Pretty Boil

Living with a reality challenged, albeit severely brilliant wife I'd drawn the conclusion that reality shifters are amongst us and always have been. I also determined to track down the head of the Southern Ontario reality shifters and, not incidentally, find if there be any association with the editor of this rag.

Found her, I believe. Imelda Gomez lives at 79 Spadina Rd., 2nd. Floor, no curtains or drapes, so surveillance from across the street is quite easy.

Lives alone. Thirty to thirty-five. Slender. Five - ten or so. Raven hair. Seldom changes in front of the window. Budgie.

Fortunately I'd taken a correspondence course in lip reading in '95. Good marks.

Watching the budgie talk, and bear in mind this is from some eighty yards or so away, through a pair of Zeiss 30X, he seems to be saying over and over, "Pretty boil, Pretty boil". Now the 'pretty' part is obviously self referential, as he's bopping up and down in front of a small round mirror. But the 'boil' part beats the heck out of me.

Is it Imelda or is it the budgie? Until I figure out 'boil' I don't know how to proceed. Suggestions?

The End


She will not in any way resembling elegant be moved telekinetically.

The awkward pregnant pause quickly gathers up her brightly colored skirts, she does a sesqui-pirouette on the very tips of her toes. At this point she can not but attract even the laziest eye. After one and a half turns she abruptly stops and releases her voluminous skirts and puffy crinolines and plops on the floor. She takes off her clickety clackety black stiletto shoes, pulls up her pippys and settles in for the day. She sits as a pimple on your lip; a gimpy stride to your walk; a bandana wrapped banana growing out of your forehead. She sits. And she dares.

She dares you to ignore her. She is the speed-bump on your road to a safe and uneventful parking of the yellow Volvo in the glazed yellow brick 50's ranch-style split-level garage at the end of the 'cul de sac' in safe suburbia after an afternoon of mainly doing shopping and not drinking more than two beers before driving home on an otherwise uneventful Saturday afternoon from 'Polski O'Gorki's' "Polish beer and Irish linens" - you decide which. She is the 400 meter 39 inch hurdle to your little pudgy midget 'moving in a flurry' legs. Her unharkening to the call of reason is, to say the least, 'non-pareille' in all the annals of male squeaky wheedlings, '...pleeeeeeze'.

It will take considerable and concerted harrumphing and clearing of throats even before the first utterances to coax her off the floor and entice her elsewhere can be considered as a formulation of a plan.

She is …wait for it…pause.


The End


His eyes were drawn to the book shelf beside the bed. All the familiar books and magazines seemed drained of meaning, had no texture, were squeezed of any relevance. Sterile, dead books, all. All night he had kept staring, trying to force meaning back into familiar forms.

By now it was 2:30 am and sleep was still eluding him. The form in the bed on the right side - where did he come from? - Anyway, the form seems to be concentrating on trying to make sense of something on the ceiling. The ceiling at one point is eight feet high; later a glance at the ceiling makes it more like fourteen feet.

The Slipping into the pre-dream and then dream stages had never been a problem.
Sleep, and it's malleable and comforting pre-sleep alpha stage, where the comforting ambience for the night's sojourn usually came easily - tonight he could not drift and float and create the dream realities for this session.

He was being distracted by a disturbing image of himself in a tungsten shroud, his dream entity encased in a Nazi Iron Maiden. The Tungsten shroud did not allow for creativity in selecting dream scenario for this night and he feared maybe for all nights to come.

God, did I really kill myself earlier?

Please, either let me have the dreams back, or let me cross over.

It had all started on the way to breakfast in the morning. A small black plastic ticket-dispensing machine left on a fence-post had automatically clicked over as he walked past and reset itself and began to spit out tickets geometrically, even exponentially, not in the usual sequential method - one ticket after the other. This could be a problem. He should have, but didn't, toggle the machine back to sequential dispensing and all the way down to the restaurant kept looking back, worried, as the tickets would now pile up on top of each other geometrically; two tickets on top of two tickets; four tickets on top of four tickets; eight tickets on top of eight tickets, and so on, if he should have run back to reset it to prevent a certain runaway nuclear explosion.

Hell's Balloons. - morning.

The morning sun was an invitation. From miles away they came.

The balloons drifted in and began to converge at Sunnyside, like a gentle quiet convoy of multicolored nylon RVs. The 'sky RVs' were more like RVs in that they transported families across the country, and less like balloons in that, aside from floating in the air, they had no hot air impellers, again, aside from the evening discussions over the BBQs. They were all mentally impelled.

For a skyRV training started early in life. The novice first learned how to connect his consciousness center to the visual center right behind the eyes. If the connection ever became severed, death would soon follow loss of consciousness. Gauging the time allowed for safe reconnect

Hell's Balloons. - night.

In the shrill screaming night the balloons morphed into strident screeching carousels spinning madly, doubly so for they were reflected in the river and the effect doubled. And rubber Sumo wrestlers competed to see who could bounce the fastest and morph the fastest into the newest gaudiest colors and patterns.

Assorted colorful bounce and spin toys, one generation of bounce/spin technology quickly supplanted by a newer mindless spin technology.

Greater detail - we got to get out of here-

The 8's, the 6's, and the 4's.

