Author Archives: Brett Butler

About Brett Butler

if my dick were a gun is a collection of short stories by Brett Butler. He is also an award-winning filmmaker/screenwriter and co-creator of the Toronto based entertainment production company SubProd.

Love Lessoned

It was the last weekend of summer.

Like most kids I felt like the world was going to be over in two days, facing another ten months in the children’s jailhouse, aka school. No reason for me even to celebrate with new prison fashion either because I had not grown an inch over the last two-and-a-half months.

I had just left my friend’s place, you know the ‘cool’ type of friend. But just hanging, playing video games wasn’t for me.

I felt like I was in slow motion cutting through the hot, stinky air, the only thing holding me up was its thickness. The walls were closing in on the freedom of my summer, and there was no way I was going to spend it on a single bed stuck between two fellas toying with joysticks between their legs on a Star Wars comforter. I’d rather fuck my stuffed animals, or rub up against them for long periods of time and wonder why I couldn’t stop.

(My Curious George had become a shadow of his former self.)

I strolled through the middle of a park in what my parents called the projects: Government housing; an empty basketball court with a net-less hoop; and a place I was told not to go. I tried to pass through it every chance I got.

Where did the nets go? The best thing about sinking a basketball is watching it drop silky smooth through the mesh. Is there a basketball-net graveyard somewhere? Do people take them home after a great game? Do they know they are denying everyone the sweet sound of a swish when dropping it in?

I pulled out a cigarette I stole from my mother a couple weeks earlier. She was a heavy smoker, and though I was only a kid in public school I was constantly questioned whether I smoked because of the way I smelled.

Fuck them, I smelled like home. I sniffed that cigarette every chance I had, and I loved it.

The summer started with an event that created an assured marking of where kids should not go. There was a stabbing in the projects that left bloody footprints on the sidewalk and for some reason they were left to bake all summer long. A clear indication of which side of the tracks was the ‘wrong’ side, easier than a sign I suppose.

The stabbing was due to what my parents described as a love triangle, but it never made sense to me. If two people loved the same person they would have a lot in common and should not want to kill each other, right? Either way those bloody footprints were creepy as fuck and I crossed the street.

It was that moment when I found something glorious that would change my life forever: A tattered cardboard box full of Playboys, the elusive magazines always just out of my reach at the local convenience store. The playground, the magazines, the cool rides, always just out of my reach.

If I was of normal height for my age I probably would have walked by with my head held high, but thankfully on this day my pip-squeak nature and low hanging head came in handy in spotting this pot of gold.

Boobs, bigger boobs, more boobs, as well as that thing between their legs that was definitely not a penis. Why was this Holy Grail at the corner of this lot? Why would someone get rid of something so magnificent? There was nothing else out, no furniture, it wasn’t a yard sale, why the fuck would a garbage man leave these behind?!

I pulled down my mock-official Toronto Blue Jays cap to cover my face and looked around, paranoid, put the cigarette in my mouth and focused on the future in front of me.

A shiver ran up my spine thinking of the bloody footprints on the sidewalk that had been there for three months, now sunburnt into the street.

My heart racing, I focused on the beautiful box. This coveted prize was more powerful than any fear I could imagine. And little did I know it would possess a tremendous force, and exhibit control over me for the better part of my adolescent life.

I lit the cigarette, took a deep haul and stared.

After taming my intense coughing fit, I used my naturally hunched stature to bend down closer, pick up the top magazine and open it to the centerfold. I had heard of centerfolds but never seen one before. There was even a charming song on the radio about an angel being a centerfold. I was curious if this was she. My dick tried to bust out of my rugger pants like a swat team through a front door. I knew I had to take her to my place and really have a gawk, so I flicked my smoke in the box, rolled her up and sprinted home with my summer romance like a baton in my hand.

I was nine and in love.

I ran with an Olympic-like flame glowing behind as the rest of the magazines burnt up to the sky signifying my life had finally ignited. Or at least that’s how I remember it years later, my Goodfellas moment.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the balls to steal a smoke from my mom.

There is probably some guy still out there with those un-torched magazines, jerking off into stolen basketball nets, sinking jump shot after jump shot, listening to his swishes.

I raced through the back door of my parents’ house in a photo finish between my dick and the baton. I kicked off my Velcro sneakers and jumped seven steps to the basement. The phone down there was very private and I dialed my best friend Toby’s number.

Toby was more like a stuffed toy than a friend: dim, pudgy, shaggy and real loyal. Talking to him was more like dictating to a diary, not that I had a diary. We were real tight, and I couldn’t wait to share this magical portal into manhood I had found.

My fingers had never worked the rotary with such skill and agility. The time between rings seemed eternal. I couldn’t contain my excitement of seeing naked breasts much longer and was going to burst if I didn’t tell Toby immediately. Within a half hour Toby was in my basement and we had the centerfold spread out on the rug I had used as a dinky-car racing track so many times before. On this day the only thing racing on that rug was my heart…and the blood beneath my elastic waistband where my throbbing boy-unit had found a new and robust personality.

