Short Stories

Over the next year, I’ll be adding some of my favourite short stories to this page. Stay tuned.

On a Wing and a Prayer

A child’s view of growing up during the Cold War culminating on the day of the assassination of President Kennedy. The ignorant child in this story bears a strong resemblance to me and the tale borders on outright autobiographical in places. This short story is certainly the most utterly Canadian piece I’ve ever written.
Read MoreOn a Wing and a Prayer

The Beat Generation

In 1995, long-dead Mary MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II, making Mary the first Australian to receive such an honour. Being beatified is much more than a ‘Thank you very much for your good work’ honour; it is the stepping-stone for becoming a full-fledged saint with your own feast day and everything. The downside to that is it comes with the expectation that the newly beatified will immediately knuckle down to produce a few miracles. Imagine what that would be like. Showing up on the first day at a new job and you are expected to produce miracles? This short story was written in late 1995 when the then Australian prime minister Paul Keating was facing an election in a few months and trailing badly in the polls.

Spoiler alert: Though not in the story, Mary did pull it off! She performed a few accredited miracles and is now a has her own feast day saint. 8 August if you are interested.

Second spoiler alert: Keating lost the election.
Read MoreThe Beat Generation

The Thousand Words

This won a contest by CBC Radio Ottawa in the early 1990s. The challenge was to write a murder mystery in less than a thousand words. This was in the era before the brilliantly instant ‘Word Count’ button was invented. I had to count every ‘if’, ‘and’, ‘the’ and ‘is’ in each successive draft of this story to make sure it didn’t stray over the limit.

I took as a particular delight in writing this story though. I’m completely hopeless at solving murder mysteries whenever I read them. It was nice to be in charge for a change.
Read MoreThe Thousand Words

The Scandal of Creation

Most of my life I’ve lived in Quebec and New South Wales. A commonality between the two places are endless scandals involving the construction industry. From ill-conceived stadiums to newly constructed-but-already-cracking high-rises to outrageous cost overruns to outright corruption, construction has its challenges. But what about the greatest construction project of all time—The Big Bang?
Read MoreThe Scandal of Creation