lofxihttp://twitter.com/Little_Fictionhttp://little-fiction.tumblr.comhttp://www.facebook.com/HeyLittleFictionhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgrVBYfqyh9GyoLwVbOsOqwhttps://www.instagram.com/little_fiction/shapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4
lhttp://twitter.com/BigTruthsshapeimage_2_link_0
follow us:

THIS story begins right at this moment, with a twelve-inch plate of black vinyl between my hands and the bare shoulder of the most beautiful woman I have ever known in the periphery of my vision. The rest of the world has gone to bed and the only sound in her cluttered living room is the steady tapping of sleet against the window. Her breath is falling on the back of my t-shirt in tight bursts. The LP is almost close enough to kiss and it smells sharp and papery, like an old book. There is a picture of a familiar, thin, bearded man on the label at the centre of the record. I can still taste the metallic tang of blood in the back of my mouth.

She puts her hand on my elbow, gentle but unwavering, and I feel the muscles in my back relax.

“Go on,” she says.

I curl my toes into the carpet and lift myself off the corner of her coffee table. In two steps I am at the record player, a direct-drive with a beautiful wood-grain plinth. I open the dust cover of the turntable with the ring finger and pinky of my right hand and carefully press the LP onto the platter. The start button is built into the plinth and exactly the size of my fingertip. When I press down on it, the drive spins to life and the tone arm lifts out of its cradle. The arm makes its way to the record but I catch it before the needle drops. As a rule, I don’t like how automatics take the best parts away from you. So for a moment, to assert my control, I hold the tone arm in my hand and think about the concentric grooves on the LP spinning imperceptibly inwards, toward that wretchedly thin man near the woods.

And then with all my precision, I rest the stylus on the edge of the vinyl. I listen carefully to the sound that only a needle makes as it finds its path on a record, somewhere between the contemplation of a hmm and the definitive thud of an open hand against your front door. There is an instant where I turn and find her listening to that sound. Her hair is a mess of curls pushed behind her ears. A faint pattern of freckles is splashed across her nose and cheeks. I can see the delicate line of her collarbone as it passes under the strap of her dress and meets her shoulder. The bottom lids of her eyes are pushed upwards, making two sleepy crescents with green flecks inside. She looks at me like she is asking herself a question about me. All this passes in an instant. And then the music starts.


• • •


This morning, there was a dead body on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway. It was an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to cross a bridge into Vancouver. I kept my left foot on the brake pedal and my right foot on the gas all the way through. After three hundred thousand kilometres of road life and more than four thousand kilometres on this trip alone, Annie idles too low and I need to keep a steady injection of gasoline into the engine to prevent the old girl from stalling. I muttered to myself about the injustice of gridlock after four days of unfettered coasting down the highway, of being ground to a halt less than fifty kilometres from my destination.

Then I saw the dead motorcyclist on the side of the road, one foot and a bit of shin sticking out from under a blue tarp, and I stopped muttering. He was wearing a hiking boot and navy blue track pants with a white stripe down the side. The tarp was rustling in the wind and I imagined it repeatedly slapping against the dead man’s helmet. The bike was pushed off to the very edge of the road’s shoulder and looked as much like a motorcycle as meat looks like an animal. Just behind the bike was an SUV with a bent hood and broken headlight on the driver’s side. And standing over it all was a thin man with a short beard, his bony jaw set tight and empty eyes fixed on the white-grey winter sky to the south.

Upon entering the city, I found some road parking for Annie and brought my things inside my new sublet. The sum of my remaining personal possessions included a cheap turntable with built-in pre-amp, a single milk crate of records, a pair of powered monitors with five-inch speakers, and a hockey bag half-filled with clothes. I scratched at the rust just above Annie’s front wheel and thought about getting it repainted or repaired.

