Welcome featured author for May, 2014 Luc Rivet of Elliot Lake, Ontario. Below are a selection of some of his short stories for your reading pleasure.
It had been a long, exhausting day for old George and all he could think about was stretching out on the sofa for a well-deserved nap, after all, he had located a missing little girl and apprehended a dangerous criminal so he was entitled to it. Still, there was a little apprehension about closing his eyes because the room seemed different and for George, different meant danger.
Vases had been moved around, unfamiliar objects were strewn all over the floor and he could swear he heard strange sounds coming from the other room, that could only mean one thing, IT was back. He thought he had dealt with the creature sufficiently, and banished it from his lair permanently but obviously not because IT was back, he could sense its presence.
IT of course was a hideous creature, a demon of sorts, with a cork of kinds inserted in its mouth to silence its hideous and deafening battle cry. IT could use its four legs to travel at lightning speed and IT existed only to torment him, of that he was certain, and when IT went to war, IT did so viciously, grasping his skin and tugging his ears, biting his leg and slobbering over his eyeballs. He couldn’t fight IT, there would be repercussions so IT just couldn’t lose. He would rather tackle one hundred criminals on any given day then to have to face IT, but IT was back, and he thought about hiding but it was too late, IT had found him.
A pull here, a bite there, slobber, slobber, slobber! There just didn’t seem to be any end to this nightmare, when it seemed IT had had enough, IT started all over again.
"Do you want to go outside George?" His partner’s voice never sounded so angelic as it did right there and then.
Without hesitation he dashed from the sofa, careful not to knock IT over, and ran as fast as he could for the door and in a flash he was outside. With any luck, IT would be in bed before he made his way back inside. Funny, he thought, they don’t teach you how to deal with grandchildren in Police Dog School.
ONE ROSE TOO MANY
She stood outside the flower shop counting her dimes and nickels and occasionally gazing at the beautiful roses on display in the window. Mama would love those, she thought, if only she has saved enough chore money to buy them for her, what a fine birthday gift that would be. She counted her change one last time and satisfied that she had an accurate total, she confidently opened the door and walked in.
"Excuse me sir," she interrupted the man behind the counter, "I would like to buy some roses for my mother!"
Perhaps because he had watched her counting all those coins and would rather avoid having to count them himself, or perhaps because he really didn’t hear her, regardless, he continued on reading his paper as if she wasn’t there.
Undeterred, she walked to the exact spot he was sitting, tugged on his sleeve and went on, "how much for thirteen roses?"
He was visibly annoyed as he threw the paper aside and focused an angry gaze her way. "Young lady," he shouted, "it’s rude to interrupt someone, and as the sign says, the roses are twenty-five dollars for a dozen."
"Yes sir," she added. "I know what the sign says but I want to buy thirteen roses, not a dozen. How much for thirteen?"
"Listen here missy," he scolded her, "thirteen is one rose too many! You either buy one rose or a dozen, not thirteen, that isn’t normal."
"Okay then," she smiled, "how much for one rose then"
"One rose is three dollars," he sneered.
She pulls out her pocket full of coins, removes fifty cents which she pushes to the side, and plops the pile in front of him. "Here’s twenty-eight dollars," she says, "I’ll take one dozen plus one rose please."
Knowing he has been beat by a child who can hardly be ten years old, he sorts out the change, puts it in the till and then proceeds to fill her order. Handing her a dozen wrapped roses and a single one, he chuckles thinking he’s pulled on her.
Placing the wrapped dozen securely under her left arm, she holds out the single rose towards him. "This one is for you Mister," she says. "I can see that you are having a bad day, I hope this rose makes it better."
She walks away, happy with her purchase while he, well, she doesn’t know for sure but she thinks she saw a faint smile when he thought she wasn't looking.
