"You know how it is. Boy meets girl, girl fancies boy, boy
fancies girl, girl goes back to boy's place, boy gets girl
squiffy, girl gets very friendly, boy tells girl he loves her,
girl removes clothes, boy... WAKES UP!!!"
by Mark Oliver
Charlie had been transformed from one of those nasty buzzing
pests, a black garden fly, into a charade playing house fly. Mr.
Black captured the fly after Charlie landed and planted his
mandibles into the back of Mr. Black's hand.
"Lucky Charlie," Mr. Black said now, "You don't have a worry."
Mr. Black had put Charlie into a large Mason jar that his former
partner had left behind. He was careful to poke holes of proper
size to allow ventilation but still prevent escape. Charlie had
grown to an obscenely obese fly and was now covered with the same
dirty black hairs that always seemed to be growing out of Mr.
Black's cheeks, chin and nostrils.
"Here you go Charlie my friend," Mr. Black said as he gently
poured a spoonful of cool coffee down through one of the holes in
the top of the lid. "Happy birthday to you," he softly sang.
"Happy birthday my little girl."
Mr. Gray set his lunch pail down on the desk and took off his
boots. He hung up his spring jacket on a nail behind the door and
squeezed a look at himself in a tiny mirror above the sink.
"Morning," he said to Mr. Black. "Anything exciting happen that I
should know about?" Mr. Gray's wife works as a nurse in a local
psychiatric hospital and had always envied the time of report
when the night nurses bring the day shift up to speed. It seemed
much more exciting than just grunting at each other and he always
tried to get anything out of his co-worker; challenge was
something he lived for.
"Mrs. Morning is having another Tupperware Party."
"Imagine that, eh?"
Both men cracked a smile at this familiar exchange.
"Anyone going to show up this time?" Mr. Gray asked.
"Oh the usual gang of Tupperware Junkies I suspect."
"That would be ole Invisible Sam, Jessie Vapour, and Flora
"You got it, sir." Mr. Black picked up his magazines and headed
out the door. "Ooh, some of the tenants called about the slow
drainage in their sinks and tubs again. I meant to drop by a few
of them and check them out, but it was pretty busy last night."
"Ya I know," Mr. Gray smiled and shook his head. Mr. Black was
famous for his insignificant contribution to the maintenance of
the building. He always had the office nice and warm, however, if
not the sweetest smelling, first thing in the morning.
Charlie nodded and lapped. Nodded and lapped. The Eight O'clock
coffee, sugar and milk would have normally been a great find, but
now it was just the same old same old. Even the cleaning process
no longer possessed the cathartic effect that it used to. Charlie
strained his plump body and tried to kick up the wing speed for a
little levity. Lift could not overcome drag, and Charlie's
grapelike fullness bumped softly against the inside glass.
Despair and sadness descended upon him and the giant multilobed
eyes which once served his freedom so well could now only
reinforce his captivity in a thousand images of bondage and
imprisonment. Charlie nodded and lapped some more.
Mr. Black drove his old Pinto to work and parked in his usual
spot. His head was still pounding from the effects of
overindulgence. His wallet and hopes had once again taken a
beating at the hands of the Nevada Ticket and Scratch & Win
seductresses. He did however manage to budget ten dollars for a
copy of AutoTrader and the latest issue of Snatch magazine; to
help the hours go by at the office. "Evening," Mr. Gray said .
"Oh, ya." Mr. Black sighed and went to the washroom to hide his
reading material until later on when it got quiet. "What's up
tonight with you?"
"Going home for some hot cooking and good loving," Mr. Gray said
and simultaneously patted his head and rubbed his belly. "Nothing
much happening here tonight.
Mrs. Morning got her groceries delivered, UPS brought her
another box of Tupperware and residents on first are still having
troubles with their drainage."
Mr. Black grunted as he slipped his giant key ring onto his
handtooled monogrammed belt. "Well, have a good shift my friend,"
Mr. Gray said and left whistling down the hall.
