Saturday, 10 March 2012

Ossington and Dundas by Hal Niedzviecki

Ossington and Dundas, photo credit: Liis Toliao
Below is an excerpt from a short fiction called Ossington and Dundas by Hal Niedzviecki, who has brought together a series of conversations and characters in his work. Peter and Allen, below, help construct a multi-dimensional view of the street corner. A really complex understanding of this very specific urban setting is constructed with their observations and simple sounding dialogue. 

There are two banks?
There are two banks. They are across the street from each other. 
Is there a line up?
A line up?
In the bank?
I don’t know. I can’t see that from here. That’s what I mean about the payphone. You’re rooted where you are. You can’t just cross the street and carry on your conversation. You have to stay in place. You’re attached.
Do you feel attached Peter?
Why else would I keep calling Allen?
I don’t know Peter. Why do you keep calling?
Because I’m your eyes and ears.
What else? What else are you seeing.
People look at you as they walk by. They just glance at you. They’re thinking: Where’s his cell phone? They’re thinking: What’s the deal with that guy using the pay phone? 
Who’s looking at you?
Two girls just walked by. They were 13 or 14 or something like that. They looked at me and then they giggled. They were both holding cell phones and texting their boyfriends at the same time. They’ve probably never used a payphone in their lives.
Probably not. 
Have you ever used a payphone?
Not in a long time Peter.
You should get out more.
Are you going to drink the wine with Raj?
He’s coming over tonight. I was going to make dinner but now I think I’ll just order in.
So it’s a date?
I think we’re past that stage. I think we’re dong something else now. 
What are you doing?
Whatever comes after dating.
Does Raj know you like to call strange men on payphones?
Why? Are you going to tell him?
I wouldn’t do that Peter.
I know you wouldn’t Allan.
What’s happening on the corner now Peter, what’s happening at Ossington and Dundas?
Not much, really. It’s an ugly corner. Oh here comes the bus. People are getting on the bus.

No comments:

Post a Comment