I made sure I looked at Angel’s face first, I didn’t want her thinking I was a perv. She had piercing blue-line eyes that I’m sure caused all kinds of men to go offside. Her face was framed by curly brown locks right out of a shampoo commercial. This woman made the most out of her first impression. Panning down to her breasts I felt like I had entered the third dimension, I felt like I could squeeze them and drink from them like water bottles.

Showing wisdom beyond our years Toby and I laid on our stomachs so we didn’t have to worry about any embarrassing bulges. Although if we put out our arms straight out I’m pretty sure we’d both be levitating off the ground and looking like Superman flying through the air. The hair was groomed between her legs like an upside down triangle. I had to be wary of this area.

Minutes went by without us speaking, we were newborns again, seeing daylight for the first time with no ability to understand what it all meant. Well I knew Toby didn’t understand it, but I was getting there.

“They are so round!” Toby blurted out finally.

I paid his simple-minded description no attention and glanced at the Casio on my wrist. It was just a matter of time before my mom hollered at me for dinner. I had to get my hands on Angel fast, so I darted my hand straight for her crotch. Foreplay wasn’t exactly my strong suit at this point. Toby tried to follow my lead, but my hand jumped from her groin and slapped his horny paw away.

My mom called for dinner and I told Toby he could touch her tomorrow. He asked me to promise not to open the magazine again until he came over then. I agreed and we shook on it. I made sure not to use the hand with which I had caressed Angel’s sweet spot, not out of respect for him but out of respect for her. This was going to be the toughest promise of my young life to keep.

That night I attempted to taste my first pussy, it tasted like magazine.

The next day, Toby stopped by for a look at our new love. We hunkered down in my basement away from the outside world loving this new urge inside of us. What lay across these three glossy pages was what mattered now. Feeling guilty about my broken promise I let Toby have the first look and went to get us some juice.

It was a day of celebration, so I didn’t hesitate, I pulled out the champagne of juices for kids, Welches white fucking grape. Usually I cut it with water, but not today.

I returned and caught him with his hand stroking the very part I had licked the night before. He didn’t even notice the wrinkles of love I left as he poked at her with his stumpy, pudgy fingers. I set down our celebratory drinks and yelled at Toby to get his grubby mitts off her. He looked up at me confused, his hand unmoved from her.

I punched him in the face.

Poor guy never knew I would come at him that hard. Shit, neither did I. Dripping blood and crying he ran up the stairs and out the back door. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I looked at Angel, her blue-line eyes looked up at me unimpressed and disappointed, just another guy gone offside in her name.

She would have covered herself up if she could. And I would understand.

Sadness and guilt swept over me.

I knew what I had to do. I closed the beautiful centerfold and went up the stairs. There were bloodstains on three steps. I tied up the magazine in a bag like you would with week-old food and put it in the garbage. I grabbed a bucket of soapy water and washed out the blood. Those carpeted stairs presented a battle worthy of remorse.

The next morning I planned to take paint to that sidewalk.


Now I am Flying Through the Fucking Air!

I was enjoying my first bike ride in ages, making plans with myself to do it more, reveling in the feeling of freedom. The wind against my face, the thrill of the roll, the concrete surf, it was beautiful.

The reflection of the street lights on the damp roads created a cinematic look to the city and I was eager for the many twists, turns and sights the ride home was going to offer.

This was to be the monumental life-changing ride of my life: I was going to start drinking less, exercising more, volunteering, donating blood, helping seniors (by not stealing their drugs), and definitely, definitely easing up on beating off!

I was cutting across a four-lane road downhill and eyeing the next turn with glee when my front tire got stuck in the streetcar track. I tried pulling out quickly, but instead went shooting over the handlebars.

And now I am flying through the fucking air.

I am sperm about to splat.

A parked moving van with decaying brown advertising decals fills up the movie screen of my life. I am front row to a show about to end, and I can sense the credits coming soon.

That last thing I am going to see in my life is the word ‘cheap’ in fucking comic sans serif on the back of a parked van as it ends my life.

The sick irony is setting in, along with my fate, when I turn my shoulder into the van and avoid going face first into the ugly, taunting vehicle.

Hockey instincts save me from concussion. Now only if I could drop the gloves with this van.

It turns out a human shoulder smashing against a parked van sounds a lot like Bigfoot cannonballing into a pool of Rice Krispies. Those are the bones.

I pop off the ground immediately to a standing position, because fuck this van, it ain’t that bad. Then I hear a sound just like tape being pulled off a newly painted wall. Those are the ligaments.

