Flash

  The shopping cart rattles loudly across the uneven ground beneath us as we push it into what used to be Toronto. Things don’t really have names anymore. They fade by the day. Some we remember, some we forget. Take Katy Perry for instance, who is dancing to her latest iPod find, falling behind as she pumps the various parts of her body to the beat we can’t hear. Her old name is gone forever, taken by the flash she says, like so much else. It’s stolen names like this we have to re-dub. She forages for iPods from the little piles of clothes that litter the streets and dances to Katy Perry if they house any of her hits. She is now Katy Perry, the only one, probably.

  The rest of we consists of myself, Scott and Sarah. Sarah is wrapped up tight against the cold in a bundle of blankets and coats, lying awkwardly in the shopping cart that Scott is pushing along in front of him, trying to find a flat path through the broken streets. Her legs are hung over the front of the cart, jumping up and down violently with every pothole, renegade scarves and shredded t-shirts trailing through the muddy snow beneath us.

  “Catch up, Katy Perry,” I call loudly without looking behind me. I’m unsure whether she has heard me until the tinny sound of her music draws near. She pulls level and looks at me, smiling warmly against the cold air around us. Her cheeks are red and she is flustered from the dancing, her ragged breaths bursting out visibly. We walk in silence for another ten minutes, only stopping for Scott to rub his hands together and blow on his fingers. I tell him we’ll look for some gloves when we pass the next Sears and he nods appreciatively before resuming his pace. He feels she is his responsibility and his alone. I’ve offered to help, Katy Perry has offered to help, He told us that Sarah spent a painful half hour in hushed whispers trying to convince him to let someone else push, but to no avail. He doesn’t want to burden us with her. Doesn’t want us to birth a resentment towards the two of them, I think. Next to me the music cuts out abruptly and I glance at Katy Perry. She is looking dejectedly at the lime green iPod in her hand, the screen as dead as the battery as dead as the world.

  “That sucks. I liked that song,” she says. It’s fast becoming her catchphrase. She unplugs the earphone jack from the device and tucks the lead safely into her parka, the plugs still firmly planted in her ears despite their new found redundancy. The iPod she drops, like litter, into the white mush below.

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~ by Joseph Blame on August 19, 2010.

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