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Dragnet Magazine

EDITORS’ LETTER

Masthead

by Jena Karmali

Staff

I

Co-editors Andrew Battershill Jeremy Hanson-Finger Jena Karmali Artist-in-Residence J. McKee Contact Info

n July 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis touched down in Cape Canaveral, Florida, marking the culmination of NASA’s thirty-

year shuttle program. The venture helped

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to build the International Space Station, and brought waves of curious and talented

Email info@dragnetmag.net

people into anti-gravity orbit. Joseph Da-

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vid McKee’s whimsical illustrations for this issue of Dragnet capture the nostal-

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gia that arises when a chapter of history

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comes to a close. The past century has borne witness to some impressive acts of

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human achievement. In 1903, the Wright

Design

brothers flew the first reliable airplane.

cover Ian Turner

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, in

Layout Jeremy Hanson-Finger

1957. Amid the tensions of the Cold War,

Art Unless otherwise credited, all other art by J. McKee.

propelled by the spirit of competition, this satellite sparked the Space Race between

2

Issue three

the USSR and the USA. Because of Sput-

ground thirty years ago if not for the inno-

nik, America, not wanting to be outdone,

vation that came out of the race to space.

produced the technology that eventually

Human beings are inquisitive animals.

became the Internet. Humanity success-

With creativity and focus, we found a way

fully reached beyond its earthly bound-

to fly. Now that the NASA shuttle pro-

aries and attained access to one great un-

gram is finished, it may seem as though the

known, and in the process it produced

progressive spirit that enabled us to soar

something that has turned society on its

among the stars has ground to a halt, as

head.

well. When it only takes a click of a mouse

For those of us who have grown up

to fulfill our desires, it’s easy to ignore the

with the Internet, it doesn’t seem like such

fact that the Internet is the space shuttle of

a big deal. But it’s a tool that can connect

this era. The difference is, you don’t have

people to information that might have

to be an astronaut to use it.

been otherwise inaccessible. From one an-

So, thank you for riding the Internet

gle, the digital age might seem impersonal,

with Dragnet. It doesn’t require an inten-

yet the physical distances bridged by an

sive training program involving swim-

Internet connection have made distances

ming pools and oxygen tanks, or even any

themselves immaterial. People can now

math education—just a computer, tablet,

share their most obscure interests with

eReader, or phone, and obviously you’ve

likeminded others in tolerant online com-

got one of those because you’ve gotten

munities. Large groups can mobilize, to

this far.

riot, to protest, and to invoke change. The

Have a blast and enjoy your orbit,

digital shift has provided new outlets for the dissemination and evolution of cre-

Jena Karmali, co-editor,

ative, collaborative thought. Magazines, such as this one, would never have left the

Dragnet Magazine

3

CONTENTS Editors’ Letter

2

Come On My New Daily Wine Tour, Okay?

6

Walter: A Love Story

10

He Said, She Said

15

Thrown

19

The Sexy Mystery Party

22

Pause

26

Dingwell Herring—(1949-?)

31

Bread Boxes

35

TWINS’ VARIETY

40

Contributor Bios

43

by Jena Karmali

by Shari Kasman

by Michael Blouin by Jesse Boyce

by Arielle Bernstein by Kyle Flak

by Meghan Allen

by Nicholas Herring

by Andrew F. Sullivan by Devon Code

Dragnet Magazine

COME ON MY NEW DAILY WINE TOUR, OKAY? by Shari Kasman

M

y

“company”

is the hallway. You’ll see that the walls

offers this great,

are green and the ceiling’s blue, just like

brand new daily

how it is outside when you’re walking

wine tour, and

through any kind of regular vineyard. If

it’s totally awesome, every single day of the

you know your paint colours, you might

whole goddamn year. It’s on the twenty-

guess this colour green’s called Orchard

sixth floor. I’m in apartment 2622. The

Green, which adds massive realism to this

elevator’s broken, so you’ll have to take

whole deal. And I’m good at painting so

the stairs, but if I can do it, you can do it

everything that’s painted looks super pro,

too. You can’t get lost going up the stairs.

like professional. I’m telling you I know

I promise. I taped a drawing of grapes to

how to do a good job.

the door, so it’ll be easy for you to find my

If you’re tall, watch your head when

place. A buddy of mine said that my grapes

you walk in because I hung some plastic

picture doesn’t look real enough since

vines and stuff I bought at the dollar store

grapes don’t look like flat purple circles,

from the ceiling. I did that to make it look

but whatever.

real, but if you’re the type of guy—or gal,

When you walk into the wine tour’s

for you ladies out there—who doesn’t

headquarters, the first thing you’ll notice

watch where you’re going, look out for

6

Illustration by Illya Klymkiw

Dragnet Magazine

those vines or else they might choke you.

kind of AC unit that guy’s got, but man, it

Awesome. Let’s continue.

sounds just like the wind blowing when

Next thing on the wine tour is we’ll sit

you’re in wine country.

