Saturday, February 24, 2007


i like words. alot. so much so, i have this seemingly hardwired editing device that slows down my spoken communication to the degree that on most first meetings, people treat me like a hatchet head-wound surviver. not that they ever cease to, come to think of it, but i retreat from my point...

you know how some utterance or interjection'll pop up, and you say to yourself "self, that's a powerful/swaggery/fluffy/ballsy/dynamite word. start using it!" i know i have: words or phrases like, "dynamite" or "back asswards".. and then you forget about them, and you never actually get to incorporate them, but catch yourself saying "awesome" or "lovely" a lot instead. well i adopted a word that was a surprise until i used it incessantly this past weekend whilst rapidly atrophying in front of a computer game (with my lady-love!) it is the word "plum". as in, "that would be a plum spot to found a city, as it commands a strategic block to the growth of those fucking Greeks". actually, i don't think i had a point to even retreat from. just pointing out one of those phenomena, like waking up with David Bowie's Labyrinth song inexplicably sticking out of your head like the aforementioned hatchet:

You remind me of the babyWhat baby? baby with the powerWhat power? power of voodooWho do? you doDo what? remind me of the babyI saw my baby, crying hard as babe could cryWhat could I doMy babys love had goneAnd left my baby blueNobody knewWhat kind of magic spell to useSlime and snailsOr puppy dogs tailsThunder or lightningThen baby saidDance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Put that baby spell on meJump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Put that magic jump on meSlap that baby, make him freeI saw my baby, trying hard as babe could tryWhat could I doMy babys fun had goneAnd left my baby blueNobody knewWhat kind of magic spell to useSlime and snailsOr puppy dogs tailsThunder or lightningThen baby saidDance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Put that baby spell on meJump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Put that magic jump on meSlap that baby, make him freeDance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Put that baby spell on me (ooh)You remind me of the babyWhat baby? the baby with the powerWhat power? power of voodooWho do? you doDo what? remind me of the babyDance magic, dance, ooh ooh oohDance magic, dance magic, ooh ooh oohDance magicWhat kind of magic spell to useSlime and snailsOr puppy dog tailsThunder or lightningSomething frighteningDance magic, danceDance magic, dancePut that baby spell on meJump magic, jumpJump magic, jumpPut that magic jump on meSlap that baby make him freeDance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)Jump magic, jumpPut that magic jump on meSlap that babyDance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magicSlap that slap that baby make him freeDance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I know...

...a young lady who has too much heart. occasionally it tries to compensate for its volume by revving to 200 bpm. she has had three surgeries so far. this has given her a very fatalistic outlook and a wise and surefooted countenance for her age. she has told me some stories that have left me incredulous, but believing.

...a young man who has just found his love. he is quiet and compassionate and a meticulous eye for detail. he is one of the funniest, self-deprecating people i know. he's always there to help and my family is very fond of him. he is a volunteer fire-fighter and full-time cabinet maker. he can be counted on.

...a lady who just hired a private eye to find her husband. she's a fiery person who seems to be tackling with all angles of her life at once. she is sweet and brave and could out-talk a beehive. she's just moving into a new phase of her life, and i will be there to help secure it. she has helped me to want more of and for myself.

...a young man who's leaving to china in a week. he is teaching english there. he is among my closest of friends, and is so humble that i choke on the words when i try to tell him. he is someone who will allow you to do something and be someone marvelous in front of. however, i believe that it is he who most deserves to experience this feeling he evokes in others. he is a stunning conversationalist, and has a knack of helping people feel comfortable that borders on the uncanny. he's always helped me out of my pinches which is something he's never really asked for in return. i fear i will miss him immensely, but am happy he's commited to the adventure.

...a young lady who i can relate to on every level. she is bright and witty and is the only person i know who can find the exact strings to pull, or play, in order to help pick me up. she suffers from severe, and i think, undue bouts of self-doubt, if only because she previews each of her actions before pursuing them. i believe she mistakes this extreme form of honour as a lack of competence. she is deeply considerate and the best gift-giver that i've ever crossed paths with. she might be the first person i'd met who searches for a way for everyone to be 'equal'. i don't really know how to qualify this. by some grace of time, in between the last two times i'd seen her, she became a woman. she is my sister.

