Gord Grisenthwaite

Writer ♦ Photographer

Mavis Brown

“Mavis Brown” deals with young love and ritualized abuse in an aboriginal community. It won the 2007 Prism International short fiction contest and was nominated for both the Journey Prize and a Western Magazine Award. Currently, “Mavis Brown” is unavailable in digital form. Even though the story won the prestigious Prism International Short Fiction Contest, Gord’s currently rewriting it.

When they found Mavis Brown she had been dead awhile. Her clothes were off and there was a Fanta bottle shoved up inside her and then it was smashed. They say she had lived awhile and that she probably bled to death. Mavis Brown had that kind of luck. Finding her without her clothes, and sometimes with things up inside her was pretty normal. Once, I found some Polaroids of her in my father’s sock drawer. She had some carrots from my grandmother’s garden up inside her in those pictures. It was mostly older guys talked about putting stuff up inside of her, like it was a game, like it was their right. Now, when Mavis Brown was talked about, there was no laughing.

Arnold John’s barn was in the Holler, the big hole at the west end of town. Mice lived in his hay. Zillions of mice. Me and Skinny and JimJim and Bimbo liked to drink there before dances cos it was quiet and didn’t smell too much like pee. We kept a big jar of Squirrel Peanut Butter on a shelf by the door and we’d go down there with our twenty-two calibre pellet guns, spread some of the Squirrel on the hay shed floor like it was a giant sandwich and scramble up the bails, load our pellet guns and wait. It was always a short wait. Them mice soon flooded the floor so we could shoot them. It was maybe thirty or forty feet from where I sat to pick off them mice that they found Mavis Brown.