Friday September 30th, 2016

The exercise:

On this, the final day of September (whaaaat?), let us write four lines of prose about: the crime scene.

Work went by pretty quickly this morning. Had a couple interesting phone calls while covering at Town Hall (a contractor hitting a water line while digging a hole was the definite highlight) and then I was done for the day.

And now, all of a sudden, it's the weekend.

Hoping to check out the Garlic Festival at Hester Creek tomorrow. Should be fun, as long as colds don't keep Miles or Kat from enjoying it.

(I'm somehow still avoiding catching their colds but I don't want to jinx it by talking about it)


The wind is picking up, making the police tape strung between the trees crinkle and flap. It's also dispersing the smell, so I'm not going to complain - even if it is making the chill in the air more piercing.

As I watch the techs examine the bodies I start to go through various possible motives in my head while I wait for them to give me the go ahead to get in there myself.

Money, sex, power, drugs, politics... it never fails to be one of those... not in this city anyway.

Thursday September 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the nut.

Work was a little hectic first thing this morning at Public Works. Had a voicemail waiting for me, three or four relatively urgent emails in my inbox, and I needed to get the coffee going for the crew (they arrive for a 15 minute break at 10 and it's nice to have their coffee ready for them when they get there).

Got through that, had a few other things to deal with, then headed for Town Hall. Where I had zero phone calls and no one walk in needing anything.

So, the opposite of yesterday, basically.

I was realizing last week that I hadn't shared any pictures from the bakery. Now that things have slowed down a bit, I actually had time to pull out my phone to take this:

Going left to right, we've got butter tarts, chocolate croissants, regular croissants, cinnamon buns, and focaccia. Oh, and on the shelves in the background there are preserves, oils, and bags of coffee. Just out of sight are the shelves holding the loaves of bread.

It is amazing I haven't put on fifty pounds since I started working there. I suppose never having time to stop moving while I'm there helps with that.


"Looks like you're missing a nut, sir."

"Or is it a bolt, brother?"

"Beats me. I can never keep those two straight."

"Well, he's definitely missing one of the two, wouldn't you say, brother?"

"Oh yes. Clearly you're missing a nut, sir."

"Or a bolt."

"Yes, or a bolt."

"Whichever the round one is, sir."

"That's a nut? Really? Are you sure about that?"

"I mean, with all due respect, sir... you're not a mechanic, after all."

"Quite right. Not like me and my brother here."

"Well, if you say so. A nut it is. I guess."

"Either way! Rest assured, sir, we'll have your truck back on the road in no time!"

"Though I'm pretty damned sure it's a bolt tha-"

"Let it go, dear brother. Let it go."

Wednesday September 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the complaint.

Work went by pretty quickly this morning. Had a side project to keep me busy, which was good since the phones were very quiet. Then I went over to Town Hall to cover a lunch break and things got a little more interesting.

Had several phone calls, one of which was a guy complaining about an invoice he'd received from the town. I guess he'd been given a couple warnings for an 'unsightly premise' and didn't do anything about it in time and then was surprised by the rather large bill.

So that was fun.

And then a lady came in to complain about a neighbour's tree. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with her, but I did have the best seat in the house for her conversation with another person who works at Town Hall. After she was told there wasn't really anything the town could do about it, she declared that she wasn't going to pay her taxes next year and stormed out.

Good times.

Also: not a very good solution to the problem. If she doesn't pay her taxes for three years the town can sell her property in order to collect their money. I can't imagine it will come to that but... you know, maybe not the best idea to go down that road.

Back at it tomorrow!


He files his complaints,
Year after year,
Then drowns his sorrows,
Beer after beer.

They'll all be ignored;
They just don't care
About his concerns -
They're standard fare.

But it's the barkeep
Who knows (and sadly so)
When it's time to pay up,
And when it's time to go.

Tuesday September 27th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the sweatshop.

My training shift at Public Works went pretty well this morning. I think I'm setup to take care of the rest of the week now... but I guess the coming days will let me know for sure, one way or the other.

Definitely a different atmosphere than the other town locations I've worked in. It's kinda like being in the office of a garage. Not sure I could do it full time, but covering for part of a week is certainly doable.


Wall to wall treadmills,
an obese man on each one;
we make all the sweat

*     *     *

She works from dawn to
dusk, earning what I could make
in seven minutes

Monday September 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Our writing today shall revolve around this question: are you listening?