down somewhere. And what’s really good

Oh, shit. I forgot. Before we sit down,

is we can sit outside or inside for this wine

we should get to the wine tour part of

tour. We could head into the living room

the wine tour, which is obviously in the

and get all comfy on the couch, because

kitchen because the kitchen’s where all the

when we’re on the wine tour, we like to

wine is. So, we’ll look at how the wine’s

And because this wine tour is official, I’m gonna tell you about the history of wine, and I’ve got quite the history with wine. relax. Don’t mind the TV, because the TV’s

stored in the kitchen. My kitchen’s always

always on, so ignore it, okay? Or we could

clean so you won’t feel grossed out in there.

take this wine tour past the couch, past the

I wipe the counter all the time, so there’s

TV, out onto the balcony. What’s so great

no cockroaches or anything, no bugs like

about the balcony is that if you stand out

when you’re outside. I’ll open the fridge

there it’s like you’ve totally left the city,

and we’ll check out the white wine chillin’

especially if you close your eyes to block

in there. Then I’ll close the fridge and show

out the view of the other buildings. You

you the photo on the fridge door—it’s a

can’t even hear the traffic from out there.

picture of my cat, Dr. Pepper, who died of

It’s like being right in wine country—all

old age when I was ten. Then I’ll open the

peaceful and shit—and I know what wine

cupboard above the microwave and we’ll

country’s like, because I’ve totally been

check out the bottles of red. I swear to

there. And, holy crap, my neighbour’s air

God some of them are fancy.

conditioner? Seriously. I don’t know what

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Issue three

If you’re expecting to come on the

Come on the tour by yourself or

wine tour and not learn anything, then

with a group, and either way, it’s all good.

you’re wrong. I know a lot about wine, so

Whatever. It’s just that if you come with a

you’re gonna have to learn a lot. I can tell

group, we won’t each be able to drink as

you the difference between red and white

much, because my “company” might run

wine. I can tell you how wine is made. I

out of wine, especially if I’m running low

can tell you about that time I tried to make

on stuff, if you know what I mean.

wine. I’ll tell you the important stuff about

Ummmmmm, if you’ve got any more

flavours, taste, and places where grapes

ideas for me or my wine tour “company,”

grow, like Napa Valley. Hey, did you know

then you should totally let me know, but

some wine goes really well with seafood?

first you gotta stop by for a wine tour.

Yeah, so, we’ll hang in the kitchen for

People have really good times on the wine

a bit, then we’ll pick out a couple of nice

tour. It’s totally chillaxin’.

bottles. I’ll show you how I open the

If you’re a lady, then you need to know

bottles like a champ, with a massive effin’

about the great offers. There’s this deal on

corkscrew. I mean, some of those bottles

now where ladies can come on the wine

have twist-off lids, so I’ll just be showing

tour for FREE, every day after 9 p.m. For

you how to twist off a cap, but whatever,

dudes, the charge is always twenty-five

we’ll open a couple of those bottles and

bucks, but it’s totally worth the money.

we’ll have some good times.

And, you know, if you’re into it, I grow

And because this wine tour is official,

some pretty good stuff in my closet, so we

I’m gonna tell you about the history of

can smoke some of that and play video

wine, and I’ve got quite the history with

games. I’m the only dude I know who

wine. Oh man, I’ve got lots of good wine

offers a wine tour every single day, all the

stories. Once, I drank too much at my

effin’ time, all year long! Awesome.

buddy’s birthday. You’ll have to wait for the tour to hear the rest of that one.

9

Dragnet Magazine

WALTER: A LOVE STORY by Michael Blouin He met Amber. Amber left notes for

his foot and felt the

him in his locker. She slid them through

red pepper scrape of

the sides or the top and he’d find them in

the rust for days. He

his shoes.

remembered when he pulled the nail the

“I’m thinking of you and I surge. Really,

blood followed the metal out and traced

look it up. S-u-r-g-e. Surge. Use it in a

through the creases in his foot and he

sentence: I’m thinking of you and I surge.”

remembered how the water washed the

“Sometimes guitars play themselves.

thin red though the dry river beds of his

They’re pissy about it though and don’t like

skin. His friend Edward told him he’d get

to be heard.” “The cleft. Consider the cleft. I know you

slackjaw and have to eat through a straw

want to.”

the rest of his life. Found out later it was called lockjaw, proving that Edward was

“I really need to wash my gym shorts.

an idiot. His jaw continued to work fine.

So what are you thinking about right now...

He ate roast beef, he chewed apples, broke

Chief?”

nuts with his teeth, pulled hard on licorice

“I love the way you have to eat a Popsicle

whips. He was prodigious at chewing. He

fast in the sun. Not just you I mean, anybody.

loved to read but he was going to fail math.

Okay, I really meant just me.”

He was going to drop out of school. He was going to run away. Then:

10

Photo by Stephanie Coffey

O

nce, he got a nail in

Dragnet Magazine

“Want to derail a train with me? I know

into the earth big white moon face roots

how. But if we get caught it was your idea,

claw into the earth lay awake at night roots

okay?”

claw into the earth sometimes they were

“What’s that in your pocket? Made you

quiet roots claw into the earth lay awake at

look!”

night roots claw into the earth a shovel a hammer a pick roots claw into the earth so

Sometimes there were two or three a day.

would he roots claw into the earth prove

He was so in over his head but he was

his point roots claw into the earth he

pretty sure she was good for him and he

didn’t have to be crazy and the moon and

was just trying to hang on. He kept them

the moon and the moon shining.

all in an Adidas shoe box in his closet:

“You’re crazy,” Amber said when he

“I have a really small scar in the shape of

asked her.

a crescent moon. No one else has ever seen it.

