The Villains

I always went for darkness as a girl: those ashy Europeans wrapped in capes, the ranks of zombies browsing in the mall, the cabin-dwelling fan with swelling hopes, her novelist …

Illustration by Walter Scott
Illustration by Walter Scott

I always went for darkness as a girl:
those ashy Europeans wrapped in capes,
the ranks of zombies browsing in the mall,
the cabin-dwelling fan with swelling hopes,

her novelist in reach. I don’t know why
I leaned toward the viper in the mink,
the tortured trader in the Charvet tie,
lancet primed to disembowel the bank.

Bad, so bad, a shudder more than human;
when will we see their dreadful likes again,
the drips who mapped the older starlets’ ruin
or herded virgins into wicker men,

the haz-mat-suited soldiers, come for you,
the porkpie preacher targeting the young,
for hidden money, crossing the bayou,
white knuckles flashing love and hate? How come?

Could it be that daybreak lay ahead
with sunny buses, clinking streams of coins,
the people on their lunches, nearly dead,
waiting for their sandwiches in lines,

that muttering backs were hovering in bars,
that children were deciding what to leave,
that cubicles had manacles and ears?
And you, with nothing left to do but drive

toward the setting sun, your rosebud home,
the neighbours you can’t fathom or forgive,
then up the stairs to the crib in the back room
containing something awful and alive.

This appeared in the April 2015 issue.

Alexandra Oliver
Alexandra Oliver won the 2014 Pat Lowther Award for Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway.
Walter Scott
Walter Scott published a full-length comic based on his ongoing series, Wendy, in November 2014.

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Jennifer Hollett I have been devouring The Walrus's Summer Reading issue and remarking on the quality of all of the contributions from our former and current Fellows. It reminds me that every issue of The Walrus is a culmination of the efforts (including lengthy fact-checking) of the editorial team, the emerging journalists they train, and the generous supporters who make all of this happen.

Through The Walrus Editorial Fellowship Program, we have the privilege of training the next generation of professionals who are passionate about the integrity of journalism. In the Summer Reading issue, 2021 Cannonbury Fellow Connor Garel wrote a piece on Frankie Perez and the art of breaking. Tajja Isen contributed an excerpt from her first book, Some of My Best Friends. Isen, who also began her career at The Walrus as a Cannonbury Fellow, is currently Editor-in-Chief at Catapult magazine.

Our 2022 Chawkers Fellow, Mashal Butt, was instrumental in making sure we got the facts straight in our Summer Reading issue, having fact-checked six features, including Sarah Totton’s short story “The Click.” And in our September/October issue, you can read a cover story on housing affordability by our 2022 Justice Fund Writer in Residence, Julia-Simone Rutgers. (Rutgers is now a climate reporter for The Narwhal.)

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Jennifer Hollett
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