We’re careening down a hill in between Port Alberni and Tofino when our eyes are caught by a pair of stoic lions flanking a driveway. It’s impossible not to laugh. They type of people you expect to have stone lions in front of their houses are hardly the kind of people you expect to find perched on a cliffside in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve been thinking for quite some time now, that I’d like to write fiction again. It’s been years. In fact, I was probably in Mrs. Miller’s honours english class the last time I wrote any fiction worth reading. Those cement lions sat jiggling inside of my brain until Klàdìa and Kamille had gone to bed however. Turns out, they were just the catalyst to inspire a story. So here’s the first installation of a commitment to post one work of fiction every month to this space. As with everything posted here it is far from polished. It’s not even a full story. It is however, motivation for me to begin writing about more than just my immediate life.
Anything Other Than Ugly
“Sorry – couldn’t be helped. Keep the car as well as the statues.”
Parked is a euphemism for what the faded orange sedan is doing by the garage door. It is sandwiched between dented metal and tire tracks etched into the gravel. There has clearly been an attempt to remount the driveway. Next to the car are two statues. Supposedly regal, out-of-place is an understatement for how the two massive stone lions that have arrived along with the half demolished car look.
“You have to be flipping kidding me.” There are beads of sweat standing out on David’s forehead despite the damp November air. Jenny turns from reading the note on their front door towards her husband. The alarming shade of red sweeping along the back of his neck is a dead give away – there’s an unnecessary blowup coming. Eight years of marriage has taught Jenny to read the colour of David’s neck in the same way an astrologist consults the stars when writing horoscopes.
“Well I don’t know for sure,” she says, biting her lip and trying hard not to burst into laughter, “but Jamie did say that he was sending us a little something from Italy.”
“Cement lions. CEMENT LIONS. There is no way your brother sent us cement lions from Italy. And if he did – what the hell was he thinking?”
“Maybe he thought we were the kind of people to perfectly manicure our garden and place ridiculously ugly statues randomly about to impress our guests.
How am I supposed to know what my brother was thinking David? The man sent us gold plated nail clippers, 5kg of Red Rose tea bags, and an engraved plaque instead of a postcard the last time he was in London. I never know what my brother is thinking.”
“Don’t remind me,” David mutters bitterly under his breath. The gold plated nail clippers are still a sore spot. At least they turned out to be a perfect paper weight for the endlessly growing stack of bills on David’s desk. Neither one of the couple can come up with an idea even remotely plausible for making two giant cement lions resemble anything other than ugly.
“I guess people will be able to find our house now when we throw parties,” Jenny offers.
“You have to be flipping kidding me,” David repeats.