Offence Free

Offence Free

feel free to take offence

take all you want

particularly when it is not

my intention to give it

particularly

when I’m not aware of it

when I can’t even feel

you taking anything from me

strip it away

 

hoard all that offence

to yourself

I won’t miss it

once it’s gone

and you take it so eagerly

it must mean more to you

than it does to me

in fact

I won’t sully what you chose

to take without asking

by explaining

by putting it into any context

even by apologizing

for making it available for you to take

 

it was like a pie set to cool

you couldn’t resist a slice

but you can’t blame the pie

for being so desirable

you felt compelled to take a piece of it

to eat all of it

until it made you sick

 

so if I make you sick

feel free

to take your leave

One of AA’s steps suggests that amends be made when we give offence to someone – maybe I’m spitting hairs but to be there is a difference between giving offence and someone taking offence when none is intended. There are still people offended by homosexuality or anyone on the non-cis-heterosexual spectrum. There are people offended by someone else’s taste in music, in political parties. I suspect they are looking for the opportunity to say ‘how dare they …’

At one time I felt it was necessary for me to over-compensate for my sexuality – acting super-nice – going out of my way to prove that there were good queers in the world. But that’s a pointless exercise in futility. Alan Turing was instrumental in the defeat of the Nazi’s & that wasn’t enough to keep him from being hunted down punished for being gay.

This piece is about stepping away from the need to placate, please or even educate people who decide that being who you is offensive to them. I think it sad that people still find this need to hate in order to give themselves some sense of self – they define themselves by their fears while justifying them as deeply held religious beliefs or whatever jingoistic justification is trending.

I am powerless over homophobia, transphobia, racism but I don’t let those phobias steal my sleep anymore.

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Bye Bye Nano 2017 – December Sneak Peek

Signing off on Nanowrimo 2017 – productive & loads of fun. Hit just over 75k words. Hosted a couple of writing sessions at my house which were great opportunities for bitching and writing – I can multitask!! I’m happy with the direction the story is going in but can’t get back to it until I do the edit of Cold Dusters. A monumental task for January.

My one Nanowrimo regret is not getting the tee shirts or any other of their branded merchandise – postal costs have escalated to the point where I can’t see my way clear to order a $17 tee-shirt & have to pay an additional $17 for shipping & handling – add 30% for American exchange, plus the bank fees for US transactions & we’re taking $50 or more for that tee-shirt. May I’ll order one at the end of May for delivery to my hotel in DC in June.

The blog will back to routine for December. I’ve picked my photos and am allowing them to be more seasonal than usual. Monday with feature festive lighting; Wednesday will be square or rectangular objects; Thursday random pairings; Friday will be cast off toys.

Because Nano took so much focus I didn’t have time to keep up with my Tumblr postings so there’ll be set posted every day in December. Monday will be store fronts & tiles; Tuesday, as always, will be garages & laneways; Wednesday will be seasonal snowy scenes; Thursday will be chairs chairs chairs; Friday sunny or less than sunny skies; Saturday: more cast off toys; Sunday: more festive lighting.


Mike stood across from L’Bras D’Or. Afraid to cross the street. Afraid to go in, afraid not to go in. What would Robert do if he didn’t show up? Yes, that would be the test. He’d stay out there till Robert came out, then he’d know for sure.

Twenty minutes now before he was supposed to arrive. A walk around the block should get him there at the right time to miss his meeting. Twenty minutes, half an hour. How long would Robert wait before he came flying out to find him? How long could he wait to find that out?

He was about to cross when he saw Robert walk up the street. He wore a long deep blue robe with gold trim, African tribal designs on the midriff. Beside him was a tall woman, younger than he. The red and green African print shift she wore was shapeless.

Mike stepped between two houses. He didn’t want to be seen but if he pulled back too far between the houses he wouldn’t be able to hear.

“You cannot go on like this. You know you cannot.” The woman’s rapid words flicked at Robert. Her eyes narrowed as she slashed at him in a mix of French and Spanish so rapid Mike couldn’t follow even if he could understand it.

Robert put his right hand on her shoulder. “Sister Coppah, do not go on like this. I will return as planned. Till then I will not be …”

“Don’t do this. How can you be so selfish. There is more at stake here than your little pleasures.”

“That may be so, but for now that is all that concerns me.” Robert made a small gesture with his left hand over her face. Her eyes widened and she stepped back.

“You will regret this decision.”

“Life is built on regrets.”

“What about your people? Your so called children?”

So, that’s Robert secret life. He wasn’t some hustler, just some married man trying not to get caught in a fling. Mike could deal with that. He didn’t expect this to be more than what it was already. A few days of pleasure. One long distant relationship had been enough.

What would he do once he returned to Halifax though. No Patrick to look forward to? No get-a-ways from his safe routine there?

Robert started up the steps of his b’n’b. The woman held him by the arm.

“Father.” She curtsied slightly and bowed her head. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you.”

Father? Daughter?

“Go back, Sister Coppah. I won’t desert you, or the others. Now or ever. But I have my own needs to take care. Would you deny me this brief respite?”

“No.” she said in a small voice. “But I hope the costs won’t be more than we expect.”

“They won’t be. In fact, there may be rewards.”

“If there are not, you won’t be the only one who pays.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“Not only you, but the other. You must not disappoint your children. Remember. You have been warned.”

Robert laughed. “I have been warned. Again. Now go. I do not warn I act.”

Robert walked from her and into the hotel.

She stood on the steps. Was she waiting for him to come out? Suitcase in hand or what? She walked up two steps. Then glared across the street.

Mike pulled deeper into the shadow between the houses. She couldn’t have seen him, but he felt the heat of her look play on his forehead. Drops of sweat quivered on his eyebrows, the tip of his nose. No, she couldn’t have seen him. Even if she did, who was he to her? No one.