...more people than this...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Casting Buoys - Not Pattern Recognition

Hello. I've come here today to acknowledge my self over a period of time - and how obscured it's been by itself. This might be my first truly honest post. Could you spend a moment to bear witness to this please? I'm going to go back to when I left Montreal in an attempt to gain perspective, 3 years ago next month. I was floundering around for a job that I could sustain myself with in the big M. Part time work at The World Beat Cafe here, busboy on Crescent there (fired for being insubordinate), worked at VICE Magazine (left because I was depressed - same reason I left McGill), volunteered as an editor at the Jane Goodall Society... everything seemed so slippery, and I could not fully immerse myself. There was no mentorship to be found anywhere, and I discovered just how shy I was to ask for guidance or assistance. I felt very transparent, and so any advice anyone gave HURT as opposed to HEALED. I wanted to write, and so did so for the odd publication (dos and don'ts and CD reviews for VICE (once), briefs for the Hour (once) and the Mirror (once), Heads Magazine (once) - who asked me to become their music editor, the stoners). But again, nothing doing. No full-time work to be had. My longterm tempestuous relationship with someone I still think is wonderful, shook itself to a ruin in its own foundations. I had to go... My mum offered me sanctuary on Vancouver Island, so I took it. I was 24 when I left.

I lived on my sister's floor in Victoria while I looked for a job and apartment. I found the apartment before the job (though I had bumped into my future employer and friend the 2nd night in Vic down at a local pub). It was in the form of a small boat down at Fisherman's Wharf. It was in mangy condition, so I cleaned it out and then took the prow cabin for a bed. At night, I read by hurricane lantern, listened to a few CDs I'd found at the Salvation Army, and made necklaces out of beads. The seals would come and thump the side of the boat if I was too loud. Because the Victorian summer is near meditteranean in fullness, I'd often just sit outside on the deck, smoke a joint and watch the city lights across the harbour. Beside the wharf was a giant, award-winning set of condominiums called Shoal Point. It looked like a cruise ship run aground. And this made me think of vessels and houses and of how much hidden information was stored into a structure. I basically lived in a watery trailer park for the summer. During the day, I'd get up and cycle to meet Dave and Shaun and lay hardwood floor. I did this until the late fall. I joined a comedy troupe, and we put on a small 5 person skit-based play at Lucky Bar. I moved into an apartment for 2 months, where I got scammed out of my damage deposit (it had been a rolling lease for nearly 15 years) upon leaving. I moved again, this time up to my mother's.

I needed something substantial, so enrolled in a boat-building course up at Schwartz Bay. I was naive about it, and realized tha it was more of an industry prepper for large-scale operations. There was no real opportunity to join any type of firm other than mass-production or maintenance, and I'd been looking for some type of artisanry. Discouraged, I applied at a few mum & pop builders, and then took up with my mum's friend Devon, a kiwi man's-man who went on horseback treks on the weekend. His line of work was also hardwood installation. I lived in a large suite above my mum's small country house, with a sweeping lookout on Cowichan Bay. I was lost for friends, but took up with whoever I could. One old sod was a man called James Brown. He'd been a millionaire 3 times in his life, the last liquidation he'd put into a 1906 fish packing boat called the Shimoget (sp?). It was to be the death of him, as he keeled over his dory one night coming back from the pub. I don't know if anyone ever found the poor soul's body, but by the tide's reckoning, we would've likely been the first beach he'd've washed up on.

After a few barn raves here and music fests there, I tired of life and I staled on the idea of manual labour where I was not given a chance to manage or learn as quickly as I generally need to. After flirting with the idea of starting a treehouse building company, I made up my mind to return to Montreal. I'd found myself lonely and choked by Island life. But the stars.. oh, the stars. On the odd time, they were so vivid, you could see the planet and the solar system as if it were on the rim of the galaxy (funny this, but 'galaxy' literally translates to Milky Way). The spirals would retreat from sight, giving the impression of the Earth being on the edge of a banded torus.

