Mark A. McCutcheon
The year I got my license, finally, we commandeered our parents’ cars to chart the sprawling suburbs. Hyperbolic teens, we called this doing mayhem. One warm bored night, Mikos and I trawled around Toronto in my dad’s jeep, watching for cops, empty lots, darker roads. Down a deserted industrial sideroad a warehouse without any cars surrounding it called us over. A dented door in a dark corner didn’t put up much fight against Mikos’ pocketknife, swung open silent as a swooping owl. The halls inside likewise quiet, dark as closets, a blackout labyrinth. Mute since we’d nudged the car doors closed, we padded office carpets, followed a thin amber glimmer, found a wide room dimly illuminated by the ambient city outside. Dark blocks hulked in shadowed corners. At the far end of the room a raised floor, a stage. We paused on the threshold and listened, heard only a far truck rumble the highway. Eyed each other to gauge risking a flashlight, nodded. The quick incandescence detailed heaps of cloth, random rubbish, and something beside us suddenly legible. A Wheel Of Fortune letter board. On its face this phrase:
GET UP QUICK MARTIN THEY’RE TRYING TO STEAL MY BODY
We killed the light, retreated, drove away fast, saw we weren’t followed. Some things on heaven and earth. In another area code, a cop stopped us just for circling a country block, to no purpose the cop could see. Mikos told him we were new drivers, practicing standard. Practice your way home, he told us.
Mark A. McCutcheon lives in Edmonton and teaches English literature at Athabasca University. His poems and stories are forthcoming or published in journals like On Spec, EVENT, Kaleidotrope, Carousel, and sub-Terrain; “Heaven help the roses” placed as Runner-Up in Into the Void’s 2017 poetry contest. Mark is the author of The Medium Is the Monster (Athabasca UP, 2018), a study of Canadian Frankenstein adaptations; his literary criticism also appears in The Explicator, Topia, and other scholarly periodicals.