Rat Lake


First published in Geist 61 and now in the 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition

I was out on Rat Lake, spinning the canoe around solo, listening to Tangerine Dream on the headphones. I stopped paddling near some reeds and smoked a pipeful of hashish. The hashish went to my head and I lost my bearings, even though Rat Lake isn’t that big. I found myself in the middle of the lake paddling in circles. Tangerine Dream grew annoying in my ears so I yanked off the headphones. Then a wind gusted and large waves tossed the canoe from side to side. I strained my groin muscles trying to keep my balance but the waves threw me over.

I am not as good a swimmer as I like to believe and with the hashish lungs I quickly grew winded. I struggled to get to the canoe, which bobbed a good distance away from me. My life jacket kept me from going under but I took a beating from the waves. Suddenly the wind dropped and the lake grew tranquil again. I dog-paddled over to the canoe, exhausted, sucking wind and water, and had a hell of a time righting it. Too tired to get myself into the canoe, I rested. A passing motorboat filled with gawking young males towed me in to the dock of the cottage where my girlfriend and I were staying.

When I got there I didn’t tell her what had happened though she wondered about my appearance. Later, when she was dumping me, she brought up that day and confessed that she knew I’d been towed in by those boys, and how it said everything about me.

No. 61, Summer 2006 (excerpt)



Salvatore Difalco is a writer whose short stories “Tony” and “Ice Cream” both won honourable mention in the 3rd Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest. He is the author of two short story collections and more recently The Mountie at Niagara Falls, published by Anvil Press. He lives in Toronto.



Young Earle Birney in Banff: September 1913¹

what a day!at the Basin2 dove from the tufa overhanginto the water, playing my trick ofseeming to drown, not coming up until I finish wrigglingthrough that underwater chimneyand burst into air. always startles the tourists.


Zamboni Driver’s Lament

i know hate, its line-mates. believe me. you kids have, i’m sure, wasted—all early morning anxious and weak-ankled—their first impatient shuffle-kicks and curses on me.


Xcuse Me

i sd lovinglee can yu  not yell at me  n call me