Thursday December 31st, 2015

The exercise:

On this, the final day of 2015, let us write about: sleep.

Had fun at the party tonight. The host's son fell asleep watching a movie in his parents room around nine. We took Max home shortly after that and he was tired enough that he was asleep around ten.

I'm not going to last much longer myself, so on with it we go.


I'll sleep when I'm dead
Is the last thing he said.
So I guess he was right,
Though this was not the night
He thought it would come true...
But then, neither did you.

Wednesday December 30th, 2015

The exercise:

With 2015 drawing to a close, let us write about something that is: around the corner.

Going to a New Year's Eve party tomorrow night. Don't worry, it will end well before midnight, as pretty much everyone invited has at least one young child. Still looking forward to it, as I haven't seen most of the people who should be there in a long time.

This morning I hauled some wood back to our house, which meant shoving a wheelbarrow through a snow-filled orchard. I think next time I'm borrowing the truck and bringing as much as I can chop.


It never seemed to matter where in the city Simon went, the Peterson brothers were always just around the corner. In an upscale neighbourhood or on a derelict street, they were never far away.

And Simon wanted so badly for the Peterson brothers to be far away.

At night, as he tried to fall asleep in his crowded motel room, he would wonder how they did it. It was like they knew where he was going next before he did. Which was impossible, really, seeing as Simon had been picking his destinations at random for the previous week. Sometimes he let the wind carry him with it; others he pushed against its strength.

Either way, he'd turn a corner and find them waiting for him. Sometimes with a knowing smile, other times with a hard stare, but most of all with a look of complete disinterest.

Simon found that last the worst. It was so... demoralizing. Just a reinforcement of the fact that they were always watching him and there was nothing he could hope to do about it.

Well, except kill them. But he had no reason to expect that to work, either. Not the way those two were armed and trained.

Besides, killing the Peterson brothers wouldn't get Simon his daughter back. That, it seemed, could only be achieved by doing what their boss had demanded of him. Which required the death of another individual. One who was proving to be extremely difficult to locate.

And Simon was running out of time to find his assigned target.

Tuesday December 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: maps.

At long last, Max's bed has been constructed and is currently in use. It was not without its final challenges this afternoon, but I had Kat's dad helping for a few minutes and that was enough to get it done.

And now I am looking at the blank wall behind his headboard and really wanting a large map of the world up there. Maybe with animals, appropriately geographically placed and all that.

I feel another internet wormhole coming on...


We should be hot. Why
are we cold? Oh, I see. The
map is upside down.

*     *     *

Pressed flat against the
tree stump with night closing in;
which path takes him home?

Monday December 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the accomplice.

We have returned home. Today was actually a pretty smooth trip, as Max was basically entertained by a video he was watching in the car and generally pretty excited about coming back to Osoyoos. The road got a bit dicey in places with snow and slush and ice, but it was manageable.

Now I am ready to sleep for a week. I'm sure Max will be agreeable to that as well, right?


I never did set out to be nobody's accomplice. I can promise you that much. Swear on my Mama's bible, on whatever page you like. I ain't got no reason to lie.

Richard was such a nice boy. Always polite to his elders, never mean to his classmates. Not even me, and everybody was mean to me. How could we not be best friends?

We had some fun, Richard and I. Nothing bad or dangerous or whatever. Just simple, innocent fun.

At least, I always thought it was. Looking back now though? I'm not so sure. Did he steal money out of my sister's purse when I wasn't looking? Did he keep some of those matchbooks when we was supposed to give them all back?

Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't. I never knew it if he did. I just helped him by distracting people or by carrying heavy things. There was even this one time when I got something off a really high shelf for him, what with... him... being... so... short... and...

You know what? Maybe he did just use me all along. Maybe Richard and I weren't never really friends. I dunno. There's one thing I do know, and it's this:

I never meant for nobody to get hurt.

And I'm real sorry somebody did get hurt.

Real, real bad.

Sunday December 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the association.

We've made it safely to Vancouver. Tomorrow we continue eastward to home.

P.S. I'm working on catching up on comments before year's end. Please don't let that be an indication that I don't want new comments before that time. This blog gets quite lonely without your input and feedback.


We were trying to catch the ferry that left Vancouver Island at 12:50 this afternoon, but we missed getting on it by a couple dozen cars. That meant we had to wait around for the 2:10 sailing (which ended up leaving closer to 2:30), so we spent most of that time in the little shopping and food court area of the ferry terminal.

At one point I needed to use the washroom, so I left Max with Kat and joined the lineup to use the facilities. When it was my turn I went into one of the two stalls and closed the door behind me.

The first thing that occurred to me was that the stall was designed exactly the same as the stalls on the ferries themselves. Same colour, same layout.

