April 2018 Sneak Peek

April starts with a shower of events. April 3 I launch the serialization of Coal Dusters. Editing it has been pleasure, not work, & was sad to come to the end of the manuscript as I really enjoyed living with characters. April 6 is the finale for Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 4. The winner gets to attend Capturing Fire in June – travel & accommodations paid :-).

The month hopefully becomes routine after those events. Edits for Coal Dusters will continue as each segment is made ready for its debut. There are rumours of some Stratford day trips to catch a preview or two. There will be time for gardening, if the weather cooperates. Of course work will continue on the 227 Rules as I work though them – writing new ones, editing the old ones & being surprised at where those prompts take me.

Photos here will be green on Monday; books on Wednesday; various on Thursday; cars will continue to rule Fridays. I let my Tumblr posts slip in March to devote time to Dusters & I also had a head cold that was distracting but I hope to get back at that in April.

#Toronto #photography #amwriting #spokenword #April #dating #lgbtq #poetry #Ontario

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April 6, Friday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Slam Season 4 finals: 8 pm Buddies In Bad Times Theatre

HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

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We Need to Have Another Chat, Publishing: Why the 2017 Recs List is Late

Michael Matheson | A Dark and Terrible Beauty

I’ve been trying to put together my 2017 Recommended Reading List since early to mid-February when I finished reading for it. I’d originally intended to use it to help people find fiction to look at for the Nebulas and the Hugos, as I do. Then just the Hugos. I will not be making that latter deadline either.

The blog post sits, unfinished, in my Drafts folder. I open it occasionally, when I have time, and sit down to finish discussing the magazines I looked at (57 this time round, with 40 I’m talking about in brief, because I wanted to cover only free online mags and projects from 2017 — it’s an experiment, go with it), and talk about the state of the online field of speculative fiction publishing.

Every single time I sit down to work on that state of the field section I am incensed. This because I…

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March Sneak Peek

February proved to be busy month with my main focus on getting Coal Dusters edits complete. Another couple of hours work remains to be done. Main focus doesn’t mean only focus with my work in AA always taking precedent. I wish I could say I had some productive editing lunches but that isn’t so – odd how someone says ‘I can’t wait to here about your progress’ then spends the whole lunch talking about their work.

March promises to be just as editing focused though. Hot Damn! also returns to Toronto with a workshop & show both featuring the dynamic D’Scribe. This will the first Hot Damn! in Toronto this year & it promises to be great. This is last one before the final show in April where the winner is declared & then sent packing to Washing DC for Capturing Fire.

Early in March I have brain study at Baycrest – something about memory & hearing as they explore ways to help people sort out real conversation from the babble around them. When the weather is decent I enjoy the trek out to Baycrest & over years have worked out different walks from either Lawrence or York Mills. Plus I know where the $tarbucks are and What A Bagel! makes my favorite caraway rye bagels – that makes the trip worth while.

But that’s it for event wise for march. Here you can expect to red thing son Mondays; Sofas & Arm Chairs on Wednesdays; miscellaneous pairs on Thursdays; classic cars on Fridays. The best part of classic cars is that I end up with new followers as a result who think they’re getting a cars blog. Drive on.



March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Workshop: 4 pm at Glad Day with D’Scribe.

March 8, Thursday – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Slam: 8 pm Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Feature D’Scribe


HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


April 03 – every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

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Lazarus Kiss.60

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.


Lazarus Kiss.60

“Signal? Could be I got that wireless stuff messed when when I set it up.” He nodded at the unit beside his TV. The TV showed them from behind.

“Where’s the camera?” Detective Alverez looked around.

“Andy Humphun!” Harris pointed to the elf. “Don’t ask how. It’s a long story.”

Andy was leaning against the wall. His face melted in several places by the attacker’s taser. His cock still hard and immobile except for his hips that were still moving.

“When the Stalker tasered Andy, maybe the remote signal went haywire and jumped to the building feed?”

“I suppose.”