An ambulance is on the scene within minutes. Impressive. I attribute this to my strong vocals and colourful use of language. The paramedic looks at my shoulder while I stand in front of him, dangling a shoulder halfway down the left side of my body. He is unsure of a diagnosis. Not impressive.

Five hours later in Emergency I am granted a sling and a painkiller. X-Rays reveal total obliteration of the clavicle and its surrounding ligaments. Take a bow Harvey!

Thirty hours after surgery, the good drugs have worn off and acute pain has set in. I appreciate your over-the-pant handjob Tylenol-3, but the oxycodone already hooked me up with a sweet orgy and I don’t feel you at all. Next time for sure T3.

I am alone.

Why the fuck is my book on the floor and not on the nightstand? I am locked in a staring contest with Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. A standoff.

Twelve minutes, many groans and one yelp later I am on my hands and knees retrieving my book. A junkie in search of words, writers everywhere start wanking.

Reading, this is good, but in two sentences I am going to have to turn the page. That’s going to really hurt and I’m not sure Portnoy’s problems have enticed me enough to go through the agony of turning the page. Confused wanking writers everywhere scramble to their computers in search of illicit word junkie porn.

I hurl the book across the room. I remember pitching a no-hitter when I was nine. I had talent. The book bursts like a packed colon and spews shitty words across my wall.

They form the same sentence over and over again and circling me like wild rabid dogs.

The animals bark in unison: ‘You are weak!’

These loud English-speaking dogs are relentless. I’m not sure which is worse: The pain, the panic, or the power of these hallucinated, rabid and incredibly harmonic beasts.

More drugs needed.

With just one hand it is difficult to get the child-proof cap off the Tylenol bottle. What happened to the talented nine year-old?

How about a flip-top for these situations? There’s a large portion of the population that is childless, you ever think of that? And if I did have children, I’d want them to get this damn cap off for me!

The dogs and their barking are closing in while beads of sweat are leaping from my forehead like suicide bombers. This task will not beat me.

I have ingested many bottles of beer that weren’t twist-off without a bottle opener. I can do this. I push the bottle against my teeth, twist the cap and pop it off with my mouth. I think I just passed the gay test.

I take a swig, my first swig of pills.

I throw back three-ish times the directed amount, a respectable adjustment, I believe.

Fuck that streetcar track, fuck that van, fuck pulling out, fuck that paramedic, fuck that emergency room, fuck Portnoy, fuck those dogs, fuck suicide bombers, fuck child-proof caps, fuck the fucking pharmaceutical companies!

Fuck me.


Love Hurts, Love Scars

I am definitely too something to be in this club: old, fat, ugly, out of touch, dumb, horny.

There is a large dance floor with mostly small groups of women doing their thing. Their techniques are more shadow-puppet party than booty shake but it still creates the desired effect: lust. The remainder of patrons, mostly small groups of men, including me, circle the floor while slamming back overpriced beer. Our techniques need work.

The fine ale I am currently on was paid for by neglected tips at the bar.

Stop judging, bartenders are the doctors of the working class.

Flesh. Dark. Teeth. Dark. Flesh. Dark. Eyeballs. Dark. Life. Dark.

I scour the area and spot my friends at the bar through the dancing hands and shitty light work and detour to find a friendly stranger. The smell of weed has climbed my nostrils and has knocked the reek of body odour and desperation to the ground. The bloodhound has his scent.

I am pulled towards a group of ladies. There are two joints being passed among them and they are having the time of their lives. This is an intimidating situation for any man.

I know exactly what would take the edge off.

I slice into the circle as the two joints cross over. No time to think, I put them both in my mouth and start sucking in the sweet herb with gusto. The girls turn into a cheerleading section for their new friend. I finish the haul of my life, exhale and cross my arms and pass the joints in opposite directions while bouncing up and down to the music. When did I get this cool?

My body is relaxed. The wet from sweat and spilled drinks and my brick feet turn into experienced moonwalkers. I am the sun and these female body parts are planets rotating around me. Pretty eyes, tits, shoulders and thighs circle me in sync with the beat of the music.

I look up and realize there is no ceiling here. I see straight up into the galaxy which I now know I am the centre of.

I am certain all the girls in this group are in love with me. I tilt my head down to face my harem.

Whoa, the rotation has changed to spinning and gravity no longer exists.

I slowly get down on all fours. I am surrounded by a field of ankles with one good pair in the crop. The thick ones make me feel comfortable about this situation, they seem motherly. I look up expecting compassionate loving eyes, instead I get laughing and snickering.

Bitches.

I’ve seen the real you. You’re a bunch of middle-aged Italian women, you cankled whores.

I try to write my number with saliva on the calf of the slim-ankled one. She kicks me in the ribs but her skinny leg only manages a tickle.

I roll over onto my back and start giggling like a baby. I should have predicted a situation like this, a white shirt was a stupid choice.

