Friday Fiction – Winking Existence Part One

Hey people,

I started playing around with the theme of time travel. Here is the first part of my first effort. It’s rough, I’m not heavily editing it right now, but I thought it was worth a read.

I will post part two and three next week!

Winking Existence – Part One

I knew when my head slammed against a brick wall something had gone wrong. I fell to the ground on my hands and knees, broken glass tearing into me. I shouted in pain and pushed myself up, brushing the glass away. When my vision cleared, I could see that I was in a dirty alley, a far cry from the sealed safe room I was supposed to materialize in.

Something had gone very wrong.

I check my status bracelet. Not surprisingly, the thin silver band looped around my right wrist glowed a steady red. Danger.

My hands and knees were sliced up, but they were not life threatening injuries. What I needed to do, and quickly, was to figure out where the hell I was. The alley opened onto a deserted street, filled with abandoned cars, as though strewn there by some petulant god. The air was cold; I could taste it on my tongue, acrid and coppery. I felt an icy chill in my veins when I realized where I was and how much trouble I was in.

I pushed my hands in my pockets, trying to find some warmth, and retrieved a folded piece of paper. I scanned it, reading the message that my partner had left for me.

“If you’re reading this, be grateful you are not dead. I decided that we needed a more dramatic test of the device, so instead of sending you back five minutes, I thought 50 years would be more interesting. Sorry if you are disappointed, but rest assured I will make sure people remember you for your contributions to the project.”

Betrayed by my partner, left to die in the middle of history’s greatest disaster. I always knew that asshole was a fucking cliché, I should have sent him back.

There were two things I needed to do. The first was to get out of Toronto, the epicentre of the disaster. After that I needed to find some way to signal my assistant. As long as she wasn’t involved, she should be at the safe room, wondering where the hell I was. If I could get far enough away, I might be able to get a signal, might be able to get back to my time. If I lived that long.

None of the cars would start, that much I knew. The Canadian government had blanketed the area with electromagnetic pulse bombs, hoping to control the carnage. History would show that it was a terrible idea, but I was in the middle of history now, living through it. I figured I had about two hours left, if I could make it far enough away, I might just survive.

Most of the cars were pointed in the same direction, I assumed that the people who lived here would know which way to go. I ran along empty streets, dodging cars, broken glass from shattered windows underfoot. Even the greatest natural disaster in history did not dissuade looters.

Within a few blocks my knees were screaming, blood ran down my pants. I bent over, hands on my thighs, panting. I would not get very far by running. I had spent too much time in a lab, not enough time in the gym.

I had to keep moving. I had a deadline, and in this case, the word dead would be literal.

Up ahead, on the next block was a sporting goods store. Looters had smashed the windows already, so getting in was not going to be much of a problem.  I scrambled through the shattered glass, careful not to cut myself anymore, and looked for something I could ride.

That’s when I winked out of existence.

To be continued…

In Which I Name Myself “Toronto’s Greatest Podcast Novelist”

I know, that seems bold doesn’t it. Not “one of Toronto’s Podcast Novelists”, or even “A pretty good Podcast Novelist from the Toronto area”. No, Toronto’s greatest Podcast Novelist. Me. Why do I make that claim? The answer is simple. Volume.

Look at that math. I have two Pod Novels out. Other Toronto area writers only have one. Let’s break it down.

Terry Fallis: Yeah, the guy won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, Canada’s biggest literary prize for humorous books, and winning that award on the basis of his self-published book got him a publishing deal, but how many books does he have out: One.

Steve Saylor: Yes, Steve Saylor is huge in the new media field, and always has some new project or another cooking. But how many books does he have out: One.

John Mierau: Yes, his Serving Worlds podcast is very popular. Even Robert J. Saywer blogged about it. But how many books does he have out: One.

James Melzer: Okay, so his book The Zombie Chronicles: Escape hugely popular, and he got a publishing deal with Simon and Schuster. But how many books does he have out: One.

I know, you could point to his “Invasion” as a second book, or his Twists of Fate project with Jenny Hudock , but I am disqualifying them on the basis that they are incomplete works.

Me, I’ve got two books out. TWO BABY!

So, I win.

So, what does this mean for you, the reader? Well, I’m glad you asked that. Now that I am Toronto’s Greatest Podcast Novelist, I am going to take my job a little bit more seriously. I will be adding more content, fiction and non-fiction. I will try to write some reviews, talk about other podnovel works, and try to be a more engaging presence, generally. Also, I will be working harder on my third novel, currently titled “The book that I cannot think of a good title for,” although I am not sure how that scans.

