Charlie Fish (@FishCharlie) Tweeted: In Mennonite Manitoba, hard-up teenager Diedrich Deutsch is getting bullied at school, and tries his hand at basketball. Read Mitchell Toews at https://t.co/dO9tFIbTVq https://t.co/Sgx6bczYGX https://twitter.com/FishCharlie/status/1309550748854878209?s=20
By Pastor T, with @metgohnaJake
A serialized peek at Pastor T’s mailbag as he answers questions about the rapture.
I Thessalonians 4 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
Editing and curation by @metgohnaJake in a hovel, near a place of strong drink and non-domestic tobacco, far from salvation, somewhere in Macedonia. @metgohnaJake is a former marketer and tends to see the world in a cynical way, where every act is specious performance and all players have ulterior motives and all motives are self-serving. He learned this while making rich people richer, so we can’t really blame him, despise him though we might for his complicity in Pastor T’s snakey-eyed activities.
In each episode, Pastor T will address reader questions about the rapture. Pastor T has, he informs us, had the good fortune to ascend into heaven on a day pass and discuss the matter with the powers that be and so is qualified, ordained you might say, to speak on the matter.
Pastor T is just as qualified to speak on the rapture as any other person on Earth. No one can say differently, and make it stick.—Pastor T
Q: Pastor T, who exactly did you speak to on your journey to the hereafter?
A: Fellow sinner, I was able to speak to the Acting Head of Rapture Education. He was a soft-spoken gentleman with a BTh from a fine Canadian institution of higher learning. He got hisself pre-raptured during a mink farming accident in the Sixties.
Q: Follow up—was he a Macedonian, Pastor T?
A: No, a Funk, from S.E. Manitoba. Next question, please, @metgohnaJake…
@metgohnaJake: Incidentally, Pastor T has asked me to tell our readers about today’s COZY 60% off BLOW-OUT sale!
It’s a prayer tea-cozy, specially made of synthetic mink fur and available in three rapture grades of luxuriousness: Cumulus, Altocumulus, and Ultra-Luxurious Cirrocumulus! Shipping is free on orders of three or more. Now, back to our mailbag!
Q: Will my border collie be raptured, Pastor T?
A: [dead air…dead air…dead air…] Sinner, you have to ask herself three important questions: Does your dog bark? Does your dog bite? Does your dog shed? The rapture ain’t twitter, so not every dog is welcome.
Q: Boxers or briefs, Pastor T? #swiperightsarah
A: I’m glad you asked, sinner… @metgohnaJake, perhaps you’d like to take this one?
@metgohnaJake: Sure, PT! How about a pair of our famous ASS-cendant boxers? In three sinner-sizes!
Q: Will the Raptures win the NBA Championship?
A: Yes. Yes, sinner, they will.
@metgohnaJake: That’s all for today’s Daily Rapture. Tune in again soon to get the answers to important questions like:
Q: Pastor T, the Gulf War… I guess that was actually just, like, the warm-up band?
Q: Pastor T, what does the T stand for? #swiperightsarah
Q: Pastor T, Millennial Kingdom or Millennium Falcon—which is faster?
*May cause dizziness, hives, and anal discharge. Do not use if allergic to synthetic mink fur.
My heartfelt tale of a neophyte basketball player—slash—jung Reiba ☠️ will be included in the May 2019 edition of the American literary magazine Fabula Argentea.
Thanks to Editor Rick Taubold for accepting my work. This is a “silver story” of both friendship and hardship that comes from personal experiences and a buddy who left too soon.
Active since 2012, Fabula Argentea receives over 500 submissions per year and from that produces three issues of about 8-12 stories each. Here’s an interview with Editor Taubold that succinctly describes the magazine’s approach:
jung Reiba is Plautdietsch (Low German) for “young pirate”.
My stories—and everyone else’s—spring from life. Life lived, life observed, life imagined. Life reconstructed.
A vital part of each story—and each life—is place and time. Truths from one era or one location or one moment in a given journey alter and define the future.
Driven by my own curiosity, here is a roll-call of Place, Time, and basic protagonist context from my stories:
i — “Encountered on the Shore” A university student makes an unsettling discovery in downtown Winnipeg, in the fall of 1973.
ii — “A Vile Insinuation” During the summer following, the main character from “Encountered on the Shore” considers fate and blessings at a baseball tournament in Vita, Manitoba, near the US border.
iii — “Without Reason” Now retired, the MC from “Encountered” and “Vile”, is diagnosed with cancer and he considers his plight and that of others like him. Set in his small Mennonite prairie hometown, current day.
i — “Zero to Sixty” A retired man is attacked, near Christmas in Chilliwack, BC, current day.
ii — “The Margin of the River” and the audio except, “Wide Winter River” The MC from “Zero to Sixty” considers what happened the day before and sees first hand the inequity and sorrow that is built into life. All life.