“Why?”

Guess where it is? I’ll show you tomorrow.”

“Because you don’t dance that’s why.” They were sitting at the end table in the

That night he couldn’t sleep.

cafeteria next to the window. They were

He had a dream that went like this:

sharing cold french fries with ketchup.

roots claw into earth they were there roots

He had figured she’d want to go. He didn’t

claw into earth hear them at night roots

want to go. Walking was complicated

claw into earth what were they doing roots

enough. Dancing would be a nightmare.

claw into earth had to be a way to stop

But he’d thought that she’d want him to

them roots claw into earth sounds of cold

ask her. Girls liked dancing.

scratching roots claw into earth look and

“I don’t dance,” she said taking another

they’re gone roots claw into earth it didn’t

fry. They had another little cardboard boat

make sense roots claw into earth no way

filled with ketchup. It used to be full of

out of the earth roots claw into the earth

fries but they’d eaten them.

we put a man on the moon roots claw

“We don’t dance,” she said.

12

Issue three

She looked at the fry, holding it up in

She looked at the little boat and then

front of her face.

looked up quickly. There were only two

“I think I’m gonna be sick,” she said.

fries left.

“So forget it,” Walter said, “we won’t

“Did you really eat the rest of those?”

go.”

“Yeah, why?” “No, I mean I’m gonna be sick.”

She looked back down and looked

She put the fry down.

away again.

She stood up.

“Cuz I’m not pregnant, that’s why. I’m

“Wait here,” she said.

guessing those fries came up for a reason.”

Walter sat eating the rest of the fries

Walter sat listening to his stomach.

and wondering if he should be holding her

“I’m not worried,” he decided.

hair. He couldn’t go in the girl’s washroom.

“You should be,” she said. “Cuz if I was

She’d said wait. He hoped she’d make it

pregnant I’d fuckin’ kill you.”

in time. Maybe she had her period. Girls

“But how could you be preg—”

threw up when they were pregnant, he

“Just if I was...you’d be dead.”

knew that. There she was. She sat back

“Okay.”

down. She was looking a little white. She

“Think about that.”

put her hands flat on the table.

“I am.”

“You okay?” he asked.

“Think about it harder. I’m serious.”

“Yep.”

Walter ate the last two fries.

“You pregnant?”

“If you’re even fooling around with

She sat there looking white.

yourself alone...I want you in a condom.”

“How could I be pregnant?”

“How could...”

“Well...”

“I don’t know, psychic powers or

“Walter, how could I be pregnant?”

something…. You gonna finish your Coke? You know, you could stand to be a little more charming...”

13

Dragnet Magazine

Walter thought about it.

Some of the fries were still in one piece as

“I asked you to the dance,” he said.

if she’d swallowed them whole.

“That’s true. That was sweet.”

They didn’t go to the dance. After high

“But we don’t dance,” she said.

school she moved to Vancouver with a guy

Then she burped. Then she suddenly

who played the guitar. Walter lived to be

got even whiter.

ninety-three. Some of it was good.

“I’m gonna be sick again,” she said.

He remembered that cafeteria: the big

Then she was.

glass windows grey with dirt like someone

After, Walter helped her clean it up.

had washed them with milk.

Which he thought was pretty charming.

14

Issue three

HE SAID, SHE SAID by Jesse Boyce

Photo by Claire Battershill

T

he water pressure in

She said, You don’t know what you

her apartment was like

prefer.

a runaway train. She

I ought to know, he said.

was just like the water

She asked, Why do you think that?

pressure. He was straight and narrow.

I am me, he reminded her.

They got along, mostly.

She said, That’s debatable.

I think we should get away from here,

And on and on like this, her thoughts

she said.

and suggestions hurtling forward, his

But you’ve got the best shower in the

thoughts and replies mired in the grooves

city, he said.

of routine, of complacency. He thought

You can shower anywhere in the world,

about asking her to marry him; she thought

she said.

about wandering through the desert,

He said he didn’t want to.

screaming from rooftops, becoming a

She said, You don’t know what you

reptile.

want.

He asked, Would you like to go to the

I need to take a shower, he said.

ROM?

She said, Being dirty is psychological.

I don’t feel like going above College

He said he liked to be clean.

today, she said.

It’s innate, natural, to be unclean, she

That’s two blocks, he said.

said.

The soles of my feet have blisters, she

But I prefer not to be, he said.

said. I’ll get some Band-Aids, he said.

15

Dragnet Magazine

She said she didn’t mind.

her hand, rolled tightly like a newspaper,

Perhaps another day, he said.

ready to strike. The ROM was the same as

She said, I don’t ever want to go above

always – damp and lumpy, like the towels

College again. (Or to the ROM, she

left for the maid in a hotel bathtub.

added.)

I can sleep on the couch, he said. He said, We don’t have to.

He said, You’re solipsistic.

We don’t ever have to do anything, she

She said, You don’t know what that

said.

means.

