miss nippon’s revenge

This story first appeared in Incite Magazine, volume 11, issue 6, April 2009. It was inspired by “The Magic Chalk” by Kobe Abe.

I sliced the knife into the pale yellow flesh. Coming away with a sizeable glob, I smeared it all over the toasted rye, a painter coating his canvas with gouache. I was not hungry—I was never hungry—but this is the last supper. I took a little nibble from the crust. My salivary glands moistened slowly as I let the buttery morsel roll around the inside of my mouth. Suddenly I became ravenous and I chomped and chomped until the toast was gone.

In one hour I will be hanged for killing Miss Nippon. I shot her with her own pistol. She was supposed to be my lovely accomplice, the Eve to my Adam, my wonderful-to-look-at partner in crime, my Miss Nippon… but she was too greedy. She tried to kill me! She had to go. The police were there before I had time to run from the flat. Even still, I did not resist when they handcuffed me. I could have slunk my skeleton hands out of the handcuffs, but life as a prisoner is better than life as a starving artist.

For my last supper, I have requested a light meal of bread and butter, a red apple, a cup of coffee, and some cubes of sugar. “Looks more like breakfast to me,” the guard said as he set down the tray. “Usually the condemned ask for more lavish meals. A five-course meal, some lobster or steak, with flan for dessert.” The bolt clicked as he left me to eat, alone in my cell at a dining table. I gobbled down the second piece of toast, dry. Then I dropped all of the sugar cubes into the coffee and gave it a brief stir. The sugar crystals came apart like a piece of chalk disintegrating in the darkness, smashed to smithereens by an invisible hammer. I gulped it down, the whole cup, and let the undissolved granules tickle the back of my throat. Then I picked up the apple. I gnawed at the skin until my teeth penetrated the cherry red covering and pierced into the tart flesh. I munched through it until only the core was left. Because I was still hungry, I ate it too. Seeds, stem and all.

Fifty-three minutes until I hang like a roasted duck in a restaurant window. Shit. I was still hungry. The guard would not return until fifty-three minutes from now. Besides, once the menu for the last supper is set, it is final. No alterations. I had signed the agreement. But I was so hungry. The last time I was this hungry I had to forage around in the sewer for thrown-out takeout containers. My stomach was about to eat itself, so I scraped desperately at the bottom of the coffee cup, hoping to find some grains of sugar to mollify my gut. I shoved the spoon into my mouth. I felt a tingling on my tongue and my saliva melted the steel. I swallowed down the ladle and threaded the rest of the spoon through my lips, swallowing it too. I was still hungry, so I ate the knife, the plates, the mug, the jar for the sugar, and the tray. I ate the decorative flower, washed it down with the flower water, and ate the glass, as well. Everything tasted like chalk. It was heavenly! Still, my gut yearned for more. I slurped up the tablecloth, and chomped my way through the table. Then I removed my prisoner’s garb and devoured it. I removed my briefs and ate them, too. Then I was naked.

Forty-seven minutes now until I hang like a strip of tenderloin at the butcher’s market stall. I had to get rid of the clock. Forty-seven times sixty seconds times one thousand milliseconds—I couldn’t bear to look at the clock anymore, or to hear its measured ticking. I dragged the chair over to the wall and pulled myself up so that I was face-to-face with the ticking monster. I licked its face to soften it and then ate the entire machine, swallowing its mechanical heart with a relish. Then I got down on my hands and knees to work on the chair. Soon I found myself standing alone and unclothed in an empty room. Thank the Lord I was not hungry anymore.

Suddenly I felt a churning in my bowel. The churning moved up my entire digestive tract and my stomach felt like it was on fire. The fire coursed through my esophagus, and soon it was in the back of my mouth. Before I could scream for the guard, I threw up. It was a white and chalky powder. My esophagus quaked and shuddered as more and more throw-up came up. I kept throwing up even after I had drained my digestive organs. Then my insides were summoned forward, from the bottom up. First my bowels, then my intestines, guts, esophagus, then all of my alimentary organs were threaded out of my mouth by an invisible force. I watched as the organs writhed on the floor, like fish flopping about on a dock. One by one, they disintegrated into a fine chalk dust. Then I felt my toes being sucked up into my feet, and my feet being sucked upward into my legs and turned inside out. I threw up my toes, and my legs. The rest of my body followed; soon, my torso, balls, penis and limbs were sticking out of my mouth. My lips stretched over my head and I threw that up, too. I was now completely inside out. I felt a tingling sensation creep up my body and I crumbled into a fine white powder.

