Wednesday September 30th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the visitor.

How the hell have I not used that as a prompt before? I was quite convinced that I had, to the point where when a search of the blog didn't turn one up I had to go check the prompt list directly. Ah well, no time like the present to change that.

Our midwife appointment went well. With the one Kat thought it would be. So, she wins this time.

Max quite liked the office, with all its Mr. Potato Head toys in the waiting room and its Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder toys in the room. He was also very excited to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time. It ended up being a rather big pain to get him out of there when our appointment was finished.

And as if all that wasn't enough excitement for one day...


We arrived back home just after one o'clock this afternoon. I was feeling pretty tired, despite Max letting me sleep in until 6:45. The drive to Penticton and back tires me out pretty good.

Anyway. I was tired. My brain was ready to get out from behind the wheel and do nothing for a little bit. We in a good frame of reference for what happens next? Good.

"Is that real?"

I'm not sure those words managed to get out of my head, but that was very definitely my first thought as I turned the corner onto our street. Turns out? Yeah, that bear on the telephone pole in front of our house was real.

It wasn't a particularly large bear, but I don't think it needed to be, really. As far as unexpected visitors in the middle of the day go, I'd say that was pretty close to the top of whatever kind of list that would be.

The bear climbed down when I came a bit closer and took off down the street. The neighbour's dog started barking at it, which sent it through the horse pasture across the street from us. I'm not sure the horses noticed it, and I suspect that's for the best.

Another neighbour came over on his quad as I was getting out of the car to have a look around to make sure there wasn't a bear family get together in our yard. He said he'd only seen the one and that he was going to drive over to see where this one was headed. I still decided to drive Max up to Kat's parents house instead of walking with him through the orchard as I'd originally planned.

Max, of course, was pretty pumped about seeing a bear for the first time. And wanted to know where it was going. And why we weren't walking through the orchard. And why he had to play inside at Kat's parents house for a little while.

I told him the bear had probably gone home to see his mommy and daddy, but just in case it was still lost and came back to visit the farm again it was best to stay out of its way for a bit. He seemed to more or less get it.

And he could still tell his Grandma all about it.

Tuesday September 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: opposites.

I got the butternut and remaining ornamental squash out of the garden this morning. We're not quite at nightly frost danger now, but it's pretty close.

Got some errands done with Max this afternoon before hitting up our coffee shop for snack time. We ran into our friends from the bakery while we were there and it was nice to do a little catching up. Now that things are slowing down for both of our families hopefully we can find time to get together again soon.

We've got our second midwife appointment tomorrow morning in Penticton. Max will be joining us for the first time, which should be a neat experience. I think we're meeting with the midwife that delivered him (which would make it extra cool) but Kat's convinced it's with another midwife (who met him shortly after he was born and I think for our final post-birth appointment as well, so still pretty cool).

I guess we'll see who's right tomorrow.


His ex-wife is out
on the town with her new man.
He stays home and drinks.

*     *     *

An attraction so
powerful, nothing can stop
it - so shut up, dude.

Monday September 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the crown.

This morning I gathered some apples, pumpkin, and squash before hitting the garden to pick some tomatoes and peppers in order to pay for last week's haircut. Bartering can be great fun, when it works for both parties.

Kat, Max, and I went for lunch at our coffee shop and then I dropped off the produce at the salon afterward. Following that we dropped Kat off at home to rest while Max and I went to Kat's parents house to play.

We had a big moment late this afternoon when Kat and I cooked dinner together. That's the first time she's been feeling well enough (and not averse to all things cooking related) to do that in about two months. It was nice to see it, and nice to have the help.


Its weight pushes my head down. They say it takes a strong man to be king. What they fail to tell you, what no one thinks to warn you of, is the specifics of that strength.

They do not explain the weight of all these jewels. The gravity of this gold. 

This burden of responsibility.

A man needs a strong back to be king. Strong shoulders to carry his people. A strong neck to hold his head high, to stand tall and proud in the face of any challenge or danger.

The added weight of this crown serves as a constant reminder of these things. There is not a night that has passed since my coronation that I do not fall into bed with aching muscles, dreading the oncoming dawn and the return of this weight upon my brow.

I begin to wonder if it can be replaced with a lighter version. Something equally ornate and prestigious in appearance, obviously. But perhaps just a little less... dense.

Is that really too much to ask?

