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THE boy is lying on the floor in the Kids department, next to the display of Olivia the Pig books that have been marked 20% off. He has been there ever since Ty started work at 3 pm. She calls him a boy but he is probably her age, lying on his back, his body straight, eyes open and looking up at the ceiling. He is wearing a huge parka, grey, utilitarian: the kind Ty imagines a person might wear on an Arctic fishing expedition, like the men in the book she has just finished reading. His legs are skinny in their jeans and his feet pressed together. With the giant parka and the skinny jeans he looks like he could be a puppet on a stick. Ty doesn’t think he is hurt, but he is making things awkward for the other customers. She pages Michaela.

“What is this, a fucking Radiohead video?” Michaela asks. Michaela is 21 and a management major at the college. She is also Ty’s only friend at the store. The other kids at Hallam’s Books don’t like Michaela because she’s a snitch. She keeps a list of all the times and places she sees them slacking off and reports it to the managers. But Michaela says she is not at Hallam’s to make friends. She and Ty have known each other since they were kids and Michaela’s mom would babysit for Ty after Ty’s mom died. Michaela usually keeps Ty off the lists, although one time she did leave a note in her locker telling her to stop clocking in before she put on her uniform.

“I don’t know,” says Ty. “He’s just lying there.”

“We should call a manager,” Michaela says. She slips her hand up under the front of her shirt unconsciously, and Ty knows that she is fiddling with her belly button ring. “I can’t stop touching it,” Michaela had said when she first got it, except the ring isn’t new anymore and Ty is pretty sure Michaela doesn’t even know she is still doing it. Sometimes she even does it in front of customers, hiking up her Hallam’s shirt and digging her finger into her navel. Ty knows she should probably tell her, but what do you say to a person who has been exposing their stomach to strangers for the past three years? That’s not something you can just casually bring up in conversation.

Ty knows they will not find a manager. Hallam’s has three managers, but two of them never leave the office, and the third only ever seems to appear when you are doing something wrong. “Maybe do a sweep,” says Ty, then cringes. She hates it when she catches herself using Hallam’s lingo.

“Good idea,” says Michaela. She loves Hallam’s lingo. She struts away, the heels of her patent leather wedges clicking against the floor. Michaela’s shoes are not very practical for eight hours of standing, but Michaela says you have to dress for the job you want. Then she looks at Ty’s scuffed-up sneakers and back at Ty’s face. Sometimes Ty thinks Michaela is embarrassed by her, even though Ty is two years older than Michaela and really Michaela should be the one worrying that Ty is embarrassed by her.

Ty walks over to the boy. “Hello,” she says, looking down at his face. The boy blinks but says nothing. “Are you okay?” Tentatively, she nudges him with her toe.

“I’m okay,” he says quietly. “Please just leave me alone.”

“Okay.” Ty tries not to feel hurt. She defaults to cheerful salesgirl out of habit. “Just let me know if you need anything. Here at Hallam’s we’re always ready to help.”

• • •

The book Ty has just finished reading is called Rescue on the Atlantic! It tells the true story of Lieutenant Carver, the captain of a Coast Guard vessel called the CCGS M.J. Longhorn that got caught in the ice trying to rescue a fishing boat called the Erin Elizabeth off the coast of Labrador. Lieutenant Carver crawled across the ice floes with a pick-axe and a rope and brought the fishermen from the Erin Elizabeth back to the CCGS M.J. Longhorn one by one. They thought everyone was going to be saved, but when there was just one man left on the Erin Elizabeth, she started to go under. The one man was Jimmy Duthie, the captain, who had a wife and seven kids back home in Labrador and also a quadriplegic brother who lived with him. Lieutenant Carver was only halfway across the ice and couldn’t get there in time. The rest of them were stuck on the CCGS M.J. Longhorn for a week before the icebreaker made it out to them, with nothing to do but stare at the black hole in the ice where the Erin Elizabeth had disappeared.

When Ty’s brother was still living at home, sometimes in the winter he would tie her toboggan to the back of his snowmobile and race down the trails alongside the railroad tracks behind their house when none of the CN guys were around. The snow would spray into Ty’s face and she’d hold on as tightly as she could, and every time she hit a bump she would think she was going to crash. Ty has never seen the ocean but she knows it would be like that. Cold, terrifying, exhilarating. Pretty much the opposite of bookselling.