His neck ached. He had to get into the open air. He stretched fully upright, took a deep breath and walked to the street.

She didn’t turn away from the door as he crossed.

He went up the steps of the hotel. As he opened the door he glanced back. She was gone.

He stood at Robert’s door and listened. Water ran in the sink. He knocked. Could he mention to Robert that he had seen him and his ‘daughter?’

“It is unlocked my friend.”

Robert stood in the bathroom naked. He dried his face.

“I have been missing you. I should never have put it so late.” He kissed Mike gently. “How are you this afternoon?”

“Good.” He glanced around the room for the blue robes he had seen Robert wearing earlier. Nothing. He reached to touch the shell-beads around the crucifix. Robert held his arm before he could handle them

“Please. Only I am to come in contact with these. Indulge me.”

“Superstitious?”

“A little.”

Robert got dressed quickly. Shorts, tee-shirt, sandals.

“We will lunch and then perhaps go to the Gallery on Sherbrooke.” Robert said.

“You lead and I follow.”

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#Nanowrimo vs #Danish Hotties

This year’s nano has been the toughest so far. Someday it was hard to stay motivated. I think that was mainly because I’m more of a pantser than an outliner – I like the surprises that letting the plot just go along as opposed sticking to a ‘this is what must happen next’ outline. I did my first run at Isle in 2008 so already knew the characters, the events & the finale.

I did do a fresh take on everything though, some cut-and-paste (which got deducted from my final word count) but did enjoy being so tied to merely expanding or reworking what I had already. One thing that did help was changing the time of year in which the Montreal section takes place. That happened to accommodate the time line I’d already laid out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks to Picture Perfect – last year’s Nano – did find that I enjoy food – describing it, inventing it. This year I did more of that plus indulged in more detailed  set descriptions. I also had fun with language – the Danish hotties were brand new to the story & thanks to google translate I let them talk in Danish, without feeling the need to translate that for the reader. I did put out a call for Danish sex slang but apparently there is none 😦

As with past years I’m about 1/3 of the way though this plot. It takes place in three locations – the 3 act structure: Montreal; Halifax; Isle St. Nuit. The first two being real places the third will be pure imagination. I will have to make some decisions about how much the supernatural will play a role in what happens. Who knows what lies in the stars, or even the cards, for my hero?

“Now we are ready for what the night will bring?” Eluf wiped his mouth.

“We can perhaps walk from here to see the fireworks.” Tyge consulted his cellphone. “GooGoo says it is about ten minutes walking from here. Ou est le toilette?” he asked the clerk.

The washrooms were small. Each with homme/femme on the door. Neither was big enough for two people but the two Danish guys squeezed into one of them while Mike used the other. He could hear the guys laughing in theirs.

He exited. They hadn’t even shut the door on theirs. Tyge beckoned him. “Come, we have party favours. You will like.”

On one of the cafe saucers there was a couple of lines of powder.

“We have saved some for you. Good quality.”

Mike backed away. “Thanks but no thanks.”

“I thought you like to party with us.It will make the fireworks so much better.” Eluf said.

“For you perhaps.”

“Okay.” Tyge said. “We will clean up and meet you outside.”

This was the last thing Mike had expected to happen though he wasn’t all the surprised. Other than toking up now and then drugs held no appeal for him. So much time spent on getting something that took so little time to enjoy.

The guys came out and glanced at him.

“Enjoy the fireworks.” Tyge said. “We are going to find real fireworks fun with real men.”

Eluf hailed cab. They got in leaving Mike at the curb. It happened so fast Mike didn’t have time to say anything. Did they forget he was there because of the coke, or whatever it was they were doing. It dawned on him that he wasn’t the real man or the real fun they wanted for their research.

(He was pissed off at them for leaving him without a second-thought.  He goes to the fireworks. This is the next day: )

He let himself into the b’n’b and was headed up to his room when someone called to him from the TV room.

“Mike? What is your hurry.” It was Eluf. “I must apologize for taking off like that last night. I didn’t realize how … rude that was until we were well on our way.”

“Yes, well, done is done.” Mike said.

“Done is done? That means you accept the apology?”

“No. It means what has happened cannot be changed. It was more thoughtless than rude. I was more puzzled than anything but also relieved.”

“Relieved.”

Mike glanced at his cell for the time. “I’m not someone who wants to spend time with guys doing drugs for a good time.”

“You are angry with us. I can tell by your … tone of voice.”

“Not angry,” Mike sighed. “Not interested, is more like it.”

“You were interested enough last night.”

“Until you got high and flew off in the first taxi you could get.”

“Let us take you to …”

“No thanks. I have plans for tonight. Enjoy the rest of your stay.”

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Lazarus Kiss.47

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.

kiss

The bathroom was tiny. The shower stall was barely large enough for two people to stand up but not to wash. They had to slip and slide around each other to get under the shower head.

“I’ll just help you soap up and rinse down.”

Alex’s hands moved quickly all over Harris’s body. Touching his cock, balls, awkwardly washing his feet. He started on Harris’s ass and stopped.

“I can’t go there.” He spit water. “I thought I could but I can’t” He stepped out of the shower.

Harris followed.

“That’s okay.” He patted Alex’s shoulders dry. “It felt nicer than I expected. Reminded me of when I was a kid and having my dad wash me in the tub.”

“Yeah but …”

“We’ve gone far enough.” Harris handed him the towel.

“Could be, but this tells me otherwise.” Alex was erect.

“That’s not what I’m hearing though.” Harris wasn’t erect. “I don’ know what to tell you or what to do.” He continued to dry himself.

“Let’s … just lie on the bed. We don’t have to do much. Snuggle. Oh fuck! I hate that word. Snuggle. Linda always wanted a snuggle. Said it was the best part of making out.”

The bedroom was dark and cool. Alex pulled the shade down and made it darker.