Sunday September 27th, 2015

The exercise:

With a thank you to Greg for reminding me of this prompt, today we return to the Blocks. Today our writing must include these three words: zebra, leaf, iron.

I'm pretty sure, anyway. Max has, at some point, taken crayons to most of his blocks and it makes the words a little hard to read.

Enjoyed a quiet day off today, despite another 5:30 wake up. Max spent part of the morning with Kat's parents and most of the afternoon with Natalie and Becky's mom, and I very much appreciated having some space as well as some time with Kat.

The nights are starting to get awful chilly around these parts...


It's been four days since the safari's tour bus broke down in the middle of this nearly empty plain. Two mornings ago we woke to find that our guards had abandoned us in the middle of the night. Not so much as a note left in their wake. At least they didn't take all the food and water with them.

Not that what remains will last us much longer. But it's the thought that counts, right?

The only shade to be found is a tree with a single leaf remaining on its branches. It's about a hundred meters from the bus and a few desperate souls took cover there on the first day. They haven't been back since, not with the family of lions chewing their way through what's left of a zebra hogging all the shade now.

It's just me and seven other fools out here with the wild animals. None of us were paying enough attention at the start of the tour to be able to find our way back to camp. I doubt any of us would survive the attempt anyway.

Well, maybe Kevin. His personality is probably even off-putting to the predators who call this place home.

The couple from Germany - I can't remember their names for the life of me - are convinced that the guards have gone for help and will return any moment. I just smile and nod whenever they say this (about twice an hour during the day, more often at night) because it's a lie we need to believe until the truth begins killing us off.

I'm not sure yet what I will do. Time is running out, I know that much. And I'm aware that should some creature with teeth bigger than my head come calling, this tire iron won't do me much good.

But it just might keep me safe from my fellow tourists.

Saturday September 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: clinching.

Because, for the first time in 22 years, the Toronto Blue Jays have clinched a spot in the playoffs. This is a baseball team I grew up cheering for. If I'd had any idea in 1993 that, after winning back to back championships, it would be 22 years until they even reached the playoffs again... I reckon I would have appreciated their accomplishments even more.

There's still plenty of work for this year's version of the team to do, but tonight I am content.

Pretty good market in Penticton today. The weather was beautiful, business was steady. It was a nice way to close out September's markets.

Oh, since Greg asked: it took until about twenty minutes after opening before the strawberries sold. A woman spotted them from across the street and made a beeline for them. She had her cash in hand before coming to a complete stop in front of me.

Definitely took longer than I was expecting, but it was worth the wait.


It's been a long time coming;
We've had little reason to cheer.
But at long last, at long last,
Playoff baseball will soon be here!

Friday September 25th, 2015

The exercise:

Following up on yesterday's prompt, today we write four lines of prose about: the deal breaker.

Max slept all the way in until 6 this morning. You may be surprised at how big a difference half an hour can make to a person's day. Mine, anyway.

Harvested cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, onions, leeks, ornamental pumpkins, cherry tomatoes, and heirloom tomatoes for the market. Will also be bringing some of the acorn squash I picked last week, three varieties of apples, and my usual assortment of garlic.

Oh! And a pint of strawberries. There was enough out there to make about a pint and a half, so I brought the half home for Max to enjoy (I may have had some too).

Forecast is calling for cool temperatures with sunshine and no threat of rain, so hopefully the final market of September is a good one.


"... and while you do that I want you to wear my old football jersey and nothing else." Bruce couldn't believe his wife was still nodding along in agreement - this was going to be the best birthday ever! "And then your friend Chloe will c-:"


Thursday September 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the deal maker.

Another 5:30 wake up courtesy of Max. Spent a good chunk of my morning trying to recover from that and as a result pretty much the only thing I managed to get done was to shave.

This afternoon I brought Max with me to get my haircut (so now I'm all shiny and new again). Hailey, our hairstylist, spent some time trying to convince Max to get his haircut as well. She pulled out some pretty impressive offers but I have to admit to being impressed that Max stuck to his guns in refusing to get his locks trimmed.

Not that he needs one particularly badly, but that last cut could still use some cleaning up. Oh well, I'll have to insist on one before his birthday. Or when it starts getting in his eyes again.


"Harvey? Harvey dear?" Rosetta frowned as her words echoed around the house without receiving a response. "Harvey!"

