The Hole in the Pocket of My Bag

There’s a hole in the pocket of my bag that I suspect holds five pens, a stick of gum, and a lost fortune.

Sometimes I poke my hand through the tear in the fabric, prying out lost treasures: an old spray bottle of lens cleaner, a hair tie, a loose gem from the Pirate Princess of Thaw’s tiara.

When I reach in, blind, I fear I might lose my fingers to a rattle snake or a wild boar. I suspect one day I’ll feel the bite, see the blood, and never know who or what the inflictor was. It has scurried into a fold or a crevice, never to be seen or named. Sort of like Schrödinger’s Cat. Sort of not like Schrödinger’s Cat.

Also, there are futures that I imagine—rife with drama, a gun pointed to my head—where I’m asked to produce something ordinarily impossible: a trombone, an entire mango flavoured ice cream cake, a particle travelling two times faster than the speed of light. And in those futures I poke around the hole in the pocket of my bag…And the impossibilities are there!

A lifesaving antidote, a perfect pair of prescription glasses, the soundtrack to Mission: Impossible, an umbrella, a toaster, a Thin Mint, Unified Field Theory written on a napkin, Mary Poppins herself!

I could sew the hole shut, trapping the possible impossibilities inside. I could keep all the items in my inventory found and not lost. But where’s the fun in that?

Nothing ever truly feels lost anymore. Not even the imaginary. More-likely-than-not, it has slipped through the hole in the pocket of my bag. If I feel around and don’t come across it, it just doesn’t want to be found yet.

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Ghost Boy

There was one figurine left, sitting in the far corner of my Grandma’s glass cabinet. A porcelain ballerina tying her shoes, looking demure as she crisscrossed the ribbons across her ankle. I had to get on my tiptoes to reach it, and as the shelf dug into my chest all I could smell was dust.

“Um…Liss?” Maggie called. She was standing right above my head – I could hear her small, sensible shoes shuffling around the attic floor. I grabbed the ballerina by her head.

“What!”

Sliding the glass cabinet closed, I caught my muted reflection in the mirror and saw the bags under my eyes before anything else. I pushed my fringe from my forehead.

“What!”

“Can you come up here?” Maggie said.

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CHECKLIST:

CHECKLIST:

Book x1 (The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury)

“Chicago’s got more alleys than…anywhere else in the world.”

“Why are we running?”

Charlie’s orange hair tumbled behind her, and I followed it. We flashed past closed garage doors and roller bins, weaving between groups of kids playing in the lane.

“Elena?” one of them shouted at me. I caught a glimpse of more red hair – Charlie’s little brother stopped bouncing his tennis ball to stare at us. The storm clouds overhead roiled with the promise of rain.

“We’ll be back for dinner!” I yelled. The cold air stung the back of my throat as I breathed in.

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I Have a Pet Snake: A Guide

  1. What Not To Do

I have a pet snake. I got her in the height of my Harry Potter freak-out, when I thought evil was edgy and Voldemort had a point. Her name’s Nagini, in homage to The Dark Lord’s viper sidekick. She’s only small – her scales are a patchwork of burnt orange and normal orange, with stitches of cream in-between. She’s adorable, really. However, what I originally had in mind was something bigger, and scarier. Instead my parents pulled out a pintsized earthworm on my 15th birthday, their shiny faces all smiley and grossly expectant. I gotta say, she has the evil attitude down. To this day all she ever does is sleep, eat, and glare at me. If I knew parseltongue it would be lost on her. She is not a conversationalist.

This is supposed to be a helpful guide to owning a snake. It’s more of an autobiographical tale of what-not-to-do. Take it from me, I would know.

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Echo

The bowler hat had its own spot on the sidewalk. It was kicked and nudged so much that it generally stayed in the same position – an arm’s length away from its owner, tipped on its top and begging.

The woman wore the hat at night. The rest of the time it pleaded on the pavement, and the crown of her grey hair was left in the sun to bleach into white.

The homely colours she once wore – grandmother’s colours – had been washed out by the wind that whipped the sidewalk. Every person who walked past her painted her further into the background.

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Swayze

Patrick Swayze stared at him from the bedside table. His sisters were chittering on the other side of the door. He had tried the handle but they were pushing it closed – two against one, it wouldn’t budge. He slid to the floor with his back against the door. Swayze looked on. It was just his head, framed in sparkling wood and stickers, his eyes staring at him through long lashes.

The bunk bed opposite him was a plush madhouse of animals and worn out dolls. He counted twenty on each. The walls were light pink, almost white. Somehow they’d managed to squeeze in a desk between the bunk bed and the door. It was topped with gel pens, loose sheets of paper, and brightly coloured paperbacks stacked wonkily by the edge. They were precariously close to falling on Swayze and his disgustingly lopsided grin. One of his sisters banged on the door above his head.

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Panic Room

We were in the theatre bathroom. It was a school night, and like everyone else we wore coats, and like all the girls we wore lipstick. She said I have to tell you something while I was in the cubicle. I said Go for it and flushed. When I walked out she was standing in between two sinks with her hand in her bag.

I washed up in the sink beside her and asked her What’s up? She shook her head. Her hand was still in her bag. I laughed at her, because that was what we did – we laughed at each other. The sides of my red lipstick were smudged, so I leaned in to fix it, fogging up the mirror.

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