Win­ners of the Geist Lit­eral Literary Post­card Story Con­test

Geist - - Contents - JANET TRULL

Pay As You Play

There’s a pros­ti­tute in the kitchen, peel­ing pota­toes, pre­par­ing din­ner for the kids play­ing Grand Theft Auto down the hall. There’s a ter­ror­ist in the back­yard, mow­ing the grass, ap­ply­ing weed killer pur­chased in Buf­falo and smug­gled over the bor­der for a right­eous cause. There’s a psy­chopath next door, with three young girls and a baby in his base­ment. He chats with you over the fence and picks up the mail while you’re on va­ca­tion. There’s a mur­derer get­ting her nails done, acrylic with crim­son var­nish and geo­met­ric de­signs. She’s a favourite of the Viet­namese girls be­cause she tips good.

Pe­dophiles walk their dogs and thieves push gro­cery carts full of di­a­pers and frozen pizza while world lead­ers lock them­selves in cu­bi­cles, pray­ing for one sat­is­fy­ing bowel move­ment.

Have you heard this one?

A refugee walks into a bar.

“Just wa­ter,” he says to the server (a sin­gle mom with a heart of gold).

She brings him the spe­cial. No charge. A priest, a rabbi and a pas­tor cap­ture the good deed from the back booth and post it to Youtube. Then they con­tinue their heated de­bate about a golf game they re­cently had with God.

An of­fi­cer ar­rives within min­utes. The refugee ac­com­pa­nies him with­out a whim­per. The sin­gle mom gets fired. God checks his score­card and strikes the three cler­gy­men dead. They were right. He did cheat. He can cheat when­ever he feels like it.

“It’s just a game,” he says. “Play at your peril.”

Janet Trull’s writ­ing has ap­peared in Prairie Fire, TNQ and sub­ter­rain, among other pe­ri­od­i­cals. Her col­lec­tion of short fic­tion, Hot Town and Other Sto­ries, was pub­lished in 2016 by At Bay Press.

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