Evil in the Woodlands

I think I wrote a first draft of this in high school...maybe. It was published in the university newspaper in my first or second year. I am VERY political, but I couldn't tell you what about.


If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Does it really matter if it makes a sound? Does anyone care? After all, it's only a tree, a tree that produces oxygen for us to breathe, a tree that gives us shade from the fiery heat of the sun, even cools the air. Are there not other trees to do these things? Wasn't nature just taking its course and removing an old tree? Yes, of course it was, but what if a man had cut the tree down, cut it down to use for lumber after it had supplied its share of oxygen and shade for many years? Isn't he just continuing its use for the better? Not according to some, the kinds of people who would rather lie in the middle of the road, risking life and limb, than let a lumberjack continue a tree's usefulness.

So a tree falls naturally and no one cares. Except for the squirrel who has just lost a sleeping place, and also happened to be sitting under the tree at the time of the accident. He'd care, but only for a second, for the brief moment before life was forced from him as a whoosh of air, and a tangled mass of limbs fell around and on top of him. CRUNCH! Would anyone hear that sound, a sound far smaller than the possible din of the tree?

That's a good point. If a squirrel gets crushed in the forest will it make a sound? Will anyone notice? Will anyone really care? A squirrel's just a squirrel, nothing important like a tree, a tree that has just committed murder by crushing the squirrel. Yes, full-blown, cold-blooded murder of the very creature whose ancestors could have carried the seed to plant the tree. This tree has killed, and yet people flock to save the remaining forest. What's to stop those trees from killing other innocent squirrels? Nothing, that's what. And yet people don't understand; they don't see the maliciousness of trees as they seek to destroy squirrels and other woodland creatures. The good lumberjacks try to put the trees towards a useful purpose before they have a chance to kill, but too often their paths are blocked by dazed tree-huggers.

So, if a tree falls in the forest, and it hits a fanatical, tree-hugging, lunatic will it make a sound? Probably. Will the other wild-eyed and obviously confused environmentalists hear it and realize the trees have turned on them? Probably not. Will they see their misguided ways and change before it's too late, or will they ignore their comrade's end and continue to save this enemy of squirrel and man alike? Who knows? Only time, will tell.

Now about baby seals...


atlas collection

"Let me have a look at your car." What does this man want to see my car for.
"I don't have a car."
"How about your office, would that be all right?"
My office? I don't have an office. There is a desk in my bedroom.
"I don't have an office"
"Where do you work then?"
"Well there's a desk in my bedroom."
"Okay, we can start with that."
"I'd rather, oh! It's a bit messy with paper and things all over. And the walls, I haven't hung everything yet. You're going up the stairs. I don't really want you to, oh shit."
The man mounts the stairs to the attic bedroom, rounds the corner at the top and stops. Atlases. They are wedged around the room, against the wall behind the furniture and amongst other atlases, the ceiling and the floor. The earth pressed flat and repeated into an over-literal meditation on parallel worlds."Planning a trip?"
James catches up, too out of breath for the number of stairs he just climbed. "No, just atlases."
"But why so many?"
James manoeuvres into the room, past the man, until he stands between him and the books. With the worlds at his back he stands tensed and ready and forgets to breathe until his face glows red. "No reason. There was a sale at the Salvation Army. You don't need a reason to buy atlases."
"And if you had to move, would you get rid of some?"
James looks behind him and considers the atlases, his desk and unmade bed, just a mattress on a boxspring on the floor, and the pieces of paper on everything. He turns to answer, but the man is gone. On the wall near where he was standing James notices a photograph of a cow he took while in France. He couldn't remember hanging it.


spring coffee

I'm cleaning out the folder I created while taking a creative writing class a few years ago. This story is probably the most bummer one I've found so far.


Cratered by disbelieving feet, the slush lay across and around the ice rink, amazing what a difference a few degrees make. Only the day before, in golden winter light, blades had slashed across the rink’s solid surface, hard and fast in the cold, sounding clean, people’s breath clouding their faces for an instant before disappearing. Today though, all the breath had reappeared as numbing mist, flattening the day's light and sound. Heavier drizzle, not quite rain, falling through the grey air adding static, like somewhere someone had left a very large set of headphones slightly unplugged.

One of the local cool kids, John or DJ SoundSauce depending on context, slunk past the rink. His feet were soaked, his shoes, salt-stained and deformed by the season, were of no use as every step brought a puddle. He pulled himself deeper into his pressed wool pea coat but damp air knows secret passages through a jacket and he shivered as he squelched on. John held fire in his hands, but only enough to singe his lungs without warmth and add fresh smoke to his acrid jacket. All night spent in dank underground windowless clubs, cinder block walls holding out smoking laws, where people danced in the face of sleep as John spun and spun through an unknown dawn’s sad light, his being stank and his skin held the grey translucence of the world around him.

The damp air made hard things unreal. A car burst past without warning. Blasting its horn. Splashing through a puddle its red metal a sudden scarring contrast to the day. Cursing the driver, John stood bedraggled and dripping in front of the coffee shop, 9 am and it was closed. According to a note on the door it had never opened that morning due to a family emergency. Sorry, in the red ink of a Sharpie alongside a bright smiley face. John felt mocked by the grin as he shivered on the sidewalk considering sleep, Adderall and whether delirium tremens was only an alcohol thing or if caffeine was incriminated in some way. Looking down, someone had found coffee that morning. An empty white paper cup tossed away and floating in the dirty morass, a thin brown stain at the bottom holding none of the flavour and aroma John craved.