A dog named Tock

"Brains are disgusting."

"Yeeah. Bwains are diskusting."

"Brains are gooey."

"Yeeah. Bwains are gooey."

"But not zombie brains."

"Not zombie bwains."

"Zombie brains are green."

"Yeeah. Gween."


Taxes and RRSPs and detangling and I serve as the counter to charmed and charming, bright and unsullied. But they're mine they're mine they're mine they're mine they're mine and it's muscular. It's got nothing to do with what makes sense. Muscles only remember shrapnel. They twitch uncontrollably with But but but. Everything is happening all at once and it leaves me curled up in Evan's empty bed either staring at the ceiling, or working until 3:30 AM again. I write pitches and press releases and brand strategies surrounded by a legion of protective bionicles. I sit frozen in front of stolen television to watch werewolves rip heads off vampires because werewolves ripping heads off vampires is better than thinking.

The sun beams through the front in the morning, from the back in the evening, and then it's dark again. What did I do today? and the voice of a doldrum yawns You waited and then the growl of a dog named Tock.

There is a finite number of times in your life you'll pick them up. One day they'll get too heavy, too distant, too cool, and you won't know it at the time but that'll be the last. There are other numbers too. All the words you'll speak, write, regret. You just used up one day of a finite number of days. You used it to figure out something to say that appeases real-life demons and imaginary responsibilities but it isn't any sort of truth because you're muzzled. You've dressed up shame and called it dignity. Facades and half-sad faces and parallel universes where no body failed and nobody died and everyone gets to sail into sunsets except there's no such thing as parallels unless you draw them with mathematics, and there are no sunsets in mathematics. And so that's a messed-up way to spend one day of a finite number is what I think.

Tock huffs and leaves the room.


"I love you, Ben."

"I love you, Evan."

It always hangs there in the dark.

"I love you, mommy. You're—the worst mommy in the whole world!"

They giggle, conspirators. I stamp my feet on my way to tuck Ben into his Benvelope. I stamp my feet and bark and cross my eyes and snarl and stick out my claws and and bare my fangs and yell I AM NOT! and they shriek.

"No no mommy—you're the best mommy!"

I am Mary Poppins, patting my hair back into its tidy bun, and they giggle The worst! The best! The worst! The best! and I am hunchback, ballerina, swamp thing, fairy.

I wish it would stick, the thing I'd prefer, the way a doldrum sticks.

What are you? Why?