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Authors: Kevin Hardcastle

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He stood at the foot of the little stairwell and she was taller than him. Matthew put a palm to the trailer and gave it a shove. Nothing. The wheels were gone and it had long been pinned down and laid under with concrete blocks. He smiled and stood there.

“You did everything right,” he said.

“Thanks,” she said.

He came up the steps and put a hand to her hip. Kayla opened the door and let him go by. He had her by the belt and tugged. She went in behind him and let the screen door swing.

 

 

There in the half-light she
could see him rolling about on the floor of the trailer. Legs cycling the air oddly and stopping. One leg going again. He might have been asleep and he might not have. She got out of the bed and set about getting her arms under him but she didn't. Instead she leaned back on her haunches and then sat ass-down on the floor herself and watched him dance. Matthew hadn't shook all of the old meds and they travelled his nerves yet and she didn't know what to do. Minutes in she edged over to him and got her hips to his belly, hooked the back of his knees with her heels and hugged his head and face. She held him there and soon he woke up. He hugged her down hard to him. Outside there were winds whipping the trailer boxmetal. They'd left the inner door open. Dank smell of animal hair again and it came and went. Wet leaves had blown flat to the middle part of the screen.

“Don't ever put me back in there again,” he said.

“Okay,” she said. “Just go to sleep.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

 

T
he stories in this book,
and the book itself, would not have seen the light of day if not for the journals that took a chance on my work. I have to recognize
The Malahat Review
,
The Puritan
,
PRISM international
,
EVENT
,
Joyland
,
Shenandoah
,
The Walrus
,
This Magazine
and especially
The New Quarterly
, for publishing three of the stories in here. Without these brave editors and publishers I'm not sure where I'd be.

I've had some fine readers to keep me straight, and have met many writers who have supported the work ever since they met it. There are instructors who got me to write real, honest stories some years ago, such as A.F. Moritz and Lindsay Clarke. And there are writers like Tamas Dobozy, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Craig Davidson, and John Irving, who have taken time away from their own work to read and champion some of mine. I owe them all plenty and I'll not forget it.

My writing career found footing through my experience with The Journey Prize, and the work done there by Anita Chong and McClelland & Stewart, and The Writers' Trust of Canada. Most of the writers I've mentioned were met through my inclusion in
The Journey Prize Anthology
and the resulting events. The staff of The Writers' Trust, especially Mandy Hopkins and Katrina Afonso, were very kind from the beginning and patient with me when I went from doing most of my writing alone in the middle of nowhere and having few ties to the literary community, to being immersed in all of it at once, and attending things where I had to wear ties. Further, I have been through some hard years to get to this book, and The Writers' Trust was always quick to lend support. Through James Davies and The Writers' Trust committee, I was able to get help from The Woodcock Fund, and this actually kept a roof over my head while I worked on these stories. The lives of writers are made easier by these folks and their kindness and hard work.

I have also received funding from the Ontario Arts Council and the Writers' Reserve Program, after recommendation by Biblioasis and Scrivener Press, for work on this book. This was much needed and I am extremely grateful for it.

I don't like to think where this book would be without John Metcalf, my editor, who read one of my stories in a sea of those he reads from journals all over the country, and called me and wrote me for the rest of them. His finding that story changed my life. Through John my writing got to Dan Wells and Biblioasis, and I quickly knew that I'd landed in exactly the right place with the right editor and the right publisher. John and Dan, and Biblioasis staff like Grant Munroe, Kate Hargreaves, and Chris Andrechek, have helped me build this book and made it the powerful looking little thing you have in your hands right now. I was starting to think there might be no editors or publishers like this anymore, with the guts to engage with difficult work like this and take the time to develop it. It turns out I ended up with some of the last ones out there, and I think on that everyday. I am a very fortunate man.

Most importantly, I have to thank my family, who have fought and bled with me for all the years of my life. My brother, Peter, who has been at my side through the worst and best of things, and who I would take a bullet for. My mother and my father, who made me into the person I am and gave me the fortitude to endure and keep at the work, to have no quit in me. It is no secret that all of the stories here draw from our lives, and my family has been generous enough to let me tell them without any inclination to withhold, even if some of it hurts to read and rattles the soul. I thank my Canadian family and my family in north England, those who are here and those that left us with their stories. Since I was very young there were things chronicled and told and retold that would beggar belief. But they happened, and they have informed my writing from the beginning. Not least, I've had friends over the past twenty years who've been through the wars with me and have kept me honest. They know who they are.

I dedicate this book to my brother, and my mother, and my beloved father, who fought hard to stay with us but has gone and is missed very much. Everything I know and that I am is because of the man he was, and that has worked its way into these stories, each and all.

Photo by Katrina Afonso

 

Kevin Hardcastle
'
s stories have appeared in
Shenandoah, The Walrus, The New Quarterly, This Magazine, The Malahat Review, EVENT, PRISM International,
and
Joyland
. Hardcastle lives in Toronto.

BOOK: Debris
5.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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