“Okay.” Harris lay on the bed. He shut his eyes.

Alex stretched out next to him. Head propped on one arm. The other gently stroked Harris from shoulder to stomach as far as his pubes and back. He could feel the heat from Alex’s cock pressed against his hip.

“Your skin is pretty soft.” Alex said. “Not that I’ve touched many men but lots of women. Not as soft as a woman. But soft. Smooth too. Those guys in the porn were hairy everywhere except … ” He gave a little laugh.

“Where?”

“Their asses. They must have to get their asses waxed for porn.” He began to giggle.

Harris laughed too. “That’s way fucked. Where would go to get that done? Smooth Asses Are Us?”

He rolled to face Alex. Alex’s hard cock pressed against his stomach.

“What makes this strange is that I’m not like those guys. They aren’t as buff as you but I’m …. ”

“Chunky?”

“Let’s be honest, fat.”

“Feels fine to me.” Alex pulled them closer and rubbed his cock against Harris’s stomach. “Soft. Fat’s not hard ta get rid of ya know. I could help ya. Come to the gym.” His thrusting increased. Harris was pushed to his back with Alex straddling him. Their legs intertwined. His cock got hard again. He could feel it between Alex’s legs grinding against Alex’s balls.

Alex’s thrusts sped up. He was hugging harder. So hard it was hard for Harris to breathe.

“Ouch.” Pain shot through his ribs.

“What?”

“I cracked my ribs a week ago.”

“How’s this.” Alex propped himself on his elbows to not be so heavy on Harris.

“Fine.”

There faced each other. Harris closed his eyes as Alex continued to rub against him.  The weight of a man on him made Harris feel grounded, not aroused. Alex enjoyed this much more than he did.

“Oh God. Oh God.” Alex leaned up. “Pinch my nipples.”

Harris tried to get a grip on them but Alex was sweating too much. He had to use a thumbnail to get a good hold. Harris felt the tip of his cock touching Alex’s asshole.

“Yeah. Pinch’em harder.” His come spewed over Harris’s stomach and splashed his chin.

As Alex came Harris felt the asshole spasm with each ejaculation. If he pushed up half-an-inch he could enter Alex. But he didn’t want to. Alex gasped raggedly as he came again.

Alex fell off him. “Man oh man. That was something. I nearly blacked out. Can’t remember the last time that happened. Spooged you good.”

Harris got off the bed. He couldn’t wait to get out of there.

A timer went off in the living room.

“Shit I gotta get going.” Alex jump off the bed and wiped himself off with his polo shirt. He handed it to harris. “I hafta get to Story. Doin’ a split shift for Steve.”

Harris wiped the come off his belly with Alex’s shirt and got dressed. Alex’s got dressed and hurried Harris out of the house.

“I’d walk to the subway with you but I don’t want to be late. Again.” Alex dragged a bike from between the houses. “That was certainly not what I expected but it was great.” He quickly kissed Harris and sped off.

Harris had never kissed anyone on their way to work. It felt okay. His nipples tingled as his tee-shirt rubbed them as he walked to the subway.

Home he could still feel the pressure, the shape of Alex’s cock on his belly, feel the spasm pucker of Alex’s asshole almost like a tight mouth inviting Harris dick to slide in.

He enjoyed what happened. No woman had showed him that much attention. Not that he could recall that many of them, thanks to the curse. That was the problem. If he could remember any of them he’d have an experience to compare Alex to.

Becky the other week was good. Fun and seemed to enjoy her time with him. Plus she remembered him the next day too even if she wasn’t that interested. Not at all. She made that very clear.

He got a text from his mother reminding him about brunch the next day and to tell him she had a special surprise for him so don’t be late.

10 o’clock on a Saturday night and he had nothing to do. Ordinarily he’d drop into Story to see if Trev was there for a few beers but he’d had enough of Alex for one night.

He tidied up his apartment. Tossed in a load of laundry. The instruction book for Andy was where he had left it on the kitchen counter.

Harris moved Andy out of his corner and opened the computer link for the voice ware.

“Play time.” he said.

Andy’s eyes opened. “Thank you for turning me on Harris.”

‘You can now program Andy to respond to other simple voice activations commands such as ‘pinch,’ ‘lift,’ ‘harder,’ ‘faster’ or ‘record’ without having to touch him to start these functions.’

Harris flipped to the section on record.

‘Andy is equipped with a fully function camera with 2.8-inch vari-angle PureColor system LCD, and RAW + JPEG image modes and 720p HD video with stereo sound to get crystal clear footage capabilities – can easily take still pictures or record scenes of up to twenty minutes in length. His eyes have follow focus lenses that allow him to discern and follow the action. The sockets will move within their limited radius. His neck is articulated to add more visual range.

To physically start the record function you need only touch him between the eyes.’

That’s what Becky did when she got him going. Was that why she thought he was looking at us when I was making out with her the other night.

‘For more on the wireless playback see the record module.’

Harris scrolled through the online function menu and opened the record module. Sure enough Andy had stored several recordings.

He hit the playback button. The first was of him and Becky on the couch as she rode him. The others were merely of him going in and out of the apartment.

He went back to the manual.

‘The motion sensitive setting is a default setting. Andy will automatically start recording which makes him the ideal security monitor for the nursery.’

Yeah and his dick the ideal pacifier.

‘Andy has many uses beyond merely being playful. We hope you enjoy discovering and utilizing all joy that he is capable of bringing into your life.’

Harris deleted the shots of him entering or exiting the apartment. Next he changed the default motion sensitive setting to off. That done he went back to the clip of him and Becky.

The picture quality was good, the sound was clear. Becky’s eagerness and energy aroused him. It was very disorienting though to see himself in a porn. The lighting wasn’t as good as the one that Alex had made him watch. It was dim enough that he didn’t have to see how fat he was either. If he did this again he’d have to remember the importance of lighting.