Where is the local adoption agency? I don’t like these moms.

Thanks to a couple strong brothers I am flying through the club like Superman. Onlookers cheer this heroic sight: A god among mortals.

What are these two doors under bright red letters?

BOOM!

I open the door with my face and land on chipped concrete and cigarette butts.

I have just been thrown in the staff’s ashtray.

Superman can’t be stubbed out this easily.

Charged with adrenalin, I launch myself from the ground into the back of one of the goons who tossed my lit ass. His nose slams into the door we just exited and it sounds like a tire popping on the highway.

This is not a bad decision–I had no choice.

Blood. Blink. Black.

My cheekbone kisses the pavement long and hard like a desperate lover and my hands are cuffed together behind my lower back.

This goon is a fucking cop.

The three-course meal of dirt, ash and humiliation is definitely not the tasty dish of pussy I desired. I bet this cop never goes down on a girl, probably only fucks doggy-style.

The bouncer/cop/goon/doggy-fucker tells me a cruiser is on its way to take me in for assaulting a police officer. Fuck me.

How early on in life did he decide the crew-cut was it?

My friends are hiding behind dumpsters across the the alley, their heads pop out once in a while.

Are they entertained? Scared? Mad? Curious? Are they plotting an escape for me? Do they give a fuck?

Barely-dressed female bartenders come out for a nicotine fix while I wait for my limo. Handcuffs are like spanish fly to these women but G.I Joe steps in, flashes his badge and tells them to get moving. My being a witness is probably the only thing stopping him from actually flashing them.


I belittle the size of his dick in my mind.

The girls turn away. There is no way I was wrong about these ones, Crew-Cut is just a shitty-ass wingman.

The cop car comes, finally. The ladies here suck.

“It might get pretty violent where you’re going, we’ve had to pull a lot of gang-bangers off the street tonight.”

Good, sounds like a place where a man can definitely pick up.

Fingerprinted and standing behind bars, I take a look around at my fellow bad-asses. They all appear to be here for worse reasons than too much weed on the dance floor. I knew I should have worn my muscles and tattoos tonight, this white shirt is really haunting me.

The only other white guy in the cell is making his way towards me. I really hope he does not say the words ‘white power’.

“Hey man you got a girl?” KKK asks me.

“No.”

“Smart brother. Bitches are nothing but problems. Tonight I was in my ride with this real nice piece of ass when my wife starts knocking on the window. I always tell her to not bother me in my truck. Rude cunt never listens. So I get out, and give her a nice one right across the face. You know how that song goes man: ‘love hurts, love scars…’ ”

Please stop singing wife beater.

I find some personal space, puke, feel my raw cheekbone, look at my chafed wrists and realize this domestic abuser and his favourite song are right.

When did those massive puke-stained boots invade my personal space?

Fuck.


White Whale

I need a mirror.

It has been 27 days since Marla left. On the night she declared me an unfit partner my adult self punched my adolescent self in the face. Or was it my idealistic adolescent self who punched the jerk-off adult self in the face? Either way, I saw my face and punched it; I broke my mirror.

The chill outside has turned my roof and walls into a local watering hole for the squirrels. It’s a rodent wonderland in there, a non-stop party. The scratching, the playing, the running, the jostling doesn’t stop — the way Marla and I used to be.

I can’t close my eyes because it feels too much like the scratching is on the inside of my head and it’s being done by Marla. I would direct her to freedom through my ear canal if I could.

I need to sleep. I need to leave this apartment.

I worry how I would exist in the company of others. The only human interaction I have had in the last month is yelling at jaywalkers in front of my building. I am proud of that, though. Those fuckers had it coming.

Lying in bed I’ve been staring at my ceiling for hours, watching it get thinner and thinner. It is just a matter of time before those oversized rats break through and I will be eaten alive. If Marla ever returns home she will have the pleasure of finding a gnawed corpse. Hope that makes you happy bitch. Just kidding, I hope that doesn’t make you happy.

I pull the covers off my body, I am completely dressed. When are these clothes from? My belly pokes out from the bottom of my shirt. My stomach has a growing ability to retain more while my brain continually retains less. I need to look at my face to make sure it is in fact mine.

Scurrying into the kitchen to unplug the toaster, I can’t believe I have to catch my breath.

I Windex the hell out of that toaster so I can take a look at myself. Again, winded. I never cleaned my toaster before but now the outside is shining, bright and clean. The insides will remain dirty, dusty and crusty. I peer at the sparkling stainless steel, there I am.

This albino infiltration on my temples is alarming. I really need to get into shape. Visine and a toque will be in charge of salvaging this mess for the time being.

Does this change in hair colour indicate a move into the fall season of my life? Is it the start of the third quarter already?  I still haven’t made half-time adjustments.

Something grand is in order today. Something sophisticated, something debonair, something like … scotch.