A whirlwind rose from beneath the pile of chalk dust, swirling the white powder around in the air. Bit by bit the white whorl grew, until it formed a cylindrical vessel in the middle of the room. Slowly, an invisible chisel carved into the spinning chalk dust cylinder the figure of a curvy woman wearing a sequined blue evening gown, a sash and a tiara. She pirouetted in place until the carving was complete. Then she collapsed to the spotless ground.

The guard returned to usher Argon to his execution. Instead, he found Miss Nippon, a crumpled cobalt heap on the ground. Her figure was beautiful to behold, her legs long and shapely, neck white as a swan. She stirred. “Oh, excuse me. I must have lost track of time,” she said as she rose. Her breath reeked of chalk, as did her perfume and hairspray. She pushed past the guard and walked out of the prison cell, adjusting a bobby pin in her hair. In her left hand, under her baby and ring fingers, she clasped the last fragment of the magic chalk. “I have had enough!” she huffed. She popped the magic chalk into her mouth and walked off to her next photoshoot.

for my twin sister

28 February 2008

Sometimes when it is dark and our heads are on our pillows a tear comes out of my eye and then another and another but I am so good I keep my breath steady and when you say are you crying? I hold my voice still and say no of course not. I am lucky that you hear me and I am lucky that you put your arm around me instead of pretending not to notice, like some rotten people I have heard of who pretend to be asleep —some are so rotten they make snoring sounds, roll onto their sides and pull the blanket away.

The other day when I phoned Vanessa’s house in Toronto to see if she was OK Penny picked up the phone and told me that V was in Dublin and when I heard Penny’s voice my eye felt warm and slow tears streamed out and I choked but Penny doesn’t know my crying voice so she had no idea and she told me I should learn Chinese to become marketable because that is what mums want for their girls, to be pretty and marketable and successful so that they will never have to be at the mercy of people like our dads.

How come when I think of sad things I feel sad, and when I think of happy things I feel even sadder? And how come the happier things are harder to think up? But I am sure we laughed so much. I remember your laughing face much more than your crying face, and just now it occurred to me that in one week it will be our birthday, and I felt a warm tear swell behind my nose but then it went away by itself when I wrote this down. In the post I am sending you a birthday surprise with a card I traced from a picture of when we were swans in the school play and you were so graceful and I felt so clumsy and I can’t get my limbs to move like yours do even though we look the same and I hope you like it!

How come when I think of our childhood I first remember wishing I could be like you instead of remembering that we laughed so much! Like when Daddy became that scary twitching mole-monster on the floor and when we made Playdoh food and when Jumbo ate my blue crayon and his poo was blue and I stepped in it and when we were at Tai-Lau’s funeral and we were trying not to cry so we laughed instead. We laughed so much but sometimes all I remember is being in your shadow because you were so clever and artistic and funny and cute and adventurous and likeable and you ran so fast and all the boys liked you and Daddy called you Favie.

How come you love me even though I told you that you are ugliest when you smile? I remember when it happened a fat tear rolled down your cheek but your gum smile was still there. And now your smile is pretty for the camera, chin tilted up, lip pulled over your gum—oh, but when we see something that makes us laugh and convulse and hiccup, your goofy smile is back, all gum and squinty moon eyes and bunny teeth, but definitely not ugly!

Sometimes when I am sad I hide in the corner of the room and scratch mean things about Mummy into the wall, like “I HATE HER” and “I HATE HER SO MUCH” and stuff like that with sharp things I find in the drawer, like a scissor blade or a bobby pin or a key. But I don’t keep track of what I write or when I write it so when I saw the other day in black ink the words “I never meant it” with a full stop I couldn’t remember if I had written it or not or if you maybe decided to contribute to my wall but either way I scratched it out and wrote “I WILL NEVER TAKE IT BACK.” Because I won’t. I won’t take back the mean things I said and I won’t make you take back the mean things you did because it’s not fair to be choosy.

You always try to take things back and it always makes me mad. Why did you cut a hole in your blanket after you cut a hole in my blanket? If you’re going to hurt me, then mean it. Stop taking it back, and don’t make me take back the things I said, because you KNOW I meant it when I said you are ugliest when you smile, but I don’t mean it NOW because that was six years ago when you were making me really mad. And I KNOW you meant it when you picked up yours scissors and snipped deliciously at the stitches of my beloved, even though you didn’t mean it ten minutes later when you punished your own blanket, and even though we can’t remember why we were fighting to begin with.

