WHAT IT IS                                                 

Sitting on a lump of granite, Jackson was fascinated by what was staggering down the road. The creature had the general shape of a corgi with a face resembling that of a sheltie with a full and fluffy tail that a bulldog might envy. Her ears, stiff and pointed, were fur filled as was the rest of her body, a German shepherd pelt, thick and black with strategically embedded strands of tan to add confusion to the mix. Jackson watched as she occasionally stood on her hind legs, chipmunk style, and surveyed the surroundings as if looking for something specific.

This is some of her story; in an odd twist of fate, she was given the name Mister and she had travelled with a young couple from Yellowknife who decided on a whim to walk to the North Pole as a sort of protest against a planet on fire. Inexperience and impulsiveness caused them to  perish on day thirty-five; Mister was saved by search and rescue, flown to an animal shelter in Ontario where she was adopted by an egg farmer who unfortunately succumbed to salmonella. Having heard of the exploits of the translucent man, Mister hit the road in search of the translucent man to tell him what she seen the day the young couple died and to implore him to abandon his immense pursuits of grail. As sad as it was for Mister to think of the pain of obliteration, her trek revealed the carbon-soaked towel flapping in the wind of the revenge traveller, the conference cadet, the Arctic eco explorer and the ones whose behavior rest on a high enough plane that not even rocket mush or a stratospheric noxious brew would modify conduct, let alone imply something in their thinking was askew. The world didn’t need more witnesses or more clarification or more hope peddlers pleading the benefits of green economies and sustainable developments while trash talkers embraced dollorama squander then rolled their eyes at planetary capacities with the end game of technology liberating us from a technological tyranny, or at least a human tyranny twisted from technological threads. Mister’s resolve to predict and pronounce that showboat distress was a fool’s errand subsided when she looked at a mirror and saw not herself but a loveable Jackson looking back. A dog should not cart around human burdens, although they are gravely linked to these inevitable outcomes and Mister could not help but think her kind was on the deck of a sinking ship. In the instant Mister transformed from a messenger of doom into a dog’s dog, she wished for nothing more than dog sniffs, delicious treats, rambling walks and a world not so taken with its own bluster. It was near the Arctic circle, on an abandoned army base where Mister found a ghost orchid; the translucent man nodded…nothing surprised him anymore.


Graham never related to the word sleep, his rejuvenation was a mixture of a hypnotic image and a sensory nightmare that fixated in his head before swirling incessantly like a September hurricane ready to pummel unsuspecting townsfolk. He was one of those who thought the weakness of insight was the cloud cover that halted progress, that maimed the straight line to a fraternity where place was not a destination but a position to be earned, then cherished, then defended. Graham considered himself banished from the inner circles and gatekeepers as they rode a proactive agenda to self-actualization which excluded men like him – while using men like him. The Dirty Lifting was the rumination that inspected Graham’s insomnia, fortifying his belief that all men were born unequal and the propaganda from the other side was not only better, but better suited to the human condition. Dropped on this earth to serve a collection of options, he chose his with little care selecting a numbness neither hot or cold, neither inspired or tiresome. 

Looking out on Plot 82, Graham bristled at sight of four crop dusters, now twisted heaps of metal strewn across the fields, steam and smoke rising their flags of surrender. Walking ankle deep in dismembered mechanical insects and their biological foes, he confronted the numbness that brought him to this place…a destination that had no purpose and no defence. Radio voices crackled, INSECT agents reported, another full moon reveals, and the flight of the fight seemed primed to go on forever. Graham picked his poison years ago and the fruit of that decision was a tasteless bile that delivered him to a fence that he, or no, one could sit on. If it was the face of defeat he was now looking at, Graham would stare down the beast…if it was the face of renewal he was now looking at, Graham would alter the weakness of his insight.