Saturday February 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something or someone that is: timid.

All right, the caulking is over and done with. Such a frickin' messy job.

So what's left for the bathroom reno? Put in the shelves we bought this morning, construct a proper patch in the ceiling for the attic access, and paint. I think that's it. Oh, and make a little mini-shower curtain for the window, in order to keep water from collecting in there when we shower.

Almost there. Thankfully. Though I'm pretty sure Max would like it to go on for at least another year.

He was literally running around the house this afternoon, bringing tools out, 'fixing' things with them, and then rushing off to put them away so he could grab another one. It's hard to send him away when he gets so excited, but at some point it's far too much trouble having him around if we want to actually get any work done. Or too dangerous.

The plan tomorrow is to get our first seeds of the year started in the greenhouse. Because, somehow or another, it's that time of year again.


They kept urging him not to be
As timid as his old man,
So he sucker punched the bully...
Then he ran and ran and ran.

Friday February 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the saboteur.

How is it the second last day of February already? March begins on Sunday? Craziness.

Kat's dad and I got the shower rod and light fixture installed this afternoon. I was supposed to do the caulking work afterward but I ran out of steam, so that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Part of the reason I didn't have the energy for more renovation fun was that I spent the morning with Max, getting reacquainted with our home town. We hit our favorite coffee shop, the hardware store, and a couple other places we used to frequent.

Ran into a few people we know as well, which is always nice. It's good to be back.


The street market is crowded, full of impatient shoppers with sharp elbows and sharper glares - not to mention the soldiers, both uniformed and undercover. It's unpleasant as hell, but it's also popular for a very good reason: the best produce in the city can be found here.

Which is all well and good, but I need to find my contact somewhere in this mess.

Or perhaps not... though I'll have to wait until I reach a more private location before I can confirm that the new weight in my back pocket is indeed the information on my next target.

Thursday February 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about someone or something that is: bitter.

Back home in Osoyoos. Even with the unfinished bathroom it feels nice. And Max, quite unsurprisingly, was thrilled to spend the afternoon at Grandma and Papa's house while I did some reno work with Kat's dad.

We got the toilet reinstalled, the shower fixtures back in, and some trim and finishing work done. Still need to do more caulking and get the shower rod up, along with some other finishing stuff, but we're close. I think.

Famous last words.

Anyway. It's nice to be basically living in one place again. Even if we're only here for a week before we hit the road.


As I walk these streets. As I sit at my desk and try to accomplish anything work related. At each meal, every single bite. As I get into bed at night, remaining until sleep comes for me at long last. In my dreams.

There is no escape. It follows me everywhere, at all times.

I've tried evading its clutches with drugs. Killing it with alcohol. Distracting myself with gambling, thrill-seeking, beautiful (and not so beautiful) women. Nothing works. Nothing relieves my suffering, not even for a moment.

I am tired of it. So very, very tired.

An ending is required. A final chapter to the horror story that has become my life since you left. I cannot continue much longer. I must find a way to rid myself of the bitter taste in my mouth that appeared the instant you turned away. I must find solace. I must find peace.

I must, I must, I must...

Wednesday February 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the puppet.

Spent most of the morning at the play cafe with Max while Kat ran some errands in Penticton. She picked us up and we went for lunch before running a couple more together and heading home.

I managed to use some of my time to myself this afternoon to get caught up on comments once again. That actually felt like an accomplishment, as posts without a response from myself were about to start heading onto the second page of the blog.

This evening we began the task of packing our things up, as tomorrow we return to Osoyoos. I'll be back here on Tuesday to finish cleaning and collecting whatever doesn't fit into the car this time, otherwise our time here is at an end.

We won't be in Osoyoos for very long though, because a week today we'll be leaving for Vancouver. We'll spend four or five nights there before going over to Vancouver Island to spend a week at my parents place.

Looking forward to reconnecting with friends and getting Max some more quality time with his Nana and Pop.


In the black
Of this box
You cannot see
My purple socks,
And my pants
(A dark green)
Must remain
Sadly unseen.

It's lonely
Down in here;
Feels like it's
Been a year
Since the sun
Shined on me
And I smelled
The salty sea.

Surely soon
I will be freed
From this dark
My master
Will finally come
To shove his hand
Right up my bum.

Tuesday February 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: narcolepsy.

