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A Long Line

Third in a series of short summer reads from Geist and The Tyee.

Deirdre Laidlaw 18 Jul

"A Long Line" won a third prize in the 3rd Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story contest. The 4th annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest is open and accepting submissions now.

Deirdre Laidlaw lives with her husband and two sons in Selkirk, Manitoba, where she writes articles, fiction and poetry.

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'here we were in Selkirk, Manitoba, with that big fish leering down at us'

On Sunday evening we pulled into town after four nights on the road. Four nights of snow and rain and eighteen-wheelers sucking us right off the highway every time they passed, and now here we were in Selkirk, Manitoba, with that big fish leering down at us as if to say we had no idea what we'd got ourselves into. The first thing we needed to do was find some food, because the kids had been whining since the border at Emerson, so we drove past two gas stations and the post office and parked outside Tim Hortons, where at least we knew what we were going to get. We'd eaten at fast-food joints from Michigan to North Dakota and I was sick of Caesar salads drowned in grease, but there was no limit to the number of chicken sandwiches and doughnuts Ian could eat as long as he could wash them down with Coke. The girl behind the counter couldn't tell us what was in the chili, though, and that was a problem because of David's allergy, but I was too far beyond tired to care, so I shoved a spoonful into his mouth thinking, If he blows, he blows.

He didn't blow.

After supper, we decided to drive over and look at our new house before checking into the motel, so Hugh turned right at the fish down a dark and slushy street and then left onto another street that had an icy lake forming at the corner, and finally in at the little bungalow that was all ours. We'd have to wait until the next morning to get our keys from the real estate agent, but for now we peered through the windows, and I thought, What wave has washed ashore here after years of floundering, and will we find refuge or be hung up to dry like prize suckers?  [Tyee]

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