Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.01.10
Stanstead, Quebec


Stop bivouacking your sister!

At ease, troops.

Thank you for joining Mother and me here in the war room, AKA the dining room. Our mission is to coordinate our assault on tomorrow's commitments. If we effectively optimize our resources, anticipate counter-attacks on our limited time, and fend off spontaneous sleepovers, we may be able to maneuver through tomorrow with only minimal casualties.

As you can see, I've sketched a map of our position on this slab of pink Styrofoam insulation that the dog dragged home, possibly from the construction site up the street, possibly off our neighbour's garage wall.

I'm represented by this beer cap. Mother, you're this sea shell with glued-on googly eyes. Agent 16.75, you're a paper clip, Agent 15 the severed GI Joe hand, Agent 9 this uncooked macaroni noodle. Agent 19, currently on foreign assignment, is represented by the nose ring on the kitchen windowsill where she left it five months ago.

The dog is a chewed up pencil.

We launch Operation Hectic Domestic at 0-700 tomorrow. I expect all papers to be in order: permission slips for school trips signed, birthday invitations ready to be distributed, notes from teachers referencing booger-related incidents, and subsequent reprimands duly initialed.

All requisitions for school funds should have been submitted a minimum three days prior or risk being denied, as I for one have not a penny left after this past weekend's Operation Spontaneous Sunday Shopping. I'm sorry, Agent 15, but your class will just have to travel to the Museum of Poly Extruded Vinyl without you.

While you're at your respective learning facilities, Mother will travel aboard the sole family transport for an engagement lasting until sixteen-hundred hours here, represented by this raffle ticket stub. I, meanwhile, anticipate that at my workplace I will be conveying the smoked strips of pork in a homeward direction until seventeen-hundred hours here, conveyed by this small replica of Jackie Gleason.

At sixteen-thirty hours, Agent 9 has feng shui practice here, represented by what appears to be a puddle of dog drool.

At the concurrent hour, Agent 16.75 has a leg-waxing fundraiser here by this cocktail umbrella and Agent 15 has a basketball game down here by this ashtray. The ashtray doesn't represent anything; I've merely taken up smoking again.

In order for Agent 9 to reach her feng shui destination at the designated hour, we will need to call in reserve parental units. Said units will be paid on a thanks-a-bunch or we're-on-for-next-time basis.

At some juncture, I will slip undercover from my workplace and travel by land to reconnoiter the dog's status, vis-à-vis maximal bladder capacity and/or domestic collateral damage. If any agents have once again left the roast on the counter, I will have no choice but to declare this a salvage mission.

Flying under the radar (and possibly under an umbrella), I will again infiltrate my workplace where I will commandeer a vehicle from a co-worker to retrieve supplies, namely a couple of bottles of wine to go with whatever's left of the roast.

Agent 15? You will sortie with your fellow commissioned ball players to your arena of competition. You will remain there until you receive orders by cell phone or until Mother shows up. But know this: you may be required to travel home via late bus. Yes, late bus. Pull yourself together, soldier! Don't make me revoke your Tim Horton's privileges!

Agent 16.75? Your mission is to attain alternative transport and to alert Mother once said transport has been confirmed. You received orders to do so three days ago but you've left it to the last minute, so no talk-back. Obtain this transport by whatever means necessary, including tagging along with that member of the leg-waxing committee who you don't really know and who begins every sentence with, "Ma-num..."

Should the anticipated cold snap undermine the leg-waxing maneuvers due to failure to reach optimal waxing temperature, Agent 16.75 will meet at Agent 15's rendezvous point to return to home base, again via late bus if necessary.

We will assemble at home base at approximately nineteen-thirty hours, at which point we will debrief, lay blame for failure to fulfill orders, ingest dog-nibbled meat, do homework, watch House, and review the next day's mission.

And now, as the dog has made off with the severed GI Joe hand, dismissed.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at