Reynolds works at the corner of Sun and Dakota in a cramped corner store that
sells newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, rolling papers, matches and lighters.
He has a face like the side of a barn: flat and weathered. Looking through the
front door of The News World, anyone can see Reynolds muttering to himself,
scribbling on bits of paper he keeps in the old cigarette tins he collects and
hides beneath the counter. There are holes worn in the older and less resilient
of his shirts – holes worn from leaning across the counter, resting on his
elbows and looking through the door propped open and out into the street.
It is one hundred and eighty-five and one-half feet from the front door of The
News World to the front door of 1294 Dakota where Reynolds lives on the seventh
floor in a cramped apartment that is stacked full of magazines, newspapers,
books and little pieces of paper covered in scribbled words and sentences. The
bigger scraps contain paragraphs. The papers are still hidden within various
cigarette tins strewn about the apartment.
Reynolds believes that cigarettes and loneliness have twisted his insides about.
He imagines his vital organs variedly bloated or shrivelled – his distended
stomach knotted up somewhere almost at throat level and pressing on his heart,
his shrivelled lungs dropped somewhere into a hollow in the small of his back.
Reynolds believes it is sixty-two yards from door to door, and he is so very
nearly close that he might as well be right. Sixty-two yards is nearly three
quarters of the block. He measures the distance often, each yard measured with
two careful, even strides.
The scraps of paper hold words stolen from The News World’s customers, from the
battered television hidden by a newspaper rack at the end of the counter, from
the people walking by outside, from newspaper, magazines, books, and sometimes,
directly from Reynolds own mind. He transcribes all these words with careful
Over several years of two trips between 1294 Dakota and The News World, every
day but Sunday, Reynolds has managed to compress two full cigarettes into each
sixty-two yard walk. Reynolds walks to and from work, his face puckered sourly,
furiously smoking, hating every yard travelled, no matter the direction – each
unvaried destination worse than the other.
He has become very accurate at guessing the specific size of paper that will
correspond to the particular number of words he needs to write. These words, for
example, will require a scrap of paper the width of his thumb, and nearly twice
Paul McCallum, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ kicker sets new record for longest
field goal in CFL history: 62 yards. (28/10/01)
After he has finished scribbling these particular words, Reynolds looks at the
paper, actually smiling for the briefest of moments, then reaches underneath the
counter for a cigarette tin.
Matthew Dorrell wants you to trust him. Really.