The next thing I noticed was the sensation of movement I felt, like I was on the ferry and the ship was rocking side to side.

That's a pretty strong association going on right there.

And that was before we got on our ferry and travelled through big waves to get back to Vancouver. Thankfully I didn't need to use the washroom onboard.

Then again, I'm still feeling that sensation of movement now that I'm in Kat's aunt's house. I'm hoping it goes away by the time I wake up tomorrow.

Saturday December 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the bargain hunter.

We're heading back to Vancouver tomorrow morning, then heading for Osoyoos on Monday. Feels like it's too soon to be leaving here.


Out fighting the crowds,
Looking for a deal;
If it costs too much,
He can always steal.

Friday December 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something that is: unwrapped.

Merry Christmas :)


I'm not sure what happened. We'd all done our best to keep it under wraps. Maybe a protruding nail was the source of our misery, or perhaps a careless footstep.

All I know for certain is that when I glanced behind me I saw that the mummy had been unwrapped and... well, I haven't had a proper's night sleep in the twenty years that have passed since that fateful moment.

Thursday December 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Feeling warm and happy tonight, with all of my family here in Comox for Christmas. I hope this Christmas Eve finds you feeling the same, wherever you happen to be and whoever you happen to be with.

Kat and I went out for lunch today, leaving Max at home with my parents. He wasn't particularly keen on letting us go but then he stuck one of his craft feathers in my hair and then he did the same to Kat and we both promised to wear our (pink) feathers until we returned. Satisfied, he returned to hiding feathers in my dad's hair.

We took ours off shortly after leaving the driveway but, to our credit, managed to remember to put them back on before re-entering the house.


"I don't have a problem."

"That's pretty clearly untrue, Rudolph."

"You're looking at a genetic issue, that's all."

"We're your friends, Rudolph. We're just trying to help you."

"This isn't my fault! I've done nothing wrong!"

"If you'd just stop lying to us and, more importantly, yourself then this wouldn't be necessary."

"I'm telling you, I don't have a problem!"

"Right. So where do you think all the eggnog went?"

"I don't know! Santa, maybe?"

"That's low, Rudolph. Really, really low. Even for an addict."

"I'm not an addict!"

"It's okay, Rudolph. You'll have plenty of time to learn acceptance and then work toward solving your problem a-"

"I don't have a problem!"

"At the Betty Ford Clinic."

Wednesday December 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the spike.

I just realized that I didn't do any sort of countdown to Christmas this year. I guess that says a lot about how distracted and busy I've been lately. Oh well, just two more sleeps to go!

My sisters and their partners are arriving tomorrow evening, so the whole gang will be together for the holidays for the first time in... quite a while. I'm not sure exactly how long it's been, to be honest. But I am completely certain that I'm very much looking forward to it.

Also: I'm aware that I'm horrendously behind on comments again. I'm just not sure when I'm going to find/make time to do something about it. Sorry.


This town has always been so safe. I grew up here. Spent my childhood wandering these streets, often by myself. I was never worried about my safety, was never given any reason to even think about it.

Lately, however, things have begun to change. The recent, sudden increase in violent crimes is startling. The people are growing fearful. The police have no leads - none, at least, that they are sharing with the public. Which is only making the citizens of my hometown all the more wary of leaving their houses after sundown.

The attacks have been random. Victims have had no consistent gender or age or even hair colour. The only feature that they share is that they were alone when they were assaulted. Well, that and there has yet to be so much as a single witness.

It is unnerving.

We are not used to this level of danger. In a small town like this one? Never. This sort of thing should be the sole domain of big cities. You live among so many people, you accept a certain amount of risk. You live in a place like this, you're supposed to find safety in your welcoming, protective neighbourhood.

I am left feeling sad and disappointed.

But what can I say? Times have been tough. And a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do to provide for his family. So I've done what I had to do.

And I will continue to do so until myself, and my family, are properly taken care of.

Tuesday December 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: bedtime routines.

While it clearly would have been a terrible idea to do the whole trip in one day, the second day of travel is always the worst with Max. He's just spent most of a day in a car, he's only had one night in his current location, and it really doesn't matter how excited he may have been at some point in the past about getting to our final destination.

He did not want to get back in the car this morning. Thankfully we had a break in the middle, as we took the ferry across to Vancouver Island. But even that first stretch, which only took about thirty-five minutes, was a hard sell.

The hour-long drive from the ferry terminal to my parent's house was never going to be easy.

Oh well, we're here now, at last. And we've got five nights before we have to make the return voyage. So I, personally, plan on enjoying them by being in the car as little as possible during that time.


This Sing the song is
again. And toddler again.
And again bedtime.