I arrived back in Montreal, enrolled back in McGill, and met up with my old friends. Steve and Amy graciously received me at their house for a few weeks, and I encountered such nervous situations with my ex. She and I still haven't truly met each other since, but I generally feel a level of warmth and companionship laden familiarity whenever we are together that seems to've persisted through the years we hadn't spoken. I met a girl called Isabel, and we courted. Next thing I knew, we were together and spent much time together. Around then, I had a wicked idea for a book (still do...) and started ostensibly to write it. I started, and then stalled it and then wrote a few short stories, and kept updating my blog (which changed from attempts at humourous overlapping narratives I consider to be 'factasy', to this type of entry...) Eventually, I somehow stretched away from my original intentions to move back here. I paled and bailed, and eventually gave up my school. I couldn't maintain a focus in Philosophy, there was no application. No context. I needed innovation. I yearned for something creative.

One day, last spring, I told Isabel I wasn't in love with her. She wanted more from me, and I couldn't find a way to give it without compromising too much. She was convinced that she was going crazy, getting possessive, so I had to tell her it wasn't just her. I mourned us. And tried to stay her friend. This eventually became impossible. She'd said that she wished I was the man she could've been with for her life. This later mutated to her stating that I'd not been the man she thought I was. Maybe both were true, maybe neither, either way, I wasn't quite sure what man she was talking about. I didn't feel I'd yet become one. By trying not to have us forsake the 9 months we'd been together, I hadn't let her vent her dismay. I dearly wish I'd handled that better. I later found out, she'd considered marriage and children all along. I was ashamed that we hadn't spoken about it while together.

On the other footing, I found liberty in my step. I opened up to new people and felt more confident by myself. Everything had freshened, and I got a job renovating a friend's apartments. I later met a girl who worked at Biftek, and we clicked like magnets. She went away to Portugal for August and broke up with me. Like the reactionary I was, I drooped and worried. I forgot about my own adventure. She returned, for me to discover that something horrendous had happened. We got back together, but my social life got gutted. My aspirations fluxed to having no view of the future (I can imagine biomechanically interfaced exoskeletons, but not the foresight to purchase toothpaste). Continue this avenue for the last 5 months, where I've lost the confidence to meet new people, present myself, write with flourish, engage systems without being neurotically shy etc. and you have me now.

The last few weeks I have: Watched the entire 1st season of Rome. This is easily the best mini-series I've ever encountered (the production details actually put you right in the thick of the 1st century, nothing has been overlooked). The politics, the social view of sex and ritual, the fighting, the infrastructure, the corruption, the slavery... it's absolutely incredible. Both brutish and refined.

Read much about landscape architecture. From what I can detail, this is a predominantly WHITE occupation. And by that I mean rich and self-congratulatory. The views seem stuck in ideas of The Picturesque and modernist function, and only a few firms break the dogmatism and present viable and beautiful risks. The discipline overlaps many categories, and feeds from architecture, urban planning, horticulture, sustainable/green innovation, even sculpture and hydrostatics. I like it alot, if only because I have the skills of a dreamer (and a jack-of-all-trades approach). I believe that we as humans influence the way our environment influences us. And by this, we each have a responsibilty to nurture nature. It should not be a pastime of the wealthy, nor that of the wealthy's counterpart, politics. We need to put the mentalism back into our environs. And by 'our', I mean as inclusively as possible.

Er, that's it for now. The statement that I want to resound is that I am up on my feet and ready to make failure and success in equal measure, and thus learn and strive. I need a community, rolemodels and I need to be challenged. I also badly need a job.

wish I'd had a camera on me...

I was put up to this... good thing too, as I needed a blog-phoenix...

