“I didn’t do it.”
“I didn’t pull her hair.”
But he had.
“I’m not lying!”
His child’s face red with bluster as he lied.
“Why is she crying then? Why are there long blonde hairs wrapped around your fingers like a gold necklace torn from the chest of a debutante robbed in a poorly lit alley with steam rising menacingly from its manholes.” I said to him, except for the part about the necklace and manholes because he is only nine.
“I already told you. It wasn’t me.”
“Then who was it? Who pulled her hair and made her cry?”
“It was you. You pulled her hair. You made her cry.”
“What? No, it wasn’t me. It was you. I watched you do it!” I said, clumsily, confusingly switching from offence to defence.
“What! No, I watched you do it! Right?” He nudged the young girl with damp eyes. She said nothing, her small face streaked with tears and snot.
“Remember when he did that to you?” He asked again.
“I don’t know. I can’t remember.” She squeaked after receiving another elbow to the ribs.
“Well, it was him. Trust me. Don’t believe anything he says. He just wants to pull your hair again, he wants your long blonde hair wrapped around his fingers like a gold necklace torn from the chest of a debutante robbed in a poorly lit alley with steam rising menacingly from its manholes.”
Perplexed, I said nothing.
“Why?” She asked, voice wavering. “Why did you pull my hair and make me cry?”
“It hurt so much!”
“You’re a monster!”
“Don’t even, pal!”
“Give me my hair back!”
“Give her her hair back!”
“I don’t have it! I don’t have it.”
He takes my hand with his small hand and opens it, unraveling the long blonde hairs from his fingers and winding them around my own.
“Give them back!”
I take the hair from my hand and place it back on her head.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“Too little too late, pal.” He says.
“Too little too late, pal.” She says.
She doesn’t believe him.
“I don’t believe you.”
He holds the receiver close, lips pressed into the plastic, chasing after his own words.
“So dead people can’t make phone calls?”
“Dead people can’t make phone calls.”
“Believe me. I am. Just listen. Do you hear that?”
“No. What the hell are you talking about Justin, this is––“
“The dripping! Hear the dripping? That’s the sound of my blood emptying out onto the hardwood. It just drains outta the hole until I start to get weak and then I collect it in that old measuring cup of yours and put it back in.”
“Hole? Okay. To be honest, you’re being really weird and this is getting concerning––
–It should be, I’m dead!––
–and I don’t really want to have this conversation anymore. If you’re actually hurt or need help or anything I can call someone for you.”
“What is anyone going to do? It’s too late. I’m toast. I’m already pretty heavily decomposed. It’s been like, what, four months? That’s a long time for meat to be sitting out in the sun.”
“You’ve been dead for four months.”
“He hasn’t helped at all.”
“You’re being dramatic. Surprisingly so.”
“Death is inherently dramatic. The loss of a life. An extinguished flame.”
“Please, shut up.”
“Shut up? My elbows no longer work as a hinge joints. They’re like wet rope. I can’t do push-ups anymore.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“Say? I just want you to have some compassion. Some understanding. My landlord is threatening to evict me because I haven’t paid rent––
–you haven’t paid rent?––
–due to the fact that it’s hard to mow a lawn when you can’t even start the mower without your fucking arm detaching.”
“My body is breaking down, because I’m dead, and my muscle strength is nearly non-existent and my flesh just tears like that fancy paper used to fluff up gift bags.”
“This is so stupid. If you really have nothing better to do than act petty and strange, can you take that show somewhere else, please.”
“Yikes––I thought you cared.”
“Please. Cared? About what?”
“About me. Us. I’m dead and nearly homeless and you don’t give a goddamn shit.”
“Justin, of course I care about you. That’s not fair. I just don’t want to play your games.”
“This isn’t a game. If you could see me right now you’d be, like, horrified.”
“What is this actually about? Why aren’t you working? Do you want money––is this how you ask me for fucking money? You cannot be serious.”
“Get off it! I’m not here singing a sap-song for pesos, I just needed someone to talk to, because obviously this is a real fucked up time for me.”
“Because you’re dead.”
“Because I’m dead.”
“And you’re getting evicted.”
“Unless I can come up with $300 by Wednesday.”
He didn’t expect her to hang up on him. It stung. It had become a foreign thing to feel anything besides the whoosh of air through the grapefruit sized hole in his chest and the wriggling of maggots in his legs. He wasn’t trying to swindle Daisy, dupe her, or anything like that. He just wanted to spend his last few months before he became completely immobile in the comfort of his own home, not outside where the earth would reclaim him with haste and without mercy. He leaned forward, not so fast as to make his eyeball slip out like yesterday, but just fast enough that when his face met his remaining hand it didn’t collapse on a limp wrist. It just stayed upright, steady.