I am going to go drink some scotch at a bar on my old friend Visa. I drop some Visine in my eyes and ask Google the name of a good brand of scotch. Now I am ready.

Opening the door to the outside world is invigorating. The cold is the slap in the face I need. I probably deserve more of these.

I will jog there.

I look around and dread the brewing stink of spring but thankfully the snow covers up all the decay from the past year. I hope the Google suggested scotch does the same for me, the exposed dog-shit from my relationship is overwhelming.

I look into the window of a nearby Chinese restaurant and see the reflection of a red-eared hobo on the move. My ears start feeling frostbitten. My toque! I forgot my toque. Marla would never have let that happen.

There are a couple other runners out on the street, I give them a nod. Them; all dressed in stripes and bright colours. I don’t think we have the same destination in mind.

I breathe in a heavy dose of grease as I pass Starz Diner. The name is misleading, I have yet to see a patron in there with income let alone a celebrity.

They have recently added Indian cuisine to their busy menu of Italian, American and Mediterranean. They really have to stop changing for every asshole who walks in there.

I finally outrun the grease.

Maybe Marla would have stayed if she knew I’d be exercising and taking care of myself like this.

The pub is in sight; the wood panelling, the Irish font, even that grey bearded guy outside smoking. But my legs are getting heavy from running in the snow. I think of all those Brazilians becoming great soccer legends playing in the sand. Those guys get a lot of ass I’m sure. It is my turn now.

I burst through the entrance. Pele has entered the building! Immediately I can’t see, my glasses fog up and everything appears darker than it is because of the previous glare from the snow. I hope this perfect hue can settle into my brain. I grab a stool.

The scotch works quickly to warm me up, and after a few more my insides are downright balmy. I give cheers to my friend Leeza and the bartender gives me a strange look.

Fuck him, like he’s never given his credit card a female alter ego.

The bar congests with others looking to warmup, many of the female variety. I hope they are aware of their proximity to a soccer legend.

The scotch pulls the curtains closed for awhile.

When they open I am in a taxi, I am treating the girl beside me as if she were a body of water and I was a horse that had been lost in the desert for the last three days. I don’t remember ever using the dehydrated animal move on Marla. I am impressed I manage to pull off a new trick so quickly.

After a long, hard, and sometimes soft fuck I pull out and shoot a load all over the girl’s belly. I wish it was Memories of Marla that shot out of me. Perhaps a new marinade coming soon to your local grocery outlet.

I ask her where the washroom is to fetch her some tissue for her stomach and she directs me to her bedside table. There sits a box of Kleenex in a brass container. Next to it is a book, Stranger in a Strange Land, “The most famous science fiction novel ever written,” its cover tells me. I should read more, it would be nice to have something by the bedside next to the crushed roll of toilet paper.

A reader and a jogger, Marla if you could see me now.

“I know what you were doing,” she confesses while wiping the dressing from her tummy.

Well I hope you do, although at my age introducing intercourse to somebody her age would be kind of cool. Maybe I will introduce her to pizza next.

“You were whaling,” she continues.

“Whaling?” I respond in question even though I fully understand what she is implying. I have no idea what else to say.

“You and your buddies bet on who could bed the fattest girl at the bar. Don’t worry, I don’t mind, it was nice to feel sexy,” she says nonchalantly, even warmly.

She switches on her bedside light and puts on her reading glasses. Before picking up her book she turns toward me and kisses my head with the softness of a mother. I see a tired boy reflected in her lenses then burrow my head down on her ample tits.

I close my eyes and don’t hear any scratching. I am going to sleep tonight.


Heaven and Hell

“No five,” the cabbie says to me. I am already in the front seat. He can’t be serious. It is three in the morning and raining out, he has a car and we do not, we are drunk and he is not.

This inhumanity will not stand. I know I can reason with this guy, that’s why I like to place myself in the front seat of a taxi.

There are splatters on the glove compartment.

The air is thick. I have to get my window down. The smell of this bog is tormenting my sinuses and squashing my buzz. I catch the driver looking at my fingers trying to work the window button. This bastard has them locked. The fare goes up as we sit in this cesspool. Does he think just one of us will leave?

His eyes reveal a night of hardship, the creases around them show more than that. I get the feeling he would prefer to break the law by killing one of us rather than driving the illegal five.

Still, I cannot stop myself. “What the fuck asshole? Just give us a fucking ride!”

I am a born leader and humanitarian.

“No five, against the law!”

There is a twinkle in his eye. I avert his stare and look directly down at the floor. Are those salt stains on the mat leftover from the winter or from his last passenger’s tears?

He is just a cab driver Harvey.

I take a deep breath and catch a whiff of all the degradation, humiliation, and aggression left in the air from the drunk undergrads, the cheating spouses, the asshole Bay Streeters, the racists and the cunts. It’s a stench far worse than the vomit fuel I expected. What will I leave behind?