Becky making such a fuss over Andy then him worked on him the way Alex didn’t. So that’s what his cock looked like going into a chick’s mouth. It appeared larger on the screen than it did in his hand.

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 her clenching cunt had made his cock feel big and fat. There were glimpses of her rising and settling where he could see his own cock as it went in and out of her. His legs quivered as he shot off on to his virtual stomach.

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Bonded or Bondage

Andrew Gurza talks about his time on 1 Girl 5 Gays on a recent Disability After Dark. The show was produced by MTV Canada. It was somewhat like The View with the six of them chatting about different cultural and sexual issues in an edited for bitchiest lines way. I do remember watching an episode or two back in the day but not when Andrew was on. I didn’t like the ‘edited for bitchiest lines’ that left these people with personality but little substance.

Andrew explains that each episode was edited down from two to three hours of conversations & he felt that often the most emotional or complex stuff was never used. I wonder how such a show might work today looking at recent events: the predatory nature of wealthy, entitled people of power. Now there’s a shop that Andrew should pitch with him as host.

He also talks about how his disability – the necessity of his chair – kept him off the couch that the rest of the chatterboxes sat together on – and as a result he never felt that bonded with them even after his seven episodes were done. Drinks after the tapings ended up with him on one side of the table and them on the other, or him with the production crew. One thing I learned from a showbiz pal is that good lighting will do more for your career than any co-star. So always bond with the production crew.

I know that non-bonding feeling while yearning to bond though. Often at poetry show, workshops, & other cultural events when you are not one of the smokers, tokers, snorters, or boozers a shadow falls between you and the other there almost as dark as the shadow that separates the MFA in creative writing from the clearly less skilled writers.

The myth of bonding is that it lasts forever, the reality is that it usually merely means years later, when you haven’t seen each other since that bonding experience, you have fond feelings for each other. Listening to Andrew it sounds like he has those fond feelings so perhaps he was more bonded than he thought with his 1 Girl 5 Gays cohorts. Though something tells me Andrew might enjoy bondage even more.

By the time they had worked his way through the several ages of illumination with the man as his companion, Mike was reluctant to leave without saying something to him.

The other man had stopped to talk with two of the guides. Mike didn’t want to stand around. It would be too presumptuous to think there was a reason to speak to some stranger.

Out on the street it was time to go back to the hotel. Which way was that? He’d lost his sense of direction in the twists and turns of the stairs in the museum.

He started to cross the street. No, not this way. He turned abruptly and almost walked into the black man.

“Sorry.”

“Perhaps I should wear a bell.” the man said.

“You seem to know a lot about lamps.”

“Non. I know it can make a rather dull experience much more interesting when others think you are interested. I get more pleasure out of talking with the … guides. They are so eager to impart. The more they impart the more I know.”

“The more I have to forget. You are right, you did make it more interesting for me”

“As you did for me. Perhaps you would like to dine with me? Robert Etang.” He shook Mike’s hand. He pronounced his name in French Rober.

“Mike Poole. Supper?”

“Yes. I see we are two men alone in a strange city. That is unusual of itself, isn’t it? Unless you have left the wife and kids for this calm.”

“Hardly. I’m not …”

“Yes, I know you are not married. You do not have the harried look of a husband. I could tell. You are, perhaps, as I am, a man who prefers the company of other men.”

Mike laughed. As he laughed the tension he’d felt for the past day melted away. (The stranger) Robert joined him and their laughter echoed along the narrow street.

“I take that you would be delighted to dine with me?”

“Yes Rober I would. But I do have to return to my hotel to freshen up.”

“Freshen up?”

“Take a shower, change my clothes.” Mike often found himself explaining these North American turns of phrase to his ESL students.

“Ah I see. Here is my card.” Robert took a card out of his shoulder bag and wrote him hotel information on it and handed it to Mike. “Will an hour be long enough for you to be fresh with me?”

Mike wanted to say ‘I’d be fresh with you right now.’ But wasn’t ready to explain all the subtleties of the English language.

He glanced at the card. “I’ll call if I’m delayed.”

Mike looked at the business card repeatedly as he walked back to Assoupir. It was a delicious buzz between his eyes. The card hardly seemed real paper. It was from Les Bras D’Or. Another bed and breakfast in the south quarter of the village.

“Robert Etang – Room 206.” was written on the back. “7:15 p.m.”

Rowber A-tange. Rowber A-tange. Mike repeated the name to himself. He had a date! How did that happen? Right place right time? It was so simple. All he had to do was accept and he did. He’d be a fool not too, right? Strangers in the Musee.

Would they have sex? Should they? Would it seem desperate if that happened right off the bat. After all, this was why most people travelled. Single people. Gay men. Sex. Or was the supper invitation merely a way to pass an empty evening?

No, it couldn’t be. Robert’s eyes danced with that knowing invitation. Even when he fresh Mike suspected Robert knew the subtext. More than food was offered. Offered to him by a stranger. Him and a stranger. How had it happened? How?

He was at the front floor of Assoupir. Where was his electronic key? Back pocket. Nope. Fuck he hadn’t lost the key had he? There it was at the bottom of his shoulder bag.

Would half-clad Danes be sprawled in the living room to giggle at him behind their hands as he came in? No. Empty. He went to his room. There was an envelope taped to the door. He opened it in his room. It was his gold pass and a note.

“Sorry about today. I don’t think I can accept this. Thanks for the thought. Sam Degan, 4C.”

Mike put the pass in on the desk. I won’t be able to use it either. I’m dining with a dark prince. Was that racist? The man was black. He couldn’t ignore that. Any man would have excited him. A stranger. A casual meeting and now promise. One night would be enough.

How could he see to it that the men at the b’n’b saw him with his black lover? Teach them a lesson.

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kiss3

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November 1-30
2018

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June – dates t.b.a – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C.


