selections of short stories

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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 encompass the following four elements: the story must take place in or around the Eaton’s Centre, and the main character is Alex, a ginger with a fear of pigeons.

A Christmas Story

By Stephen Baldwin

Like many or most, Alex hated the winter but hated the idea of Christmas without it even more. As she waited, the metallic silver chair in Dundas square felt icy underneath her, but other than that, she could last all night. Beside and behind her, all kinds of other, seemingly normal, people had blank stares with eyes that rarely blinked. They must have been high, she thought, but who the fuck knows…She would have liked to have some alcohol at that point, to ease the nerves. She had cigarettes, but only used them to escape awkward situations.

Alex never asked for a description of her new friends, because she thought it wouldn’t be cool to ask, and she figured she’d know exactly what they’d look like. They were into vampires. And not Twilight fans (though she was an intensely secretive twilight fan), but those who knew that the vampire is a reincarnation of Judas. Also, what made her particularly nervous about the encounter, they loved blood. They would post pictures of themselves drinking blood and dipping their fingers in it and even, though extremely rarely, licking it off of each other’s nipples and genitals.

The pictures made her shiver at first, but she began to realize how much she enjoyed the shiver. It was the same terrifying feeling she got when she saw pigeons (she used to love the dumb, fat little things, but once on Christmas day when she went to a park to feed some, and found about 25 pecking and tugging on the intestines of an old, frozen homeless man.  She hoped she wasn’t the only one with this sick shit on her mind. And as she hoped, she felt a cold hand sweep away her curly red hair, pull her back in her chair and sink their teeth into her juicy neck. And when the sick bastard loosened his jaw and she was about to scream, another one chomped down so hard that he chewed right through her vocal chords, and the blood splashed all over her cheeks and forehead and blended with the scarlet curls. She was enclosed in a black-coated chamber of those beside and behind her. But oh yes, she could see alright, and a sublime feeling came over her. She understood what the old man was, and why he and she let the pigeons poke and prod. A sacrifice.

The Painted Nail

By Brittney Kewin

Alex leaned his head against the metal pole. “Strap me in. I’m ready.” His dad pulled a leather belt from the grocery bag.

“You really want to do this?”

Alex’s palms sweat despite the cold; he closed his eyes and nodded. His dad looped the belt around him and the streetlight and buckled it across his chest. He smelled toothpaste on his dad’s breath in the morning air. Alex was having trouble swallowing. His dad strapped a belt around his son’s waist, pinning down his arms, and another around his thighs. Alex tried to free himself, then instructed his dad to drape the green and red strands of garland from the bag over the belts. “So I blend in,” he told him, “so nobody calls the cops.” A group of buskers arranged themselves nearby. “They’ve got it,” Alex said, nodding at them, “when the Eaton Center opens shoppers are gonna flood by us, right out of the subway.” The thought made his chest constrict and he wondered if the belts were too tight. His dad looked at his son, six feet tall, strapped to a pole and wrapped in garland.

“Nobody will judge if you back out, Alex. A little fear of pigeons is normal.”

Alex inhaled and counted to three. “Women, Dad. Call them women. Dr. Letvin says calling women ‘pigeons’ is maladaptive, considering my condition.”

“What condition? You’re shy.”

Alex closed his eyes to ready himself. “Pick me up at noon, please.” He’d learned about rapid desensitization online. Like ripping off a Band-Aid, the website said. He imagined himself surrounded and he shimmied up and down against the pole. The more he squirmed, the tighter the belts felt. He lowered a shoulder and lifted a hip and the buskers began to play. The belt around his thighs slid to his ankles and his toque fell off. He pictured the square full of people and his breathing sharpened. Alex’s red curls bobbed as he bounced and twisted and carols filled the square. He angled his body and slid all the way around the pole. He’d lost control of his voice and he thought his bladder might go, too. Alex felt shoppers brush against him as he jerked under the garlands and belts. His eyes closed tight, he didn’t see as they dropped nickels and quarters into the toque near his feet. Alex made twenty-four dollars that day.

The Blind side

By Stephen Baldwin

Dundas Square is always safe, man. These aren`t my people, but they were people I knew wouldn`t cause me any problems. If any problems were caused around here I`d probably be the cause. Life as a marked man is like any other life – it`s better with people around.

Three stores I always enjoy going to, especially during the holidays, are H&M and HMV, in the Eaton Centre, and American Apparel outside. I pay special attention to things that I like, and my mom says, `So what do you think of that, AlexÉ`,“ and if I really like it, I say with a smile, “this is exactly what I`ve been looking for, Mom.“ I`m 14, and we both know exactly what`s going on. Actually, we aren`t even Christian, but my Mom says Christmas actually has nothing to do with religion.

They call me Red, maybe because I`m Irish, but actually because of my hair. I walk down the street with my boys from back home, but they drag their heels, they`re too cool to keep a good pace going. The only time I slow down is to avoid pigeons – those things trip me out, don`t think I`ve considered why. $400 dollars for a few pairs of shoes at footlocker and we move on. Cash, always cash.

I pick out a few pairs of jeans and a hat at H & M – nothing too expensive – and pretend to ignore mom putting them on hold. Downstairs at HMV, I could spend hours. I pick out a Katy Perry album to fit in with the girls at school, but I`m here for the new Big Boi and Sufjan Stevens albums. I find them and we walk on. Mom asks me if I want to get something to eat – I`m starving – but I want to keep going, so I tell her , `No thanks Mom, I`m ok.,“ and we keep going.

We glide up the escalators and swing through the revolving doors without getting trampled. My mom and I walk stride for stride through the busy intersection and passed Guess and Boathouse – can`t wait for the AA colours.