Leaving the kitchen with a quiet huff of frustration, she continued to call out for her husband as she went from room to room. It was apparent that he wasn't home long before she stopped looking for him.

"Where's that old fool gone off to now?" she muttered, pulling back the living room curtain to survey the unassuming street they called home. There was no vehicle in their driveway, but that was as expected - they'd had to sell their truck when Harvey was laid off the previous year.

Not having anywhere else to go, or even anyone to call to ask after his whereabouts (the phone company had cancelled their account two months prior), she remained where she was. There was no activity in the street lit scene outside for a long time. Not even so much as a neighbor taking their dog for an evening stroll. Rosetta's feet began to ache.

"What utter nonsense," she said. "He should know better than to lea-"

Her monologue was interrupted by the appearance of headlights approaching from the south. As the vehicle passed beneath a streetlight Rosetta saw that it was a red convertible being driven by someone who looked suspiciously like her husband.

When it pulled into their driveway and Harvey emerged with a wide grin on his lips, Rosetta's suspicions and fears were confirmed: her husband had obviously made a deal with the devil.

Wednesday September 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: making amends.

A lot that has been happening around here has been left off the blog recently. I would like to start making up for that today.


Obviously I've been kept pretty busy between the farm and Max recently. I don't think I've kept that much of a secret.

I've been doing the farmers market in Penticton by myself since Rebecca left as well. Partially that's been because it's honestly easier to do it by myself than to do it with both Kat and Max there. My only breaks from the stall are to be with Max and any time we're both trying to work we still have to keep an eye on him and/or keep him entertained.

But, as I said, that's only part of the reason. The other is that Kat's been feeling too ill to come to the market. We're hoping that will change soon, though, now that she's at the end of the first trimester.

Yup, baby number two is due to join us in early April of next year. Max is convinced that he's going to have a little sister. We'll hopefully be able to confirm or deny that sometime in November.

In closing, I'd like to share the conversation we had almost two months ago when we told Max the news:

Kat: You know how Aunty Becky has a baby in her belly?*

Max: Yeah.

Kat: Well, Mommy has a baby in the belly too!

Max: Do you have a baby in your belly, Dada?

*Oh, yeah. Max is also getting another cousin, as of February of next year. It's officially a baby boom here on the farm.

Tuesday September 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: blood.

Max woke up at 5:30 this morning and I pretty much immediately felt no hope of getting him back to sleep. I honestly have no idea how he wakes up that early, after legitimately not enough sleep, with so much energy.

But I would very much like to learn his secret and make use of it for myself.


I'm running hot; now
Is no time for decisions...
But that won't stop him.

*     *     *

So bright and vivid
On the floor, yet your skin grows
Paler and paler...

Monday September 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the snare.

I picked some apples for a local order this morning, along with a zucchini and cantaloupe for a friend Kat was meeting up with at the park. While I was out there I noticed that there were still some strawberries being produced by our everbearing plants, so I grabbed some of those to send along for the kids to enjoy. And the parents, I suppose.

I should maybe have another look at those plants on Friday, see if there's enough out there to make a pint or two for the market.

Max spent the afternoon with Natalie and Becky's mom. Her 'other' grandma is here for a long visit and it's nice to see that he's getting more comfortable with her. Particularly when it lets Kat and I have an afternoon together.


"Check the traps."

That's my job now. I go out at daybreak and collect what's to be collected, if anything. Reset any snares that need resetting. I do it all again after dinner.

I prefer my morning rounds. Something about the peace and quiet of early morning. Plus I don't feel rushed, like I'm racing against darkness like I am on my evening checks. I do not want to be caught outside of camp by the setting sun.

Nobody does.

This has not always been my role. This isn't what I did growing up. No, in the city there wasn't much need for catching small animals. Well, animals of any size, really. Not unless you were some kind of sicko.

But the end of times has a funny way of changing the course of a young man's life, I guess. Take away his comfortable home. Steal his technology. Kill off his friends and family.

Life can get pretty hard.

I'm one of the fortunate ones. To have a community like this. We look out for each other. Keep each other safe. Keep each other alive.

Sure, none of us are doing anything like what we did before. But before doesn't exist anymore. There is only this. This... survival. So we all do what we have to do to get through each and every day.

Me? I check the traps.

Sunday September 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Let us return to the Random Book Prompt. Grab a book off your shelf, a story from your e-reader, whatever and however you like. Me? I looked inside.