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Moon Phases

samprules2

Started a new set of prompts – I love lists of things – this one will prove to be endlessly productive for another couple of years – 227 Rules For Monks. Who knew the simple life could be so complex. This number 24 from the 30 nissaggiyas.

Two Moon Phases

Phase One

moonlight so blue

it left no trace

on my skin

as his fingers

followed the flow

of the edge

where the blue

became pale flesh

the flow

where finger tips

were replaced with lips

teeth biting

Phase Two

this is not the time

no one will tell you

when the time is right

 

when it’s wrong

you are told not what to do

but never what to do

 

you’ll never be assured

because

everything you do is wrong

 

there is a right way

it’s for you to figure out

no one will tell you how

 

only punish you

for each and every mistake

love will be withheld

 

opportunity will be denied

no explanations will be forthcoming

until you do it right

 

perfectly

 

giving up is not an option

this is not the time

to give up

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Research Rewrite Re:nanowrimo

One of the mixed blessings of the internet is being able to do instant research. Mixed because sometimes research leads to that rabbit hole of  one more fact. Mixed because sometimes it leads to ‘oh, shit, I really got that wrong & now have to fix it before I go on.’ I resist rabbit holes but ‘fix it’ I have to attended to asap. In particular when it affects the plot time line I’m working within.

Originally I had Mike, my hero in Isle, arriving in Montreal by train. I’ve taken the train to MO myself many times so know what the train station is like. It always helps to have an actual sense of where things happen. But I’ve never taken the train to MO from Halifax, where my hero is coming from. I do know that train services have changed a lot since I last took the train. Routes have been closed, stops have been dropped (is that the right word). So I checked VIA to see if there was still service & how often that service was.

To my dismay I find that though there is still service the trip takes over 20 hours. wtf? The Montreal section of the novel covers events from Thursday to the following Tuesday. There isn’t time for me to have Mike take the train there & back. I don’t want to add another two days – not that I would include his travel thunking etc. So I check flights. By air approximately 90 minutes. That keeps things within my time span. I go back and rework that opening (keeping what gets cut from the original for my word count).

This allowed me to expand his airport lounge encounter and continue it when he lands in Montreal. Events that add to his character though not to the actual plot. Gave me an extra 1000 words and introduced a greater sense of friction even earlier than I had planned. Getting one’s characters into trouble always moves things along.

 

 

“What are you looking at?”

Mike wasn’t looking at anything. He was trying to follow a tread of thought, a thought that had lead to his nickname – Muttman.

“Nothing.” Mike took a deep breath. He had zoned out in the airport waiting for his flight to be called.

“Then look at nothing the other way.”

The young man who had snapped at Mike put his arm around his girl friend’s shoulders and pulled her closer to him.

Was it the pleasant face of the young man that had started the thought process? The man had to be mid-20’s, maybe younger, fresh and attractive. With an attractive girl friend.

“Guys like that should at least wear a hoodie.” The young man said to his girlfriend bud enough for Mike to hear it. “You scare children much?”

“Shut the fuck up Phil.” the girlfriend said. “He can’t help the way he looks.”

The Muttman name had sprung up in fourth or fifth grade and stuck to him to university. He hadn’t been able to shake it till he graduated. Now he was called either Mike or Mr. Poole. But something besides this pretty couple had to have set offÍ the Muttman echo.

“Yeah well he can look that where somewheres else so we don’t have see him. Hey,” Phil said, “why don’t you move your ugly ass somewhere else.”

Mike looked the young man in the eyes. Stared. Said nothing. He knew that engaging wouldn’t get either of them anywhere. He wasn’t interested in teaching anyone manners or even enlightening them about his condition.

He’d stopped hiding his stain years ago. But it had been sometime since someone had been this vocal about it.

What had he been thinking about a few minutes ago? … He’d checked plane tickets and put them where he could get them easily along with his boarding pass. Then he had made sure he had a print out of address of Assoupir, the bed and breakfast he’d stay at in Montreal. He’d been reading in the paper about the biker turf war in Montreal – cafes and clubs being blown up and had wondered if his b’n’b was near any of that. But they had a dog to protect them, right.

Right! They had a dog there. He’d heard it bark in the background when he made his reservation last month. Dog to – what kind of dog – to Muttman – a short jump.

“Come on Sue.” the young man stood and pulled his girlfriend to her feet. “let’s get a coffee before the flight leaves.”

Muttman Muttman. He hated that name. Even his teachers would call him that. He had Mutt embroidered on his high-school jacket. It had been easier to give in, to pretend to be okay with the joke than to pick a fight with everyone who called him that.

Muttman was better than some of the other names he’d been called. Pizza face, vomit puss.

Boarding for his flight was called. Sometime de’d made sure he’d a have window seat on the left side so his face would remain partially hidden but for this flight he hadn’t even bother check which side he was on. The flight was that long. Patrick insisted he take first class, at his paper’s expense. One of perks of sleeping with a major player.

He got comfortable in his seat, closed his eyes and zoned out once again thinking of the last time he and Patrick had met up. The sounds if the other passengers became the sound of people getting seared at the movie theatre. He wasn’t crazy about flying so this was one way he had developed to make it more bearable.

“Nous arrivons à Dorval. We are landing at Dorval.” Mike was awakened by the steward.

“Thanks.” Mike stretched his legs as best he could in the cramped seat. “Must have been a smooth flight.” he said to the woman in the seat beside him.

“Oui, tres calm.” she replied.

He quickly made his way though the airport to the baggage carousel area. He sent Patrick a text message while he waited for his suitcase to come down the chute. “Am here. Can’t wait to c u.”

“Hi!” the girlfriend of the the rude man at the Halifax airport approached him. “I just want to apologize for Phil. He can be such an a-hole sometimes.”

“Yes. Thank you.”

“I mean he’s not always like that. Just when he’s nervous. You know.”