I don't think I could ever coach toddler soccer classes. I learned that today, if nothing else.

The community center called the other night to let me know that they didn't have enough kids signed up to make two separate classes, so they were combining the two into one. This was disappointing news, as Max and I quite liked having a smaller class (there were six total in his class last week).

But they were all together this week. Which, for the record, is a much better option that just cancelling them both. But it was more like twelve kids. And I'd say about a third of them were borderline incapable of listening to what the coach was telling them.

Yes, I know they're toddlers. But... goodness me. Plus: they really feed off each other, so when one or two start acting out at least three more follow their lead.


Pure chaos.

Anyway. Max still managed to have fun.

I needed a coffee afterward.


I will transform these kids. My years of experience and knowledge will spread over and enshroud them like a warm blanket on a winter's day. My techniques and skill will be bestowed upon them. They just need to be willing to put in the work.


My awards await me. Coach of the Year? That was mine before I got out of bed this morning. I'm gunning for Coach of the Century. Greatest Coach Ever is not beyond my grasp. I just have to get them to listen to me and to do as I say. The rest will follow as it should.

"Coach? Emily asked for a bathroom break twenty minutes ago."

They should count themselves lucky. There are toddlers out there who would kill to be in this class, learning at my feet. Most of them are in jail though. Sadly.

"Hey! Would someone tell the janitor to get in here with a mop?!"

I should demand a raise. Clearly, I deserve one.

Sunday September 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: isolated.

Spent as much of today as possible off my feet. It was good.

Forgot to mention that we got the car back yesterday. Kat had to pick it up after the garage had closed, so I'll have to stop by tomorrow to find out how much it cost us. Just happy to have it back right now.


Towering trees protect me in every direction for miles. Beyond them? A thousand foot cliff to the north. A deadly, wind ravaged mountain to the south. Waves thundering upon beaches to the east and west.

This place is not easy to reach.

I like it that way.

Visitors do not seek me out. No one will ever stumble upon me by accident. No questions to answer, no battles to wage. No radio or TV or internet. No intrusions.

I am alone with the elements out here.

As it was intended from the very beginning.

It is the natural way.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself...

I'm certain that my captors would see things somewhat differently.

Saturday September 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the weekend.

Busier day today, as I expected Saturday to be. Ended up with only four loaves of bread, a couple epis, and five ciabatta buns. The shop closed at 3 (instead of 4 like the last three days) and I managed to get out of there by 3:40 without having to rush too much.

Very much looking forward to having the next two days off, to spend time with my family and to maybe hopefully possibly rest.


It comes with promises
Of rest, of freedom, of fun;
Quickly, let's do it all
Before the weekend's done...

Friday September 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the injury.

It's been a rough week for my left hand. On Sunday (or maybe Monday?) I was cooking a chicken curry in coconut milk, so I had opened up a can of coconut milk and left it sitting on the counter with the lid pointed straight up. 

Smart, I know.

Shortly afterward, I went to grab something behind it and cut my left thumb and left ring finger on the lid.

That hurt quite a bit. I've had band-aids on both of them since.

This afternoon at the bakery I was mopping up in the back and had fallen behind schedule a little bit, so I was rushing. And being careless again, obviously. There's a long baker's bench, under which they keep four big bins of flour. I have to roll them out in order to sweep and mop under there, but this time I managed to squish my left thumb between the bin and the bottom of the table.

That also hurt quite a bit. As I sit here now, some seven hours later, my thumb is still throbbing. And there's a nice black spot under my thumbnail where the blood dried up.

So my goal for tomorrow's shift is to escape it uninjured.

Or, at the very least, to escape without injuring my left hand any further.


"Ma, I think I'm dying!"

"It's just a tiny little cut, dear - I'm sure you'll be fine."

"Ma, I'm bleeding out here!"

"Oh, just stick a band-aid on it and get back to cleaning your room."

Thursday September 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the cleaner.

Slower day at the bakery today. Actually had cinnamon buns and croissants left at closing time, along with a half dozen loaves of bread, three baguettes, and two bags worth of ciabatta buns. Made for some extra work at the end of my shift.

While I was working Kat was in town running errands with the boys. On their way back home, as she was driving down Main Street, the car decided to stop working. At least she was able to pull into an open parking spot.