I’d like to do some things, he said.

He said he did and that she was the

There is so much harm in doing, but

definition.

none in thinking, she said.

Define me, she said.

He asked, Did you make that up?

You think you’re at the centre of the

She said, You’ll never know.

world, he said.

One afternoon, they went to the ROM.

I’m at the centre of my world, she said.

You can sleep anywhere, really, she said. There was supposed to be a new exhibit

He asked, But what about mine?

but he had mixed up the dates, or it might

Your world is flat, she said.

have actually been at the AGO. She refused

He said she was still at the centre.

to speak to him for the entire afternoon.

You worship me, she said.

She just held the museum floor plan in

I also hate you, he said.

16

Issue three

Illustration by Andy Torani 17

Dragnet Magazine

I can’t stand, sit, lay still, anymore, she

I walked all the way to the Quay today,

said.

he said.

If you leave I’ll die, he said.

She asked, Why did you stop?

She said, I’m not an artifact, I have

I can’t swim. The water is dirty. I could

blisters!

use a good shower, he said.

I love your blisters, he said.

That is a far walk, she said.

She said, I resent yours, if you even

He said, Can I come by?

have them.

She said it was late.

They went to see the AGO exhibit

I can sleep on the couch, he said.

the following weekend. She liked it;

You can sleep anywhere, really, she

he hated it. She liked the colours, the

said.

emotion, the chaos. He hated the chaos,

I’m sorry for abandoning you, he said.

the irrationality, the angst. Walking out,

She said, Action without thought is

she tried to hail a cab, but he kept on

dangerous, then hung up.

walking, just walking, walking downtown,

She stepped into the shower and

his shoulders bouncing beneath his tweed

waited for the water to scald her. It felt

coat, tiny fists in his pockets. He called her

good. She hoped her skin might peel off in

apartment later.

scales. He might understand then.

It’s because I think you’re perfect, he said. I have a crooked nose and pale skin, she said. Like a woman from a Russian novel, he said. She said, Those novels don’t have pictures.

18

Issue three

THROWN by Arielle Bernstein

T

he week we camped

throwing them in a lake. They squirmed

out on Ocracoke Island

and whimpered in the big brown box, but

was Shark Week on the

as she lifted them individually and threw

Discovery Channel. My

them into the water, the trajectory was

boyfriend’s mom kept warning us about

soundless. I knew when it was my time I

going out into the water at the wrong time

would not go so dignified. I knew I would

of day. I laughed along with him about how

cry and squirm the entire ride.

mothers could be, but really I was scared.

On Ocracoke we escaped from our

Weeks later, the Discovery Channel would

tents into the blue light of night and ran

get national attention for an event they did

up the hill behind the campsite towards

not plan. We would watch as three hostages

the beach. Everything was so beautiful it

were taken by a crazed environmentalist.

frightened me. I had no idea how perfect

He would be shot and the hostages would

and quiet the world could be. It felt like we

be freed. This would be a happy ending,

were on the edge of the universe.

or at least, the happiest outcome possible

My boyfriend took off his clothes

given the situation.

and I could see him through the darkness

We both made jokes about it. It

because the moon offered me glimpses of

seemed so absurd. Maybe that makes us

all his most important pieces—the small

bad people.

of his back, the feel of his hands against my

Later that week we would laugh

waist, a gentle pulling. We walked towards

again in disbelief at a YouTube video of a

the ocean.

woman picking up puppies from a box and

19

Photo by Stephanie Coffey

Issue three

My love wanted to swim and I remembered the sharks. He said he wanted me to come and I told him I was scared. I stayed fast to the shore, watched his naked body enter the salt water. I was crying as I held the flashlight my boyfriend left with me when he went into the ocean. When he came out of the water he looked like a different animal. He picked me up into the air, and the salt stuck to my skin as he kissed my eyelids. I didn’t know which salt I tasted then—my tears or the damp kiss of the ocean. The next day we walked back to our tent in the pale light of almost morning, covered with sand and salt, an imaginary glow surrounding us. We woke a few hours later, and the night before seemed unreal as we cleaned up the campsite, rinsing off the plates, throwing out spoiled food. The rule when camping is to leave the campsite as clean as you found it. To leave no evidence that you have been there at all. That we were just blips on the radar, strange creatures which were just part of the sea of night and which suddenly, strangely, weren’t there any longer.

21

Dragnet Magazine

THE SEXY MYSTERY PARTY by Kyle Flak

1.

don will be there.

the thing about sexy mystery parties is that you can never predict exactly when one is

already you can see him smoking his

going to happen.

fancy imported cigarettes with his fancy imported cigarette holder.

you might be driving your car on some strange mountain road that you never

and you will most definitely want to say

really ever drive on but then all of a sudden

to him when you see him, “don, why you

you notice that “hey, this isn’t even my

gotta be so fancy all the time?”

car!” and then you look down at your elegant cashmere scarf and also, likewise,

and don, this don guy, he’ll respond with a

say something like, “hey this isn’t even my

series of astonishing facts.

elegant cashmere scarf!” “the cobra has no legs but the donkey has there will be other people at the sexy

four of them.”

mystery party. “my wife is employed at the marquette how foolish it would be to have a sexy

county dairy queen.”

mystery party all by yourself!

