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Amazing Stories 599

This story appears in my short story collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More and is licensed for downloading under a Creative Commons license. Download it here

Podcast: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I wrote this strange, stylised Scientology/Alien-Invasion/Oedipus story at a Gypsicon, the writers’ workshop that gave rise to Craphound and Visit the Sins.

Now, you’re not supposed to play favorites, but, just between you and me, this is one of my all-time favorite stories. I loved writing it, and I’m delighted to see it heading for print.

It’s the untethering of my parents’ house that’s on my plate today. The flying of a kite on a windy Toronto Hallowe’en day and the suspension of worry for a shiny moment.

And sail surface isn’t even a problemette when it comes to my parents’ home — the thing is a three-storey bat whose narrow wings contain the trolleycar-shaped bedrooms and storages. Mum and Dad built it themselves while I tottered in the driveway, sucking a filthy shred of blanket, and as I contemplate it today with hands on hips from the front yard, I am there on that day:

Dad is nailgunning strips of plywood into a frame, Mum stands where I am now, hands on her hips (and I take my hands from my hips hastily, shove them deep in pockets). She squints and shouts directions. Then they both grab rolls of scrim and stapleguns and stretch it loosely across the frames, and fast-bond pipes and prefab fixtures into place. Mum harnesses up the big tanks of foam and aims the blower at the scrim, giving it five fat coats, then she drops the blower and she and Dad grab spatulas and tease zillions of curlicues and baroque stuccoes from the surface, painting it with catsup, chutney, good whiskey and bad wine, a massive canvas covered by centimetres until they declare it ready and Mum switches tanks, loads up with fix-bath and mists it with the salty spray. Ten minutes later, and the house is hard and they get to work unloading the U-Haul in the drive.

And now I’m twenty-two again, and I will untether that house and fly it in the stiff breeze that ruffles my hair affectionately.