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Some Variation of No

My lover allowed another man, a stranger, to buy her flowers: daffodils, tiger lilies, and the pink ones with the spiky petals – the flowers I can’t name. Each bloom smells similar, slightly sweet, as a flower should smell, I suppose. Except for the daffodils. Just under their everyday sweetness, daffodils smell faintly of urine. What am I to make of this bouquet? I am a man who knows little of flowers, although as a child I gave my mother handfuls of frothy dandelions and branches of lilac buds.

Lilacs. The scent of lilacs, an old lady scent, a young child scent. The scent of innocence decayed.

What am I to do? The flowers sit in my lover’s favourite vase on the kitchen table, infidelity in full bloom.

“Why do I have to rely on a stranger to buy me flowers?” she says. I cannot tell if she is angry or merely puzzled. I bought roses for a woman once. I suspect I’ve done it more than once, but I don’t remember. Does this mean I know nothing about romance, or only I’m always in love with a woman other than the one I bed?

* * *

Sometimes I eat like a dullard. I use my fork as if it were a spoon, scooping up my meal instead of spearing it elegantly. Grasping the fork like a hammer, I hack at the main course, bending the tines, as if the knife at my place setting were a futuristic implement. I chew vigorously and quickly and hang my elbows out too far. I ignore carefully chosen dinner companions. I fill my wine glass first and sometimes I forget to put my napkin on my lap. Hostesses frown on such behaviour. They lose their meagre appetites. They are women who understand flowers.

So what am I to make of my lover’s centrepiece?

* * *

It’s said you can eat dandelions, that they make a fine garnish for a summer salad. Use only the greens, before they bloom. Wash them gently in cool water, making sure not to bruise them. Sprinkle them lightly with vinegar. And everyone’s heard of dandelion wine. When you’re healthy your urine should be the colour of dandelion wine. At least that’s what nurses say.

Nurses know about flowers. They dispose of them often.

* * *

Stamen. Pistil. Which is which?

* * *

I tell my sister about the stranger’s bouquet. She is unimpressed. “You know,” she says. “What flowers are isn’t important. It’s what they mean that matters. Always know what flowers mean.”

* * *

In the morning, the stranger’s bouquet is plopped in with the egg shells and soup tins in the kitchen trash. My lover sips her coffee and says, “I’ve forgotten to take my pill.” Her pills are packaged how seeds should be: three neat rows, first this one, then this one… They lay between her deodorant stick and her Lady Bic in the medicine cabinet. She never forgets to balm her underarms, and she shaves them regularly, too, along with any other body hair she considers surplus growth. What is surplus depends on the season. But the daily observance of her pill escapes her more frequently each week.

* * *

We met at a party, my hair freshly cut. She was bending into the ‘fridge when I first saw her. I stood there, dumbly, staring, sloshing my beer on the floor. I found her ass arousing. Not an ass, I thought, but a rump. A bottom. A kiester. It has heft, mass. Not shapeless and rippled like a pan of congealed gravy, but smooth and firm like a classical sculpture. Callipygian. That’s what my sister called it. I had to look that up. Callipygian.

Of course, she was married.

* * *

Most Saturday mornings pass like this: I dash out for the newspapers and she brews the coffee. We sit in the sun at the kitchen table. She begins with the crossword puzzle; I, the sports. Occasionally we speak aloud.

“Jeez, Crosby has another concussion,” I’ll say.

“Some variation of no,” she’ll reply. “A phrase. Twenty-eight letters.”

* * *

She wonders about circumcision, rolling my cock in her fingers while we lay in bed on a sluggish afternoon. “What, exactly, was removed?” she asks. I point out the scar tissue, saying that, excepting the Jews, it’s mostly a North American fetish. I tell her some men grieve for what they believe they’ve lost and seek to restore their foreskins with much tugging and skin grafting. She considers this information, scrutinizes my cock, and then asks what my grandfather’s first name was.

