is - is not unexpected. Her hand, gently draped across my left forearm, tugs gently and, then, playfully, she bumps me with her hip. I feign surprise and, when I turn to look at her, smiling, she is scrutinising me as

Rising

It was the piercing sound of a woman shrieking in terror that brought me, unwillingly, swimming upwards from the blackest depths of unconsciousness – near so deep as that blackness which awaits us all – and, allowing my eyes to flutter open, I found myself prone on the pavement with my view blocked by a scuffed and tread-bare truck

Shadow

Darker days The fretful buzz of the alarm, distant, and its cloying tone softened by suddenly depleted batteries, slowly – far too slowly – penetrated the enveloping layers of sleep and, unwillingly, Frank gradually surfaced, still feeling too tired for it to be already 'the hour'. In fact, it was not - it was a full 30 minutes

1624

Silence within The small woman in a comfortable blouse and loose-fit jeans sighed and studied her hands which fretted with a large, loaded key ring – so large that it might have threatened to topple her over. Suddenly, she looked up as though only then becoming aware of the constable standing in front of her, twice as broad and towering

Absence

Distance between us Jack Fraser, from the kitchen of his spacious, uptown condominium, could see, positioned carefully at the edge of a black-lacquered dining table with its hand-woven, Italian spread become space for his occasional creative projects – writing and painting – the closed and similarly glossy lid of his laptop which

Deserving

... or not I stated in a recent interview that, in life, I do not believe I am deserving of anything for which I have not worked. On reflection, there is a corollary to this – a reverse scenario – which implies that I believe I am deserving of that for which I have worked. Therefore, in terms of implications, the first suggests,

Rise and walk

Decision and change It is, I believe, wise and, even, necessary, at the passage of certain signposts, to make decisions that effect significant and, very possibly, fundamental change in the direction of one's own life. While, to many of us, those crossroads can be intimidating because confronted with the endless possibilities of an uncharted

Homecoming

Returned to his stateroom, Gregg was surprised to see that, in the few minutes it had taken to traverse the narrow, spartan galleries of the ship, through the porthole, the first rays of sun had begun to kiss the sky, adding their glow to the mist hanging over the harbor and making a few, light clouds stand out against the rapidly withdrawing

California sun

The wind is hot, parching and, satisfied that I have tortured myself in it for long enough, I stoop to extinguish my cigarette in the cracked, dry earth – expecting no different fate - that is just beyond the narrow band of shade which is my respite at the rear of the house. In pressing the butt to the ground, the burning end comes briefly

Drinking alone

Club 41 on King Street West In 2007, soon after I had discovered or, rather, been directed to, Club 41 by a kind and thoughtful waitress at Antonio's, I was still far from the point where I find myself now and even further from the point where I want to be on my own personal journey. At that time, it was a much darker, stifled, moody and

Train

The rhythmic clittety-clack of the train has a tranquilising effect – hypnotic - especially when rolling through the desert, heading for Los Alamos and the heat is so thick that you can stick a pin in it. It gets so it almost speaks to you. It tells, if you listen, stories of the desert rolling by outside the windows, of the Chinamen who

Signals

Unspoken languages “Um.” Kaitey's fingernails, brightly painted, rattled against her wine glass. She fidgeted and gazed away, feigning interest in the restaurant crowd. She looked back, studying Kyle, and searching frantically for the right words. Her eyes were wide, showing surprise and confusion. Kyle, sitting across the

The Booke of Beginnings

Or a True Historie of God's Creations Excerpt from 'The Booke of Beginnings' (Theodore Goodman, Ph.D (ed.), Princeton University Press, 2011) ...for all things have both beginnings as they have endings – the life of Man is brief like unto the candle in a tempest – and so [it is with] the Creations of God for they, in number

Tuesday night

Club 41 on King Street West Monica's hand slid across the back of my neck, causing me a chill, and she drew me towards her. I inclined and our lips met, first, tenderly, and then a little more insistently. I felt the velvet softness of her tongue slide past my lips. "Wow," I commented, savouring the lingering sensation of her lips. "What did