*     *     *

Brush my food and eat
my comb...? It would seem that my
insomnia's back.

Monday December 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that involves the phrase or concept of: are we there yet?

No internet Monday night, so I'm putting this up on Tuesday.

Tuesday's haiku prompt coming shortly.


Max does not enjoy long car trips.

I can't say I blame him; I don't really like being in the care for extended periods of time either. He, however, reaches his limit far, far sooner than I do.

Leaving Osoyoos Monday morning, we'd been very clear with him that we were heading for Vancouver which was a long way away. Like five or six hours door to door, including a stop for lunch. And that we had a big drive ahead of us. And we were going to drive for a long time, stop for lunch, and then drive some more before we reached Kat's aunt's house.

Even with all that, I knew not to expect him to really, really get it. But I was hoping for a little better than what we got.

Which was the following, about ten minutes after leaving Osoyoos behind: Are we there yet?

It was actually okay until the last hour or so, when he really lost it. Thankfully he fell asleep shortly after that and didn't wake up until we were almost there.

Sunday December 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: packing.

Well, that was a long day. But we're basically packed and ready to load up the car in the morning, save for a few refrigerated items and various bits that we still need to use before we leave the house.

Not sure if I'll have internet access tomorrow night and I'm not up to scheduling a post. So if the blog is quiet until Tuesday, that will be why. Most likely.

I should get some sleep.


"Are we forgetting anything?"


"Thanks, that's very helpful."

"Also: truthful. There's no way in hell we're going to remember to bring everything."

"Have a little faith, why don't you?"

"Because that's preposterously unrealistic? Look at all this stuff! Look at where we're going! We are, and I promise you this, guaranteed to get there and realize we didn't bring something we need within, at most, an hour of closing our hotel door behind us."

"Do you reckon the hotel's there have doors?"

"What, you want to bring one of ours? Just in case?"

"Yeah, add it to the list."

Saturday December 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the phantom.

Bed frame putting together party? Started out okay, hit a roadblock, figured out a way through the roadblock, hit another, bigger roadblock by getting a bolt stuck partway into a hole, and then... stripped the bolt head.

So bed frame putting together is on hold until after we get back from our Christmas trip because I've run out of time. We need to pack and run errands tomorrow and then we're leaving Monday morning. I'll probably need Kat's dad's help when I get back to figure out a solution to the bolt problem, but I'm hopeful that it'll get sorted out a lot easier without the time pressure of a week-long trip looming over me.

This evening we went to Kat's brother's house for an early Christmas dinner slash birthday party for my brother-in-law. Adam's birthday is on the 22nd but we'll be gone by then, and we also wanted to exchange presents with Kat's family before we hit the road.

It was a fun night. Max and Natalie especially enjoyed themselves. Hopefully all of his new things will keep him occupied while Kat and I try to pack tomorrow.


He walks these crowded streets,
As lonely as you or I.
Do you think he's living,
Or simply waiting to die?

Friday December 18th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: cobwebs.

Hey, remember this? Well tonight was my first shift since then. Needless to say, I remembered somewhere in between nothing and very little. I got through it, at any rate, and without too many missteps.

That I'm currently aware of.

Also today: I went and picked up Max's toddler bed frame. And it was, in actual fact, a toddler bed frame this time.

I didn't have time to put it together, what with working from 3 to 9, but Max isn't going to stand for that for much longer. So I'm pretty sure we'll be doing that tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how it goes.


It is... difficult for me to remember this. As I move through the dark forest of my memories I am entangled with cobwebs at every turn. Dust fills my nostrils, turns to filthy paste upon my tongue, blinds my aching eyes.

It is so very strange to think that this was all once profoundly familiar to me...

Thursday December 17th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the tunnel.

How have I not used that one before? Anyway, here we are.

Our washing machine stopped working a few days ago, quite out of the blue. I called a repairman to come check it out, dreading how much it might cost to fix it. Or worse, replace it.

He came this morning. Turns out? After checking out a couple of the internal thingamabobs (can you tell this is not my area of expertise?) it just needed to be reset. Which involved unplugging it for a minute and then... plugging it back it.

I guess when I was trying to figure out the issue on Monday night I only unplugged it for a few seconds. Silly me.


"They're saying on the radio that they've crossed the river."

"Well, there is a bridge over it, isn't there?"

"Our troops burned it down last week, remember? Hoping to keep these monsters at bay?"

"Ah, right. Didn't really work out so well, did it?"

"Aren't you afraid? They could be breaking down our door before midnight. Tonight!"

"Afraid? Me? No, no. I'm much more concerned about this port - I think it might have gone off. Do you remember when we opened it?"

"Have you gone mad? How can you be so calm?"