01. Bought a round of drinks in a bar (Y)
02. Swam with dolphins in the ocean (N)
03. Climbed a mountain (Y)
04. Drove a Ferrari (N)
05. Visited the Great Pyramids (N)
06. Held a tarantula (Y - they can taste through their feet!)
07. Taken a bath with someone in candlelight ('aw - nice marmot')
08. Said “I love you” and meant it (Y)
09. Hugged a tree (see above)
10. Played elastic (Y)
11. Been to Paris (Y)
12. Watched a storm on the sea (Y)
13. Stayed up all night to watch the sun rise (Y)
14. Seen the aurora borealis (Y - strangely right as I'd said: 'I've never seen the Northern Lights before, I imagine they look something just like that...')
15. Been to a large sporting event (Y)
16. Climbed the steps of the St. Joseph’s Oratory (Y - though as a drunken shortcut)
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables (Y)
18. Touched an iceberg (N)
19. Slept under the stars (Y)
20. Changed a baby’s diaper (Y)
21. Traveled in a hot air balloon (N)
22. Seen shooting stars (Y)
23. Gotten drunk on champagne (Y)
24. Given more than you could to charity (N)
25. Observed the night through a telescope (Y)
26. Participated in a world record event (N)
27. Had a food fight (Y - at camp, we were told that we could eat a chocolate cake on the count of 3, but the instructor decided to count backwards - from 3, instead of to. My initial lunge for the cake ignited the entire dining room, it was one of the greatest things I've ever witnessed)
28. Bet on a winning horse (Y)
29. Asked directions from a stranger (Y)
30. Had a snowball fight (Y)
31. Yelled as loud as you could (Y- though it took several ginger yells)
32. Carried a lamb (N!)
33. Seen a total eclipse (Y - though you still risk your sight looking directly)
34. Climbed a sand dune (Y)
35. Run over an animal with your car (N)
36. Danced like a crazy person with no regard to who might be watching (Y)
37. Adopted an accent for a whole day (HAHAHA)
38. Felt truly happy, even in a short moment (Y)
39. Had two hard disks on your computer (N)
40. Taken care of someone drunk (Y)
41. Danced with a stranger (Y)
42. Whale-watched in the ocean (Y)
43. Stolen a street sign (Y)
44. Back-packed across Canada (N)
45. Taken a road trip (Y)
46. Rock-climbed outdoors (Y)
47. Sung a ballad on the beach at midnight (N)
48. Gone paragliding (N)
49. Been to Ireland (Y- I was 5. Fed a donkey carrots. Pissed on an electric fence. Fun.)
50. Had a broken heart for much longer than you were with someone. (Y)
51. Sat at a table at a restaurant with strangers and eaten with them. (Y)
52. Been to Japan (Y)
53. Milked a cow (Y)
54. Organized your CD’s alphabetically (Y, and also by genre)
55. Pretended to be a superhero/ine (pretended not to be)
56. Sang karaoke (Y)
57. Spent all day in bed (Y)
58. Played football (Y)
59. Scuba-dived (Y- but only ever in a pool)
60. Kissed in the rain (Y)
61. Played in the mud (Y)
62. Played in the rain (Y)
63. Been in an open-air theatre (Y)
64. Been to the Great Wall of China (N)
65. Started your own business (does being part of a shoplifting gang when I was 11 count?)
66. Fallen in love without suffering from a broken heart (Y)
67. Visited ancient monuments (Y)
68. Taken a martial arts class (Y)
69. Played XBox for 6 hours straight (other consoles, Y. XBox, N)
70. Been married (N)
71. Been in a movie (Y)
72. Organized a surprise party (Y)
73. Been divorced (only from reality)
74. Fasted for 5 days (not on purpose, but Y)
75. Made cookies from a package mix (N)
76. Won first prize in a costume contest (N)
77. Driven a gondola in Venice (N)
78. Have been tattooed (N)
79. Canoed or kayaked (Y)
80. Been interviewed on TV (N)
81. Gotten flowers for no particular reason (Y)
82. Been in a play (Y)
83. Been to Las Vegas (N)
84. Recorded music (Y)
85. Eaten shark (N)
86. Kissed on a first date (Y)
87. Been to Thailand (N)
88. Bought a house (N)
89. Buried one of your parents (N)
90. Been on a cruise (N)
91. Spoken more than one language fluently (N)
92. Raised children (N)
93. Followed your favourite singer on tour (N)
94. Cycled in a foreign country (N)
95. Moved to a new city for a new life (Y)
96. Eaten ants (Y)
97. Walked on the Golden Gate Bridge (N)
98. Sang at the top of your lungs in the car without a care as to who might be watching (Y)
99. Had plastic surgery (N)
100. Survived an accident you statistically shouldn’t have (N)
101. Written articles for a large publication (Y)
102. Lost 40 pounds (only in the UK)
103. Helped an unconscious person (Y)
104. Piloted a plane (N)
105. Touched a live (manta) ray (Y)
106. Broken someone’s heart (Y)
107. Helped birth an animal (N)
108. Won money in a TV game show (N)
109. Broken a bone (Y)
110. Pierced another part of your body other than your ears (N)
111. Handled a revolver or firearm (N)
112. Eaten mushrooms you collected yourself (Y)
113. Ridden a horse (N)
114. Undergone a major operation (N)
115. Had a pet snake (iguana and tortoise but never a snake)
116. Slept for more than 30 hours straight (Y - the last 2 days actually)
117. Been to all the continents of the world (N)
118. Been on a canoe trip for more than 2 days (Y)
119. Eaten kangaroo (N)
120. Eaten sushi (almost once a week)
121. Had your picture in the newspaper (Y)
122. Changed the opinion of someone with regards to something you’ve felt strongly about (Y)
123. Gone back to school (too many times)
124. Parachuted (N)
125. Worn a snake (er...)
126. Built your PC from different parts (N)
127. Sold something you created to someone you don’t know (Y)
128. Dyed your hair (Y)
129. Shaved your head (Y)
130. Saved someone’s life (not that I've known about)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rest In Peace Roxy

