Things you see in the subway station

January 28, 2010

Just to the right of the cellist, the young man dressed in hiking gear stands with his back and palms flat against the wall. He appears to be made of coiled springs, ready to launch himself across the floor. Which is what he does as the cellist slowly slices his bow into the next melancholy bar of music.

His body unfurls like exhaled smoke across the tiles in sweeping arcs before contracting back into place with smooth elasticity. His movements are equal parts Tai Chi and modern ballet, beautiful and fluid and strong. They appear to be the random gesticulations of a crazy person but are too precise and controled to be untrained improvisations. 

The entire time, the dancer’s eyes are intensely locked on the cellist who seems unaware of his presence as he saws through the sad, sad notes of his own private melody.

TwitFic #6: Prime End Times

January 27, 2010

When the world ended, no one noticed. There’d been no war, no plague, no meteor, no indication of the doom that had befallen us. We carried on. Bought and sold, loved and squabbled. For years of blissful ignorance, it was business as usual. And business was very good. 

One day an angel came down to tell us life as we knew it had ended; that we should be trembling and crying with our arms raised to God.  People mostly laughed at the angel. Afterwards, he briefly became a sensation on the talk show circuit but we quickly lost interest in him.

Several years later, when he won on Dancing With The Stars, people began to suspect something had gone terribly wrong.

Things you see waiting for the light with a coffee in your hand

January 26, 2010

It looked as if someone had detonated an Angora rabbit somewhere on Yonge street. The sparse flakes of snow were that fluffy, that soft and warm.

Pop + circumstance

January 25, 2010

» Lately I’ve become nostalgic for a time when Depeche Mode were considered vacuous pop music. This was before NKOTB and Vanilla Ice raised a few good points and N*Sync settled that argument.

» There’s nothing better than wet pavement in the dark. Nothing except neon reflecting off wet pavement and steam hissing out of manhole covers. A lit cigarette dying in a puddle seals the deal.

TwitFic #5: Burial

January 15, 2010

Her life began to look up on the day she found a suicide note tucked in the back pages of her used geology text book.

The note read: I’m buried under the sedimentary layers of a wasted life. I can’t dig myself out.

She felt the weight of these words. The feeling of being crushed under pressure—like coal into diamonds—was all too familiar. The words in the note resonated like a crystal.

She bought a shovel and began digging in her backyard. She peeled away the thick skin of turf to expose a patch of bare, red earth. By nightfall she’d carved out a small flowerbed.

Then, feeling lighter, she shredded the textbook and suicide note and used them for mulch.

Visit Mr. Dapper’s Twitter for stories told 140 characters per day.


January 14, 2010

I’ve entered a short fiction contest at The Pilot Project journal’s website. Here’s the gist:

  • Step 1: Select an image from the surrounding collection (see website).
  • Step 2: Write a story for which the image could serve as an illustration. Your story should: have a plot; have a beginning, a middle and an end; be no more than 250 words.
  • Step 3: Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Step 4: Send the story to us at
  • Step 5: Tell all your friends about the contest. Because we will post entries as they arrive, you can show off your fine work by telling your friends to come to our website!

This is me completing Step 5 by telling you about the contest. My story is HERE under image #9 (the girl in the hat) and is called Alley.

Things you see when you ride the TTC #2

January 13, 2010

He stands straight with his chest out past the gleaming toes of his shoes. In one hand he grasps a hockey stick like a palace guard’s pikestaff  and, in the other, a set of hockey skates by the blades.

His long wool coat is houndstooth and his pants, visible beneath the hem, are GAP Original Khakis in the colour known by that company as “cedar” though it is a sandy beige, a shade lighter than his skin.

His head is shaved, but not recently. His beard—trimmed close to his square, meaty jaw—is styled into a goatee with thin blades of hair extended towards his ears.

Though his stance is solid, imposing and resolute, there is a self-conscious weakness in his eyes. He is uncomfortable with the attention he is drawing. He seems apologetic for the inconvenience he’s caused by the extra gear he is carrying though it is not encumbering anyone at all.

Two days later he is wearing the same coat but does not have the hockey equipment. Instead he is accompanied by a woman he guides off the train by the elbow with a slightly domineering air.

TwitFic #4: Blind Love

January 8, 2010

He always believed he’d marry a blind girl. True, he was too homely to attract the attention of a sighted girl. But that wasn’t the reason.

He needed, for himself, to be indispensable in someone’s life; someone who would be helpless without his care and guidance.

Then he saw her. Her thin white cane shone like a beacon from across the subway car. He wondered if she knew her coat was ruby red and her hair golden brown.

He followed her, protectively, when she exited the train and alongside her crossing the street, ready to pull her away from any unseen danger. As they reached the other side, she suddenly yanked him out of the way of a speeding taxi.

He hadn’t heard it coming up behind, being deaf.

Visit Mr. Dapper’s Twitter for stories told 140 characters per day.

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