Close to Spider Man
Ivan E. Coyote
Close to Spider Man marks the debut of an exciting new literary talent: a collection of connected stories whose female narrators seek out lives for themselves amidst the lonely, breathtaking landscape of the Yukon. The young women in Ivan Coyote's deeply personal stories are looking to make a break from their circumstances, but the North is in their bones: so is their connections to family, friends, and other women. Like the protagonist in the title story, a waitress whose attempts to help a young co-worker saddled with a lunatic father finds her running across rooftops and climbing ladders; by getting close to Spider Man, she gets closer to freedom.
Startling in their intimacy, the stories in Close to Spider Man make up a moving scrapbook of what it's like to be a young queer woman in the North, journeys imbued with the colours of a prescient sexuality and an honest heart.
Runner-up, Danuta Gleed Award for Short-Fiction
hint of annoyance. “She will be just fine. She just walks like that. That’s just how she walks.” NO BIKINI I HAD A SEX CHANGE ONCE, WHEN I WAS six years old. The Lions pool where I grew up smelled like every other swimming pool everywhere. That’s the thing about pools. Same smell. Doesn’t matter where you are. It was summer swimming lessons, it was a little red badge with white trim we were all after: beginners, age five to seven. My mom had bought me a bikini. It was one of those
uncles who were carpenters, and he would himself go on to become a plumber) and build a jump for our bikes. Then we would ride and jump off it, right in front of the twins’ house, which was conveniently located right across from the park (good cover). This would enchant the unsuspecting kissees-to-be (and most likely their little sister), drawing them out from their house and into the street, where they would be easier to kiss. We would then gallantly offer the girls a ride on the handlebars
even had its very own forgotten car and truck graveyard. If you looked up from the dusty ground and buckets of used oil, out behind colourless mechanics’ shops and the skeletons of scaffolding, you could see the whole valley stretched out, the Yukon River sparkling blue and snaking through the painted postcard mountains. If you looked up, which I rarely did. There was too much to do. There were any number of stupid and dangerous activities to pass the day with, untold numbers of rusty edges to
of his dress pants when I was again distracted by the mirror. I believe it was the Rolling Stones I was singing when he walked into the bedroom. I froze, covering the bulge in my – I mean his – under-wear, and just tried to act … natural. “Forgot the tickets,” he said, perfectly calm, reaching for an envelope on the dresser. He stuffed the tickets into his inside pocket, turned without even cracking a smile, and was gone. I stripped in a panic, I don’t know why, having already been caught
you’re about to turn queer that very next fall but you don’t quite know it yet, all you know is that the way the back of her neck blushes under her tan when she accidentally pours water or coffee on American tourists makes you want to calmly, nobly, polish her silverware. She was bilingual, and didn’t have an accent when she spoke either language, but would slip French words into her softly-spoken English sentences in a way that made me not care that she stole my toast: “Je m’excuse, ma cherie,