We'll miss you...

The Dependables

The Valentine's heart is nowt but an upsidedown ASS. Which only means that you cannot shit out of it without getting it all over yourself. This is why I will not be talking about that emotional staplegun here...

Instead, I will return to the ever-topical, er, topic, of deppaneurs. For the uninitiated, the dep is the Queeb version of the corner store. This serves so many more functions that one could ever suppose, so I'll draw up a quick generalization, and then retreat to anecdotal, er, anecdotes. There is nothing more true-Blue than the dep: there's softcore and then there's hardcore and then Quebecor, and this is it! They serve as community centre, immunity centre, bitch-about-your-spouse centre... ok, I just don't have the acumen to properly characterize the dep (especially in the function of Essence, there has yet to be created the quintessential dep)... so here's the sundry forms the dep has taken in my experience of it:
  • The Family Dep: This doesn't necessarily mean that there is a family running it, or even ever frequenting it as patrons. It seems to function most as a "Third Place", a place halfway between the home and the work (only applied loosely here), that maintains a really casual atmosphere (we're talking wifebeaters, boxers and socks [this last depending on the climate] here). Generally, they are run by old men and hung out in by old men (who never seem to pay for anything) and sell candy bars that are melted or reconstituted after spending most of the shelflife as a goo. A few examples follow:

- A dep on Duluth JUST before Parc Lafontaine had a few people milling around outside, one elderly gentleman clutching his eyes. This not being too abnormal, I passed them by and went in. Made it to the juicefridge before having to clutch at my eyes and beat a hasty exit. The old men laughed at me as I fell out of the store, wherein, between dryheaves, I asked: 'Pepper spray?'. 'Yes.' Came the nonchalant reply. 'I was showing P____ how it worked and it sprayed him in the eyes.' 2 years later, the same dep owner(s) kicked me out for having a plastic sword in my hand: 'NO MORE SWORDS ALLOWED'. Only to follow me out and ask if it were real. And then take it back inside and smack each other with it giggling. All other times I've bought things here have been uneventful.

- A dep on Duluth on the corner of St. Andre. A 30 something year old was sitting there once rearranging his massive stack of Magic cards. I don't really know why I thought this was so funny.

- A dep, on Duluth, corner of Clark (?). Sells singles (or 'loosies'). Once got in a frenzied exchange about poonanny juice. They also tried to sell me Goji berry juice for $60. They have a tuna deheading blade built into their cash counter. Everyone tends to hang out outside here. This place gets a big thumbs up from me.

- A dep on the corner of Hotel-de-Ville and Duluth. They'll file your income tax for you.

- A dep on Sherbrooke that proffers microloans. Same owners would call a good friend of a good friend 'The King' whenever he'd enter.

