Everything Around Me Keeps Turning into Rocks

Image © ​Raquel Hladky Calanda 2018


by Jordan Moffatt January 11, 2018

My friend Shelagh told me to meet her at this new coffee place downtown so I went there, but I was a little early and Shelagh hadn’t arrived yet so I figured I’d get myself an espresso allonge and save a table and wait for her but when I got my espresso allonge it wasn’t an espresso allonge at all, it was just a handful of rocks, and so I went to complain to the barista but the barista was just a pile of rocks and the table I’d saved was also a pile of rocks and that’s when I realized I wasn’t at the cafe at all — I was at the beach, the rocky one not the sandy one, and instead of being early at the cafe I was actually late because I’d spent so much time confusing rocks for things and I was still a five minute bicycle ride from the cafe (six minutes if you include the time it takes for me to unlock and then lock my bicycle).

“You’re never going to guess what happened to me,” I said to Shelagh, sitting down across from her at the table at the cafe, picking rocks out of the crevices in my Tevas.

“No time for guessing,” said Shelagh. “I have an urgent thing to tell you.”

Shelagh always has these quote urgent thing[s] end-quote that she needs quote to tell end-quote quote [me] end-quote. Well, the ideas are rarely urgent, in my opinion, and I would also argue that there’s nothing about them that makes her need to tell me. But I guess it’s my fault that I always listen to her and indulge her. Sometimes it’s a wild discovery she’s made, sometimes it’s a get-rich-quick scheme, sometimes it’s a weird thing she read online — but always, no matter what, it’s extremely unurgent and also something unneeded to be told.

“What is it this time?” I said, rolling my eyes.

Shelagh picked her backpack up from off the floor, placed it on her lap, and then reached her hand inside.

“Get a load of this,” she said, pulling out a handful of rocks.

“That’s just a handful of rocks!” I said to Shelagh, except it wasn’t Shelagh, it was just a pile of rocks, and I still wasn’t in the cafe, I was at the rocky beach and everything was rocks. “Now I’m really late,” I thought to myself. But late for what? After all, Shelagh was just going to bore me with another pointless thing. Maybe it was time I teach her a lesson, a lesson that my time is valuable and that she’s been wasting it by making me listen to all her whacky ideas. Yeah, maybe it would be best for me just not to show up at all! But that wouldn’t be what a nice friend would do. A nice friend would meet Shelagh at the cafe. So that’s what I would do.

I walked over to my bicycle, paused briefly to admire its graceful yet mechanical beauty, then reached into my pocket for the key and went to unlock it but the key wasn’t fitting into the keyhole in the u-lock because the key was just a rock and the u-lock was a handful of rocks and the bicycle was a pile of rocks. I closed my eyes. “Not again!” I thought. But yes, when I opened my eyes and looked around me and realized I wasn’t on the sidewalk where my bicycle was parked — I was at the rocky beach again!

Well, after all that, I decided just to stay here at the rocky beach…which is normal for me to do…because…I myself…am a pile of rocks. Maybe that’s what Shelagh wanted to tell me, and if so I guess it was urgent, but I’ll never know because she’s a pile of rocks now, and everything’s just rocks.

And who knows what rock-based adventures will await me next.


Jordan Moffatt is a writer and improviser living in Ottawa. His work has appeared in many places online and in print, most recently in Bad Nudes, The Feathertale Review, (parenthetical), and This Magazine. He was shortlisted for Matrix Magazine’s 2016 Lit POP Award. His website is jordanmoffatt.website.

Raquel Hladky Calanda, born in Barcelona, lives and works in Berlin since 2005.
Fashion designer, specialized in print design and knitwear.
With her eponymous label “Raquel Hladky” founded in 2016, she focuses in prints made in collaboration with artists.

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