Lisa followed Mitchie through row after row of listing tin shacks. Puff-bellied children tugged at her hands and clothes. They stroked her white skin and made darting swipes at her yellow hair. They giggled and covered their broken teeth with dirty fingers. She emptied her pockets into their hands. She undid the clasp on her thin silver chain and dropped it in a boy's open hand. He ran off shouting, waving the necklace like a flag.
The summer I was ten we had a terrible heat wave. You could hear the transformers exploding on the other side of the tracks. Old people were dying in their sleep. Everyone was afraid the weed men wouldn't come and we would all be devoured by weeds. I had more faith. Nothing stoked the fire of a weed man's soul like a battle with the elements. I'll never forget the time I saw a weed man working in a thunderstorm, water up to his ankles, lightning felling trees a hundred yards away, and the weed man oblivious to all but the weeds.
That's when Wallace will come out of the backroom, the paint hangar, I call it. He'll wipe his hands on a turpentine rag and he'll smell like noxious chemicals. He'll give you a big grin and a waggle of his rug-like brown eyebrows. You'll like him right away because his face is cleaner than mine and he looks glad to see you. You'll expect him to ask if he can help you. He'll walk right up to you and you'll extend your right hand for him to shake. He'll put the paint rag in your palm.
One-bedroom apartments feel unnecessarily large with just one person in them. Who knows, I may be renting my own studio soon, or staying in this big apartment by myself 'til the lease runs out. But I doubt, despite what Sue may want, that I'll be getting a new job anytime soon.
When Alethea came over after school she wanted to know if my grandmother was a witch.
During the long holiday of 1978, a man named Petrovesky came to live in our neighbourhood. Petrovesky was a giant who always wore a long black coat and carried a short black cane with a gold tip. He had a long nose, big blue eyes and a red beard that reached all the way down to his knees. He also had giant wings…
His cubicle wall shuddered for the third time in the last hour, and he automatically began fishing fallen thumbtacks and papers from the crevice where the wall met his desk. He'd tried talking to her. He'd tried making a joke of it. But no matter what he said, Patricia Trumble's enthusiasm, speed, and girth propelled her rolling desk chair into their shared wall space repeatedly each day.
"Pat, you should start doing the wangs now so that the sass is nice and tacky," Tom says to me as he pumps the keg. Tom is wiry and handsome. I'm neither of these things.
Ellie, barefooted, has just stepped on a wasp. She doesn't feel it at first—not for the quick pangs of summer heat radiating off the gravel drive—but soon an ache travels up her leg and she lets out a shriek…
2 June 2002
Vol. 2, No. 2
He posed and I photographed him in our hallway on Mercer Street, so pleased by the fact that we had one. The microwave was shiny and white and built in under the counter, suspended, with bright blue numbers that kept time.
The party ended when someone threw the baby in through the window.