The Shaw Invasion

This is what Friendship looks like.
This is what Friendship looks like.

Shaw is a careless dot in the middle of the San Juan Islands. On a map, it kind of looks like a cowboy boot with a broken spur. In my heart, it looks like my friends laughing behind an old cabin, drunk off of Jam Jar wine.

In November 2010, on a day full of strange fiction coming to life, we gathered gold maple leaves the size of a giant’s hand into bouquets. We ordained Emily a minister and pretended to marry each other with Eskimo kisses on the mossy ground behind the cabin. (The boys hit golf balls around in the front, oblivious to our silliness.) Afterwards, the brides jumped into a rusted, orange hollowed-out Charger with a cardboard “just married” sign in tow.

The ceremony concluded with this photograph and a reception of spiked hot chocolate and more Jam Jar wine, enjoyed around a snapping fire.

The mainland is full of responsibility – jobs, bills, irksome social media we can’t seem to live without. But on Shaw, nothing exists but the moment and the limits of our imaginations and friendships.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth is Stranger than Fiction; Post II

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

What was supposed to be a fun story for the Weekly Writing Challenge, turned into something a bit deeper. Maybe later this week I’ll write a second, happier story and actually follow the directions (there was supposed to be a picture of a genuinely happy person attached to this as well. In fact, this is pretty much the antithesis of the assignment). But, this is what came out. I witnessed this scene between my office and the super market last week:

A rusted, blue and white pick-up truck sat in the far end of the super market parking lot under the thrashing shadows of Cedar trees. An elderly man, clad in red checkered plaid and loose denim overalls, emerged from the driver’s side. He carried a poodle like a football underneath his left arm, and it squirmed  for a few seconds before succumbing to his grip. The old man set the dog upon the square nose of the truck, and she shivered in the wind.

Rows away, women wriggled shopping carts into the market. Dour-faced adolescents trudged several paces behind their mothers. Couples chatted and loaded groceries into trunks of cars. A girl ran after a capering shopping list. And the old man gripped the poodle’s hind legs as the sunlight caught a glint of metal in his right hand. A yelp pierced the parking lot and bled into a steady whine, barely audible over the swishing cedar branches.

A small girl dropped her mother’s hand and picked up something, like the thick catsear seeds, blown from the fields in summer. The mother swatted it away and scolded her for touching things.  The tuft of white fell to the ground, skipping across the pavement to join the accumulating masses of poodle hair.

Shocks of hair tumbled far away from the old pick-up truck – under wheels and feet, covering the parking lot for a few moments before cartwheeling past the gas station and then into the coffee stand across the street. The poodle whimpered, exposed and humiliated in her master’s arms, as he relieved her of the last of her beautiful white locks.

Someone’s grandmother hobbled inside the market on a cane. A ruddy face peered out of a beat up plumbing truck, thinking hard with each drag off a cigarette. Children begged for things not yet in sight. And the old man loaded up the dog and drove away with a sputter, the shorn evidence of his grooming rolling all across the city and into the air, where it would become less remarkable the further away the wind carried it.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: