Wednesday, December 28, 2005

All hell broke loose when Meppy walked down the street with a blow up sex doll under her arm.

Uncle Joe was a man who liked his flea market. The occasional garage sale would peak his interest but it was the intensity of that wide open space, packed tightly with tables and booths filled with junk everything from imported toys from Japan, a selection of slightly dated women’s lingerie and homemade fudge in every combination of flavours one could imagine. The best tables were the ones often found in the corner of the flea market warehouse room. These tables were often covered with almost a microcosm of the flea market itself – a little bit of everything. Joe scanned the tables as he normally did to find any kind of unique trinket for himself but usually for members of his family. He loved picking up things for his brothers and sisters. His eyes came to a folded up square of flesh coloured plastic.
“What’s this?,” asked Joe.
“Oh that? Oh yeah that’s a blow-up doll. You know to play around with.” The vendor gave Joe a wink and a smile and he thought nothing of it. He thought the man behind the counter was trying to be friendly as these vendor s usually are.
“How much?” asked Joe.
“For you my friend, 20 bucks.”
“I’ll give you five?”
“Five?? Do you know how much these things cost in the store?”
“I got five dollars in my pocket and it’s for my little sister.” The man gave Joe a strange look.
“All right. If it’s for your sister, five dollars it is.” The man picked the plastic square up off the table and slipped it into a wrinked A&P bag and passed it over to Joe.

When Joe got home, he decided he wanted to blow it up for Meppy so she’s see how it was supposed to look instead of just being this piece of plastic. Meppy was a bit slow and Joe wanted to make sure she knew exactly what she was getting. He put his mouth to the plastic nub and started to exhale air into the doll. With each breath the plastic unfolded and started to get firm with air. First the two legs, then the torso, then the two arms. When the head finally was filled with air Joe noticed the open mouth on the doll, put two of his fingers in it to see if there was any air coming out and shrugged. Joe called Meppy to come over to pick up her new doll.

Meppy was so excited about her new doll she wanted to take it for a walk. After picking it up from Joe’s place, she bundled up, slipped on her coat, hat, gloves and scarf and started her walk home. However, when she got to the corner of State St. where her turn normally was to head back to her apartment, she decided to turn the other way to head down Yonge St., where her sister lived. This was a chance for Meppy to show the doll to her and also it was a nice walk. With the doll under her arm, the doll’s face and open mouth displayed to the side as she bobbed down the street, Meppy smiled. She was having a great time with her new doll.

When Rose saw Meppy coming down the street through the window, she noticed something large under her arm. She couldn’t quite make it out, so she grabbed her glasses to help her make out what it is that Meppy was carrying. She started to make out details. – a pair of legs, arms and body – but naked. As Meppy started to come up the driveway, Rose saw something she had never seen before but only heard of in movies and on television. Between the legs of the doll was a hole, where the plastic gathered and wrinkled. The face was easy to make out now. A blond woman with her eyes half closed, blue eyeshadow, a small button nose and the same kind of hole that was between her legs but formed her mouth. Red printed-on lipstick surrounded the hole. Where in God’s name did she get that, Rose thought. She threw on her coat, still in her slippers and stormed out of the house.
“Give me that!” Rose lunged and grabbed the head of the doll and started to pull it out from under Meppy’s arm.
“What are you doing? This is mine.” Meppy struggled immediately and got a stronger grip on the doll and pulled back even harder.
“You don’t know what this is. It’s dirty. It’s not what you think.”
“Uncle Joe bought this for me at the flea market. It’s a doll. It’s my new doll.”
“What are you stupid? Everyone is going to see you with this. Give it to me now.” Meppy started wailing now, no tears coming down her face but just a high pitched scream like a colicky child. The two women continued to play tug of war with the blow up doll. Meppy continued to scream and Rose continued to yell back at her. With all the commotion people walking down the street did stop for one second to watch the struggle over the blow up doll. Finally Rose managed to pry the doll out of Meppy’s hands and ran in the house leaving her outside alone in the snowy driveway. Meppy managed to compose herself and walked in the house to find Rose stabbing the doll repeatedly with a knife.
“There.” Rose turned to see Meppy standing in the doorway. The pride she felt in destroying the doll quickly faded.
“I thought it was just a nice doll…”