• • •

In the staff room, Claire and Trevor are sitting at the table eating fuzzy peaches from the Bulk Barn and leafing through an In Touch magazine together. For two people who work at a bookstore, neither of them read very many books. When Ty asked them for their Staff Recommendations, Claire chose a biography of Nicole Richie and Trevor chose the official songbook from Glee!

“Have you guys seen any managers around?” Ty asks.

“Oh my god, Chelsea Clinton looks so old,” Trevor says.

“She is so old,” Claire says, popping a peach in her mouth. “She’s, like, thirty or something.”

“Oh my god, look at Jessica Alba’s dress!” Trevor says.

“Eww!” Claire and Trevor both laugh loudly. Ty leans over but she can’t see the picture they are looking at. She’s not even sure if she knows who Jessica Alba is.

“So there’s a guy just lying on the floor in Kids,” Ty says.

“What guy?” asks Claire. She and Trevor both look up.

“I don’t know. Some guy.” Ty starts to feel uncomfortable now that they are looking at her.

“Is he cute?” Trevor asks.

“He looks like a Coast Guard captain,” Ty says, stupidly. Claire and Trevor look at each other and turn back to their magazine. Ty stands there for a few more minutes trying to think of something more to say. Eventually she gives up and shuts the door, quietly, so maybe they won’t know how long she was standing there.

• • •

It’s not that Ty doesn’t have ambition. When she was a kid she had big dreams, thanks to her older brother’s seventeen VHS tapes full of old Danger Bay episodes: she was going to either be a helicopter pilot or a wildlife veterinarian. One time when she was eight her father took her out to Chippewa Park to go on the roller coaster and ride the bumper cars and eat some ice cream, but all Ty wanted to do was stay in the wildlife park. In particular, she wanted to stay next to the puma enclosure because she was convinced the puma was sick. She sat on the grass by the fence and talked to him and sang songs all afternoon while the puma lay in the sun at the back of the enclosure, ignoring her. When it was time to leave, Ty cried until her father went to find the park caretaker, who assured her the puma was fine, that the summer heat just made him lazy. Ty nodded even though she didn’t believe him. She knew there had to be something wrong with the puma by the way his tongue lolled out from between his teeth, the way he didn’t even move when a seagull landed right in the middle of the enclosure. But Ty was too shy to say anything to the park caretaker. She just kept crying, even after her father bought her a mint chocolate chip cone, except now she was crying because she was convinced the puma was going to die because of her shyness. She sat in the back of the station wagon on the drive home, eating her ice cream and sniffling, while her dad sang her country songs from the front seat.

“So you’ll have some new songs to sing him the next time,” he said, not trying to make too big a deal about it. But they never went back to Chippewa Park, even though it was only a fifteen minute drive away. Ty was too worried. She couldn’t stand the thought of going back to the park and finding out that the puma was dead.

When Ty finished high school there just wasn’t any money for college. Her brother was in Fort McMurray working in the oil sands, and the mill where Ty’s father worked was filing for Chapter 11 and no one knew if he’d have a job from one day to the next. When Michaela told her she could get her a job at Hallam’s, Ty took it. It isn’t so bad there, really—at least she gets to read as many books as she likes. And as everyone kept telling her, she’s lucky to have a job at all.

• • •

Ty and Michaela reconvene back in Kids. The boy is still there, and is now covered in crayons from the craft box. There is also a Slinky wrapped around his ankles. Ty knew that putting the Slinky in the toy box was a bad idea. They tangle up so easily, and then you’re just screwed.

Michaela taps a pen against the counter. “I think we should tell him to move.”

Ty straightens some books on the Dr. Seuss display, wishing she had kept Michaela out of it. “I’ll just keep an eye on him,” she says. “You can go back to cash.”

“Whatever,” Michaela says, but she looks relieved. No one likes the Kids department. It’s loud and bright and you can never find anything, and working it exponentially increases your chances of having to clean up bodily fluids. Ty has probably cleaned up more vomit in than the janitor at a sports bar.

For the next hour, Ty keeps an eye on Lieutenant Carver, as she has started calling him in her head. Some of the parents look at him suspiciously, and some of the kids poke him or pile things on top of him, but for the most part people just leave him alone. Ty stands behind the till with her Hallam’s notepad and a pink unicorn pen with streamers on the top and makes a list of reasons why he might be lying there.

1. He’s making a movie about what happens in a Hallam’s Books, and is doing research. Although this one seems highly unlikely. Ty can’t imagine anyone caring about what happens in a Hallam’s.