I spent what was left of the morning setting up the record player and speakers and then scrubbing away four days of driving under the hot water of the showerhead. I had no soap and no towel; I dried myself with a t-shirt from the hockey bag. To mark the occasion, the first record I played was Shots by Vancouver’s Ladyhawk. I clipped my fingernails and sang along. And then I headed out again.

Coaxing the gas with one foot and the brakes with the other, I soon hit Main Street. The mountains were to the right, and a hill of storefronts was to the left. I turned left. Main Street didn’t look much like a main street but it would probably have what I needed. It could never have been mistaken for Toronto, though, with its severe incline and irregularly spaced storefronts. I put Annie in a grocery store parking lot just off Main.

We are all sensitive to our vices but some of us are more sensitive than others. I could have gone to one of the coffee shops or even the corner store and asked them about where I could find a cell phone store. Instead, I saw a small swirl of neon in a window and a hand-painted sandwich board advertising vinyl just up the road. I told myself I could ask there about phones. Before I even reached the doorstep I knew what I would find: almost no jazz or R&B, a shitty used section full of ’70s rock, but a great collection of small-label rock/pop and hip hop from the last few years. There was a sleigh bell hanging from the doorframe and it punctuated my entrance with one sharp ring.

Side A of Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped was playing over the store stereo, and I could see it spinning on a belt-driven table near the cash register. There were two voices coming from the back room and no one up front. I took my time. The stacks weren’t too tight but there were some real gems, including Rachel Grimes’ Book of Leaves and the white pressing of Pinback’s Blue Screen Life. Both were out of print and very difficult to find, and both would gouge into the small savings I had brought with me. I pulled the records close to my chest and turned to the register.

The cashier was a young woman. You know the woman I’m talking about: sleepy-eyed, freckled, curly brown hair to her chin. Her nose was thin and her bottom lip was full and her neck was smooth and slender. Her eyes were so wide I could see white above the green of her iris and I guessed she had been watching me for some time. Still, the look was more surprise than fear, the face of someone who was about to laugh with relief. And at the thought, I couldn’t help but smile at her. It was the first time I ever laid eyes on her.

“Good record,” I said when I got to the counter, meaning Rather Ripped. Side B was almost finished. I put my records down but kept my eyes on her.

And then she laughed. She was trying to keep it to herself but it just bubbled out of her. This would have been the moment when any other cashier grabbed my items and rang them in. She just stood there and looked at me and grinned. I was happy to receive her full attention even if I had no idea what the hell was going on.

“I like how the whole band comes in off the first beat of Side A,” I said. “No pomp, you know?”

“No pomp,” she repeated. She was still smiling at me. “You don’t recognize me, do you?”

“I’m sorry, no. But unless you’re from Toronto, you may have me mistaken for someone else. I just arrived today.”

The sleigh bell jingled and her eyes darted away from me for a moment. When she looked back at me, she was all business and focused on the records rather than my face. One hand absentmindedly punched in the prices while the other tucked a curl behind her ear. The record ended and the needle began to drag along the edge of the centre label. She put my purchases in a paper bag and handed them to me. I wanted to keep the conversation going.

“Can I ask you a favour? Could you point me in the direction of the nearest cell phone store?”

“There’s a place just down the street,” she told me, shifting her eyes to the other customer in the shop. “You know what? I’ll just walk you there.”

I’m sure she could see the surprise in my face.

“It’s a good time for me to get lunch, anyway,” she explained and smiled.

She opened the back door, signalled to the other clerk, and grabbed a jean jacket from under the counter. We squeezed single-file between an aisle of records and the other customer, a thin man with his back to us. The air had gotten much colder outside and she pulled her jacket tight. She turned to me after we’d walked a few feet down the street and I realized that I was still smiling.

“I’m Annie,” she said. “I’m sure you were just about to ask.”

She put out her hand and I took it in mine. It was a good shake, the kind where the webs between your index fingers and thumbs touch. Her hand was narrow and strong and warm.

“Matt,” I told her. “Hey, my car’s name is Annie.”