Regardless of how you choose your book, use its first line as your own and then take it from there. Credit goes where credit's due.

Had a pretty quiet day off today. It was much needed.


Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

I died for eight minutes on January 26th. Ain't nobody thought I was coming back. Least of all me. But I did.

So here I am. I've seen the other side. I know what waits for us there, in the dark. It's not just for me, you know. The same thing will happen to us all. It's just that everybody else gets to tell themselves The Lie. They go about their day to day business, living their meaningless lives. Lying to themselves every step of the way. Believing The Lie each and every time they tell it to themselves.

They believe because they think that they have to. That admitting The Truth, that facing that lurking, patient darkness would make their existence meaningless. Like they'd just up and quit. Because what's the damned point, right?

Not me though. I ain't got the luxury of The Lie. I know The Truth now.

And I am all the more dangerous for it.

Saturday September 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: being online.

It's been a long, long day. Market was good. I'm beyond ready for bed. Good night.


Every click, every site,
Every touch of your keyboard;
They see and know it all,
And not a thing is ignored...

Friday September 18th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the dance contest.

Max has been busting out some pretty sweet moves whenever we're out somewhere that has music playing. Our local coffee shop has been a favorite location in particular. Earlier this week some reggae came on and he got off his chair and let loose.

"Oh, he dances too!" This from a woman who he'd earlier been telling all about the apple he was eating for a snack. "Is that ballet?"

No, lady, he's just dancing to the music. That's all.

All set for another market tomorrow. Bringing lots of Ambrosia apples, a few crates of Salish apples and Empress plums, a crate of leeks, cherry tomatoes, larger tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic. The forecast must have changed in the last couple of days, because I was expecting to see mid-twenties and clear skies.

Instead it's cloudy with showers and a high of 17.

I'll take the clouds and 17 degrees, as long as someone else takes the showers. Thanks kindly.


"This is absolutely ridiculous - I didn't stand a chance!"

"Well, you can hardly blame the judges, can you?"

"This is why we need separate age divisions!"

"What, and tell that cute little three year old that he can't compete against the adults?"

Thursday September 17th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the engine.

Spent the morning harvesting most of our squash in the garden: the acorn, festival, spaghetti, and delicata are all curing on the deck at Kat's parents house. I'm leaving the butternut to ripen a little bit more before I collect them as well.

Hung out with Max this afternoon, which was pretty low key since he's still getting over his latest cold. Did I mention he caught another one of those? I guess because I've managed to avoid its clutches so far it must have slipped my mind.

Knock, knock, knocking on wood...


"I don't know what to say."

"How about... you were right?"

"Hah. Fine. You were right. This is a beautiful car."

"I know, right?"

"I don't know how you got such a great deal on her."

"Hey, I drive a hard bargain, all right?"

"I guess! Damn... okay, let's pop the hood."


"What do you mean, why? To see what kind of shape the engine is in!"

"Uh, well... there's just one... little problem with that..."

"It doesn't have an engine, does it?"

"Well, no... not yet..."

Wednesday September 16th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that is: tiny.

A quick hello and welcome to the blog to all the new writers who dropped in today. I'm currently terribly behind on responding to comments but I do promise to get to you all eventually.

Becky's mom is here for a visit until the end of September and Max spent this afternoon playing with Natalie under her watchful eye. It was very nice to get a break and to have a chance to do something on my own.

That something else ended up being sleeping most of my afternoon away. Which was not the plan. But it turned out to be pretty great.


They are not obvious. In appearance, at least. Their handiwork? Undeniably more so.

I have felt their pull. Been held in their fierce little clutches. Their strength is... magnificent.

One might believe that they should be easily overpowered. They are so much smaller than us, after all. It should not even be a contest, truly.

And yet we have all been rendered powerless by the innumerable, invisible, tiny hands that keep us in bed long past the hour we had meant to rise.

Tuesday September 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: clouds.

My aunt and uncle came over mid-morning and spent from then until just before dinner with us and Max. We had a walk around the farm with Max playing tour guide, we played catch with a balloon for quite a while, we went for lunch, we went to the park, and we capped things off with a visit to our favorite coffee shop.

A pretty long but very enjoyable day. My aunt and uncle will be dropping by tomorrow morning for one more short visit and to say goodbye before continuing eastward. I'll have to get some produce together before they go, both for them and for my sister in Calgary.


