Monday, 28 January 2019

Adult


I love adult entertainment. Intellectual conversation over a dinner of impeccable good taste, with incidental music from a baroque chamber ensemble. Philosophical lectures delivered to enquiring minds. Performances of the latest improvised conceptions of an up and coming young pianist. A private opening at an art gallery, for a select group of connoisseurs. A stroll through one of the great museums of the world, accompanied by a fellow expert on some singular piece of history.

But judging by the garish flashing neon sign, and the ladies standing alluringly within the red-lit doorway, I don’t think that’s what this establishment offers.



This piece also appeared in Crap Mariner's 100 Word Challenge, January 2019.



Concert for flute with Frederick the Great in Sanssouci
Adolph von Menzel  (1815–1905)
Source: Wikipedia

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If on a hot summer evening in Japan, you lean out of the window of your stifling apartment, often you will hear a whistle-humming like that of high-voltage electricity pylons. But it is actually millions of insects, all calling to each other.

And if on that hot summer evening in Japan, you lean out and hear only the distant silence of the city, and you jingle a bunch of keys, the insects will call back to the ultrasonic rustle, and then call back to each other, and they will keep going all night, calling to each other because they are calling to each other.



May 1998. A street in the old merchants' quarter, Nara.

Monday, 20 August 2018

A fragment

On a Sunday, by the sea
My last girlfriend said to me...



Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sharp

“Sharper on table 4,” said my colleague. He showed me a replay. “You can't see anything,” he said, “but something’s off, I can smell it.”

The cameras run at 200 frames per second, and I had to single-step to see it. Dealing from the bottom, under the top, peeking at the corners, faster than the eye could see.

Faster than human fingers could move.

“Android or just bioenhanced, we’ll need a SWAT team to handle this one if he doesn’t leave quietly,” I said.

Sometimes I think we should give up and let anything sit at a poker table. They did that in sports years ago.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Le Morte d’Arthur
(abridged)

There was a knight of Arthur’s band
Who did great deeds by strength of hand
But no wise would he be content
Till Guinevere lay in his tent.

Disloyalty was his downfall
Without which he had had else all.
“If only I had Guinevere”
Quoth he, “There’s nought else I hold dear.”
But all men know how that turned out
In Caxton’s book of Arthur’s Morte.

If Lancelot had not been false
Then things had not come to this pass.
But even in the courts of kings
Man’s fatal defect evil brings
And that’s why we can’t have nice things.



This story also appears in Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Weekly Challenge.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Endings

It has been told how when the gods were young, they created the Universe, and the Multiverse, and Man, and how they amused themselves with their creation.

Man came and passed, and his existence was as the briefest, tiniest spark of light in the vastness of his Multiverse, which was but a single grain of sand amongst the things that the gods would create, each vaster and more magnificent than what came before, things whose name alone would take a thousand years to say.

But at last, the gods themselves grew old.

“All that we can do, we have done,” lamented one.

“All that can be, has been,” said another.

But the god who in the beginning had studied what was, before the gods, remained silent.

And so they came to an end.

*   *   *

“Look, how pretty!” said the little girl. She pointed at a jewel that had grown overnight on the tree.

“Yes,” said the Gardener. “It is perfect.”



A shorter version of this story will appear, or has appeared,

Monday, 25 December 2017

A Story of the Desert Fathers

Abba Jerome’s only companion in the desert was a ferret that would come and lie in the shade of his cave.

One night, he walked meditating among the hills. Hearing a sudden noise underfoot, he saw how the ferret had caught a desert rat, ripping its belly open. In compassion, Abba Jerome laid his hand on the rat, which was miraculously healed, and scampered away.

But God spoke out of the night, saying, “Knowest thou the ways of God? The rat’s death was the ferret’s life.”

Abba Jerome admitted his sin, but thereafter, the ferret would never enter his cave.



This story first appeared at Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story Challenge.