Selections of short fiction

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Attempting to capture the imagination of Ryerson’s young writers, the Eyeopener gave a 400 word mission to an array of students — to craft an enticing short story that includes the following four elements: the story must take place in or around the Eaton Centre, and the main character is Alex, a ginger with a fear of pigeons.

The Transfiguration
By Josh Bailie

So there I was, Alex the atheist, standing by the fountain centrepiece in the Eaton’s Centre, staring at the hottest nun I’ve ever seen.

For a moment I think I’m the world’s biggest case of perversion and irony, but then I realize there’s something different about this nun. She’s not actually one of them. It’s like she stepped right out of the Stag Shop across the street. Her black gown stops before the knees and it is low-cut enough to expose mountains fit for a lot more than the landing of Noah’s Ark. And wait! Despite the breasts, she’s not even a she!

There (s)he was, just totally fucking with them. Aside from being an aesthetic heretic, she was purposefully messing up the words to their songs and winking seductively at passersby. I loved it. I’d never felt attracted to a tranny before, but I loved her. Him? A question as old as Eden.

The group of them sang on: “Resurrection this! Resurrection that!” I was hoping the only thing I’d see rise was the hem of her skirt. So I passed by with the most unholy of intentions. She winked. I winked. I inched toward her. She moved her inches toward my direction.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Mary…Mary Magdalene.” Green light.

In minutes, we’re in an Eaton Centre bathroom doing as Mary would. Good thing Pope Benedict warmed up to condoms.

As turned on as I was, she was ravenous.

“I fucking love your red hair,” she repeated as she went in and out of me. It was like the red was flair to her black and white world of nunnery. Reminded me of that book we read in school, The Giver. Yeah, give’er!

But then something changed within me. The relationship became more than I expected. Though we only spent minutes together, it felt like infinity. She caressed and cared in ways I’ve never experienced. Hands snug around my waist, making me feel whole. Her bosom was warm and her full presence inside of me made me feel warmer. Emotionally — and physically — she was an amazing kind of everything.

This new love was spectacular. Call it a baptism.

After my exodus from the mall, I was walking on the northwest corner of Yonge and Dundas only to be startled. Not by a pigeon but by a trademark baritone shriek, “JESUS SAVES!”

Yeah, in ways you’d never expect.

The Shopping Trip
By Lee Richardson

Alex hated the winter. The darks nights made it hard to see all the charity workers. The kinds who rattled buckets and grasped Perspex clipboards.

Alex still hadn’t gotten over the time two years prior when one of the workers — who, it had turned out in court, realized it could utilize its negotiating skills for its own self interests — had run off with her bag a week before Annual Holiday Day.

Alex was still grateful that the police could figure out its identity by the fistful of grey feathers she had managed to grab before it had waddled off, too heavy to fly.
Sure enough, she spotted one of them down the street. She tucked her chin into her scarf and quickened her pace. She had to get to the Eaton Centre because it was soon due to close and she still had some presents to buy.

“Caw,” it squawked. There was something about those beaks that still didn’t seem right.

“Oh sorry, excuse me,” it said, raising its clipboard as Alex walked by. “Do you have a minute?”

They had all been offered jobs as charity workers when positions opened up after the human activists quit to collaborate in organizing a global campaign against GM foods, which were finally — after decades — beginning to affect human fetuses in negative ways. This was much to the embarrassment of the scientists who had lobbied for their introduction to the global food chain as a method of dealing with the food crisis.

After breaking down in court, it had admitted that it had picked Alex because of her red hair, which stood out as it was so rare in this day and age. It said that with Annual Holiday Day coming up, it had just needed more income, plain and simple.

Their growth and basic ability to communicate had come from a GM splice that had (somewhat stereotypically) gone wrong. It had been developed and implemented as part of a plan to triple their physical size in order to solve the chicken virus problem that had killed off most of the fowl population. One of the early test subjects — actually picked up from nearby Nathan Phillips Square — had gotten out of a lab window after a scientist left it open to lessen chemical smells one day. It had bred like, well, a pigeon.

Though they weren’t the most eloquent of speakers, the fact that they were just wandering around observing people all day anyway eventually strengthened their vocabulary quite a lot.

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