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Writing Contest: What I Covet Most 

From Cindy Phan,

Listen, OK?

There is this place in Banff, in Alberta, Canada that has a Thing you must see, if in fact you want to see it.  It’s not mentioned in tourist pamphlets and it’s not on any map you’ll find up there.  It’s an open secret that, it seems, the locals either chuckle knowingly at or ignore completely.  Keeping up appearances, letting it slide to slip it right back in.

As you enter town via the TransCanada Highway, turning left onto Mount Norquay Road, follow it as it turns into Gopher Street, then Lynx Street and, finally, Bear Street. Take the left onto Buffalo Street, then a right on Banff Avenue. 

 All the way down, keep going, across the bridge.  Take the right.  Birch Avenue.  Cave Avenue. 


   Enter the doors between the totem poles.  You’re welcome.

Keep going.  Past the bisected goats and the mounted moose heads.  To the back, keep going back! Away from the snarling wolves and scattered fowl and frozen pronghorns, but close to the grizzly that once embraced a nervous Marilyn Monroe.

Towards the opposite wall, following the dangling dreamcatchers along the way. 

Look down, down

Below, and you’ll find it.

It may not be a real mermaid.  It may be a fake mermaid (or merman), if in fact mermaids (or mermen) are real.  It’s real; fake.  Fiji mermaid, “FeeJee Mermaid”, though maybe it’s from Japan.  Half-fish, half-simian-Thing; some papier-mâché, perhaps?  Well.  Its presence is undeniable even if its reality is an open question.  It is a creature with at least a kind of existence to call its own.  Just there, creeping around the periphery.  Promising you things that it may not have to promise you at all.  Unless you want it to.

Even if you don’t, it’s there.

Petrified.  Unconcerned.  Busy.

And anyway. 

I want it.  I want that Thing. 

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