Hilarious, disgusting take on toxic masculinity. You have been warned.

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden. Amazing, funny, practical, sad. Especially when she talks about the weeds white people brought.

From twitter this morning: What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo? One’s heavy, and the other’s a little lighter.

Isolation kills. The sad story of the man who quantified altruism.


20. Client-free interlude: Jesse

Jesse, despite his upbringing, was a man who found ways to be happy. From his earliest days, he’d learned to take pleasure in very small things; when Very Large Things swam into view, indistinct in outline and promising wonders, he would often turn his back on them, so to speak, and focus his attention on something very small.  It was while tangled in this habit that Jesse turned away from George, who was manifold in his dangerous fascinations, and back to an intense, but sadly mockable, personal situation.

There was to his knowledge no one in Vancouver he could speak to on the subject. He either felt fear or humiliation at the thought of speaking to Rhonda or Raven or perhaps George about it. He tried to imagine George’s response, and thought there was a good chance he’d say something snarky, if he said anything at all.  George liked to joke, but not to be the butt of one.

Jesse had a startling, sweet tenor, but no one ever heard it; Penny the Momster had seen to that. He walked into Robert Burnaby Park until he could hear nothing but the hum of the highway, and believed he could not be heard, and sang,

There’s a moment in a city morning

When everything is soft and still

Far off you can hear a dog bark

Farther off a car alarm trill

And the overcast has cleared

And the stars seem near

As childhood recollection.

Now I am old and the stars are far away

And yet I feel the same connection

He broke off. He couldn’t sing the chorus without crying, not right now.  He didn’t feel grateful. He was too angry at his situation, and too confused.

It was an hour before dawn on a pleasant day in September.  He was flush, he didn’t feel lonely, he was (after a scolding by one of his poly partners) staying fairly sober most days, and he certainly felt sober to his core today.

He found a good sized tree and sat at its base, ignoring the dew.

He was facing into the sun. He was watching the sun come up. He was watching the purple and gold quietly take dominion of the sky. He was looking directly into the sun.

He jerked awake. He was supposed to be meditating in nature for twenty minutes, not falling asleep like a noob.

“It’s no big thing,” Jesse said, standing and brushing himself off. He’d looked at his phone for a time check and realized he’d slept through his meditation time and now had to motor on home.

Home was a basement in a house owned by one of his former teachers, already blacked out and soundproofed as it had been used as a dungeon. (His landlord had removed the fasteners and chains, apparently). The layout sucked, but the ceilings were pushing three metres high, and he had tired of looking at apartments that looked like the ‘before’ picture in a hoarding documentary, if a basement apartment in East Burnaby was all he could afford.

He spoke his problem aloud.

”Somebody wants to treat me like a god. Somebody,” and here he took a breath, “wants to believe I’m the avatar of a god.” Absorbed by the vegetation, the breeze, the ground, the words vanished.

He wondered if he’d been singing in his sleep.  That would have been rather eerie for anyone listening, he imagined, and started to laugh.

A small liver and white dog snuffled up to him. She was a beautiful silky creature, a springer spaniel cross, with a pointed and inquisitive nose.  Presently the owner, a Chinese man in his fifties, appeared in the gloom, smiling apologetically and putting the leash back on her collar. Jesse smiled back and swiftly walked home, where he had an unpleasant encounter with his landlord’s wife.

“Why did you go out so early?” she asked, ambushing him by his side entrance door.

“The rental laws of BC don’t say anything about me being required to talk to you about my personal life,” Jesse said with a very broad smile. It felt very good to assert himself with this woman, who did not seem to have her own life to keep her busy.  Jesse knew he was not going to be living there long; moving out in the middle of the night would hardly be a problem. He felt sad for his former teacher, but he’d married this woman, and thus was likely used to disappointment.

“I want to know what you’re doing to my property value,” she said. The volume went up. She closed in on him. She smelled like bad perfume and dirty hair, and if she’d ever heard of interpersonal space, she didn’t know how to use it.

“It’s half an hour before dawn and you’re standing outside yelling at a tenant,” Jesse said calmly and quietly, mentally adding, “Who is a god, I’ll have you know.” “What do you think you’re doing to your property value?” He got the door open to the sound of her hissing, “Don’t you walk away when I’m talking to you!”, smiled at her again and, still smiling, closed the screen door in her face.

Once he had the light on, the smile vanished. It was obvious. She’d been in the apartment. His laptop had been moved. He felt the crawling disgust of having his space occupied and his belongings handled by her.

He texted George, “Gotta move out. Landlady’s a creeper.”

George was up already. “Prunes,” he texted back. 

It was part of their growing working slang.  It was an acknowledgement that Jesse needed to move shit along, but there was a fix for it at least; the ‘happy outcome’ promised by a handful of fruit.

It was as if George was drawing attention to his weirdness with his monosyllabic response. George never seemed to need the toilet; never seemed to sweat, although sometimes he had a slight sheen to him, as if someone had wiped him down with Ginseng Miracle Oil, and he had never eaten, at least in front of Jesse.  He spent a lot of time thinking about how, if George ever relaxed enough to let him into his reportedly spartan little flat in Gastown, he was going straight to the fridge, if only to check what kind of mustard he used.

Jesse stripped, placing his clothes on a valet he’d either boosted or rescued during a client move, depending on what strict interpretation of either word one decided to take. That move had been so problem free, Jesse had made the mistake of commenting on it.  Ten minutes later, the client’s special pal had pulled a gun on him (again? again??), and George had pulled it out of his hand as if it was a Nerf Gun and dude was a naughty child.

“You didn’t even look concerned,” Jesse said afterward.

“I don’t think he could hurt me,” George said. “He was aiming at you, and I’d be pissed if he shot you.”

“Gee thanks,” Jesse said, although he was grateful.

Still thinking about that move, and George’s apparent fearlessness, Jesse slid into bed. He took a handful of pills out of the nightstand. They were mostly useless, and more for psychological effect than any therapeutic result, but he tossed them into his mouth anyway, and washed them down with water.  He put on his sleep visor, carefully put in his earplugs and sighed.

It wasn’t every night he got to play God, and he needed to be well rested.