by Jena Karmali
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
to build the International Space Station, and brought waves of curious and talented
people into anti-gravity orbit. Joseph Da-
vid McKee’s whimsical illustrations for this issue of Dragnet capture the nostal-
gia that arises when a chapter of history
comes to a close. The past century has borne witness to some impressive acts of
human achievement. In 1903, the Wright
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
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
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
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
CONTENTS Editors’ Letter
Come On My New Daily Wine Tour, Okay?
Walter: A Love Story
He Said, She Said
The Sexy Mystery Party
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
COME ON MY NEW DAILY WINE TOUR, OKAY? by Shari Kasman
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
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
Illustration by Illya Klymkiw
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
Photo by Stephanie Coffey
nce, he got a nail in
“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
claw into the earth sometimes they were
“What’s that in your pocket? Made you
quiet roots claw into the earth lay awake at
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
a crescent moon. No one else has ever seen it.
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.
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.
“So forget it,” Walter said, “we won’t
“Did you really eat the rest of those?”
“Yeah, why?” “No, I mean I’m gonna be sick.”
She looked back down and looked
She put the fry down.
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
down. She was looking a little white. She
“Think about that.”
put her hands flat on the table.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Think about it harder. I’m serious.”
Walter ate the last two fries.
“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?”
“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...”
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.
HE SAID, SHE SAID by Jesse Boyce
Photo by Claire Battershill
he water pressure in
She said, You don’t know what you
her apartment was like
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
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
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
He asked, Would you like to go to the
I need to take a shower, he said.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Illustration by Andy Torani 17
I can’t stand, sit, lay still, anymore, she
I walked all the way to the Quay today,
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
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?
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
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
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.
THROWN by Arielle Bernstein
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
boyfriendâ€™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 piecesâ€”the small
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
woman picking up puppies from a box and
Photo by Stephanie Coffey
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.
THE SEXY MYSTERY PARTY by Kyle Flak
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!
“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
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
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
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.
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-
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
pets. like: a crocodile, a panther, or an elephant.
PAUSE by Meghan Allen
but before that
I try to remember my last tampon mercy
run. Receipts stuffed in my wallet float to
It’s Alex. Do you have Tim’s phone
after a while
Tim. It’s Alex. I’m having a party for
To see if it’s prime.
How’d you get this number?
I want to call him to invite him to
Susannah’s party tonight.
You didn’t go through, no, never mind.
Is that a good idea?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
She’s not here.
Parvin and Susannah stand in the corner.
Please tell her that her appointment is scheduled for Monday at 3:15.
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.
Photo by Noah Gano
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
and mattresses anyway. You shouldn’t have paid extra.
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.
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.
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.
DINGWELL HERRING—(1949-?) by Nicholas Herring
ell at that time
One fella said Dingwell looked like
the story was
an emaciated polar bear trying to give
birth to himself and this very fella’s wife
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
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.
Photo by Andrew Hammerand
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
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
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
what it was he might have been thinking
BREAD BOXES by Andrew F. Sullivan
police began asking questions. He took
says that a man
the Toyota and all their savings for that
trip down to Myrtle Beach.
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.
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
Photo by Andrew Hammerand
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
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
Photo by Claire Battershill
counter and concealed himself behind
occasion, his bus
the opposite side of the lottery kiosk.
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
was no longer there, the customer looked
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
Illustration by Andy Torani
by Devon Code
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 customerâ€™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 TWINSâ€™ VARIETY and the antics of its occupants behind.
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
Harmonica Days (New Sins Press, 2009).
Noah Gano is a Toronto-based artist.
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
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.
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
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. Andrewâ€™s fiction
thought and cheek. Ian can be reached at
will also appear on Joyland later this year.