Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Shakespeare didn’t do this

Brin Friesen Archive

Brin Friesen

Acque Pericolose

October 29th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

MANHATTAN-

The Cuban girl peeled off a cigar box wouldn’t open the door to her apartment building and over the intercom was listing all the valid, sensible reasons under the circumstances why we would never see each other again.

I stared ahead at the security camera and held a rose against the glass of the front entrance.

While it’s true sentimental people are cruel, they’re also quite gullible.

Eventually she came down and slipped out the glass entrance and gave me a kiss goodbye. While she was mumbling apologies about it not working out and staring at me with her cigar stain eyes, I gently reached my hand into her coat pocket and stole her phone.

I kissed her goodbye, grinding a slightly devious smile against her frown, and hailed a cab to get me back into the city until she gave me a call. After all, she had my new number.

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Brin Friesen

Invisible Ink

October 17th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

“I leave a lot out when I tell the truth. The same when I write a story. I’m going to start now to tell you what I left out…”

-Amy Hempel (more…)


Brin Friesen

Loot II

September 30th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

HAVANA-

Somebody once said that at the end of the world there’s always a tourist and a whore fucking in a cheap hotel. If that’s here, that whore’s mother probably made the bed and had coffee ready for them after.

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Brin Friesen

Loot

September 15th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

HAVANA-

“In a sense, we are all crashing to our death from the top story of our birth to the flat stones of the churchyard and wondering with an immortal Alice in Wonderland at the patterns on the passing wall. This capacity to wonder at trifles—no matter the imminent peril—these asides of the spirit… are the highest forms of consciousness.”

-Vladimir Nabokov

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Brin Friesen

Kamikaze Helmets

August 26th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

HAVANA-

I saw a little girl get bit by a dog this afternoon in Central Park. I watched her from a stone bench beside the Esquina Caliente (Hot Corner) crowd of men arguing baseball just down the street from the Capitolio. She tried to pet one of these Goya-nightmare stray dogs and it snapped at her hand. She went off like a car alarm but it was the way she screamed that made the old men give up baseball and rush over to console her. In 30 years it is the solitary bonafide miracle I have witnessed. You’ll have to take my word for it, but if the Hot Corner heard Slim Pickens himself was falling from the sky straddling an atomic bomb, slapping his cowboy hat against his hip and yee-hawing his way down onto their heads—there wouldn’t be a flinch— “We’re talking béisbol here coño.”

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Brin Friesen

Musical Chairs III

August 17th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

I kept thinking about the night I didn’t take her to the prom.

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Brin Friesen

Musical Chairs II

August 15th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

“I shoulda danced with her at the prom. She’ll never forgive me for that.”

“She’s gonna live her broken dream one way or the other.”

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Brin Friesen

Musical Chairs I

August 14th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

My hunch is that if Havana’s your mother you’re going to have a tricky time making another city your wife.

My hometown has breezes it treats like hurricanes, Havana has hurricanes it treats like breezes.

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Brin Friesen

Wife Or Mistress III

August 5th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

There’s a shy meadow the size of a football field that slants away from a quiet road down towards a cliff. The road carries on climbing along a drowsy curve toward the university and Wreck Beach. If you drove along this road you’d have trouble seeing anyone lying on a blanket in the grass of that meadow. Without trying it’s very easy to get tucked away from prying eyes.

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Brin Friesen

Wife Or Mistress II

August 3rd, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

She texted me that she’d landed and was going through customs.

Waiting around in the arrivals I was nervous. Anna Paquin walked by all conspicuously-inconspicuous and I glared at her and she smiled.

My heart is as complicated as minigolf. Even Anna Paquin knew it on her way to film X-Men 3.

I’d give a lot to be one of those people who are misunderstood. Everybody gets me.

I felt nauseous and confused and looked around until I saw an abandoned wheelchair and jumped in. I felt better. Then I had some inspiration.

I texted the girl: “Bad timing. Had skiing accident and severed spinal cord. Paraplegic. Hope you can see man behind the chair. Sorry to be so last second.”

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Brin Friesen

Wife Or Mistress

August 1st, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

Which do you choose?

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Brin Friesen

Starbucks Girl

July 23rd, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

Starbucks Girl asks me in the parking lot, “You’ve been long distance with her for like a year, right? Are you ever scared that one day she’ll regret flying to be with you? I mean, leaving her home behind. If it doesn’t work out…”

Everything—or at least most stuff—is a version of something else. I guess that’s unsettling for a lot of people. Maybe it’s why so many people qualify the word “unique” when they try to describe stuff, as if it’s a matter of degree. There’s one of something or there’s not. It is or it isn’t. Unicycles have one wheel or they don’t.

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Brin Friesen

Wet Matches II

July 17th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

DOUBLE-PARKED IN MADRID-

“I’m a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope they won’t.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

She’d told me she enjoyed the walks to the boys houses more than the boys.

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Brin Friesen

Wet Matches

July 14th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

MADRID-

I was waiting for her.

I’d found a room near the Prado in a pension that was being run as a transvestite brothel. They called me “El Guapo” passing me in the hallways. They worked outside the gates of the Parque del Retiro while the Moroccans sold hash inside the gates or near the pond with the rowboats. The Moroccans even had business cards. It was very civilized.

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Brin Friesen

Gnossienne

July 3rd, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

I was working in a little run-down bookstore one night when this brunette I didn’t know walked in and up to the cash register and asked how old I was and what time I got off. It took me a second to remember how old I was. She invited me to a movie. She hadn’t even said which. I liked that a lot. When it became clear she wasn’t going to, I threw out the only customer in the store and closed down the bookstore by way of accepting the invitation.

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Brin Friesen

A Thousand Words: Paint By Numbers

June 30th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

If love is blind, stalkers often have an eye for detail. Likewise writers. They have to––a telescope in one eye and a microscope in the other. From a distance, these are your tools for picking the lock of someone’s life and reality. But instead of trying to steal everything, you’re always in danger of wanting to move in. Before too long a girl becomes a note that becomes a melody that becomes a symphony.

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Brin Friesen

Pockets

June 10th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

I was watching a girl’s reflection try on a winter coat in front of a mirror the other night. What made her interesting was how interested she was in what she was doing. She was inside a bright, hygienically-lit department store with puddles of squeaky light gleaming off the ground beside her feet. The cosmetics section and a large window divided us. I was outside in the cold watching my white breath fog up the view against the window and frantically wiping it off while a street light hung over me on Howe Street, drooling its sad creamsicle-glow into a puddle in the gutter that’d be frozen before I’d get into my front door that night.

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Brin Friesen

Popped Tires Down Memory Lane

May 28th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

High school is attractive to me, not because you necessarily have a good time, but because you have a clear idea WHY you’re miserable. ‘This’, ‘this’, and ‘this.’ As opposed to real life, post-high school life, you can be miserable and not have a clear idea what makes you miserable. Dis-satisfactions are more vague, more amorphous. High school is an abridged version of real life and its abridgment adds clarity. That clarity is comforting.

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Brin Friesen

Domino Diaries

May 24th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

HAVANA-

Once, Raul Castro strolled into the Havana hotel I was staying in at three-thirty in the morning. I noticed him all right—along with the two bodyguards and three blonds he had in tow—but I didn’t know him by name. The bartender told me. I gave him a harder look and recognized the puffy eyes and the Castro-gestures—turning his finger into a hamster on a wheel with little points he was making here and there while he made the rounds with security staff and maids cleaning up the lobby. It was the president’s grandson. And he was a born flirt.

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Brin Friesen

Laputa

May 23rd, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

Last year a Cuban on the flight over to their hometown told me a story. When Che left Cuba for the last time he changed his identity and radically altered his appearance in order to sneak out to Bolivia. But he had dinner with his family one last time. His wife introduced him to his children as “Ramon” and they didn’t recognize him. When dinner was served, out of habit, he sat at his usual place at the head of the table. Instantly one of his small children confronted him and grabbed the chair. “You cannot sit here. My father sits here.”

So Che politely stood and left it empty while his wife smiled.

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