REVENGE OF THE VINYL CAFE
The world can be a perilous place. And the seemingly friendly world of Canada’s favourite fictional family is no different. Everyone is afraid of something: Dave, for example, is afraid of dolls, germs, and Mary Turlington. Sam, on the other hand, is afraid of bees, UFOs, and “mewpilated” cows. Morley’s fears—public nudity and drop-in visits—are slightly more pragmatic.
It’s hard to find courage in the face of sewer monsters, deformed fish heads, abandoned car wrecks, and stalled elevators in empty mansions, but in this brand new collection of Vinyl Cafe stories, Dave and the gang pluck up the courage to deal with all kinds of danger, both real and imagined.
In Stuart McLean’s hilarious new book of cautionary tales, rediscover the deep, delicious thrill of fear that looms so large in childhood and spills over into adult life with startling, often delightful, effect.
I have something you should know. I have Monster Spray here. If you try anything, I will use it.
—MAX, THE BOY
t was one of those moments that make you wonder if your life is cursed. One of those moments when you start to believe that the universe is not, in fact, a random place, but an intelligent one, and that the universal intelligence is a malevolent intelligence, or it is, at least, when it comes to you.
Dave was standing on the sidewalk, just down the street from his friend Kenny Wong’s café. In fact, he had been in Kenny’s for the last hour or so. Now he was standing on the corner, contemplating what he was going to do next.
His wife, Morley, and his son, Sam, were away for the weekend, so there was no rush to get home. He had three glorious days of solitude ahead of him.
He wondered if he should go over to the Lowbeers’ and check on their cat.
The Lowbeers were away too. Dave was feeding the Lowbeers’ cat for the weekend. Now that he thought of it, he wasn’t sure where he had put their keys—whether he had them with him, that is, or whether he had left them at home.
And that is why he dug them out of his pocket; that is how he came to be holding the Lowbeers’ keys as he stood on the corner down the street from Kenny’s café.
Why he dropped them? Who knows. These sorts of things happen. That is the part about the world being cursed.
He pulled the keys out of his pocket and was standing there considering whether he should feed the cat now or later when they slipped out of his hand and fell towards the ground, in the slow-motiony way that disasters favour.
They hit the sidewalk and bounced into the gutter.
Later Dave would say that you could line up a thousand people and have them drop a thousand sets of keys and nothing more would happen.
He is probably right. Probably if you dropped a thousand sets of keys, not one other set would bounce into the gutter like the Lowbeers’ did; and if they did, they would have lain there on top of the sewer grate.
These didn’t. These landed on the sewer grate, balanced there for a moment, like a...
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Stuart McLean writes and hosts the popular CBC Radio show The Vinyl Cafe, which has over one million weekly listeners. He is the author of many bestselling and award-winning books, including seven collections of Vinyl Cafe stories.