So it's at the garage now, and they'll be looking at it tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed for good news.


"Honey, have you seen my watch?"

"No, sorry."

"Um... have you seen my car keys?"

"Don't you always leave them on the hook in the kitchen?"

"Yeah, but they're not there."

"Maybe Claire moved them when she was tidying up in there this morning."

"I guess that's something she'd do."

"You know how she's always putting stuff back in the wrong spot. It's a good thing she's so nice."

"Yeah, she's a real sweetheart. Hey, do you know where my wallet is?"


"It's just... I could have sworn I left it right here."

"It'll turn up eventually."

"I guess. Oh... have you s-"

"I'm trying to get dinner ready in here! Can't it wait until later?"

"I guess. It's just... I feel like maybe we should know where our baby is right now..."

Wednesday September 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the time machine.

Worked from 8 until 4 at the bakery and was on my feet the whole time, aside from my 15 minute break to eat lunch. So... I'm a little tired right now.

It went well, though. At the end of the day there were only two loaves of bread on the shelf, along with a handful of croissants and some butter tarts in the pastry case. Closing up for the first time went pretty smoothly too.

Not sure I'm quite ready to get back to it tomorrow morning, but hopefully between now and then a good night's sleep awaits.


"Does it really work?"

That was always the question. The insulting, condescending, disbelieving, neverending question. Who were they to question my work? My knowledge? My methods?

There could be only one response.

"Of course it works. Step inside, if you dare, and I will prove it to you."

If you dare. I think that's what got them. Most of them, at least. I think a few of them would have been willing to test my machine even without the challenge to their courage. Their curiosity was too large to allow them to walk away without finding out for certain, one way or another. It was the moon, pulling at the tide of their imagination.

Every last one of them did consent to joining me on a foray through time though, regardless of their reasons and motivations. And, of course, I vanquished their doubts in each instance. Turned them all into believers. Followers. Soldiers.

I have a small army of time warriors now. I can send teams off to anywhere in history, ready to do my bidding. And, should they fail, I can always send others, until the desired result is achieved. 

My desired result.

The ramifications are quite magnificent, really. To be honest they fill me with such a feeling of exhilaration. Whenever I take the time to acknowledge them. Appreciate them. Bask in them.

I am the most powerful person in the world... and nobody knows who I am.

Tuesday September 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the boys are back in town.

Kat got back to her counselling work this morning. In order to give her the space required, I took Max and Miles into town. It was the first time on my own with the both of them away from the farm.

We ended up at the park where we happened to run into some friends. Max did pretty well playing on his own until it was time to bring his little brother back home for milk. Afterward, as Miles was still awake, I brought them back into town again - this time for a walk/stroller ride/bike ride along the lake.

Definitely challenging but good to spend some time out of the house with the both of them.

Tomorrow I start my first of four straight 8 until close shifts at the bakery. Sleep... might be an idea worth investigating at this point.


The boys are back and
they're gonna be trouble - so
lock up your daughters

*     *     *

Empty, frightened streets
keep a close eye on the pub;
last call is coming

Monday September 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the classroom.

The fall session of soccer started up this afternoon, so I was there with Max. He was happy to find that not only were there only five other kids in the class, he was also the second oldest. I'm hoping both of those things will help him to be more comfortable and confident there.

He got off to a good start at any rate.

Still feeling exhausted from yesterday's activities. I should sleep.


"Has anyone seen Mr. Williams?" the principal asked from the doorway to the classroom.

"What, like, today?" Brock said as he tapped a cigarette out of his newly unwrapped package.

"Yes, today, Mr. Kennedy," the principal replied. "And I'm not even going to ask how a 12 year old got those - just put them away, please."

"Your mom gave them to me last night."

"That is more than enough, Mr. Kennedy." The principal glared at him for a few moments before turning his attention to the remainder of the students in the room. "So. Mr. Williams? Today? Anyone?"

"Pretty sure he quit," Shannon said without looking up from her phone.

"Excuse me?"

"Yesterday," Annie added with the most enthusiastic smile the principal had seen in his school in years.


"Probably finally realized he could make more money on a street corner downtown than in this dump," Wade said before returning to his artwork on the ceiling. The principal made a point to not look too closely at what it was he was depicting up there.

"Children, this is not ap-"

"Just like your mom," Brock cut in, earning a round of applause from the students and another glare from the principal.