2. He’s part of some weird religious cult that believes that the only safe place during the apocalypse will be on the floor of the Kids department in Hallam’s. Although if this were the case, wouldn’t it mean that everyone else from the sect would be there right now, too? And of course this would also require an impending apocalypse, and Ty hasn’t heard about anything like that lately. She supposes it could be that this boy is just being extra cautious. But still.

3. He has a disease that can only be cured by fluorescent lights and the laughter of children, and this is the only place where the two converge. Again, Ty does not follow medical news that closely, but she has never heard of such a disease.

“Excuse me?” Ty looks up from her notepad. A woman with a stroller is standing in front of her holding a pink slip from one of their computers. She points toward Lieutenant Carver. “Is he okay?”

“Oh, yeah, he’s fine,” Ty says. “He’s just doing a social experiment about consumer habits in corporate bookstores.” The woman looks at her sceptically. “It’s for university,” Ty adds.

“Oh.” She looks relieved to not have to get involved any further. She puts the pink slip on the counter. “So I’m trying to find this book? It says you have one copy left.”

“Okay,” says Ty. She takes the pink slip of paper from the woman and shuffles over to the shelf. She stands there, scanning the rows of books, running her fingers over the spines without seeing the titles, shelf after shelf, until finally she realizes she has been standing there for ten minutes and doesn’t even know what she is looking for, and the woman with the stroller is gone. She tucks the slip of paper in her pocket in case the woman comes back, wondering why no one ever asks her if she is okay.

• • •

When Ty gets back to the Kids department, she finds Claire hiding on the floor behind the till. “What are you doing?” Ty asks, shuffling around her to log back into the cash register. She has to type her password four times before she gets it right.

“Shh,” Claire says, glaring at her. Then she goes back to examining her fingernails, which are covered in chipped lilac nail polish. She scrapes away, fingernail on fingernail, pale purple dust floating down to her lap.

“Uh, okay,” Ty whispers.

Claire sighs. She doesn’t look up. “My ex-boyfriend is in the store with his skanky new girlfriend”

“Oh.” Ty fiddles with the stapler next to the cash drawer, the one that never seems to have any staples in it. “Okay.”

Ty leaves Claire behind the till and goes to tidy the Webkinz display, which is right at the entrance to the Kids department, so she can scan the customers and try to figure out which one is Claire’s ex-boyfriend. She likes to organize the Webkinz by their place in the food chain: bear then fish; dog then cat then hamster. Sometimes she gets stumped by the made-up ones, like the unicorn and the Bubblegumasaurus. Although theoretically, anything -asaurus should be able to kick the average modern-day animal’s ass. Things were much tougher back in prehistoric times.

As she is debating whether or not a hedgehog could take out a turtle, Ty sees a tall, sporty looking guy standing over by the cooking section with a blonde girl that looks pretty much exactly like Claire. She’s wearing sweats and Ugg boots and she’s clinging to the guy as though she’s a kid and he is her favourite stuffed animal. Ty is surprised that Claire is hiding from them. Her hair is always so stylish and she has really nice skin, and she never gets that weird green tinge to her face like most people do under these fluorescent lights. She even looks good in her stupid
Hallam’s vest. If Ty were dating Claire’s ex-boyfriend, she would be scared of Claire, and not the other way around.

Ty is so distracted checking out Claire’s ex-boyfriend that she forgets all about Lieutenant Carver until she almost trips over him. He’s in the same spot, but now his body is almost completely obscured by toys piled on top of him by random children.

“Don’t let them put anything on your face,” she tells Lieutenant Carver.

Lieutenant Carver blinks at the ceiling. “The hedgehog,” he says, his voice cracking. “The turtle is way too slow.”

“Huh?” Ty asks. She looks at the two stuffed toys in her hands.

“Psst.” Claire motions to Ty from behind the Kids till. Ty walks over and crouches down. Claire is sitting on the floor, her back to a box of Toy Story DVDs, her knees pulled up to her chest. “Did you see them?” she whispers.

“I think so,” Ty whispers back. She is still holding the hedgehog and the turtle in her hands. She sets them down on the floor next to each other. “She’s so ugly. You’re way prettier than she is.”

“Blech.” Claire sticks out her tongue. “She’s such a whore.”

“Totally.” Ty picks up a crayon off the floor and starts peeling off the paper.

Claire reaches into the pocket of her Hallam’s vest and pulls out a handful of fuzzy peaches. She pops one in her mouth. “Want one?” she asks, holding out her hand.