"Calm? I'm actually quite upset. I paid good money for this bottle!"

"Not about that, you dolt! About the men with guns, marching toward our home, who would just as soon shoot us in the face as look at us!"

"Oh. Them. No, can't say that they bother me much."

"And why not?"

"Well, my dear, you know that wine cellar I spent so much time building? The one you threatened to divorce me over several times?"

"... yes?"

"It is merely an access point to a tunnel that will take us far, far away from any danger those fools with guns may pose to our well-being."

"... it's what?"

"Speaking of which, we should probably get going. Be a dear and make sure to pack a bottle or three of red with your things?"

"... what?"

Wednesday December 16th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the snow prince.

What Max was actually saying, over and over, as he marched around the deck this morning was 'snow prints'. But the above got into my head and wouldn't let go and now here we are.

We did indeed make a snowman. Here's some proof:

He was very insistent that it have a carrot for a nose. Good thing we still have lots in storage.


The Snow Prince left snow prints in his wake as he crossed a meadow otherwise filled with green grass and pungent wildflowers. He had been travelling for several weeks but his pace remained steady, his focus unwavering. There was no option to slow down, no room for rest.

He was on his way south and time was not on his side.

For though his wintry boot prints lingered long after his passing, they would not survive indefinitely. The sun, which failed to penetrate the thick blue coat the Prince pulled tight around his stout frame, would eventually melt the snow. The puddles would turn to mud, and then no trace would remain.

The Snow Prince was so set on his destination that the only way he could find his way back to his northern home was to retrace his original path. If that disappeared before he could return to familiar landscapes... he would be lost.

And winter would envelope the world as another ice age took hold.

Tuesday December 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the studio.

It is snowing outside, something fierce. I think Max will be very excited tomorrow morning, as at the current rate there will be more than enough accumulated to make a snowman.

Also: there were two owls in the walnut tree in our front yard this evening. It was amazing how loud their hoots were, though there wasn't enough light to see them until they flew away.

Yes, I stood in our front doorway, letting the cold in, freezing my butt off in a t-shirt and pajama pants, staring up into the tree trying to see them. Though I was about to give up right before they took flight.


A smile on her face,
she practices her routine
with no end in sight

*     *     *

We make the movies
that people want to see. So
make the edits. Now.

Monday December 14th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the germ.

Spent the morning in town with Kat and Max, spent the afternoon with just Max, had pancakes for dinner for the first time in a very long time (hurray for Kat feeling up to it, though it was definitely a family affair in the kitchen), and am now half asleep on the couch.

I'm going to get this writing thing done before I progress to all the way asleep on the couch. Edit: Nope.

Oh, and daycare called this evening to say that two of the teachers have the flu so daycare is cancelled tomorrow. I'm not sure Max would have gone anyway, as the current version of the cold is hitting him pretty hard.

But it still sucks that we won't have the option.

We're leaving for my parents house next week to spend Christmas with my family, so Thursday will be his last chance for daycare before we go. Seriously considering keeping him home, regardless of how he and his teachers are feeling.

I think he's brought home enough germs from there for now.


I lurk in the dark
At the park,
Where no cloth
Will ever see.

I hog all the toys
From the boys
And girls but
Who could I be?

I am on their hands,
In their sand -
Here and there,

There's no killing me,
Just take your pick:
Which type of sick

Will you be?

Sunday December 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: showing off.

Natalie came over this afternoon to play with Max, mostly so that she could see his new room. They did manage to spend some time outside as well, and generally had their usual good time together.

We're back to pretty much everybody having a cold again, so that's fun.

Maybe if I got more sleep I'd start feeling better...

Eh, probably not.


"Oh no, not again."

"What's going on?"

"It's Pierre."

"Oh lord, what's he up to this time?"

"He must have found where I hid his keys... he just pulled our car out of the driveway and took off toward town."

"Oh? That doesn't sound so bad."

"He blindfolded himself first."

"Oh... I see."

"Well, that makes two of us."

Saturday December 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: not what I wanted.

So, remember how I ordered Max's toddler bed frame? I went to pick it up, along with two other packages (bedding and a bedside lamp) on Friday. Brought them home, didn't open the other two packages until after Max went to bed last night. Left the big box for today.

You know, didn't want to get into bed building while he was sleeping.

Turns out? Didn't have to worry about construction noise waking him up.

My swearing, on the other hand...

You see, the box did not have a bed frame in it. It had a bike. This bike, to be specific. Lovely, truly, but not at all what I ordered. Not even close. Well, I guess bike and bed both start with b. Otherwise...

I called Walmart once the shock wore off. The correct package is (hopefully) on its way now. I'll be returning this one. We went ahead and set up Max's room anyway, the mattress is just going to be on the floor for a few days.