Eh, seemed appropriate with all the late night naps I've been having.

Brought Max back to the local library for story time this morning. The librarian read a few bedtime themed children's books and then I helped Max make a night sky (black paper, glued on a white moon, placed an abundance of sticker stars, drew a face on the moon, and then continued to draw all over the place as Max saw fit).

This afternoon we had a Skype chat with my parents, who we will be visiting in... oh hey, exactly two weeks today. That's coming up pretty quick all of a sudden.

Wanted to share this picture I took of Max at the play cafe yesterday - a rare moment alone in the bouncy castle:

I know Max will love living a five minute walk from Kat's parents once we're back in Osoyoos, but I'm also certain he'll be less than thrilled at being so far away from this fun wonderland.


A comfortable
seat, nice music... and now he's
out behind the wheel

*     *     *

They say I have a
problem. I say they should make
things more interesting.

Monday February 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that is: uncanny.

Had fun driving around and taking pictures this morning. Went out for a look around White Lake and Twin Lakes, then came back through OK Falls and around the east side of Skaha Lake up to Penticton. I only had a very general idea of where I was going in the first stage, but it proved to be good enough.

I took this shot while I was trying to figure out which way to go to get down to the shore at Twin Lakes:

Turned out? Not this way.

At least I didn't go much further before realizing I needed to turn around.

This afternoon I hung out with Max at the play cafe while Kat taught yoga and ran some errands. It always feels like there are a thousand little interactions when we're there and I want to share most of them.

But it's late and any one of them would take some time to tell, so I'll just say 'My son is friggin' awesome' and leave it at that for now.


I can't stop staring at the woman standing alone at the other end of the bar. High heels, short black dress, curly blonde hair. She's checking her watch when she's not keeping an eye on the door, and when she's not doing either of those things she's swirling the ice in her drink.

It's all rather captivating, but not the reason she's got me looking.

I mean, I'm trying not to be obvious about it. And I don't think she's noticed yet. But it's only a matter of time if I keep this up.

The bartender returns, asks if I want another. Maybe I should send a drink her way. Probably not a good idea. Besides, what if proximity ruins the effect? Best to keep my distance, just take in the view from here.

But I'm telling you, man, it's crazy how much she looks like my sister. Damn, do I ever still miss her...

Sunday February 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the hole in the wall.

Had a nice, lazy Sunday with my family. Pancakes and bacon for breakfast, a short walk in the neighbourhood, watched a few videos. Just what the doctor ordered.

Hoping to go for a photography outing tomorrow morning. Will share a few of the results if that happens.


"Jeez, Dad... where did you get that hideous painting?"

"It was up in the attic, buried under a box of your mother's clothing. It was the only thing I could find on such short notice."

"There's no way this belonged to Mom... wait, what? Short notice? What was the hurry?"

"I needed to cover the hole in the wall."

"What? A hole in... what happened while I was out? I was only gone for like twenty minutes!"

"Had a little accident. Nothing major, really. The hole isn't even that big, in my opinion."

"Not sure I believe that."

"Huh? Why not?"

"If it's not very big, why rush to cover it up?"

"Oh, well... the voice coming from inside the wall was very adamant about maintaining his privacy."

Saturday February 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the sample.

Took a family trip up to Kelowna this morning to visit their indoor winter farmers market and do a little bit of shopping. We managed to find Max a new pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that became too small late last year, as well as a sunhat for the coming summer.

Food-wise at the market, we got a lot of local meat (chicken and pork), eggs, a bag of parsnips, and a bunch of pears (Max's current favorite fruit).

We almost made it back home without any issues, but then Max decided he'd had enough time in the car about five minutes before we reached Kaleden. He was definitely tired as well, as he fell asleep shortly after we got him in the house.

We also went for lunch while we were in Kelowna and I made the mistake of eating all of my meal, rather than getting the second half of it bagged up to bring home. I don't know why I do that sometimes. Felt so gross and overstuffed afterward.

I'd like to think I've learned my lesson but... probably not.


They said that they needed
A sample of my DNA;
I gave them my three kids
And told them to go away

Friday February 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: the motorcycle.

Went for coffee/snack time and then groceries with the little man this morning. Probably should have reversed that order if I wanted a less hectic time in the grocery store. The longer he's out, the more comfortable he is being out.

