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"My brother's gonna get you," shouted spraying through a bloody lip and embarrassed tears. "He's trained in Judo, you fuckin creep. JUDO!!" said half running, jeans twisted and hugging up too high, making everything tight and not right. Grass scraped onto surfaces normally ungrassed. Kelley tripped on his own shoes on the way home, while sending an urgent text message. The shoes were bought a size too big so that there was room for growing, but once he grew into them it would be time for new shoes anyway, and they would most likely be a size too big. Kelley went straight to his room and got on the phone. He called (514) HIM-BUTT, and got the voicemail, "Hey, Derek Cannon--" "Derek it's Kelley, answer your phone or text me back!" After refusing dinner and picking at his lip in the mirror, purposely not washing blood off his face, Kelley explained the whole thing to Derek. "Hmm, that's pretty rough." Kelley just stared, his hair still stranding with grass. "That's all you can say?" "What do you want me to say?" "What I want is for you to go over there and beat the fucking fuck out of him, Derek!"
Derek was indeed trained in Judo. When he was 9 he saw a Judo demonstration at the Vars Fair, done by some fellow fourth-graders and some older kids. It was exciting: white uniforms, throwing people over your shoulder, hanging out with older kids. So Derek signed up, got the uniform and went for three months from April to June. But once school ended for the year the family went on vacation to Yarrow Beach for a couple weeks, then spent two weekends at the Peters (friends of Derek and Kelley's parents) and then a typing course in August, by the time there was a free moment for Judo, he just wasn't that into it anymore. But for some reason, for the past 5 years since then, whenever he was introduced by his parents, they would say "This is our son Derek", and it took about two seconds for them to say "he's a Judo master!" and make a hand chop. The hand chop was not even used in Judo, that was more like Karate, so it was embarrassing for many reasons. But mostly because it was this outdated summation of his character that he somehow couldn't shake. He felt as if he were wearing the Judo outfit every time this happened. But the Judo outfit from when he was 9, all shrunken and small and kiddish. He hated it, and he wished no one would ever talk about it again. "Beat the fuck out of him? Kelley, I..." He trailed off.
"You're a Judo master, Derek!! DO SOMETHING!"
Derek's face went quiet. He looked at the floor, little blood spots on the carpet from Kelley's own blood. "After Mom and Dad go to bed." Kelley lay in his bed fully-clothed and staring at the ceiling. The lights from the garden shined up into his window, and made the same shadows every night. When they went off, that was the timer, that meant it must be the middle of the night. Click. They met in the hallway. "Why are you dressed?" "I'm coming too." "No you're not, you're staying here. This can't come back to you." Kelley saw the seriousness in Derek's face. He stopped saying things and just listened. "You're gonna stay here and keep your phone plugged in. I don't want it going dead." Derek went down to the mud room, where the laundry machine was, and went in the closet. He took out his hockey stick. Then he went under the laundry sink for the toolbox, and put a hammer through the back of his belt. He went quietly out the door, as it reflexed with a tiny beep-beep for security. Kelley watched out the front window for what felt like forever. He thought about professional wrestling, and being lost on the ocean, and how blood cracks off like dust when it dries.Posted by Dan at May 6, 2011 11:08 PM
Holy crap, Dan, maybe it's just the older brother reflexes kicking in but I've a lump in my throat after this one. Well played.Posted by Ryan at May 7, 2011 1:15 PM
fantastic story!Posted by Michael Krueger at May 8, 2011 1:39 PM
ah that was just what i needed today. Thank you. :)Posted by cliffdogg at May 14, 2011 6:19 PM
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"and i shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and i will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels lives in Montreal. His debut novel, Us Conductors, will be published by Random House Canada/Tin House Books in spring 2014. His work also occasionally appears at McSweeney's. Follow him on Twitter or reach him here.
Dan Beirne is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Email him here
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)
Back to the World
La Blogothèque ◊
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Destination: Out ◊
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe) ◊
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A London Salmagundi
Petites planétes ◊
Gorilla vs Bear ◊
Silent Shout ◊
Clouds of Evil ◊
The Dolby Apposition ◊
Awesome Tapes from Africa ◊
Matana Roberts ◊
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews ◊
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan ◊
CKUT Music ◊
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater ◊
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden ◊
Passion of the Weiss ◊
Juan and Only ◊
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin) ◊
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad ◊
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross) ◊
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet ◊
things we like in Montreal
le pick up
au pied de cochon
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c
drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c
casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
cinema du parc
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe
The Morning News