In May 2002, Stella Harvey formed The Whistler Writers Group, affectionately known as The Vicious Circle, to support aspiring writers in the community. The group has been a raging success with over 40 members gathering each month to read, chat and critique each others work. The collective is also responsible for an on-going and incredibly successful series of public readings and workshops. This story is the third of eight short works of fiction that were presented at the Feb. 22-23 Literary Leanings event at Ulis Flipside, part of Celebration 2010 Whistler Arts Showcase.
(A short story excerpt)
He had mayonnaise on his upper lip and a piece of onion protruding from his eyetooth like a horn. I looked away, riveting my eyes on the numbers. Zeros staring at me everywhere, mocking my work.
"How could fifty percent of your food and entertainment allowance add up to exactly five hundred dollars?" I asked him. The ocean air caused a creeping sweat behind my knees, paving the way for my eczema.
"Oh," he leaned across the papers and grabbed a small bundle of crumpled receipts. "Thats these ones." The smell of onion wafted across my face as he dropped the butter-stained package in front of me, like the dead offerings of a house cat.
"Thank you." Some of the receipts were torn in the middle where the broccoli elastic and cardboard tag, "California Organic", had scrunched them like an over tightened belt. I handed him the elastic and began flattening each gnarled receipt.
"Are you sure about that sandwich?" He was trying his best to derail me from my calculations.
"Yes, thanks." I unkinked my back in the wooden chair and tried to loosen my dampening shirt cuffs. He looked at me with the inquisitive eyes of a small animal, perhaps trying to decipher whether I meant, yes I was sure I didnt want a sandwich, or the more remote possibility of, yes Ive changed my mind. I noticed one of those little rat-tails sprouting from the back of his tangled hair and was seized by an impulse to lop it off with a pair of scissors. "This computer," I said, pointing to the outdated box on the desk. "You could enter these figures into a spreadsheet program, keep better track of your business much easier to file your return."
"I prefer to fill it with words," he said.
It can handle numbers too! I wanted to yell at him. They wont corrupt the words. But hed already left his little closet of an office and wandered off barefoot to another of his tasks. These island people think they dont belong to the same country as the rest of us. Think they can have their own set of rules with their island currency and illicit pot farms, with their crafting circles and organic produce. They dont know it can all be traced, all accounted for in the end.