* * *

Pistil /’pIstIl/ n. the seed-bearing part of a flower, containing the stigma, style, and ovary, [related to PESTLE]

Stigma, style, ovary.

* * *

I buy a cactus. It will do well on our sunny window ledges. I considered a fern, but I can never tell if ferns – everything drooping – are thriving or dying. She accepts the cactus suspiciously, but still cooks me a fancy meatloaf – with a hardboiled egg in the centre and mushroom soup on top – for supper. I eat politely, except for a greedy-guts third helping.

* * *

On a Thursday before a long weekend we go to a martini bar with her work friends. After four beers I am bored with gossip about people I don’t know. Everyone in the bar is smoking cigars and wearing suits that aren’t so impressive when more than glanced at. I excuse myself to the washroom. All the urinals are being used. Rather than wait, I take a stall. Written on the wall, in thick black marker, is Notes For Two Timers: A Businessman’s Guide. After seven beers, I go back and copy the notes onto a napkin.

* * *

From Notes for Two Timers: If you have a secretary, don’t even bother to try hiding your affair from her. She’ll know no matter what you do.

* * *

The first time we slept together it was a shambles. We tried too hard, expecting smooth travelling in unfamiliar terrain. After wrenching some token satisfaction from the act, we played the How Many People Have You Slept With game. Everybody lies when playing this game. A useful rule of thumb is to add ten to her total. Woman should subtract five from his count. Including each other, we both said twenty-five. Telling me she and her husband no longer had sex was the second lie she told me that evening.

Last night was like our first time. A desperate see-sawing, a harbinger of lovers thirty-six and twenty-one.

* * *

I have an unexpected afternoon off and go to my favourite coffee shop. I idly scroll through websites on my iPhone. I read profiles on “Plenty of Fish” and reflect on other people’s desperation. Until I get to: WORTH A TRY Professional SWF, 31, 5’5″ auburn hair, green eyes, medium build, non-smoker, social drinker, friendly, likes reading, crosswords, movies, dancing, seeks compassionate, understanding SM for possible relationship.

I know it’s not her ad, but it gives me pause. I remember what my sister said just before I moved in with my lover. “You’re going to expect fidelity from someone you’ve had an affair with?”

I drive to her office tower and follow her when she leaves. It doesn’t take long. Wearing a pair of new shoes, she spins through the revolving door of a downtown hotel. Of course, she could be going for a drink.

* * *

From Notes for Two Timers: Always make sure you pick up the mail. You need the VISA and MasterCard bills. Never call her at home and make sure she doesn’t call you. As with the mail, listen to the phone messages first. NO email. Take out the garbage every day. It helps create the illusion of domestic bliss.

If you find you never do any of this, look in the mirror, buddy. Hire a detective.

* * *

“You won’t believe what happened to me today,” she says. She starts most of her daily reports this way. “I was in the bookstore and this stranger gave me a book, a copy of the script of Shallow Grave. He claims to have seen me at this movie last summer.”

“He gave you the book? Just like that?”

“Yes, so I took it. But I turned down his lunch offer.”

“Took the book, spurned the lunch?”

“Is that wrong?”

“How do you know he paid for it?”

She reads the book most of the evening. Later I offer her a massage. I check her body for fresh love marks.

* * *

Stigma /’stIgm / n. 1 shame, disgrace. 2 part of the pistil that acquires pollen 3 (in pl.) (in Christian belief) marks resembling the wounds of Christ’s 4 a mark of dishonour 5 a sign of something abnormal.

* * *

We are restless in the night and sleep too late. She lifts the blankets for a peek. My morning erection isn’t for her, but she climbs on anyway. It occurs to me that her morning wetness may not be for me. We finish swiftly, so it’s less of a concern.

When she’s finished showering she tells me she has a hair appointment in the afternoon.