22

Issue three

“when writing in cursive it is best to know

she walked away.

what you are doing.” i noticed how the back of her dress—it damn you, don, for being such a beautiful

didn’t exist at all!

personage. “i am going to walk toward the room where

2.

the shower is. and i am going to do it very

“when the dog smiles at me and the fake

slowly and very nakedly. so, you had better

waterfall in the lobby smiles at me and the

watch the way that all of my very fresh

living room couch smiles at me, i say it is

and very healthy skin moves. it will move

high time that i had myself another slice

as if heaven and hell are so close to each

of your gorgeous pineapple upside down

other that one of them must surely go out

cake, madame brunwald.”

of business, embarrassingly and therefore meaningfully, if these are actually words,

we were all having a pretty good time.

words in english, words in english that mean something. . . .”

jenny, she was the one who leaned towards me near the grandfather clock to say

that was my first impression of jenny.

something no doubt very beautiful and

3.

enlightening and mysterious and so forth but just as she did so the grandfather clock

later on, we discovered a way to drink

erupted with all of its various chimes and

martinis while also drinking some

whistles and bird squeaks so that i could not

martinis.

hear the very beautiful and enlightening and mysterious and so forth thing that

the cops showed up in order to do the

jenny was trying to communicate to me

same thing. the same thing that we were

via her voice.

all doing.

23

Dragnet Magazine

24

Issue three

jenny, i think, had discovered a room

a sexy mystery party must not end until at

where no one else realized that a room

least a week after it begins.

could exist. a sexy mystery party must contain no she was very busy there becoming more

fewer than one hundred guests.

beautiful and also preparing to show everyone where the room was.

a sexy mystery party must contain at least one millionaire and one nobel prize winner.

4. the year was probably 1923 or 1924

a sexy mystery party must contain vodka

and everyone in the whole world was

and gin and seltzer and limes and no other

interested in sexy mystery parties.

beverages except black coffee.

a sexy mystery party must contain a few

a sexy mystery party must have non-

naked people.

stop live music by excellent and famous musicians who no one has ever heard of.

a sexy mystery party must contain at least two burly men with big handlebar

a sexy mystery party must be held in a

moustaches who agree to hold a long

house that is very old and very large.

Illustration by Illya Klym,kiw

tiresome boxing match on the front lawn. that is all. a sexy mystery party must contain some very exotic and very dangerous household

thank you.

pets. like: a crocodile, a panther, or an elephant.

25

Dragnet Magazine

PAUSE by Meghan Allen

firstly

but before that

Parvin?

I try to remember my last tampon mercy

Yes.

run. Receipts stuffed in my wallet float to

It’s Alex. Do you have Tim’s phone

the ground.

number?

after a while

Why?

Tim. It’s Alex. I’m having a party for

To see if it’s prime.

Susannah tonight.

What?

How’d you get this number?

I want to call him to invite him to

Canada 411.

Susannah’s party tonight.

You didn’t go through, no, never mind.

Is that a good idea?

Party?

Why wouldn’t it be?

Yeah, she’s turning thirty-one. I don’t know. I don’t think, I mean, I’ve got

Can I talk with Susannah?

a lot of work to do.

She’s not here.

Are you sure? Susannah would love for

Tell her to call me when she is.

you to come. Did she say that? (No.) Yes. What time?

26

Issue three

Eight-thirty. A bit earlier. It’s a surprise.

Go away, Alex.

Yeah, I guess so. What should I bring?

I want to talk to my wife, Parvin.

Nothing. Wait. Bring Agricola. We can play

Parvin, it’s okay, you can go.

after dinner.

Happy birthday, Suze. Thanks.

at the party Susannah?

She drinks from the bottle.

I knock on the door.

I haven’t seen you drink in a while.

Susannah?

Glass on glass, bottle on coffee table, she sets it down.

Parvin pushes past me. Tim brought Agricola. Want to go feed I told you not to invite him.

your family?

You didn’t.

Seriously?

Let me talk to her. (Parvin was standing behind me the entire The door opens and Parvin squeezes

time.) Susannah’s lip wobbles.

through. I can’t see her face but a red and tense neck glares at me as the door is

Just go, Alex.

slammed shut.

doctor

later

She’s not here.

Parvin and Susannah stand in the corner.

Please tell her that her appointment is scheduled for Monday at 3:15.

So.

What appointment?

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Dragnet Magazine

I’m not authorised to give that information over the phone. I’m her husband. I’m sorry, sir. Please inform your wife of her appointment for Monday at 3:15. Look, is this the initial appointment, or a follow up? Sir, that information is confidential. Please tell your wife. But the voice doesn’t ask me to tell Susannah that she needs someone to drive her home. A follow-up.

bills Suze? What’s this charge? What charge? The Lord Nelson? Two nights? It’s the hotel in Bristol. The same name as the one down the street? A coincidence. It’s in Canadian dollars though. Huh.

28

Photo by Noah Gano

Dragnet Magazine

tim

I hear the Lord Nelson has bed bugs.