Friday, December 09, 2005

I found my lipoid while stretching in the mirror. I had just stepped out of the shower and was toweling myself dry. Raising my arms up to wipe down my arms and armpits, I noticed a bit of a lump on my side about half way down my trunk. I poked at it and moved it around. It felt solid and fleshy, had a bit of give to it. I was always told that if you found a lump on your body, the fact that it could be moved around under the skin was a good thing. It usually meant some kind of weird growth but not cancer. Cancer made its mark on the body and was steadfast in where it was sitting. It didn’t move around. I put it out of my mind and decided that it could be a muscle knot. I had just started working out again and thought that it was a product of that. Plus the stress from work had been pretty bad lately and I thought the combination of these two things made its way forming a tight group of muscles. The odd thing was it didn’t hurt at all. I used to get knots all the time in my neck and upper back in the early days of university and this didn’t feel like those. But I convinced myself it was a knot and left it, put it out of my mind. Weeks past and I was on the toilet at work, sitting down, performing my morning ritual and for some reason I became aware of the lump again. I felt it, poked it around (It was still moving) and felt myself starting to breathe deeper, my heart pounding. What if it was cancer? What if it was a special kind of cancer that moved around? It had been weeks since I had first felt it and what if it already spread to my lungs or heart or brain. The panic was escalating and in order to stop it I finished my business in the bathroom and went back to my desk diving back into my work trying to forget the whole thing again. Maybe if I willed it away it wouldn’t be there in another few weeks. The next time I became aware of it literally sent me over the edge. I was at a theme park with my boyfriend and some friends and while we sat in line waiting for people to finish their ride on the most popular coaster of the park (this was the first line we entered – it was still early in the morning) he held me from behind and this time he noticed. He noticed it and made it more real than it ever had been before. This wasn’t something I could pretend to will away anymore because now someone else knew about it. I started to imagine myself, bald, gaunt and white laying in a hospital bed thinking bad to that moment when my boyfriend found that lump in line at an amusement park and how incredibly happy I was and how much I was suffering now. The panic escalated again to the point where I was almost hyperventilating. I asked my boyfriend if he thought it was anything and he said: “it could be something?” Those were probably the four worst words that could’ve come out of his mouth because it made my hospital suffering fantasy that much more rooted in my head. I was sure this was the future I was headed towards. He saw that his words had made things worse and reassured me that things go wrong with one’s body when you start to get a bit older and instead of sitting and worrying I should just go see my doctor to have everything checked out. Reluctantly I agreed to make an appointment to have my lump checked out. Those few days seemed like an eternity as I played out every worse case scenario in my head every time I had a moment to myself or when I wasn’t occupied with something else in my head. This cancer future was right on the outskirts of my thinking ready to fill my head up and take over when I let my guard down. When the day came to actually going to the doctor I was sure my entire body was vibrating for that entire day. Even worse was sitting in the office pretending that everything was okay. I was only in for a check up, there’s certainly nothing wrong with me. Can you tell? Don’t I look healthy to you? I walked into his office and let the doctor poke and prod around.
“Can you feel? It moves around.”
The doctor looked perplexed and continued to poke around. He asked me if it was sore. I think it ached but I wasn’t sure if it was really aching or me just pretending it was aching because lumps that were sore usually weren’t cancer.
I felt my stomach drop out of me and onto the office linoleum floor.
“Oh, I know what that is. It’s a lipoma.”
“What’s that? I don’t like the –oma part of that.” Cancers always seemed to end in –oma. Lymphoma, sarcoma, etc, etc.
“It’s a fatty deposit. Does anyone in your family have one?”
“Yeah my Dad had one removed from the back of his neck.”
“Yeah. That’s it”
“That’s it? Do I get it removed?”
“You can. It’s plastic surgery though.”
“Oh. Plastic surgery? Really?”
“If it gets much bigger you might want it removed but basically that’s it.”
I worried for weeks and ended up having a fat back. I couldn’t help but see the absurdity in the whole thing. In reverence of my lump, my boyfriend deemed her Fatima. Seemed just as absurd and entirely appropriate.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