* * *

From Notes for Two Timers: Always do your fucking at her house. If both of you are married, screw in hotels, offices, and parkades. Don’t bring home any new sexual tricks. Pray she doesn’t have the clap. Don’t start drinking wine if you’re a rye & Coke man. Don’t take her word about birth control. Don’t use condoms bought from a bathroom dispenser, buy a box of the good ones. For god’s sake, don’t use your regular pharmacy.

* * *

Peaches, milk, tomato sauce, scouring pads… Standing in line at the Safeway I inventory the shopping cart, wondering what’s been missed. She begins talking about the cover stories on the tabloids. I find it irritating and embarrassing.

* * *

She fidgets at the bouquet-less kitchen table as I stir a pot of soup. She says, “All I want is a gesture. I just want a gesture, not your soul.” I want to say cooking is a gesture. Does she think I’ve ever cooked for a woman before her? What I say is “Soup’s ready.”

* * *

Style /staIl/ -n. 6 a particular manner or fashion of behaviour. 7 pointed tool used for engraving. 8 Bot. the stalk which supports the stigma. [Latin stilus]

* * *

She calls from the bathroom, asking me to get her lipstick from her purse. I find it flopped open in by the front door, its myriad of compartments exposed. A chain of five gold foil packets – RAMSES 1 PREMIUM CONDOM LATEX EXP DEC 15, lies in one pocket. There’s a loner wedged in the bottom beside a package of gum and I take it. I don’t know whether to be relieved or upset. Despite the bubble of anger in my gut, I’m oddly moved that she would have an affair and still take precautions. I find the lipstick and note it’s a shade darker than what she usually wears.

She’s standing naked in front of the mirror colouring-in her face. Her newly cropped and dyed hair bustles in several directions. I place the lipstick on the vanity and move behind her, cup her breasts and lightly kiss her shorn nape.

“What’s wrong?” she asks. I say nothing and begin to trace the ridge of her backbone with the tip of my tongue. Perhaps I squeeze her nipples a little too hard. Now her kisses have a different flavour. Like a mouthful of pennies. She cannot easily undo what she has done.

Deep in the night, her head on my chest, she whispers in her sleep, “Daisies, I want daisies in my bouquet.”

* * *

I imagine what she would say if I asked her to marry me. I don’t think she’d say yes. Yes. Of course, yes. Joyful jumping and squealing. I expect it would be some variation of no. No. Of course not. Are you serious? Not if you were the last man on earth. No, I definitely won’t marry you.

I am tired of being a transient man; a visitor to women’s kitchens and bedrooms. A new recipe tried. A fresh stain on the sheets.

I decide to give her lover a name. Roger. I’ll call him Roger.

* * *

I masturbate into the condom I took from her purse and place it under our bed, wedging it casually between the wall and the frame. We don’t often clean there, so I have to be careful not to disturb the dust. I wonder if cops planting evidence to convict the guilty feel the same thrill of success that shudders through me, or if they simply feel sad and disgusted that the pursuit of justice comes to this.

* * *

Pistil. Related to Pestle.

Pestle /’pestl/ n. a cudgel-like utensil for pounding substances in a mortar. [Latin pistillum from pinso pound].

* * *

I wait for her after work to surprise her with a lift home. I have a bunch of daisies. I’ll say we should go out for dinner tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll say, we should really give the apartment a good cleaning. Look, here she comes now, in her new shoes.

After we began our affair she left her husband. I hadn’t anticipated that and had discouraged it at first. “I’m not leaving him for you,” she said. “I’m leaving him for myself.”

I can’t say she didn’t tell me the truth.


A version of this story won the 10th Annual subTerrain Short Story Contest.
It first appeared in subTerrain issue 29.
Copyright © Todd Besant. All rights reserved.



Best paired with Trapiche Reserve Malbec until you’re maudlin.


Reprint and reproduction rights for this story are available for purchase. Contact me for more information on Anthologies, Course Packs, Reading Comprehension Exams, Translations, and Dramatic Adaptations


credit: www.ilkkajukarainen.fi on Visualhunt / CC BY-ND





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I Really Liked It and You Liked It Too

I’m eating supper at the Spicy Noodle House, hoping I’ll get used to this unemployment game, hiding from a nasty cold snap, watching the couple in the corner booth, knowing I could steal her from him without too much trouble—and I’m crawling pretty close to the baseboard these days—when in walks Burnell.