Stay tuned, people, there will be a lot of fun ahead!

Drew.

P.S. If you made it this far and didn’t realize I was joking yet, please realize that I was joking.

kthxbai

P.P.S. Except for the part about making more content and it being more fun. It will be.

Over and out.

Ticketmaster can #suckit

So, as you might have been able to guess from my last post, I am really head over heels into Metric right now. So much so that I decided to just throw caution to the wind and order tickets online for their show this weekend.

My wife and I love music, and we used to go to see shows all the time, but after the birth of our children, it’s pretty tricky. The boys are still at an age when they wake up in the night, and if we are not there, they freak out a little, so to make the decision to just go to a big concert, well, that is a big deal.

So, I fire up the web browser, head to ticketmaster, and see the tickets are $37.00 each. Not bad, more than we usually spent, but it is not one, but two band we really like, and (this is important) the show is for charity. Part of the money is going to Covenant House, a great organization that helps runaways here in Toronto. Everybody wins.

I go through the steps, pick 2 tickets, type in the information, everything is great. And then I see the total.

$104.00

For two $37.00 tickets.

What the fuck? Oh, wait, there is the “Facility Service Charge” of $1.50 per ticket, and of course, the “Convenience Charge” of $7.00 (again, per ticket). Taxes, bullshit, and more crap. $104.00.

Here is where it gets stupid. To have the ability to print out the tickets, thus saving Ticketmaster even the production costs, the mailing etc… would be another $1.75. TO PRINT MY OWN FUCKING TICKETS WITH MY PAPER AND TONER AND EVERYTHING!

At this point I said fuck it. It’s not worth it. And I’m not paying ticketmaster over $100.00 for two $37.00 tickets. Covenant House will not get their share of the proceeds (and with the show not being sold out just a few days before, it seems like I am not the only one thinking like this.)

So, to all the asshats at ticketmaster, screw you. I hope you manage to weather the economic storm.

No, wait, I hope you crash and burn, and ticket sales are reorganized in such a way that the artists prosper, and the fans aren’t bled dry. Sort of like what’s happening in other areas of the music industry.

Are you paying any attention?

PS – Sorry, there is more swearing than usual in this post. I’m annoyed.
Also, I intend to give a donation to Covenant House. They do good work.

Toronto Is Magic Today

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s the first day of spring, of if there is a full moon today, but it appears that Toronto is inhabiting some absurdist comedy today.

Today started with reports of cows on our highways being rounded up by rodeo experts. Apparently, a truck overturned, and the bovine passengers made a mad dash for freedom along the highway during morning rush hour. One pair was caught quickly, but the other pair was free until more experienced cattle rustlers arrived on the scene. Apparently there was alos a bull involved, but he has no comment on the events.

To end the day, Toronto will have its first “Alien Abduction Festival,” complete with a Tin foil hat tailoring & “fashion show”, Spaceship creations, Alien birthings and Free UFO rides. I am hoping I will be able to attend this with my family, weather permitting. If I go, expect photos here soon.

Some days I love this city.

The Dark Side of Craigslist

I love craigslist. I use it all the time, and I have found many useful things. I love the simplicity of it, I love that it was just started as a hobby for some guy named Craig. I love the community that has formed around it, I love the best of craigslist. Basically, I love everything about it.

Except for one thing. Craigslist is responsible for killing my favourite guitar store.Songbird Music has formally filed for bankruptcy. Songbird was easily the best music store in Toronto, perhaps Canada. Found out in the further reaches of Queen West, where the actual cool stores are, it was that rare place that combined a friendly, knowledgeable staff, excellent stock, and a relaxed fun attitude that made fun to browse guitar stores again. It was even family friendly, as much as a guitar store can be. The staff was as happy to sell my son and I shaky eggs and vibra-slaps as they are selling the expensive stuff. 

But then along came craigslist. Suddenly it didn’t make sense for a lot of people to pay a mark-up on used gear. People could buy, sell, and trade effortlessly, no middle man taking a percentage. And so, Songbird music has now filed for bankruptcy.

I know that there are more forces at play than just craigslist, but it must share some of the burden. People are always railing against huge conglomerates, saying that the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world are squeezing out the Mom and Pop stores. That might be true. But sometimes it’s not the big guy that’s killing the competition and shutting down businesses. It’s just another little guy that got bigger.