I finally turn towards him, his red eyes stand out in the night like hemorrhoid induced blood spots on shit smeared toilet paper.

Those splatters! This is not just a taxi driver.

Why is his face so close to my face? Why is my face so close to his face? A portrait would reveal a vase. His coffee breath meets my beer exhaust and the two surging forces light up our faces and fills our vase with hate.

The bile pours out of both our mouths at once and he pushes hard on the accelerator.

I knew this was a man of reason. I had nothing to worry about. Relief, we are headed home.

What’s with the absence of applause and gratitude from the back seat for the negotiator? I look, there is no one there. We are two isolated men bathed in diarrhea hurtling down the slick moonlit pavement. Home is not on the itinerary.

Thanks for leaving me with this crazed psychopath friends. Or maybe they thought they were leaving him with one?

My ugliness caused this, my darkness shaded this picture. I probably have more in common with the man across from me than any of the people who slipped out of the back.

“You’re going to die!” The driver yells with sweat exploding from his volcanic head.

I have finally fucked with the wrong guy.  Where is he taking me?

“I cut you into little pieces!”

Strike being used as ingredients in a Chinese food dish off the list.

The car slows for a turn. This is my only chance, I open the door and roll out. The applause I hoped for earlier now comes from three strangers standing at the corner. I am not sure how I am standing unscathed in front of them, but I think I need to give thanks to public school gym teachers for pushing the front roll so hard. I guess they know we will all have to eject ourselves from death’s door at some point in our lives.

The moon and street lights give the yellow taxi an orange hue as it darts into the night like a disappearing flame on a match head.

I find an awning to shield the rain. There are not many people out, just the lonely, homeless and fucked up. I fit into all these categories right now. My buzz turned to happiness turned to ugliness turned to hate turned to fear turned to adrenalin has now turned to remorse. Tomorrow; self-loathing.

“You want to smoke some hash?” a gentlemen about fifteen years my senior asks me.

Well hello Jesus Christ, yes I do.

There is a doorman at his building. I feel a little underdressed in my beaten up leather jacket with one button, frayed jeans and holy boots.

I shake the doorman’s hand, and from the look on his face I don’t think this is normal fare. You don’t shake a doorman’s hand Tiny Tim.

In the elevator, my savior hits the top-floor button. We are going to the penthouse suite. I hope my friends are enjoying their shitty apartments.

I am seated in front of a floor-to-ceiling window and Prince of Peace hands me an engraved wooden box with a lot of hash and some papers and a pipe. He heads to the kitchen. I start working to get the bequeathed medicine ready for ingestion, easy labour for this kind of living. The couch is an off-white, this is a man who knows how to keep his dirt tucked on the inside.

Pop!

He arrives at the marshmallow sofa with an uncorked bottle of champagne and two flute glasses. I know the term for these glasses because I once worked at a bar.

I am smoothed out and warm from the dope and sparkling wine, I must remember this combo. I am revealing things to this guy I haven’t told my closest friends, those ones who left me to die, the ones that I need to apologize to tomorrow for turning a beautiful night into an ugly one. Or do I?

I feel righteous, my guilt has disappeared. The lights look like candles, they surround the main room. I get up and slide across the hardwood floor looking out over the dirty city below like a skier on fresh powder up in the mountains. I feel just as free.

I have to take a piss, JC shows me to the washroom. Everything shines in here. I imagine my shit would sparkle in this place. Before walking away, he points out the hot tub and says we should strip down and get in later. No one has moved from the ski-hill to the lodge quicker. While peeing, this seems like a good offer, my clothes are still a little damp.

There is a new bottle of champagne in the living room, and some music playing when I return. Sounds like smooth jazz. There is probably a brass section stuffed in a closet somewhere employed for these occasions. The host emerges from the bedroom in a silk robe.

“There is something I want to show you.” He beckons me towards him. I pick up the bottle of champagne, take a swig, and head on over. We walk into his bedroom. The bed could house a small village.

“If you get tired, you can see there is plenty of room.”

I take another swig. “Thanks.”

One guy wants to lay me down to rest, another wants to lay me down for anything but rest. The night has almost disappeared.

We finish off the next bottle of champagne watching the sun rise over Lake Ontario through his window. The view with this new light reveals a peace I rarely see in the city. I talk about poetry and literature. Why do I want this generous man to fall in love with me?

It is time to leave.

I walk by the doorman and he gives a look like this isn’t the first time a younger man has left this harbourfront penthouse at six-thirty on a Sunday morning. I hope he believes I was paid for.

I walk home, the sun is warming. I review my champagne breakfast in Heaven. I can’t recall a better date, I mean night.

I hope Jesus is jerking off right now.


Medical School

The soft rock playing in the waiting room reminds me of anticipating dinner in my parents’ living room as a child.

