from Unlucky Lucky People
When one gets out to drag a canoe, one expects
to stop dragging it within a reasonable amount of time and sit in it
again. Such was not the case when Helen, Herbert, and I stepped into
what was left of the Kicking Horse River. We pulled and pushed for
three days before Herbert took notice of Helen’s observations that
there wasn’t any water left, much less a riverbed, and that we might
do just as well to wander through the woods like deer. Herbert had
to agree. And yet he couldn’t shake the conviction that the river
picked up again further on. It took us three more days to shake the
conviction from him by means of following along quietly until it
worked itself loose.
“I believe we’re in virgin territory,” said
Herbert then, replacing the old conviction.
“Maybe it was,” I quipped, “before we tromped
“Dragging a canoe,” added Helen, just as
pleasant as could be.
We looked back and found our tracks well
preserved. They made the unshakable impression of belonging to a
single animal—something with six legs and a massive tail. Though we
knew better, we grew frightened. It didn’t help that we were in
unknown lands. We felt like helpless jackrabbits. And that is what
we became, leaving the canoe behind and bounding through the woods,
which opened out onto a grassy plain. Once in a while, I ran into
Helen or Herbert or both together, but I recognized them less and
less, though I always had a strange desire to linger in their
company as if I’d known them in a previous life.
from Unlucky Lucky People
I bolted the doors, but it was no use. We
watched as one crawled slowly over our neighbor’s house. It used
hydraulics to wrench open the door, then sent its ghastly stomach in
to digest our friend. If he’d fled before it was too late, he would
have only been defenseless out there where so many others were
waiting to pick him off. At least in his house, he stood the chance
that one of these door-breakers might never come knocking. That’s
how we felt anyway, waiting in our tomb.
Janice was ever decorating the walls with the
shiny things she made, while I kept the plumbing in working order.
We entertained ourselves with games of squirting water, though
mostly we just kept quiet and still.
I was staring idly at one of Janice’s hypnotic
walls when suddenly we were flying. We knew about this fate too and
were equally powerless to stop it. I’d built the house as tough as I
knew how, but still it could be dashed to pieces.
There was a moment when the weightlessness
tickled, and Janice looked at me and giggled. I embraced her more
tightly until the thunderous crack that opened home and sky and let
Daniel Grandbois could tell you many
things about his older brother, Peter, whose work also appears in
this issue. For example, his ignominious childhood nickname or the
arrhythmic way he gyrated while playing guitar solos in our high
school rock band. But he would rather not.