Ty nonchalantly picks a fuzzy peach off the top of the pile as though Claire offered her fuzzy peaches all the time, no big deal. “Her boots were so gross,” she says, gaining confidence. “And it looks like she hasn’t showered in days.”

“Mmfph.” Ty looks over and sees that Claire has stuffed about five fuzzy peaches in her mouth at one time. She also realizes that Claire is crying.

“Oh,” says Ty. “Um...”

“Why does he like her better than me?” Claire wails, her mouth open, revealing a blob of half-chewed fuzzy peaches. A thin line of drool hangs from her bottom lip and dangles down almost to the collar of her blouse. She tries to swallow and hiccups instead. Ty leans forward tentatively and gives Claire an awkward little half-hug.

“Get off me!” Claire pushes her away. “Fuck.” Peachy saliva sprays everywhere. Ty backs away, still crouched down, and starts picking up the pieces of crayon paper that have fallen to the floor. The Kids department is already so messy, she thinks. She should be cleaning it up, not contributing more. On the other side of the room, Lieutenant Carver shifts his body, knocking a fire engine off his stomach and onto his chest.

• • •

Claire spends the next two hours on the floor behind the till. She stays there even after her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend have gone. It’s like there’s some kind of magnetic force in the floor of the Kids department, pulling people down into it. Ty fights against it, keeping herself on the perimeter, shelving some of the Twilight boxed sets that came in that morning. They are the movie tie-in editions, with pictures of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart on the cover. Ty has never seen the movies but she read the first book in the series and didn’t like it. She prefers true stories, ones that are about real people but are so implausible that you would never believe they had happened if someone put them in a made-up novel. Also, she’s not sure how she’s supposed to feel about vampires. The ones in the book didn’t seem very scary, even with all the potential for blood sucking. Ty didn’t really understand the point.

While she is shelving, she feels eyes on her and she realizes Lieutenant Carver has turned his head and is looking straight at her. He’s not staring in a mean way, just watching her, and Ty suddenly feels very self-conscious about the way she is shelving the books. His eyes are very blue and Ty guesses that some girls might find him attractive, although Ty prefers more manly types, and definitely someone more reliable, someone you could count on to remain upright in public. Still, there is something about him. She would not want to kiss him, but maybe she wouldn’t mind giving him a hug.

All thoughts of hugging are interrupted by the sound of her name being announced over the paging system. She is so surprised to hear her name that she drops one of the boxed sets on her foot. The corner stabs right into the soft spot between her first and second toe, and she wails, grabbing onto her foot and sinking to the floor. Four more books, luckily paperbacks, shower down from the shelf onto her head. That’s it, floor, she thinks. You’ve won.

From this position, she is now nearly eye-level with Lieutenant Carver, who is still watching her. She glares at him. “The real Lieutenant Carver would have done something more than just lie there, you know.” She gets up and brushes off the front of her Hallam’s vest. As she walks by Lieutenant Carver, she kicks at the corner of one of the books stacked on top of him, and the whole mountainous section of debris comes tumbling down onto his head.

Damn. “Let me help you,” she says.

“It’s not too bad,” he says, his voice muffled. “There’s a princess castle with a bunch of ninjas in the tower sitting on my chest. I’m waiting to see what they do.”

“Well, you still need to breathe,” Ty says. She lifts a stuffed dog off his face.

He looks at her. Those eyes. They really are very nice. “Thank you,” he says.

“You’re welcome.” She pauses, still squatting next to him. “You know, you were wrong about the turtle and the hedgehog.” She stands up, carefully backing away from the pile of toys. “Neither of them would win. They would both just tuck themselves up into themselves and wait. Forever, probably.”

“Then the one who waited the longest would win,” Lieutenant Carver says as she walks away.

• • •

Lieutenant Carver, the real one, still works for the Coast Guard, according to the epilogue in Rescue on the Atlantic! He is in his early fifties and has a wife and three teenage daughters and they all live in Halifax. Ty has never been to Halifax, but she can imagine what it looks like: old buildings, sailors, people in kilts, lots of lobsters everywhere. Everyone saying “Hey, how ya doin?” when they walk by you on the street. Ty knows it’s probably not like that, the same way everyone from Thunder Bay isn’t Finnish or a hockey player. But she’s sure people there are friendly, that’s what everyone says. Ty bets when Lieutenant Carver’s three teenage daughters walk down the street to get a bagel or return a library book, people say “Hey, how ya doin” and maybe also “There go those Carver girls. Their father is the bravest man in town.”

She knocks on the cash office door and Michaela opens it. “What are you doing in here?” Ty asks. “This is just for managers.”

