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The Collection
The Collection
Everyone likes to collect something....
Published by barrywood
12-29-2007
The Collection

The Collection
by Barry Wood


Aunt Louise collects cups and saucers. "Fancy ones with flowers," she admits, chuckling. "But I didn't spend much for them -- picked most of them up at yard sales!" Aunt Louise bakes delicious cookies and pies and breads. When she announces that the tea is steeped and she has "a bit of lunch ready," you're in for a feast!

Her husband, Kevin, has built several shelves in the living and dining rooms in their old captain's house in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It has been a bad summer for ants; the sticky, six-legged creatures crawled from the powdery poison and her beloved cups and saucers were their final resting places. Uncle Kevin stood on a stool for hours, passing down the dishes to Aunt Louise who carefully washed them in hot, soapy water.

Uncle Kevin teases me about being a bachelor. He says I'm too nice. My face always turns red whenever he begins. "Be more aggressive with girls, Matt! You're a handsome young man."

"I'm shy," I admit.

"Sheer foolishness!" he says, laughing. "Don't talk about the latest book you've read. That's utterly boring to young ladies who want to kick up their heels and dance! Buy them a drink and get them talking about themselves. If they wanted to learn about William Shakespeare they'd have gone to the library."

"Now, now," Aunt Louise says, brushing the bread with butter that she's just removed from the oven. "You used to talk about boxing magazines to me. Remember, old man?"

"That's completely different," he answers. "That's jock talk."

Their son Jimmy, my cousin, collects clowns. He lives in Yarmouth in a mobile home overlooking the Atlantic. He can watch the huge ferry arriving from Portland, Maine. The first clown was a figurine his first landlady gave him. He now has about seventy-five of different sorts -- one even sings.

He has a few calendars and a mat on his bathroom floor with a face having orange hair and red lips, which looks up between your legs while you're sitting on the can. We had a few beers one evening -- well, actually several. Later my aim wasn't as steady as it should have been in the bathroom. I stared down at the sad clown on the wet mat.

Jimmy also loves my favorite TV show, Bugs Bunny. We joked that we should be out picking up women. We sat there and laughed our heads off while the cartoon aired.

I've started my own collection of memorabilia. I keep them in a buffet in my Halifax apartment. Uncle Kevin thinks it's a foolish collection; Aunt Louise finds it somewhat disturbing. She said, "Why don't you collect stamps or something?"

Jimmy just laughed when he saw it. "You crazy nut!"

I grinned, saying nothing.

Jimmy has invited me back to Yarmouth; he's got more Bugs Bunny tapes!

There are a knife, a corkscrew, and a hammer in my collection. They sit on a red silk scarf (also a piece of my collection, which still has the slight fragrance of perfume). I had to clean the corkscrew and the knife because they were stained with blood.

The hammer didn't need cleaning; I had smashed her on the head, just once. Quick. Hard. She had been sitting on a green bench reading. I had taken my bagged lunch to the park. She had smiled when I said, "Do you mind if I sit here?"

The victim wearing the scarf had struggled violently.

I care for my collection as dearly as Aunt Louise does for her china and Jimmy does for his clowns. I hope to collect dozens of other items.

Right now, my collection comes solely from Nova Scotia. I'm planning a trip to London, England later this year. I hope to pick up a few pieces while I'm there.

Visit the authorís website: http://www.barrywood.net
  #1  
By Spotbowserfido2 on 12-29-2007
Re: The Collection

This is a fine revision of your story, Mr. Wood! Personally, I fear pliers...
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  #2  
By Nemonymous on 12-29-2007
Re: The Collection

That is truly impressive. It has a homely horror, but more homely than horror, but that is a fact which increases the horror yet again.
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  #3  
By Dr. Bantham on 12-29-2007
Re: The Collection

Miss Plarr has rendered services by reading this story aloud for her students. Note the link at the bottom of the story content. She is a bit more stoic when attempting to recant conversations. Perhaps her mind is elsewhere.
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  #4  
By barrywood on 12-29-2007
Re: The Collection

Thank you, spot, des, for reading and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated, guys! Perhaps Matt will get a set of pliers for his collection.

Thanks goes out to Miss Plarr's fine voice. And, of course, the unstoppable Dr. Bantham gets my usual praise.
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  #5  
By barrywood on 12-30-2007
Re: The Collection

I looked homely up in the dictionary:
--
In the United States, homely usually suggests absence of natural beauty: an unattractive person almost homely enough to be called ugly. In England, the word suggests a wholesome simplicity without artificial refinement or elegance; since it characterizes that which is comfortable and attractive, it is equivalent to homey: a homely cottage.
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  #6  
By Nemonymous on 12-30-2007
Re: The Collection

I intended the 2nd meaning, Barry.
But there is many a slip 'tween intention and action.
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  #7  
By barrywood on 12-30-2007
Re: The Collection

I knew you meant the second meaning, des. Thank you. I love words and I especially like the differences sometimes between British and American.

On another note, des, what is the record for the smallest published chapbook? Has anyone ever published a one page book with covers?
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  #8  
By Nemonymous on 12-30-2007
Re: The Collection

Quote Originally Posted by barrywood View Post
Has anyone ever published a one page book with covers?
Well there's
Nemonymous Nemonymous
with no pages at all!
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  #9  
By barrywood on 12-30-2007
Re: The Collection

des: I still truly find it amazing you've published 1,500 short stories -- truly remarkable and wonderful ....

Happy New Year, des.

I was just reading about you on wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.F._Lewis
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