Which leads to things like insisting on having his own basket to carry around and wandering off to 'check something over here'.

We managed to get most things we needed in the end, at any rate.

This afternoon I managed to make a little more progress on my novel revisions. Tiny step by tiny step.


The roar of the engine as it starts reverberates around our neighbourhood almost every single morning. We all know where it's coming from - it's almost comforting in its predictability and reliability. I suspect more than a few homes use its rumble as their alarm clock.

The little boy calls his four wheel ride on toy his motorcycle, and who are we to argue - especially when he's become so good at the sound effects that go with it?

Thursday February 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: identification.

Another morning spent at the play cafe. It was a bit quieter today, which was nice - for both of us, I think. Max seems to do better one on one with other kids, and there were more opportunities for that this time.

It's been a pretty long week of mostly looking after Max, so I'm very much looking forward to having some time to myself tomorrow.


It took a long, long time for the forensic team to make a positive identification on the remains. The damage was that complete, the subject so unrecognizable. To be honest, it's surprising that they stuck with the investigation long enough to uncover the truth.

But stick with it they did, like the true professionals they are. I can only imagine the waves of nausea they fought back when they first saw the remains. The depths of their disgust as they began to poke and prod must have been staggering.

Such admirable tenacity. Bless those brave fools.

For at last, in the end, the kids did manage to reveal that the meal on their dinner plates was, in a previous life, chicken with a side of roasted vegetables.

Wednesday February 18th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: balance.

This morning I took Max to the play cafe once again. This time we were both fully healthy, so there were no concerns about appearing sick. Just lots of climbing and painting and sliding and playing in the mini-kitchen.

A good chunk of the afternoon was spent in the backyard again, which was a little less pleasant than last time - thanks entirely to a surprisingly (to me at least) chilly wind. Max, of course, didn't seem to notice the cold until he was ready to come back inside.


"We here at Henri's Investment Distribution Networks are big believers in work/life balance," the nameless man behind the desk told me. Well, he wasn't technically without a name, I suppose - he just hadn't told me what it was.

"That's a relief," I replied, looking up at him from my wobbly stool. "I'd recently heard a lot of stories to the contrary."

"Ah yes, those." His eyes narrowed and his lip curled. "Simply a matter of fired employees who are lashing out after finding out they just didn't cut it here. A bunch of simple-minded, socially inept, worthless sacks of sh-"

"Surely you must be aware," I dared to cut in, "that many of those tales come from former employees who quit of their own accord?"

"Quitters never win. And winners never quit." He placed his forearms on the desk and leaned forward to glare down at me. "That, I hope, is something we can agree on?"

"Certainly." He'd really left no room for argument.

"Good." There was a long, uncomfortable silence before he spoke again. "I see that this is your first time applying for this position, despite it having been posted multiple times in the past six months."

"Yes, about that -"

"Poor hiring choices by my predecessor. Mistakes that I do not intend to repeat." His nose wrinkled as though he detected something foul in the air.

"I can't say that I agree with that," I said, sitting up a little straighter. "I happen to be very good friends with one of those 'poor hiring choices' and I know for a fact that he is a very hard worker with skills and knowledge well beyond this position. When Roberto wa-"

"Oh! You're a friend of Roberto?" I nodded mutely and a viper's smile appeared on his face. "That changes everything. I have someone you simply must meet."

"That's not necessary," I said as he reached for the intercom. "I'm quite certain I'm no longer int-"

"Hush, now," he said before pressing the button that connected him to his secretary. "Grace, be a dear, won't you, and get Henri over here as soon as possible."

Tuesday February 17th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something: ancient.

Took Max to story time at the local library this morning. He was a little shy around all the other kids but he seemed to enjoy himself. Was definitely excited to make a craft (I helped him make a monster bookmark after the librarian read a few kids books about monsters).

It was a beautiful day, if a little on the chilly side, so we spent a good portion of the afternoon playing in the backyard. Because he's figured out how to open (and close and lock) the sliding door that goes from the dining area to the back deck.

So he's enjoying that freedom. More than I am, but I'm gradually getting used to it.


The faded words on
these torn and dusty pages
still possess power

*     *     *

Brittle bones, skin like
melted wax, the stench of death -
visiting Gran's house.

Monday February 16th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the burglar.