Besides, if we take back all of that bad stuff, why should we be allowed to keep the rest? Moments of thoughtfulness, when you solicited the help of your kindergarten class to draw an eye over my eye-patch so I wouldn’t look like some crazy lazy-eyed Cyclops, and when you wouldn’t eat cheese in front of me because it reminds me of throw-up. And moments of reassurance, when we’d sleep in your bed holding hands because we were so scared of UFOs, and when you agree with me that our younger sister is a self-righteous poohead and Mummy is like an overgrown child. And moments of collaborative delight: when, after smearing poo all over the stuffed caterpillars in our cribs, we giggled at our masterpieces; when we made that slideshow for French class that featured a silly cut-out of a girl’s head on a swallow and Madame Seguin loved it so much even though we couldn’t stop laughing inside our head; and when we made that giant, ugly papier-mâché sculpture that they featured at the entrance of the art studio even though we thought it was so ugly!

No, let’s keep everything! Because while what we say might be true in the very instant we say it, the degree of its trueness wears off after a while, but this doesn’t mean our feelings are false. I think it only means that the way I feel about you is never fixed. Maybe this is how come you love me even though I am sometimes cruel to you. We’re always drawing things from our life and mashing them together to make up different ways of understanding each other. Maybe this is how come Mummy still loves us even though she had to hire some workman to sand the scratches from the wall so that her parents wouldn’t see that her daughters hate her sometimes, and how come she still loves Daddy even though he forgot about their anniversary last year, and how come he still loves her even though she spends all of his money on wine and cigarettes! Maybe this is how come you still love Mark even though he did some things that weren’t so nice to you when you were in Prague.

And maybe this is how come we find ourselves crying in our pillows at night because we think we want to be alone to dwell on our vanishing past but secretly, very secretly, we yearn for a warm hand to blot the warm salty water from our cheeks right NOW.

for my twin sister on our 30th birthday

Read the first “for my twin sister” (written in 2008) and Jessica’s response to this letter.

March 6, 2016

Remember that time we got in a fight and you threw me across the room? I tell this story a lot. We were eight, it was around Chinese New Year, and I was disappointed when the doctor told me to wear a scarf instead of outfitting me with a neck brace. I’d wanted strangers to see me and think, “Oh, poor child. What monster did this to you?”

I still wonder how you summoned the force to hurl me across the room that day. Who knew you had it in you? I certainly didn’t, and I don’t think you did, either. It’s like when mothers lift trucks high above their heads to save their babies, filled with superhuman strength reserved for gods and monsters. The stakes were high. You needed me to stop pushing you around and so you threw me across the room.

What else do I remember?

The other day I spilled some water on the floor and wondered if it was seeping into the apartment below. Was someone downstairs catching the drips in a pot plucked from a kitchen cupboard? Do you remember that time we tried to clean your bedroom floor? We dumped a bucket of water over the entire surface and took turns pushing the water around with a mop, so pleased with ourselves for being so helpful. This is a memory I’ve never shared with anybody before. The smell of soggy wood and you and me beaming as we danced around the puddles in our bare feet, thrilled to pull our weight in a house where we never had a single chore other than making our beds in the morning. Nobody was impressed with our initiative except for you and me. Angels.

It’s difficult to dig up memories I’ve never talked about before. I can’t know if they exist. It’s like when you have a dream and you don’t write it down first thing when you wake up. Hours later you have this feeling that something has moved you but you don’t know what it was. Ghosts.

Every time I tell a story I can feel it leaving my body like air leaking out of a balloon. Maybe telling a story is the same as giving birth to a baby: as long as you have one inside you, it’s part of you, your flesh, blood, spirit. Once it’s out it’s no longer yours. It has a soul of its own.

My stories belong only to themselves.

Our dear mother, her belly a balloon swollen with not one but two big, fat, fleshy babies, her skin marred with a double serving of stretch marks that would ban her from ever wearing a bikini again. Our dear mother, still coming to terms with the understanding that though she breathed life into you and me, our souls and dreams are separate from hers.

Our dear mother, her dreams for us smashed like a thousand broken mirrors because she can’t let them go. Dreams of rich, kind, selfless husbands and beautiful dresses that are neither secondhand nor handmade and hair that’s met a hairbrush and skin without blemishes and feet with no callouses and legs that aren’t so muscular and mouths that don’t belong to sailors and class and manners and etiquette and kindness.


