In Camp

In the dry tent the clothes hung mouldering on their lines. There was so much dampness those first few days that even the smoke from the fire seemed wet. Clothes were layered upon clothes. Achieving a degree of dryness was an accomplishment because it meant the clothes of the body could be traded for something warmer or that there was something to wear the next morning. We met the others through the maze of clothes as if we were hunting for the wounded in the dusk following a hail of gunfire.

She: “Someone moved my sweater.”

I stood behind her feeling oddly guilty and we hunted through the garments until the item was found (if it was ever found), joined with half-hearted concern by waves of our colleagues, brows rutted with wet.

Later in the heat of a fire and beer someone handed me a guitar and I strummed with indecision. I would have liked to have given it to her beside me as a mark of her competence but neither could she play. Eventually the guitar was taken by someone else.

We were possibly closest but as if it was a symbol I never went into her tent. I had a real love for her. But it was doomed I guess: I was making no progress in the field and every day in fact I regressed further and further. This was the general complaint & in some sense I beat it into a narrative for the others. So when the call came that there was work to be had elsewhere it only made sense that she should leave. On her last day something finally clicked for her and she planted 1700. This was a number I could not even comprehend and my last day (some time later) I went into the field preaching some kind of reform and came out a whimpering loser.

At breakfast after she had left her friend who had taken up with one of the other men (the two would go on long walks together into the forest or along the river, as if that was something any of us wanted to do in that country; he always acceded to the suggestion of these walks with a puppyish excitement which I thought revealed their true purpose) asked me in the morning if I was “in love with her.” When it came out that I was there was a general astonishment, false I think. Then came the true question asked for the satisfaction of her personal anthropology: why hadn’t I—?

Hadn’t what? It was obvious. I just shrugged. I think I expected more talk. I think I thought something would be clarified by my expression of feeling, even though it had come so quietly. I felt as if I had disturbed the first pebble that would call down an avalanche of consequence. But nothing happened. We finished breakfast. We washed our dishes and took the bus out of camp, to the worksite, where we planted trees, or tried to. Probably I thought of her, thought of her and thought of the reaction at breakfast. Maybe, I thought, word would get back to her in K——. Maybe it did. It doesn’t matter, because I never saw her again. My love didn’t matter. I learned that, that morning.

That night I dreamed about finding her in the dry tent, amidst the haze and smoke and clothes. But even in my dream I couldn’t embrace her. And in the morning she was gone.

A Dream

First I had to fend off a bear and I didn’t feel too badly about that. In my dreams whenever I fight someone I go too far and end up feeling like a monster. My brother and I were on the deck when suddenly we noticed the bear crouching there, low and growling. M. was paralyzed and the bear bit him on the chest and took out a piece of his shirt. I raised my arms, not trusting to them, and somehow frightened the bear off.

Later I was on that same deck with the family dog. She was going from post to post and barking, like she used to do. She was not old because this was a long time ago, when we still had the other dog–the German Shepherd–who was hit by a car a year after we got her.

The forest surrounds that house like a moat and so I was surprised to find a murderer climbing up the side of the deck on a grappling hook.

“You’ll never get up here!” I shouted, knocking the grapple down. But I was worried because I knew that determined he would find a way.

I gathered knives in the kitchen. I thought the German Shepherd might get him. She was huge. I waited.

Well, he got in anyway.

“I killed your dog. He was an odd thing & I liked him but I killed him anyway. Even if I regretted it that dog is dead.”

He? We wrestled for the gun and I managed to shoot off the last five rounds into the wood of the house. Then I got a knife and put it on his throat. How could I let him know how awfully he had treated us? There was no way besides pressing the knife in until blood ran, just a bit.

I got someone to call the police and threw him outside for them to find. The body of the bear was slumped dead on the driveway, and the murderer weeped for the dead dog.

Inside my family cast me suspicious looks, as if I would take the knife to them.

“Well?” I said, “Well??”

Seeking Mid-Level Position

Bart Bhlendhos
Apt. 2, 15 Maze Hill Rd.
Toronto, ON
M4L 2W5

(please restrict all telephone correspondence to evenings & weekends.)

Self-taught man of many talents, eager and willful learner, seeking employment in mid-level desk position from employer who won’t begrudge him the lack of experience! Still believes that optimism and good, old-fashioned gumption sells/invents/analyzes/develops and/or oversees the selling, inventing, analyzing and developing of the new products and technologies that are shaping today’s world.

What are our billionaire entrepreneurs but hard-working men and women who have toiled at the fields of their brilliance by the sweat of their own brows? And when their brilliance bears fruit, it is the hard-working men and women like myself, lacking the brilliance but losing nothing for it, called on to harvest it!

Let’s be honest with each other. I know most jobs are netted by friends and relatives. So can I call you my buddy, pal? I am personable and reliable and I’m sure that in time we can make ours a famous acquaintance. I believe in workplaces where everyone gets along and no one is afraid to tell a joke or two.

Prior employment: What I lack in experience I make up in candour and eagerness to learn. I will train myself extensively in whatever systems and protocols your business operates in. I’m not afraid to tell you I don’t know how a thing works, because it is only in the acknowledgment of ignorance that ignorance is conquered.

Mindfulness is a technique that I have practiced weekly for many years (in therapy) and it is through my mindfulness that I have learned the ability to appreciate and recognize my own failings. I am sincere and I don’t hide my feelings. I am no ‘Yes Man’ and I won’t be afraid to tell you if I think there is something in the corporate culture that needs correcting. Consider me your early-warning system!

Education & Skills: 4 years of High School (non-graduating). Proficient with all programs in the Microsoft Office suite. Some college: Photography certificate, Large Engine Maintenance (incomplete), Lawn Business Operation (incomplete), and Archaeological Technician (incomplete). Great phone manner. Can make copies. &c, &c.

My references are available upon request. Must allow 3-4 days for response, as it may take some time for me to contact them.


The video for Home, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, is affecting enough without its misleading disclaimer–“a collection of some of our favorite memories over the past few years”–which may confuse viewers into thinking that the movie is made out of “authentic” footage.

The Magnetic Zeroes are targeting the same lost innocence that The Arcade Fire mourns in Funeral and acknowledges in their newest release The Suburbs. But rather than sing about its loss, the Magnetic Zeros have decided to mimic the innocence to evoke feelings of loss, and to heighten that loss by appealing to a “real” authority present in the video. The song is more cheerful than the video because it doesn’t deliberately try and mislead with these images (scratchy film, soundlessness, a combined distance/intimacy with the characters, etc).

What makes the movie ultimately depressing (for me) is their attempt to hide the illusion with the disclaimer, as if the song/video was the secret (or perhaps true) life of the characters it portrays–the video in that sense is Eden, forever lost.