He's super excited about the whole thing. Has no idea there's anything to be upset about.

Or how much his enthusiasm helped his dad calm down.


I spent so many years chasing
After the girl of my dreams.
But now life has reminded me
That nothing's as it seems...

Friday December 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the Christmas train.

It's been a long day, I'm tired, and it's late. So, basically, I'm just going with what we did tonight with Kat's family as our prompt.

Max enjoyed it a lot, as did Natalie. I thought it was okay. The visit from Mr and Mrs Claus was neat, and the banjo player doing Christmas carols on board was a definite highlight. I suspect we'll be doing it again, though perhaps not next year with two extra babies to consider.


We're heading for winter, we're a rolling down the tracks. The train is full of laughing Jennifers and joyous, shouting Jacks. Next stop is Christmas and there's no turning back!

Not even when the engineer has a heart attack...

Thursday December 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: restrained.

Max had a good day at... you know what? Maybe I should just be clear, up front, that the prompt has nothing to do with anything that happened today. I feel like maybe that's a good idea.

Anyway. Max had a good day at daycare today. The Mean Boy was nice today (he does that sometimes) and it sounded like he enjoyed the visit to the library for story time, as well as all the toys and crafts he got to mess around with at the center.

Kat had a talk with one of the teachers when she went to pick up Max and Natalie this afternoon. We've got a much clearer picture of what's going on with The Mean Boy - I think the details really shouldn't be discussed here - and hopefully we can help Max work through things now that we have some adult perspective on the situation.

In other news, Christmas is... fast approaching.


I don't know how this happened. I really don't. How did we get here? Do you know?

Everything is a blur for me. It's true. I remember the first time I saw you with ease. How could I forget that red dress you wore? I know I ordered a Guinness and you had a... a... what are those things called again? Right, a Bellini.

Disgusting nonsense, obviously, but I forgave you that.

Sinatra was on the stereo when we danced across the floor. Springsteen was blasting when we kissed. The taxi cab that took us to my apartment had one hubcap missing. The back right, if memory serves. We had no need for music on that ride.

The elevator ride was filled with your perfume and the taste of your lips. I don't know if we were alone. It didn't matter. I can see myself putting the key into the lock on my door. Turning to usher you into my humble domain. The smile on your face as you took in the view from the twentieth floor.

And then.

And then? What came next? Did you say something? Did I? No, why would we have said anything at all. Words were not why we were there.

How long ago was that? Only a week? That cannot be right, surely! It is a grey fog in my thoughts, our time together. I should have taken more pictures, more video. I want to treasure our togetherness. I'm sure you do too. But then, perhaps your memory is clearer on the matter of us than mine is.

Enough! All this talking has dried my lips. Would you like a glass of water as well? No, no, don't get up, I'll get them.

Oh, right, you can't get up. Goodness me, it would seem I've even forgotten about the ropes! Forgive me, but the kitchen is at the other end of my apartment. That, sadly, means the gag has to go back in. So just... hold... still...

Wednesday December 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: denial.

Max spent the day with Kat's mom and Natalie while Kat and I went up to Penticton for a midwife appointment. Probably the quickest one yet, thanks to us having hardly any questions. Heard the baby's heartbeat and were on our way.

We also took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping and to go out for lunch. Neither of us had much energy, thanks to Kat's lingering cold and my new minor cold, but it was still a nice outing.


Snow fell heavily that night, blanketing the ground around the house with a white so pure it could have been Earth's wedding dress. He stood at the living room window, an empty glass in his hand, and watched the drifts grow higher and higher.

When dawn broke all that had changed was that he had brought a chair to the window to sit in. The glass was still empty, his eyes were still focused on the snow. Sleep had not deprived him of a moment of the storm's progress.

Although it is entirely likely he was not aware that it was snowing at all.

His thoughts, you see, were far away. His focus, unwavering as it was, did not lay on the weather. Not how it might affect his day, nor his work, not even his car, which was by then barely visible in the driveway. No, his mind belonged to not a what, but a who.

And that who was a she.

And that she... was not coming back.

No matter how long he might wait.

Tuesday December 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: daycare.

I haven't mentioned it previously, but Max started going to daycare just over a month ago. He's there two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), which matches up with when his cousin Natalie is there. We started out wanting to just do mornings for the first two weeks but by the second Thursday he was doing morning and afternoon - mostly because he had no interest in leaving when we arrived to pick him up before lunch the first three days.

It's generally been going very well so far, but there is another boy who goes there who Max referred to as 'The Mean Boy' for the first couple of weeks because of what sounded like a fairly harmless incident. But he's still talking about him after pretty much every visit to daycare (by name now) so I think we're going to have to talk to his teachers to get a better idea of what's going on.