Sorry, mate. No one wants to play. That’s fine. Look, Alex, I’m going to take

Our eyes meet for the first time in weeks.

off. Have you given your best wishes to

They’re going to have to replace the sheets

Susannah yet?

and mattresses anyway. You shouldn’t have paid extra.

Yes.

counting

Are you sure? Here.

I count. On the computer, the little I pull him towards the hall.

Windows clock pops up. I count backwards. Multiples of twenty-eight. The

Susannah, Tim wants to wish you happy

dates don’t look good for Tim.

birthday before he leaves.

tears

Parvin pulls her towards the bathroom.

Susannah is crying.

See you later. Tim.

You must have already known. Did you

Yeah, Alex, see you later.

already know?

sorry

I want to comfort her.

I didn’t mean for it to happen. But it did. And then.

But I pause before answering.

Bristol? I didn’t go to Bristol. It was after. The extra charge—I bled through the sheets.

30

Issue three

DINGWELL HERRING—(1949-?) by Nicholas Herring

W

ell at that time

One fella said Dingwell looked like

the story was

an emaciated polar bear trying to give

that

birth to himself and this very fella’s wife

Dingwell

Herring

had

remembered

experiencing

her

own

endured—or perhaps survived is more

alarming nervous fit because she thought

appropriate—a nervous breakdown in

the skinny fella in the white van might

a Fredericton supermarket parking lot.

actually break through the van, but not

In the months before the Fredericton

break so much as push through, as if the

incident Dingwell had been existing on

glass and the plastic of the van were like

a diet of Aqua Velva and Listerine. His

curtains or some such thing. I guess

nails were yellow and curling upwards like

she found it difficult to be a spectator of

little jaundiced waves meeting a phantom

madness.

breakwater. People coming and going in

It turns out that the van belonged

the lot said they observed a man in a white

to David Adams Richards and that the

van trying to tear at the glass and the plastic

author was bound up in the back of the

within as if it was all some curious form of

van. Dingwell had taken offence to a poem

water that no one else could see, and if it

that had been published in Fiddlehead

wasn’t water then surely it was something

and so Dingwell drove back east to settle

much more insubstantial.

the score.

31

Photo by Andrew Hammerand

Issue three

I’ve scoured Richards’s work for

erately indifferent to that little place and

evidence, for some oblique or perhaps

its people, and that it is actually Islanders

unequivocal reference to Dingwell, but

who observe the world with rampant af-

I’ve yet to find anything. Most people

fection, like a drunkard falling in love with

didn’t even know Dingwell could read

a tall red-headed beauty across the pine-

anything other than ancient and somewhat

planked floor of a twilight caleigh.

androgynous titty magazines he pilfered

A few hours before the Fiddlehead

from fish huts up north.

incident Dingwell had been drinking

The story continues that Dingwell

on the banks of the Miramichi, which

charged into the Fiddlehead office and

may or may not explain his behaviour

started throwing clumsy haymakers,

during the course of the day. The sun

which is to say, haymakers that only a

had been bright and intense and in the

displaced and drunken islander could ever

wet grass his faded T-shirt had become

throw, as if he was trying to punch the

heavy with the sweat of his body. Some

undivided universe. And lo and behold,

men become uncomfortable or fidgety

who happened to be there?

when they sweat but for Dingwell sweat

Dingwell could take an insult as well as

was of no consequence. He understood

any man if it was warranted, however there

the machinations of his body and he

was something about being insulted in a

was grateful in some small way for this

poem that set him off. Perhaps it was that

understanding.

it was no longer a simple thing of tidied

Around midnight Dingwell was finally

rage and envy between two men but now

brought to justice. The RCMP found

a thing for the whole of the world to ob-

him out on Vanier Highway trying to

serve, if the world was willing to observe.

stop Greyhounds in his birthday suit. He

I should say that in my experience the

was so slight and in possession of such a

world has little to do with the Island, that

ghostly pallor that one Quebecois trucker

the world seems bored or is at least mod-

thought he was about to run over either an

33

Dragnet Magazine

anthropomorphic gobbet of potato flesh

and as I was doing this he spoke into the

or a wedding dress caught by the heavy

warm dark of the night. His voice was as

winds of the season.

slender and imprecise as the sound of rain

Gary and Helen were throwing a party

returning to the waves of the sea, which

a few months later and Dingwell showed

is to say that his voice sounded like it was

up unexpectedly—I say unexpectedly

meeting itself, just in a different form. He

because I think most of us all assumed

said: there are some things you just can’t

he was still in prison. He was covered in

ever imagine forgetting.

white paint and he had a look on his face

A neighbour a ways up the road started

Dingwell had taken offence to a poem... that suggested or seemed to imply he’d

shooting off fireworks and Dingwell

just won some sort of extreme eating

watched as the occasional bat performed a

competition, which is to say that he

compassionate series of loops so smoothly

looked both triumphant and deflated, or

and efficiently it was as if some invisible

even elegant and sad. There was a wheat-

performer was pulling an arcane fabric

coloured mutt running through the legs

through the air. A few hours passed and

of the guests and there were plenty of

Dingwell had yet to move, let alone speak

strangely coloured drinks going around.

to anyone else. He was staring at the sky

Dingwell was standing at the edge of the

as if he had been waiting his entire life

patio holding a glass of red wine as if it

for some numinous or supernatural pizza

was a dumbbell. He also had a handful of

dough to return to him. I always thought

pepperettes as long as Danube reeds in

it was a shame about Dingwell—one day

the other. I went up to him as he kicked

the tide went out and never came back

a ball with the mutt and I tried to imagine

in.

what it was he might have been thinking

34

Issue three

BREAD BOXES by Andrew F. Sullivan

M

y

daughter

police began asking questions. He took

says that a man

the Toyota and all their savings for that

always

trip down to Myrtle Beach.

leaves.