"I won't be calling in a substitute this time," the principal told them once relative silence returned. Then he continued before the cheers could get too loud, "I'll be bringing in the local Drill Sergeant instead."

Sunday September 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the country fair.

Went to the Rock Creek Fall Fair with the family today. Met up with Becky, her mom, Natalie, and Emersyn, and spent pretty much our whole time there together.

Max and Natalie went on rides together, we watched a clown perform for a while, and we could not resist buying the kids cowboy hats. I think you might be able to figure out why:

The highlight came pretty early in the day though. So let me get right to that.


Becky and Adam have their two horses here on the farm now, so Natalie has grown up around them. I don't know how often she rides them, but I've seen her on one with Becky at her side a few times. She's got her own helmet and saddle and what not.

Max, on the other hand, has never been on a horse.

Until today.

When we first met up with Natalie at the fair she was super excited to show us where she was going to go for a horse ride. Max had zero interest in joining her. He did want to watch though.

The eight of us went back to the main area of the fair to look at the animals and watch the clown, and Natalie got her face painted as well. Then it was time for her ride.

"Max, do you want to go on a horse like Natalie?" Becky asked.

"No," he replied. And then he surprised me. "Because I don't have my helmet here - it's at home!"

"Oh, they have helmets you can use here," Becky told him. "Do you want to do it now?"

And then he blew me away.


I'm sorry, what? Where did this brave little man come from?

So we took them over. And, I have to admit, the entire time I was expecting him to balk once he saw the horse he'd have to get up on. But he did not.

I lifted him up (he even picked one of the bigger horses they had available) and walked next to him almost the whole time. Started out holding one of his hands, then I got him to hold the pommel with both hands while I had my hand on his back. Then, at the very end, I let go entirely and backed off a bit, letting the little cowgirl who was leading his horse around be fully in charge of things.

He had a frickin' blast:

He also said he wanted to ride again, on one of the other horses, after we had lunch.

Anyway. I was very proud of him. Not least because I am not at all comfortable around horses (the last time I was on one was as a child and I was terrified pretty much the whole time). He's been going through a pretty shy phase recently and it was so great to see him come out of his shell at the fair today.

Hopefully this will help him out in other situations as well. But even if it doesn't, it made for a great time today.

Saturday September 17th, 2016

The exercise:

This week our four line poems get to ponder this question: where are we going?

Endured a rainy market in Penticton today. Still did fairly well, considering, but I would have much preferred if the weather had been a little more pleasant.

Ah well, that's done for the year. Now to focus on other things.


Wake up, get out of bed,
Feet hit the floor, it's full speed ahead;
Don't think, no time for slowing,
Or even asking, Where are we going?

Friday September 16th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: a hairstyle.

Shaved this morning, haircuts with Max this afternoon. I'm all set for my final farmers market of the year tomorrow morning.

I'll be bringing lots of apples (14 crates of Ambrosia, 7 crates of Aurora, 4.5 crates of Spartan, 2 crates of Mutsu, and 2 crates of Salish), along with four crates of plums. Oh, and a small basket of garlic. And what's left of my greeting cards and photography prints.

Hopefully the rain holds off until the afternoon. Or customers are at least undeterred by its presence.


Before we left the house this afternoon Max informed me (and Kat confirmed that he'd told her the same thing this morning) that he wanted a different haircut than he usually got. I said that was perfectly fine, though I had no idea what our hairdresser would do with his fairly short, extremely straight hair.

When we got there and informed her of what he wanted - something different but he wasn't sure what, just whatever she could do - someone suggested a mohawk.

Thankfully he vetoed that one (he doesn't like the electric razor) and she ended up doing a pretty similar haircut, but put some product in there and spiked it up a little bit at the end - I actually really like the way it looks (so does Max), so we might have to buy some stuff to put in his hair every now and again.

Thursday September 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the pizza party.

Bakery was feeling pretty relaxed this morning. It's not hard to see that the bakers are feeling less stressed out these days, and the flow of customers is so much more manageable for everybody. I was up front by myself until 11 and I only really needed help from the back a couple of times.

Day off tomorrow, more or less, and then I'll be going to my final farmers market of the year on Saturday to try to sell some Ambrosia apples.

Next week I'll be working 8 until close at the bakery Wednesday to Saturday, and then the following week I'll be working for the town Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 to 1:30.