Kindness. It’s her only dream for us that’s come true, I think. I hope this comforts her. I hope it tucks the edges of her blanket around her shoulders at night, plants a kiss on her forehead, turns out her light—kindness.

You are one of the kindest people I know.

I think our mother knows this: you and me, we’re trying to do the right thing. And the right thing to do is the kindest thing to do. So let’s keep doing what we’re doing. Let’s keep our hearts open. Let’s keep making stuff with our hands. And let’s keep telling stories.

Happy birthday, Jessica.

twins sitting on dock

Read the first “for my twin sister” (written in 2008) and Jessica’s response to this letter.

in xue’s living room

Wrote this essay in 2009 for a class I took called Literature as Peace Research. Inspired by Sheng Xue, who was McMaster University’s Writer in Residence in 2009.

Last night I came home smelling like an ashtray. It was the first time I didn’t mind the stench of cigarettes clinging to my hair. Twenty-five people were gathered at Sheng Xue’s house, chatting enthusiastically over a spread of Chinese food, wine, and Panda brand cigarettes imported from Shanghai. Among them were Sunan, a student on exchange from France at McMaster; Jack, founder of the first Chinese community newspaper in Toronto; Liuye, a Chinese language scholar; Kunga Tsering, the president of the Canadian-Tibet Joint Action Committee; Zuzana Hahn, a Czech-born artist; Michael Craig, a coordinator from Amnesty International; another Caucasian Michael, whose proficiency in Putonghua amazes everybody in the room; David Cozac, a former PEN Canada coordinator; Dick Chan and Gloria Fung, members of the Chinese Canadian National Council; and Sheng Xue, McMaster’s writer in residence, who, I am confident, is unknowingly shifting the course of my life.

In this story I am finding my voice.

Xue’s husband has come to fetch Sunan and me from the bus stop. When we arrive at their house, he takes our coats and gives us slippers for our feet. Someone is frying a fish in the kitchen; Sunan says that it smells like Chinese New Year. Indeed, the atmosphere makes me a bit homesick.

The living room is big and filled with fold-up chairs and people. Xue takes us by the arms and introduces us to everyone gathered inside: one group speaks Putonghua, and the other, English; all are engaged in lively discussion. The crowd here reminds me a bit of the family gatherings we have at my aunt’s house, which is a few blocks away, except my family doesn’t talk about politics and human rights. We talk about pop culture, and we gossip about the cousins and everybody’s in-laws. Xue’s house also reminds me of Anchises’ place, where, Cassandra narrates, “under the changing foliage of the giant fig tree… we began to live our life of freedom” (Wolf 93).

Congregated here is a mixed bag of people whose work I thought I had more or less understood from skimming the newspaper, even from listening to Xue’s speech at her reception. But it becomes clear that I have been misguided—that my understanding has been alarmingly insincere.

In my head two questions are resonating: “What kind of place [do] I live in? How many realities are there in [this world] besides mine, which I thought was the only one?” (20). Believe it or not, believe it and not: Xue is the first ethnic Han Chinese I’ve encountered in my life who speaks openly and actively against the Chinese government. How can this be, when all of the Chinese people I know in Hong Kong, my home, take pride in our faculty to embrace western ideals? But what ideals are these? Capitalism and consumerism: the right to make money and the right to buy whatever. But what about democracy and freedom? In my Hong Kong, life follows this basic formula: birth, education, marriage, career, retirement, death.

But I realize more and more that my Hong Kong is one of blinding privilege, where our friends’ parents own restaurants and hotels, yachts and islands. We don’t talk about Chinese politics because they don’t affect our stocks. Armed with blank cheques, credit cards, and connections, our convenient life-formula can play itself out.

I am seeing more and more that “[m]y privilege [has] intruded between me and the most necessary insights” (53). Like Cassandra caught up in palace life as a priestess, I am selfishly caught up in my life as a student trying to get my act together. But my meetings with Xue, along with this gathering in her living room, are slowly prying my eyes open such that I can see that the problem of human rights in China is entirely relevant to my experience as a Chinese person, and, more importantly, as a citizen of this world.

We are gathered here and now to welcome Jiang Weiping to Canada. He is an investigative journalist. He was imprisoned in 2002 for writing articles exposing the corruption of several government officials in northeast China. He was released from prison in 2006. PEN Canada worked to grant him passage to Canada this year. He arrives with his wife, Stella, fashionably late. Xue introduces them to everybody. His handshake is firm and full of resolve, although I am no handshake-interpreter. We eat. Except for the lamb rice, every dish on the table makes me painfully homesick.