“Should I be flattered?” She grinned and started walking again.

“Sure. She’s the most dependable woman I know.”

“Of course you’d say that.”

Main Street seemed a little more bustling now with people and dogs and traffic. Annie, the person, was wearing small brown sneakers without any laces. I looked up and she was squinting a little because her hair was whipping into her face. The image of the blue tarp thrashing against the dead motorcyclist came back to me.

Et voila,” she said and waved her arms. It took me a moment but then I realized we were in front of the cell phone store.

“Thanks so much.”

She said slowly, “You know, we do know each other. Or at least I know you. And even if you like shitty records like Rather Ripped, I’m thankful for a nice conversation, too.”

“Hang on a sec. Rather Ripped is shitty? That’s blasphemy.”

“The third song kills the momentum and the album never gets it back.”

“OK, I can see how you might make that mistake,” I said. “Seriously, though, where do you think we know each other from?”

“I’ll tell you over dinner tonight. Shake on it and the deal is done.”

Her smile was coy but not joking. I was missing some key piece of information that would justify the logic of her request and she knew it. Her sneakers were pointing in at each other a little and her arms were wrapped around her body for warmth. She cocked an eyebrow as if to say, So? Finally, I put my hand out for her to shake.

“I can live with that,” I said, “and I’ll probably enjoy it, but I won’t pretend to understand it.”

“Could be worse,” she said and put her hand into mine, this time for a little longer.

She scribbled on an old receipt, put it in my hand, and then she turned on her heels and hurried down the road. I watched her a little and then looked the opposite direction on Main Street, back toward the record shop. The other customer was just leaving the store, his frail hands empty and his jaw framed by a dark beard. His eyes looked like two black dots.


• • •


Back at the sublet, I put on my new Rachel Grimes record and flopped onto the bed. The mattress was still bare and smelled foreign. I considered doing something about it but chose to lie there instead, reading Annie’s invitation over and over. When evening crept in, I changed into the nicest clothes in my hockey bag. I looked almost presentable with my pea coat and a little water through my hair.

I took the car because I didn’t want to be late and didn’t really know where I was going. I ended up being twenty minutes early and standing in the drizzling rain. By the time she got off the bus and wandered up to me, I was shivering a little.

“Hi, Annie,” I said.

“Hello, Matt. Long time no see.”

She had exchanged her sneakers for little black boots and her jean jacket for a grey tweed coat. Both boots and coat were too light for an Ontario winter but probably perfect for Vancouver. The skirt of a simple green dress was poking below the coat and she wore black tights with it. The jacket’s hood was pulled over her curls. She looked cute.

“What happened to the above-zero winter?” I asked.

“Even Vancouver freezes sometimes,” she said and took me by the hand to a Vietnamese restaurant. I couldn’t look her in the eyes when she was touching me.

“I love Vietnamese,” I told her. She nodded.

The place was small and decorated in mostly black and white. We took a seat by the window and only let go of each other’s hands to take off our coats. Directly outside the restaurant, Commercial Drive was relatively quiet for my tastes but I liked the modest presentation of the storefronts. She ran the edge of her thumb along the back of my hand and my cheeks burned because of it.

“I made a deal with you,” she said. “Would you like me to explain how we know each other?”

“Will it burst this bubble?”

“It might.”

“Then let’s wait a minute.”

The waitress came with tea and went with our order. Annie smelled like lavender and the skin on her hand was soft. We sat in a very nice silence.

After a couple minutes, I let go of her hand and said, “OK We better burst it. This is starting to feel normal.”

“I was hoping you’d remember something,” she said. “I wanted you to have at least a glimmer of recognition.”

She took a long pause and I took a sip of tea.

“We lived together for two years,” she said.

She looked away and I scanned my memory for interpretations.

“What, were you one of the people who lived in the basement of the Markham place?”

“Not in Toronto,” she said. “Here.”