Women stay, she

I hold the phone away from my ear

spits into the receiver. They deal with the

and pace the apartment. The heat on the

broken windows, the bruised children, the

twenty-sixth floor is constant. I stand

stains and ruptured gas lines. Jerry has left

before the window and stretch out my

her again, left her with the two kids, and

arms. I should put some clothes on, maybe

she says, Mom, a man always leaves. And

put down the phone, but my daughter says

I tell her it will pass. That all things pass. I

she can’t take it anymore. Jerry smacked

tell her there are other men, there will be

her after the rooter incident, told her he

other men, there are always other men, but

couldn’t focus. She couldn’t understand

she’s not listening and I don’t blame her.

his plans.

Jerry pulls this shit every few months,

Oh, she understood. She understood

every time one of his plans gets out of hand.

well enough. She understood he was a

This time it was some kind of hydraulic

piece of shit, a nothing, a fucking speck on

roto-rooter that tore through the lawn and

a windshield that you just can’t wipe off.

hit the gas line. The fire trucks hung around

No matter how hard you try, he’s always

for a couple days until everyone could

lingering—always leaving bits and pieces

safely move back into the neighbourhood.

of his shit behind. He hit her again, she

All hundred and fifty greasy pounds of

said. Hit her with the open side of his

Jerry Fulton just disappeared once the

fist and she called the cops and the fire

35

Photo by Andrew Hammerand

Issue three

department and an ambulance. She called everybody. And then he left. They always leave, Mom, she says, and I nod and try to tell her it’ll pass. All things pass I say, because I have nothing else to say and then there is a sound like a door slamming in three quick bursts and the phone goes dead and suddenly the apartment feels cold. I dial her again and then begin to pull on my clothes while listening to the busy tone and all the things I should have said. * There is a man on the jury and he keeps calling to say he is sorry. He is so sorry, he says on messages. I don’t know how he got my number. Maybe one of the reporters, the ones who smile and ask about Connie like they care, like they knew her or wish they did. She could have been their sister, their niece, their aunt. I stand at the bus stop and wait. I don’t want to be in that apartment with the ringing phone and all the condolences and the reek of rotting flowers. Flowers from people I don’t even know. Cheap plastic vases and five hundred dollar arrangements. Some of the

37

Dragnet Magazine

notes are illegible. Others are printed on

didn’t go to Tampa, like Laura Dempster

velvet and I throw them all down the same

never existed, and I let him live out that

garbage chute into the same unending fire.

“our” like a fantasy. I let him come and see

I stand and wait for the bus and the

those bread boxes and cry on them and

other women watch me, watch for my

tell everyone he loved Connie more than

shoulders to falter so they can comfort me.

anyone could know. He loved those two

Soak up some of that grief. Connie says a

little kids. I do all that and I don’t ask for

man always leaves. I mean she used to say

anything because I’m still trying to think

that. A man always leaves, but his face is

of something I could have said.

still lingering around the edges of town, in

We had to sell that place. Jerry got some

the newspaper boxes, in the sealed reports

of the money. It all went to lawyers and

behind a judge’s door, behind the eyelids

some sort of fund for the schizophrenic

of every jury member who said, no, not

community and I want to take it back—all

guilty. The two little coffins, two little

the things I said. Nothing passes. Nothing

bread boxes, those are gone. Those don’t

leaves. I can still see Jerry’s face when I try

linger for anyone else. The bus pulls up

to sleep. He says he’s leaving her again and

and coughs soot onto my feet and I pay my

that nothing ever ends. *

fee and sit at the back. I spend afternoons in the cemetery.

The man from the jury finally gives up *

calling. He doesn’t know that Jerry might

Sometimes Tony calls me late in the night,

get out of the facility some day. He can

but he is crying most of the time and I

sleep with that. He can sleep beside a wife

watch the air conditioner cough at me

or lover or whoever keeps him warm and

while he says he can’t believe it, he can’t

in the morning he will leave.

believe someone would do that to our little girl, and I don’t say anything. He says “our” like it means something, like he

38

Photo by Claire Battershill

Dragnet Magazine

TWINS’ VARIETY

O

n

another

counter and concealed himself behind

occasion, his bus

the opposite side of the lottery kiosk.