“How does that feel?” the medic cleaned the last of the burns. “Try to leave these uncovered for a few hours. They’ll heal faster that way. Try not to lie on your back for twenty-four hours. After twenty-four you should shower and reapply the lotion. You have family who can do that for you?”

“I think I can find someone.” Harris was sleepy. “I want to go to bed.”

“I gave him a sedative for the shock.” The medic explained to Detective Alverez. “We should take him to the hospital. If he’s been tasered this many time his heart has to be checked.”

Harris stretched out as best he could on his side on the gurney and those were the last words he heard.

*56* Saturday

He didn’t know what time it was when he woke. Fingers held his eyes opened as a light was flashed into them.

“Back with the living Mr Harris.” It was a nurse he remembered from his last visit to St Mike’s. “We didn’t expect to be seeing you so soon. Not only you but your father as well.”

“My father?” He pushed himself up to look around. This time he was in a private room.

“He had heart tremors. You mother rushed him directly here.”


“He’s fine though. Not to worry. Dr Chow will be in to see you directly.” the nurse helped him sit up. “Don’t worry. You’re fine, too. The only real damage are the burns. No concussion”

He leaned over, grabbed his shoulder bag off the chair by his bed, fished out his cell. It going on for 10 a.m. Saturday.

In less than an hour he was ready for release. His Dad was waiting for him at the emerg exit. A TV crew was there as well.

“How does it feel to ….” “How did you ….”

The questions came too fast for Harris to answer any one in particular.

“It was hell. I feel like hell. I can’t wait to get out of the country and away from all this.”

His Dad hailed a cab while Harris fended off the reporters.

As they were getting in Alex jogged up to them.“Harris how are you?” He reached out to hug Harris.

Harris pushed him away. He saw the puzzled look on his Dad’s face “I have burns Alex. Uh … Dad this is a … pal of mine Alex Tzorvas.”

“Pleased to meet you.” they shook hands.

“Look, is there anything I can do.”

“I don’t think so Alex. I’ll call you.” He could tell that Alex’s concern was genuine.

He got into the taxi after his father and drove away.

“What’s this about your heart?” Harris asked.

“Mother couldn’t get you on the phone and was insisting something was wrong. Well, I guess she did get that much right, and that we had to get over to your place right away. I had these sudden pains in my chest, couldn’t breath.”

“So did I.”

“Yours were taser assisted.”

“No this was after all that. It happened while I was giving the curse to that guy. The Stalker.”

“You gave him the curse?”

Harris told him about writing the curse out and giving it to his assailant. “Smeared it with my own blood like Rowell did to Tobias. I hope intent is more important than spelling though.”

His Dad’s phone rang. “It’s your mother.” He handed it to Harris.

“Hi Mom … yes we’re both alright … clean bills of health …. What! … When? … Thats’ amazing … Yeah I’l tell Dad.” He shut the phone off.

“Tell me what?”

“Marshall collapsed on set in Vancouver. Around the same time you felt your pains. I bet it was the same time as I gave away the curse.”

The burns on his back were numb from the salve the hospital had put on but they didn’t respond well to the pressure of sitting or the seat belt shoulder strap.

“I grabbed this in the lobby.” His dad handed him a newspaper. “You made the front page. Not a headliner.”

In the bottom quarter there was picture of the police taking the Stalker out of Plaza Place under a headline Stalker Stopped.

“Late last night John McNeil , 45, was captured at Plaza Place with citizen help. McNeil a Toronto native is a long time resident of the High Park area. He is married with three children. Unemployed for the past year he had become depressed by many factors in his life. Harris Stevens a resident of Plaza Place had become the object of his frustrations.

“Police profiler Fredrick Deeds explained that the random attacks gradually became more targeted as McNeil needed a direct focus for his anger. Harris Stevens had recently interrupted what was thought to be a attack in progress by The Stalker which resulted in him become a target.

“Undercover law enforcement presence at Park Plaza allowed for a speedy and successful capture of John McNeil. Police Detective Val Alverez in charge of the Stalker investigation believes that city can breathe freer now that the Stalker has been taken into custody.