I've seen this boy on a couple occasions when I've dropped Max off and he's a bit taller and definitely more aggressive than my little dude. Hopefully we can get this figured out, because Max seems to really enjoy pretty much every other aspect of being there.

Plus, you know, it's a nice break for his parents too.


One child, two child, three
child, four. Five... hold on. Didn't
I start with just three?

*     *     *

Look, Dada! I made
a snowman with marshmallows!
Where are - I ate them.

Monday December 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the pattern.

I've got a pretty solid headache, so I think I'll just get to the writing and then go to bed.


"Do you recognize it?"

"I'm... I'm not sure."

"What? What do you mean, you're not sure?"

"I'm pretty sure there's not much room for interpretation on that one. I'm not sure means I'm not fu-"

"Okay, okay. So what do we do?"

"There's no way we open the hatch if we're not absolutely sure it's him."

"But what if it is him? What if he's just standing out there, in the open, with the Hunters closing in on him?"

"What do you want me to do? Throw open the only obstacle between our safety and certain death because maybe that was the right knock code? What if that's a Hunter out there? What if it's twenty?"

"He should have returned by now. It must be him."

"If it is him, he'll repeat the pattern. That's the understanding. You knock. If no one opens the door, you wait two minutes and do it again. We just have to wait."

"What if waiting means he dies right outside our door?"

"Better him than all of us."

"... if the knock comes again, you better listen real hard."

"Oh yeah? And why is that?"

"Because if you're not sure again and it sounds even remotely right to me... I'm opening the hatch."

Sunday December 6th, 2015

The exercise:

Today we make our final visits to The Colony. A part of me, a big part actually, wants to say Already? But it is indeed true. It ends here.

I'm going to assume that mine will get long, so I'll just get straight to it.


They are inside the compound.

We've locked ourselves in the infirmary. The computer has changed the access code, so if they need medical supplies they're not getting any of ours. We've brought as much of our rations as we could squeeze into the already cramped space, so they won't be looting that either. Everything else, I guess, is fair game.

Because they are inside the compound.

Vassily has two men with him. They split up shortly after entry and appear to be communicating via headsets. We're tracking their movements on three video monitors and the computer keeps offering to scramble their equipment. I've told it no, every time. We'll wait them out in here. They have to go away eventually.


They outnumber us three to two. Back home on the farm, I'd sometimes try to take on both of my brothers at once. There was only one time it worked out in my favor, and that was when Morris had a cast on his left hand and couldn't grip anything (my hair, in particular) with it. Besides, I'm not sure Robbie could take any of them one on one. Sure, they're isolated now, but how long would that really last if we stepped outside this room?

We're each still carrying two coils of rope, just in case. Otherwise we're unarmed. Our intruders all have knives of varying, lethal sizes. This would not end well if we dared to confront them. Not now, at least. Not like this. We just have to stay hidden. It's our best chance of survival.

You should not be hiding.

"Not now, computer," I whisper. One of Vassily's men is in the hall, approaching our location slowly. I don't need another offer to jam their comm devices.

They will sabotage the compound. They will leave traps for you.

"Shut up, computer."

If they do not find you now, they will come back later.

"And we'll be more prepared for them next time." Robbie and I exchange glances. I don't think either of us believes my words.

This will not do.


The intruder is two doors down. He's taking great care to listen at every door, try every handle. Suddenly the face of each man on the monitors contorts in pain and they rip off their headsets in unison. From the hallway I can hear a muffled shout.

You cannot hide.

"Computer! What are you do-"

You will not hide.

The infirmary door slides open.

Saturday December 5th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the cheerleader.

Took a family trip up to Penticton today to run a couple errands. After lunch, while Kat was finishing off the shopping, Max and I hung out at Jumping Beans. It's been a long time since we've been there and he had a blast.

No parade videos on the computer required today, but he's bound to remember that promise eventually.


He's just there to meet girls,
What else can he say?
He's not about to tell
Everyone he's gay...

Friday December 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: no shame.

This evening we took Max to our town's annual Santa Claus Parade. It may be small and over with pretty quickly, but it's quite well attended and definitely worth the outing for the little ones, if all the excitement around us was any indicator.

Although, for some, it was perhaps a little too short.

"Did you like the parade Max?"

"Yeah, it was so much fun!"

"That's great!"

"... I want another parade," he said in full on Pout Mode.

I've promised to find him a bigger Santa parade to watch on the computer tomorrow. Maybe this one will do the trick.


"Please, Madam... can you spare some change?"

"Tell me, young man, how much is that suit you're wearing worth?"

"Oh, it cost me about twenty-five hundred... that's kind of why I'm out here!"