This is my first visit to the doctor’s since becoming a real, honest-to-goodness adult. I even had to find my own licensed practitioner.

To do this, you have to have an in.

Getting a doctor is like trying to get made in the mafia, you need to be recommended for everything. Just having a third breast or a volcano erupting from your esophagus is not enough.

Lucky for me, Marla has been a practising adult for some time now. She has travel insurance, health insurance and a doctor. On her recommendation I get to see her family physician.

I told her I was having chest pains. I have other reasons for being here.

The atmosphere in this place does not inspire beliefs that you are going to leave feeling any better than when you arrived.

There is an older gentleman across from me whose face has less colour than a lemon/lime soda. His mouth seems unable to close and reveals a tongue like a chalkboard eraser. I must remember to Google ‘chalkboard tongue’ when I get home, see if it is contagious.

The receptionist doesn’t stop answering the phone, filling up months of appointments. This industry is booming!

I second guess my education. I really should have gone with secretary school.

The lady closest to me is about to fall on the other side of middle age. Her makeup leads me to believe she got up in the middle of the night to start working on that canvas. Her skirt is showing me a little too much skin. I wonder if she wants to fuck the doctor.

A Whitney Houston song plays on the radio, she starts mouthing the words. She definitely wants to fuck the doctor.

Beside Lemon/Lime is a woman with a child in her lap. She doesn’t look like she has had a wink of sleep this past year. The bags under her eyes could carry bowling balls.

I was here before everybody else in the waiting room. I could be next.

Fuck.

I can’t swallow. My heart is pounding. Every piece of clothing feels too tight. Lemon/Lime and Bag Lady just keep sitting there cool as ice.

How is everybody in here so calm?!

The clown-faced lady gets called. She looks like Chad the quarterback just asked her for first dance at the prom.

I have not been in a medical facility in a long time but I know how life works. I was here first motherfucker and there is no way I am going to continue sitting here having a panic attack.

I bound up to cut off the clown before she can get to the hallway. We arrive at the doorway at the same time. The doctor and the clown stare at me with question. I look at them and feel like I am the bad kid in a demented Stephen King story. Life doesn’t work the way I think it should.

Doc is probably a date rapist. Better go suck his dick, clown.

I grab a style magazine and go back to my seat. I feel everyone’s urine filled eyeballs on me. Sitting here inside these sanitized white walls I feel like I am a red wine stain on a dress shirt.

The cover of the magazine indicates there will be good looking women inside. I read an article from three years ago about the benefits of a good fitting bra. My dick perks up. Maybe I will bring a surprise boner to the doctor.

He finally walks down the hallway. The man is full of swagger. His coat sways with each perfectly placed stride. He is a white-caped superhero coming to take one of the inferiors away. My penis deflates.

Doc stops in the hallway, looks down at his clipboard over his glasses sitting on the end of his nose. Cocky prick.

“Harvey.”

“Yup.”

I get up and rub my sweaty palms on my jeans. Why does this feel like a first date?

I follow the doctor to one of the cells.

“Have a seat, I will be back in a minute.”

“Yup.”

I guess he has to go back to fucking the clown.

I need to figure out a manly way to sit before he returns.

I believe I have nailed it. My right foot on my left knee with a casual lean back. My left hand slightly grasps my right foot and I put my right index finger over my top lip while the rest of my hand covers my mouth, very contemplative.

The doctor comes back into the room and sits down across from me at his desk. He opens a file.

“So you live with Marla?”

“Yup.”

“How is she?”

“Good.”

“You haven’t seen a doctor in a long time.”

“Nope.”

“What is the problem today Harvey?”

Here it goes.

“Why won’t you give Marla a recommendation to a female gynecologist?” I yelp like a pubescent kid.

The doctor pushes himself back in his chair, stands up and closes the door to our cell.  If I were my cat I would look evil and spontaneous, my hair would be standing up straight, ready for battle.

MY HAIR DOES SHIT!

The doctor sits back down and stares at me over his glasses. Should I repeat my question? Should I rephrase it? Ask him why he is so possessive over my girlfriend’s snatch?

Silence.

He takes off his glasses and sets them on the desk between us. His eyeballs recede into his head like black holes. He resembles the Godfather. I am going to get whacked over a fucking pap smear.

“I do all gynecological work on site, there is no need for a recommendation Harvey.”

This guy is a vagina hoarder. Quarterback Chad, king of the fucking school!

I have to say something. Do I talk louder or quieter since he closed the door?

“I don’t think she is comfortable with a man examining her down there,” I say in a hushed tone.

The doctor puts his glasses back on, stands up and opens the door. The son of a bitch is letting me know the conversation is over.

“Is there anything else Harvey?” the doctor asks standing at the door while pointing me in the exit direction.