  • The Concept Dep: Sushi/Dep, Pornstore/Dep, Shishtaouk/Dep, Headshop/Dep, Computer parts store/Dep, Barber/Dep, Butcher/Dep. And so on...


  • Once, back when I used to walk Eve's dog, Coco, I misguidedly brought her into a dep with me. Next thing I knew, there she was, up on the counter and I was stuck headfirst in a popsicle freezer. No way else I can really tell this, as I've absolutely no idea how this happened. The owners barely batted an eye though. In fact, they thought it was hilarious.
  • Got kicked out of CoucheTard (a chain, much like a 7/11) once with Steve for being 'altered' and laughing too hard in the mineral water section. That was a rough night. Because it is also accessible from a residential building, it is not uncommon to see people come down mid-shower to buy some Irish Spring.
  • Purportedly, there are deps one can frequent with a 'codeword' to receive goods of a more 'illicit' nature. These items range from afterhours booze, to marijuana, to poached meat, to ??? There's a dep on Napoleon that gives me the feeling that you're not supposed to go in there for any other reason (grim looking butcher section at the back).

I KNOW there are more stories than these, but these are the ones that spring to mind... and keep me customering...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Beer Goggle Formula

As found on the trusty BBC...
An = number of units of alcohol consumed
S = smokiness of the room (graded from 0-10, where 0 clear air; 10 extremely smoky)
L = luminance of 'person of interest' (candelas per square metre; typically 1 pitch black; 150 as seen in normal room lighting)
Vo = Snellen visual acuity (6/6 normal; 6/12 just meets driving standard)
d = distance from 'person of interest' (metres; 0.5 to 3 metres)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Just to see what condition my condition was in (circa 8pm Jan 31st)


ok, i have something to admit. a few months ago, bored as i was with my own html-lameness and bored as i was with i, i tried to create an alter ego to heckle and generally be an ignorant nuisance. introducing TRISH. man, i'm glad i finally fessed up about that one... perhaps i'll resurrect her one day. if so, watch out, she's bonkers.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Phone Message

‘Hey babe, how are you? Its Lucy. Um, I hope you’re having a wonderful day and that uh, you’re out and about and happy and feeling revived and alive etc, etc. I’m waiting for my political theory class to start at 4 but I was reading the Age of the Economist for my economics course, I just read something in it I had to tell you about, about the University of London, so funny… Bentham's major work had been completed before he reached his 40th birthday but he lived till 84 and he had his great influence over a small bland, er band, of devoted followers. He was never against writing influencing books but spent much of his later life concocting complicated plans for prison reform, for relief education and legislative reform. He found the University of London with an endowment and his will provided that his body be embalmed and once a year seated at the meeting of the universities trustees as a reminder of the principles on which the university was established, this grisly ritual continued to be performed until recently using a wax head instead of the shrunken real one which was kept in storage.” Dude. You Brits man. Fucking crazy. Ok, I just thought you’d like to know that, as, who wouldn’t really? I hope you’re having a great time and I’ll see you later. Ok, bye.’

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Child Remote

This is a story I sent in for a provincial competition this summer. It took a few days of sketching to get a reasonable balance, which was perhaps made leaden by the ending (my mum, when I asked her to quickly review it, said that she thought it was a bit trite and a brittle way to conclude. I almost agree, but only because there was a purposeful style shift). As per the rules of the comp, it's supposed to be an original piece, and publishing isn't allowable, but I don't consider this publishing (besides, it's mine and they haven't contacted me for the 5 months since writing it, so I can't imagine I placed and so now reclaim it). Hope it confuses you...

A Child Remote

The child could feel the storm coming. He felt the heaviness of it; knew it as if it were mercury in his marrow. Though warmly dressed, the 8 year-old’s body trembled for the treetops molested overhead, their leaves silvering in a darting shoal. The kinesis reminded him of the delight that winter flurries lit in him. That moment where the leading edge of the wind was revealed, snow snarling over itself, like the teeth of some marauding ghostshark. A loose lock of hair licked the child’s forehead as a thought struggled to emerge: ‘Find shelter’.

