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Chain Of Hearts
About the Author: J.T. Siemens lives and works in Vancouver, which most people find a very postcard-pretty place. He prefers the city’s dark and seedy underbelly, which is where he finds his solace and inspiration. His fiction has been published in Down in the Dirt, Heater, Front & Centre, and Vancouver Magazine. His novel, To Those Who Killed Me, was recently nominated for the Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award. He is currently working on his second novel, Devil’s Breath. Samples of his work can be found

The stolen bunny ornament fell from Kitt’s overcoat. Picking the trinket off the floor, I looked into her green eyes as I handed it back. They seemed to spark playfully under the red glow of the Christmas lights outside the window.

Oops. The bunny disappeared back inside her coat and she took a sip of her rum toddy.

I told her I recalled that particular critter from the tree at the Pan Pacific. Across the table, Rachel and Eddie laughed.

Rachel, our matchmaker, called Kitt a naughty little klepto, and Eddie, Rachel’s fiancé, asked her what else she had jacked that night.

After a quick deliberationshe shrugged, took another sip, and reached back inside her coat. Turned out the night’s haul consisted of tree ornaments: a scowling green Grinch, (Fairmont), a pink-and-blue plastic LED icicle (Hotel Georgia), a miniature snow globe (Four Seasons), a micro-menorah (Sutton Place), a Rasta-Jesus (Pac Rim), and a blue sheep wearing a Santa cap (unknown). Kitt’s booty sat in the middle of the table, an eclectic assemblage chronicling our jaunt through the holiday bedecked lobbies of the city’s upscale hotels. We marveled that none of us had witnessed any of the acquisitions.

Asking the origin of the blue sheep, I said I didn’t recall seeing it on any of the trees.

Greek place I popped into before meeting you guys. Needed a warm-up.

We howled and ordered another round.

On our second date, Kitt kipped silverware from an Italian joint on Main. As we walked down the street I asked why.

Why what?

Why did you steal the cutlery? It wasn’t even especially nice.

Why is the sky blue, Jack?

I took out my phone and asked Google. When I began blathering about atmospheric molecules scattering blue light, she pulled the filched fork and jabbed me in the ass.


The sky’s blue because the sky’s blue, Jack. It spoils the fun to question everything. Just do or don’t do.

It sounded like some sort of half-baked zen koan, but I got the gist: Kitt does what Kitt does. Later that night, we played pool and shared a pitcher. She kicked my ass three for three, and on our way out she purloined three red-feathered darts from the board near the door. As she nonchalantly pocketed them, I couldn’t help but jerk my head around.

Her excuse was that the beer was overpriced and we had to make up our losses somehow. Seemed a good enough reason. I liked it better than the sky is blue crap.

Out on the street we had an impromptu game of darts. As a target, we used a poster advertising amateur stripper night on the side of a boarded-up building. First one to hit the dancer’s tits won. Kitt won.

Wanting to keep the night going, we wound up at an old-school diner on Granville, sipping coffee and talking, me providing the bulk of the conversation. I told her my story: city boy, schooled at McGill, sucked at sports, one serious girlfriend years ago, found work in a bank, where I met my friend, Rachel. I confessed that the only thing I ever stole was a Mars bar from the corner store when I was eight. My mom found out and made me take it back and apologize.

Her eyes lifted to mine as she sipped her coffee. Nice story, Jack.

Intrigued by her thieving ways, I asked her about the first thing she ever stole.

A chain of hearts. Appearing suddenly impatient, she tossed a tenner on the table. C’mon, let’s go for a drive.

Kitt worked as a sales rep for a local microbrewery and got to drive the company van, the side panel depicting a mural of a killer whale breeching in a sea of sudsy beer. We drove around for a while listening to the White Stripes. She sang her heart out on every track.

You’re a good singer.

This story appears in our DEC 2020 Issue
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Reader Discussion

Very enjoyable read. Thank you.
By David Gidden

Love it
By Brigitte kephart

Even though you know what’s coming you can’t be positive so you must read till the end!
By Mickey Cherry

I guess it's because of the holiday season that this story didn't resonate with me. I was looking for the mystery and only registered the chronic thievery. The story was well written by the author, kudos to the author, but not my cup of tea.
By Frances Dunn

Great read! But now I want to read part two that includes Kitt's place.
By Lisbeth Mizula

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