A bed of cool grass;
watching rabbits and turtles
race across the sky

*     *     *

A dark and gloomy
visitor on a sunny
afternoon? No thanks!

Monday September 14th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: stickers.

Because Max got several packages of stickers from his cousin's birthday party and most of them are currently attempting to take over our house by sheer force of numbers.

This morning I mowed the lawn, washed the kitchen floor, and cleaned the bathroom. You'd think we have visitors coming or something.

Oh wait, we do. My aunt and uncle are dropping by tomorrow, having just finished their visit with my parents. After us they'll be seeing my sister and brother-in-law in Calgary and then it's homeward bound to Montreal.

It'll be fun to see them with Max again, as it has been quite a while since last time.


"Uh, excuse me, sir?"

"Yes? What is it?"

"You, um... you have a-"

"Spit it out already! Can't you see that I'm busy?"

"No. Yes, of course. I mean..."

"You've got to be kidding me. I'm too busy for this crap. See ya."

"No, wait! It's just that there's a-"

"Seriously? You're still talking to me? What could possibly be so important that you'd bother me with your nagging?"

"You know what? Never mind. Have a good day."

"Thank you. I will."

"... you look good with that My Little Pony sticker on your back anyway."

Sunday September 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something which takes place on: death row.

Because there is a short stretch of road not far from here that pretty much always has some roadkill on it when I go through there. Usually squirrels. Quail sometimes. Either way, it strikes me as an area that wildlife would be better off avoiding.

Rebecca and her boyfriend dropped by for a quick visit this afternoon and it was great to see them. They were just in town to pick up Rebecca's dog (they'd planned on doing it last weekend but they were both sick with the flu). Definitely too short but it was nice to catch up.

I think I was going to say something else here but I can't remember what on earth it might have been. So... on with the show.


"We need to hurry," Ed called over his shoulder as we rushed through the concourse. His shoes sounded like they were going to be ripped off at every step by the soda residue glistening on the concrete floor. "The game starts in five minutes!"

"Plenty of time," I muttered as I shoved past a family of four with no apparent awareness of the looming deadline. "Plenty of time."

As it turned out, there was no need to worry. We arrived at our seats with at least half a minute to spare. There wasn't even anyone else seated in our row, so there was no one to squeeze past.

"Not the best view in the house," Ed observed, "but not bad."

"Not comfortable, either," I said as I tried to shift myself into a position that didn't send waves of pain up my back. "Is your seat cold and lumpy too?"

"Yeah but I think I'll get used to it."

"When your ass goes numb?"

"Hey, at least we got tickets, right?" Ed opened his mouth to add some other meaningless reassurance but then he kinda just... froze there.

"What?" I asked before turning to see what he was staring at.

"Excuse me," a tall man in a black cloak said, his words echoing strangely out of the depths of his hood. "But this is my row."

Saturday September 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: tennis

Had a pretty great market this morning, selling 13.5 of the 14 crates of Ambrosia that I brought, along with all 5 crates of the remaining Aurora, all the leeks and zucchini, nearly all of the 2 crates of plums, 7 out of 10 pints of cherry tomatoes, and all but one of the cucumbers. The bigger tomatoes were really the only things that didn't sell, but at least the food bank came around at the end so I could donate them.

Today was also Natalie's fourth birthday. Max spent most of the day with her and we all gathered at Kat's parents house this evening for a big family dinner. The kids definitely had a great time and the adults were pretty entertained as well.

Also, also: how 'bout them Blue Jays, mom?

Hurray, day off tomorrow.


Doesn't it make you sad?
I know it's such a silly little thing,
But I just can't watch a sport
In which love means nothing...

Friday September 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the chemical.

Spent the morning harvesting for tomorrow's market. With the end of berries freeing up a big chunk of harvest energy I spent some time collecting a crate's worth of leeks, which is the first time this year I've had that (not) pleasure. Pulling those things out of the soil is a total back killer.

Also got some cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bigger tomatoes, and peppers. I'll be bringing the first pick of Ambrosia apples with me as well, so hopefully they'll attract some customers to the table. The weather is supposed to be pretty ideal so it should be a good one.


"... and the two chemicals, when mixed thusly, combine to form a substance corrosive enough to dissolve human flesh."

The classroom, previously filled with idle chatter and bored students, fell deathly silent.