Andi tried to raise his head to inspect the storm’s purple embankment, but fear slowed the effort. The roiling clouds loomed over the false horizon of the street like battlements of masticated mother of pearl. They forced the atmosphere before them as they toppled forward into Montreal. Again, urgency pushed the child’s intentions toward safety. Laboriously at first, the boy started for the park across the road. The swings whinnied against the wind, eeky and pendulous. A cyclist coasted past, heralding imminence. Under the climbing frame looked safe.

Andi could vaguely remember the bulge that was his unborn brother. He would reach up to the pale crescent moon that split his mother’s blouse from her skirt and press the other fingers to his chest to find the kick of his own heart. His memories had been so heavily gilded by her stories it took some effort to have them run clear. Her curious pain for the elephant he had one day stuffed up his undershirt. Her insistence on turning the shoes in the vestibule so that they all faced into the house. His abject confusion upon hearing of the death. Of the depths of their loneliness; his an empty brother’s, hers an emptied mother’s. It was the old way. Perhaps causality really ran backwards and remembering served only to change the past. Or perhaps there was something he’d missed.

From somewhere wafted the ruddy smell of burnt coffee but the child was under the play-set’s bridge. The rain had begun, tramping up the fiberglass slide, flushing down a finger plaster now wrapped around a rivulet. The sand pocked beneath all the force of a summer storm, the rain soddening the kneescabs of paintflecks, the wind here a stutter, there a lisp. Sycamore seeds joined the fray, tailspins bombarded from the sky. It had become murderously dark. Andi didn’t feel his right hand move toward a stream of water until it struck his palm. It was a complicated sensation, routed as it was through so many membranes. He forced the hand up to the face, and splashed, feeling his skin contract with the chill of it. Abroad, the child smiled and spat into the rain.

Benches glared like glistening, empty eye-sockets, fringing the basin of sand. They glared at Andi. He shivered and turned away. Pine resin caught his olfactory, but Andi knew that this emanated from the scent-vents hidden around the play-set. They hadn’t used pine in a kid-park probably for a good decade. It was for the parents, to recreate the smells of their youth. To push their sensations through their children. Oh, thought Andi, how irony oxidizes. Suddenly, before he could check it, a surge of pity compelled him to a crouch. A pigeon, broken feathers curdling, hunkering into itself beneath a step, puffed up against the intruder. It cocked its head, transfixing the boy with a yellow button. Andi successfully bridled the urge to pick it up mid-motion, the effort seeming to continue through the pigeon as it flinched exhaustedly. Using low, soothing tones, the child took a step back. The bird seemed placated, and closed its eyes. Andi could not suppress the question as to how long it would live. How long before the cats tiptoe out against the heavens to kill it? How long before it were stolen away from itself?

Revulsion welled up, seemingly pressing outward from within his skull. Striking images of rejection, of unwantedness, of an unfamiliar family framing smiles, a stray dog… all jostled for attention. Amidst them, segmented questions peppered Andi like the rain’s tattoo around him: It? Stolen? Who… not companion? Defy you! And with such quick determination it left Andi no power to resist, the child reached up beneath his cap and reset the cerebral implant.

Andi disengaged the Parasight. Once the spasms ceased, sensations of his body began to claw their way back through his nerves. Clumsy, he scrabbled for the pain reliever that he’d propped beside the monitor, thumbed open the IV jutting from his thigh and plunged the fluid through. His body sagged instantly, relaxed enough now to cope with the paring anguish, against which he was only moderately braced. He was reluctant to take the benzodiazepine as then he’d have to withdraw from the Aggregate, and many of his clients enjoyed the come-down as much as the experience itself. He toggled on the thought-dampener.

What the hell had happened during that occasion? He’d never seen anything like it before: The child had somehow rebelled. Booted him right out. Andi’d run across willful hosts before, but the ability to terminate a connection was just plain dangerous. It meant the child had been completely autonomous throughout the entire piloting. He wondered how much of his own distress had been relayed to the Aggregate. Had they seen him? If so, he hoped he hadn’t obscured the child. He was going to have to run a spec test on his gear again. And then find a host with a deeper implant. Tomorrow.

His room seemed a bit too warm. With shaky legs, he got up to turn the coffee percolator off.

- T.C.