Confusing fiction

When boundaries fade Paul Edmunds had become a writer by default. It was a coping mechanism first suggested by his psychiatrist when, months after the tragic death of Paul's wife, Hannah, on a winter night of snow and ice, his psyche was threatening to refuse treatment and, instead, go to a place of endless sorrow and regret. “I bought

Waiting for the end

Club 41 on King Street West Walking east on King Street... No. That isn't quite right. We were doing something different from walking but, it wasn't running. Perhaps, 'scurrying' might be the better descriptive because, when the city has become bizarrely silent, the streets occupied not by cars, vans and taxis but, rather, by abandoned

Monday night

Sweating palms The sensation of frustration had been increasing all morning and, for Frank Smythe, it was not so much the fact of it but, more, the force of the sentiment, its uncertain origin and the situation that, essentially, he could do nothing about it. His awkwardness must have shown when, riding the elevator up to the 'Accounting'

Sunday night

Silence of the heart Greg Patterson sat immobile on the plush couch of his apartment living room. His eyes were directed at the large, modern television screen but he was not watching the force-fed stream of inane triviality that replayed there. He was, instead, trying with little success to mentally control the waves of nausea that kept

Saturday night

Club 41 on King Street West Beside me, Monica sighed with sufficient emphasis to get my attention and, then, when I turned toward her, she spoke. “I can't believe this is happening.” She was clearly distressed and looked around bewildered. “I know,” I acknowledged and finished my drink. I studied the empty glass

Friday night

Satin on skin Samantha was finding it difficult to disentangle her own thoughts and feelings. She was acutely aware of her own image in the bathroom mirror and, there, reflected back, was a lean, attractive woman in her late thirties with long, dark hair falling, limp and heavy with moisture, past her shoulders. Aside from that, it was the

Heir

An ancient hero legend The fire on the hearth still burned brightly casting its warmth across the stone and packed-earth floor and its light to illuminate the faces of the old man and boy and, beyond them, to the door and windows, shuttered and barred against the bitter wind and the things which prowl, howling in torment, in the Northern

Mutation

The San Diego Sentinel Saturday, April 2, 2011 Greenpeace reports mutated sea life. Richard Corrigan (AP) In a scathing report released on Friday, senior environmental scientist for Greenpeace International, Marc Tremblay, reported that, in a population census of common sea creatures, from algae to large fish, off the coast of

Cross

A game in the cold “What happened? What went wrong – weren't we supposed to be helping the rebels?” Christine sat on the edge of the bed and studied Jason's immobile face. He was sitting – clearly humming with pent up tension – on the edge of a chair. “That's what was supposed to happen.” He grimaced

Blue Monday

Sam Turner resurfaced from his thoughts as the subway rumbled and squealed into St. George Street station. He watched a number of University age young people descend along with a miscellaneous collection of other citizens. Moments later, the doors chimed and the train rushed into the darkness of the tunnel. Sam did not know entirely where he

Conversation

Club 41 on King Street West Club 41 is what it is – it is certainly not now, nor can ever be, a product of my expectations as I am not doted of the gift of rearranging quanta in order to make of reality, past and present, the image of my desires. That is something that, I think, I need to remember. Club 41, named only for its address

Year

Ted Allenby awoke and opened his eyes. He immediately regretted both actions. With a groan for his aching head, he carefully rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling knowing that it would be impossible to fall asleep again. His eyes felt gritty and swollen and there was a rancid taste in his mouth. He tried to lick his lips which were

New

The party had, unfortunately, become one of 'those'. A series of petty conflicts and miscellaneous incidents had left the revelers fragmented into a series of agitated little groups and the promise dashed for the the gaiety of the evening. Milling about, alone and directionless, I wondered why I had come at all. I also wondered if, while I

Winter journal

December 28, 1910. Turner Pass, Alaska. This journal, here, at the end of my journey, I will keep diligently as, either, my last testament or my monument to the expiation of my sins. In either case, it may serve for me – when spring comes to this rugged land - or for who might follow, finding, instead of healing, my carcass become only

Christmas past

It cannot be denied the power of memory to summon the past and, through the medium of the mind's eye, force the present and real to the periphery while all of the sensual invocations of the memory become the current experience. So it was that Cyril Johnston, standing on a busy street corner crowded with frantic Christmas eve shoppers was

Rudolph lets go

A fable of modern Christmas “Donner! Hey, Donner! Over here,” shouted Rudolph, his voice hoarse. In the midst of the general noise at the North Pole's 'Polar Bear Bar and Grill', Donner, the stately, aging buck heard himself beckoned and his ears, beneath the enormous spread of antlers, twitched as he looked around, finally

Click!