“The Rothmans Job” An odd couple set out on a dubious nighttime caper during a fierce winter blizzard in Winnipeg, during the 1970s.
“South of Oromocto Depths” A teenage boy gets into a foolish skirmish with his father on the Victoria Day long weekend in 1971 New Brunswick.
“Nothing to Lose” A former hockey player looks back on his life and his regrets in rural Manitoba during the dusty heat of summer, in the Sixties.
“Heavy Artillery” A young baseball fan in 1962 becomes embroiled in adult suspicion and prejudice in a small prairie town — predominantly Mennonite. (The imaginary, recurrent town of “Hartplatz, Manitoba”.)
“A Fisherman’s Story” In 1970, on the Mexican Pacific coast, an elderly woman and her young daughter are dealt an unfair hand. (P.S. — the prequel and the sequel to this story appear in the trilogy “The Bottom of the Sky”. See link below.)
“Winter Eve in Walker Creek Park” A trio of females on a wintery night in St. Catherines, Ontario, near Christmastime, current day.
“Breezy and the Six-Pack Sneaker” A rainy, beery night in Hartplatz in the Sixties is the scene for a tangled yarn of deception.
“The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine” A straight-laced Mennonite husband and wife take on danger in a dark Winnipeg alley in 1934. (Rerun on Literally Stories, Feb 17.)
“Frozen Tag” A man encounters a strange reprise from his past (at the Minneapolis Athletic Club in 1980) in the Chilliwack Leisure Centre, current day.
“The Business of Saving Souls” A youth pastor in the fictitious city of Tribune, in the northern US Midwest meets challenges in the sanctuary of a gleaming megachurch, current day.
“The Preacher and His Wife” Palace intrigue, Harplatz style, throws a family into an untoward uproar in the 1960s.
“I am Otter” A shunned congregant discusses culture, power, and enfranchisement with a stranger near a lake in Manitoba, current day.
“The Beefeater and the Donnybrook” A mild-mannered Halifax, NS tourist is mistaken and mistook in drizzly London, current day.
“The Log Boom” Poignant points of view — a father, son, and grandfather in the Lower Mainland of BC, current day.
“The Peacemongers” War, bullies and knuckle justice from the perspective of a boy in Hartplatz, circa 1965.
“Fairchild, McGowan and the Detective” Recalling employment, both the good and the bad in Hartplatz and Winnipeg, 1970-80.
“Graperoo” A piece of Graperoo bubblegum experiences the four seasons in rural Manitoba in the Sixties.
“So Are They All” It’s September 1961 and a young boy receives an education in loyalty and courage in his grandmother’s country raspberry patch.
“The Seven Songs” A middle-aged Canadian man meets a local contemporary at a resort in Mexico, current day.
“Fall From Grace” A boy gets stuck in a fraught adventure and learns about his father through it in the heat of a prairie summer in Hartplatz, 1963.
“Away Game” A 50-something man meets with an older family member at the side of a dreamy, summery lake in Manitoba’s boreal forest, current day.
“In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” The reader travels back into Canadian small-town hardball with the MC, reliving a fateful doubleheader from the Fifties.
“The Doeling” A brother and sister’s lives entwine from an east coast Canadian city to Belize and back. The Sixties to current day, various seasons.
“City Lights” A small-town “up-and-comer” gets in over his head in Toronto, current day.
“Groota Pieter” Spring softball in small-town Mennonite Manitoba is described, from the Sixties to current day.
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” On a moody Manitoba morning near a spring lake, a youngster and an older confederate fish for pickerel during the mid-Seventies.
“The Bottom of the Sky” A trilogy that follows a “pinche” cabin-boy and the ship’s captain on a fishing charter boat from 1955 Acapulco to the future in a fishing village in the Seventies. (P.S. – If you’re inclined, give this story a read and tell me if you think it could be adapted into a screenplay. I see it in flickering snatches of film in my head and just wonder if that occurs to anyone else. If you’re a screenwriter or in film, I’d love an opinion — tough love included. —mjt)
“Shade Tree Haven” An adult remembers more than he cares to as he thinks back to summers at a favourite swimming pool in the early 1960s.
