The Tablecloth Trick
An unrequited love story? Possibly. (Probably?) A suicide note? Perhaps.The Tablecloth Trick’s unnamed narrator recalls a childhood spent with Caroline — always Caroline — the centre of his universe, delving into books (hundreds of them) at a Winnipeg library and sharing an extraordinary friendship and a recondite sense of wonderment in scientific and ontological inquiry. Until one day Caroline opens her school locker and finds a MASH note from an astronaut — that is, she discovers other boys.When she leaves for university, memories of Caroline are put in a closet; he starts working at Estella’s Pie in the Sky Bakery. His search for illumination continues in a lonely, insular world of reading and acutely imagined juxtaposition — of disease and art; of Catholic mythology and the female body.Now, years later, after rediscovering Caroline at St. Boniface Hospital, the narrator is compelled by old emotions to return to the phantasmagorical thoughts of his childhood — to imagine two of them together, the life he was never meant to live.Collecting linguistic oddities, scraps of images, bits of text, and hybridized references, Rick Crilly cuts-up and collages, disassembles and recreates an anatomical mystery where a blank page becomes a meditation on grief, and a crossed out word is a librarian’s scalpel. The Tablecloth Trick whips away the artifice between Fiction and fact (that's Fiction with a capital F — because Plato loved capital letters, after all) to see what, if anything, is left standing.
Rick Crilly has worked as a chicken catcher, sock packer, baker, and now works in a bookstore. The son of an Irish butcher, he was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently lives in Toronto.