9 Chapter 1


Women had fought each other out of their own clothes in this neighbourhood of Fair Court. This bulbous dead end might be as unpredictable as the current weather pattern in the spring. Something curled-up and that was of a dirty-brown colour now skittered like a scurrying mouse over a thin sheet of whiteness.

Regular beatings took place here, too, and kicks to the stomach would be so violent that a woman retched her own violence. But there were signs that a child might soon chew on a fruit indifferently in the midst of such violence.

An old man had already fooled himself into believing that he knew everybody’s business; however, he was now ignorant to the fact that he might end up starting something worse than violence. At any rate, it seemed that Enid Rose wanted to drag this whole neighbourhood further down in this beautiful, wonderful city with herself and her antics, bringing more grief. For during the time that her son was missing, she was engaged in things that a woman or a mother, grieving or not, had no business being engaged in. Her selfishness was going to torpedo this whole neighbourhood. Selfishness was like a torpedo. And unfortunately, when sunrise kissed her front door, it was not a good sight, because the door was blood-red. She had made her husband paint it. He died not long afterwards. The missing young man had rightfully questioned the colour choice.

That mouse-like thing, a Maple leaf blowing across snow in May, was a left-over of autumn 1996, but it was now the following spring, and because sometimes the snow did come down in May, that was no surprise. However, there were some surprising things about this cul-de-sac in Toronto with eight houses and its own little forest as part of its urban experience.

At one o’clock on this Saturday, the light of the sun appeared laser-focused, its warmth making the overnight snowfall disappear quickly from the tree branches. Despite the prolonged winter, there were no signs—red, yellow or brown—of that erstwhile season. Their buds popping, the trees had already begun to make chlorophyll again, a reminder that the forest would soon be as green as ever. Birds were now twittering amongst them. A light breeze rustled the bush that sprang up from cold soil.

Aldo Nacoti was sitting on his walker, faithfully holding the leash of that selfish little thing at the end of it. That old man could fool you the way that that maple leaf, a refuse of a season, could have also tricked you into imagining that it was something other than debris. And that girl, Millie Dos Santos, who was at his feet, was like a mouse eating away at a block of cheese. She was kneeling on the woman’s lawn, which was now snow-free, while she played with Aldo’s little dog. Earlier next door, number 14, when she had stepped out onto her mother’s porch, she saw the old man with the black Pomeranian. However, she was now very close to forbidden territory and Aldo had already told her something that was about to make her work even harder on her nibbling skills.



Enid Rose had just stepped out onto the front porch of her two-bedroom bungalow at number 10, in front of which the two were now. That woman needed help, though she acted as if she had everything under control. One look at her door was all you needed to know that she was in trouble, as much trouble as Millie was in.

Earlier, a car had been parked on the road in front of the bungalow, but it was now gone. On the south side directly across the street was Aldo’s house, number 9, next to that miniforest. It was a tract of land on which two more houses could have been.

Enid Rose, standing in front of that blood-red door of hers, interrupted the two with five words. They were an attempt to bridge the gap between life and death. Then she said not a single word more—in fact, she did not do anything other than slam that door.

It was those five words, which Millie thought of as stupid, that confirmed for her what Aldo Nacoti had just told her: Rick, Enid’s missing son, was now inside the house. She thought then that that might explain Enid’s stupid words. However, the evidence of the young man’s return, albeit anecdotal, had sharpened Millie—her teeth and all.




Electronic Press Kit for Garie McIntosh’s Novel “What’s in a Name” Copyright © 2022 by Garie McIntosh. All Rights Reserved.

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