“The Narrowing” A sensitive boy and his straight-ahead grandfather go through a harrowing experience in the Manitoba wilds, current day. An important secondary character in Abbotsford, BC is part of the story.
“The Phage Match” In a surreal radio broadcast from somewhere in Canada, current day, the evils of drug addiction are the backdrop for some strange characters.
“Died Rich” A high school freshman in a frigid southern Manitoba winter in 1961 struggles to endure.
“Concealment” A fledgling Manitoba business traveller gets more than he expects on a springtime trip to the Atlanta Zoo in the 1980s.
“Mulholland & Hardbar” (Novel WIP) A troubled youth experiences the four seasons in the Canadian Shield: love, friendship, deceit, and violence. 1972.
Drama: From the Greek, “to do” or “to act”
Every story I write is an amalgam of experiences and imaginings; a hybrid mixture that flows with the emotion and intention that are in me in at that moment. The experiences of others, particularly in difficult circumstances that amplify the things about them that I value, are often a profound source of inspiration.
The catch is that these stories are sometimes hard to relate. Here is one from that slippery category, on storgy.com
“The Log Boom” is my most re-tweeted story, so far. Of the 25 or so stories that I have had published to literary sites in the past year, this is also one of the most-liked and most-viewed. I realize that these are not big numbers but for an unknown guppy alone in the vast ocean of fiction, I am happy for the attention.
(Thanks again to Storgy.)
I hope you enjoy it and if you care to, please feel free to comment – your feedback is welcome. https://storgy.com/2017/05/19/fiction-the-log-boom-by-mitchell-toews/
The two stood in a hard-packed dirt barnyard, facing the end wall of an old dairy barn. The smell of cows still permeated the air. It was sweet, fetid and oddly appealing – the kind of smell that was at first unpleasant but that, over time, one grew accustomed to. After a while, it was as if your nose craved it. Marty had always found that strange but undeniable. He craved it now.
The younger one of the two – a tall boy – sniffed and peaked his eyebrows.
“Same smell,” he said.
“Yeah, there hasn’t been a cow here for six years, but…” Marty’s words trailed off as he tilted his head up to find the familiar scent.
STORGY was founded in 2013 by Tomek Dzido and Anthony Self as a means by which to explore the short story form and engage with readers and artists alike. An online literary short story magazine consisting of a core group of dedicated writers, STORGY aims to inspire artistic collaboration and provide opportunities for creative minds to meet.
allfornow – Mitch
The internet is much like a sea filled to furious capacity with fish. Viewed from a height, such as a high flying gull might attain, larger fish can be discerned and the general trends of schools and shoaling fish can be observed.
But should that gull swoop down low to snatch a morsel, it will find a teeming confusion – a frothing, overabundance of individuals each pushing and straining to the surface. The madding crowd, where many are not fish but are foul.
And yet, in all of this tumult and to my surprise, a few have found my pan-sized offerings and have returned for more. To these loyal wingmen (hens and drakes alike) I offer today’s labour – working on my short fiction, “The Log Boom”; a little story that I hope can become a big fish.
I’ll do that writing after I frame and case a pocket door and build a backsplash. The unrelenting, land bound needs of our 66-year old cabin come first. Plus, like my writing, there’s a lot of editing required.
Meanwhile, here is a short excerpt from, “The Log Boom”, for loyal Early Readers and other lone birds who have landed here:
This changes everything. This changes nothing, Marty thought. He had wondered how people react when they were told this. But he still did not know. He was quiet.
As they drove, Marty looked out at a tugboat towing a boom of logs on the Fraser. The logs flowed down the inexorable river, riding the current. Frederick noticed Marty looking at the boom and feeling the tension in the moment was happy to focus on it as well.
“Wow. That is huge – how many separate booms are strung together?” Fred asked.
“At least three,” Marty said as he pulled the truck over at a spot where construction vehicles had a ramp down to the river. They sat together and watched the tug as it guided the immense weight of the logs past the pilings of the Alex Fraser Bridge.
“The boom is going downstream, so it is relatively easy to control, I suppose,” Marty commented. “But I guess you still have to be pretty sharp and plan the path carefully.”
“Do you think it’s harder to tow them upstream?” Fred asked, glancing at his dad, his eyes moist.
allfornow – mitch
Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016