He sees me right away and recognizes me right off, even after seven years. “There’s a face I know! Hey, how ya doing Pete? Man! Long time!”

I’d been avoiding the Village for a while—too many ex-girlfriends lurking about—but Burnell was a skeleton I thought incapable of door-rattling and here he is pulling up a chair, calling for a menu, looking as mercenary as he always did.

“When was the last time we ran into each other?”

I remember everything, so I tell him. “About two weeks before you were busted for stealing that gun collection. I was at the Wet Lounge and you wanted me to help you break into the chemistry labs at the university. I said no.” I roll some noodles around my chopsticks, don’t look up. “So, how long did you do in Headingley? Make any friends?”

He looks like he’s doing some anger management exercise in his head and then he starts laughing, a gap-mouthed snort. I can see his teeth are still a mess. “Man is this a coincidence,” he says. “You know who I saw yesterday? Brenda Demchuk!” He slaps the table. “You’d never guess where. The Runway. She’s a ripper there. Good too, excellent floor show. You still see Brenda?”

A thin-lipped smirk sits under his weasely moustache and then broadens into a real smile. A tormenters smile. A top-dog smile. “You know what we should do? Head over and see Brenda’s show. It’ll be like old times. What do you say?”

“No thanks.”

“You’re not still mad about the rape thing? Come on, years ago. Forgive and forget. You had an alibi. No harm, no foul. Come on, it’ll be good. She’ll be naked.” This last bit he says in a sing-song style.

I imagine staying here for a tense evening of verbal sparring, the threat of violence brooding in the wings. So I decide to gamble on Brenda not being at the Runway and being able to leave Burnell to whatever friends he has there. I call for my bill. “Okay. We’ll go. But it’s a bad idea.”

***

My face is clamped between Brenda’s formidable silicon breasts. I tried to steer Burnell to a table at the back of the bar, but he insisted on sitting at the rail. As she releases her meaty hold, I stifle a sneeze and she pouts at me, offering a hip. Not wanting to be rude, I stuff a five in her g-string. She bends over grazes my lips with hers and then continues her tired walk around the edge of the stage to ‘Bad Case of Lovin’ You.’

“You like that,” Burnell shouts into my ear. “Didn’t I tell ya.” Then he grabs my biceps and squeezes. “Drink up, Pete. Drink up. Don’t want you falling behind.”

Burnell seems to know everyone in the bar, but he hasn’t left my side. So I drink up and the rounds keep coming. No sooner do I finish a bottle than another appears.

Brenda’s floor-show is not as Burnell advertised and I feel embarrassed for her and for myself. Except for us assholes at the rail, no one pays much attention until she’s starkers. Then the crowd, like primitives around a fire, is hooting and banging glasses and bottles on tables, shouting, “Shower, shower, shower.” I join in out of a perverse sense of loyalty to her, wondering how pathetic I can feel before I find the courage to bugger off.

When it’s over and she’s off the stage, I get up to leave, but Burnell’s hand is heavy on my shoulder, pressing me back into my chair. “Hey Pete, sit down. Sit down. Don’t you want to talk to her? Just leaving isn’t any way to treat an old friend, is it?”

Brenda comes from backstage in a red robe and red “fuck me” pumps. Walks right over to us. “So it is you. You bastard. I thought that nose felt familiar.” She looks at Burnell wearing his shit-eating grin. “You fucker, fuck you for bringing him here.”

Brenda looks both condensed and enhanced. The sweet pouty Slavic face I knew now has glacial set to it. Her breasts are mighty and motionless; her buttocks nearly indistinguishable from her tenuous thighs. Her hands—always creepy, adolescent sized—have huge over-done pink nails. Only her thick brunette hair, a distressed roller set, is familiar to me. She found that look early and stayed with it.

