Archive for June, 2009


June 30, 2009

India. Middle aged man working in a clothing shop. Woman owner, in her late fifties/early sixties. She’s not very polite but has a strong head for busijness. He’s the opposite. He’s magic with the customers, she runs the back office and keeps the vendors on a string. He is worrying about marrying his children – an older daughter, mid-twenties already, and a son just entering college. The boss loses her house in the tsunami, and enlists his help. His wife can’t stand the boss. The story takes off from there.



June 29, 2009

The protagonist continually refers in conversation to a movie he has never seen – say, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. He makes frequent comments about it, seems to grab every opportunity to compare some aspect of the current situation or conversation to some scene or feature of the film. Most people he has these conversations with haven’t seen it either – they have no reason to believe he hasn’t seen it. Once in awhile, though, a person doubts him, and very rarely he meets someone who has actually seen it. He can usually steer the conversation quickly away into another topic. But finally someone calls him on it. He admits he hasn’t seen it. This person is president of a film club which hosts festivals and revivals in a local campus or community theater. He manages to procure a print and schedule a showing in the next week or two. Our protagonist is transported by the experience, and by the beginning of a friendship.


June 28, 2009

During the riots following the Iranian presidential election of June 2009, an opposition supporter, named Faiz, carries a wounded riot policeman out from the middle of a scuffle to safety. Later, he visits the policeman in the hospital, and they develop a friendship. The riot policeman, Behruz, introduces his new friend to his family. The family likes Faiz, in fact they get him betrothed to their daughter Shereen – the riot policeman’s sister. A few months after they are married, the sister and her new husband leave Iran for Germany on student visas. And some time after this, violent opposition flares up again. Behruz winds up participating in the beating death of protester. His brother in law, Faiz, reads about the beating death in the news and, through personal contacts, learns and that the victim is an old college friend of his. He doesn’t know that his brother-in-law is involved – none of the policemen have been identified. Faiz laments about the death to his in-laws back home. When Behruz listens to this he realizes that he’s killed his brother-in-law’s friend. But he doesn’t admit it. To anyone. Ever.

game changer

June 27, 2009

A group of children build an elaborate game, a ritual, centering on an old well in their neighborhood. The ritual or game includes a hierarchy among the group of friends. The game has a strong enough influence on the children that the hierarchy within it has effects on their relationships outside of the game – for example some of the children attempt to use the precedence set in this hierarchy to resolve romantic rivalries.

One child in particular is in the center of the game, in fact he laid down most of its rules. Of course he put himself at the top of the hierarchy, but he felt that the rules he created balanced out the power he had – for which, almost paradoxically, he deserved even more respect. That is, he felt he was so fair and modest that he should be given that much more deference.

As they grow up and stopped playing the game, he feels that he still deserves that deference and respect, but none of the other children still give it to him. He sees them moving on, putting this ritual behind them, and looking at him as if from the other side of a wall. They have moved across a border, and look back at him as an outsider, a foreigner, an alien. He wonders, can they just seal themselves off from what had so much meaning? Apparently they can, as they prove with their ridicule of him.

As his old friends turn away from him he retreats. He finds a stray dog and befriends it. He spends his time alone with the dog, in his tool shed, developing something. Some technological gadget, some invention, that later makes him a lot of money.

He develops his invention into a product starts a company which grows and quickly becomes very successful. Along the way he meets a lot of people that seem fake. Some of them are, but most of them he just doesn’t understand.

He courts a girl who works as the barista in the company cafeteria. She’s not that impressed with him. But she agrees to see him for a while. She’s cold and distant until he opens up to her about this childhood game. She then responds to it and shares some of her poetry and paintings with him. He tries to hang out with her artistic friends but doesn’t quite fit in. He thinks he’s put his childhood behind him, and finds these people fake, but in a different way. But he puts up with them because he really likes this girl.

She breaks up with him, revealing that she is pregnant with the child of another guy in her circle of friends. He’s not surprised, and turns back to his work.


June 26, 2009

The Conquest of New Spain in reverse. An agrarian, oligarchical civilization – similar to Latin America of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries – is overrun by a migration of hunter-gatherers who are fleeing a natural disaster. Yes, heavy shades of Mark of the Mole – except the agrarian civilization falls due to the number of the newcomers and the influence their philosophy of freedom has on the lower castes, the serfs and slaves.


June 25, 2009

A boy gets his jacket caught in the door of a shinkansen. He dies, of course. His girlfriend then deals with the aftermath. His family is very solicitous toward her – in fact his mother is strangely apologetic. Her female friends are jealous of the attention that they think must be her due. She grows close with one of the boys who used to bully her deceased boyfriend.


June 24, 2009

A little scene of students hanging out while taking the PSAT. The morning journey to some high school two cities over. Grand Hotel-fashion introduction to the other students taking the test: teasing out their stories Breakfast Club-style, except not that exciting, not that much drama. This would be more of a little essay, a medititaion on the students, the buildings, the test itself – a la Nicholson Baker.


June 23, 2009

Story of Bethsheba and King David from the perspective of the Bethsheba’s female neighbor, who’s husband is one of Uriah’s subordinates in the army.


June 22, 2009

Journey through methamerica: a day in the life of a meth addict, hanging out in the parking lot of the local Walmart somewhere in Nebraska. Crossing paths with the engineer from the airplane factory, who is chasing the deer he wounded with his car. Chasing with a rifle after calling the sheriff to get permission. The meth addict is of course the sheriff’s daughter.

head stone

June 21, 2009

A gravestone carver works in his spare time carving a large art statue. A tornado rips through his workshop, throwing all the gravestones everywhere. But his sculpture is too big even for the tornado – only the protective tarp covering it was blown off. The event gives him a new perspective, that art is what’s important. He gets a much lower paying job – bagging groceries – so that he has more time and energy to concentrate on the scultpure. He’s killed in a bar fight which he didn’t start – he was barely a participant. The funeral home and the church which were his main customers arrange his burial – and they make his sculpture into his own grave marker.