“Right.” he spotted his bag sliding onto the carousel. “Excuse me.” He leaned forward and grabbed it by the handle. It was always a little heavier than he remembered. “Oof.” he gasped as he swung around to put on the floor. “I wish I could pack lighter.”

He bumped the girlfriend as he turned. “Sorry.”

He stepped back to make room for her to get what luggage she might have.

“Watch it.” The boyfriend was suddenly beside him. “Or are you blind too?”

Mike stepped away from the carousel pulling his suitcase with him.

“He bothering you Sue.”

“No Phil. Look there’s our back packs. Grab’em before they go around again.”

“You get’em. I’m going to deal with this ugly fuck.”

Two of the other passengers glared at the boyfriend and stepped away.

“You can’t go around annoying any pretty girl you feel like you perv.” Phil reached to push Mike. “Just because she’s feels sorry for you doesn’t give you the right … ”

As the man’s open palm came into contact with Mike’s shoulder Mike head butted him in the jaw.

“Keep your hands off me.” Mike muttered.

The man stepped back clutching his nose. “You broke my nose. You saw that,” he turned to one of the other passengers. “I didn’t do nothing and he just assaulted me.”

“Come on Phil,” the girlfriend was pulling him by the arm. “Don’t make it worse.”

“Yeah.” Phil let her lead him away. “He’s not worth it.”

Mike wheeled his suitcase into the first washroom he came to. He could remember all the  times he’d had to stand up for himself because some boob though his splotch also meant he was some sort of mental or physical defective they could push around. It never got easier.

After the a much needed leak he wished his hands and rubbed some cold water on his face. So much for a quiet get away.

His phone flashed that he had a message from Patrick. “Can’t wait. I get in around 4.”

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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.

Kharis 

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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Lazarus Kiss.39

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.

kiss

“My mother calls it acting out. I’d been caught with my pants down more than few times at school. Incorrigible is what the teachers called it. But I never could remember what I had done. What’s up with that? She sent me to a shrink.”

Harris glanced around for his shoulder bag with the Tobias pages in it. He’d left it downstairs.

“Dr. Findly suggested I was trying to express a need for female attention that I wasn’t getting at home.  Rather than take meds for my need for attention I got into acting where I could get lots of attention. My mom figured instead of acting out for free I could channel that into acting out for money.”

“Did that help?”

“Sort of. My looks, not my acting ability, got me cast in Mirror Mind. Good thing it’s a five book series. I usually have handlers with me when I’m in public so no one gets close enough for me to say no. ”

“I think I might be able to explain some of this.”

“This?”

“The fatal attraction we Steven’s have had for generations.”

“You mean its genetic?”

“Not exactly. Let’s go down and talk to my Dad. Where’s your Mom by the way?”

“At a coffee shop awaiting my call. She didn’t want to come with me. Dropped me off at the door and drove off with Blake. Oh, Blake’s my manager, body-guard and no-sayer. Single handedly keeps me from acting out.”

They pounded down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“There’s nothing like sound of happy feet on the stairway.” His mother had the table set for brunch. “Brought back memories of Harris coming and going. Except he did trip over his feet more than once with his nose in a comic book.”

“That’s sure a lot food Mrs Stevens.” Marshall sat and grabbed for plate of waffles. “Best to get these while they are hot, right? It’s a good thing my Mum isn’t here. She’d never let me eat half of this and I intend to try everything.”

Besides waffles there were plates of sausages, bacon, ham, french toast, plain toast, scrambled eggs and fresh baked croissants. Between those plates were jars of marmalade, jam, and peanut butter.

“Now you can see why I’ve never lost my baby fat.” Harris joked.

“You were going to explain about our fatal attraction.”

“You told him?” Harris’s Dad stopped spreading his toast.

“No. He doesn’t know yet. He’s had the same things happen as have happened to me. Like with Aunt Clara not remembering. ”

“You too Mr. S?” Marshall looked up at Harris’s dad.

“Yes. But not for many years.”

“So what is it?”

Harris’s Dad went to the living room and came back with a folder.

“These are photocopies of journal kept by Tobias Stevens. Late 1700’s.” Harris’s Dad quickly explained the history of the curse.

“That’s fucked. Sorry Mrs. S.”

“That’s what I thought, too, Marshall.” Harris pushed his chair away from the table. “But once I knew, became aware. It happened. I’ve seen the evidence.” He told them about seeing the security footage of him and Frances meeting. That Frances didn’t remember it either.

“Now that’d make a great movie.”

“Sure Marshall but this is our real life. We know how it came into the family. I wonder if there’s way of breaking it.” Harris wiped his face with a napkin.

“Why would you want to break it? You could harness it somehow. That’s what I’ve done. Making movies.”

They went into the living room.

“Could be.” Harris’s father nodded. “But you can’t control your fans, can you? You need handlers, body guards in public. Sounds like the curse has harnessed you and not the other way around.”

“So that’s why Mum didn’t want to come in.” He snapped his fingers. “She’d be caught in the aura of three cursed men. I wonder what that would do to her.”

“Look, I know what one of us can do to one person. That’s enough for me.” Harris laughed.

Marshall’s cell rang.

“Blake checking in to make sure I’m okay.” he answered it. “Hi Blake …. Yes they’re pretty cool people … no …. no problems … yes I know I have that interview in an hour …. yeah come and get me in twenty …. put Mum on …. hey Mum you gotta come in this time say Hello …. whatever …. see you in twenty.” He shut the phone. “You don’t mind. She’d like to say hello and …”

“See if bygones are bygones?” Harris’s Mom wiped away some tears. “I think we’re all ready.”

“How do we break the spell?” Marshall asked.

“I don’t know if we can.” Harris thought  moment. “I’ve seen an … expert … she says this isn’t meant to be a curse but a blessing. To bring love into life isn’t such a bad thing, is it?”

