Robin MacFarland is a fifty-five-year-old widow who grapples entertainingly with aging, drinking, weight, loneliness, and career failure, all the while solving two murders. She is also a somewhat eccentric and highly intelligent journalist for the Home and Garden section of a Toronto paper. Although the novel is framed around an environmental plot about the theft of Canada’s fresh water, it hinges upon a current social issue and Robin’s journey through the middle portion of her life. Flush has an environmental subject ostensibly underpinning its plot, a social issue motivating the crime, and, ironically and symbolically, an endangered species as a murder weapon.
Sky Curtis was born in Toronto, Canada and has lived in England as well as the Canadian maritimes, travelling to both places frequently. Under her birth name of Kathryn MacKay, Sky has worked as an editor, author, software designer, magazine writer, scriptwriter, poet, teacher, and children’s writer. She has published over a dozen books. Passionate about literacy and involved with youth, her entertaining syndicated children’s column appeared in weeklies across the country for almost ten years. Her poetry has appeared in several literary journals, including The Antigonish Review, Canadian Forum, and This Magazine. Currently living in mostly in Toronto with her family and pets, Sky writes adult fiction and non-fiction.
I was such a failure. As I sat on the edge of the cold tub
I heard the word over and over. Fail-ure. Both syllables
of the word blew through my brain like the melancholic
whistle of a passing train.
I took a deep breath and counted on my five fingers,
bending them backwards as I said each word. “Old. Fat.
Alcoholic. Alone. Failure.” I looked at my open palm.
“Good job, Robin. Well done, ol’ girl. What a high five.”
I shuddered another deep breath. I had hit rock bottom,
the lowest of the low. I shook my head, gritted my
teeth, and said “Shit” about thirty times as I slapped the
side of my thigh. I watched in horrified amazement as it
undulated like the waves on a beach. Shit shit shit and
just shit. Something in me snapped.
I was so fucking done with myself I couldn’t bear it.
I heaved myself off the tub, swiped some eye shadow
across my red rims, and lumbered off to my bedroom.
On the way down the hall I pounded the wall with my
fist, muttering like a mad monkey. Shit, shit, shit. For
good measure I kicked the baseboard. I would Vim off
the scuff mark later. When I could bend over. I flung open
my drawers and dug through the chaos of clothing until
I came across a T-shirt and lycra shorts. I shoehorned
myself into them, put on my running shoes, thundered
down the stairs, and slammed the front door behind me.
I, Robin MacFarland, was going jogging. I didn’t care
if I should be heading off to work. I had had enough. I
was going to rebuild my life. Yes, I was. No more old,
fat, alkie, alone, failure for me. No sirree. I would start
today. I was going to lose weight. No more cheesies, no
more ice cream, no more chips. Not a nibble. I would
drink water and eat sliced grilled chicken breasts on salad.
I would run. Well, sort of.