“Huh? I told you I just got to Vancouver, right? This is literally my first day here. And you’re telling me we were roommates?”

“No. I’m telling you we lived together. Like in the way where we sleep in the same bed.”

“For two years?”

“Yes.”

I laughed dismissively and said, “Oh, OK.”

“Don’t be a prick,” she snapped. The line under each eye was especially pronounced and she looked genuinely upset. “Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

I could feel regret curdle my stomach.

“OK,” I said. “OK. This is important to you. I can see that. But you’re right; I don’t understand. Could you try explaining it to me?”

She cupped her hands around her tea and said, “Five years ago, you drove here from Toronto and ended up staying. We met at a record convention just up the street from here. You started coming into the store pretty regularly. I don’t know when I started looking forward to your visits. It felt like it happened overnight. And then I let you take me to dinner. Here, actually. ‘Our courtship’, you always called it. A year after that we moved in together.”

She was choking up and her neck was going flush.

She said, “It wasn’t perfect but it was really nice, you know?”

“It sounds nice, yeah,” I said, “but you realize that couldn’t have been me, right? I’ve never even been to Vancouver before today. I don’t want reality to get in the way of our reunion dinner but I can’t see any other way around it.”

There was a break in the conversation. She kept her eyes on the window and I kept mine on the table. Eventually the waitress brought our meals and our stalemate continued. I could rationalize my dissatisfied feeling to being attracted to her or to feeling so untethered from the life I’d driven away from, but part of me wanted there to be something else.

“OK,” I said. “Humour me. Why did we break up, then? Why am I the amnesiac and not you?”

It wasn’t like a dam bursting. Her head was still turned away from me and nothing about her face changed suddenly, but it was there. The muscles around her lips got tighter and tighter and her eyes started to fill up until only surface tension was keeping the tears from spilling over. And then they did, fast streaks down her smooth skin, and all the tears followed that path down her face and dripped off the line of her jaw. All this time she was motionless and the only indication that anything was happening was that tension in her face.

I didn’t know what to do. My own eyes were filling up a little. I reached out and put my fingertips on her cupped hands as gently as I could.

“Hey,” I said, “Hey, I’m sorry. Come back to me please.”

“I know basically everything about you,” she told me, turning her eyes but not her head. “Your car. I know you named your car after your aunt. It stalls all the time.”

“How—” I began. She cut me off.

“The only thing you can keep neat and tidy are your fingernails. Your aunt gave you her record player and her old vinyl collection when you were a teenager, and you thought Jethro Tull was the coolest thing you had ever heard. You prefer turntables with built-in pre-amplification but you feel guilty about it because it’s not the old-fashioned way. You sing along with everything but feel like you’re a mediocre musician.”

“What the hell is going on, here?” I asked. I pushed my bowl and chopsticks to the side of the table.

She sniffled and continued, “And you consider yourself a good driver because you’ve never had an accident, but you don’t even understand the concept of turning in the same direction as a skid.”

Her last comment caught me so off guard that I couldn’t help but laugh a little. I said, “Seriously though, it doesn’t make sense. If you’re sliding to the left, why the hell would you turn to the left?”

“You could never admit that I might know better. You idiot. If you had just turned into the skid, you wouldn’t have ended up under the wheels of a transport truck. I wouldn’t have had to console your fucking family at your funeral or spend a year hating you for never listening to me.”

I flagged the waitress and made the gesture for our bill.

“Annie, I’m sorry for your loss but I don’t even know you. I don’t know anything about you. I’m not denying how accurately you described me. But you’re just a very pretty girl I met today. You are a stranger.”

“No, I’m not,” she said.

I settled the bill and we collected our things in silence.


• • •


Outside, the drizzle had turned into genuine drops that were so cold they stung when they hit my cheeks and hands. Just before a bus across the street pulled away, a thin man with a beard got on it. I would have sworn it was the same man from the record shop or from the motorcycle accident. Annie came out the door a few seconds later and looked exhausted. The two of us faced each other almost in defiance, and then she put her head on the lapel of my coat.