After dinner, Xue asks everybody in the room to say a little something to share ideas. Jiang Weiping says he is pleased to be back in Canada and that it is vital that we continue our work in exposing the truth. (At least that’s what I think he says, because I am sitting too far to hear Michael, who is translating.) We go around in a circle. Zuzana tells us about the monument she is erecting in Toronto to remember the 100 million people who have died because of communism. The monument is a giant book that, when viewed from the side, is also the profile of a person speaking. A hand is trying to cover the mouth, but it fails, signifying the triumph of our stories. Next is Kunga, who tells us that Tibetan autonomy is vital to peace in China, and that he is organizing a dialogue between Tibetan and Chinese youth in Toronto, which will serve as a model for peaceful dialogue between Tibetan and Chinese youth in Asia.

Sunan speaks, too. What she says really pries apart my eyelids. I can’t look away. Her story has a similar shape to mine, though hers takes place in the heart of things: China. She grew up in Shanxi, and the life-formula prescribed to her is essentially the same as what has been prescribed to me. She tells us that before going to France to study, she had never heard of the conflict between Tibet and China. She also tells us that she had never met a Taiwanese person, nor even known that there was tension between Taiwan and China, until she went to school in Lyon.

Sunan says that after seeing a poster inviting everybody to Xue’s reception at McMaster, she did some Internet research and was shocked by what she read about the Tiananmen Square massacre. She had never read much about it before because the Chinese government has erased it from books, film, television, and the Internet. Sunan says she is grateful for having met Xue, for her friendship and for opening her eyes. It strikes me that, growing up in Hong Kong, my teachers had told us stories about the massacre, and I remember hearing one sensationalist classmate telling us about the possibility of missiles flying overhead from China to Taiwan. I’ve known vaguely about these things for quite some time.

Eventually, Xue asks me to speak, too. I apologize to everybody for my terrible Chinese. “Bu hao yi si,” I say. When you translate the phrase literally, it means “not good meaning.” Indeed, it is “not good meaning”; it is not good that I am a Chinese person who cannot speak Chinese. Michael translates for me when I say that I don’t know a lot about the human rights issues taking place, though I do know a little bit. And that I feel paralyzed because I’m not confident that I know enough to do anything. But I say that I realize that I’ll never know everything, so I should stop sitting on my hands, waiting, and DO SOMETHING ALREADY! I feel shamefully earnest when I speak.

This idea-sharing circle is life-affirming and inspiring. We are gathered here and now to “eat, drink, laugh together, [and] learn” (52); we are gathered here and now the way the cave community gathers on the slopes of Mount Ida. At first, I almost feel like an outsider because I am not actively involved in any organization, nor am I involved in any fight.

But then I remember: we are gathered here in this space. I am here too. Doesn’t that mean something? When Cassandra reflects that “there are no limits to the atrocities people can inflict on one another” and that “It is so much easier to say “Achilles the brute” than “we”” (119), I want to turn this inside out. I want turn to her and say, “Hey, Cassandra, there are no limits to the love and compassion people can have for each other, either, so let’s share this, too, pass it around, and claim it for ourselves.” The “we” makes us all accountable to one another. Which is why I’ll stop sitting on my hands and do something.

I don’t want to “put off living” (65). I don’t want to “[live] only provisionally” with the belief “that true reality still [lies] ahead of me”; I don’t want to “let life pass me by” (65). The message I am getting here and now from everybody in Xue’s living room is that we should act now, and that I should reject the life-formula prescribed to me.

Their message echoes Arisbe’s, who tells Cassandra: “There are gaps in time. This is one of them, here and now. We cannot let it pass without taking advantage of it” (124). We are supposed to fill these gaps of time by doing something. We are here, in this living world, and now, when we need to ease the suffering of our fellow human beings. It is our duty to defend the rights of others; it is our right to make a map of a better world. Cassandra realizes this shortly before she dies: “The world could go on after our destruction… Why had I allowed myself to suppose that the human race would be wiped out along with us?” (11). Yes, Cassandra, the human race will go on—indeed, it has gone on; the kind of world it goes on in depends on us.

The guests in the living room keep looking to Sunan and me and calling us the next generation. Our duty is to carry on their work, to keep their stories alive, to keep exposing the truth in the name of a just world. Kunga asks me if I would like to participate in the dialogue he’s organizing for Toronto youth. I tell him I’m probably leaving the country in July, but would love to attend if one should take place while I’m still here.