“Happiness,” Burnell says, putting his arms around us. “Happiness.”

“So Pete, you guys working together?”

“No, we just bumped into each other.”

“Pete’s just a little coward. He would only open the back door, hang out in the kitchen, while I did all the work. He was a real backdoor man.”

“Yeah, Burnell is the only real criminal here, even though he couldn’t get into a house without kicking in a window.”

“Back door man. Hey Brenda, was he a backdoor man with you?”

“Fuck you,” she says. “Pete, come with me.”

She leads me through the scramble of tables and chairs to an empty corner. “You have to buy me a drink. Keep the management happy.”

I say okay and she waves a hand towards the bar and then lets it drop to my knee. “So, you want a lap dance?”

“No, no. You don’t have to…

“That’s a joke, Pete. You see any lap dancing going on here?”

A waitress puts a bottle of ‘Champagne’ on our table, holds out a hand. “Forty dollars.”

I hesitate. “Petey,” Brenda says. “Be nice.”

So I pay. I decide to try to be nice. I fill our glasses and we share a wordless toast. “You still use the same perfume.”

“Guess you had to notice. Sorry about that, I couldn’t resist. Something about you makes me aggressive.”

“No kidding. Like when we were kids.”

“Yes. Remember? We’d go into the garage and play ‘married couple.’ She leans forward, her robe opening a little, revealing a satin chemise. “The way I made you hold my hand on the way to school? Made you kiss me hello and goodbye?”

“I hated all that, but you were bigger and older. I didn’t have a choice.”

“No you didn’t, and I really liked it and you liked it too,” she says sipping her wine. “You sure liked it when we were older.”

“I was in charge then. You liked that.”

Her expression shifts, like she’s trying to force a sincere look to her face. Her face resists. “Pete, about the rape…”

“That was a shitty, stupid thing you did. It was fucked. Really fucked.”

“I’m sorry, Petey. Honestly.”

“Forget it,” I say, waving my hands. “Water under the bridge.” I’m lying, of course, but I’m trying to be nice. I want to tell her I left because not only did she accuse me of rape, but because she is totally unpredictable. Capable of anything. If she disagreed, I’d say take a look at your line of work. But I don’t. I down my wine, pour more and try to keep an eye on Burnell. He’s keeping both on me like he’s planned some special outcome for me. “Did you know Burnell was bringing me here?”

“No, why?”

“Just wondering what he’s up to. Asshole.”

“Don’t worry about him. He just drinks a little too much.”

“What’s he doing for cash?”

“He keeps a couple of grow houses for some guys. He isn’t ambitious about it, but it’s better than working. Why?”

“Just curious, that’s all.” I file this bit of information.

A bouncer, his shaved head sporting a flaming skull tattoo, walks up to our table and whispers in her ear. “I’ve got to go Pete.” She leans close and says, “Come see me tomorrow. I’m living in my mother’s old house. Come there. Please. Tomorrow.”

She goes out a door near the bar with the bouncer and another guy. See her tomorrow? Not bloody likely. I head for the exit over a carpet as damp and sticky as gum.

“Not leaving are you Pete? Not without saying a proper goodbye?”

Burnell gives me a hard bump and I lose my balance easily, drunker than I think. I swerve toward the can. “Just going for a piss.”

“Well, I think I’ll join you.”

The stink is something else and some schoolboy is half hanging out a stall puking his booze up. Burnell waits until I unzip.

“Pete! No wonder you get the ladies. Who’d think a skinny guy like you’d have a hose like that.”

“Cock watching a hobby you pick up in jail?”

He grabs my hair and pulls hard. “Be careful what you say to me, especially with your dick hanging out.” He slaps my head forward. “Zip up. Time for another drink.”

When I step back into the noise, I decide it’s time to face the consequences of my stupidity. I head for the exit.