“John McNeil remains in police custody. There is no word on his plea. The Crown Prosecutor says the strong evidence they have will certainly lead to a conviction.”

“They did everything but give out your phone number.” His dad was angry. “How did that creep get into your apartment if they had under cover-cops there?”

“Disguise. He’s been tailing me for a the last few days.” He told his Dad about the photos the Stalker had taken of him and Marshall, of him going in to work. “I’m pretty sure he knew where I lived. He must have seen the Muslim families coming and going. Pulled a chador over his head and voila. Security never checks them when they come, getting by was pretty simple.”

“Why don’t you stay with us for the next day or two.”

“Whatever. Can I at least drop in to my place to get a change of clothes?”

“If it’s still a crime scene they may not let you back in yet.”

Harris opted to go home with his father.

“How are you?” his mother greeted him. “You both look so pale.”

“I just want to get some sleep.” He kept his mother from fussing over him.

“Your room is all set. Fresh bedding. The Mario Brothers set you loved so much. How are you feeling.”

“Sore and tired Mom.”

He stumbled going up the stairs to his room. She arranged pillows to help lie on his side and not worry about turning over onto his back as he slept. She helped him take his tee shirt off.

“My God. Your back!”
“That bad eh?” he fell asleep instantly.

“You’ve made the 6 clock news.” His Dad pushed in a TV on a stand.

A reporter was talking to a woman standing in the door way of a house.
“They are such a happy family,” she was saying. “The kids tend to be rowdy but what kids aren’t. But they loved their Dad. He never struck me as the type to do this sort of thing.”

“How did you react when you heard about him being the Stalker.”

“There’s no way to be safe is there.” The woman pulled her sweater closed. “All this time I was scared to take the TTC. Had to have Dan, my husband, meet me at the station now all time and it’s only a five minute walk from here. Then to find out that the Stalker lives right across the street from me. Makes a body really think about living in such a dangerous city.”

“Thank you. The city is relieved that the the stalker has finally been caught. Back to you Brad.”

“Thanks Meggan. We now go to a police press conference.”

Detective Val Alverez stood in front of several microphones. Agent Chiba directly behind her to her left.

“We are pleased to say that we have put a stop to this man who has been terrorizing our streets for the past months. He has not been co-operative. We have enough evidence to hold him.”

There were questions from the reporters that he couldn’t hear.

“I can’t comment on that. ….  Yes Mr Stevens is recovering well from his injuries. His injures were not life threatening ….. Yes Mr Stevens was cooperating with the police in this matter and was aware he had been targeted by the Stalker …. No. I haven’t heard how Mr McNeil will plead …. “

The news announcer came back on the screen “In other news …”

“We should sue those idiots.” his mother said. “Letting that deranged man get to you. How could they have let him get past them. How?”

“They were doing the best they could.”

“Well it clearly wasn’t good enough. There should have been protection in the apartment with you. That’s what I think.”

“Like who? Trevor Daniels?” Harris joked. “If he hadn’t got to me there, he would have created an opportunity. Remember how systematic he was in attacking people out of the range of security cameras. I’m grateful I was where I could be seen.”

Want to read the whole thing? pre-order the PDF for $5.00 – paypal.me/TOpoet – say you want Kiss



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Who Are You


Working through the  227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This another of the 92 pācittiyas.

Who Are You

this is not my real name

in fact

I use my given name so infrequently

no one is sure what it is

I’m not sure of what it is


I won’t tell you what you want to know

not that it’s a secret

there is no deep shame

that I am hiding


names that I use

change from time to time

location to location

in fact

we may have met before

when I was someone else

that’s why I sometimes

seem so familiar

I don’t go out of the way

to disguise myself

to cover my trail

only who I might be

so that when you say

you understand me

I know

you don’t even now who are talking to


everything you know

is about another person

someone with a name you know

that’s not my name

it wasn’t then

and it never will be again

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Spreading the word

I’m a subscriber – have been for to many years to remember. – never disappointed in the quality & variety & always great interviews & art.


