Ten Tales of Quirky Bent

By Alex Carrick

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Ten Tales of Quirky Bent is Volume #8 in a series of short story compilations by Alex Carrick. Sometimes serious but more often light-hearted and almost always insightful, these pieces are sure to entertain and surprise. Skillfully crafted and written to be fun for readers, they can also bring a tear to the eye when the narrative warrants.


Chapter titles are: 1) The Grief Machine; 2) Physician to Precarious Longings; 3) Pretty Sure What Done Him In; 4) A Beatles’ Legacy; 5) The Great Wall of America; 6) The Monkey, the Croc and the T-Rex; 7) Bullet Proof; 8 ) Anheuser-Busch the Budgie; 9) Foil’s Forsaken Folio; and 10) Ornament.


Mr. Carrick is a critically-acclaimed author whose story “The Size of the Skip” – found in “Three Scoops” Is A Blast! – was short-listed for the 2010 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Award. In 2011, he received another Honorable Mention in the world-renowned Hemingway competition for “Caboose Follies”, which appears in “Four Scoops” Is Over The Top.


Physician to Precarious Longings

What he liked about her was her laughter.

What she liked about him was his silence.

Her laughter was quiet, rich and reflective. It was doled out sparingly. When forthcoming, you knew it had been earned. It carried neither price tag, nor was gained at another’s expense.

Sometimes she giggled. Those were special occasions, when they explored each other in some new emotional or physical way and surprise or shyness sought verbal expression.

Mostly her laughter was throaty, the sound an old soul makes when struck precisely-so by a perfectly-wielded gong.

His silence was the opposite of awkward. It was warm, enveloping and often humorous.

Come dance with me, his eyes suggested. In a white bright room of our own imaginings, where we’re safe from outside terrors and the waltz can last as long as we like.

Banishing the fragility of existence was the chief extract from their bonding.

She’d arrived in Canada while in her teens. That was 50-plus years ago.

She’d never forget the one excellent piece of advice her parents had given her when they said their good-byes in Beijing. “When you get to Canada, buy the warmest coat you can find.”

She’d come to this country to study at university and never looked back. Sure there were a few regrets and lonely times, but she managed to make friends and the years flew by.

She never did marry. There were heavy-duty romances over the years, both among her “kind” and among members of the mysterious foreign brew in which she was immersed.

Those were the spiciest concoctions though not so different as she’d imagined they would be.

Live and learn wasn’t just a saying, she often thought.

In time, more of her family joined her from overseas. Her considerably younger sister followed her to Toronto. Her sibling was “lucky” in love and a wonderful son ensued.

The years continued to speed by.

It was her nephew, Irwin, who became her eventual joy. He spent a great deal of time at her place.