War is Hell: circa 2010

Throw Back Thursday, an email I wrote my Dad many years ago.

I feel a certain camaraderie now with men and women who have been scarred by battle. I myself posses a battle wound. Last night on the return trip from Sweeny Todd I accidentally closed my leg in the door of a jeep. It was excruciating but somehow I managed to keep a clear head and beat the enemy back (open the car door). My leg is twisted, covered in purples and blues that are brighter than the hues in my hair.
It was hard to sleep, my mind overflowing with questions. Why me? How had this peaceful trip turned into such a bloodbath? What did I do to the car door to deserve this animosity? How could something I had always treated with gentleness and respect, never slamming, treat me in such a way?
War is hell, ladies and gentlemen. And I have the bruise to prove it.

Observations from the Emotionally (un)Stable

This edition of Throw Back Thursday is an email I wrote my Dad when I first starting thinking about moving back to Victoria from Edmonton. I didn’t end up moving that summer, but this email is still one of my favourites.

I am so perky today it’s revolting. I’m not sure if I’m giddy from lack of sleep (I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at my ceiling last night before finally giving up and reading a book) or if I’m just excited that it’s Friday and I was able to wear jeans to work. Perhaps it’s some combination of the two? Or, maybe it’s that I snuck into work this morning wearing my red high top converse all stars (the colour of rebellion!)? Only God and my subconscious know for sure.

Either way, it’s made for an interesting morning. It certainly is a nice change from the last few days which were, well, let’s just say the last few days were dark. Literally, the sun seems to have abandoned Edmonton and, while the weather is still unseasonably warm, the flurries in the fog are taking over the city. I wonder if knowing that this is my last winter in this “City of Champions” (she says with maximum irony) is contributing to my cheerful mood? Probably. I am sure that my nostalgic side will miss Edmonton and the experiences I had here. Perhaps in the future I will click through the Edmonton Journal with a mysterious half smile. Perhaps not.

(You will notice I said click instead of flip. Welcome to the digital age, my friend).

Maybe my time here in Edmonton will be included in the author write up featured at the back of my novels? A line or two about how surviving the prairies has given me a strength of character and an appreciation for the small town community. Or perhaps I will write a semi-autobiographical story about a young girls journey to adulthood on the frozen plains? I suppose anything’s possible. Never say never. *insert other cliché about the unexpected*

Writing this is causing my perky mood to morph into giddily contemplative. I suppose reflection is good for the soul, but I don’t wish to bore you so I will end it here.

Finis.

Patterns aren’t just for Knitting

This edition of Throw Back Thursday is another example of writing using patterns. It was originally sent as an email to my family.

Apparently I have too much time on my hands, how else can you explain this? Besides just saying I am a horrible procrastinator. Can’t a girl just have a little fun every now and then without it being something weird? Don’t people make allowances for strange habits anymore?

Eccentricity should be revered!

Fortunately for me, I am far too self-involved to care that you aren’t impressed. Great people shouldn’t have to rely on the good opinions of others. However, I could get by with a little more recognition. I am, after all, doing something pretty cool here.

Just you wait until I finish, then you will be impressed.

Know this; you probably aren’t the only person who didn’t get it right away. Lots of people don’t see patterns in the beginning. Many might not even notice until they get to the end. (Not even these hints will help them.) One shouldn’t be embarrassed if it takes a while.

Perhaps I should try distracting you now? Questioning you? Really, I could throw in some misdirection. Should I tell you about my newest hobby?

Today I decided to take up Rapping. Usually I make fun of rappers, but lately I’ve started thinking they are cool. Very cool. Who else can pull off being “Gangsta” with such aplomb? Xander from Buffy certainly couldn’t. You’d think that I would be able to come across “Gangsta” without the aid of rap; you’d be wrong. Zeal just isn’t enough these days.

The Story of Zipper and Cuddles

The Story of Zipper and Cuddles, our two family bunnies, is not a very exciting one.

Sure it has violence which seems to be all the rage these days (Pun Alert), but beyond that it’s pretty mundane.

Cuddles was, as you would expect, a very cuddly rabbit. She was all soft white fur and floppy ears, even tempered and the perfect pet for a young girl.

Zipper was sharp and jagged, perpetually cross and furthering the stereotypes that brunettes are mean and vindictive. There was also something in her eyes, a look that I didn’t recognize as disdain until many years later.

Zipper hated everyone and everyone hated Zipper. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Zipper even hated herself and that self-loathing was her everyday companion causing the fits of temper and the lashing out. I’m not 100% certain that bunnies can have self-esteem, but if they can I am sure Zippper’s was in short supply.

Still, the only creature on this planet Zipper did not hate was Cuddles.

