Back in the early 80’s, when I was yet a child of the single digits, the morning show of
CFTR with Tom Rivers and Mike Cooper Brampton radio station CKMW ran a contest surrounding the hit new board game SuperQuiz. (Editor’s Note: Mum corrected me on the station and says she can’t remember the DJ’s name but does remember that he was very good looking! I think it was Russ SomethingOrOther…) My mother managed to get through on a regular basis and became one of the multi-show winners. One of the early prizes, of course, was the actual game. As the contest went on, Mum continued to win as did two other contestants. All three became finalists in one last game held at the centre court of the Bramalea City Centre. The grand prize was a brand new Commodore 64.
My father being a young electrical engineer, this was quite a coveted prize. In preparation, he and Mum spent their evenings memorizing every card and every question in the box. As a result, Mum was indeed crowned SuperQuiz Master and the computer came home with us that day with full fanfare from family and friends. Its arrival in our living room was a grand party – complete with pizza and flowing alcohol. The kids were spellbound and the adults jockeyed for position at the keyboard. I’m sure my sister and I were carried off to bed just before our eyeballs dropped from their sockets. The adults, meanwhile, stayed up learning all about BASIC, floppy disks and that oh so brightly coloured joystick. Everyone had a great evening. Except, of course, for the poor frog; he never did make it across the highway that night.
“What time is the next train?” the shrunken old man asked the ticket seller.
“I’m afraid the last train left ten minutes ago. The first one tomorrow is at 5:25 am.”
Realizing that this was a full six hours away, the old man seemed to shrink even further into his disheveled trench coat. From my spot on the bench beneath the station clock I could see him sigh as he reached down to pick up his valise. He shuffled towards me; thread bare Florsheims barely leaving the terraza tile with each step.
As I turned back to my book he gingerly eased himself onto the other end of the bench. I had to feel for the guy. While I was young and had my whole life in the backpack propping up my feet, he had very little padding left to protect his backside from the hard metal bench and couldn’t have had much more than a change of clothes in the bag at his feet. Continue reading
The rational part of his mind knew that it was ridiculous. Normal people didn’t live like this. Normal people just turned off their lights, locked their doors and left their houses. Every day. Without bringing on the cataclysmic consequences of not checking everything three times over.
Or nine times. Not six, never six, nor any multiple of six. Three was good, even five was okay, but six or twelve…no, then he’d have to start all over again. From the top. No cheating or the house would burn down for sure. Or flood. He’d forget to turn off the tap and come home to find the bread basket floating near the kitchen island like Noah’s Ark. Continue reading
The red mitten was a beacon; I couldn’t have ignored it. Its crimson softness called out to my peripheral vision like a siren song, a ruby gleaming in the grey November surroundings. It was a solitary, ordinary mitten. Why I was drawn so magnetically to it remains a mystery.
The day was grey and misty and the mitten was spotted by man and dog almost simultaneously. Charlie strained forward on his leash in anticipation of a new found chew toy. I reined him back in, my sixth sense tingling. We were a few miles from the last rest point on the trail – a long walk for the small owner of the mitten. Continue reading
The yard stretched out before me, a barren wasteland of snow and ice. Shadows were gathering in the late afternoon gloaming beneath low grey clouds laden with snow. Tears freezing on my cheeks, I let out another wail.
No good. I could see the flickering of the TV in the living room and knew that Daddy was watching Buck Rogers from his yellow recliner. I couldn’t see her, but figured that Mummy must be upstairs with the baby. They were all warm and dry inside and couldn’t hear me. Continue reading
Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird was startled off his perch in the old oak tree by the approaching rider, taking off with a flutter of feathers and a disgruntled caw. The horseman was dressed all in black leather, gleaming at the seams where snow and moonlight collected. He pushed his steed hard, its breath pillowing about them like fine, spun glass.
At the crossroads the horseman abruptly reined in and the horse skidded to a stop in the middle of the intersection. Standing in his stirrups, the man turned and looked intently in all directions. All was calm to the north, west and east but behind him to the south there was an approaching darkness. The wind bore with it a low grumble, the sound of many voices raised in anguish. Hearing this, the rider spurred his horse to the west and galloped toward the lights of a small village in the distance. Continue reading
Peter stood frozen, his sock clad toes curling against the linoleum. He could hear the hum of the refrigerator and the laugh track of the TV in the living room. Everything else was quiet. No footsteps. But he better not breathe just yet.
He snuck a peek at Bobby. Bobby had also frozen to the spot, his eyes wide and his arm still reaching forward. It looked like he wasn’t breathing either. Bobby’s eyes drifted towards Peter’s as a drop of snot dripped from his nose. Bobby didn’t even move to wipe it away – they were both too scared to move another muscle. Continue reading