Kat is still dealing with the lingering effects of her cold, so I spent most of today with Max. I had a little time to myself this morning, which was mostly used to get caught up on comments once more.

This evening I went into Penticton to get some groceries and brought my camera along to try out some night photography. Didn't end up taking all that many pictures, but I like this one:

Will have to go out with a plan of things I want to shoot next time, as finding good vantage points was a bit difficult in the dark. It was fun though, especially the part where I felt like anybody watching me would think I'm up to no good.

Dressing in an all black outfit probably didn't help.


He's out there,
Tiptoeing through the night,
Intent on staying
Forever out of sight.

But the dogs
Are howling on his trail,
Leading angry men
Who do not care for jail.

In their arms
They carry justice of sorts:
Guns, bludgeons,
Things frowned upon by courts.

He's out there,
Knowing he can't be caught,
Using the tricks
That his old man had taught.

And all along,
From shadows he knows so well,
Death watches,
Ready to drag him back to hell.

Sunday February 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the wire.

Back in Kaleden again. Most of the last couple days were spent putting up drywall in our bathroom, which is now more or less done. The tub surround still needs to be installed, the hole around our new bathroom fan needs to be properly finished, and Kat and I need to pick out a new light to go above the sink.

Other than that... oh, I guess we'll need to do some painting as well, where the new drywall shows.

We've got another two and a half weeks here in Kaleden, and then we're going on a big trip to the coast and island, so hopefully by the time we get back from that and are living in Osoyoos full-time again, everything will be finished.

Fingers crossed, and all that good stuff.


I hurry across the parking lot, wire clothes hanger in hand. The salesman in the department store had parted with it with surprisingly little hassle. Well, I suppose he's not getting paid enough to care what I need it for. I didn't even need to bore him with my sad sack story about locking my keys inside my car.

It seems like there are more cars out here than people in the mall. More are arriving every second too, circling for open spaces like four-wheeled vultures. If I had more time I'd grab a coffee and sit and enjoy the show.

I'm headed for the back corner of the lot. Despite its distance from the nearest door, there are few unoccupied spaces even out here. In this heat, anyone hauling shopping bags this distance is liable to drop dead from a heart attack.

But all I've got is this hanger, which I'm bending into a new shape as I move. I spot the red pickup truck with the dented rear bumper and breathe a sigh of relief. Still there.

I slow my pace and look around to see if any nosy parkers are lurking. Expecting and finding none, I smile before dropping to my belly and sliding under the truck. I'll wait here for as long as it takes for its owner to return.

And when he does, I'll wrap this wire around his throat and squeeze until I'm able to forget about seeing this truck parked in front of my ex-wife's house two nights ago.

It might take a lot of squeezing.

Saturday February 14th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: romance.

Squeezing this in before I lose internet access for the evening.


Flowers, chocolate,
Sweet, lovely things are said
(And sometimes meant) -
Who says romance is dead?

Friday February 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: tracing.

Sorry for the late post, I didn't get a chance to use the laptop yesterday. Not sure how likely a timely Saturday post is going to be, but I'll do what I can.


Byron's finger moved in slow circles, around and around and around. He'd been doing that a lot since his run-in with Evander King. It was as though he didn't want to forget the precise location the barrel of Evander's gun had pressed against his forehead.

At least, not until he had exacted his revenge.

Thursday February 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the third wheel.

I figured it was about time I revisited the gang.

Max and I made our triumphant return to the play cafe this morning. When Kat found out that was where we were headed she told Max, "Hurray! Because you're healthy enough to go there again!"

To which I replied: "Close enough."

Thankfully I only had to wipe his nose once while we were there, and I think he coughed one other time as well. He's definitely at the end of this illness and certainly past the contagious stage... but that's not necessarily obvious to an outsider, and I didn't want to get grief from any of the other parents there.

We're heading back to Osoyoos tomorrow morning for a visit and so that I can get some more work in on our bathroom renovation. The plan is to come back on Sunday morning and I don't know how much internet access I'll have until then.

So if a post doesn't show up tomorrow or Saturday (or both), that will most likely by why.


It's kind of funny, when I take the time to think about it. Even though I'd known Tammy for over a year before I met Crystal, whenever we were all together I always thought of Tammy as the third wheel.

We'd gotten along pretty well during that time - still do, I guess I should point out. But a close bond never really developed, for various reasons. I guess chief among those was how much time she spent with the thoughts swirling around in her brain.