The elderly woman walked away, leaning heavily on her cane, muttering something that sounded terribly close to Kids these days.

Thursday December 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the conversion.

We're in the process of converting our extra/guest/office/storage room into Max's room. We've picked out a toddler bed (it's on its way in the mail) and bedding (also on its way), so now we're working on clearing out the room to make space for him and his things.

It's a combination of throwing stuff out and moving stuff into our bedroom. This afternoon I finally took down our old, falling apart dresser (might turn a couple pieces of it into extra shelves in our room) and cleared out my part of the closet so that all my clothes fit either on the hangers or on the shelf. Which also involved tossing a whole lot of old clothes that I'd been using for work around the farm.

Now we need to move a desk and a couple of filing cabinets into our room and do some more tidying up (which will likely involve putting quite a bit of stuff into storage in our basement).

It'll be nice once everything is finished. Hopefully Max will be excited to have his very own room.

At least at some point before his little brother arrives on the scene.


"Dude, what's wrong?"

"I dunno, man. I'm, like, confused."

"Oh, wow... did you hit the bar already? We haven't even checked into our hotel yet!"

"No way, bro. I haven't had a drink since we left the plane."

"Pacing yourself, right on. Smart move. So what's going on?"

"Well... I just met up with this dude outside to convert my cash into the local currency, right?"

"Uh... bro?"

"And, like, I'm not sure he was straight with me, you know? I feel like maybe he didn't give me as much back as he should have."

"Um, bro?"


"You know we're still in America... right?"

Wednesday December 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the ribbon.

I'm thinking either Thursday or Sunday for our final visit to The Colony. We'll see if I have some time and inspiration tomorrow, but I suspect the weekend is more likely at this point.

Looked for work in the morning, ran some errands in and around town in the afternoon. Not a super exciting day. At least it was slightly warmer out there.


"You have a very impressive trophy case."

"Thank you."

"And did you win all of these yourself?"

"How else do you suppose I would get them?"

"Well, there are a lot of statuettes and plaques for school accomplishments..."

"Yes, I was quite the athlete in high school."

"... from a lot of different schools..."

"My family... moved around a lot."

"... over the course of about twelve... no, fourteen years."

"You have a keen eye for detail, don't you?"

"I've been told that on an occasion or two, yes."

"Then I'm sure you'll have noticed that there no ribbons for academic success anywhere in my collection."

Tuesday December 1st, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something(s): mythical.

Max went to bed late last night (almost literally kicking and screaming) and then woke up early this morning. I think he might be almost as sleep deprived as I am. At least he seems to have gotten over his most recent cold in record time.

In other news: warmer weather, I'm ready for you to arrive. Like, now. Please.

Right. Now.


Legends of his life
grow with each passing year for
he was the victor

*     *     *

What the hell is that?
Well, one day a unicorn
met a suave dragon...

Monday November 30th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: under the table.

We've gone sailing past his third birthday and one of Max's favorite places remains under the table - whether we're at home or at our coffee shop. Only difference now is that he tends to hit his head more often.

Got some more wood to the house this morning as it was another frigid day. Things are expected to warm up to more reasonable temperatures by Wednesday or Thursday. Which I'm very much looking forward to.

Tonight's overnight low of -10? Less so.


The pub wasn't as busy as I'd hoped it would be, but I still figured it was noisy and crowded enough to serve my purpose. I found an empty booth along the wall opposite the entrance and slid onto my seat. A waitress materialized faster than I expected and I ordered a pitcher of their cheapest beer and two empty glasses to keep it company.

I took off my jacket, placed it on the bench beside me, and picked up a greasy menu to give my hands something to do while I waited. A quick glance at its contents confirmed that my decision to eat before arriving was a good one.

The beer and my guest arrived at the same time, which I'm certain was no coincidence. He gave her a big smile and an overly enthusiastic thank you (especially considering that he hadn't ordered, nor would he be paying for it) and she brushed him off with practiced ease.

"Evening Charlie," he said as he poured himself (and not me) a glass. "What do you want?"

"Hi Skip," I said, dropping my hands to my lap (let him have the swill). "The usual."

"You got the money?" he asked before taking a rather large sip. He made a pained face (that I found satisfying to an embarrassing degree) but said nothing about the beer. Instead: "Make it quick. I got places I need to be."

"Sure." I pulled a thick envelope from my jacket pocket then froze. I didn't make the rookie mistake of looking around to see if anyone was watching, but it was terribly tempting. "You came by yourself, right?"

"Don't be stupid," he said with a genuine look of disgust. "You know I don't have anybody to bring with me."

"Right," I said with an uneasy smile and stuffed the envelope back into the depths of my jacket. "My bad, my bad."