Sometimes I walk into places, like the other day it was this bookstore, and I look around at all of the things in the place, in this case books, and I get overwhelmed by it all. Like, the thought of all of those millions of words working together in order to construct an idea or an argument makes me get all teary-eyed. Even if it’s something weird like a memoir where a guy confesses to putting his dick in the family dog’s mouth as a kid to practice for getting his first BJ, just the idea that all of those tiny words are bundled up in the enormity of all of the other words around them in that book, and all of the other books in the store around it, stacked on each other like creative brick and mortar, is enough to turn on the water works. I’m not sure if I’m just so inspired by all of the work around me (not the dick-in-dog-mouth part, I’m not inspired by that. Yuck.) or just overwhelmed by the amount of hours and energy that went into writing all of those words, editing them, pitching them to publishers, getting them accepted and the elation that comes with that, then having them printed into hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of books that need designers to design the layouts, book jackets, print and web ads, and then all of the promotional might that goes into getting those authors into radio interviews, podcasts, or maybe even the Colbert Late Night thing where the author’s publicist gives the show’s producers a list of talking points that the author is comfortable discussing. Walking into places like that bookstore and being surrounded by all of that manifested potential makes my chest grow tight and my eyes hot and it might be that I’m inspired or jealous or whatever, but more than anything when I’m there I just want to stay in that place, feeling whatever I’m feeling, forever.
vancouver, BC > vancouver > personals > rants and raves
Portrait by Jaik Puppyteeth for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters
Some of you may be thinking that $35 for a used lawn rake is asking a little much, but this isn’t any ordinary rake, this rake is a piece of Internet history. This is the rake I used to beat my POS cheating ex-husband into submission in the popular Youtube video, Woman Teaches Cheating Husband a Lesson, which has been viewed nearly 2.3 million times. To be clear, international notoriety aside, this is also a highly functional rake. This past fall, before it/we went viral, I raked my front and back yard and did a really great job of it thanks to this rake, which is quite impressive considering the many large maple trees we have around the house. It was a lot of work but it had to be done, because Ken sure as hell wasn’t going to do it. He was “busy” with other “things.” “Things” being that turd Jessamine from the HR department at his work.
In honour of being transparent, unlike Ken when I first asked him if he was having an affair, I will admit that the rake is missing a few teeth. You can see at about 1:56 of the Youtube video, that when I wail on Ken with the rake as he’s turtled up against one of the maple trees, a few of the teeth get stuck in his back flesh and break off. That’s actually the moment he makes the weird, banshee-esque squealing sound that has been remixed into a bunch of famous songs on Youtube. I think my favourite is Gonna Make You Sweat by C+C Music Factory.
The rake was also used as evidence after spineless Ken tried to take me to court after the beating I gave him, but I got it back after the judge threw out the case. He said Ken deserved what he got and the five-hundred and fifty-six thousand likes the Youtube video got attest to that, which is kind of crazy in a law & order sense, since I hurt him pretty severely (he was off work for a few weeks and had to get skin graft from his ass to his face––which is fitting), but awesome for me. So if anything, going through the legal system successfully should add more value to the rake! Haha.
So yeah, fall is here and if you need a good, solid, justice wielding rake, this one is for you!
vancouver, BC > vancouver > for sale > farm+garden
Portrait by Andrea Hooge for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters
If anything, I’m a realist. My 76 year-old self isn’t going to be around much longer, much to the delight of at least one of my children. My mother gave into Alzheimer’s at 72 and my sisters didn’t make it past 70, thanks to a car accident and breast cancer, respectively. So really, whether or not I make it another 365 days or two-days is a total crapshoot. This is why I’d like to find someone with the religious credentials to baptize me before I step off of this earthly plane. If you’re a non-believer and wondering how I can be a realist and still feel the need to take part in a religious ceremony, I understand how that might seem like hypocritical, but it isn’t. A realist hedges their bets and prepares for all outcomes. Do I necessarily believe in the almighty? Not particularly, but I’d like to have a ticket to the party even if I don’t know where it is yet.
As a child my family went to a small Evangelical church, so if anyone has a history with that denomination that would be preferred. I was thinking Chilliwack lake would be a nice location for the baptism itself. The way the mountains fold around the water like giant, tree-lined fingers must be some sort of allegory for the glory of God; which if he/ she exists, would probably appreciate. I do have a car but my eyes aren’t what they used to be, so if you have a driver’s license that would be a plus. If this is something you’re interested in please let me know. I can’t offer much in return; a little money and a home cooked meal afterwards, but if I do end up in the arms of the Heavenly Father/Mother after passing over, I’ll be sure to put in a good word for you.
vancouver, BC > vancouver > personals > strictly platonic
Portrait by Katie So for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters
CRITERIA FOR APPLICANTS:
- You’re generally fit.
- You live alone.
- You’re not a crazy person or a Mormon or anything like that.
- You’re willing to entertain a surgical procedure that will essentially make you into the image of my deceased mother. It should be noted that my mother was an incredibly beautiful woman, think Robin Wright circa Forrest Gump, but with even higher cheekbones.