again

stopped

The customer, looking up from his ticket,

at a traffic light

directed his attention toward the counter

directly outside TWINS’ VARIETY, the

where the proprietor had stood but a

commuter witnessed a spectacle that

moment before. Seeing that the proprietor

would

his

was no longer there, the customer looked

dilapidated

about the apparently empty store, an

convenience store, which had heretofore

expression of confusion on his bearded

depressed him profoundly. From his

face. Evidently intent on locating the

vantage point on the unmoving bus, he

proprietor, the customer began to

observed through the grimy front window

encircle the kiosk as the proprietor,

of TWINS’ VARIETY a customer

keenly anticipating the customer’s route,

standing in front of the lottery kiosk. The

encircled the lottery kiosk in the same

customer, who was bearded, wore a parka

direction, remaining undetected all the

and an elaborate winter hat despite the

while. The customer, moving slowly and

clement weather. While the customer

looking this way and that, completed his

closely examined what appeared to be

circuit of the lottery kiosk and returned

a lottery ticket held in his hand, the

to his original position as the proprietor,

proprietor, who was also bearded and by

following in the customer’s footsteps,

all appearances more or less the same age

stealthily returned to where he had first

as the customer, slipped from behind the

concealed himself. Evidently frustrated in

irreversibly

conception

of

transform the

40

Illustration by Andy Torani

by Devon Code

Issue three

41

Dragnet Magazine

his failed attempt to locate the proprietor, the customer resumed his scrutiny of the lottery ticket with even greater intensity, as if it were a compulsion, or else as if the ticket were a source of certainty under circumstances in which there was so little certainty to be had. The proprietor then suddenly emerged, placing his hands upon the arm of the customer as he no doubt yelled boo or gotcha or some equivalent expression that remained obscure to the commuter who observed this scene from his vantage point on the waiting bus as the look of alarm upon the customer’s face miraculously transformed into that contorted expression which accompanies hearty laughter, an expression more or less reciprocated by the proprietor as he returned to his post behind the counter, the customer then waving a finger at him in feigned admonishment, the two of them engaged in a good-natured and highspirited exchange as the light changed and the bus resumed its progress, leaving TWINS’ VARIETY and the antics of its occupants behind.

42

Issue three

CONTRIBUTOR BIOS Claire Battershill is a writer and PhD

Jesse Boyce works as a Common Sense

candidate who lives in Toronto. These are her

Advisor, amongst many other things. The

first published photographs!

advice is free. You can follow him on Twitter: @jesseaboyce.

Arielle Bernstein is a writer living in Washington, DC. She teaches writing at

Devon Code’s fiction has been published

George Washington University and American

internationally. He is the author of the story

University and also freelances. Her work

collection In A Mist (Invisible Publishing)

has been published in The Millions and

and the recipient of the 2010 Journey Prize.

The Rumpus. She is also co-founder and

He lives in Toronto.

nonfiction editor of Anomaly Magazine. Stephanie Coffey is a Toronto writer and Michael Blouin’s Chase and Haven (Coach

photographer. She is not a big fan of Derrida,

House) won the ReLit Award and was a finalist

but she is a big fan of derring-do.

for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. I’m not going to lie to you (Pedlar Press) was a finalist for

Kyle Flak’s piece is from a new book

the Lampman Award. Wore Down Trust (Pedlar

manuscript he’s been working on called

Press) was released in May 2011. Blouin is

Escape from the Haunted City of Fright and

represented internationally by Westwood

Doom! His previous poetry collections are

Creative Artists and can be found at www.

The Secret Admirer (Adastra Press, 2010) and

minor-poet.blogspot.com.

Harmonica Days (New Sins Press, 2009).

Noah Gano is a Toronto-based artist.

43

Dragnet Magazine

Andrew Hammerand is a photographic-

Shari Kasman is a Toronto-based writer

based artist, and was born in the suburbs of

and artist. Her work has appeared in print

Chicago, Illinois. Andrew currently lives and

in Matrix Magazine and online in Branch

works in Mesa, AZ. His photographic work

Magazine.

has been exhibited in various juried and group exhibitions, and most recently he was a

Illya Klymkiw is not only an illustrator but

co-curator of the traveling exhibition, “South

also a filmmaker. He is currently working on a

Phoenix through the Eyes of Youth.”

short titled Furstenau Mysteries (www. furstenaumysteries.com). In between living

Nicholas Herring lives near the water in

out his Woody Harrelson basketball fantasies,

Toronto. He’s going to be attending U of T’s

he sucks foam from pints of Amsterdam Nut

Creative Writing Program in September 2011.

Brown Ale off his moustache.

He would say his piece is not too bad.

44

Issue three

Dr. Robert Goddard, 1924. Courtesy of NASA.

Meghan Rose Allen recently completed

Andy Torani graduated from York University

her PhD in Mathematics from Dalhousie

in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and

University. She lives in Ottawa where she

Bachelor of Education. After long but

works for the Government of Canada as a

rewarding days of teaching, Andy still finds

researcher.

time to get lost awhile in his art.

Andrew F. Sullivan recently completed his

Ian John Turner was born in Ontario in the

MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing

autumn. His work often deals with ideas of

at the University of Toronto while working

place and with the commemoration of tall

with author Miriam Toews. His work has

tales and small stories. He strives to approach

previously been published in echolocation

everything with equal measures of love,

and For Crying Out Loud II. Andrew’s fiction

thought and cheek. Ian can be reached at

will also appear on Joyland later this year.

ian@ianturner.ca.

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Dragnet Magazine Issue Three