She'd share a lot of them... eventually. And the vast majority of them were fascinating to me. But in between those bouts of gregariousness there was a whole lot of silence. Comfortable, for the most part, but I'm the sort of girl that enjoys a little more conversation than that. Someone a little more outgoing and fun and spontaneous.

Someone like Crystal.

Tammy, with her short, messy brown hair and conservative outfits (a skirt that revealed her kneecaps? Must have been a mix-up in the laundry room!) and preference for old movies over nights at the club. She never wore glasses but I've always thought she ought to, if that makes any sense. Next to Crystal, the statuesque, fun-loving blonde with the flirtiest damned smile I have ever seen, it's little wonder who I'd rather hang out with on Friday or Saturday or... pretty much any night of the week, actually.

I think Tammy was aware of her place in our trio. She's too smart to not have noticed. She seemed perfectly okay with it though. I think that's one of the reasons our gang worked so well together. We each knew where we stood and had no complaints about our position.

Tammy was the cerebral one, the thinker. If that meant she often didn't have much to say, that was fine by me and Crystal. Because when she did speak it was almost always worth listening to.

Like the afternoon she first started talking about how the three of us could get away with robbing a bank.

Wednesday February 11th, 2015

The exercise:

It is time for our second visit of the year to The Colony.

Further to what I was talking about in my initial introduction, I'm bringing in two new characters this month that a potential new writer could takeover. Or, obviously, one could just use one of the crew members that haven't been mentioned yet.

After spending the morning with Max, I had some time to myself this afternoon to continue chipping away at my novel. I'm finding it difficult to build any momentum on that front, but I need to remember that every little bit gets me closer to that publishing end goal.


The landing went almost exactly as we'd practiced in all those simulations back home.

"Back home."

I really need to stop thinking that way. This is my home now. Mars. Earth is in the past now, and there is certainly no going back.

We were all strapped into our seats, just like we were during the launch. I was on the Flight Deck, sitting beside Demi and directly behind Aditya, our pilot. Commander Vassily was the other member on our deck, sitting in front and to the left of Demi. That left Robert sitting out of sight on the Mid Deck with the remainder of our crew, which I was not thrilled with. But I'm the backup pilot and needed to be close to Aditya in case he... I don't know... fainted from all the pressure. Or something?

I've always doubted the necessity of all that extra training I went through but I did it anyway. I was prepared in case of emergency, but I'm happy to report my services were not required by Commander Chisel Chin.

I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't call him that. I'm sure Vassily is a very nice person, deep down inside. Like way, way in there. And I also know that as the Man In Charge he has a lot to worry about. Well, think about. I don't think he's capable of worrying.

Anyway, I'm just trying to say that it would be nice if he could try smiling or being friendly or maybe just being human every now and again.

Where was I again? Right, the landing.

From where I was sitting everything seemed to go according to plan. No unexpected wind patterns, no canyons on the surface where plains were supposed to be, no technical issues. Just like it went in the simulation so many times. Or, as I mentioned before, almost.

I don't know. I'm probably just being silly. Maybe all this time cooped up in the shuttle made me a little loopy. But... I just felt like I was being watched during landing. Not by Demi or Aditya or Vassily, mind you. From other angles.

But whenever I turned my head to look I only found monitors or control panels. Right where they were supposed to be. Crazy, right?

Oh well, the feeling is gone now. And we're on the surface! We've actually, factually touched down on Mars! Our first order of business is securing our landing site and making sure nothing was damaged during our journey or landing.


Then we start sending out three person teams to check on the supply drops that preceded our arrival. There are six of them out there, forming a circle with a circumference of approximately 10 miles. And we're in the dead center, putting each drop about a 1.5 mile walk away.

I'm on the first team, assigned to drops Alpha and Beta, and I cannot wait to get out there.

Tuesday February 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku that have something to do with: aversion.

All right, I finished Mr. Mercedes this afternoon. Hopefully my writing inspiration will come from brighter places now.

It's a really great book, by the way. I haven't read much by Stephen King but from what I have seen he is an excellent storyteller. I realize this is not groundbreaking news, but I'd steered clear of his work since I have little to no interest in the horror genre. There were maybe three scenes that really turned my stomach during this tale, otherwise it was good fun of the detective, mystery, thriller type.