“Let me drive you home,” I said. She dipped her head twice against my coat.

As I drove, she pointed the way through my foggy windshield. Commercial Drive got much less glamorous and few cars were sharing the road with us.

“Your favourite colour is green,” I said.

“Blue. Your favourite colour is green.” She was right.

“You’re a cat person, not a dog person.”

“No. We both prefer dogs.”

“OK. Easy one. You were a humanities student, not science.”

“Yes,” she said.

“English literature.”

“Graphic design. I went to college, not university.”

“You’re a neat freak.”

“Only in the kitchen and bathroom. What’s my favourite Blonde Redhead record?”

Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons.”

“Not bad,” she said and smiled.

We turned right and made a quick left into a dark residential neighbourhood. I pulled in behind an old van and left the car running, my right foot feeding the car a little gas. She was looking at the glove compartment and her curls were piled up on one another clumsily. I’m not sure why I did it but I reached out and put my fingers through her hair, gently scratching her scalp with my nails. She closed her eyes and focused on what I was doing. I could feel her hair coiling and passing around my fingers. I killed the engine and listened to her steady breathing. There was something a little sharper about the sounds on the windshield and I guessed that bits of ice were starting to fall with the rain. Her hair felt nice in my hands but my nose was starting to run from the cold.

“Do you really think I’m that same person?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Can you understand why that’s impossible for me to accept?”

“Yes.”

“So where does that leave us?”

She looked over at me, calm at first and then a little wide-eyed. She gestured at the rear-view mirror with her head. I looked into it and saw a trickle of blood coming out of my right nostril.

“Shit,” I said and wiped my nose with the back of my hand. In the car, the blood looked like a black streak across my knuckles.

She reached out and opened the car door while saying, “Come on.”

I followed her down the sidewalk, onto a small stone path and up the stairs of a porch. I could feel something thick dripping down the back of my throat. She hurried me into the house and up two flights of stairs, unlocked another door, and led me around the corner to a bathroom. The blood was almost black, even in the bright light of her washroom. It took a lot of tissue and time before my nose dried up.

Padding down the hardwood floor of the hallway, I found her sitting on one knee in a carpeted living room. The room was cluttered with books, records, stacks of papers, and leafy plants. There was a stereo system in the corner of the room and she had put on The Cardigans’ Gran Turismo, a surprisingly commercial choice but a good one nonetheless. I didn’t even know it had been pressed for vinyl. Her coat and sweater were folded over the edge of an old upholstered couch. When I stepped through the doorframe, she looked up and showed me the record she was holding. Her arms were slender and smooth.

“Sorry, I’ve never had a nosebleed like…”

I trailed off when I looked closer at the cover of the LP. There was Annie, the girl, and Annie, the car. And there was someone who looked exactly like me. The background of the photo was all evergreen trees and blue sky, and my imposter had his arm outstretched like he was holding the camera. Annie the car was even rusted just above the driver’s side front wheel. There were no words on the cover.

“Shit,” I said and sat on the edge of her coffee table. My chest felt tight.

“Tell me, Matt,” she began, “Why did you decide to come to Vancouver now?”

She lifted herself up and touched my shoulder. Her face was calm and serious. Then she turned away and stopped the record player.

“You need to listen to me carefully and not be so stubborn,” she said. “Five nights ago, a man came into my room in the middle of the night and talked to me. I was terrified and thought I was dreaming until you arrived today. He told me you would be coming to Vancouver, again. He warned me not to get used to it, that he probably wouldn’t let you stay long.”

She sat down on the adjacent corner of the coffee table but I did not turn to look at her. I could only see her shoulder in the edge of my vision.

“Are you listening to me?” she asked. “You’re a goof but you were always loyal to me. You won me by degrees. That record was our third anniversary present to each other. Take the record out.”

