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2005 11 19
Montréal Walkups: No. 7
By Lance Blomgren


image
Image: Doreyme

6296 Casgrain

The setting sun reflects off the landlord-gray brick apartment. You climb three flights of stairs past a steel barrel of aluminum cyanide and the remaining feathers of a dried-out pigeon. This is where your love of a good joke has gotten you: you live here now. You laugh/cough into your hand as you pass the next-door neighbour on the upstairs landing. He’s suntanning in an overly baggy pair of shorts. “Hey, have you seen my cat?” You make a facial gesture meant to imply gentle concern as you speak. “He’s been missing a couple of days.” The word from the rental agency is that the neighbour hasn’t adapted too well socially but is really quite pleasant, which is a polite way of letting you know his eviction notice is in the mail and he should be altogether avoided. Saying what is meant is becoming less and less possible in this environment. He dries his forehead with the t-shirt you’d hung on the clothesline the night before and you decide to drop this line of conversation. You are suddenly at a loss to accurately comprehend the image of his scrotum joined wetly to his thigh (“a leather hacky-sack soaked in engine grease” you’ll write later) and would rather not dwell on it. Besides, he’s telling you, “What the doctors call shock is really just the physical, bodily realization that the worst possible scenario isn’t quite as bad as originally thought,” and you take this as a good time to leave. “I’ll let you know if I see your cat,” he assures, as you unlock your apartment and step inside. Standing there, you can suddenly feel the inner workings of your abdomen. You might say your heart is racing, but you know it’s just your stomach, slumped over, lying absolutely still.

Editors' Note:
This was the seventh in a series of excerpts from Lance Blomgren's Walkups (2000) published by Conundrum Press.

Walkups is a series of intimate and idiosyncratic portraits of Montréal apartments and their inhabitants. Revealing both the physical and psychical architecture that enframes his characters, Blomgren's narratives unfold episodically in a manner that is both mischievous and melancholic.


Blomgren is presently the co-director and curator of the Helen Pitt Gallery in Vancouver. He has also authored Corner Pieces (2004) with Conundrum Press.

Thanks to Andy Brown at Conundrum Press, Doreyme and Charles Chalmers for their photos and, of course, to Lance Blomgren for allowing us to re-publish his work here.

[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 11/19 at 06:01 AM

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