The Journey of SILVER BROWN

The Curious Case of Elmýr Garfield

My first apartment in Toronto was literally right next door to a Buddhist temple. Every Sunday morning, I could hear the sound of the gongs coming right through my walls. Never saw the inside of that temple, though. Mostly on account of the fact that it was a Theravada sanctuary catering to the diaspora, and I don’t speak a lick of Vietnamese outside of exactly one word. But I nevertheless appreciated the vibrations of those gongs every Sunday. After spending Monday through Friday (and frequently Saturday to boot) catering to the hyper-frazzled demands of The Machine, that weekly dose of sonic medicine was a most welcome reprieve.

The day those healing vibrations stopped came when my building was sold to a new owner, and I ended up getting renovicted. The next apartment after that was something I subletted from the company I was working for at the time. I only called that place home for a mere eight months, for it was inhabited by vast insurmountable colonies of bedbugs (and fleas!) and a handful of very cranky people. One woman who lived there told me the building was haunted. She was probably right.


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I recall a foursome of geriatric men who would spend the daylight hours sitting on lounge chairs in front of the Apartment Building of the Damned, wiling away their golden years complaining loudly about things their juniors would seldom think to complain about, occasionally yelling obscenities at random passersby just for the sheer hell of it. Like a cruder version of King of the Hill. I’m not a hundred percent sure if their demeanour was merely because of the bedbug problem or something that could be chalked up to senility (it was probably a combination of the two), but this meditation on cranky old geezerhood manifested itself into what would eventually become SILVER BROWN. Its chosen guise was that of an Eccentric Mentor with a mastery of cybersorcery and certain forbidden knowledge sought out by the main characters in their quest for the Secret Ingredient.

The warlock Elmýr Garfield was a cursed character from the very beginning, but after several rewrites his curses have only multiplied. In the second or third draft I introduced the idea that the story starts off with him being dead, necessitating a cybermagickal trip to the netherworlds of the Environment to retrieve his innate isness and bring it back to the Sea of Joy to reboot it. Yet he is not so much reanimated as he is reborn. The audience is first introduced to him as a seventy-five-year-old man in the body of a seventy-five-second-old infant. An allusion to old stories of Gautama Buddha that told of him walking and talking on the day he was born. Or to Baby Herman from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Either one works. Take your pick.



As a result of the cursed nature of his existence (or more likely, because Florys errs slightly when she casts the spell to bring him back to life), Elmýr ages very rapidly after his rebirth, advancing through all the different life stages over the course of several chapters before finally exiting the story as a withered lifeless husk. At an inopportune moment in the narrative that greatly inconveniences the protagonists. If his final wilting occurred at a more convenient time, it wouldn’t be much of a story.

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The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: Chapters 5 & 6 (The Late Show)

A famous Zen master (can’t remember if it was Thich Nhat Hahn or not, but it most likely wasn’t) once described the Twitterverse (or something similar to it; the abnormal behaviour found on social media actually predates it by millennia) as an ocean full of gasoline. A collective monkey mind which the smallest spark will cause to violently explode. My former boss possessed such a monkey mind. I once casually described it in such terms to the executive assistant du jour. When the boss found out what I said, she went right ahead and proved my point in plain view of me, completely failing to notice I had proven it. How could she notice? She never had the beginner’s mind to notice such things. From her perspective, she was the stable genius who was always right, and I was always wrong. Because she went to Harvard, and I didn’t. The executive assistant (who also didn’t go to Harvard) quit in disgust a few weeks later upon realizing I was right.

Years later, she who attained Eternal and Everlasting Rightness during her time at Harvard went wrong. Very wrong. As in, attempted murder wrong. Going insane and stabbing a dude doesn’t fit any definition of Rightness that either I or the Crown are aware of. A couple of weeks before The Incident, she spoke to me on the phone. One final time. With a tone of voice that sounded very loving and motherly, she told me I had a “brilliant mind” and that she was proud of me. Make of that whatever you will. For me, it felt like a Luke-unmasking-Vader moment with a faint tinge of Lovecraft to it…


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…except she was a werelizard, so it was something more like this.

Since I obviously have plenty of practical experience dealing with monkey minds, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about channeling their energy towards more beneficial ends. In many ways, the outrage culture makes the Sea of Tweet ideal waters for the maiden voyages of new chapters. If a creative work of any sort can survive a perilous trek across the great ocean of gasoline, then she’s seaworthy and can be brought to port.

Chapters Five and Six of SILVER BROWN have had their maiden voyages already. Not only were there no devastating explosions to speak of, but I actually got some positive feedback to boot. Having passed the first test, these chapters shall now be archived at a rate of one page a day. On a platform with a significantly less restrictive character limit, allowing for the massive herds of happy-clappy types native to the area to pen their famously impassioned rants detailing why this author is assured of eternal damnation. In either title case or all caps. With the mandatory quota of at least three Biblical citations and a non sequitur reference to some “socialist” politician that apparently ruined their life. That platform being the Zuckerberg Tabernacle, of course. A late show is presently afoot there, for the benefit of those who missed the early show. Click or tap on Zuck’s head below to watch. The price of admission is your soul. Because it’s Facebook.


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The Zen of SILVER BROWN

The Man Of My Dreams

I roamed the Canadian wilderness for three years. In a location that’s at least a four hours’ drive from what the modern descendants of the colonists who plundered Turtle Island laughingly refer to as civilization. During that time, I gave burnt offerings to the seasonal solar energies and baptized myself weekly in waters sanctified by beaver urine, and slept under a dreamcatcher. One I created myself. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of it, because its strong cosmick aura frustrated my ability to capture it photographically in a manner that would adequately do it justice. But I do have this picture of an artifact from a makeshift temple I constructed somewhere in a nameless corner of the taiga. I had to burn Deep Woods Off for the incense and enclose it in mesh to keep out the skeeters, but it performed its function as a sanctuary…


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Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form.

Then I got bored with all that and moved to London. Not the London, though. A city in Canada, which shares its name with a certain British metropolis. You can tell they didn’t put a lot of thought into the name. They could’ve derived a really badass name that hasn’t been used yet from the native languages spoken in the area. Like Chicago did, or Winnipeg. But no, they had to be all imperialist-snoblike and name it for their beloved capital across the pond. It’s now the fifteenth-largest city in Canada, and probably stuck with the name permanently. I give you a picture of its filthiest street…


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I like to think the dreamcatcher sucked something out of me in those three years. I sensed it when I saw my student card…


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I don’t know if it was the lighting, or the particular way I had my facial hair trimmed at the time, or the fact that I spent the first six months in this unimaginatively-named city living in a Zen commune run by my fairy ganjamother (one of the sweetest women I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life). But there was definitely an aura in the picture. My first thought was: Holy shit! I look like a rock star! A certain rock star with vocal abilities that are either angelic or annoying depending on which critics you believe, who is well known for his pre-performance ritual of meditating in tipis with dreamcatchers. Specifically, this guy…


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