Mr. Black opened the back window and let in some early evening
air. He pulled Charlie's bottle out from behind the stack of
scrub sponges and placed him on the desk. Even though more and
more people are smoking Player's Lights these days, Mr. Black
stuck with his old standby DuMaurier. He smoked not so much for
the flavour, buzz or habit, but rather for the simple excuse to
carry his matches around. 'Don & Marie July 14th, 1982' they said
on the cover. He had had two hundred books made for their wedding
then but when plans collapsed at the eleventh hour, he was stuck
with them. So he took up smoking and carries them wherever he
goes. The gift store owner always looks at him a bit strangely
when he orders more, but that doesn't bother Mr. Black in the
least. What does bother him was not seeing his daughter. He
hasn't seen her since he and Marie's last big fight, two years
ago this day; Jessica's 13th birthday.
A long fluorescent tube was burned out in the superintendents
office, some ashtrays were to the point of overflowing in the
visitors washroom, the main level carpeting needed vacuuming.
"What the hell did he do all day?" Mr. Black wondered.
Jessica and her mother had kicked him out of the apartment
following his attempt to bring in a couple of his buddies from
Eddy's Sports Tavern. One of the thirteen year old girls screamed
when one drunk grabbed her rear. Marie threw a pop bottle at the
man who in turn threw himself through a wall. Police and
ambulances were eventually called and when the dust settled, two
men including Mr. Black were arrested and all of the girls were
in tears. Jessica forgave her father the next day, but Marie
refused to allow her to contact him. A court order was issued to
Mr. Black not to initiate contact and he was placed on suspended
sentence for two years.
"Damn it," Mr. Black said and headed back to the office after
fixing up the messes.
The phone was ringing and his message machine was blinking.
"Black here," he answered. He was hoping that it would be his
"Mr. Black," an elderly voice said, "is that you?"
"Yes of course. What can I do you for?"
"I'm afraid my toilet has overrun, Mr. Black. I fear I may need
"Which suite are you in please? I'll be right there."
"I'm having a Tupperware party tonight and this just won't do,
Mr. Black hung up the phone and grabbed a snake, plunger, mop
and bucket. He didn't need to hear anymore about suite numbers.
Mrs. Morning was in Suite 109. Just inside the back door. "A few
more minutes won't spoil it for the guests," he laughed to
himself and closed the bathroom door behind him. After the work
he had already done tonight, he didn't want to wear himself out
without a break first.
Sarah Hamilton was seven years old. She lived with her parents
on a farm outside of Matawa, Ontario. Her brothers were all older
and worked with her father raking hay, and feeding the livestock.
Her mother kept house, but always found time for Sarah between
ringing out clothes or kneading the bread. Sarah's mother gave
Sarah a large sketch pad with several thin sticks of charcoal for
her birthday. Sarah sat outside with her new gift and stared wide
eyed at the large maple tree in her back yard. Her brothers had
built and since abandoned a beautiful tree fort some thirty feet
up in the lofty branches, safe from dogs, skunks and little
sisters. Sarah sat staring up at the tree fort and dreamed of
living there, free from the world's noises and busyness. Free
from chores, free from school, free from rules and restrictions.
She would be as free as the birds and animals who are the fort's
neighbouring tenants. And even though she would grow up, marry,
have children, be widowed, and move into what most would consider
to be a claustrophobic cage of an apartment, Sarah Hamilton
Morning would always remember that feeling of freedom that she
dreamed of on that summer's day 65 years ago.
Mr. Black entered Mrs. Morning's apartment pushing his cart full
of tools and accessories.
"Good Evening, Mrs. Morning," Mr. Black said, "what seems to be
the trouble tonight?"
"As you can see my good fellow, there is a terrible problem with
my toilet. I'm afraid that it has overfilled the pot and spilled
onto my flooring. I'm having a Tupperware Party tonight and I'd
hate for the water to distract."
