Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Spadina Station, near the front of the line, for once.

Caucasian woman, late 30s, with short greying hair, wearing a long black coat, red scarf and a glass bobble ring with a flower petal floating inside.

The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls (Scribner)

Page 102:

Standing on the sidewalk, she held up the bone like a crucifix at an exorcism, and called down a curse on the entire Gypsy clan and their house, vowing that it would collapse with the lot of them in it and that the bowels of the earth would open up and swallow them forever if they bothered us again. The next morning Brian's pogo stick was lying in the front yard.

**This is one of those serendipitous moments. 'cause check out what I wrote a week ago before I'd turned to page 120 and read this passage. (And, the best part? Most of it is true. Stranger than fiction indeed...)**

Red calls from the street outside her house. She tells me that the snow is so thick it blankets any sound. Even if she’d been calling from inside there would have been a distant tick of the furnace turning on, her fingers drumming on the kitchen counter, her slippers scraping the stairs as she moved from one floor to the next. Certainly, I’d hear the shift in the tone of her voice as she reclined onto her bed. Outside her house it's a vacuum of silence, cut through only by her voice.

“I’m in the street outside my house holding a severed leg.”

“Any particular leg?”

“I’m guessing it’s a deer.”

“Any theories?”

“Well, it’s a very clean cut, slightly crude, done in the field, but purposeful. A hunter in all likelihood.”

“And the leg just bounced out of the flat bed and onto the road?”

“That’s what I’m thinking.”

“Good of you to go out and get it.”

“Well, it was just sitting here in the snow. I didn’t want some child to come across it and get scared.”

“Or run over it on their bike in first thaw.”


“So, what are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know.”

Long silence.

“Red, you won’t be making stew tonight, will you?”

“No, no! But I think I’ll bury it in the backyard.”


“Well, I don’t know how one disposes of a severed leg without arousing suspicion.”

“Says the strange redheaded woman new to the city holding the severed leg in the middle the snow and talking on her cell phone.”

“Oh, good point!”

I can hear the change in temperature as she enters her home and again as she goes out the back into her yard. Her breath becomes shallow and muted. I can tell she’s close to the ground.

“There. That will do for now.”

“And you’re just going to leave it there for…?”

“Until I think of something.”

“It could be reasoned that a frozen, albeit severed, leg will raise less suspicion from the garbage collectors than, say, a thawed, severed leg.”

“Uh huh…”

“Does your neighbourhood compost?”

“I’m not putting a leg in the-“

“Kidding, Red. I’m kidding.”

“Oh. Alright.”

“I’m just saying that, all told, sooner or later it’s not going to be a question of why the new woman on the street is disposing of a severed leg but why she was seen holding on to it.”

“Uh huh…But I’ve already done it. It's buried.”

“And, by being on the phone with me you’ve made me an accomplice.”

“That’s not true, we could have been talking about anything.”

“Try telling that to the cops when they confiscate your cell phone and start punching numbers.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“How many people saw you in the street just now?”

“I don’t know?”

“Or maybe it was a butcher and he’s going to come back wanting to collect a week’s worth of stewing meet you just plucked off the street like it was nobody’s business.”

“Now you’re being mean.”

“No, I’m saying get that friggin’ deer leg out of your yard!”

For a moment, I think she’s hung up on me, but I can hear a faded mumble in the distant and a flurry of activity, grunts and the swish of her winter jacket, followed by a tremendous effort that can only be described as HOIST!

She picks up the phone.

“O.K. All done.”

“All done, what?”

“I threw it over the fence.”

“Into your neighbour’s yard?!”

“No, no! The back fence. It’ll be better there.”

“What’s over the fence?”

“A park.”

“You really are new to this world, aren’t you, Red?”

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