***

In the parking lot, I’m holding my own. I’m in close and tie-up Burnell’s arms, clinging to his leather jacket like a leech on a swimmer, but I stumble and he shrugs off the jacket. He’s screaming, “You snitch, you fucking snitch, fuck you, fuck you, you snitch, fucker…” I stumble again in my panic to get my bearings. His knee cracks into my cheek, so like the coward I am, I hit the gravel and turtle.

I come to shaking, but I don’t move, not yet, not until I’m alone. The darkness is a thin blanket but I’m happy to let time pass. My watch ticks in my ear. The sound of cars pulling out of the lot gets me up. Burnell’s jacket is underneath me and I have his wallet, too. I’m covered in blood and dust. My head is pounding and it’s hard not to puke.

After a short walk, I find a cab willing to take me. Cash from Burnell’s wallet pays for the ride.

***

The phone is a banshee. I’m hungover, beaten, embarrassed and someone needs to speak to me, but there’s no one I need to talk to. I keep the apartment dark and try not to move. The pulse of my blood tells me my left eye is half-swollen. My inventory of discomfort also includes a goose egg on my head, a sore ass, a tender knee, and bruised sternum and ribs.

I flop out of bed in the late afternoon. Burnell’s wallet is on the kitchen counter. It’s a fat, cheap brown number. I pour a bowl of cereal and go through the wallet while I eat. The usual I.D., but his driver’s license is expired and I’m surprised to find a library card. Four rags of paper with lists of phone numbers, and the bonus—two grand in tens and twenties.

I sit and wonder if Burnell was looking for me or if he simply took an opportunity too good to pass up. I decide I can’t care. Then I pick up the phone; it beeps insistently.

The messages are all from Brenda. Each is a variation of her hoping that I’ll drop by today, it would be great to see me. She leaves an address and a phone number. The last call sounds desperate—“Fuck, Petey, pick-up. Fuck.” I call and get her voicemail. I hang up without leaving a message.

I decide a cross-town trip is what I need. I hide my hammered eyes behind sunglasses. On the way to the bus stop, I chuck Burnell’s wallet into the dumpster behind the neighbourhood drop-in clinic. The cash is in a coffee tin at the back of my ‘fridge.

Brenda’s house is as I remember it, white stucco bungalow, pink trim, brown carpet on the steps, an aluminum front door with a die-cut of three-foot tall heron stalking through reeds. Everything is sun-faded, flaked, careworn. The lawn is uncut and the garden under the front window is a snarl of weeds and the same perennials her mother grew. It’s all wilting and browning from the cold.

I ring the doorbell, ready to bolt if I hear footsteps and change my mind, but there’s no answer. I head around back. The outer door is open, the inner is locked. I have a flash memory from childhood. They kept a back door key under a patio brick beside the garage door—the garage where we played married couple. The key is under the brick.

The kitchen looks like it’s seldom used. A coffee maker with a half-full pot, a rinsed cup in the sink. Stove, refrigerator, dishwasher all white and empty. When breaking into houses, this was as far as I used to come, but I’ve been here before, it’s more like visiting. The powder blue pile carpet in the living room bears the tracks of an upright vacuum. The house smells like vanilla deodorizer. What used to be Brenda’s bedroom, the room where I lost my virginity on a Thursday afternoon, is now stacked with boxes. I stand there a long time, and the memories of what we got up to here provokes an urgent erection.

I go the bathroom stand over the toilet and unzip. It is sick, but I decide to make it sicker. The red shoes Brenda wore in the bar are beside the bathtub. I grab one and jerk-off into it. I usually masturbate to take the edge off a hangover, but I keep it furtive and normal. This isn’t. It is a swift and miserly pleasure and fills me with regret and shame. I give the shoe a hasty wipe, flush the tissue, and put the shoe beside its mate. I nudge it with my foot until I’m certain of its positioning.

Then I fuck off out the back door and down the lane.