Michaela pushes a rolling office chair over to Ty. “I know the code,” she says. “They send me in here sometimes to do paperwork.”

“What kind of paperwork?” Ty asks.

Michaela ignores her. “So I was just talking to Robert on my break,” she says. Robert is Michaela’s boyfriend. He is in Telecommunications Distribution, which means he works at the cell phone booth in the mall. He and Michaela have been dating since high school, and they wear matching gold promise rings. Ty does not like Robert very much. He’s skinny and has slicked back hair and really bad acne, and one time when the three of them were at Applebee’s they saw an old woman fall off her chair and he just laughed and didn’t even try to help her.

“How’s Robert?” Ty asks, squinting at the computer screen.

Michaela clicks the monitor off and turns back to Ty. “He told me the cops came by looking for a missing witness to a hit and run this afternoon.”

Ty sits down in the rolling chair. “Was it him?” Ty asks.

Michaela glares at her. “Of course it wasn’t him.” Michaela hadn’t even noticed the woman at Applebee’s. She was too busy texting on her Blackberry.

“So?” Ty says. She picks up a bottle of liquid paper instead and starts painting her thumbnail with it. The smell fills the small room immediately. It reminds Ty of her mother’s old typewriter with the missing g, the one Ty used to type out all her assignments on when everyone else was using computers. “You can come to the computer lab after school if you want,” her teacher had told her, frowning at the smudged letters, the y’s painstakingly transformed into g’s with a felt tip pen. But Ty loved the typewriter, loved thinking about how her mother’s fingers had pressed those same smooth, concave keys, how she had felt that same resistance, that same slight vibration.

“Ty, that’s gross,” Michaela says. Ty can tell she is getting impatient. “He also said that mall security was after shoplifters who stole ornaments from the Hallmark store and some kids who broke into one of the candy machines outside the women’s washroom. And that there was some creep who’s been stalking one of the girls at Aldo, and when she finally told him to fuck off he said he was going to go kill himself.”

“Who?” Ty asks, mesmerized by the liquid paper globbing onto her nail.


“Who’s going to kill himself?”

“Ty, the guy in the Kids department. He could be any one of these people.”

Ty caps the bottle and blows on her thumbnail. “I don’t know. Maybe?”

Michaela grabs the arms of the rolling chair and turns Ty to face her. “Ty. This is important, okay? Stop blowing on your fucking nails and fucking pay attention.”

Ty drops her hands to her sides. She tries not to cry. She knows Michaela doesn’t mean to be mean to her. Or maybe she does. But every time she yells at her, every time she calls Ty stupid or lazy or gives her a hard time about not going to school or not paying her cell phone bill on time, she thinks about the first time Michaela’s mom babysat for her, a few days after Ty’s mother died. Up until that point, Ty hadn’t eaten or bathed, and had barely slept, and when her dad dropped her off at Michaela’s house she wouldn’t go inside. She just sat on the front porch, staring out into the yard, watching Michaela’s dogs play-fighting over a chew toy until they eventually exhausted themselves and fell asleep in the sun. After about an hour, Michaela came out with a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off. “Eat this,” she’d said. Ty did what she was told, even though Michaela was only six and she had spread the peanut butter way too thick, way thicker than Ty’s mom ever did. Then Michaela took her inside and put her in the shower. “After this, you’re going to sleep,” she’d said. And Ty did.

“What do you want me to do?” Ty asks.

Michaela sighs. “Just get him out of here, okay?” She reaches out and brushes a piece of Ty’s hair out of her eyes, and Ty knows she feels sorry for yelling.

Or at least she wants Ty to think she is sorry.

• • •

When Ty was twelve, she saw a man crash his motorbike in front of her house. It was late April, and she was sitting out on the front stoop reading when she saw a helmeted figure come flying around the corner too fast, skidding across the cracked pavement and into their mailbox at the end of the driveway, the one Ty’s dad had made with the deer antlers on either side. Ty ran out to the road and the man was bleeding all over the place, and one of the deer antlers had broken off and impaled a ripped section of his jacket, pinning it to the soft spring earth. The bike was about ten feet away, upside down in a drainage ditch. As soon as he saw Ty the guy started yelling for her to hit the kill switch, which she did, skidding down the muddy bank and falling on her ass before crawling on hands and knees to the overturned bike, which she was sure at any minute would right itself and run her down as she reached out towards the handlebars.