I always figured if I was going to get into a fight over Marla, it would be with someone fucking her. My tail is arched and bristled, but also like an angry cat, I struggle with the english language. God damn my education!

With nothing to say I put my tail between my legs and start to leave. My maturity never ceasing to sink in adult situations, I bump Chad with my shoulder on the way out.

Dumbstruck I walk through the waiting room and lock eyes with Lemon/Lime. ‘Everything I Do, I Do It For You’ by a young Bryan Adams plays on the radio. Today I was supposed to be Bryan Adams–doing it all for her. Instead, I feel like a guy who looks like a can of citrus soda.

This shit will not stand!

I turn back and catch the Godfather’s eye. I know there is vulnerability there, every Don has his day. This guy doesn’t even have a nurse to call in his patients. I know what I have to do.

At home in front of my computer, the Google logo stares back at me.

Fucking doctor Chad thinks he is better than me?!

Time to get a new education, I type How to do a pap smear at home and press enter. Marla is going to be so proud.

Do thrift shops have lab coats? I think I want a black one.


Drinking Games

I play tennis. It is the white man’s basketball. I have owned the same racket for 20 years. You don’t need much training to be adequate and it gets the heart racing. Tennis balls are everywhere. I play tennis right next to a dog park, so the dogs and I always have something to play with.

Playing sports hungover is a roller coaster ride for your body. Today I am playing good cop/bad cop and it wants to confess to a murder it didn’t commit.

I try to play three or four times a week and I am hungover half the days out of the year, so playing tennis in this state is inevitable.

Beyond inevitable, it is normal.

The phone is ringing, which means it must be 10 am and four hours since my last drink- several giant swigs from a leftover box of white wine. I faintly recall thinking it would wash the whiskey out of my mouth.

My tennis partner has been up for a couple hours, digested a nutritious breakfast and is ready to play.

I hope there is wine or beer left.

I discover some vodka, struggle with some ice cubes and make a not-too-orange-looking screwdriver. Breakfast is served.

The sun is directly over the tennis court. Sweat is pouring out of me at an extraordinary rate. My feet are swimming in the Atlantic.

Since I am battling against an opposing player and a hangover I consider this match two against one. I won’t feel bad about losing.

On the underside of my slick skin my nerves are trembling. My nerves are doing a tap dance underneath my skin and the only way to get them off the stage is to feed them some liquor. People on stage are notorious addicts.

I plan to beat this hangover fair and square. Same with my opponent in this tennis match.

If I do both I will treat myself to some beer. I’m going to be a fucking hero today.

We finish warm-up. I feel like I have run a marathon.

To start the match I am returning serve. My hands and feet feel a lifetime away from my brain, I have no idea how I am going to communicate with them. I think of Marla and I eating dinner.

My opponent prepares to serve.

Timeout!

Like a bazooka shot, the tennis ball fires off his racket and hops right into my gut. Evidently I did not communicate to my mouth and voice box to call a timeout.

I think about Marla and I having sex.

There is a wave pool in my belly, complete with screaming kids.

Win or loss I deserve a drink after this.

I walk to the other side of the court and take off my shirt to combat the heat. With the moistness and welt, my pale gut looks like centre ice from a freshly flooded hockey arena.

My rink body gives me the chills, I shiver all over. I can’t think anymore.

“Serving is all about physics.” A middle aged man yells across the net to his elderly and barely mobile dad playing opposite him in the court next to us.

I want to yell something witty and condescending at him. I don’t know what either of those words mean right now.

I put my shirt back on to combat the shivers and bounce up and down waiting for the next serve. Bouncing like this makes me feel athletic and professional. Being clammy and having my brain knock around my skull does not.

“For a great serve, you need muscle memory, so you throw the ball up in the same position each time.”

Is this middle aged man trying to torture his father?

My opponent must have been listening to these tips, because his serve whizzes right by me.

Eighteen minutes later I am down in this match 5-0. I am desperate not to be shut out. In the park behind me a dog has been barking for the last three points. The owner keeps yelling for the dog to shut up and sit. If the old man beside me had any vocal chords left he’d be yelling at his son to shut up and sit.

If I get shut out I will quit drinking. If not I am getting a pint at lunch.

A waft of dog shit comes my way as I deliver a beautiful and lucky volley just over the net for my first point. 5-1.

The run to the net combined with freshly ripped dog shit does not sit well with me. My legs feel like rubber and my brain feels like a basketball player is spinning it on his finger. I crookedly walk back to the baseline and start violently puking.

I do not try to hold anything in. I hope everyone in and around this court can sense my disdain. First the screwdriver comes out, then all of yesterday’s imbibing.

I heave and wheeze to a finish. The dog and son from hell are finally silent. “It’s all about physics” I yell, then pull a ball out of my pocket and serve.

6-3 is the final.

Off to lunch for a beer. Tomorrow that guy is mine.