There was just a moment in her early years when this behaviour just started to feel normal, natural. She would gather up her friends, usually at dusk, and bring many vessels of wine, place them in a field, usually a spot pleasing to the eye, then they would all drink and celebrate. Dancing would often happen about half way through the evening, then the clothing would come off. No one was ever embarrassed about it. It was all in good fun and all for the sake of Bacchus of which her and friends were followers of. She had hoped one day that the god of wine himself would appear and drink with them but week after week he never appeared. Sometimes she felt like they were getting pissed for no good reason, especially when she felt the effects the morning after. The pounding in her head, the aches in her bones, the horrible taste in her mouth – she was no longer a young girl able to purge the delicious poisons from her body. She had seen Maenads before (I guess she was one of them now) and they always looked so much older. She then made a mental note to look at her reflection in a still pool before the next festival and see if she was now one of them.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The word gazelle made Casey uncomfortable, even somewhat nervous. There wasn't any reason for him to write it down on paper this time but it could come up later in the 3 hour-exam time and throw off his carefully planned schedule. 3 essay questons -- 3 hours -- a half an hour for the first question, an hour and a half for the 2nd and the remaining hour for the third. Generally he found that there was usually 15-20 minutes left over for him to check over and read his work, making a few minor changes here and there but only if he could finish an exam without coming to one of those words. Casey doesn't remember when he created the list of 7 forbidden words. It could've have gone as far back as childhood because they just seemed to be there forever. Moving to a new city was strange in that he had to bring the list with him -- a crumpled up folded piece of paper always kept in the top drawer of a desk. If there was no desk it was always kept inside the dictionary his grandfather gave him, slipped in between the title page and not the front cover. People looked for things in the front covers of books and Casey knew this. The first question asked him to compare and contrast the differences between the main characters in two Dickens. Easy enough Casey though since he was a pretty big fan of Dickens, which was a strange thought in itself because really who was a fan of Dickens. But Casey admired his use of words in such a pragmatic way. The sheer fact that Dickens knew he was paid by the word and decided in order to amass enough money to make a living solely writing that he would decribe everything in great detail down to the dust motes in the corner of an old Victorian mansion. That awareness of the power of words really inspired Casey. The hall echoed with the scritching sounds of pens to paper. Casey stopped and looked around at everyone dilligently writing, with a few people starting at the ceiling and shaking their heads.

Gazelle was one of the words, vivisection was another. Both probably safe on this question. Casey continued to write making comparisons, parallells and juxtopostions between two made up people in two books written over a hundred years ago. He stopped for a moment, checked his watch and saw he was well ahead of schedule right now. Things were looking good and at this point nothing would stand in his way to finish this mini essay. Although question 2 was right around the corner.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jesse does a wheelie

Jesse wanted a BMX bike so bad he could taste it. There had been a number of time already where he had asked his parents if he could get one for his birthday, for Christmas and every other holiday where there were presents given. He was starting to feel like there was some strange conspiracy preventing him from having a BMX bike. Jesse wasn't a follower -- none of his friends had a BMX bike. In fact the fad with all his friends leaned towards your typical 10-speed. The strange thing was that there was no reason why he wanted that kind of bike, well except for one -- the desire to perfect the best wheelie. Even this he didn't want to show off to his friends but rather just to know for himself that he could do one.

This obsession with poppin' a wheelie became so apparently one day when he took his little sisters tricycle out for a spin and got up enough speed to get the front tire up in the air. But sadly only for a few seconds. The second time he tried to gain more speed by driving down a gravel hill. Gravel hills always scared Jesse because once his friend Steven built up way too much speed going down and ended up tumbling and scraping his face along the rocks. This was something that Jesse did not want to experience. But at this point, things were getting desperate. People gathered around and word spread through the city that a kid was planning on trying to pop a wheelie on tricycle was was literally 3 sizes too small for him. A crowd has already gathered at the hill when he came up looking pretty ridiculous in his baggy jeans on the tricycle. His sister in the distance was crying and screaming for Jesse to get off her only means of transportation especially since the Green Machine had to be put by the curb because another one of Jesse's friends who was too big for it sat on it and broke. Jesse's sister was heartbroken even though the Green Machine was Jesse's when he was younger.

The hill was large and the grey stones glimmered in the sunshine that day and at the top of the hill, Jesse looked over and saw the bottom and tried to map out in his head where the right point would be for him to attempt the wheelie. He began to pedal and the crowd gasped. In the seconds when he started tumbling down the hill Jesse heard his mother in the distance screaming out to him. He couldn't make out the 3 letters she was scream. He me next? What was she saying? He looked over and saw the line of people screaming by, trees, leaves, squirrels and then finally caught on in focus glimpse of his mother. She had beside her a shiny lime green BMX bike with a huge red bow attached to the front. Jesse blinked once trying to figure out if it was like the flash of a subliminal image, if it was actually a real thing since he only caught a second. The lime green image was left on his retinas as the world flew by. And in that moment of joy when he realized that his mother had FINALLY got him the only thing he ever wanted, he suddenly remembered where he was and what he was doing and what he was supposed to do in the proposed spot. The wheelie. He lost control of the pedals and let them take on a mind of their own and as the tricycle finally hit level ground he used all his strength and weight and lifted the wheel off the ground. He had done it and done it looking ridculous on a tricycle. He didn't need that flashy lime green BMX to make his dream come true. As the wheel hit the ground he turned around and looked up and saw the the crowd had disappated and all that was left was his sister screaming:

"Give me back my bike you jerk."
"Shut up! Where's mom?"
"Mom's not here, no one is."

Didn't like lime green anyway thought Jesse.