OT_AWA Tourism


I may be developing some misanthropic tendencies. Outside the window of my workplace there is a giant Ottawa sign, only it’s missing a “T”. OT_AWA. If you stand between the T and A you can extend your arms and become the missing T. I was against it immediately and time and repetition have only hardened my heart. It’s like I’m being waterboarded by a lazy sight gag. I spend my day glaring out the window, wishing sunburns and sandal blisters at this ceaseless caravan of Letter People.

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Terrible Monsters: Slender Man




The Slender Man is a faceless, dapper gentleman that lurks in the quiet places of suburbs and bedroom communities. Like a Stretch Armstrong pulled to its breaking point the Slender Man is a body horror of distended limbs, pallid flesh, and business formal attire. The Slender Man does not kill…he delegates, a malicious middle manager that identifies pliable tweens with a team first attitude that are open to murderous enterprise. Once brought into his thrall the Slender Man would help the tween examine their four quadrant goals, all of which were murder, and direct them in the best manner in which to achieve them.

If insufficient progress was made in a timely fashion the Slender Man would drive the child insane and find a new victim. Or lure someone into the wood himself, where maybe he murdered them. Or not. The lore is all over the place of this one.

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The Wrong Lesson


A contemporaneous photo from the era in question


I used to keep folded print outs of poems I had written in my back pocket, so I could accidentally discover them while talking to women at parties. This was before the proper internet and everything was harder then. The idea was bad and the poems were worse, but I was handsome so women slept with me in spite of it. I learned the wrong lesson from this. I was a late bloomer with terrible instincts so I attributed my success to my newly discovered art form[1]. My personality was intense, or rather, I was intense in lieu of having a personality, and my writing reflected this.

A broken thought just trundled by

A twisted thing that once was mine

And now it’s cast adrift within my madness

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Old Man Valliant


I can’t tell if I’m having a midlife crisis. I am not acting out, but I find myself needlessly confessing my age at the start of conversations; my name is A.J. and I am forty one years old. I don’t know if it’s a nervous tic, or a means to extract qualified praise for my appearance, but I present my age as if I expect to be challenged on the point and persuaded otherwise. I think about the fact that I’m forty one more than I think about sex, and when I think about sex I think about the fact that I am forty one.

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The Company You Keep

free candy

If the city announced an new law that barred unaccompanied adult males from public parks I can see myself getting a tad riled up. The unfairness might even drive me to attend a protest at a nearby park, where I could air my grievance around like minded citizens. But once I arrived, were I to notice that the parking lot contained an unusual amount of sleeper vans with the window blacked out, and several greasy creeps were unfurling a king sized NAMBLA banner, I would quickly realize things had gone terribly wrong…and by the time the “The slides are made for ookie hugs, let us fuck your children” chants began, I would be ten blocks away and fully aware that I had momentarily been on the wrong side of history.

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