Edward Sanders stood immobile and erect and, in the gentle movement of cool air, his long, black, leather coat billowed lazily about his legs. His right arm was extended and he could feel the familiar weight – so familiar that it seemed nothing more than an extension of his own body – clutched tightly in his palm. Behind wire-framed,

Alone

'Until now, I always got by on my own, I never really cared if you loved me, and now it chills me to the bone - How do I get you alone? How can I get you alone?' Heart – 'Alone' When the day starts out strangely, it is probably best to just roll with it because, it seems unlikely to me, that any amount of effort is going to

The process

Riding on public transportation these days, it is possible to overhear many things; the majority of them, while people talk – generally, far too loudly on their cellphones, irregardless of those around – are the inanities of modern life. Occasionally, however, despite one's own best intentions, something can be overheard which

Down

... but not out Eric exited from the back, service entrance of his building and into the grey, mid-November day where, above, the clouds hung oppressively low over the city, threatening the forecast rain. From one hand dangled a large, plastic bag of recyclables. He stepped from the relative protection of the entryway and then immediately

Johnny

A remembrance. “There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed, some forever, not for better...” In my life (Lennon-McCartney) In the summer of 1979, I turned 16 years old. It must be then, that I was in New York city in the spring – the end of the school year. There are parts of that trip that I

Chapter

Kerin braced herself to receive the impact of Rohan’s body as he propelled himself forward. She tensed, crouching on the tar by the edge of the roof, conscious of the throbbing pain in her injured and swollen, left knee. Rohan had worked her over pretty well with his superior size and strength but,  thankfully, the lightness of her

14 days

Mind altering introspection “When do you think you'll be able to get to the laboratory for the blood workup, Paul?” Erik Fermann scrutinised his friend and patient through bottle-bottom thick eyeglasses which, from the opposite standpoint, made his clear, blue eyes as large as those of a Japanese animation. Paul sat fidgeting

Deeper

The heat of our passion, cooled by the refreshing breeze which, from the open window, seeped in through the curtains, gradually dissipated. Krystena shivered and cleaved closer to me, her hand, pulling at my chest, indicating that she wanted me to hold her tighter. I reached and pulled up the soft sheets and draped them over her shoulder to

Winter

When the frustration grew too much – no line curved the way it should, no hue appeared correctly with the gentle motion of the brush, he simply gave up, discarding the palette to a side table where a brush rolled away leaving the dark coloured imprint of its passing. “It's feeling like winter,” he said and rose abruptly from

Steps

“You've been angry,” said Krystena appearing silently on bare footed steps from the kitchen and carrying a freshly brewed and over sized, steaming mug of tea. It was not an accusation that she articulated – only the merest of observations. Nevertheless, her words shattered the vacuum bell-jar of self-imposed isolation which I

Squaring the circle

Finding Pi. A Sunday morning coffee shop – away from home, telephones and distractions – is often a pleasant place to undertake reflections when there arise those situations in which reflection becomes necessary. There is something different about Sunday morning – even better than Saturday morning – due, possibly to the

Crumbling

“She had me at 'Hello, I'm Catherine'.” He reproached himself, even in the act of the confession which, newly admitted, had nevertheless been a reality from the moment of the encounter. She had extended a slender hand with long fingers which he had taken, feigning disinterest. “She must have known it, too. There is no way

A story that tells itself

Some would refer to me and, perhaps, not incorrectly, as a creature of habit. It is a fact that, in my usual and necessary meanderings to the local shops, I tend to follow a path already beaten down and worn clean by my own shoes. It may be that this habitual and somewhat automatic routine leaves my mind a little freer, while normally some soft

Postcards

This box in thin, paper-covered, cardboard, labeled with some long-forgotten shoe brand, dusty, half-crushed many times over and closed with a dry, cracked elastic band, is overstuffed near to bursting with accumulated detritis – the collected jetsam or physical projection into photo printed or enveloped reality - of a life, now existing