They were inseparable, mostly because they shared a hutch, but also because they shared a deep bond that was evident even to my young eyes. The bond of sisters.

Cuddles and Zipper loved each other and though that love in Zipper never carried over to her owners, it was enough for me to see that Zipper was capable of love at all. At five I was quite the optimist, believing that one day Zipper could come to love me as Cuddles did. (Cuddles loved everyone.)

And then it all went to shit.

Cuddles had her pelvis broken in an accident that should have been avoided (my cousin was far too rough when putting Cuddles back in her hutch). She had to be taken inside where she was lovingly nursed back to health by my sister, hand fed and nurtured, cared for with every breath in my darling sister’s being.

It took weeks before Cuddles was ready to go back outside and I could tell that those weeks wore on poor Zipper. Zipper was lonely, fervently plotting her escape every chance she got (she often tried to dig under the fence and escape underground, perhaps imagining a bunny sanctuary just over the horizon). It never mattered how much chickweed I piled in her home (her favourite), she was growing angrier by the second.

Finally when Cuddles returned it seemed to calm Zipper, her nose twitched warmly when we brought Cuddles closer and for the first time since we had brought her home Zipper even took a few tentative hops towards us. This was the only time during our acquaintance that Zipper did not try and disembowel me and I cherished it.

I still cherish it.

Alas Cuddles died that night, her first night out. My sister and I were devastated (my sister because she had lost her loving pet, and myself as I mourned the only creature that made Zipper less of a monster). We buried her in a simple ceremony, my sister standing over the fresh grave in our backyard as I tried to hold Zipper in my arms while she scratched until I bled, bolting for the fence as soon as my abused arms let her go. It was beautiful (the ceremony, not the attack).

Weeks went by and turned to months and Zipper appeared to waste from sadness, the loss of her sister and only friend becoming too hard to handle.

And then things got worse.

Our new dog, a feisty poodle named Frenchie, found Cuddles’ final resting spot either through the power of smell or some odd and unfortunate intuition. Frenchie dug poor Cuddles up, excited at her buried treasure.

My sister had the misfortune of finding the remains of poor dearly departed Cuddles, stumbling upon Frenchie sprawled across our family room couch and chewing on the half rotted skull of her darling bunny, traumatizing her for life. My sister still has nightmares of this moment, the empty sockets starring imploringly at her, the indignity of it all.

(Perhaps I myself have a bit of Zipper’s vindictiveness in me after all as to this day I still laugh at my sister’s disturbed screams. Perhaps this is something I should keep to myself?)

With this last insult Zipper seemed to shatter, watching forlornly as her sister was reburied. But over time Zipper became less despondent. Sure, she was still the devil incarnate but the fight seemed to be drained from her and replaced instead by a desperate fear of our dog.

Zipper’s terror of our young pup only seemed to encourage the poodle. Frenchie wanted more than anything to be friends with the vicious rabbit, playfully bounding across the yard whenever Zipper came outside. Our poor poodle did not understand that eating the rotted flesh of one’s sister does not encourage friendship.

Or perhaps she had just developed a taste for hasenpfeffer?

Time sped by and it was not long before another tragedy befell us. While most of the family was on a long weekend getaway Zipper, already on edge for the last several months, was terrorized under the cover of darkness, scared so deeply that part of her exploded and she was left paralyzed in fear after screaming deeply into the night. My father grudgingly rushed the hated animal to the vet only to find there was nothing to be done. She too passed on, joining Cuddles finally in death.

We placed a marker in the grass by the fence, symbolic of Zipper’s time with us and her successful escape from life. At least dear Zipper would not be dug up by Frenchie, her final resting place an incinerator at a vet’s office far away from Frenchie’s curious nose.

Despite the obvious hatred that Zipper felt towards me I mourned her passing and for many years I despised raccoons, believing the adorable bandits of the mammal world to be the culprit of the murder of my beloved yet terrifying bunny. It wasn’t until many years later that my father gleefully told me the true story.

Zipper had been frightened to death by Frenchie who, while outside on a late night pee, decided to check to see if Zipper was game for a midnight romp, barking playfully at the hutch and waking Zipper from her sleep in what I am sure was the equivalent of a human being waking up to find a strange masked man standing over their bed with a knife.

She had never stood a chance.

With both my sister and I traumatized for good and my father thrilled to be bunny free the story ends, Zipper and Cuddles gone from our lives in all but memory.

Happy Easter, dear reader.

PS. If you would like to know the whole truth about “Zipper and Cuddles” please click here and here.

Happy Birthday to Me

It is true what they say, that time is relative. The older you get the faster time flies by. I remember being young(er) and having a week drag on and on, the hours moving at a slow as molasses tick tock. Nothing ever came fast enough.

