The Five Hole Stories by Dave Bidini

Published by Brindle and Glass and available to order from Polar Peek Books and Treasures.

Is Fernie ready for hockey erotica? It’s a genre I didn’t know existed until I met Dave Bidini’s short story collection The Five Hole Stories. Last month, I was asked to teach a single class that focussed on one very short story. Because of my interest in sport literature, it seemed fitting to choose a piece of fiction featuring Canada’s favourite sport. I emailed Dave Bidini to ask if he had any stories that met the length requirement. He said “Me? No way! I’m all nonfiction.” I reminded him of his 2006 collection The Five Hole Stories – “Those are fiction, right?” His response: “Yeah. But those stories – those stories are DIRTY!!”

That didn’t dissuade me.

I read The Five Hole Stories on a recent plane trip, while trying to keep its artwork shielded from my seatmates. Matt James created the pencil sketches specifically for this book, and they (fittingly) feature a lot of naked, open-legged men and women. Giant genitalia dwarfs the teeny hockey players.

I will never again hear the phrase “five hole” without blushing.

I would quote a passage to demonstrate what I mean, but much of this book is not exactly suitable for the pages of Fernie Fix. But let me give you a teaser. From the very opening lines of the title story: “Because you can’t see my tits and ass through my armour – and more’s the pity – my Five Hole is everything: my weapon, my lure and hook, my lascivious winking eye, my love patch, my gun barrel, my tease and trick. My Five Hole has made many players hard, but even more players shrivel-dicked after squeezing the game’s dark prize between my legs. My Five Hole is there; no, it’s not.”

The blurb on the back cover tells potential readers that The Five Hole Stories “brings Canada’s two favourite pastimes – sex and hockey – together at last, between two handsome covers.” I would argue, instead, that sex and hockey have always been intertwined; Dave Bidini’s achievement is in drawing readers’ attention directly to that bizarre point of intersection. He is perhaps the first fiction writer to do so in such an explicit fashion, and I admire the energy, unflinching candour, and slightly off-kilter humour with which he accomplishes the task. Within these five stories, readers will find heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, ambisexuality. There is also a cocker spaniel.

I will simply say that these stories made me gasp aloud more than once. We can leave it at that for the purposes of this family magazine.

One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre adapted The Five Hole Stories for stage (now that’s a production I would pay good money to see! Any Fernie takers?). The website reads: “As exhilarating as winning game seven, more off-the-wall than Don Cherry's fashion sense, and naughty enough to draw a five-minute major: Five Hole presents a suite of engrossing, tender and hilarious erotic stories about the steamy underbelly of our national sport.” (You’re already on your way to Polar Peek Books to order a copy, aren’t you?)

Dave Bidini was not exaggerating when he said the stories are dirty. Those who argue that Canadian writers don’t write about sex, or that CanLit’s writers demurely look away just as the act gets under way, have clearly not encountered Five Hole Stories. Dave Bidini will never be accused of looking away. In the acknowledgements, he writes: “Much of the blame for this story collection must be levelled at a woman named Brenda Quinn. Brenda staged a short-lived erotic reading event at the Music Gallery in Toronto in the early ‘90s and two of the stories were first written for this purpose.” Thank you, Brenda Quinn. Let Five Hole Stories be Canada’s answer to the current erotica craze: Fifty Shades of Eh.