I had always imagined that activists gathered in dark cellars, silently and angrily, but the atmosphere here in Xue’s living room is anything but. Just like her! The living room is aptly named; this place is living, alive, lively, lovely, and it reminds me of Cassandra’s time in the caves by Mount Ida, about which she says: “our time [is] limited and so we could not waste it on matters of minor importance. So we concentrated on what mattered most: ourselves—playfully, as if we had all the time in the world” (133). Playfully, we are gathered here and now to “eat, drink, laugh together, [and] learn” (52).

I am blown away by how normal everybody is. These women and men who courageously put their lives on the line to safeguard our freedoms of expression and opinion eat chocolate cake, too. Xue’s eyes are permanent half-moons because she is always smiling; Jack’s face is red from laughing (or wine?); and I will not forget Dick Chan’s gums crammed with crooked teeth because he’s always laughing or smiling. This living room is filled with the “third alternative” that Cassandra comes to perceive: “the smiling vital force that is able to generate itself over and over: the undivided, spirit in life, life in spirit” (107).

On the bus ride home Sunan and I are talking. She says she never talks about politics when she’s at home; nobody does. She doesn’t talk politics because the Chinese Communist Party has made it so that the way things are feels natural and unquestionable, and because the CCP punishes those who dare question the status quo.

I remember Jessica telling me about her homestay in China, and about her host’s government and politics class, during which the students memorized passages written by Mao Zedong. I reflect on why my friends in Hong Kong and I don’t talk about Chinese politics in Hong Kong. We really have no excuse—thanks to Hong Kong’s freedom of expression, we know about Tiananmen Square, we know about China’s conflicts with Tibet and Taiwan, we know about the writers who are imprisoned for trying to expose the truth, and yet we close our eyes to it, as if the gross injustice China inflicts on millions of people isn’t our story.

But it is completely our story. We are in Hong Kong because of this injustice—our grandparents fled to here from all over China because of the merciless communist regime, which continues to thrive.

We can no longer be silent.

Up until now, I had viewed myself as voiceless. I didn’t think I believed in anything, or that I had opinions. But I do believe in—I’ve always believed in, but have taken for granted, I realize—freedom of expression. In this story I am finding my voice, the way Cassandra finds hers while recovering in the lively cave in the loving care of Arisbe and Anchises; she discovers “a silence into which [her] voice fit[s] … the space intended for it” (123). The space for my voice is here and now, right in this story. These words are gathered here and now to give thanks to the remarkable women and men in Xue’s living room whose spirit, life, and dedication to preserving our freedom to speak are, unbeknownst to them, helping me to find my voice.

Works Cited
Wolf, Christa. Cassandra. Trans. Jan van Heurck. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1984.

bottomless box of kitties

catamari cats

This afternoon I found a box
behind the kitchen door.
It wriggled there, a restless cube;
it writhed upon my floor.
I lifted up the cardboard lid
and took a peek inside,
and when I saw what lay therein
I swear, I nearly died.
A darling ball of fur!
Adorable! And right away
I fell in love with her.
I scooped her up into my arms,
the mewing chunk of bliss,
when from inside the cardboard box
I heard a little hiss.
I reached inside and gathered up
another baby cat,
and then another, and one more,
and way more after that.
And soon the room was full of cats–
I thought I was in heaven!
By now my feline tally was
one hundred and eleven.
But things got weird soon after that.
Their purrs turned into sneers.
Their whiskers sharpened into blades,
their claws to pointy spears.
In unison they pounced on me
and I began to fall,
surrounded by a horde of cats–
The only thing that I could do?
Relinquish all control.
I let the catamari cats
initiate a roll.
We trundled through the neighbourhood
accumulating stuff.
(That’s what I pictured, anyway–
to steal a glimpse was tough.
But I did hear the kittens shriek,
their caterwauls of glee,
as garbage fastened to our glob
that rolled relentlessly.)
We gained momentum as we went.
I felt my insides turn…
till at the bottom of my gut
I felt an acrid burn.
I tried to hold it in, but no.
The vomit now was here!
I used my hands to stop its flow–
and puked inside the sphere.
It trickled through the clustered cats
who all began to moan–
my magic puke dissolved the beasts,
and I was left alone.

Chicken Poop for the Mole: “Millie”

A couple of months ago I wrote a series of short stories for my anthology: Chicken Poop for the Mole.

chicken poop for the mole

And now, for the first time ever in the history of all time, they are available for anybody to read. Here is the first story.


Millie had it all.