Busy days ahead.

As usual.


"What... what is going on here?"

"Oh, hi Mr. Hillman. Bobby will be so pleased when I tell him his teacher made it to his birthday party!"

"Yes, of course. It's my pleasure Mrs. Decker. But... I'm not sure I understand what it is that I'm looking at."

"Didn't Bobby tell you it was a pizza party?"

"He did, but I didn't imagine... this."

"Yes, well, he really does love pizza."

"But where are the plates?"

"Bobby would like everyone to put their slices on another slice and use them just like plates."

"I see. And the cups?"

"... we're still trying to figure out a way to use a slice for a cup that doesn't end up spilling juice all over the place."

"Right. Right. I think I'll just assume that I should avoid the bathroom then."

"That's probably wise, Mr. Hillman."

Wednesday September 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the dragon rider.

Because Max has recently become very interested in dragons. Plus we were in a shop in town this afternoon and we saw a wooden carving of a Komodo dragon and that just sparked all sorts of questions.

Bakery was fairly quiet again this morning. Still doing good business, it's just such a stark contrast to the madness of the summer.


There is still a chill in the air as he wakes to greet the dawn. Slipping out from beneath the twisted heap of rags he uses for bed sheets, he moves to the mouth of his cave and looks out over the valley he calls home.

For now.

The silence is unnatural, but he has grown accustomed to it. When a thing follows you wherever you go, there is little choice in the matter. So he doesn't miss the birdsong. He doesn't notice the absence of bushes and branches being disturbed by foraging animals.

All he hears is the steady, throbbing breathing of the dragon which is curled up on the cave floor behind him. Still asleep. Still dreaming? Perhaps. If so, he does not wish to know what of.

Soon enough they will take to the skies. To seek out breakfast. To feel the rush of wind in their faces. To search for signs of their pursuers.

For now, though, all is peaceful. He does not need to worry about their next destination, their next hideaway. He does not need to think of the family and friends his flight has forced him to leave behind. He does not need to concern himself with the punishments he and the dragon would incur should they be caught.

He does not need to, but he does anyway.

Tuesday September 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the treasure hunt.

Spent most of the afternoon in the yard with Max. Started off just playing but then we transitioned to doing some much needed weeding. He had a blast and we got stuff done, so I'll call that a win-win.

No local orders today. We sent out a final email last week telling people what we'll have available from now until the end of the season and to get in touch if they want anything. Nobody wanted anything this week.

I am good with that.


If I just follow
the clues, like all of them, how
can I get there first?

*     *     *

This requires a
shortcut or two. Who shall I
sacrifice for gold?

Monday September 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with the number: five.

In honour of Natalie's fifth birthday, as well as this guy turning five months old today:

As of this moment I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with this prompt, but it felt like the right thing to do so... here we are.

I'm sure something will come to me eventually.

All right, here we go...


My goodness, aren't we in a bit of a pickle this evening. There's no denying it, is there? I mean, surely you can have no delusions about your current predicament?

You were caught, as they say, with your hand in the cookie jar. The evidence is plentiful, to say the least. Do you wish to go over it all? We do have the pictures, you know. Actually, I'd be quite pleased to go through the ones with your mistress - she is a looker, as they say.

No? Ah, too bad. I'll keep those for later then. I'll enjoy a... private viewing, you could say.

Now. Where does that leave us? Or, to be more accurate, where does that leave you? At this precise moment in time, you have lost nothing. I, however, have lost so, so much. Doesn't that seem unfair to you?

It certainly does to me.

So, clearly, you need to have something taken from you. To balance the scales, at least a little. But what, do you think, would be a reasonable price to pay? You know, there are some who believe that a thief, should he be caught, should have a hand cut off.

That seems a little harsh to me, to be honest. I mean, you only have two to begin with! Losing half of such an important appendage just... doesn't sit well with me.

However, each hand does have five fingers...

Sunday September 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the shake-up.

With all that went on yesterday, I entirely forgot to mention the earthquake.

It hit while Max and I were at the breakfast table and Kat was in the bathroom. Miles was on the floor in the living room. It lasted about 20 seconds, with some pretty good shaking at its peak.

Sum total of damage done in our house: a bottle of shampoo fell off a shelf in the bathroom and landed in the tub.