One could say that Lance had a very hard life but none would say it more often than Lance himself. He relished talking about being abandoned by his mother who put him up for adoption, about the strict rules which kept getting him in trouble in the group home where he grew up, and about Constable Plummer who was always breathing down his neck for no reason at all. He reasoned that he was born under an unlucky star, that he was a victim of circumstance and that the world needed to take a, "relax," pill since he was only trying to make up all the fun he missed out on as a child.
Now twenty-six years old, Constable Plummer had been a thorn in his side for the last ten years, ever since he slashed the tires on his police car. He was a kid out for fun and didn’t hurt anyone, but Connie Plum, that is what the kids had nicknamed him, just couldn’t let it go, and in Lance’s eyes, this made him public enemy number one for the crotchety old constable.
Even now, sitting in a holding cell awaiting trial, poor Lance caught an unlucky break. Freshly evicted by his moron landlord who couldn’t hold off another month for him to come up with the back rent he owed, (he was only three months late), of course he would find refuge with his friends at the crack house. Yes there were drugs, and lots of them, but he was entitled to feel a little bit of bliss, wasn’t he? Okay, so sometimes he doesn’t think so straight when he’s indulged in a little bit of rock, or maybe a lot, he really doesn’t remember, and the decision to smash all of the windows at his old place probably wasn’t a very sound one even though he did need to blow off a little bit of steam. It should have been a quick thing, a few rocks in a few windows, and a quick escape for a little more chemical relaxation at the house, but no, Constable Plummer had to spoil that.
It’s all Connie Plum’s fault really, if he hadn’t been breathing down Lance’s neck all the time, if he didn’t always try to catch him doing something wrong, he would have been miles away from the old tenement at the time, and there wouldn’t have been a struggle. I guess you could say Lance managed to catch one lucky break though, he was quick enough for the constable to miss him with the Taser, but the same can’t be said about good old Constable Plummer. Poor soul was just a little too slow to draw his gun, and Lance was just a little too quick with the knife.
Poor Lance, he never seems to catch a lucky break! Judge Simpson, better known as the hanging judge will be hearing the case. One lucky break though, they don’t hang people in Canada anymore.
Her stomach started to twist and turn as soon as the school yard came into view. How she wished she didn’t have to go back there ever again but her mother told her that a new school wouldn’t be any different, and deep down inside she knew her mother was right, she would have to make the best of it.
She didn’t want to be different, she just was. It was hard enough being a black girl in a predominantly white town but being born with meromelia, the conspicuous absence of a left elbow, made her just a little too different for her liking. She doubted she could ever get accustomed to the constant chiding of her classmates who had nicknamed her Stumpy Susan, and who kept their distance in case she was contagious or something, but mama assured her that by being the very best she could be they would come to see past her differences. She hoped mama was right.
Oh how she had dreaded today of all days! Today was talent day and she was expected to take her place on stage with the others and display some semblance of talent for the world to see. It would have been bad enough to stand in front of her classmates but this was the whole school as well as parents. She had rehearsed plenty but that did little to settle the washing machine that spun out of control in her stomach, she was next and she was stuck in spin cycle.
As she was called up to the mike, she glanced down at her written speech about hatred, and almost as if inspiration had struck her, she crumpled it up and threw it on the stage. She picked up the mike as if it was her best friend and after a quick glance around the crowded room, held it close to her mouth and whispered, "psst, can you keep a secret?"
She went on to speak about her condition, not in a monotonous way, but with humor and sarcasm. She joked about the difficulty in cutting her meat, brushing her hair and tying her shoes. She laughed about some of the perceptions people had about her disability, about how they treated her and about occupations she felt might be best suited to her disability. The crowd was in stitches as she laughed at herself, and for the first time ever, they were laughing with her, not at her, and when she finished she got the only standing ovation of the day.
She appeared different now to her peers, she was no longer Stumpy Susan but funny Susan. The kids loved to gather around her and listen as she made light of the world around her. She was the life of the party. She was the star attraction!
Elliot Lake - home of author, Luc Rivet