“Yeah, but this is … invasive … acting on us instead of with or even for us. What about the other people; the ones who fall for us.” Marshall paced the room.

“He’s right there Harris. It certainly didn’t do your Aunt Clara any favours. Pulled us apart.” His mother said.

“Then again maybe to break the spell isn’t the solution. You know like what happened in the end of Shatter – Mirror Mind Two. You have seen it haven’t you?”

“It’s been awhile.” Harris saw it when it was released two years ago but hadn’t bothered to watch the copies his mother had given him. “You’re releasing Spectrum – Mirror Mind Four this week. That’s a lot to remember.”

“Right. In the end of Shatter Calopae breaks the mirror, anticipating that’ll free us all of its hold on us.”
“Right, I remember now. But it doesn’t work.”

“It half works but when I go to a mirror.”

“You cast no reflection?” Harris’s mother suggested.

“Not exactly Mom. He’s there but he’s not there. We see his shape but there’s no features, no substance.”

“Right. I only had a physical self when reflect by the right mirror.”

“You’re saying that the Harris curse is what gives us a sense of who we are. That it defined us without knowing about it?”

“An interesting theory. How will breaking it affect me? Your Dad? Will your parents fall out of love?”

“I don’t know. I’m … tired of dealing with all this. I’d be as happy to forget it as get rid of it.”

“Knowing is as bad as the curse itself?”

“I guess so Dad. Tobias did pretty well for himself without knowing about it didn’t he.”

“He moved from town to town.”

“What did you do in part three?” Harris asked Marshall.

“In Resurface I accepted that I’d never see myself clearly again in any mirror but that the reward was that I’d never be trapped by one again either. That way I could start to free the others.  By the end I didn’t exist to myself except as this blur in the mirror. I lost all sense of my body though others saw me. Usually shirtless for some reason. It’s a fantasy movie not a how to documentary on breaking a spell.”

A dark blue SUV pulled up and honked.

“That’s for me.” He opened the door and beckoned for his mother to come in to the house.

The window wound down and her head briefly appeared shaking no.

“Guess not today. I tried.” He pulled Harris out to the front steps. “Look dude I don’t want to seem so flash about meeting you. I’ve had one Da all these years. I’m not looking to replace him but well, you and I, we’re connected. We have to build on that.”

“Beside keeping it from the press you mean?” Harris didn’t want to joke but he didn’t know what to say. “I’ve only been a father for the past hour or so. You have my number?” He gave Marshall his dE.tail business card. “Call me before you leave town if you have a chance, son.”

Marshall tucked the card into his pocket and dashed to the SUV.

The word ‘son’ made Harris weak in the knees. Weaker than when he realized he did have feelings for Alex even though he didn’t know what those feelings were or if he could ever express them.

In the house he glanced at himself in the hallway full length mirror. He was big. Funny when he didn’t see his reflection he forgot all about his body. About his size. He was more like Marshall’s Mirror Mind character than he’d expected. A man with no sense of self except as some sort of reflection.

That old Who song came into his head. ‘Can you see the real me. Can you?’ Only for him the lyric was Can I see the real me? Can I? or was the actual question do I want to see the real me? Is there a real me to see? If there’s a real me do I want to see it?

*43 Sunday afternoon*

When Harris got home from his folks he found the Mirror Mind cds still the bag his mother had given him a few weeks earlier. They could be more compelling now that he had met Marshall. He put Mirror Mind 1: Mist Shapen into his dvd player and watched it.

It was pretty much as he remembered. Sullen and generically attractive actors mumbling about their sense of self, purpose and unhappiness to fluttery songs by tentative but tearful male or female vocalists that forced more emotion into the morose dialogue than was there. What he didn’t notice before was how much flesh was on display. He supposed that’s what really sold the movies – safe male flesh for young females to imagine rescuing from nicely back lit sadness with their pure love.

It was unsettling to see Marshall, who for reason’s known to marketing, only wore a towel in several scenes, wrestle with another nearly naked actor. It was like seeing his Dad naked. He wanted to turn away.

By the end of the Mist Shapen he’d seen enough for one day. Mirror Mind 2: Shatter Day could wait for another day.

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Lazarus Kiss.34

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.

kiss

Lazarus Kiss.34

“Today I am to marry Mary Fields. I feel deep shame that she is with my child for if she were not I fear we would not marry. I do not recall the occasion of bedding her. If we had not been discovered by her mother and brother I would have denied it. The fact remains we were in the same bed together when morning broke.

When it was discovered she was with child I did the honourable thing by her and her good family.”

Later in the same diary:

“My dear wife has passed away in childbirth. I have a fine son to be named Eldon. I will miss her sorely as she has proved to be a boon and blessing despite our troubled beginning. She was most considerate and understanding of my various indiscretions. She never questioned my inability to remember what had transpired.

It grieves me deeply to have become an adulterer with no conscience or presence of mind to prevent it from occurring. Each time I have pledged to Our Saviour it would be the last, that it would never transpire again. Yet I would discover that it had.

Once my dear wife is buried I will leave this territory while I have a well regarded reputation for goodness.”

This is one of the last entries in the diaries. We know that he did leave Pennsylvania and move further west to set up his legal practice. He kept no more records himself of his life. He was elected to the state assembly of Colorado. It was his son Eldon who moved to Canada.

There are no records of a Rowell Byrnes, that is if this is an authentic name.  Rowell is mostly commonly a last name.”

Harris went through the pages and there was a photocopy of the actual curse. Did the original that Rowell wrote still exist. If he had that he could burn it and free himself from it.

*37*

Harris waited for Trevor on the east bound subway platform. The day at dE.tail had passed quickly and uneventfully. Life seemed normal. There had been, as far as he could tell, no sudden infatuations. His eyes ached as they often did from the constant staring at the screen while he nursed pixels of rose blush to rose less blush. Occasionally he wished he could turn his eyes off because he’d catch himself looking at the subway ads wanting to tweak shadows or nudge text a little to give images more pop.