I did as she said. On the label in the centre of the record was a photo of a gaunt man with a dark beard. His eyes were expressionless. I brought the record close to me to be sure.

“I recognize this man,” I told her.

“He is the one who visited me five nights ago. I don’t know where you got this photo from and you wouldn’t tell me. I had never seen him until the other night. Now I know it’s impossible for you to believe me but at least listen. He is a threat to you. He is a threat to us. I am not going through this again. If you can’t take care of yourself
then I will.”

“But—”

“Oh Christ,” she interrupted. “Really, Matt? You just have to fight this all the way, don’t you? Put on the record.”


• • •


And now the music starts. The chords are loosely played on a thin acoustic guitar. Behind the acoustic is a simple bass and drum rhythm that keeps a steady tempo and emphasizes beats two and four. And in the back of the mix is the sound of someone rapping their knuckles on the body of an electric guitar, leaving just the resonance of the strings and a hollow pit of reverb. I can hear the soft crackle of the vinyl as it regularly passes a small scratch on the disc.

A few bars in, a voice starts. I am not sure how long I listen but I know I have missed the words and am only listening to the timbre of my own voice. I have heard my recorded voice and found it alien; now, I hear a song I never recorded and know it is sung by me. The electric guitar sparks to life and the rhythm section follows. The song is building to something. I listen to the words.


I know you’re asking why I did this

But he made for me a life.

I know you’re asking why I’m leaving

But these choices have a price.


This entire time I have been staring past her into empty space but now my vision comes back and she is standing in front of me. The sight of her tugs at some familiar place in my abdomen. The space between us is disappearing even as my own voice continues over the speakers. The muscles near her nose tighten and her mouth opens a little, not a smile but something peaceful. We come closer still and our noses touch just before we kiss. There is just a little movement, the softness of our bottom lips pushing against each other and opening a little. It is a feeling I know intimately but I do not know how or why I could know it.

We lie on the bed in our clothes. Her head rests in the fold between my arm and chest. Our legs are folded and tangled together. She cries a little and it dampens my t-shirt. I cry a little, too. My free hand is in her hair again, rustling it, kneading and relaxing. I have nothing to say so I stay quiet. As she gets sleepy, she rolls away from me and I pull myself close behind her. And then I rest.


• • •


I know something is wrong when I awake. My eyes open slowly and I see the intruder standing in the doorway of the bedroom. I feel a pit in my stomach clench tight and hard and my shoulders pull toward my ears. The man is thinner than I remember and his dark clothes hang off him. His beard and eyes are the same colour as his jacket and his face looks like a white mask.

He slowly puts one finger up to his lips. Shhh. Then he rotates his arm a little and curls his finger toward himself twice. Come here. When I don’t immediately obey, his head turns toward Annie and then back to me. I can sense that this little movement is both a threat and an offering of amnesty for the woman sleeping next to me. I get up and follow him down the stairs and out of the house. Chips of ice are still coming down with the rain. He glides to my car and opens the passenger door as if it hadn’t been locked just a couple hours ago. I walk around to the driver’s side and get in.

“Drive away,” he says aloud. It is like hearing a voice through a cheap stereo, flat and distant. The only part of his face that moves is around his mouth. I start Annie and drive out of the parking spot. His bony hand reaches up and tilts the rear-view mirror so that we are looking at each other eye-to-eye even as I drive. It is inhuman how inert his face is.

My mouth is dry but I manage to ask, “Who are you?”

“That may be conceptually difficult for you,” he says. He waves his left hand in a semicircle and continues lifelessly, “Imagine all of this were one of your records. A record collection is essentially a number of two-dimensional planes stacked beside each other. How would you explain to someone living on a record what you, a three-dimensional record collector, are? How do you explain depth, the concept of in and out, to someone who can only move up, down, left, or right? Turn right here and then take your next right.”