I'm still feeling mostly healthy and Max is hopefully only a day or two away from the same. I can't wait to take him back to the play cafe again, as he's really been missing it during this illness.


Baby screaming like
world is ending. Soother found.
Crisis averted.

*     *     *

They said she doesn't
like mushrooms. I ignored them...
now my kitchen burns.

Monday February 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something about: the maniac.

Yeah, there might be a bit of a darker theme to the prompts until I finish this book. You've been (belatedly) warned.

Speaking of prompts with connections to them, the plan is to return to The Colony on Wednesday. With the late start to things in January I wanted to gradually bring the yearlong prompt back into the first week of each month, without having them come too close together.

I'll aim for the first ten days of March and then we should be back on track come April.

I'm excited to get back to this one, and I'm very glad to see I'm not alone in that regard.


I'm sorry, beg pardon? Could you say that again for me, just one more time?

Ah, I see. I did, in fact, hear you correctly. What a terribly impolite thing to say to someone. Well, to a stranger at least. But to me? A man who has been such a dear and true friend to you for so very many years?

Ghastly. That's what it is, just ghastly.

I mean, is that really what you think of me? Like, really really? Way deep down, right in there where all your squishy bits are stored?

Well I've got news for you, pal. The whole world is crazy. Everybody here is nuts. That's just the way it is, buddy boy. Ain't nobody escaping that one. Just take a look in the mirror and try to tell me I'm wrong.

Not right now, maybe. You're not looking your best, if you don't mind me saying so. Your hair's a bit of a mess. You could use a shave. Those bruises are not very flattering, and all that blood ain't helping matters either.

I gotta tell you, I'm feeling pretty disappointed in you right now. I figured you'd put up more of a fight. You can't tell me you didn't see this coming, right? I mean, if you're such a smart guy - which is what you have always, always told me - then you should've had this figured out a long time ago. I just figured you didn't call the cops because we were such good friends.

Now? Well, now I guess I know better.


That word... that label... it just makes me so... so...

Ah, words are failing me. Again. I've never been good friends with 'em, I'll tell you that much. Not like you, Mr. Yalepants. Just not where my talents lie, I guess. So. Let us be done with all this blathering, shall we?

Let me show you how I feel.

Sunday February 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: poison.

Currently reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. It's really pulling me along, sometimes by the throat. I just finished a particularly horrifying part, which inspired today's prompt, but mostly it has been interesting, tense storytelling that has given me so much trouble with putting the book down.

I'm feeling mostly recovered now, but Kat and Max are both still suffering. Really hoping they'll be able to join me at the other end of this misery soon.


"Thank you for agreeing to meet with me on such short notice," she says with a smile that she probably thinks is seductive. I've seen more alluring expressions in the morgue.

"I had an opening in my schedule," I reply. "You were just fortunate the timing worked out in your favour, that's all."

"Still," she says as she runs a finger around the rim of her martini glass, "I just want you to know how very, very appreciative I am."

"Uh huh." You know, I hear that some people take vacations when their calendar unexpectedly opens up for a few days in a row. I should look into that idea. "So what can I do for you?"

"Well, you see..." She gives the patrons at a nearby table a surreptitious glance. I take the opportunity to roll my eyes. "It's my husband."

It always is.

"The honeymoon is over, I take it?"

"Honey, there was never any honeymoon to begin with!" Her eyes go wide when she realizes that she's allowed her voice to get too loud. She blushes furiously before adding in a horrified whisper, "He was too cheap to pay for one."

"I'm sorry for your loss." There's enough sarcasm coating my words to pin them to the ocean floor but she takes them at face value anyway. Good lord. "Any preference on the way he leaves you a grieving widow?"

"Oh, no! I hadn't given that any thought!"

"Uh huh."

"Like, at all!"

"Uh huh."

A brief pause while she inspects her fake red nails. Then:

"Well, I suppose if I have a say in the matter... how expansive is your knowledge of poisons?"

I smile. Okay, maybe it's more of a smirk. Looks like Benny the Bartender owes me fifty bucks.

Saturday February 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: naked.

This afternoon I brought Max with me to Shoppers Drug Mart to get him some more diapers. While we were in the lineup to pay for them he wandered over to the magazine rack one cashier over from us. I saw where he was headed but wasn't sure how it would play out.