Now time speeds past, too fast, weeks melt into months and months melt into years and before you know it you are old(er).

(I suppose you are always older, every second older than you were before.)

Today is my birthday and I am older.

Then I will be older still.

Happy Birthday to Me.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

 

Humiliation? Yes please!

This edition of Throw Back Thursday is in honour of Valentine’s Day! Originally posted on my blog, triSARAHtops, it is about one of my many awkward life encounters. Enjoy!

Humiliation? Yes please!

Oh Friday, why can’t you ever just pass by without incident?

My coworkers, despite the fact that I am moving back to Victoria in three weeks (yup, 3 weeks) are still hell bent on “finding me a man”. (A goal they’ve had since I transferred to this office a year ago and they found out I was both single and straight. Apparently this combination is rare?)

Usually I find it amusing, but today it was downright hilarious. You know, if by hilarious I mean dreadfully uncomfortable. So very uncomfortable.

See, today, well, today I made the mistake of commenting on the attractiveness of a particular gentleman who works on our floor.

I knew it was a mistake before I even opened my mouth but there was no stopping the words as they tumbled out – something along the lines of “Giggidy Giggidy! I’d tap that fo’sho!”. The feeling of panic was instant and I stilled, caught in the metaphorical headlights of four happily settled women (the scariest breed). It was terrifying.

The moment was over as quickly as it happened, and though I still couldn’t shake the lingering dread, I thought I was home free. Perhaps they didn’t hear my grossly inappropriate comment? Maybe they missed the drool pooling at the side of my mouth? Or the hungry gleam in my eyes as I imagined him in his tighty whities? Impossibly, I was in the clear.

Or not.

It turns out V, my most persistent coworker, knows this gentleman and, more importantly, knows that he is also single. (Can you see where this is going?)

After lunch, in the middle of my being very busy and important, I was ambushed by two very meddlesome women with a very uncomfortable man sandwiched between them.

“Oh! Well isn’t this a coincidence! Fancy finding Sarah here, at her desk where she sits from 8:30 to 4:45 every Monday through Friday. Small world! Sarah’s from BC, is 24, loves to bake and is single!” Pause so we could both awkwardly nod at each other without making eye contact. “So … would you like to impregnate her now? Or wait until Happy Hour?”

The poor guy was held in place by identical death grips on both arms preventing the escape he clearly wanted to make.

Me? I just smiled awkwardly, took frequent sips of water to avoid having to talk, and waited for the world to swallow me whole.

After nearly five minutes (yup, I timed it) of forced conversation my coworkers finally let the poor guy go.

In the future I’m sure Mr. Sexy will avoid my end of the office. So long Eye Candy. Self preservation, it’s a kicker.

 

Epiphany

This particular piece won me the Satire Award in my Grade 12 English Class. It also marks my first foray into Satire and was basically the beginning of my current writing style.
Previously published on FictionPress.com

Disclaimer: This piece was written a decade ago.

I was headed across the field when something hit me. A football; damn jocks. But seriously, when that pigskin hit my head I was awarded with more than a concussion. I got an idea. A realization that made more and more sense as I lay there on the soggy, trampled grass. George Bush is a genius. Now this sounds funny, ha ha, but as the spinning in my brain went on like a disgruntled top everything made sense. This pompous Texan, leader of a nation was an American genius. Now that’s hard to come by. Not that the US is a nation of stupid people, just that they’re … ignorant of other nations.

Of course, Bush isn’t a genius on the scale of Einstein, but I am sure he could hold his own against an average flag bearing, gun crazy patriot. The Prez has already given the world a story. He’s the ultimate villain in an unpopular and senseless controversy. And this was only his first term! Just think of what he could do if he’s re-elected!

But I digress. Bush’s genius lies in his unpopularity. Most of the world dislikes him, but that isn’t the point. The point is that the world knows enough about him to dislike him. All publicity is good publicity and when you run “God’s country, the Land of the Free” you get publicity. After all, this is the United States of America we’re talking about! They’ve never even lost a war. Discounting, of course, Vietnam, Bay of Pigs and Alamo. And the War of 1812 (O Canada). But those don’t count. The other side cheated.

Yet the USA is feared world wide and hated as vastly. They stand there in their country waving stars and stripes and pounding the pledge of allegiance into their youths’ heads as they hand them a gun and ship them off to war to protect the “interest of other nations”. They’re the world’s selfless heroes. They’re only sin is pride for their country!

And what patriotism! Secretly sewing a maple leaf onto their backpacks as they trek across Europe with their thick Texan drawl. Well, maybe not Texas, they’re fiercely patriotic. Perhaps someone from Washington walking around talking about how much they miss their Igloo, hoping nobody recognizes them and spoils their secret that they are really from the greatest country on earth.