I nearly stall Annie as I take her around the corner. Both my hands are tightly gripped on the wheel.

“What do you want, then?” I ask. I wipe my nose and find it is bleeding again.

“I am a collector,” he says. “I want satisfying pieces for my collection. Take the off-ramp to your right. Imagine you cut two of your records and tried to paste the halves together. It would be hard to find two records whose halves could be pasted together and still make congruent sense, but let us say that I have a very large number of similar records. Do you follow?”

“No,” I say. I exit as he instructed me and find myself on the Trans-Canada Highway, leaving the city the same way I entered it.

“I can make one great record from the lesser components. The only limitation to the quality is my tools. In this case, there are some edges that need to be mended to make the conglomeration seamless.”

“So I’m an edge to be mended?” I ask.

“In a sense,” he responds and goes motionless again for a moment. “You were also an opportunity. The edges... they have never involved people before. We were curious to see if the overlap would have any residual effects.”

“Who’s we?”

My question goes unanswered. I stare at the husk beside me, not in the mirror but at him directly. His skin looks cold like a fish and he is deathly still. Outside of the car, the highway is mostly empty but brightly lit for overnight construction. We merge into the single lane of traffic, oncoming cars just on the other side of the reflective orange tube barriers. I wipe my nose again.

“Well, what did you find?” I ask him.

“You know as well as I do. We found you driving to Vancouver, drawn to a record store you didn’t even know was there, and in bed with a stranger.”

“She’s not a stranger,” I tell him. “So why are you even telling me this? Why are we here, on the highway?”

The rest of him does not move but his head turns to me and puts his gaze directly on me. I glance over to him, that sick feeling returning, and his eyes are black and flat like vinyl. He opens his mouth and bares his teeth and I wonder if he is trying to smile at me.

“I suppose I am fond of symmetry, and of fairness,” he says.

It all happens quickly. Without any warning or continuity, the passenger seat beside me is now empty and unused. I can feel Annie lurch and stutter on the pavement. And some dim realization dawns on me.

I look up and squint at the bright lights rushing toward me. I feel the wheels spinning without friction on a patch of black ice. Annie’s back end is swinging to the left, cutting through the flimsy barriers and into oncoming traffic. I strangle the steering wheel and push my teeth hard into each other. My front tires are still parallel to the back ones and still, incredibly, I’ve got my right foot on the gas to keep Annie from stalling. The entire windshield is a glare, now. I think of my time in Vancouver, one day compressed into an instant of thought. I think of waking up beside Annie. And then it just happens. I keep my grip on the wheel and pull it hard to the left.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jay Hosking currently lives in Vancouver. He's been long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes short story competition for his efforts. When not writing fiction, he teaches rats how to gamble, works on his PhD in neuroscience, writes/records/tours music, and walks the dog. His debut novel, Three Years with the Rat, is forthcoming from Penguin / Hamish Hamilton in summer 2016.


MORE: Twitter | Website






LF #009 © Jay Hosking. Published by Little Fiction | Big Truths, March 2012.

HOME | STORIES | BACK

 
download | SHARE:Analogue_files/Analogue.epubshapeimage_8_link_0
lfhttp://twitter.com/home?status=http://bit.ly/LF_009http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http://bit.ly/LF_009shapeimage_9_link_0shapeimage_9_link_1
analogue

by jay hosking
Editors’ 
Mention
★ ★ 2014 ★ ★
Pushcart 
Prize
fictionFiction.htmlshapeimage_19_link_0
NONFICTIONNonFiction.htmlshapeimage_20_link_0
SUBMISSIONSSubmissions.htmlshapeimage_21_link_0
MOREMore.htmlshapeimage_22_link_0
SUBMISSIONSSubmissions.htmlshapeimage_27_link_0
MOREMore.htmlshapeimage_28_link_0
SinglesStories.htmlshapeimage_29_link_0
CollectionsCollections.htmlshapeimage_30_link_0