mazucca city

Apartment Life #2

(from Mazucca City #2)

I found an ad in the paper for an available apartment in the city’s downtown core.  Actually, I couldn’t have been located further downtown, since the spot I checked out and eventually rented was above a well-known men’s clothing store a few doors up from downtown’s busiest shopping street.  It was also close to the bars which I considered to be a great advantage.  No more late night cab rides home.  Bonus!

The apartment was owned and operated by a real estate business who managed several private and commercial properties in and around the city.  Their office where I was to pay my rent each month, was located directly across the street from my new apartment which made dropping off rent cheques a breeze.  It also presented easy access to my doorbell on those occasions when I may have been late on a payment.  On at least one occasion, I sat quietly on the couch as the property’s office manager rang the bell and knocked on the door calling my name.  There are some things I don’t miss about the good old days and hiding from my landlord as an inexperienced, naïve tenant is certainly something I’m glad I’ve been able to leave behind.  Besides, there’s enough to be scared about already.  I don’t need to add to the list.

It’s no secret my decision to move into a place on my own was more than a bit ambitious at the time.  As an immature, adolescent looking at rent prices, $500 a month seemed like a reasonable price to pay for a good size apartment in the heart of downtown.  What I didn’t factor in was the cost of living, paying bills, and transportation to and from work on the city bus, not to mention figuring in my beer and cigarette allowance.  After all, as an irresponsible young guy in his early twenties, I had to make room for regular parties, concerts and general social activities associated with having an apartment minutes from the city’s drinking establishments.  To make things worse, I invited my girlfriend at the time to come and live with me.  Her home life was in shambles and I certainly wanted the company.  I figured she might as well come live with me.  I mean, that’s what couples do isn’t it?  It turns out I should have done a bit more planning before inviting someone in to live with me, share what limited space I had and spend each day in my living space.  I wasn’t ready to be a sugar daddy.  I never thought to take into account the fact that she did not have a job but had a great appetite, not only for food but also for cigarettes and beer.  Who knew?  Although I was well aware of her habits, I foolishly expected her to seek immediate employment and enter into the adult world I was beginning to explore.  Such was not the case.

Our apartment was on the second floor.  Although we were directly above the shops and streets we had both come to know well since childhood, our windows didn’t offer much of a view.  Our apartment had a stellar view of the back alley fire escape with its rusted, iron handrail and dilapidated staircase.  It made me think that if there ever was a fire, if might be safer to run through the flames instead of trying to navigate those rusty steps.  Unknown to me at the time I signed the lease, the top of the fire escape was a popular hangout for underage weekend drinkers, roof top explorers and twenty-something artists types looking for an unusual urban meeting place to drink wine and smoke a little pot. 

It was a Friday evening when I discovered for the first time, just how popular our fire escape actually was.  We didn’t own curtains and didn’t really feel the need for them at the time.  I thought the view of brick wall offered by the living room window was comical and I was proud to display it to guests.  In the evening when the room was lit by lamplight, the glare and reflection of the light masked the beautiful view of brick and iron.  And since the idea of someone looking in on us through a back alley window at the top of a hidden fire escape had never crossed our minds, you can imagine our shock and surprise when we discovered we were being watched like fish in an aquarium.  After hearing soft voices different than those usually heard through the walls, I turned off the light to reveal a crowd of twelve or thirteen punks and oddballs sitting around watching our evening unfold.  It wasn’t long after that we purchased a long set of curtains to cover our three sources of natural light.

I eventually fell behind in my bill paying and was forced to start looking for yet another place to live.  Although I loved living downtown and having just about everything I could possibly need within a two minute walk from my front door, it was simply too tough trying to make ends meet with a roommate content on riding through life on someone else’s dollar.  One of the pitfalls of young, ignorant love is that you often find yourself in situations where you’re afraid to offend your partner by speaking honestly.  In my case, I wanted nothing more than for her to find a job of any sort to help offset our expenses.  There were times when I was so upset that I’d go out for long walks to relax instead of addressing the issue.  I did this on several occasions.  After several blocks, I usually calmed down and forgot just how upset I was.  Sadly, not addressing the issue also meant that things weren’t going to change and because of that, we had to move. 