Here’s something our subscribers who are active on social media can do. When your subscription copy of On Specarrives in the mail, please post a picture of yourself holding  the copy.

Then pour yourself a cup of something warm and comforting and sit down for a while and have another awesomely good On Spec reading experience. Once you’re done, post something about a story you liked. Tweet about the superb cover art. Look up one of the writers and send them a nice email to thank them for their work.

And tell all your followers about On Spec.

Maybe someone will share your  Facebook post. Maybe someone else will retweet. And maybe someone will stop looking at baby goat videos for just a few brief seconds and look up http://www.onspec.ca .

The baby goats won’t go anywhere, we promise.

And if we could get just one new subscriber…

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Lazarus Kiss.48

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.


Lazarus Kiss.48

He jacked off in time to her rocking her hips on him as they inched to the edge of the couch. He felt again the penetration that position had given him. How big and fat her clenching cunt had made his cock feel. There were glimpses of her rising and settling where he could see his own cock as it when in and out of her. His legs quivered as he shot off on to his virtual stomach.

The recording ended about minute after they left couch.

Yeah that was a good time. It was as good as he remembered it too.

He downloaded the scene to his hard drive and cleared Andy’s memory.


It was 9:50 when Alex arrived at Story. Enough time to put on his official wait staff shirt and apron.

“Replaced Linda that fast.” Cally smirked.

“Whaddya mean.” Did he smell any different after being with Harris. Box breath was one thing but man sweat was another.

“You have look in your eyes that you get when you’ve just fucked some girl’s brains out.”

“First off I don’t dig ‘girls’ I prefer women. Adult women, preferably with jobs. And second it’s none of your business and you can tell Linda that too.”

Saturday was one of the live music nights at Story. Tonight was a regular band – Plusher an Usher cover band. Slinky, but loud, soul which Alex found easier to take than Meatillica, a Metallica tribute band that was merely loud and distorted. Plusher brought in women whereas Meatillica brought in over-the-hill guys in their forties who thought their pony-tails meant they were still in their teens. The women smelled better, tipped better and the men didn’t annoy the female staff by trying to get lucky.

Loud music always meant lots of leaning closer than usual to tables to hear orders. Sweet smelling women were always more enjoyable than guys who hadn’t showered and hoped their aftershave would do the job.

His duties were to clear tables, pass orders on to wait staff and sometimes deliver them. He got his usual share of women flirting with him and at least two inappropriate touches. He’d learned never to shave before going to work on Plusher nights. The women couldn’t resist feeling his stubble. One went further and actually rode her hand under his apron to get a good feel of his equipment.

He stopped her. “Ma’am. The zipper is alway up.”

She laughed. “That’s not what I heard. I’m a friend of Gemma. You know from last week. She recommends your special service back alley very highly.”

“Thank her for me.” he disengaged her hand. Her heavily jewelled bracelet sparked in the light. Is that what real diamonds look like? “Tonight is strictly table service.” He stepped away. Her musky rose perfume seemed to cling to his apron as he smoothed it down.

“Too bad.” the woman made a playful yet disappointed face. “Here, hot stuff, this’ll change your mind.”

She a handed him a twenty folded around a tin-foil twist. He knew it was coke.

“Thanks.” He took the twist out and pocketed the twenty.

“As you can see there is more than one of us tonight who have heard about the great service here.” She nodded to the two women who were with her.

In this light they all appeared to be in their late 20’s. Not the sort who’d have to resort to drug bribe but what they wanted was control, the sense of power that came from buying what they wanted when they wanted. He understood that.

“There’s more where that came from especially if you can get him …” she eye-balled Dezum, one of the bartenders. “ … to join in. After work of course.”

“I’m flattered but I could loose my job.”

“Didn’t seem to bother you and Gemma, did it?”

He cleared their table and went over to Dezum, gave him the twist. “A tip from the gals at 12. They asked for your black ass in partic’lar.”

