Leventhal Dot Com

I'd prefer not to

Month: December, 2011

Moving Day & Other Stories

Moving Day & Other Stories

I’m proud to have three of my short stories published in a booklet by Paper Pusher micropress.  This guy loves paper and ink like you love Jay-Z and bonbons.  It’s a handsome little risograph print with my stories Moving Day, Last Man Standing, and Sweet Affliction.  Here’s the publisher’s description:

With incisive humour and caustic sympathy, in three short stories, Anna Leventhal gives us characters that live in a world strolling a few steps beside our own. Exploring class, ownership, and civic duty, Moving Day captures the totalitarian exercise of a mandatory, city-wide move and the effect of its bureaucratic mishaps. The shiftless narrator of Last Man Standing has his social bubble threatened by a dubious emergency, while a diagnosis in Sweet Affliction suggests a new stage in human evolution.

You can get it sent to your actual physical mailbox by a nice person in a hot uniform here.

Last Man Standing

This story first appeared in Maisonneuve last summer.   It was recorded in my kitchen, read by John Dunhill, Famous Actor and my apartment building’s caretaker.  I’d been wanting to collaborate with John for a long time.  He’s been in movies, mostly terrible, with Johnny Depp, Michael Caine, and Gerard Butler.  He played one of the elders of Sparta in 300.  He also plays a corpse convincingly, which is apparently hard to do.  He’s the kind of guy who tells you stories that sound like the most obvious kind of bullshitting, and then they turn out to be true. For instance, he changed one of his dogs’ names from Walter to Johnny, after his good buddy Johnny Depp. Yeah, okay. But then I watched Secret Window, and there he is with a screwdriver stuck in his head, being pushed over a cliff by America’s moody darling. (I would have posted a spoiler alert, but honestly this movie is so bad that I am probably doing you a favour if this prevents you from watching it.)

Some things about John that are probably true:

– Albert Camus once told him he was the quintessential “homme revolte”
– He has a white pitbull named Blanco.  This dog’s head is the size of a bowling ball.  Sometimes he sings “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” to the dog (this is definitely true, I’ve heard it).
– He knows the true story of Charlie Manson and Sharon Tate.
– He played Gogo in a production of Waiting for Godot directed by Samuel Beckett.

Anyway, I recorded him reading this story I wrote.

The drawing is by the wonderful Sarah Pupo (as is my header image).


At a party, some friends taught me this parlour game where basically one person thinks of a word, and everyone else tries to guess it.  There’s a few more details than that, but that’s the essence of it.  The word I picked was “barnyard.”  A few nights later, a couple of us were at a different party, and we taught everyone else the game.  When it was my friend Sean’s turn to pick a word, he picked “barnyard.”  He hadn’t been there the first time.

The weird thing is, no one seems to think this is as weird as I do.  Sean and I keep making the same joke: I mean, how many words are there?  At least twenty.

Do you think this means we’re meant to be together? Sean asked me.  He’s joking about the part about us being together, but maybe not about the part of me thinking it.  But if we’re psychically connected, that seems like a really bad idea.

My friend once went on a date with a woman who claimed to be psychic.  Only one date, because as he saw it, either she’s not psychic, therefore she’s either a liar or very deluded, or she is actually psychic, in which case the relationship wouldn’t last long at all once she started getting all up in his thoughts.

Come on, I said, what do you really think about that’s so bad?  In any case, if you date someone long enough, you will start to think you know what they’re thinking, even if you’re wrong.  It won’t matter how wrong you are.  It’s all for the worst.  We make our own psychic connections.

I think that maybe another way of saying this is “barnyard.”