Monday, July 25, 2011

In which I go on hiatus until August

Good day,

 I think it's time I went on summer break, so to speak. I've been writing content for this Blogspot account, once a week and every week, since December of last year. As such, I'm going to take some weeks off to focus on some other projects here and there. I have larger short stories I aim to have published in literary magazines of some type or another, and perhaps I'll rope in some programmers to help me start up my own website.

 More importantly, I want to get more involved in my community. I can sit here all day and all night about how badly I want to throw the mayor into a gas truck, but change can only happen through effort. I love my city, and I don't like what it's becoming. I hear people say now and then "well if you don't like it then just leave," which is something you say to someone at a boring party or a rowing club while Toronto is my home. I want to do something big, and I want to do it soon, but let's see what happens.

 So, who knows? Either way, I've got a lot of things to sort out. Don't expect a regular schedule until some time next month. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.

I'll be right back,

-RWI

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In which I drop everything and make a public service announcement.


I wanted this to be longer. I played with some ideas and wanted to do another satire in the vein of my last Ford-related post, but I felt that shooting from the hip would be more effective than dancing around the issue.

I think it’s time for a public service announcement.

            Long-time readers should know by now that I loathe and despise our new mayor. There was a period sometime in March where my disdain for this man was slowly bubbling down, and I thought to myself “Well, this isn’t nearly as bad as I thought, but let’s see where he goes next.”

            And then came his outright snubbing of the gay community, and the wave of announcements to cut funding to community housing, and then, I shit you not, to fire services, day care, and parks.

Do not be alarmed, dear reader. That loud crashing noise you heard was the sound of my face slamming against the desk in disgust.

Ford, I hope you’re reading this: You are an utterly despicable human being and I hope and pray that you find yourself hit in the face with a colostomy bag once a day, every day, until you resign.

Back to my regular readers, now: When all this is over, I hope we still have a city to live in. With the way Ford is running things, we might have that taken from us too. While you’re at it, why not sign this online petition to keep Mayor Ford from privatizing libraries? Yes, that’s also on his agenda. And yes, we can stop it, but only if we try.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Respect - Kai Nagata

Good day,

 I want to take some time out to celebrate Kai Nagata, a former CTV Employee who quit his job on the grounds that the Canadian news industry is transforming into something ugly. That, however, is an oversimplification of an astounding expose, and I encourage everyone here to read the post:

http://kainagata.com/2011/07/08/why-i-quit-my-job/

 Don't be intimidated by the length, the actual article stops maybe 1/20th of the way down and the rest of the page is just comments. This hit home for me as my mother used to work for the CBC at some point in time and I see a lot of the points he's made here reviving some memories of mine.

 Kai, if you're reading this (and I hope you are), you have my respect. We need more people like you in this country, and in the world. Wherever the winds take you next, I hope you do well there.

 Anyway, carry on. I just wanted to share this with you lot.

See you next time,

-RWI

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flash Fiction - Lyrics

Good day,

 Let's flash it up.

***

            Our first jam session was a nightmare. At school, we always planned to play together as a passing joke. That moment, though, was the first time the two of us actually met to share ideas. We sat and plotted out tunes, but as time wore on we could feel the pressure. Tension had been running high for some time. Working out a band’s style is always hard, but it was then that our relationship became strained. 
            “You come up with any ideas band names?” he asked while he wrote an idea down.
            I looked up from my own notepad and blinked, “We can’t be a band with two people,” I noted.
            “Bill Steacy and Rod S. want in,” my friend said, tapping the guitar on his side, “Bill’s pretty good on bass, I’ve seen him, and Rod said he can play drums.” 
            “That’s fine, but Rod plays the drumming games at the arcade,” I said, “so unless he’s got his own set, then no.”
            Nonchalantly, he waved me off, “Whatever, whatever. Can we have a name or not?” 
            I spun an idea around in my head. “How about The Retreads?”
            He blew a raspberry, “Sucks. What if we bomb? Then everyone’s gonna call us The Retards.” 
            “We’ll be The Retards, then,” I quipped, “Anyway, you got a song or what?”
            “Okay, how about this?” he said, picking up his six-string. Strumming the chords and humming out something droll-sounding, the following fell from his lips:

                        The party’s been goin’ for ‘bout an hour
                        And I’m stuck in fuckin’ Toronto
                        The radio’s playin’ a zombie sex scandal
                        And a weather report for tomorrow

            “It’s awful,” I said, bluntly, “And the melody’s been lifted from Rob Zombie’s ‘Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore.’”
“Oh it is not.” 
“You played me that C.D. last week! Did you think I would forget?”
“Alright, smart-ass, let’s see what you got,” he snapped, resting the guitar on his lap. 
Stretching my hands, I brought up my dad’s Gibson and set it across my knees. I had been working on this one for a good hour. I had it all ready, and I would wow him there and then. Fingers danced along the strings, and I sung:

            I want to hold you close
            I’ve got to have another dose
Of your love
I want to hold you tight
And tell you it’s alright
Oh, my love

There was silence for a minute as I let that word and the last thrum of the guitar strings hang in the air. My friend stared at the wall for a moment and then shook himself out of a trance. “Wow man,” he said, rubbing one of his eyes, “That’s really deep.” 
I had succeeded. I took pride and nodded. “Thanks, guy.”
“What’s the next verse?” he asked, eagerly. 
“Well,” I took my hands off the Gibson and put them in the air, ready to wow him again, “I’m thinking I’d do a bridge first, then I jump into a rap break –”
“You what? 
“No, seriously, I just jump in and be all Ladies shake your taint/ I’ll give a new coat of paint –”
“That’s awful. And women don’t have taints.” 
“They don’t?”
“I don’t think so. You might be thinking of those things called Vaginas.” 
Clearly, he didn’t understand my genius. I stayed the course. “Look, it’ll sound better once we perform it.”
Perform it?!” he raged, “Are you mental?! That song’s awful! It should be tried as a goddamn war criminal! I wouldn’t play that crap if it was your dying wish!” 
That left me stunned. I was wounded, and badly. I wanted to say to him, “Man, you know, that hurts. Y’know what? Let’s sit and talk it out and find a nice middle ground.”
But it came out as “You back-stabbing water buffalo!” and me storming from the room with a shattered ego. 
We met again the very next week.

