Past vs. Present


“Hey Bill, you comin’ over to watch the game tonight?” asked Ted. It was 5:30 and already the sun was setting.

“Next time. I can’t tonight.”

“What? You got plans or somethin’?”

“As it happens, I do,” said Bill.

“You dog. She got a name?” laughed Ted.

“It’s not a date.”

“What then?”

Bill glared at his coworker and childhood friend. “Are you a cop or are you writing a book?”

“Maybe I’m both.”

“You can’t fool me. You’re barely literate,” scoffed Bill.

“Whatever, man. Tell me.”

“Fine,” huffed Bill. “I’m taking a course.”

“Was that so hard? What’s it about?”

Bill threw up his hands in frustration. “Can’t a guy have any secrets?”

“No,” stated Ted. “Spill it.”

“Okay. I’m taking a camping course.”

“That’s not so weird.”

“Wait, what? Why not?”

“We live in an urban world, man. We’ve lost our connection to our ancestors. It’s like part of us primal selves has been ripped from our very souls,” said Ted.

Bill’s mouth fell open. “That’s right. I wanna reconnect, you know?”

Ted scoffed. “No. That’s so lame. We’re gods of evolution. Masters of the world. Who cares about our primal selves.”


“We spent centuries progressing to a technologically advanced future, and you wanna go back to the stone age. That’s pathetic.”

Bill’s face flushed. “Oh yeah? What happens when technology fails? Like maybe an EMP fries all the computers and we’re left in the dark. What then?”

“I wait for the movie end, leave the theatre and rejoin the real world.”

Bill snatched his coat. “Know what? I’m sorry I said anything.”

“C’mon man. I’m just jerkin’ your chain.”

Bill stormed off without speaking another word. As the door slammed behind him, it just so happened that there was a major failure of the power grid. Ted was left alone in the darkness.

Ted shook his head. “C’mon man. You already made your point.”

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The Engagement Ring


It was after the dessert was ordered during their candle lit dinner when Colin dropped to one knee before his girlfriend.

Pattie covered her mouth. “What’s happening?” she gasped.

Colin opened a jewelry box with a large solitaire diamond ring. Pattie’s jaw dropped.

“Pattie, will you marry me?” asked Colin. He had a quiver in his voice.

“Yes,” she said, then embraced her newly betrothed. She admired the ring as she slipped it on her finger. “How could you afford such a big diamond?”

“It’s grandma,” replied Colin.

Pattie’s eyes filled with tears. “It was your grandmother’s? That’s so romantic.”

“No,” said Colin. “It’s my grandma.”

Pattie’s expression shifted from delight to abject confusion. “Huh?”

“When my grandma died, she was cremated, There’s a company in Europe that takes the ashes of loved ones and turns them into lab created diamonds,” explained Colin.

“Are you saying…” started Pattie.

“You’re wearing my grandma on your hand. It was a condition of her will I use it as an engagement ring,” finished Colin. He cringed in expectation of her reaction.

Her face softened. “That is so beautiful.”

“So that’s a yes?” asked Colin.

“Absolutely. Yes.” Pattie grasped Colin’s face and gave him a passionate kiss.

Colin sighed deeply. “Finally,” he whispered.

“What did you just say?” snapped Pattie.

Colin blushed. “What? Nothing.”

“You said finally. Am I the first person you offered this ring to? Well?”

“No,” muttered Colin.

“I’m the second? That’s not so bad I guess,” pondered Pattie. She started to settle down until she notice Colin avoid eye contact. “How may others?” she demanded.


“I’m the eighth?”

“But you’re the first one who didn’t think my ring was creepy,” encouraged Colin.

It didn’t help his cause. Pattie pulled the ring from her finger and set it on the table.

“Out of respect to your grandmother I won’t throw this in the gutter,” she said, right before storming off.

Colin was left in silent horror. “I was so close.”

From behind the corner a man in an expensive suit appeared. He looked at Colin, shaking his head in disapproval. “You are undoubtedly the biggest fool I’ve ever met.”

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The U-Turn Analysis


Ken and Barry were carpooling on their way to work on Wednesday morning. Without warning, the car ahead of them made a u-turn and sped down the street in the opposite direction.

“Whoa,” exclaimed Ken. “I’m not sure that was even legal.”

Barry looked back where the incident occurred. “I didn’t see a sign saying not to, so it must be okay.”

Ken nodded his head. “It’s funny you say that. There are two kinds of drivers. One kind doesn’t do anything unless there’s a sign saying it’s okay. The other assumes everything’s legal unless there’s a sign saying it isn’t.”

“Then again, there are those who are doing things that are illegal and don’t know it because the law changed out from under them,” said Barry.

“It sounds like you’re speaking from experience.”

“Well,” sighed Barry. “Stupid politicians gotta justify their existence some how.”

“Barry, you almost sound libertarian,” said Ken.

“Look, all I ask from my government is two things. First, leave me alone as much as humanly possible. I can live my life well enough on my own, thank you. I don’t need the government holding my hand. Second, since we need social programs and roads and defence and stuff…”

“Absolutely,” interrupted Ken.

“Then do it efficiently. That’s all I ask. Don’t waste my tax dollars.”

“That sounds reasonable,” said Ken.

Barry shook his head. “Reasonable, yes. Reality? Never. I might as well believe in Santa Claus.”

“Barry?” Ken asked with a glint in his eye.


“Merry Christmas,” laughed Ken.

Barry scowled. “Bah humbug!

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October 30th, 1938


Rob and Genie cuddled on the couch watching the news after a long day at work. After several stores, Genie said, “The world’s going to hell, ya know? And with all this fake news everywhere, I don’t know who to trust.”

“Fake news has been around a long time,” mused Rob.