Cashing out

“I have always believed, or better perhaps and more accurately, believed since the time of that undefinable transition in my own life – the 'coming of age' of which so much is written but, in my own experience, has never once come up in normal conversation - that brings a boy to be a man, who, whether he desires it or not, must enter

Rationalisation

“I need to stop letting myself be screwed-up by you. I need to stop ...” The words exited his mouth, vehemently articulated, causing the surrounding silence within the spacious apartment to draw away shyly for only a moment. This was, he knew, stirring impatiently from the couch and entering the kitchen for a cigarette, not new

Paralysis

“It is either the lack of originality or the lack of will – conviction – that leaves you like this,” he wordlessly reprimanded himself while, before him, the virtual page on the computer appeared as unmarred by words as sheets, fresh washed and bleached of love's stains, hung to dry in the late spring breeze. “Or

Misguided

The letter, which had come across his desk on the previous day, left him aghast, shaking his head in some emotion similar to disgust but also tinged with disbelief and anger. He attempted, with dubious success, to reign in his own reaction and paused, taking a deep breath. His eyes moved, again, slowly to the head of the letter and he began to

Dead and living it

“I'm not dead,” he observed, accurately, “but I should be.” Dazed, he crawled several feet from the wreckage where, still unsure of the state of his own body, he collapsed onto the hot sand and blinked upward, astonished, into the blue-white brilliance of the sky. In the moment before the impact, while the earth did a

Tuesday

When I see her walking toward me, my heart first flutters anxiously and then beats with the force of a mallet against my ribs. That is, quite simply, the effect that she has on me. When she drapes her arms lightly over my shoulders, drawing me, bent slightly, toward her, my heart is beating so loudly in my ears that I expect the passers-by in

Leah

“Fillet mignon, medium rare, up on 23 – it's yours, Jamie,” said the chef, sliding the china plate under the warming light and glancing briefly in his direction before turning quickly back to the kitchen. “Thank you, François,” responded Jamie, straightening his black vest and tie but, the chef's attention

Hollow

“So he left you for his secretary? That’s almost cliché, isn’t it? “Yeah”, she answers back and laughs ironically, but in her eyes I can see there is little humour. The bar is oddly quiet for a popular location on a busy street in the business district of Toronto. It is a nice place, just a little upscale,

Shauna

“Hey, what do you want me to do with this shit?” “They’re vegetables, Shauna. We’re going to cook them and eat them. We wouldn’t do that with shit.” I smile and wink. Shauna continues to glare, but I sense the corners of her mouth draw up in the best approximation of a smile that she can do. I’m

Absinthe

"Bon soir, monsieur! Vous êtes français? Ah… "Deutsche? "Espangol…? "E allora, Voi siete Italiano, ma non me ne posso immaginare…. "I apologise. English! I must be linguistically flexible, as you can imagine in these environs. Then we are countrymen! May I? Thank you. You are, as you seem, a gentleman,

Focusing on the Rain

“Have you ever tried to see the rain?” I say to him and he peers at me over the top of his reading glasses. “I mean, really see it. Not just the sheet of misty, indecipherable greyness that comes down over the city, but actually see the rain; thousands or millions or more of individual drops that fall past your window and find

Two Stories about Loss

I. The Old Man. My daughter bustles in with some bags of groceries distracting me from the paper. She shouts out, “Hi daddy!” and runs toward the little kitchen. She’s always running. I’ve never seen anyone with as much energy as her, except maybe her mom. She’s probably got a date with some boy tonight so

The Appointment

I find myself on the steps of my brownstone, pulling on my overcoat. I feel the weight of the pistol in the pocket and wonder what the hell it’s doin’ there. I snap on the safety and slip it into the holster under my arm. That would be rich. If I put my hand in my pocket and ended up shooting off my own goddamn foot. If the cops

Leaving

It seems that we’ve been at it for days but it has really only been all of a dull, grey, raining November afternoon. It is warm in the kitchen. First it is her turn and then I try. There seems to be no way to get ourselves out of this mess. The tears run down her face. I don’t know how I could ever have let this happen to us. She is