So he goes up to a magazine with a woman in a bikini on its cover. He points at it, looks back at me, and then - quite loudly, and quite clearly - declares the following:

"That lady naked."

I could not swallow my snort of laughter in time, but I managed to follow it up with something along the lines of:

"Not quite. She's wearing her bathing suit."

It's really a shame there weren't more people around to hear him. I'm not sure the old lady in front of me in line fully appreciated it.

Anyway, I probably could have squeezed that into a four line poem but I thought more than a little would have been lost in the translation.

I guess that means that now I have to come up with another angle on the prompt inspired by today's fun.


Clothes scattered
Across the floor;
Your greed is
Naked once more

Friday February 6th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the clinic.

We took Max to a walk-in clinic in Penticton this morning, just to make sure he doesn't have anything more serious than a cold. The doctor confirmed that he doesn't, and gave us a few tips on how to help him with his sore throat and congestion.

So that's a relief.

Now I go back to waiting for this nonsense to be done with us.


There's a mother with two little girls in line ahead of us, the smaller one held in her arms while coughs wrack her tiny body. The guy slumped on a chair over in the corner looks like he's about ready to die, possibly from the plague. I look at my son, then my wife, then look around the waiting room one more time.

We came here to help him get better, right?

Thursday February 5th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the stockpile.

Managed to get to bed last night earlier than I have in a long time. So of course, despite going to bed later than usual, Max woke up early this morning.

After all three of us appeared to be trending toward full health, today we all got hit hard with a relapse. Max ended up with the worst of it, unfortunately. He was starting to lose his voice around dinner time and he keeps waking up with a nasty sounding cough.

Hopefully whatever rest he manages to get tonight will help to get him back on track.

I am tired of writing about this stupid cold.


Jeff's collection was the result of years and years of work. He was very proud of it, to the point that he used to show it off to friends, strangers, potential dates. None of them seemed very impressed by it though, so he stopped sharing. Even stopped talking about it, which was quite something.

He didn't stop adding to it though. Every item was carefully logged. Date, time, location. Even who else was present at the time. Jeff was certain that it was extra little details like this that made his stuff particularly important and valuable.

Others used to laugh at his collection, claiming that it was nothing more than an utter waste of time and energy. They said there would never be any use for any of it. Jeff kept on gathering them anyway.

And now. And now! Against all odds, despite all the doubters, it was nearly time to share his efforts. For somehow, someway, his brother Frank had found a girl who had, for some reason most people couldn't figure out, agreed to marry him. And Frank, as Jeff had always known he would, had given the honor of Best Man to his little brother.

Which meant that all the stories and embarrassing happenings of Frank's life that Jeff had so dutifully stockpiled were going to steal the spotlight at the reception. Maybe, Jeff thought with a wide grin, even the ceremony itself!

Wednesday February 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the execution.

Trying to get this done early so I can get to bed at a reasonable time for once.

Spent most of the afternoon with Max in Penticton today. We got a few groceries, hung out at a coffee shop, and did a little exploring on Main Street.

And then he fell asleep in the car just as I turned off the highway to come down into Kaleden. So, rather than sitting in the driveway while he napped, I turned around and went to fill up the car with gas.

He slept through the whole thing, not waking up until I opened his door after we were safely back at the house.


"What a bloody mess."

I glanced over at my partner before returning my attention to the scene before us. There was more that could have been said then but my lips were keeping both my lunch and my thoughts inside, so his four word summation stood alone.

After a slow shake of my head I tried to find a starting point. A jigsaw piece with one (preferably two) flat side from which I could begin to put the bigger picture back together. Or, at the very least, to find somewhere to stand that would not get my shoes dirty.

Meanwhile, my partner shuffled through the paperwork. He was searching for answers as well, muttering darkly as he did so. I wondered if I should wait for him before I began my work but he was quicker than I expected.

"The plan is quite clearly perfect," he said without looking up. "Fail-safes were in place, the right people were assigned to the correct jobs. This should have gone off without a whisper of a hitch."

"So the flaw," I said as I looked around at the debris left behind after the Black Friday sale event, "was obviously in the execution."

Tuesday February 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the umpire.

Other than my nose being one of the most disgusting places on the planet, I'm feeling much better now. I would appreciate this matter coming to a satisfactory conclusion by the time I wake up tomorrow morning.