Dezum looked over and the women waved to him.

“Tempting.” Dezum chuckled.

“Fend for yourself.”

Alex took a tray of drinks to another table. He saw Dezum go over to thank the ladies personally and could hear his deep laugh as he joked with them.

Normally this was an offer he’d accept but tonight it was more amusing than appealing.

The head of his cock twitched as he recalled it sliding along Harris stomach. The seemingly endless smoothness of it. Like a pussy without lips but lots of friction. To fuck that flesh without a safe. To know he could shoot off and not have to worry if it was too soon or if some broad had an orgasm herself. Not to have to prove his manliness by pleasing her. To shoot off and not worry about getting her knocked up.

Then there was the feel of Harris’s legs clamped around his. Strong muscular legs that Alex wasn’t afraid of bruising or breaking as he humped harder than he’d humped before. Without needing to be delicate here, hard there. One solid endless thrust.

If that was gay sex then he dug it. Sex without penetration. How fucked was that. He was glad his apron covered the boner he had developed.

The night went quickly. Twice he gently but firmly declined the party and play offer from the women who had made the generous offer. At the end of the night he assured them they be well pleased with Dezum and Hassler, the two barman who had agreed to ‘see them home safely.’

Riding his bike home he replayed his tumble with Harris. Harris never surrendered but didn’t resist all that much either. The pulse of his coming was clear in his mind. The thrill of it building, his rearing up to give it room to explode, the feel of Harris’s cock as it bumped against his balls. The panic when he felt it touching his butt threatening to go up his ass. No way that was in the picture. No way.

His cock up Harris’s big round ass, maybe, but never the other way around.

Yet that panic, the fear of the pain of being fucked in the ass give his orgasm an endless thrust that he had shot off twice. Twice! Who knew men could have multiple orgasms.

He was hard when he stored his bike between the houses.

As vivid as his memory of his orgasm was and how clear the feel of his cock against Harris’s stomach was, he couldn’t recall what Harris’s cock looked like. Had he seen it? Sure he had played with it through the barrier of clothing but he hadn’t actually handled it. The accidental brush of it against his asshole didn’t count as touching.

If he hadn’t touched a cock, or had his handled by a man, he couldn’t be queer. He was another oversexed guy who didn’t care how he got off. Right?


The last time his mother called to say she had a surprise it was that his folks were going to Florida for the winter.

“What would Sunday brunch be without a surprise of my own.” He gave her a selection of the face cream samples that SofSknX had sent to dE.tail. They had sent enough for a staff of twenty.

“Thank you Harris.”

“Morning Dad.” He and his Dad exchanged quick shoulder hugs. “I’ve read the Tobias pages a few times. He fell under the spell but never knew it.”

“I know. I know. But we do have a surprise for you.”

“I’m all ears.”

“It’s upstairs. In your room.” His Dad grinned.

They followed him as he went up the stairs.

“You mean you’ve finally remodelled it? About time.”

He opened the door and crossed legged on the floor was a young man reading one of Harris’s comic books, with dozens of them strewn all around him. Harris felt he had stepped through a time warp and walked in on himself twenty years ago.

“Hi. Cool collection.” The young man stood quickly, careful not to step on any of the comic books. “You must be Harris. I’m Marshall Caldwell.”

They looked one another up and down. Harris was wishing he had worn less sloppily comfortable clothes. Their eyes met.

“You are my father!”
“Oh yeah. I’m your father Luke.” He laughed. Without seeing paternity results Harris knew in his bones that this was his son. Son! He sat on the bed.

“We’ll leave you two to get acquainted. Come on Tom you can help in the kitchen. If you promise to stay out of the way.” His mother pushed his Dad out of the room and shut the door.

Can’t wait to read the whole thing? order the PDF for $5.00 – paypal.me/TOpoet – say you want Kiss



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

This work is licensed under a

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You can care about social justice and care about your own happiness, too.

Let's Queer Things Up!

It feels strange to write a headline like this.