"Which is why they will remain locked in my office whenever I have to leave the room."

A groan born on thirty lips rumbled though the room and was then replaced by the return of the mindless blathering of uninterested teenagers.

Thursday September 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Apparently I've used the List Prompt 13 times... but the last time was over a year ago. Allow me, if you will, to fix that.

Use all of the following words in your writing today: cute, cloud, choice, cave, crusty.

I wasn't going to go with a theme there but after the first two words I was like, eh, might as well.

Spent some time at the park with Max this afternoon. Came home accident-free. I consider that a win.


My childhood was not an unusual one. I do not claim otherwise. Don't all boys have fond memories of ice cream and summers spent digging in the dirt? Of hot chocolate winter nights and snowball fights with the neighbourhood children? Of splashing in fresh-fallen rain puddles and chasing puppies? Walking hand in hand with cute girls in town, across fields, in shopping malls?

I do not know. I have lived but this one life and can speak only from my experiences.

But I do feel some confidence in my ordinariness. There is one occasion that stands out from the rest, but I think that has its common elements as well. We all have such outliers, only the specifics differ.

For me it was a time with one of my previously mentioned young ladies. The day had begun beautiful and clear, the sky as blue as her eyes. So we set our sights to the mountains east of our town and began hiking, youthful and carefree.

Then a cloud appeared on the horizon, black as death. We were halfway to our destination by then and we had a choice to make: scurry back home at the mere threat of Mother Nature's wrath or continue on filled with the certainly of our immortality.

We, of course, continued on.

The rain began to fall as we reached the steepest terrain our adventure had to offer. We kept on for another five minutes and then the storm descended upon us in earnest. Soaked to the bone within a matter of moments, we sought shelter in a fortuitously placed cave, thinking to remain there until the sun returned to guide us back home. We would keep each warm by... whatever means necessary.

But then, we had not counted on uncovering a buried treasure chest in that cave. And we most definitely did not expect to meet the crusty, foul-mouthed, long-dead sailor who had buried it there.

Wednesday September 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the seizure.

I took Max grocery shopping this afternoon and before I'd finished parking the car he was going off about a big red shopping cart. I was like, no, the big carts here are yellow. They're supposed to have two steering wheels each but actually have a grand total of one between them. Max only ever wants to use the one with the steering wheel. 

As you may imagine, he is not the only toddler in town who feels that way.

This means that we only get the cart he wants when our timing is very fortunate - for both of us. Trust me, I may hate pushing that monstrosity around the grocery store but I'd still rather deal with that than deal with Max when we have to use a different shopping cart.

Anyway. Turns out, he was right. The store has replaced the two crappy shopping carts with two new ones - a red 'firetruck' cart and a black 'police car' cart. We got to use the red one today and Max was... deliriously happy about it:

I have no idea how much these things cost (I can't imagine all that much) but a) it was long overdue, and b) I can assure them that it was money very well spent.


Carter was not a stupid man. He knew that the line of work he was in could lead to a bank or the government seizing his assets one day. Likely sooner than later, should history prove to be any kind of teacher at all.

So he was careful. He stashed cash in the most unlikeliest of places, both around his mansion and elsewhere. I'd give an example but, you know... urk!

When the end of his time atop the mountain was approaching Carter saw it coming. Very quietly he liquidated all of the major items inside his home. He didn't want to draw suspicion by selling the house itself so he had to eat that loss. The buyer already owned property in the neighborhood - he was just trying to fill up all of the rooms he had - so he didn't mind.

The day before the bank decided to seize all of his assets Carter... vanished. When the work crews arrived to take all of his stuff away they found precisely one item: a cardboard box, sitting in the center of the empty dining hall.

Everyone assumed it was a bomb, so several hours passed before anyone dared to look inside. They did not find explosives. What they found instead was a broken electric toothbrush and a handwritten note which read:

This was the only thing I couldn't sell before I had to leave town on an important business trip. I'm sure one of you poor pricks can make use of it and you're welcome to do so. I won't be returning.

At least, not looking the way I do now.

Be seeing ya, suckers.

Tuesday September 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the negotiator.

Another quiet day as I ease into the final stages of another growing season. I'll have to get out to the garden to harvest our squash in the next couple of days but I'm not feeling particularly rushed to get that done.

Max is totally fine, by the way. Because of course he is.