Our move was the tenant version of the dine-n-dash, also called the chew-n-screw.  We organised a ride and moved our entire apartment on a quiet Sunday afternoon.  Our destination – The North Side.

Mazucca City - Issue Two

After about 7 billion years (or three months, depending how you look at it), issue two of Mazucca City is finally finished.  This is our Alleys and Pathways issue and it includes a walking tour of Fredericton’s back alleys, part two of Apartment Life and alley related contributions from Mike Nason, Angus Fletcher and my dad, Doug Carter.  The cover photo was contibuted by Fredericton expat Mike Erb.  His photo was too beautiful to print black and white so we have a colour cover this time around. 

In the coming weeks I’ll be adding selections from issue two here on the blog.  You should all hit up Backstreet Records, buy some records and pick up a copy of this zine.  Thanks to those who picked up issue one.

Hopefully I won’t be completely grey by the time issue three comes out. 

Issue three’s theme will be “The Unique City” and we’ll be looking contributions from anyone who wants to contribute on this theme.  If you don’t live in Fredericton, we’re open to your tales of what makes your hometown unique.  More on this later.

Cover is just about done.  A big thanks to photographer and friend Mike Erb for providing this issue’s cover photograph. I should have the second issue out in a few days.  More details to come..

Cover is just about done.  A big thanks to photographer and friend Mike Erb for providing this issue’s cover photograph. I should have the second issue out in a few days.  More details to come..

Name that Fredericton Alley (#1)

I started putting together issue two of Mazucca City this afternoon.  This is a theme issue with a few bits and pieces about alleys and pathways.  Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting pictures of various downtown alleys.  If you know the location, email me at with your guess.  If you guess correctly, I’ll put you name into the draw.  Winner gets a copy of the next issue.  Easy.

Distance is Comfort

Two women out for a walk at night find themselves toe to nose with a stray cat.  They stop and back up about five feet in hopes it won’t run away.  From a comfortable distance they launch into a debate as to whether or not the cat is actually a stray or just a friendly kitty that lives in the neighbourhood, possibly in one of the houses nearby.  The cat rolls around on its back putting on quite a show while the two women discuss the safety of the tiny, little critter.  And then suddenly, one of the two women steps forward and the cat jumps up and scurries back a few feet.  Distance is comfort.  Take hint ladies.  Move along.  

Alleys and Pathways - got a story?

We’ve still got room for a few more contributions to our Alleys and Pathways issue.  If you’ve got a a few hundred words to share, send ‘em over.  You’ll get a copy of the issue when it comes out as a thanks! :)

Issue one available at Backstreet Records in F’ton

You Have Been Warned

Someone left a dead squirrel on our front step the other night.  I walked out to catch some air around 10 P.M. and saw it lying there.  It had been dead for days, maybe even weeks.  Its legs were stuck solid, its body stiff like a Popsicle stick or a piece of frozen fish.  What does it mean?  Is it a sign of impending doom?  Is it a warning from some unknown foe, someone I mistakenly offended during the run of my day?  Leaving a dead animal on someone’s front step is almost biblical in a way.  John 4:20 – He who spends the night cleaning his apartment listening to John Coltrane will heed the wrath of nature’s nut gatherers.

I must admit, I’m kind of weirded out by the whole thing.  I mean, it’s not often you step outside to find a dead rodent on your stoop and its probably even less common for someone to just happen by and have one fall unassumingly out of their knapsack, right?  Someone had to have found it, picked it up and decided to leave it where I found it.  Either that or it had died high up in a tree and just now decided to fall to the ground.  That could have happened I suppose but what are the chances of that?  Seriously.  Either way, it was a bit of a shock to find.  Strangely enough, earlier that night while I was cleaning, I looked at the snow shovel leaning against the wall by the front door and thought maybe it was time I put it away but I decided against it seconds later.  Good thing I did.  There might not be any snow left to clear off the step but dead animals, yup, we got ‘em.