That's the second earthquake I've felt since moving here (and second total in my entire life) and this was definitely bigger than last time. Miles didn't seem to notice or care. Max thought it was pretty interesting.

It certainly had the whole town talking, at any rate.


"Brother, you don't know what a shake-up is, do you?"

"Judging by your tone, brother, I would say that you believe that I do not."

"Quite right, brother."

"Well then, what am I doing wrong?"

"I think that it would be helpful if you were to tell me what it is that you think you are doing."

"Well, brother, I think you just want me to do that so that you can make fun of me. Again."

"I promise to do no such thing."

"You swear it?"

"I do, brother. So, if you would be so kind?"

"All right. If a shakedown is, at its most basic level, the use of force or threats or intimidation or what have you in order to get someone to do as you wish..."

"Ah, yes, I can see where you are headed with this brother."

"... then a shake-up must be the same thing, only done on a rooftop or other such elevated locations."

"Yes, that would explain what we're doing up here."

"So what's the problem then?"

"I think I'll explain it all after you're done here. So just go ahead and finish with this rather terrified looking fellow and then we'll go grab a beer and chat it out, all right brother?"

"Fine by me, brother."

Saturday September 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: fragile words.

Stopped by the Osoyoos farmers market this morning to pick up some pickled beets and pickled garlic scapes, had a family walk (well, Max rode his bike... of course) along the lake, and then came home for lunch.

After lunch I took Max into town to hang out and pick up a few groceries. Managed to not be killed by various inattentive drivers. Picked up Mexican food for dinner on the way home.

Both boys were asleep before 8 tonight, which left Kat and I with enough time to watch The Spectacular Now on Netflix. Can't remember the last time we had time to watch an entire movie in one night. Ah, fall is almost here.

Twas a good day.


They slip from my lips,
Twirl toward the ground;
Shattering on impact,
The pieces never found.

Friday September 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something (or someone) that is: shortsighted.

Worked the evening shift at the community centre tonight, 4:30 to 9. At 7:30 there was no one else in the building and I started dreaming of locking up at 8:30 and being home by 8:45. I even passed some time shooting hoops in the gym.

Then one guy showed up to use the weight room at 7:50.

I had to kick him out at 8:45 but by that point I'd already done everything but lock up the weight room and turn off the lights in the gym, so I was still home by 9. Which begins to make up for all those times I stayed until 9:15 or 9:30 when I was first learning the job.

Anyway. Looking forward to a day off with family tomorrow.


"And there we go, I've finally brought us back under budget - all I had to do was fire all of my military advisors."

"You did WHAT?!"

"Useless bunch of idiots, all of them... plus I'm not going to declare war on anyone ever again."

"But, sir... what if someone declares war on us?"

Thursday September 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: flowing.

Bakery was even quieter this morning, but still steady enough to keep me moving until I left shortly after 11. It's a very different crowd now, as I can see the locals returning and the number of tourists dwindling.

Spent the afternoon with Max. Took him to a nearby park so that he could ride his bike around some more. It's impressive to see how comfortable and skilled he's become so quickly.


I stand on my roof and watch the water flow past, carrying with it trees and fences and bits and pieces of my neighbour's lives. Was it only yesterday that this was a street, belonging to cars and trucks and the odd motorcycle?

I look up at the dark clouds looming over me. At least the rain has stopped. Not for long, it would seem, but I will take small blessings wherever I can find them right now.

I look down again. The flood waters have reached above the windows on the top floor. I can feel them stretching upward, their liquid claws eager to snatch me off my sanctuary and drag me off to the end of the world.

I take a step back, sit down on the ridge board that runs along the peak of the roof. The view would be impressive if it wasn't so terrifying. I suppose it still is. Just harder to appreciate in my situation.

I take a deep breath. Try to ignore the hunger gnawing at the walls of my stomach. Acknowledge the loneliness and despair, but refuse to be swallowed by either. Pray for a helicopter on the horizon.

I prepare to die.

Wednesday September 7th, 2016

The exercise:

It's time to bring the movie prompt back around for another go. So select a movie title - let's say something released this year - and use it as the inspiration for your writing today.

The bakery is definitely back to pre-summer levels of patronage now. When it's this quiet on a Wednesday, you know the tourists have left town. Most of them, at any rate.

