» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

April 11, 2002

Dear Sir:

Do you realize what they are doing up there?

On my recent sojourn to the oft-lored (for it's beer-swilling, it's pro-American proclivity for attempting in vain to imitate our own holy cities' finer points, for it's relative proximity to Niagra Falls) city of Toronto, I was dismayed to bear witness to the fall of our glorious Olympic hockey team in the final to, yes, the Canadians. I and my other American cohort (staunch hockey fan that he is), decided we would imitate our surroundings and enjoy the fine spectacle of men zipping around on ice and whipping each other with sticks in the balmy climes of a neighborhood bar. Never mind that this bar was the starting point for that aberration of a pop singer Jeff Healey. And nevermind that the patrons of the bar, propped on chairs and stools, variously, in front of a wide screen television, upon hearing of our Americanism, all turned round and very graciously shook our hands like they'd known us all our lives. Never mind the comparatively high alcohol content of the beer we drank, either, for what I am concerned with primarily is this: I do believe I was slipped something. One moment I am on my stool, happily watching our good men hold off yet another power-play onslaught with guts and kicks and sticks, and the next I am at a table in the back room in strange conversation with a middle-aged Chinese man who is telling me of a trip he made through North and South Carolina with his family, talking all kinds of strange innuendo, a great deal of winking and nodding about the large of number of… "International Companies, uh-huh, uh-huh" …. Wink-wink … in places like Spartanburg, SC, for God's sake. About the only thing international about that fine city is maybe the gay proclivities of the truckers and the cops who may be doing it at any moment in any number of I85 rest-area bathrooms. I had the unpleasant experience (in the company of two, yes, Canadians…coincidence?…I'm at a loss to explain) of a run-in with one of these cops. Thank the Great American God we weren't at a rest area but rather on the Great Open Road, and the result was merely a two-day's incarceration, but suffice it to say the point was made. When the cop left me to the booking agent, a fat black woman who figured I was rip-roaring drunk or something when I accidentally called her 'Sir' (as would you, trust me), the guy actually winked at me and tugged at his crotch.

The Canadian/Chinese man went on about Spartanburg like it was a kind of budding metropolis and it became evident to me that I had lost time somewhere. My American cohort, with whom I had arrived, had vanished. Without a word, I rose to leave, but the Chinese/Canadian man made sure that he gave me a hat before I left, with the bar's logo plastered across the front. A Hat. Is this significant? I will leave it to you, Mr. Executive Director, to draw the conclusion. I only offer my modest experience undistilled.

But I did leave. I found my friend just outside of the bar with a giant Canadian flag, red maple leaf and all, wrapped about his shoulders. "What are you doing, you treasonous bastard?" I offered to him. He just smiled and nodded over to his left, where a young Canadian woman stood next to the door to a Korean restaurant naked as a jaybird. I shielded my eyes to the horrifically unholy sight, but my friend seemed to be drawn in, for he undraped his own body, started whipping the flag around over his head to the honking of passing cars, the ungrateful hooting of the cars' occupants. I realized, all too late, that he was stark naked himself.

Here I lose the thread. I do recall having the sensation of knowing something at that point, standing in the street trying not to stare at bulbous, bared ass of my naked friend, of knowing, definitively, that our boys had lost the hockey match. But the mickey or whatever it was must have still been doing its work on my brain, for the very next moment I am sitting at a long card table across from the naked woman and my naked friend, who are now fully clothed and in heated conversation about something. I can not hear them, for there is an awful racket being made in this place, something of a dance hall, something of a bar, I take it, for a half-finished whiskey sits in front of me. There are scores of people dancing, singing along to the, yes, mostly American noodlings of a band that is just now going into Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," and I yell out to my friend in plea, requesting aloud the how and why and when and where and all the other pertinent info I need to fully place myself, and he just looks up and widens his eyes at me, like he's seeing some sort of ghost. He rises and, pulling the girl alongside himself, walks around to my side of the table, then gesticulating for me to follow him through the center of a large group of drunken Canadians looking as if they are trying to approximate a kind of square dance routine. "Sweet Home Alabama," indeed. Oh! the impertinence of these people!…I follow my friend and his female Canadian companion through the revelers and across the hall to a door that opens inward onto complete darkness. I hesitate at the opening, as the two disappear inside, but something leads me on, call it a hunch, call it a divine American will to expose the wicked ways of the Canadian heathens!, call it stupidity, for when I enter the darkness I am immediately set upon by hands and, through the darkness, can make out shadowy, sneering faces with wide-open mouths; I hear voices chanting off through the dark, somewhere far away. I grope and peer for the open door through which I came, but it is no more, and I am being strapped down into a chair of some sort, clamps set over my hands like in an electrocution chamber. The crowd around me backs away through the dark, and when the lights go up, it is not in fluorescence that I witness the horrific spectacle before me. The light is one of flame, flames licking the feet of a 20-foot, hung-by-the-neck effigy of the great Ronnie Van Zant. I do not know whether it was the mickey or whether I simply passed out at the satanic sight, but that was it; again I do not know where I was thence taken, or how long it was before my next bit of sentience, which was sometime the following day, awaking next to the formerly -- and now again -- naked Canadian woman my American friend had led through the hall. She was still asleep, Mr. Executive Director, and it is with horror that I scanned the room and began to realize through the presence of certain discarded articles of clothing the extent of what had transpired. Suffice it to say that I felt as treasonous as a naked American wrapped in a Canadian flag. And did you know, Mr. Executive Director, that the heartwarming portrait of our Canadian neighbors in the fine 1980s film Strange Brew is nothing more than a fabrication? Did you know that the endearing term, "Hoser," is in fact not in use within the greater Toronto metro area? These questions I put to you as our holy nation continues bombing the world without discrimination. And this one: are we operating under a grave misapprehension? I think, Sir, that the question may just answer itself.

I will sleep better, at least, knowing that you know….

Best regards.

Todd Dills
THE2NDHAND publishes short fiction and nonfiction. Todd Dills edits the broadsheet and recently relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, after eight years of publishing from Chicago.

See other articles by Todd Dills.



If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.


LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!