***

I’m at a Tim Horton’s fuelling up on coffee and crullers, surrounded by students from the career college across the street. I snag The Sun from a table. A triple slaying dominates the front page. Two men and a woman were found in a West End bungalow yesterday morning, shot execution style. The men were associates of a local motorcycle gang and the woman was known to the police. Police suspect the slain woman, Brenda Demchuk, was a victim of circumstance.

In the washroom, I puke-up cruller, coffee, and last night’s pizza. Is it from regret or relief? Brenda was killed the evening of our so-called date. If I had shown up earlier, would she be alive or if I would be dead? I tell myself it is because of relief. The memory of her as a young girl comes to me; Brenda wearing her mother’s wig, her mouth slathered with red lipstick. Her hands on my cheeks, steering my head. No, this way, this way, kiss me back, push out your lips, kiss me back. Kiss me back. Until I did, and she didn’t have to make me anymore. And I know it is from regret, and I heave until I’m dry. I rinse my mouth from the tap, keep spitting until I no longer taste bile, and brush my teeth with my forefinger. In the mirror is someone I’d avoid on the street, someone I wouldn’t want to recognize in a restaurant. I open my mouth. My teeth are clean and straight, unlike the train wreck in Burnell’s mouth. And I believe that’s all that separates us: good teeth.

And I decide I need to fuck-up Burnell.

I call Crimestoppers from a corner payphone and offer a tip about Burnell and his grow houses, imply that he might have a connection to the dead bikers, mention his previous convictions. I throw in a couple of numbers from the raggy lists that now live in my wallet. I decline a code number. “This one’s for free,” I say. I hang-up, thinking I’ll call the tax department and snitch on him there, too.

The sky makes good on its weeklong threat of snow. Brenda and I had our best times as kids playing in the snow. Before the wig and the lipstick and the kissing. I stick out my tongue discretely and catch a few flakes. Snow makes everything seem new and clean. I start walking home, not happy, but calm.

Then I remember the shoe.


A version of this story first appeared in Front & Centre in No. 6. It is also included in the work-in-progress Black Wind: A Prairie Pulp Fiction, a linked story collection. 
Copyright © Todd Besant. All rights reserved


Laura Hird‘s story “The Happening” was in Front & Centre in No. 6, too! And my story was mentioned with hers in a review!



Best paired with Lucky Lager, warm from the can.


Reprint and reproduction rights for this story are available for purchase. Contact me for more information on Anthologies, Course Packs, Reading Comprehension Exams, Translations, and Dramatic Adaptations


Photo Credit: Copyright © stokpic on pixabay.com



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Of average vanity

Todd Besant is a publisher, editor, reader, writer, occasional author, introvert, secret blogger, stargazer, freethinker, powerlifter, kitchen dancer, podcast enthusiast, and car singer.

He is overly fond of fine pencils, cool notebooks, pocket knives, waxed canvas shoulder bags, Moscot eyeglasses, coffee, bourbon, flat caps, clothing for shorter men, manipedis, and men’s grooming products–especially pomades, face balms, and under eye treatments. Todd is of average vanity, that is, very.

Todd is taller online, inordinately puzzled, comprehensively skeptical, increasingly alarmed, and as analogue as possible under the circumstances. His creativity is informed and driven by an avalanche of failure. Todd’s favourite words are louche, bare, frowsy, oubliette, chemise, thicket, snug, bristle, mound, abandon, frisson, and restraint.

He is the descendant of colonialist settlers and lives on Turtle Island on Treaty 1 Land that is the territories of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Inuit, and Dene Peoples, and on the Traditional Homeland of the Métis Nation, in Winnipeg, MB, an inflexible colonial city mired in the still damp clay bed of a proglacial lake created during the Holocene Glacial Retreat.

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This blog is written and produced on Turtle Island in Winnipeg, MB, on Treaty 1 Land that is the territories of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Inuit, and Dene peoples, and is the Traditional Homeland of the Métis Nation. All material, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © Todd Besant. All rights reserved. Header photo credit: darkday. on VisualHunt.com