On the one hand, maybe it should be obvious — we all deserve to have joy, pursue meaningful connections and experiences, and invest in our own mental health. But somewhere along the way, I think I forgot what it meant to be happy just for the sake of it. And based on the burnout I’ve seen, I don’t think I’m the only one.

I was talking to my online therapist recently about how (yet again) a post about sexual assault on my Facebook feed had triggered my obsessive-compulsive disorder. When he gently suggested I take a deeper look at my social media usage, the conversation that ensued drudged up a lot of intense realizations about how I view happiness and self-care.

Namely, that I wasn’t giving myself permission to unplug, because I viewed that as betraying my values.

I realized…

View original post 1,344 more words

Lazarus Kiss.45

Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.

May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others

and a love within recall that alters you.


As they crossed to the Eaton’s food court Harris spotted Becky. Their eyes met briefly but he didn’t acknowledge her. He’d learned his lesson the other day. One remembered rejection was enough for him. At least the curse had been sparing him that.

As they were going into Eaton’s Harris heard a woman calling him.

“Harris! Harris! Hold a minute.”

It was Becky.

“Look I truly am sorry for being such a snob the other day.”

“I see.” he glanced at Lin. “Uh … Becky this is Lin Zhang. Did I pronounce that right Lin?”

“Very nicely Harris.”

They stepped out of the way.

“I’d love to see you again Harris. We could meet at Mug Thuggs.”

“I guess so, but you said … boyfriend etc.”

“I know what I said. Things are iffy but it’s not like …. I’d just like to get together with you again. I did enjoy myself.”

Why did she care … oh Christ … was this the latest variation the curse.

“I may be busy tonight. I’m not sure what time I’ll be free.”

“I’ll be there. Until about 10, say?”


She pecked him on the cheek and disappeared into the lunch crowd.

“You see this is why I have to put on some weight. Women like men of substance. It makes them feel secure.” Lin grinned.

“I have never heard that theory before Lin.” Harris said following Lin into the shopping centre.

“And she smells like candy I want to be eating.”

As they rode the escalator down his cellphone rang.

“Harris here.”

“Hi Harris it’s Alex.”

“What’s up?” Harris’s heart sped up.

“Look do ya know how to clean a computer.”

“You mean the hard drive? That’s not my end of the business.”

“No. The screen. Stuff got splashed it.”

“Hum …” Harris nodded at Lin and then towards Big Eats – Where Everything Is Supersized. “I usually call maintenance when that happens here. I’ll see what I can find out and call you back later.”

“I’s hopin’ ya might come by later an’ help.”

“I could drop by after work. Where do you live?”

Alex started to give him the address.

“Wait I’m going to have to write this down. Or better yet why don’t you text me the address.”

“T’anks. I really appreciate this.”

The afternoon at dE.tail was endless as Harris fussed with minutia to satisfy the Sport Spot people. Faces that looked fresh and perfect to him were sent back with a request to make the freckles a shade fainter, to change the trailing arch of an eyebrow. Internet consumers we’re going to buy this overpriced equipment because a Top Model’s eyebrow had one or two less hairs in it.

They were more likely to buy it because it came in a range of colors. This was the only innovation Sport Spot offered. No amount of re-sized genitalia was going to change that fact. Now if Geoffrey were spokesperson for Santa’s Sex Shoppe that would be a different story. At least Harris would have had a glimpse of the real thing, all be it as a silicone duplicate as battery operated dildo. Andy would have three legs.

He took one brief break to text maintenance to send up something to clean his monitor screen. They replied there were kits in the supply closet.

He groaned when a photo he had worked on twice came back with a further request for facial toning. Tired from the hour overtime already put in he slightly heightened the gleam of the lavender LatteLat machine and sent it back without doing anything to the model’s face. He got an instant reply that it was perfect.

He left before they could make more requests.


As Harris exited Chester, the subway station nearest Alex he texted that he’d be there shortly.