"Of course, Mrs. Morning," Mr. Black said and set about clearing
up the job. A simple snake down the drain soon cleared the
problem for the time being. While he was mopping up the spillage,
an unusual feeling of conversationalism overcame him. Maybe it
was the depression of losing contact with his daughter, or maybe
it was his curiosity that got the better of him after the last
seven years of hearing about it. What ever the reason, Mr. Black
cleared his throat and smiled at Mrs. Morning.
"You sure do have a lot of Tupperware Parties, Mrs. Morning," he
said in the friendliest tone possible for him. "How have they
been going, anyway?"
Charlie the fly climbed up the side of his jar and stuck one
hairy leg out of a tiny sharp edged air hole. The wind from the
open window rolled across the top of the jar and the breeze
caused the sensitive follicles to bristle with excitement. It was
a far cry from the past of free flying buzz attacks on loose
dog's snouts, but it would have to do now. Charlie dropped back
to the bottom of the jar, not bothering to walk along the dung
stained walls anymore.
"Coffee? Mr. Black." Mrs. Morning smiled at his question. She
had realized long ago that she was something of a curiosity
amongst the staff and residents alike. What with her reclusive
lifestyle, her once a week deliveries of groceries, and the
occasional special courier delivery from a certain company
specializing in air tight plastic containers . Mrs. Morning had
often thought about the paradox of the Tupperware dish; how
something that creates a positively and purely stagnant
environment, void of any newness of air or moisture, no
revitalizing stimuli or invigorating elixir - how can an
environment of critical and severe deprivations foster such
amazing freshness in its captive product? It is by it's own
cloister, capable of sustaining vitality. Preservation though
limitation. How? Why? Mrs. Morning loved her Tupperware and
everything it had come to represent. And so, as she smiled at Mr.
Black's question regarding her parties, she felt it unnecessary
to explain it to him in so many words. She handed him his coffee,
black, and opened up the door to her studio.
"You see, Mr. Black. When I throw a Tupperware Party, this is
where it happens."
Mrs. Morning gestured around the room with her hands in the air.
Surrounding them both on all sides of the small chamber were
beautifully hand painted water colours. Images of butterflies on
dandelions, candy apples and balloons; landscapes of impossible
waterfalls crashing over rocks of impossible size and structure.
Everywhere you turned, Mrs. Morning had displayed her impressions
of freedom and freewill. Pictures lay about of old barnyards and
hay mows, sweet strawberry fields lying upon hilltops in the
mist, finally, one small painting caught the eye of Mr. Black. It
was a self portrait of Mrs. Morning as she was when she was seven
years old. She appeared sitting in a giant treefort emanating
from within a majestic maple tree. She was wearing a smile on her
face and a straw hat in her hair. Mr. Black began to cry.
"So you see, Mr. Black," Mrs. Morning said, " even though I am
old and am not visited; and I live in a tiny place where the
toilet leaks, I am not fully here. Most evenings I am
disappeared. Most evenings I am at a Tupperware Party far away."
Mr. Black stared at the small girl in the image. He saw his own
little girl sitting there too. He missed her terribly and the
tears were coming so fast now that he could no longer focus on
"Thank you Mrs. Morning," he managed and tried for the door.
"No. Thank you. For your time, and for joining me at my party."
Don Black pulled the phone from its cradle and dialed his
daughter's number. The two year suspended sentence was nearly
over, and regardless, he didn't care anymore about bars, cells or
anything else. He needed to speak to his little girl. He needed
to tell her that he loved her. He needed to see her again. The
phone began to ring and his heart began to beat again. Soon, very
soon he would live again.
Mrs. Morning tidied up her place after Mr. Black had left. He
forgot his equipment but she knew he had more important things on
his mind right now. It was getting late for her, so she decided
to call it a night. She rinsed out her brushes and packed up her
sketch pads. She gathered up her many paint cakes and placed them
all, protectively and lovingly, inside their own separate
Tupperware dish. Safe and sound inside. Just like she was.
Copyright Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver lives and writes in Brockville, Ontario. He eats
three squares a day and never has leftovers.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.