She had the most interesting notebook and the most dazzling earrings.

composition book
But Millie also had an enormous mole on her face.

Every night Millie would pray for the mole to fade away, but not before plucking the stray hairs that sprouted from it.

She would tape these hairs into her notebook.

Then every morning Millie would put on her earrings.

Her earrings were so dazzling that they drew everybody’s attention away from her enormous mole.

Or so she believed.

The truth was that when Millie talked to people, they didn’t pay attention to anything she said. They were too busy searching for answers in the shape of her mole.

Even still, Millie believed in the power of her earrings.

girl with mole looking in mirror

Of course she was devastated when she lost one of them.

She searched everywhere for it, but it was nowhere to be found.

So Millie sought the help of a fortune teller.

fortune teller palm reader

After hearing Millie’s story, the fortune teller gave Millie a little jar.

“For 12 nights,” the fortune teller said, “rub some of this elixir on your mole. After the 12th night, your mole will disappear.”

magical elixir

So for 12 nights, Millie rubbed the elixir on her mole. After the 12th night, the mole did indeed disappear.

Now Millie doesn’t need her notebook to keep her mole hairs.

And she doesn’t need her earrings to draw everybody’s attention away from the enormous mole in her face.

girl with hole in her face

Because now Millie has an enormous hole in her face.

~ * ~ * ~

Did you enjoy Millie’s story? Did you hate it? Either way, stay tuned for the rest of the Chicken Poop for the Mole series…

Chicken Poop for the Mole: “Mr. and Mrs. Mole”

And now I present… the second chapter of Chicken Poop for the Mole!

chicken poop for the mole

Mr. and Mrs. Mole

Mrs. Mole was a horrible person with a nasty temper.

She would thwack at birds with her morning paper, cast the meanest dagger eyes she could at the children across the street, and hurl spoonfuls of bland porridge at the odd dog who peed on her garden.

But the birds dodged her thwacks with cheery hops, the children never looked up from their games to notice her dagger eyes, and the odd dog was thrilled to gobble up the chunks of flying porridge.

So even though Mrs. Mole was a horrible person with a nasty temper, nobody hated her. Because nobody cared.

Except for her husband.


mr. molemrs. mole

One day Mr. Mole decided he had had enough of his wife. So he decided to bake her a Farewell Pie, which he’d just read about on the Internet.

Now a Farewell Pie is a very straightforward thing. Feed someone a farewell pie and they will disappear from your life. Forever.

And a Farewell Pie is very simple to make. Just fill it with the victim’s favourite pie fillings mixed with the final, fatal ingredient: a can of chicken poop.

farewell pie, made with chicken poop

So Mr. Mole embarked on a search for a can of chicken poop.

But he didn’t want just ANY can of chicken poop.

He wanted the BEST can of chicken poop on the market to make sure that Mrs. Mole would be dead as a doornail.

He would CERTAINLY not settle for any watered-down imitation chicken poop!

So Mr. Mole once more consulted the Internet. He refused to consider any product with a rating lower than *****/*****.

This left him with only one product: Molly Majestic’s Magical Chicken Poop in a Can. Mr. Mole read the reviews.

molly majestic's magical chicken poop in a can

“Deliciously sensational chicken poop! You won’t find a better can in this lifetime or the next!” *****/*****

“MMM Chicken Poop is consistently fresh with a truly irresistible pungent odour!” *****/*****

“Highly effective. Strangely addictive.” *****/*****

So Mr. Mole hurried to the general store to buy Molly Majestic’s Magical Chicken Poop in a Can. Then he went home and made a pie filled with Mrs. Mole’s favourite pie fillings — earthworms and cherries — and, of course, MMM Chicken Poop in a Can.

He threw the pie in the oven and could barely contain his glee while the tantalizing aromas of the pie wafted through their little cottage.

When the pie was ready, Mrs. Mole came thundering into the kitchen. In no time she had gobbled up the pie.

Then Mr. Mole waited and waited…

but Mrs. Mole did not die.

Instead, an incredibly hunky mole appeared out of thin air. He swept Mrs. Mole off her feet and whisked her away in his muscly arms.


mrs. mole in loveincredibly hunky mole

And that is how Mrs. Mole disappeared from Mr. Mole’s life. Forever.

~ * ~ * ~

So, what did you think of this instalment of Chicken Poop for the Mole? Can you relate to Mr. Mole? Have you too scoured the Internet for a way to disappear somebody from your life? Tell the truth!