A black Nissan rolls by slowly and I freeze – a window drops down. Zing zing. Two whistle by me and into the sidewalk, pigeons fly (Oh, that`s why). As I drop, two zip over my head and I see red hairs hit the ground. They aren`t mine.

Santa’s Lap

By Kats Quinto

I can’t be near Santa Claus.  It’s different when he’s on a Christmas card, but not in person.

I am waiting for my friend Marta outside the Sears building, sitting on a storefront ledge.  Through the legs of people walking, I notice the Salvation Army Santa inconveniently stationed across the street, ringing a bell for charity.  All I can think of is his white gloves wrapped around the smooth mahogany handle that he’s shaking fervently up and down.  I become conscious of my growing shaft.

Just look away, I think to myself.   I don’t know if other guys have the same problem as I do.  Maybe I’ll grow out of it.   If I could give parents one good advice, it would be:  Don’t let your kids sit on Santa’s lap. Don’t do it.

Before I could stand up to adjust my raging erection, my friend appears, crossing the street with a smile on her face.

“Hey Alex,” she implores.  “Wanna know something?”

“Sure.  What is it?”  I muse.  She toys with her hair, twirling it through her index finger, grinning flirtatiously.   The candy cane she’s sucking on is jutting from her mouth like a torturously suggestive innuendo.

“I’m having a costume party tonight, if you want to come.  You can dress up like…” she pauses, searching. “Like a pigeon or something.”

“I fucking hate pigeons.  Why the hell would I dress like a pigeon?”

“Well, anyway, dress up and bring some booze. “ She takes out a box from her purse.  “Oh, and here’s the hair dye you wanted to buy.  I think you should stay a ginger.  It looks cute on you!”

“Nah, I just wanna try something new,” I responded, watching her mouth move as she talks about her day.  I don’t hear a word.  Her glistening lips slightly covered in white succulence from the melting candy.

5 hours later

I arrive at Marta’s apartment.  Peering through her window, I could see moving shades of red.  I ring the doorbell and Marta answers the door.

“Wow, Alex!  You’re a blond elf!  How Rice Crispies of you!  Are you snap, crackle or pop?” She jokes.

“You’re n-n-naked.”  I stuttered, wide-eyed.  It’s one of those situations where you think you know exactly what you would do if it were to happen.  You know how the story goes:  you come in, you confidently push her onto the floor and fuck the living daylights out of her like some kind of Oscar-winning pornography.  No such thing.  I am standing, perplexed, but she only giggles and lets me in.

I look at the guests in the living room, which I hadn’t clearly notice on account of Marta’s nakedness.

At least thirty pantless Santas are standing in a semi-circle, all with rock-hard equipments.  Marta motions me to join them.  I reluctantly budge, my private organ pulsating against my pants.  She brings me to the middle of the living room, exposed in front of St. Nicholas impersonators.  She forcibly kicks my legs, making me fall on my hands and knees.  She slides down underneath me, like a mechanic doing an oil change.  She surrounds my cock with her mouth, the warmth from her wet tongue rapidly enveloping my entire body.  Her head bobs up and down as the Santas behind me crowd closer towards us.

One of them grabs both my waist.  I feel something viscous and cold dripping through my ass crack.  I feel Marta’s hand reach up, her arm grazing my stomach.  She gropes my balls so sensuously I start to moan, despite the Santa behind me forcibly entering my behind.

Pain and pleasure intermingle through the entire fiber of my being.  I must have died and gone to heaven on Christmas Eve.

A Conversation.

By: Stephen Baldwin

“You know, Christmas is a load of shit, Max.” “Vut the feck?” “Christmas is a load of…” “no no, what is that?” “What`s Christmas?” “No you ee-diot, vhat`s that noise?” “I don`t know, those pigeons are fucking around.” “pigeons?!” “Yes, some fucking pigeons. You`ve been here before, there`s pigeons all over Dundas Square.” “Well kip those snicky fooks away from my shoes.” “Your shoes?” “Yes I once know a man who haves hees fecking shoes stolen by some pigeons.” “Now that`s a load of shit.” “You`re a loaf of shit, I cin prove these!” “I really don`t give a fuck.” “Well you should, that`s a nice shoes on you.” “Thanks Max, I got them for Christmas.” “Ah yes, Christmas is a nice time.” “What?! No I was just saying…wait, you celebrate Christmas?” “No.” “So why…” “Why, why, why you must fecking question evthing?” “Uh…well…” “Vell vhat? These fucking kids get their presents, they are happy, yes? And I am happy to see zem happy. So yees I gis I do ceelebrate Christmas, but s`got nathing to dos wis religion.” “Well that`s why it`s a load of shit. It`s supposed to be based on a religion, but now it`s just based on consumerism!” “You know I envy zees pigoon sometimes, even if I do fear zem absconding vith my shoes. Zey just eat, sleep, feck. Zey are happy I can tell, zey know the secret to life.” “Ignorance is bliss.” “No don`t do zees, simplicity eesn`t so simple my friend. Some sings you can’t learn from a book.”  “Then what, all-knowing Max, is the secret to life?” “Fecking sarcasm. If I knew the secret to life, I would nut be sharing it vith you my friend. But, Alex, I vill tell you a secret to life.” “Yea, yea I’m listening.” “John A. Mcdonald here theenks he knows eeverything, hah? Why, becooze you don’t have no accent, becooze you own these country? Hah, this my freend, ees a load of shit” “Fuck you Max,” “My secret to life my friend…” “I don’t really give a shit, why don’t you just get the fuck out of here?” “…is that happiness is meaningless, if it isn’t shared.” “Bullshit, man.” “The pigeons know it, I know it.” “You don’t know shit.” “I know enough, my friend, to know that you dun’t vant to be alone right now.”

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