Alex lived on the second floor of a house a few streets north. Large open front porch with a couple of lawn chairs. Bright pink geraniums in pots and hanging baskets of fuscia and baby’s breath.

He rang the bell and while he waited he wondered if his balcony got enough light for this kind of plant. Alex never struck him as the plant type.

“T’anks for comin’.” Alex held the door open for him. He wore a loose UofT polo shirt and baggy grey sweats.

After a day of working on Geoffrey’s pecs, abs and other attributes Harris was relieved that none of Alex’s attributes were suggested.

“No prob. Got tied up at work.” He had to brush by Alex to step in. His flabby stomach felt even flabbier as it briefly came into contact with Alex’s. He looked up the stairs to keep their eyes from meeting.

He walked up as fast as he could. How large did his ass look. What difference did that make.

The apartment door opened directly into a small living room. TV to one side of the door. A dresser to the other side. Photos of Alex along the wall by the door. The apartment smelled of a vanilla body-wash from a recent showered.

Harris slipped off his shoulder bag. Rested it on the dresser and opened it to get out the cleaning kit.

“I got this as the office.”

“T’anks. Get ya a beer? Sapporo chilling in the fridge?”

“I know at’s what ya get at Story.” He put the two Sapporo on the coffee table.

“Nah.” Harris was flattered and puzzled. This was the curse but no one had been this attentive as a result of it. If it were Monica Bostford he’d know exactly what to do, and would want to do it. He had no idea of where to begin with Alex but desire would probably be a good starting point. He felt no desire.

“Where’s the …” he hoped it wasn’t in the bedroom.

It wasn’t. The computer desk faced a bay window on the other side of the living room.

“What happened.” He leaned over to look at the smear.



“Mine.” Alex blushed. “M’ ex Linda found it on a pair of her delicates an’ to get back at me smeared it.”



“Got it.” Harris hit his head in mock stupidity. “Tilt the screen for me. That way when I spray, it won’t drip into the monitor. At least that the theory.”

He squirted the small spray bottle to mist the bulk of the smear.

“I’ll give it a minute to soften the spooge residue.”

“Spooge residue” Alex grinned. “Never heard that not even on CSI.”

Their eyes met for the first time. They both laughed.

“Hold it while I see if this’ll clean it off.” With the soft cloth Alex gently wiped the screen. “I think that’s done it.”

Alex set the screen back in place.

Harris moved a throw cushion and sat on the couch to drink his beer. “Homey. You lived here long.” He got up and walked over the computer again.

“ ‘Bout five years. M’ Da owns the house. Owns a couple.” Alex sat next to Harris. Adjusted the the cushion between them.

“I see.”

“Yeah. Last few years I shared it Linda. She left th’ other week. I t’ink I told ya. It wasn’t workin’ any more. Ya know t’ings ‘appen. She though’ I was sleepin’ ‘round an’ … it’s not as if she wasn’t either but … ”

Their eyes met again.

Harris noticed the trophies shoved into a corner by Alex’s computer. He stood and picked up one. It was a round, metallic column about five inches tall with a gold kick-boxer on top. “Best Senior Division Boys”

“So how did you get into U F?” Harris hoped knowing more about Alex would ease the longing the curse had forced upon him.

“First grade bullies ata new school pushed me ‘round. I went nuts. Beat the crap out o’one of ‘em. Broke his nose ‘fore they broke us up. I was small. When I got goin’ nothin’d stop me. I got angry easy. M’ma figured I should get a way to … direct that anger

“Won’um high-school.” Alex took the trophy. “Meant to get rid of ‘em but never could.”

“I wasn’t into sports.” Harris patted his belly. “This is enough weight for me to lift.”

Harris looked at the framed photos of Alex along the wall  by the door.

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The Mummy

Taking an October break from 227 Rules to share some very recent ‘scary’ pieces. How recent? This one was started October 19 at Glad Day before I watched The Mummy 1959, worked on the next day after I watched The Mummy. In the movie he sinks into a bottomless bog.


is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love


I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’


bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release


decayed tissue

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravell the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

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