"What's the hold up, man?" I could practically feel his fingers grasping at the air under our table. "Hand it over so I can get out of here."

"Sorry, Skip." I scanned the room then, slowly (because screw him or her or whoever - they weren't getting anything from me that night). "Change of plans."

Sunday November 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the wizard and his robot.

The inspiration for this one is long and not particularly interesting, so I'll save you the details. So I shall say instead: I'm glad this prompt came to me and I think it should be a lot of fun to work with.

We had some friends and their three year old daughter (the one born four days after Max) over for dinner this evening. Lots of chaotic fun. And now I am tired. So...



The wizard, sat behind an oak desk nearly as wide as the cluttered room he called his library, looked up from the open tome he had been studying. His expression remained neutral as he watched his robotic servant wheel into the room with soft beeps, trailing clouds of steam behind it.


"You forgot two of the ingredients you need for the spell you are working on." The robot placed two foul-smelling bundles side by side on the only part of the desk not already covered by something else. "Two pounds of fish intestines and half a pound of pickled unicorn horn."

"Ah, yes, of course," the wizard said with a shake of his head. "I have been so absent-minded of late, haven't I? So silly of me. I can hardly believe all the things I've misplaced and mislabeled in the last week alone! And now... this!"

"Have no fears, Master. I won't let you forget anything important. That is, after all, why you created me."

"Indeed, indeed. Thank you very much for fetching and delivering these for me." The wizard eyed the new arrivals on his desk with an unreadable expression (even for robots) on his face. "I know better, I think, than to ask where you got the horns from."

"Also why you have me, Master. I will be down the hall if you need anything else."


The wizard watched the robot exit the room and then roll out of sight to the right. He scratched his tangled white beard, then arranged the sparse hairs attempting to cover his scalp. He almost returned to his book before remembering the ingredients that had just been delivered.

He took a bundle in each hand, making sure the two packages did not touch each other, then placed the fish intestines in a black sack before placing the unicorn horns on a shelf high enough that he had to stand on a small stack of books to reach it.

Satisfied that the two items, which emitted a toxic gas when they came in contact with each other, were a safe distance apart, he returned to the open tome on his desk. He forced himself not to hurry, but the desire to find a way to destroy the robot he had created had intensified tenfold after their most recent encounter.

Saturday November 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: coughing.

Had a bit of a festive day around here. Visited a Christmas craft fair in town this morning, put up some lights and decorations around the house after lunch, and then checked out a nearby winery's festival of trees event just before dinner.

Little earlier than usual, but it seemed like the things to do with a Saturday that had nothing on the calendar. Max appreciated it, at any rate. Even while putting up with his newest cold.

And Kat enjoyed it as well, despite her lingering cold.

If anyone needs me, I'll just be over in this corner pretending that I'm not about to get sick again.


It starts with a tickle,
Of the worst possible kind.
It feathers my throat and...
Find something to hide behind!

Friday November 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the long haul trucker.

It is frickin' cold out there. Thankfully I've had the fireplace going strong all day so I don't feel it right now. Of course, I'm going to need to grab a few more pieces of wood from out front before I go to bed...

Not so much looking forward to that.

Got a few errands done in town this afternoon. Should have done a few more. Involving purchasing enough food to last for the next three months.

Because I'm about ready to hibernate.


The road can be a lonely place. Voices on the CB try to keep me company but it's not the same. As much as I try to put on a brave show, try to pretend that it doesn't bother me... it does.

So that's why I have a tendency to pick up some rather oddball hitchhikers...

Thursday November 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the butcher.

Found a couple of interesting jobs to apply for today. So fingers crossed one of them works out!

And... more company tonight. I think he's getting a little too used to this routine. I'd been getting to bed earlier the last couple of nights but... not early enough tonight, it would seem.


It is... difficult for me to function... normally these days. Retirement... does not agree with me. I think, perhaps, that I performed one job for too long. As hard as that is for me to accept.

Kids these days, they change jobs every month, it seems. Go back to school once a year, get all trained up to do something completely different... and tire of that, too. On to the next adventure!

Maybe that should have been my path, as well. The only problem with that, of course, is that I loved my work. Could never imagine myself doing anything else, really.

But now... my body has betrayed me. These once steady hands shake too much. These muscles, once like iron, have grown soft and weak. My mind, though... my mind... well.

It would be nice if my mind could let the past stay in the past. But it continues to see where things ought to be chopped, ought to be sliced. Only I no longer have slabs of meat on a cutting board on which to practice my art. No butcher shop in which to perform my work.

Instead I walk the streets. I sit in parks. People are everywhere. But my mind does not see men, women, children. It just sees meat... and it won't stop telling me where to chop, where to slice...