McKay came back the very next day. Hester was going out for breakfast, which today meant black coffee. There was a young man seated on a bench across from her building. He was wearing shiny black pants, a black shirt and black boots. His hair was dyed black. She could not see how tall he was because he was sitting.
“I took your advice,” he said to her as she passed. “Got some new clothes.”
He stood up then, painfully short McKay, all blacked out. It caught Hester by surprise and she almost said something but bit her tongue instead. They walked together in silence. Entered the coffee shop one after the other, sat at the counter on stools side by side. He ordered what she was having. The barista asked if they wanted separate bills. She said yes. He said no.
She turned to him. “Okay, let’s get through this. This isn’t going to work, you know? I don’t need a boyfriend. And I don’t want you.” (more…)
“I will slash my legs!” McKay shouted. He held a pathetically small pocketknife above his jeans. “I will slash them wide open!”
Hester sighed. “Go for it.” She pulled out her much more substantial switchblade and threw it at him. “This’ll do more damage. Go for it.”
It had been a torturous three days. McKay had first appeared at an art exhibition opening put on by an ex-boyfriend of Hester’s. She had come of course, because several of the paintings were nudes of her, but also because she wanted to see who he was dating . She hung on the edges of the chatting drinking crowd; a tall thin scarecrow girl dressed in black with stringy dyed black hair and rather nice black boots with silver buckles. McKay approached her, dressed in jeans, like he wore now, and a green plaid shirt. But it wasn’t just his clothing that marked him as out of place- or his short stature- or the no-nonsense cut of his boring brown hair -he seemed to be bouncing off things like a demented ping pong ball. (more…)
She did not notice the man following her until it was too late.
She saw the duck first. Seeing a duck downtown was unusual. It was standing by a bike rack, unperturbed, as if it were waiting for someone. It looked up at Cathy as she passed. Surprised, she stopped and stared at the bird. But she was going to be late for work so she continued on. The next duck was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, unconcerned about all of the people passing. It was obviously not the same duck. It was coloured differently and had a scrunched up foot.
Cathy shook her head in disbelief. Two downtown ducks in one day? Perhaps there had been some kind of a storm that had stranded them in the city?
She did not even see the goose. It was a big Canada goose, standing quite tall and waddling along the sidewalk. She was almost at the office, where she worked as an accountant, and she was checking herself in the window of the bakery nearby. Her short brown hair was tastefully arranged and her makeup completely natural. She was wearing her blue business suit, which made her frown because she had never liked the cut of the jacket. And then the goose pinched her bum. She jumped angrily, intending to shout down whoever had dared poach her derrière but there was only the goose behind her. No one else. It had to have been the goose. (more…)