I drive hard bargains,
But that's why I also drive
A Lamborghini.

*     *     *

I preside over
The Land of In-between, where
All good deals are made

Monday September 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: falling.

Spent most of my day with Max. We played in the park for a while, which mostly involved kicking his soccer ball back and forth across the field. But also included some time on the swings and slides. One of which had a rather steep ladder. Which he managed perfectly well going up.

But then he surprised me and wanted to go back down the way we came up, instead of taking the slide. He was already on the first step before I realized what was happening and I thought it was safer to tell him to hold the railing than make a grab for him.

To his credit, he was holding on to the railing when he slipped. It didn't stop him from falling the rest of the way down though. I endured a minor heart attack as I climbed down after him, but he was surprisingly okay after a fairly short cry and a big hug. Just a little bruise on his left arm and a little bump behind his left ear.

And of course he wanted to go right back up there again. I told him I had to come down first, so that I could catch him if he slipped again, and he agreed. But then he got distracted by some rocks on the second step and we eventually just came back down and went back to kicking the ball again.

Parenting a toddler, you guys. Jesus Christ.

Anyway. We went into town and got some groceries and hung out at our favorite coffee shop before I dropped him off at Kat's parents house for an hour or so while I got the barbeque going for dinner. I got him to sleep tonight and ended up falling asleep beside him for about an hour before Kat came in and woke me up.

Right, picture. This is him with the nest we built at the park last week:

He was very proud of it and wanted to use my phone to take some pictures of it. Twenty'ish shots later I had to take my phone back.


Losing grip.
Fall in
Slow motion;
Comes full stop.
Grips my blood.
With a thud.
Follows and then
His or mine?
Hold him tight
The tears stop
And then
Words return,
By the smile
That brings
My heart back
To life
Once again.

Sunday September 6th, 2015

The exercise:

The Colony. Installment nine. Let's go.

Pretty mellow day off, featuring family time for the most of it. First thing this morning there was some smoke in the air, yet again, but thankfully that cleared up before lunch time thanks to a light breeze blowing in the right direction.

Remind me to share a picture of Max tomorrow. It's a good one.


We hogtie Patrick and Melina and drag them into my quarters. Robbie almost looks like he wants to give each of them a kick but we leave them on the floor untouched as we continue the search that I had begun before hearing those two yelling and pounding at my door.

Within minutes we have confirmed what I had already begun to suspect: everyone else is still locked in their rooms. Patrick, Melina, and Vassily are the only exceptions.

Which means Vassily is the only member of our crew whose location is currently unaccounted for.

"Do you think he's still in his quarters?" Robbie asks, his voice muffled by the breathing mask. It's difficult to read his expression with that thing on. He could be scared or excited. Both, probably.

"Seems like as good a place as any to look for him." I turn my head to look in the direction of his room but otherwise remain still. "You up for this?"

"He was going to kill me in my sleep." I don't know how true that is but I think that, for now, I need it to be true for him. "Yeah, I'm ready."

We move slowly, stopping to listen at the closed doors of the kitchen and showers and conference room. Just in case. When we reach the final corner that will take us the last twenty feet to the Commander's quarters we hesitate. Okay, I hesitate. Robbie bumps into me.

"Sorry," he whispers.

"It's okay."

"Are uh... are you ready for this?"

Ready for what, exactly? Are we going to kill him? Is he armed? Are we waltzing straight into a trap?

"Of course."

My heart is racing as we tiptoe down the hall. I blink away sweat from my eyes, suddenly wishing I was carrying more than just a coil of rope. Weapon options are surprisingly limited when nearly everything is bolted down and you're packing as lightly as possible when departing your home planet.

Unless you're a traitorous Commander, that is. Then there's always room for extra equipment. Weapons, too?

Five feet to go. I'm about to tell Robbie to let me do the talking when the door to Vassily's quarters wooshes open. My heart feels like it tries to escape from my chest. My brain tells my body to raise my hands but I'm frozen in place. We are going to die. We are going to die. We are g-

"I don't think he's in here," Robbie says. Somehow he is standing in the doorway ahead of me. How did he get there? Shouldn't he be behind me?


"His breathing mask is gone." Robbie looks disappointed. "He could be anywhere."

"He could be... I'm an idiot." Robbie looks confused but before he can say anything more I speak the words I should have spoken precious minutes earlier. "Computer? Locate Commander Vassily please."