With that said, the bakers have reduced production to the point that when I left at noon there were only a few loaves on the shelves, along with some focaccia, butter tarts, and cinnamon buns in the display case. I'm sure they still sold out early when all was said and done.

I'm curious to see what tomorrow will be like.


The Jungle Book

Welcome to the jungle. So pleased to see you've made it this far. Many others have come before you, seeking my wisdom, and failed. Some quite spectacularly.

How do I know this? Concern yourself not with such matters. You have much more pressing worries. Like that tiger behind you, approaching at full speed.

Ah, well done! I thought that would be the end of you for sure. As a reward, go ahead and turn to my next page.

You have come seeking the lost treasure of Bazhul. Of course you are shaking your head no. But let us be honest for a moment, shall we? Excellent.

There is no other reason for you to be here.

I am happy to be your guide for as long as you are able to carry me with you. If you are breathing and willing to continue, I will assist in your quest. But know two things. First: I have no loyalty. I do not care if you succeed or fail. I do not care if you are the one to find the lost treasure or if that honor belongs to another.

Which brings me to the second thing you should know: there are others. Many of them. Most of them are willing to do anything to get their hands on me. I hope, for your sake, that you are equally willing to do anything to keep me in your possession.

For if you do not... our time together will be brief.

But for now? I suggest that you take two steps to your right. There, you see? I just helped you dodge those poison darts. You're welcome!

Oh, you should probably start running now. Come on, off we go!

Tuesday September 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the dreamer.

Work this evening went very smoothly. The gym was empty by 8:15, I finally noticed the weight room was empty just before 8:30, and then I just had to wait for the photography club meeting to end at 8:45 before I could finish closing up.

So of course they ran late. Not excessively, but still. I was otherwise ready to go by 8:35.

Between not going to the market on Saturday, only having one local order to deal with today, and working at the community centre this evening, I'm having trouble keeping the days straight. I keep forgetting that I have to work at the bakery tomorrow morning.

I suppose I should set my alarm(s) now...


He spends all day with
his head in the clouds - watch out!
Lightning incoming...

*     *     *

It starts with counting
sheep, you see. And then the real
wonders take over.

Monday September 5th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the plan of attack.

Had fun on our outing today, right up until it was time to eat lunch. The arrival of the army of yellow jackets, attracted by our food, served to put a damper on things.

We managed to get some food in us without anybody getting stung and then headed for home not long after that, as Miles was in need of a nap.

Only one local order to deal with tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get some stuff done around the house in the morning.


"They're closing in on our location, sir."

"I'm aware of that, soldier."

"They'll be here within minutes."

"What did I just say?"

"Right. Sorry, sir."

"Don't worry about it. You're about to have plenty of opportunities to make up for that misstep."

"I will not let you down, sir."

"I highly suggest that you do not."

"Yes sir. So... what's our plan?"

"Plan? What plan?"

Sunday September 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Having caught up on comments up to last month's installment this morning, I'm feeling inspired to return to the House of Mercy.

This morning Kat took Max and Miles to the park to meet up with some friends, so that's why I had the opportunity to work on the backlog here. After lunch I took Max to a different park so that he could ride his bike around (in a different location) and play on the slides for a bit.

After picking up a couple things in town, we came back via the garden to get beets, carrots, and cucumbers for dinner. We haven't done roasted beets and carrots in a while but the cooler weather inspired us.

Tomorrow we're heading to Kettle River for some time in nature and a picnic lunch with Kat's brother and his family. Might meet some other friends there as well but they haven't confirmed yet. Either way, should be a good time.


"Are you girls new here?" Bradley asked as he took another drink from the bottle. He was a tall, muscular man and it was taking a while for the tainted booze to do its work. There were only a few sips remaining by then. "I don't 'member seeing you 'round afore."

"Just started today, honey," Anne replied with a smile from her perch on his otherwise pristine desk. She was still bothered that she recognized his name but couldn't put it in any sort of context. She just kept hoping it wouldn't come back to haunt her. "But I can tell already that you're somebody important around here."

"Oh, you know it, girl. You know it." Bradley tapped the right side of his chest, looked down to find his name tag on the left, then tapped there instead. "Head honcho of security. Promotioned two weeks ago."

"Very impressive," Julie said, her smile not coming as easily as Anne's had. She was nervous. Terrified, really. She just wanted to bash Bradley over the head with the whiskey bottle, shut off the cameras, and make a run for it. "You must know all the ins and outs of this place then, hmm? All the secret passages?"