- You’d be cool with developing a relationship with the “funder.” That relationship would include things like:
- an evening phone call once a week where I tell you about the goings-on in my life and you hold a meaningful conversation and offer words of support when needed. (You are not afraid to be blunt but still retain a certain warmth while doing so)
- a monthly dinner where you come over to my apartment, cook me a (vegan) meal (I’ll pay for groceries), and then we watch TV while you scratch my back.
- after dinner you read to me from a fantasy/sci-fi novel of my choice before tucking me in, sending me off into the ever-changing seascape of slumber with a kiss on the forehead.
- You have a background in college-level athletics, preferably volleyball, and you often speak of the times you spent going to tournaments with your “girls,” on occasion referencing wild nights you would have while traveling with your team, stopping short of sharing any juicy details by saying “but that was another time, another me.” and winking at me cheekily.
- You’re lactose intolerant.
SERIOUS APPLICANTS ONLY, PLEASE!!
vancouver, BC > vancouver > personals > misc romance
Portrait by Derrick Fast for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters
They unscrewed the No Parking sign from its little metal base in the ground, lifted it up and out of its hole and through the chain lock that hung impotently from my bike, and stole it. I know this because they left the signpost laying in the dirt and the screw in the gutter. The morning I found out my bike had been stolen I just stood there trying to make sense of everything. The post in the dirt. The screw in the gutter. My bike, gone. That’s when you came up the street and fit all of the pieces together. “Bike stolen, huh? That’s the shits.” Your Pomeranian on its flashy red leash nodded solemnly in agreement.
The first thing you suggested was going down to Hastings street. That’s where most missing bikes end up, you told me. You offered to take me down there, which was unexpected. It was Saturday, I was hungover and upset, you had the day off, so I agreed. The three of us puttered down Main St. in your little Corolla and parked at what you said was a “safe distance.” We started where Main splits Hastings and worked our way West. Douglas, the Pomeranian, skittered around the sidewalk, smelling at the feet and the wares that the homeless people lining the buildings were selling. Douglas yelped as you tugged hard on his lead. “Can’t let him get too close, who knows what sort of shit these people are carrying.”
It didn’t take long to find it. The chain-lock had been snipped off but there it was, leaning against a wall, a few t-shirts draped off of it like a clothing rack. I whispered that we’d found it and you turned red. Motherfuckers you called them as you walked up, kicking over the old VHS tapes and long extinct electronics laid out purposefully on a ratty blanket. “It’s not an option, we’re taking the bike back you thieving fucks,” you declared. A weathered middle-aged man stood up and you told him to sit his ass down. You took the bike, tossed the shirts that had been hanging from it in the man’s face, and wheeled it over to me triumphantly. As we walked back to your car you asked if I wanted to get something to eat. I looked at you, searching for something, anything in your eyes.
vancouver, BC > vancouver > personals > missed connections
Portrait by Chelsea O’Byrne for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters
We met at that rave thing under the bridge. Not even really sure how me and my friends ended up there. We were at a pretty cool rooftop party in Gastown that had a solid DJ (and even snacks!) before that. I didn’t want to go to the bridge rave thing but L (I’m sure you remember her, she kept saying “blessings from Beyonce” at the end of every goddamn sentence.) made us all vote and I lost. So we get under the bridge and the first person I see is you. You looked like I felt, which is why I stood beside you while that weird trip-hop DJ shook his big ol’ dreadlocks around with the beat.
To make a short story shorter, we started talking, you made that joke about your friend’s love of head cheese, which I needed you to explain and is absolutely disgusting, and we ended up back at my place. We didn’t exchange names or numbers and I almost forget what you look like except for one thing: while we were fucking your eyes kept rolling back in your head, which was totally weird, but what was weirder still is that I remember seeing my reflection in the whites of your eyes as you Linda Blair’d out on top of me. Anyways, I thought you were pretty cool, if you see this get at me, I’d be more than happy to be your Father Karras again.
vancouver, BC > vancouver > housing > apts/housing for rent
Portrait by Dylan Homer for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters
Available Dec. 1st, this fully furnished bachelor apartment is a steal! With high ceilings, a skylight, bathroom with comfy clawfoot tub, spacious bed nook, balcony and ample closet space, there isn’t a better deal on The Drive! Traffic can get a little loud during rush hour and occasionally the floor becomes lava, but that’s it. All of the amenities are mere steps away! Donald’s Market is a block down the street and you can see the Skytrain from the balcony! Plus, the building is pet friendly! Although, that does make things a little tricky with the lava. It would be a bummer if Sparkles were swallowed by the molten soup that the floor turns into every once and a while!
That being said, the apartment does come fully furnished and I’ve set the furniture up in such a way that when the floor becomes lava, you can easily jump from couch to coffee table to office chair, etc. to reach all areas of the apartment without being reduced to ash. The whole floor lava thing usually doesn’t last too long anyways, maybe 15-20 minutes or until your mom tells you to stop or you get bored, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
This sublet would be from December 1st-May 1st, please let me know if you’re interested or have any questions about the lava.
vancouver, BC > vancouver > housing > apts/housing for rent
Portrait by Coreena Lewis for Portraits of Brief, Casual Encounters