Kat ended up cancelling class with the kids today, so she was around to give me a brief break from Max after lunch. It made a big difference, even if it was less than half an hour.

Took him to the playground down the hill after my rest and we had a lot of fun kicking and throwing around the three hockey pucks that had been left in the street hockey area. I enjoy living in a trusting little town.

Anyway. Now I pretty much have to find a couple of hockey sticks for us to use, so I shall be checking the thrift store in Penticton at the next possible opportunity.


After all this time
it's still just He said, She said;
I'll watch this no more

*     *     *

Strike three, you're out! Wait...
what do you mean that was the
first pitch of the game?

Monday February 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: recycled.

Hrmm. So maybe Max wasn't sick originally after all? Maybe I brought this cold into the house? And now he's getting it from me? And I'm giving it to Kat as well?

Stupid cold.

Still on the road to recovery. It would be nice if I could at least get healthy before it fully hits Kat, if it ends up doing that. Ideally we'll all get better together, but... you know how these things can go.

Afternoons seem to be my best time, so I took advantage of it to take Max into Penticton to run a couple errands and give Kat a break. This morning I was supposed to go out and take pictures but I wasn't really feeling up to it. Plus it was cloudy out, so I wasn't feeling super inspired.

Hoping to switch picture day to later in the week, assuming everyone starts feeling better soon.


He stands on the stage, only a microphone on a worryingly thin stand separating him from the audience. The show has been going on for a while, it is late, they are drunk, and they are growing rowdier and more vocal by the second.

And they are waiting for him to speak. To entertain them. Make them laugh, in ways that the four comedians who came before him had not. To bring their night to a delightful, or at the very least acceptable, conclusion.

He remains silent, though. His thoughts are racing each other around in dizzying circles but none manage to escape from behind his lips. He scans the room, swallows hard. It is an effort to not look back over his shoulder, seeking escape.

Something. He has to say something. Just start and the rest will follow.

But let us be honest for a moment. If it is not too uncomfortable for you. For it is not the opening that is the problem. He knows this. It is all that follows.

All that stale, unoriginal, recycled material he calls his routine.

Sunday February 1st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the explosion.

Still not feeling great, but definitely improving. Maybe one more good night's sleep will do the trick? Maybe?

Max spent most of this morning kicking balls around the house with his aunt, but there was a brief break to go across the street and make a snowman in the elementary school's field. Because even though yesterday there was no snow on the ground whatsoever, enough fell overnight to make that doable.

There was a bit more kicking time after lunch, then Max and I showed Sue a good portion of the videos I've taken of him over the last couple years. I'd really just intended to show her a couple, but Max kept saying 'How about... this one?' and pointing at other thumbnails. And it's kinda hard to say no to him when he gets like that.

Anyway, we had to drive Sue to the airport in Penticton mid-afternoon, so we all packed into the car to see her off. Not sure Max fully got what was happening, but Sue and I definitely did. Ah well, we'll see her again this summer.


I was away at college, almost two thousand kilometers from home, when the town I grew up in was leveled by the explosion. The news arrived on my doorstep the next morning via the national newspaper, draining the blood from my face with its grotesque headline.

Numbness. That is what I remember the most. I can barely recall boarding the train later that day. The voyage east is a blur of snow and the indistinct voices of the other passengers. Someone must have told me when it was time to get off, but I couldn't tell you who it might have been.

The train went no further than the last stop before my hometown. It was another fifty kilometers by foot and I didn't stop to consider the risks before buying provisions to stuff into my bag and continuing on.

It was cold but I don't remember feeling it. Guess I was still numb. I didn't even see the barricade the army had set up on the train tracks until I almost bumped into the guards eying my approach. They told me I could go no further, that there were still fires burning and I'd only get in the way of rescue efforts. That there was no way I could get any closer.

They obviously hadn't grown up in the area.

I backtracked until a bend in the tracks hid me from view, then set out cross-country. My food must have run out at some point, but there was plenty of snow for me to consume. The memory of climbing that final hill is crystal clear in my mind: the white puffs of breath that led me upward, the unnerving silence that had replaced the birdsong I knew so well as a child, the unpleasant smell that only grew stronger as I pushed for the peak.

I made it at last. I looked down. I must have.

But then everything goes black again.