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Daniel Grandbois

Two Fictions

The River

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 through it.”

“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.

Star Crossed

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 us in.

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.

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