The nearest monitor lights up and moments later green text appears like magic.

Commander Vassily is no longer in the compound.

Saturday September 5th, 2015

The exercise:

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

It was a cold, blustery start to the day. I think it was 12 degrees out when I woke up at 5 this morning, but the wind made it feel much colder than that. It continued to blow for most of the market before finally dying down just before noon.

I'm sure that contributed to the slow start to the market. Things eventually got steady but I don't think I was ever really busy. Ended up being a decent market either way though.

My brain is ready to sleep. In fact, it may already be asleep. So... here we go.


Uh oh - we're caught!
Will you let us out?
Or do we have to
Yell and scream and shout?

Friday September 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the stone.

Pretty sure I picked berries for the last time this morning. I only got a pint of raspberries for the market, plus a partial mixed pint of raspberries and blackberries for us (well, Max, really). A little sad, but mostly happy to have that behind me now.

Other than that... cherry tomatoes, bigger tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, corn. Kat's parents got me Aurora apples and plums. I've got some Gala and Macintosh leftover from last weekend. That's about it, I think.

It's Labour Day long weekend here, so hopefully it'll be a busy market. Either way, I should get some sleep now.


Lurking in a dust-covered box at the back of an unused bookshelf, you could be forgiven for thinking it forgotten. It is not. Everyone in the village knows precisely where it is.

For it is the first stone, and one day it will be cast.

Thursday September 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: Hellpig.

I was at the park with Max this afternoon and overheard a woman telling someone else the name of her dog. It took me a minute to realize I'd misheard her, but Hellpig stuck with me anyway. So now... uh, do with it as a writing prompt what you can!

Oh, I'm thinking Sunday for this month's visit to The Colony. I've got a few vague ideas running around my head about what I want to do with my portion. We'll see what sticks come the weekend.


"I'm sorry, what did you say her name is?"

"I think you heard me, madam."

"Oh! Oh. Well... that is quite the name!"

"Isn't it?"

"However did you come up with it?"

"Oh, I had nothing to do with it."

"Then how...?"

"We let the kids name her."

Wednesday September 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the wrestler.

Spent most of the day with Max, as Kat had a client late morning and I generally hang out with him in the afternoon. We hung out with his cousin and aunt for a good portion of it, and also ran a couple errands in town.

Ridiculous how tired that's left me.


I have a job to do and I do it well. Maybe it's not the greatest job in the world, but if you're only gonna be happy with that distinction then there's only one person on the whole planet with job satisfaction. The rest of us just gotta be okay with what we do to pay the bills I guess.

Some guys are paid to win. I'm paid to lose. I'm a jobber - I do the job for the guys the promoters decide need to win and look good doing it. I'm a little guy, so they usually stick me in there with their biggest guys. The seven footers. Sometimes the six foot six guys they bill as being seven feet tall.

They toss little old me all around the ring, looking all powerful and unstoppable like. My fight with them isn't the point. I'm there to build up their next fight, usually against some other big fella. Everybody knows I'm going to lose. The trick is to make the other guy look as awesome as possible in the few minutes we have together.

It's not like I've never won a match. Back when I was starting out I got my hand raised a time or two. But then I started losing and it just sorta... never stopped.

I'm getting on in years now. Maybe not in most professions, but this one ages you real quick like. The human body can only take so much punishment, even when it's "fake".

So, sure. I wouldn't mind one last win before I hang up my boots. But there ain't a promoter around who is going to pay me to beat anybody. There's no money in that. Sure, it would be a nice gesture, a big thank you for all the blood, sweat, and tears I've left in their rings. There's just one problem with that though.

This ain't the sort of industry that believes in nice gestures.

Tuesday September 1st, 2015

The exercise:

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

No reason.

While Kat took Max to gym time at the community center I managed to get a few things done around the house this morning. Some accounting, cleaned out the fridge, collected recycling (for an afternoon trip to the depot with Max), a load of laundry. So, yeah, pretty much screw weeding the garden at this point.

Ran a lot of errands in the afternoon with Max, who was surprisingly cooperative for the whole deal.

It was a rather cloudy, windy, rainy kind of day. Quite... fall like.

No complaints here.


The days grow shorter...
for some. Longer for others.
Welcome back to school.

*     *     *

Soothing rain returns
to parched earth as summer cries
its way out the door