Joe Pagliaoni
Bald guy, doesn't know it but is creating our crappy reality - reduce him to a 2 before he catches on

Rolf Lindstrom
Rolf's phone call from next door neighbour. Parents

through internet find the blue master modeler

The End?

The Shop on Main Street

Jake holds the heirloom flute, snugly ensconced in its black leather case, all wrapped up in a burlap shopping-bag, clutched under his left arm and gazes absently out the streetcar window. It's come to this. Shit.

What the hell happened? Business was great in the Eighties. Except for that recession early on. Could easily make a thousand dollars in a weekend. And then. What? Its not like I don't want to work but where did it all go? Feel just like a call-girl; waiting for the phone to ring. Completely at other's whim and behest. I pop out of the house continually to get a pack of cigarettes, or whatever, because - because, a watched answering machine's message light just won't blink. Everyone knows that.

He feels a not unpleasant lightheadedness overtake him as he stands to get off at the next stop. Can't be a spiritual epiphany; no, must be low blood-sugar. No breakfast this morning. And those ephemeral, timely touches of angelic intervention he had not felt for years. Those overheard, out-of-context utterances, but perfect for one's own life context. The very familiar stranger's admonitions that, when heeded, sent one's life on a good path.

A good life.

No, no angelic interventions in a long time.

Yes, definitely low blood-sugar.

Jake steps onto the curb.

On an overturned dark-green milk-carton case, huddling in shivers in a navy-blue parka, amidst her possessions arranged flush to take up as little space as possible, sat - Jake was not sure. A woman in her mid thirties; her rather pretty, wind-rouged face framed by black wispy curls. She sat with her back against a store wall looking down the street, east along Queen Street, looking - perhaps for a ride.

All the promises ever made sat old in her eyes.

Her eyes did not have the rheumy glint of the junky.

The eyes did not have the startled defiance of the mentally confused, nor the sad bewilderment of the recently dispossessed. What was she waiting for? She didn't look quite ready to belong there yet.

I'll bet she hasn't had breakfast today either.

Jake has only to walk a short distance. Do it purposefully. Like going to the dentist.

The outside of the store looks the same as it had back a few decades ago when a pair of binoculars could fetch twenty dollars. The inside, though, has changed. Business is good. Where once a single body would greet, appraise and pay, all done over a glass counter - today there are three salesmen, five appraisers and a manager.

The inside of the store is different from what Jake remembers. One has to take a number? He takes a number. Number 67. And waits for the next available appraiser.

The flute is good. I'll try for a hundred.

At the nearest urinal-wings-like privacy stall an elderly couple is, heads together, checking out the interest charges tally dating back two years. What to pawn to pay the charges to someday be able to get something out?

At the furthest stall, a young mother reaches into a shopping bag at her feet, gingerly removes a figurine, then picks away the packing material from the statuette and delicately places it on the counter alongside three others. She smiles at her appraiser and reaches for the next one in the bag. She has taken off her three-quarter length suede coat and draped it over the counter. It is, after all, polite.

"I really love these. Aren't they beautiful?" The appraiser takes his time in answering. He smiles at her.

All Jake can hear is, ". . . not my cup of tea."

His answer does not faze her. In the way of desperate women everywhere, she smiles and continues to offer up herself and her children to her would-be protector.

"Aren't they beautiful?" And continues to unpack.

Jake's appraiser arrives, "What'cha got?", places both hands on the counter and stares at the black-leather case.

"I was wondering how much I could get for this flute?"

"How much do you want to borrow against it?"

"I was hoping, say. . . around a hundred...?"

The appraiser picks up the case and heads toward the back of the store. "Be right back."

The elderly couple is still trying to figure out how much they owe and when they might be able to get some of their possessions back.

The young mother continues to proffer her little children but by now her smiles and studied unpacking are more to mask her swelling desperation. The tears are harder to hold back. She smiles and smiles and unpacks.

"Can't use it"


Jake's appraiser is back. "It's of no use to us. Don't want the flute."

This is not what Jake expected. He hesitates and tries to remember the steps to this dance. It's been more than twenty years. Am I not supposed to get a counter offer? I can only lend you fifty for this?

"What's wrong with it?"

"Well, it's not signed and the mouthpiece doesn't fit." Said in a tone dripping with reproach. A reproving parent's disappointment with a lying child.

Not signed? It's a flute for Christ's sake and it works just fine. Did this morning when I put the three pieces together and tried it out. Does he think I made this myself? I'm trying to pass off a counterfeit flute? What are the steps to this dance? I'm rusty.

Jake was looking at his eyes for a clue. Who leads? Am I supposed to..? Then Jake saw it. In the eyes. Those hungry unctuous undertaker's eyes. He needs to feed off my desperation. No, it's more than that, he sees desperation every day. He wants to see the moment. He's watching me, my face. He wants to witness the moment of breaking, watch resignation wash over me, see a little bit of the light go out in my eyes . If only I'd ask.. How much can you give me?..Ten?..Twenty? If I feed him I know the dance will pick up again, he'll smile and say.. I can let you have fifty.

Out on the street again, Jake buttons up his coat, walks down to the corner to wait for a streetcar. It arrives right away. He gets on, sits down and gazes absently out the window. She still sits with her back against a store wall looking down the street, east along Queen Street.

She didn't look quite ready to belong there yet.

The End