She tried to tack a giggle on to the end of her question but she knew without looking at Anne that she was not a good enough actress to attempt that sort of thing.

"Hah!" Bradley actually slapped his knee and tilted his head back to laugh at the ceiling. The oblivion of unconsciousness could not be far away now. At least Julie hoped so. "This ain't no movie, cutie pie. There's only uno way in and out of here." He leaned forward to tap a monitor and had to steady himself on the edge of his desk to avoid falling off his chair. "Dis door right hurr."

"That's what we figured," Anne muttered as she watched the video feed from reception. Then, brightening her tone before Bradley noticed, she quickly added, "So you can see everywhere in the building from here? Even... right in this room?"

"Nah, no need for dat, honey girl. Ain't nothing bad gonna happen hurr. Safest place in da world, right hurr wif me. Truss me on dat one."

"Bad? Of course not!" Anne said, returning the bottle to Bradley without taking a drink. "Naughty, though?"

Bradley leered at her for several seconds before finishing off the contents of the bottle and tossing it aside. Anne's heart caught in her throat as he stood up, his intentions unmistakable. But as he tried to take the first step toward her he fell forward, hitting his head on the edge of the desk right next to her.

"Oh my God!" Julie gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. "Is he dead?"

"Who cares?" Anne asked as she began shutting off all the security cameras in the building. Twelve eternal seconds later she turned back to Julie with a wild smile on her lips and a touch of crazy in her eyes. "Come on, let's get the hell out of here!"

Saturday September 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: teeth.

In honor of Miles going through teething hell at the moment.

Went for a family walk (me, and Kat), bike ride (Max), and stroller ride (Miles) down by the lake in town this morning. Max did really well and got lots of praise for his helmet.

Some friends were doing a yard sale today and Kat found out this morning that they were selling a toddler basketball hoop stand thing. We've been looking for one for a while, so I swung by this afternoon to pick it up.

Max spent the rest of the day alternating between playing basketball and riding his bike.

I think we can lay off the whole "getting him stuff" thing until his birthday now.


They tell me that they're coming,
That my first will be here soon.
Well it better hurry up,
Cuz it feels as big as the moon...

Friday September 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: Literal Larry.

Who? Is he a relative of Lackadaisical Larry?

Probably. Up to each of us to decide for ourselves though.

Had a successful trip to Penticton with the family today. Got some groceries, had a visit with Kat's friend and her three(!) girls, and... got Max a bike helmet, knee and elbow pads, and bike gloves.

As you may be able to tell from the following, we let him pick the helmet:

And a side view, to fully appreciate the spikiness of it all:

After we got home we put all his gear on and he biked around the front yard until dinner. After dinner he wanted to do it some more, despite his obvious exhaustion.

Our denial of this desire created quite the scene, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Anyway. Pretty sure I know what most of tomorrow is going to look like in the land of Max.


"These frickin' accident reports are making me tear my hair out!"

"I dunno boss, it looks to me like you've still got all your hair."

"Go to hell, Larry."

"You know I just spent two weeks trying to find it... but all right, I'll have another look."

Thursday September 1st, 2016

The exercise:

As always, it has been too long. Let us return to the random CD prompt. Find a song, as randomly as you wish, and borrow its first line. After that, just take your tale wherever inspiration directs you to go.

September already. Goodness me.

Work at the bakery was back to pre-summer busyness this morning. We still had croissants and cinnamon buns left when I headed for home at noon. Like, lots of them.

This afternoon we went to Rattlesnake Canyon to celebrate one of Max's friend's birthday. I took Max for his first go kart ride which he was pretty excited about. Then we hung out in the arcade for a while, mostly just pretending to play video games. Although I did actually put money into one of the racing games (I pressed the gas and helped him steer).

Fun times.


Letting the Cables Sleep by Bush

You in the dark.

You in the pain.

That is how I remember you. I wish it were not so. I wish that other, happier memories would force their way through. But alas... alas.

The disease stole your light.

The disease destroyed your comfort.

I was powerless in the face of it all. I could only hold your hand and watch. I couldn't stop it. As desperately as I wanted to, I couldn't help you.

And, in the end, the disease took you away from me.

And now?

Now... I'm beginning to believe it has come for me.