***

See you next time,

-RWI

EDIT: May 20, 2012. Minor fixes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Flash Fiction - Loan

Good evening,

 Slowly getting back on track with my writing schedule. Here's a big one for you.

***


            “Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked him, as he led her along by the hand. Loud music pulsed out from behind a wall. The alley they entered was lit up by a single red lamp.
            Behind what he liked to call a beard, he forced out a smile. “You said we needed more excitement in our lives.” 
            She didn’t care for the joke. “Most boyfriends would take their lady loves to Niagara Falls for the weekend.”
            “Most boyfriends have the money to do that,” he said curtly, giving the briefcase in his other hand a lacklustre swing. 
            Shaking herself free, she stood her ground and glared at him. “Eric, look at me.” He sighed and turned around. In his eyes was that ‘you-have-to-be-kidding-me’ look he gave when she asked him to do the laundry. She didn’t care for it. “This is serious! Why can’t you just apply for unemployment insurance? Or a temp agency? Or something?”
            “Kelly, this is faster. This is surefire!” he barked, defensively. “I don’t have to wait for anything! We could have the rent money by tomorrow! I’m getting our lives back!” 
            “You’re getting us killed!” she snapped, “Who the hell sets up an ‘interview’ behind a strip club on a Thursday night?!”
            “The lady has a point,” an unknown voice cooed.
            Both turned in the direction of the noise. From a dark spot in the alleyway, two men clad in Armani suits stepped from the shadows. One was small and svelte with long black hair and a rat’s face. Behind him stood the largest human being Kelly had ever seen, a blonde giant easily seven feet tall and four feet across, a mass of muscle and bone.
            “You’re the man Harry told me about,” the smaller man said, slinking forward like a cat. The giant behind him followed in silence. Something in the silky way he spoke sent chills up Kelly’s back.
            Eric swallowed. “Uh, yeah, I’m Eric. This is my girlfriend, Kelly.” She felt sick hearing her name given here.
            The mystery man smiled and gestured to the large man at his back, “A pleasure. This is my Russian, Boris. Most people call me Johnny Sodomy.”
            Eric stared, “Why?”
            He gave an earnest laugh. “You’re sweet. I’ll take that briefcase now.”
            Her boyfriend hesitated as he walked forward and lifted the silver briefcase up to the expecting hands of his new employer.
“What’s in there anyway?” Kelly asked aloud as Eric moved away from him. 
            “It’s not so much what as it is who,” Johnny said, taking it away from the dumbstruck boy, “but that’s a story for later. Say, for when I murder you two.”
            Kelly’s heart almost stopped; Eric blanched, “Wait, what?! 
            “If I murder you two,” the stranger corrected, “Play along and we won’t see that day.” He snapped his fingers; Boris stepped forward and threw a paper bag his way.
            Gingerly, Kelly ran up to her boyfriend and watched as he caught the bag. They opened it together. Rolls of bills sat inside. In her meticulous mind, she counted all that she could see, estimating that at least six hundred dollars sat in plain view alone. 
“You’ve just made the first of many deliveries, and that,” Johnny said, pointing to the bag, “is the first of many payments. Keep making deliveries, and I keep paying you. You can drop out whenever, so long as you talk to me first.
“And if you ever,” he added, his voice growing stern, “ever look at my deliveries, then I end you.” The look in his eyes was grave and cruel. “And trust me: I’ll know. Clear?” 
Shaking, Eric shrugged and showed a brave face, “Any job where I can keep my pants on is a good job.”
            The Russian laughed. It was deep and wheezy like a dying automobile. He carried on in his grim joviality as he reached into his pocket and produced a small iPhone. His massive fingers danced along its screen delicately. 
            It made Kelly uneasy. Thankfully, her boyfriend shared her disquiet. “What’s he doing?”
            “Boris finds you amusing,” Johnny explained, “And now he’s adding you to Facebook.” 
            Eric and Kelly shot to attention. “Wha – he doesn’t know my last –”
            “Name?” the silky-voiced devil clicked his tongue, “We know a lot of things about you, Eric Kleiner. Expect an add from me, too, by the way.” 
            Kelly rubbed her temples. “Great, honey. You’re Facebook friends with a guy named Johnny Sodomy. Good job.”
            “For your benefit, I’ll be Lawrence Rosewell,” the mobster said, coolly. “I don’t mix business and pleasure.” Kelly felt her skin crawl. 
The man and his minion turned round to re-enter the shadows. “Expect a call from The Bulldozer in a week,” he said, “It’s late and I need to be ready for my other job.”
Kelly blinked. “You have another job?” 
“Well, yes,” Johnny Sodomy smiled back at them, “I’m also a plumber.”
            There was silence for a long second. Eric turned to Kelly, “Try not to –”
            “No,” she winced, realizing what he said, “No. It’s there. I hate you all.” 
            Boris laughed and started typing into his phone again. “Now he’s adding little Kelly,” Johnny jeered as they stepped into the shadows.
            “Mostly Eric,” she hissed. She would sleep at her mother’s that night.

***

 See you next time,

-RWI

EDIT: May 20, 2012. Edits?!