In 1995, Canadian novelist and critic Hal Niedviecki started publishing Broken Pencil, a magazine dedicated to the zine scene, the independent and alternative arts community that had been boiling below the surface of Canada's culture. Broken Pencil's mandate was (and is) to bring the submerged cultural urge into Canada's collective consciousness, to help lift it up and lend it legitimacy. And this includes promoting writing, from writers within Canada and outside it whom nobody here had ever heard of or wouldn't touch, that was too weird or uncomfortable for the (all-too) serious literary journals, too visceral and punk rock for the likes of the Margarets and their ilk.
The stories in this anthology are outcasts. They don't fit into traditional CanLit and, in most cases, they don't even resemble the contemporary short story we've come to know and love. They are anti-literature. By and large, they read ragged, lacking the refinements of metaphor, magical realism, and perfect epiphany on the prairies. A few of them might even be badly written. On purpose? By accident? Who really cares? This is Broken Pencil, where the words do the work, voices are discovered and developed, and the place for sharp, offensive urban fiction.
Includes stories by Sarah Gordon, Golda Fried, Martha Schabas, Etgar Keret, Ian Rogers, Ethan Rilly, Greg Kearney, Leanna McLennan, Craig Sernotti, Janine Fleri, Karen McElrea, Matthew Firth, Christopher Willard, Paul Hong, Josh Byer, Derek McCormack, McKinley M. Hellenes, Julia Campbell-Such, Zoe Whittall, Joey Comeau, Emma Healey, Robert Benvie, Grant Buday, Sandra Alland, Kate Story, Charlie Anders, Jake Kennedy, Kevin Spenst, Jessica Faulds, Joel Shneier, Esme Keith, Christoph Meyer, Tor Lukasik-Foss, Joel Katelnikoff, Janette Platana, Federico Barahona, and Dave Hazzan.
"You brought me back into this because you know what I am. I'm a grinder, I find out everything."
Bullets squared everything. Wilson left his old boss alive in exchange for a clean slate. Wilson held up his end of the bargain and stayed off the grid for two years. Two years of peace until a man came calling. The man brought a gun and a woman in his trunk. Thousands of miles from home, Wilson learns that the city doesn't let go so easily. The city is more than bricks; it is a machine running on the blood of hard men and women. The hardest man in the city remembers Wilson and he will stop at nothing to get him back.
A dangerous mobster's nephews are missing and the only suspects are his lieutenants. Wilson is pulled back to once again work under the radar - to quietly find out who is responsible, so it can be settled with screams. Wilson is back to being what he was. He's a grinder again. All bets are off and before he's done - everyone will pay.