“Hey Dog. Looking fresh.” He tousled Harris’s hair.

“New cut.” Harris tired to smooth out what Trevor had ruffled.

“Man I never thought you’d cut loose of that pony tail. Takes pounds off.”

The train pulled up and they got on. The car was crowded so they stood where they could find a space.

“Any further adventures today?”

“Nothing. Happy to say.” Harris shrugged. “A day of peace and quiet is what I wanted and that’s what I got.”

“Cool. This suits you. The highlights.”

“Since when did hair mean that much to you?”

“It don’t, man. Can’t a guy say something nice sometimes. I mean you’ve been making major changes. Don’t you want anyone to notice?”

Harris shrugged. When no one at dE.tail had said anything about the new cut he thought he should have gone for a more dramatic cut, a total hair color change. At work he’d caught himself a few times grab for an elastic to pull it back into a pony tail only to reach up and there was no hair there. At least his shoulders no longer felt bare without the shield of hair.

“I got more info on the curse.” Out of his shoulder bag he pulled the photocopies his Dad given him.

Trevor read them. “A love beyond recall … sound like poetry.”

“Yeah, I suppose. Beyond recall may mean you don’t remember, that you can’t recall, it once it has happened.”

“Possible. I always thought a curse would be something like ‘may your soul rot in hell.’ This sounds pretty good.”

“Me too,” Harris laughed, “Or ‘may your complexion never clear up.”

“Whoa, now that’s nasty.”

At Victoria Park Station the bus was right there.

Without the fog that shrouded it the last time the apartment block didn’t look as foreboding. The long hall smelled of French fries, then hot dogs, then burnt toast.

The door to Trev’s Aunt Nilasha apartment was open.

“I am so happy to see you again Harris. The confusion you were in the last time hasn’t cleared away. Trevor tells me you have had very exciting times since you were last here. ”

They stepped out of their shoes while she closed the door behind them.

“Exciting isn’t quite the word I’d use.” Harris took a gift bag out his shoulder bag. In it were hand cream samples that had come into dE.tail. “This is to thank you for being concerned with my mystery.”

“Really?” she laughed. “There is no need for this.” She opened one and smelled it. “Very pretty. Thank you.”

“Now sit. I have delved into the nature of your curse. One this subtle and yet so strong is very rare.”

“I figured as much. Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.” Harris could remember the curse word for word.

Nilasha gasped. “These are the very words? Repeat them.”

He did.

“How did you obtain this?”

He told her about the diaries and give her the copies of the pages.

“Yes. Yes this confirms what I have learned. Do you understand that it is not a curse. It is a blessing, a gift.” She said as she sat. “You want to give the gift back?”

“I would if I could.”

“I’m of the opinion when it was first uttered it was meant to offer hope for those who found it hard to interest mates. What one acquires, another loses, though. The universe seeks equilibrium.”

“One gets love but loses memory?” Trevor suggested.

“Something like that. We assume that with wishes there is no cost when they are granted. There is always a cost to the receiver.”

“What about a cost to the the giver?” Harris asked.

“You are still looking for a way to rid yourself of it. Have you considered what it may cost you do that. What are you willing to sacrifice?”

“Sacrifice. Like a virgin on a full moon?” Trevor joked.

“I told you Harris, this is a blood bond that has been in your family for centuries. Now that you are sensitive to it I think you have to learn how to live with it. Leave these with me.” She patted the Tobias pages. “They have more to tell us.”

Outside Nilasha’s apartment block Harris turned on his phone. There were three voice-mail messages. One from his Dad to see if he had read the Tobias papers. One from Tavi to remind him of a big project starting the next day and to get plenty of sleep. One from Alex asking for his help for a computer problem.

“Why do people expect me to know anything about computers?” he asked Trevor. “Because I use one all day doesn’t mean I’d know how to fix one. Would you think a nurse knows how to fix an X-ray machine?”

When he got back to his place he returned Alex’s call. Although he didn’t want to follow through on what was there a part of him enjoyed Alex’s voice, enjoyed his memory of the look of him. He had tried watching an ultimate fighter show but the angry animal speed and the lack of discernible rules made it hard for him to follow or enjoy. He’d seen them all over each other on the mat, punching or trying to punch and didn’t know who to be rooting for, if anyone.

“Hey Alex. It’s Harris. I guess you’re at work. Try me around lunch time tomorrow. I have a big work project starting so my phone’ll be off till noon. Bye.”

*38*

When he got to work the next morning his big project was a major overhaul of the Sport Spot advertising approach. No more pitching with spokes-people who were middle-aged pro-golfers. They wanted a younger market. The rough spec drafts of the online and print catalogues were ready. His job was to make the models look healthier, to give their complexions the right glow, the glow that would make buyers buy.

They had two new models: Geoffrey Calligan, multi-gold medalist olympic swimmer and Monica Bostford, who was extending her fifteen minutes of Top Model fame, her appearance on Big Brother last season and the Amazing Race this season. Racing amazed with Geoffrey as they promoted this new line of Sport Spot equipment and accessories around the world.

The catalogue was set up to tell the story of these two showing new recruits through the various equipment as if they were in a gym. The recruits looked as if didn’t they need a gym but that wasn’t his problem.

He was to make sure all their bodies had more eye appeal. Male models were to have less body hair. In the case of Geoffrey it was his job to make his particular ‘package’ look smaller. No one wanted the ab buster to become known as the ball buster because Geoffrey’s ample bulge pulled focus.

A day of flattening shadows, fattening calves, rippling six-packs and electronically nipping out nipple hairs.

#Toronto #amwriting #dating #lgbtq #nanowrimo #novel #Lazarus Kiss #Ontario

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