Once the bike was off, she went back over to the man. She pulled the deer antler out of the ground and tucked his jacket back under him. The road had ripped right through his jacket and t-shirt on his upper arm, and through the layers of dirt and rocks embedded in the open wound she could see a gleaming white flash of bone. The man was screaming, and Ty started crying because she couldn’t figure out where the skin had gone and she thought the doctors would need it to sew it back on, and what if he got to the hospital and the doctors were asking her where it was and she couldn’t give it to them and it would have saved his life? She imagined his skin out there in the road, sloughed off against the pavement, and even though she felt like vomiting she tried to look for it, but all she could find were scraps of clothing and some metal parts from the bike. So she picked those up while the man was screaming for her to call 911, but she didn’t know what else to do, she thought maybe the skin was in there and she just couldn’t see it.

Eventually, Jack Peacock from the plant nursery down the road came by in his pickup, his flatbed full of manure, and called the ambulance on his cell phone. Then he called Ty’s dad at the mill and told him he was bringing Ty to the nursery until he could come and get her. He put Ty in the front seat of his truck and closed the door, and through the window Ty could see him crouched down, talking to the man. Ty just sat there, her fists full of shredded clothing and dirt from the road, watching Mr. Peacock and trying to be calm, all the while feeling as though she had failed the motorcycle man, that she should have been able to put him back together, somehow; she should have at least been able to give him back his skin.

• • •

Ty goes back to Kids, looking for Lieutenant Carver. He is now completely obscured by the pile of toys. She circles it, searching for a finger, a lock of hair, a scrap of clothing, anything, any kind of flash of movement beneath the inanimate jumble. When she can find nothing, she begins to tentatively poke around the side of the pile where his head would have been, the last place she saw any sign of life. Nothing.

Behind the till, Claire is now standing, talking to Trevor on the other side of the counter. “Hey,” Ty says. “Where’d the guy go?”

Claire and Trevor turn in unison. “What guy?” Claire asks.

“You have something on your face,” Trevor says. He leans in. “Is that white-out?”

“The guy,” Ty says, “that was under this pile of toys. Floor guy.”

“Oh, him,” Claire says. She picks at her fingernail. “He’s not still there?”

“No,” Ty says. “No, he’s not. Where’d he go?”

“He didn’t go anywhere,” Claire says. “I’ve been here the whole time.”

“You have, haven’t you?” says Trevor. “You lazy bitch.”

Ty goes back to the pile. Panicking, she begins to dig, pushing aside board books, beach shovels, art supplies, teddy bears, musical instruments, mechanical hamsters, dolls that burp and chew and pee, wooden trains, fairy wings, plastic food from the toy kitchen in the corner. At one point she presses her hand into a wad of Play Doh; at another she feels a tub of poster paint empty itself into her hair. “You have to clean that up,” she can hear Claire call to her from outside the pile. “One of the managers already said so.” Comic books, Lego, little horse figurines, a crushed container of Sea Monkeys, baby blankets, pirate swords, DVD cases, a Jedi helmet, pieces from the open Monopoly game, the Monopoly board. The tangled Slinky. A giant stuffed dragon, which Ty comes face to face with when she finally hits the floor, dark green spikes, golden-threaded eyes, a long felt fire bolt hanging limply from his open mouth. Her hands scrabble against the hard tile, the weight of the toys crushing down on her, but Lieutenant Carver is gone, inexplicably, preposterously, unceremoniously gone. And then the ninjas come, sliding off of the top tower of the princess castle perched on top of a layer of Robert Munsch books, and tangling up in Ty’s hair, and she curls up against the floor, pulling her knees into her chest, for some reason not thinking about Lieutenant Carver but about Jimmy Duthie, about him sitting there in the sinking Erin Elizabeth just before it got sucked under the ice. As her eyes close, she wonders whether Jimmy Duthie could see the real Lieutenant Carver making his way slowly across the ice with a pick and a rope, or if he just sat there, shivering, watching the CCGS M.J. Longhorn stuck in the ice a mile away and wondering why no one was coming to save him.


Amy Jones won the 2006 CBC Literary Prize for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2005 Bronwen Wallace Award. Her fiction has appeared in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories. Her debut collection, What Boys Like (Biblioasis), was the winner of the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award and a finalist for the 2010 ReLit Award. Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay, where she is associate editor of The Walleye. Amy’s first novel, We’re All In This Together (McClelland & Stewart), is out now.

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LF #050 © Amy Jones. Published by Little Fiction | Big Truths, September 2013.


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rescue on
the atlantic!

by amy jones