Chicken Poop for the Mole: “Trom and Breeky”

Dearest readers,

Here is the third and final chapter of my Chicken Poop for the Mole anthology. I hope you are not too put off by how much it differs from the previous instalments.



chicken poop for the mole

Trom and Breeky

 Tuesday, March 24, 2046

0910 Breeky meets Trom in the supply closet and they exchange a series of awkward pleasantries.

0913 Trom moves in to kiss Breeky on the cheek.

0914 Trom and Breeky begin to make out vigorously.

0924 Breeky asks Trom to tell her what his meeting this morning with their boss was about. Are they any closer to identifying the mole in their midst?

0925 Trom won’t tell Breeky. He nibbles on her ear.

0927 Trom tries to go to second base but Breeky is not feelin’ it.

0929 Trom tells Breeky the meeting was about the password to unleash a scourge of deadly alien diseases on the planet Mukkerog, home of the suspected mole. Breeky finds this very interesting.

0930 Breeky tells Trom he can go to second base IF he tells her the password. Trom tells Breeky: POOP NEKCIHC.

0940 Breeky knows that if she says the password backwards three times then the plan will backfire. So she whispers it three times — CHICKEN POOP CHICKEN POOP CHICKEN POOP — while Trom nibbles on Breeky’s other ear.

0941 Trom dies in Breeky’s arms.

0942 Breeky leaves the supply closet to find that everybody on Earth is dead. Her work on Earth complete, Breeky teleports back to her home planet of Mukkerog, where she wins the Mole of the Year award.

trom and breeky, chicken poop for the mole

milk kitty

milk kitty

I met a cat one scorching day
beneath a leafy tree.
I offered her a glass of milk
but she just mewed at me.
“Drink up, my friend. It’s very hot!
The sun is killing you!”
I splashed a bit of milk at her
to see what she would do.
Her fur was shining, slick with sweat;
she panted like a pup.
I thought she’d lick the flying drops —
I thought she’d lap them up!
But no, not she. She did not move
to dodge the milky splatter.
It coated her in creamy flecks
and I said, “What’s the matter?”
She moved her lips as if to speak
and so I listened close:
“Li’l miss,” she croaked. Her tone was stern:
“I’ve had an overdose.”
The fur began to shed like mad
in matted, chunky clumps,
and then appearing on the skin
were angry boils and bumps.
The whiskers fell, and then the ears;
she tripled in her height;
and in her mouth were rows of teeth
all gnashing for a bite.
“Come here!” she roared. “I need some food!”
I nearly pissed my pants.
Yet somehow I walked up to her
as though I stood a chance.
How terrified I felt right then.
The taste of fear, so strong!
The bumpy beast — this former cat —
was fifty shades of wrong.
And suddenly she lunged at me
and knocked me to the ground.
My glass of milk spilled everywhere
and spattered all around.
“Pick up the glass!” the monster roared.
I picked it up with haste.
She grabbed the vessel from my hands
and had herself a taste.
“Delicious! Perfect! Just the thing!”
she munched upon my glass
as tiny shards flew from her maw
to shimmer in the grass.
And just like that, the bumpy beast
did vanish from my sight
to leave behind the baby cat
who purred with sweet delight.
And so I share this lesson with
my kitten-aiding class:
for cats intolerant to milk,
no worries. Feed them glass!

dentist kitty

cat with teeth potion

A promise from a kitten is
a promise always kept.
Impossible! That can’t be so!
But listen, how I wept!:
A street cat one day promised me
a mouth so clean and bright.
No cavities! No tooth decay!
And not a stain in sight!
“Throw out your toothbrush!” he exclaimed.
So throw it out I did.
I mean, who likes to brush her teeth?
I know of no such kid!
The cat gave me a potion black
to gargle at the sink.
“Just gargle this before you sleep,”
he told me with a wink.
I took it home, the tarry vial,
and waited for the night.
And when it fell, I drank the goop
and gargled with delight…
A future free from dental care?
My favourite fantasy!!!!!
But then I felt a tiny itch
upon my naked knee.
As I looked down, oh horror! Ach!
I saw the wicked cat!
Somehow it’d crept into my house!
I very nearly spat!
But I didn’t want the blackened goo
to stain the porcelain sink…
And so as though I had a choice,
I swallowed up the the drink.
The cat threw back its head with glee
as I fell to the floor.
I checked the inside of my mouth —
My teeth! They were no more!
Impossible! That can’t be so!
But listen, how I wept!:
A promise from a kitten is
a promise always kept.