The Red Coat

Brenda sits on the edge of the seat. She can’t lean back and relax. She knows she’ll have to move fast when the moment comes.

She longs to order another coffee but that would mean going to the counter and turning her back on the other tables in the café.

She’s far too warm. The weather report had said a maximum of -14, so she’d bundled up in her down coat. She has to keep it on, zippered right up, even though the café is over-heated. She has to be ready.

Only a couple of minutes left on her parking meter. She can’t leave. She’ll have to risk getting a ticket.

Then it happens and it’s all over. It must have been when she glanced at the newspaper the guy at the next table was reading. When she looked up, the woman had disappeared.

Brenda leaps to the door, rushes out, looks up and down the street. But there’s no sign of the red coat, the long swinging black scarf. Only the traffic warden, tucking a parking ticket behind the windshield wiper of Brenda’s car.

That hadn’t been the first time she’d tried to follow the red-coated woman. You’d think a red coat would make it easy.


Thursday Blurt 2017


2017: Unlocking the Time Capsule

steamer trunk lock

When my husband and I came to Canada in January 1976 we started gathering odd bits and pieces in a Time Capsule.

I can’t now remember why! Nor do I remember when we stopped.

But this year – 41 years later and Canada’s 150th anniversary – I’ve decided it’s time for us to open the Time Capsule – an old steamer trunk we bought in Toronto – to see what’s in there.

Going by the weight, there’s a lot! If I remember right it’s mostly paper – show programmes, interesting flyers, old newspaper articles and magazines, old postcards and other written memorabilia we came across in our daily lives or in second hand stores…

Yesterday, January 1, I opened the Time Capsule. So that’s why we stopped – the steamer trunk is full to bursting!

I told my husband to close his eyes and reach in and pick one thing.

Every Wednesday during 2017, I’ll share whatever we pull out in our weekly Lucky Dip (my turn next!) into the Time Capsule. Starting this Wednesday…

What Did I Discover From My Year of Blurt Writing?

So what did I discover from my 2016 blog resolution to blurt out a quick story or poem once a week?

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

1. It was a great brain zapper! The main idea of Blurting had been to energize my brain as I edited a collection of stories which I’d been working on for quite a while. It worked! Forcing Continue reading

Wesley the Robot

pointing hand at the Roger's Cup, Montreal 2016

Wesley the robot who, despite initial trepidation, turned out to have been engineered with a warm heart, did not like the green men visiting at night.

They made him squeamish, he said. That stuff inside them – their innards – was not normal. It was purply-red and gloopy instead of being nuts and bolts and tidy soldered pieces.

Jane and Julie both wanted out. They were Continue reading

Lonesome Road



The brook murmurs
hurried secrets to
the rocks as it rushes
by. Farewell, farewell
it murmurs, I’ll not pass
this way again. Bullfrog
lies spreadeagled among
leaves and blue sky. A twang
from the cattails reminds
me of a certain guitarist
singing of lonesome
roads. The sun beats
down. I’ve put on sun lotion
to be safe. The shadow of
the big tree creeps

New Horizons at the Blue Snail Convention

Blue Snails, Place des Spectacles, Montréal, July 2015

When Barry transmogrified into a blue snail he knew who was to blame: Alice. He was torn between admiration and fury. How amazing that she was able to turn a perfectly normal human being into a blue snail! But how infuriating that she’d chosen to use her special skill on him.

His first thought was to storm over to her place and beg her to change him back into a human but he wasn’t going to give her that satisfaction.

No, he’d Continue reading

9 Steps To Imperturbability

giant soap bubbles

Imperturbable: not excitable, calm (Concise Oxford Dictionary)

The adjective imperturbable is the flip side of perturbable, which comes from perturb, which in turn traces back to the Latin word perturbare, meaning “to confuse” or “to disturb.” If something really annoying is going on, like one neighbor is jack-hammering his driveway and another has a dog that’s barking while you’re trying to sleep because you were up all night studying and you really really need a nap, but you stay calm and don’t get upset, you are imperturbable.

  1. Regard brightly colored flowers. Those in earth, still growing, tend to be the most effective, particularly in deepest winter.
  2. Relax your shoulders. Pull the shoulder blades slightly together. This will broaden your chest and open your lungs, giving others the impression that you are imperturbable while you are in the process of becoming imperturbable.
  3. Know when the streetlights come on. Whatever else happens to surprise and disorient you (temperature, weather, unexpected visitors, no milk in the fridge), the inevitability of the streetlights coming on will give you a sense of consistency and stability.
  4. Avoid caffeinated drinks, the news, speaking in tongues.
  5. Walk backwards in a meadow. Observe blades of grass rising up after you’ve passed. Grass does not rise up? Walk forwards. Do not look back.
  6. Think your own thoughts when others are talking to you (especially family or business colleagues, telemarketers).
  7. Ensure you have a comfortable bed, duvet and pillow.
  8. Wear clothes that are neither too light nor too dark, nor too tight or too loose.
  9. Do not keep or heed lists of any kind.


Blurt 49

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax