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 Joe Demarco couldn’t believe his bad luck — in the space of three days he was separated from both his wife and his right thumb. Joe’s thumb, severed quite cleanly by a falling metal light fixture in the film studio where he worked, was reattached with amazing ease and alacrity. It proved much more difficult to reunite with his wife, Penny. When he said as much to her — in exasperation on the phone six weeks after she’d left — Penny replied, “How typical of you to think of me as an appendage.” Then she hung up.

A week after Joe’s twenty-sixth birthday and almost two years to the day after their marriage, Penny threw some things in her car and pointed it toward British Columbia. There hadn’t been much call for special effects make-up artists in Toronto; Penny’s only job for more than a year had been a two-day stint on a Mick’s Pickles commercial. “It takes eons to make this pathetic loser of an actor look as green and wrinkled as a dill pickle,” she moaned. “And then I have to watch while they film the poor bastard in his pickle suit just in case his face falls off.”

“Today Mick’s Pickles, tomorrow David Cronenberg,” Joe murmured and continued reading Men’s Health magazine. There was the all-too-familiar frustration of gaining Joe’s attention, but the final straw for Penny was the realization that, even if Joe did listen, he was incapable of saying anything meaningful in return.

complete story published in Querty Magazine, Winter 2015/16




With her thirty-eighth birthday on the horizon, Denise was agonisingly conscious of the steady ticking of her biological clock. Some days it seemed so insistent she could swear people must hear her approaching — tick tock, tick tock — like the crocodile in ‘Peter Pan.’ Was it any wonder she daydreamed about babies? Hers and the Somali’s offspring would have Denise’s turquoise-green irises rendered luminous by the contrast of eyelids the colour of an Americano coffee, courtesy of his DNA. Green-eyed babies with café-au-lait-colored skin as soft as velvet, Denise repeated to herself.

– I can help you over here, said a man’s voice.

Denise lurched toward the vacant wicket, hoping to hell she hadn’t been rambling aloud. She was convinced that, at the least, her lips must have been moving. Her neck prickled with embarrassment. When she finally plucked up the courage to meet the teller’s gaze she thought she must have a form of narcolepsy. Had she fallen asleep in the bank line-up and was she now sleepwalking? The very eyes she’d been dreaming about were there, right in front of her. Grey-green irises framed by dusky eyelids. Café-au-lait-coloured skin, smooth as velvet.

Seconds passed. Green irises softened a degree or two, peripheral velvet skin crinkled slightly.

– How can I help you?

– I need a change … no, not a change. I meant loonies, toonies. That kind of change.

complete story to be published 2017


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