Archive for July, 2014

about to attack

July 31, 2014

To be honest, our dining together exacerbated my loathing of him. He would eat with his hands, and then stroke his sideburns, leaving bits of food, like a clam or a grain of rice dangling there at the edge of his face. It was completely unappetizing, and I believe ruined forever my enjoyment of certain foods. It was part of my diplomatic duties to dine with him often, however. Perhaps if it wasn’t I could have remained more objective during the coup and not committed my country the way I did.



July 30, 2014

My drunkenness was swept away when I realized I was in a different forge. A thin but powerful-looking, straight-spined old man came in and asked me when he could expect the new crown I had promised.


July 29, 2014

We brought two ladders. We set one on the outside of the hedge and when Rob reached the top I passed him the second one so he could put it inside and use it to climb back out. Once he was over he told me to wait and keep watch. He re-appeared carrying two puppies. Inside he found a pack of half-wild dogs who must have been feeding on the field mice that scurried underneath the twisting intertwined stalks of the thorny bushes. When he went back for the others the mother chased him off. The two puppies he had carried out escaped and we spent all day chasing them down. We never were able to go back. I wondered from that day what the others puppies were like, and what became of them, and why my friend chose those two. And then I wondered if he was lying about the whole thing.

weighed down

July 28, 2014

“The prince and the pauper. Ha!” laughed the potbellied man with a ribbon of spiky gray hair circling his bald-topped head, like a drab clown, as he lowered the two babies onto the surface of the broad river. “Let’s see which is more water resistant, huh? Coarse wool or fine linen.” The current kept the infants abreast of their boat. The baskets still floated. The pot-bellied man began to casually throw pebbles at them. The boat captain looked at the shore, at the people lined there watching. He didn’t know how he was going to keep working here after this.

house of correction

July 27, 2014

The prisoners carried pannier-like twin baskets like backpacks back and forth. He heard an ostinato in the jostling. He scratched a notation for it on his plate. As he ate his meals he would push his food around his written music, and hear different melodies on top of the pattern. Every day it grew more perfect in his imagination, though perhaps he had forgotten a better version. No one else would ever hear it, he thought. But another prisoner escaped and found his way to a sympathetic house where he scratched it on a piece of paper. Maybe someone could decipher it someday. Except that the army found him, shot him and the owner of the house, and burned the house down.

poured from the mold

July 26, 2014

The internal report that his department had issued had leaked out and gone viral. It was much criticized for its pseudo-traditional style, and his name in particular was attached to this critique. He was head of the group that had put it together, but he was constrained by company policy to format it in a certain way. That was something he found no sympathy for after he was fired and had trouble looking for a job. He tried to take his former employer to court for the damage to his career.


July 25, 2014

He was developing a mathematical model of how different herd animals would interact in the same field, based on abstracting them to particles which have certain forces attracting and repelling them from each other. He then treated a given distribution of favored grazing plants as the presence of other fields of force to which the particles would also react. The next step was the application of sexuality to his equations. It made his models look like something he thought he should recognize, but he couldn’t quite place it. He showed it to his wife, who didn’t comment much on it. But the next day she brought her friend to his office and the two of them made plans.


July 24, 2014

It was about the size of a swan. I didn’t think it could fly, since what I thought were feathers from some distance away turned out to be a swarm of cricket-like insects that almost completely covered its body. That also explained the whining sound – that was all of these insects rubbing their legs together. My guide explained that they kept herds of these two-legged grazers not for themselves, but in order to harvest the insects. Much like we herded sheep for wool.

“This is what you want to export to my country?” I asked, bewildered.

“One of the extracts from the insects,” he explained, “is a very effective treatment for alexia.”

“Okay, that doesn’t really mean anything to me. A rare condition doesn’t make for a large market. I mean, unless you can show me something that causes alexia on a large scale. Then there would be demand.”

“I was hoping you would ask me that,” he said with a smile.

mouth of the river

July 23, 2014

Kilroy had set out to trace the story of the ancient hero who had killed the tyrant and instead of taking power handed it over to the people and left down the river. His family received a package with his notebook. The last page was a message to them that he had found something that would keep him from returning home, followed by a page of strange notations.

the sound of wind

July 22, 2014

I couldn’t live in the city anymore. The sound of any siren would call to mind the torn limbs that had been shoved in my face. The country home was quiet at first, but then the coyotes came. I decided to hunt them down.