Schemers is the latest genre-crossing anthology of new short fiction from Stone Skin Press. From the classic myths to the pages of the Bible, from Shakespeare’s stage to the yellowed pulps of yesteryear, literature runs red with tales of plotting and betrayal. Since the last century literature has grappled with a new layer of betrayal—of objective reality, but the subjectivities of the mind.
With the rhythmic snap of verse, Laura Lush’s “Pink Azaleas” crawls inside the consciousness of a cyber-stalker colonized by the online tool that most defines our decade.
He fell in love with her on Google Earth.
It happened one day when he was looking out from the Juliet balcony of his 30th-floor apartment, his fingers tapping on the mouse until the map grew from an indiscernible checkerboard of lines and dark green and grey blotches to a small body of water glimmering beyond the freeway. Why hadn’t he noticed the lake before? Google Earth was always revealing new pieces of information to him: the number of steps to his favourite deli, the exact bus that would let him circumnavigate the grid of his neighbourhood while the eyes of Google Earth peered down on him.
He typed in the coordinates of the glimmering body of water. Borelais Lake, they called it, a man-made reservoir with two man-made beaches, beaches whose sand was unnaturally white, unnaturally pure—whose sunbathers he could now barely make out—small grains of pepper or salt shaken haphazardly onto a plate. The lake’s surface shone hard, the waves roughened to dull scallops of green.
He moved the cursor left, and followed a court that looped from the lake like a lasso. He waited for the small dark squares to become houses. Houses, no bigger than a microchip, the same size, the same dimensions. White lines spread off Borealis Court that took you into the centre of the city’s tight knots of streets. Then he pressed the zoom-in icon and waited for Borealis Court to grow into view.
For the rest, get Schemers from Stone Skin Press.
Laura Lush is the author of four collections of poetry, including Carapace, which was released in 2011 by Palimpsest Press, and a collection of short stories entitled Going to the Zoo by Turnstone Press. She teaches creative writing and academic English at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. She lives in Guelph with her son, Jack.