“No it hasn’t.”

“Sure it has. I can prove it.”

Genie glared at Rob. “I’m listening.”

“October 30th, 1938.”

“You know I hate it when you’re smug.”

“Ask anyone from Grover’s Mill, New Jersey,” said Rob.

“If you’re just gonna be an a-“

Rob interrupted. “Fine. At 8PM on the Sunday evening before Halloween, Orson Welles directed his radio masterpiece, ‘War of the Worlds’. The whole play was set up as a series of news bulletins.”

“Fake news.”


“So you’re suggesting people are still making up news for dramatic effect?” asked Genie.

“From the script to the video clips right down the tone of the newsreaders.”

“If it’s so old, why are people only beginning to talk about it now?

“That’s easy. With the internet, no one voice controls the media any more. Notice how each side calls any dissenting news stories fake. It’s all about what they’re pushing.”

“Who do we listen to? Who do we trust?”

Rob shrugged. “I guess whatever side you choose.”

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Raise Your Hand


It was Brett who first noticed the woman walking down the other side of the street with her hand raised in the air.

“Keep Toronto weird,” Brett said to his friend Marty.

Marty laughed. “Why do you think she’s doing that?”

“How should I know? Maybe she’s airing out her armpits one at a time,” replied Brett.

Marty raised an eyebrow. “I’m gonna find out.”

“Stop. Wait.” Brett reached out to stop him, but wasn’t quick enough.

Marty walked with purpose toward the woman. She noticed him and stopped.

“Excuse me,” said Marty. “I couldn’t help notice your hand. Is everything okay?”

The woman looked at Marty with weary eyes. “In school I was taught to raise my hand if I had a question, but nobody calls on you in the real world.”

“Do you have a question?” asked Marty.


“What is it?”

“Why?” asked the woman.

“Is that your question or are you wondering if I really want to hear it?” asked Marty.

“No, that’s my question. Why? Most people tell me the answer is ‘because’, but that not a real answer, is it?”

Marty thought for a second. “Why not?”

The woman looked at him quizzically. “Is that your answer or are you asking why ‘because’ isn’t a real answer?”

“It’s the answer to your question,” declared Marty.

“I’m not sure that’s any better than ‘because’.”

“Sure it is. If there’s no ‘why not’, then there’s nothing. ‘Why not’ means there is something, regardless of what it is. I think in life, something is always better than nothing,” explained Marty.

The woman’s face lit up. “That makes sense.”

“It does?” asked Brett.

“It makes perfect sense. You’re a wise man. A guru. Thank you,” said the woman. She walked away mumbling joyfully to herself, Marty and Brett staring at her in wonder.

“I don’t think you should do things like that anymore,” said Brett.

“Do what?” asked Marty.

“Answer questions for random people on the street.”

“Why not?” asked Marty.

“Because,” said Brett, “I think that’s how cults get started.”

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Family Support



“What did you do?!?” shrieked Margo to her brother on her cell phone. She stood in front of her clothes closet which had been converted into a pigeon coop.

“I thought you were lonely so I got you a few friends,” replied Paul.

“Where are my clothes?”

“Check your bathroom,” said Paul. He listened as she gasped and screamed.

“Is that an alligator in my bathtub?”

“Cute little guy, isn’t he?”

“My clothes. Where are my clothes?” demanded Margo.

“I couldn’t find any room for them now that your apartment is a zoo, so I donated them to charity,” explained Paul.

“You better start running, ‘cause I’m gonna hunt you down like a dog. You’re a dead man.”

Paul laughed. “Tell you what. I’ll come over and help you clean up and we can call this even.”

“Not a chance.”

“Hey, it’s only fair. You did ruin my wedding,” said Paul.

“She wasn’t good for you anyway,” dismissed Margo.

“Still, you didn’t need to hire a biker gang to kidnap her.”

It was Margo’s turn to laugh. “You gotta admit, she’s happier on the road. I did you a favour, if you think about it.”

“Still, it was my mistake to make,” said Paul.

Margo sat on her bed and startled the pigeons. “Do you think I went to far? I mean, I just did it so you wouldn’t ruin your life, right?”

“Are you actually trying to be sensitive right now?”

“Maybe,” she said, cautiously.

There was a lengthy pause between the two siblings.

Paul broke the tension with a hearty laugh. “You’re the best sister ever.”

Margo smiled. “Only the best for my baby brother.”

“Just do me a favour, will you?” asked Paul.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t feed the pigeons to the alligator. He’s a vegetarian.”

Margo laughed.

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Sensory Deprivation


It was unusual for Jennifer to get home before her children on a Tuesday. When she opened the front door she was greeted by a strange woman in her underwear coming up from the basement.

“What’re you doin’ here?” accused the strange woman.

The question shocked Jennifer. It took a few seconds before she could muster a reply. “It’s my house,” she muttered.

The strange woman looked around the front hall. “It’s nice.”

“Get out,” demanded Jennifer.

“Why? I’ve been here six weeks and you haven’t said anything before.”

Again, Jennifer was left speechless. “No.”

“Absolutely I have. You just noticed now.”


The strange woman smiled. Jennifer noticed she was missing all but three of her front teeth. “I’ll say this much. Your family spends a lot of time wearing headphones.”


“You can’t hear much when you’re pumpin’ noise directly into your skull, can you?”

The revelation was a slap in the face. She’d never noticed how little time her family actually spent together.

“Between that and knowing your schedule, it’s easy to go unnoticed. I must say you people are like automatons, ‘cept for today that is,” said the strange woman.

“Now you’ll leave, right?” said Jennifer.

“No can do. I’m doin’ what the legal books call adverse possession. Gotta love this public library, eh?”

The strange woman laughed and went back to the basement.

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