Kristina Born

Eaton Centre

For a shopping mall to be silent, there must be blood! Everywhere! Otherwise, what are we even talking about? In a nonviolent hostage situation, such as ours, we find it impossible not to chat each other up. Jack Twig, you know what we are. The pregnant woman is Margaret; she works as a dental receptionist; her eyes are hazel, actually, not brown or green. Tomorrow is Friday; Teddy heard that it might get up to thirty degrees. The young man in the wheelchair appears to be afflicted with some kind of palsy. Our captor wants us to Shut up! Shut up! and my wife smiles knowingly and I pat her powdery hand. The young man in the wheelchair wets his lips, as a signal to me. Oh, yes, we are all bleeding, absolutely.



Eden Grammar School & College

If a boy walks out into the Canadian wilderness in search of uncharted pussy, will he instead find himself? Probably not; but he won't find the pussy, either. He lies down with a bear and nothing happens. He lies down with a bison, a fox. Nothing can happen because he is impotent, after all, in his mind. A mighty river surges by and in its mouth is a dead seal that the boy could have used, probably, if he knew how. Throughout his ordeal, the boy has been calm, gracious – angelic, really; he sucks up water from inside the snow. Still, he will need to be eating more than fish and berries if he wants that football scholarship. He will need to be eating everything he sees.





Copycat (software)

I long to approach our captor because I suspect he is only a hologram. I sidle up and he looks down at me and I scatter. I tiptoe. I try a little soft-shoe. I send him notes across the open space. ABC is to ABD as XYZ is to what? No matter. He has a mustard-yellow blazer. He has a decomposing intelligent behavior. My wife giggles a little every time he drums his explosive chest. She knows what I know because we are one. Jack Twig, this is how they're dressing in the city now. You know what you're missing.




Fine, he finds some pussy. He picks flowers for the young lady. The boy has certain ideas in his head. The young lady squints up at him through the sunbeam and they are mysterious to each other. They sit together on the shore. They throw rocks into the water. They get it into their heads to catch fish and pick berries. They braid each other's goddamn hair.





The Gilmore Commission

Holograms can kill a man. Unlike linear images, which are easily sidestepped, literally. A threadlike sports car races by the locked glass doors. Since early childhood, Jack Twig, it has been your job to know the difference. (You said: the difference is it's a psychological difference.) Mother and I have been losing our sight for quite some time. Even now, Teddy proposes a game of hangman and she declines, murmuring, patting her hands on her cheeks. Look at her. She is not afraid to die but of almost every other thing. Sometimes I wonder, Who can think without horror on death and the life beyond? and I know it is only my wife and only because her eyeballs are falling out. Sometimes I wonder, When comes the mutually assured destruction promised us by our greatest nations? Jack Twig, take a look for me: I think I still have some extremely deteriorated nerve agent buried in the yard.



"Sexy Love"

There is a light sex scene now, but the young lady leans back and a bear swipes her throat open. The boy drops the body and the bear takes it in its mouth and backs up through the woods. The boy doesn't know what to do, of course. He tears his hair and beats his chest. He falls to the ground and digs down and puts his face in the hole. He breathes the dirt and punches the dirt. He might even cry. He is having what is called a tantrum.





Pyramid of Djoser

We dig down and make a great trench. It circles our captor in a square and then slants beneath him. When Margaret crawls, her belly scrapes the ground. My wife touches my dirty face. We spit to make mud and follow complicated plans. There is a grand foyer lit with torches. There are five fine doors, only one of which is a real entrance. Teddy works around me like a beetle. I approach a statue of my ancestor and fall to my knees because she is dead. But being underground only implies we've died. We share the sandwich which I'd hoped to eat with my son.



Memory Hold-the-Door

The boy is sick in the river. The water is greenish. He looks at his ring finger, which is only half of his ring finger, and remembers trying to pitch a curveball. There was a sunbeam on him the whole time. He remembers the ball striking the ground and spiking upwards, over and over, and the coach was a shadow coming for him. He remembers being carried off the field upside-down and screaming. He remembers the sound the blood made in his head. The boy backs up from the shore and through the woods.





"Love Will Save the Day"

Jack Twig, the sister you never had was blonde and I loved her. She was on the swim team and she was better than you. If I had to choose, I would choose this. I like to be in a mortuary complex without you. Margaret is blonde. What if she had her baby right now? Wouldn't that be funny? It would almost be like my baby. Mother never had the energy for that kind of thing. Sweat sparkles on the bridge of her nose and I kiss it off and she burbles. A little dirt shakes down into her hair. A rumbling is circling down towards us but I don't suppose it's you.



FATE (computer game)

The boy has known for some time that there is an unseen villain stalking him. He is self-aware and using machines. He slips between the pines and hears a slipping not his own. He raises a pulley system into the trees and hangs upside-down, looking. There is a light going out. There is a bear who thinks the boy is a fish. He is swinging more with every push. His head is filling up with blood. He is becoming a new living species that flies. He cannot feel his legs and has no legs. There is a light where his legs are. There is a future that never existed. In a few hours, the air is the same color as the bear and the boy is tricked and takes out his knife without feeling the knife. He cuts himself down and rushes to himself. The bear takes him in its mouth to the other bears and they are keeping him in a guarded area.






Our captor has wheeled the young man in the wheelchair down because the young man was afraid because we left him. Fine, he is human. We bring our captor in and put the young man by the fire, where he will be safe. The young man wets his lips. We kiss our captor's sweating forehead. We peel his blazer away and unstrap his explosive vest. We see his smooth skin. We mix our paints. We anoint him with our oils. He says his name is David and he has a son and he doesn't deserve any of this. Not this much. My wife hums Nonsense, nonsense, and slices his eyes with her dusty nails. Our captor wants us to Shut up! Shut up! and I fall to my knees because he is dead.




Walking up out of the cave after having killed the bears, the boy feels something poking through the blood on his face. It's a third eye, obviously, but the boy can't see. The light is going out again anyway. He needs help and calls out for it but nothing's there. What did he expect, coming all the way out here? Salvation, probably, but salvation doesn't come. Not for boys like him. He will have to become something else. A hologram, so that he can kill a man? That sounds about right. Yes, that sounds like it would be right up his alley.






He restoreth my soul.



Interpenetrated Buddhism

I am telling this story now. I can kill a man and I would kill him if I had the chance. Speaking of which, I pulled a body out of the river this morning. I peeled the yellow hair away from her face and threw her back. I think I don't want to be here anymore. I flicker down the shore to where there are logs on the rocks and I lash myself a raft. I pick at my third eye. Floating down the river, I feel myself becoming something else again. I am calm. I am receptive to commands. Really, the difference is it's a psychological difference. I think I know how this works.






Man With a Memory

You were such a good boy. You threw the ball back. Even when that dog caught the ball and you reached into its mouth and it bit off your finger, you still threw it back. Your blood flew into my face. I held your hand and your blood damaged my new shirt. You were so sweet to me in the ambulance. When Mother arrived at the hospital, I felt that maybe she should leave since I had you under control. She swooned and a bone in my wrist collapsed when I caught her. I patted her powdery cheeks and you smiled at us from your bed. I sent Mother away when she was well. I came over to look down at you. We held hands and it hurt both of us.



Hello, Sailor

Hello, world.







This is what I think of when I think of love letters.