the Bengal’s meal


The drug, I’m told, is a fairly potent offshoot of the LSD compound studied by Timothy Leary in the mid-late sixties, whose experiments (and subsequent documentation of said experiments) with the drug were in no small part responsible for its explosion in popularity with the Flower Powerers. As the acid kicks in, I begin to wonder whether the old adage “they don’t make ’em like they used to” can be applied to hard drugs: I have a difficult time believing they made shit like this in the sixties.

The reputed hallucinogenic properties of this particular concoction, nicknamed The Bengal by the ever-growing population of acid-users in the Greater Toronto Area, would seem to explain not only the sudden appearance of the fuzzy death machine, smack in the middle of a reluctantly-attended dinner party, but also why I, sitting on the couch, seem to be the only one who is vaguely unsettled by its presence.


The fichus beside me has no immediate response. I wonder if I’d have better luck with the poorly-potted orchid across the room, where a man with a stunning Selleck-esque moustache and a woman wearing a sweater made of what appears to be ocean waves are enjoying a lively conversation about what I’ve found to be the only obligatory topic at such gatherings: American politics (what with Canadian politics being completely devoid of the incendiary talking points required of the vaguely-informed yet heated exchange that always occurs at these sort of functions). I ignore the roars of panthera tigris and tune in.

     The overwhelming cultural and political ambiguity surrounding the renewed American presence in the Middle East…

Selleck 2.0 reaches for an hors d’oeuvre. The tiger watches. For God’s sake man, not the cocktail weenie: YOU’LL LOSE A HAND.

     I yell: YOU’LL LOSE A HAND

The tiger looks to me. Green eyes ablaze, tail twitching with a sort of unsettling anticipation, it watches me.

     I yell: WHAT’S HIS NAME

If I’m going to be eaten, I deserve to know who ate me.

     Reginald, comes the disinterested response.

The woman, in waves, pipes up.

     Rather regal name for a tabby, isn’t it?

     He goes by Reggie.

     I yell: TABBY…TIGER?

A light-bulb flickers in my acid-soaked brain. A tiger morphs into a tabby. At first, I am relieved. As the man drones on about drones, I long to be eaten – give me death over politics at any time of the night.

word by Josh Elyea

colour by Akvile Magicdust 



On the street she walks along most days there is a wall. The wall is one side of a building and is tall and made of brown bricks, neatly piled and cemented together. The wall has been painted in one spot, up high, and it is this painting of a triangle fox that she watches as she walks. The fox is brightly coloured, with kaleidoscope eyes. The first time she saw it was not so long ago, for she is new here and has only had the courage to walk the streets since she has known to some extent where they join. She told Miles about the fox that first time, but he frowned and kept typing and she couldn’t really explain about the yellow parts and the cave cheeks and the spike of its ears, or how it made her scared and safe at the same time, so she stopped, mid-sentence. Later he touched her hair as he walked to brush his teeth and asked her to tell him more about the tiger. She didn’t correct him.

Then there are the days when she walks down the street with the wall with the painting on it for no reason other than to look up at the fox. She isn’t very busy—jobs are like lucky pigs here—and she feels small and blurry in the apartment on her own. Sometimes as she rounds the bend and lets out a small sigh as she sees the fox up high, there is an old man standing where she stands when she looks at the fox, and he is looking up, too. He gives her a heart ache, with his grubby mittens in the middle of summer, the same drooping plastic bag by his side, every time. She feels so sad – her heart is an emptying bath. But he always moves before she gets to the spot, so, without guilt, she can look up, drinking in the kaleidoscope gaze from above her.

She is looking up at the fox one day, at that time in the very late afternoon when you can almost smell the sun sinking. She does not see the man until he backs into her, his grey hair combed straight and his jacket sticky. She apologizes; chokes out a laugh; wants him to know she does not fear him. He doesn’t seem to hear her. The man stumbles and she moves to let him as he tilts back his head and looks up at the fox. He is saying something—she can hear something croaking out between his upper lip and jaw. She cups her ear to hear him. 

word by Laura Helen McPhee-Browne

colour by DAAS 

I’m the center of the galaxy


I am the center of the galaxy:People and buses and buildings and cafés curl around me, the main character of the city, planets orbiting the sun. (The fan slices air toward the radiator, fighting a -37C draft from this old window.) Being the center of the galaxy requires that you are in the right universe, the right city- otherwise, you might agree with that saying about how it doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with… The universe is more important than the stars. (You can’t help but blame your ancestors for having moved to such a frozen place: Who stumbles upon this death cold climate, where birds are flying away from, and says Hey, honey: I think we really found the place!) Control from the center means that everything happens to you, or that you are making things happen to others: All phenomena is because of you and your actions, at the center of the story: You receive the most praise or have the worst luck, stand in the longest lines, behind the worst drivers, in the hardest jobs: You confess in an intergalactic reality show booth, sharing your life with a camera for planets who want more of you, you, the star. (You can’t imagine how it could be colder, how things could be worse, with cold toes, your blanket only going so far, even if, sure, Mars whispered that, hey, -37C is warm to me, no offense, you know that they’re just trying to sound tough like Canadians who laugh at emergency closures when snow stays on the ground in the states, or Toronto.) What does it matter if the planets have problems- You’re a galaxy: Things happen to you for a reason, and, whether or not Mars is colder than your room, people rely on you- your life is unimaginably complex, different, and more challenging than these planets. (Planets couldn’t understand the troubles of a galaxy if they sent trillion dollar space equipment, whether manned by Einsteins or monkeys.) Spring is just around the corner.

colour by Nina Geometrieva 
words by Liam Lachance