Albie bought a giraffe costume from a woman with pink eyeshadow on the Home Shopping Channel. It was almost midnight and she had him on the air to talk about his purchase.
“I bought the giraffe one,” Albie whispered into the mouthpiece.
The entire library could hear Iris crying in the stairwell. The shoddy fluorescents blipped in the SOS pattern of horror films, spitting their white light and sucking it back up. She tried to stifle her sobs, but that only created more—louder—anguished bleating. She clenched a sodden tissue and looked at her wristwatch.
He wanted to move up north.
“I want to move up north,” he said. No longer thinking of her feelings, he added: “I am going to move up north.”
Sylvia shifted on the mattress. A new set of coils contracted while others expanded with a metallic groan. Her instinct was to pretend she hadn’t heard.
Summer is coming and twilight is gently settling like a soft gray bed sheet on the city. Neon signs fizz and glitter in the closed storefronts. Dale has left his apartment and now he is crossing the street. There is hardly any traffic and he does not need to look both ways.
It’s a quarter to eight on a Tuesday night and my dead sister has returned to haunt our apartment complex. The new neighbors aren’t supposed to move in until tomorrow, but I can see them through the slats of the blinds now, pacing the common area, their little girl skipping in tow. The girl looks like my baby sister. She looks exactly like Wendy—almost identical. I saw them the other day when they were signing their lease. I thought it was eerie and I put a hand on the wall so I didn’t fall down.
Matthew Allard is an author, freelance copywriter and Internet geek. His debut collection of short stories, To Slow Down The Time, was published by Wrd Lab in the fall of 2010. His writing has been featured as part of Sing Statistic’s Reverence Library and printed in The South Loop Review. He lives in Los Angeles. www.matthewallard.com
Paul Dotey is an illustrator, book designer, and typesetter living in Toronto. He studied Fine Art at the University of Guelph, and design at OCAD in Toronto. He has illustrated for the National Post, Canadian Family, and Quill and Quire magazine. He has also designed books for Random House of Canada. www.pauldotey.ca
Matthew Allard’s fiction debut is filled with obsessive teenagers, scorned women, and unreliable men; but throughout, it brims with characters simply trying to lasso a moment of happiness, sometimes under rather curious conditions.
Unlike traditional methods, each of the 19 stories in this collection were inspired by the charming illustrations that accompany them.
Buy the book at TO SLOW DOWN THE TIME
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