Sunday 19 June 2016


There once was a cobbler who made shoes so fine
That he always had meat on the table, and wine
Not for him the rough beer of the unlettered peasant
He had coin and preferred to drink something more pleasant.

He was best and he knew it, no need to be humble
But his neighbours would gather to gossip and grumble.
“He lives like a lord while for us life’s a bitch
“We’d rather go unshod than see him grow rich!”
But in private each one went to him for their shoes
And willingly paid him, whatever their views.

“I make what you want, and you’re willing to pay”
Said the cobbler, “You can all buy elsewhere any day.
“I work all the hours that God sends to me
“Do you think I should work for you all day for free?”
But the more trade they brought him the more they complained
And on church days both he and his wife were disdained.

The moral of this is abundantly clear:
Big fish in small ponds should eat bread and drink beer.

A shorter version of this will appear at Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story Challenge today.


Having dismissed my servant for his persistent surliness, I tried his replacement by sending him on an errand to the market. I concluded my instructions by saying, “Is that clear?”

“Truly, master,” he replied, “it is as if a pot that was overturned has been set upright! It is as if a window that was begrimed has been made clean! It is as if an instrument* guitar has been restrung and tuned up to pitch! It is as if an old and broken lamp has been repaired and filled again with oil, and its wick trimmed and lighted! It is as if thick clouds have dispersed and revealed the sun! Even so do your most excellent words turn chaos into order and darkness into light! I fly with the unerring aim of Arjuna’s arrow to the single point of your desire! My path is as clear as that of an army marching down a broad, straight highway, and deviates neither to the left nor to the right! I go on the instant to be the expression of thy will, creating that which is commanded from that which is!”

I wished for my old servant back.

* The translator from the Persian has here used “instrument” in the old sense “unable to be strummed.” Cf. the title of one of Picasso’s paintings of an unstrung guitar, “The Instrument Guitar” (“El Guitare Instromaz”), a symbol of death and the decay of all things.

A shorter version of this will appear at Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story Challenge today.

Thursday 9 June 2016

My First Memory

The doctors tell me that my first memory is from when I was two. Not to me. I can see that memory sitting in my head, but it doesn't feel like mine.

To me, my first real memory is waking up in cryonics recovery. Everything from before I died feels like a story I know but never experienced. The doctors talk about "dissociative memory disorder", blaming the patient so they can call cryonic revival a success.

So it is, for me. My predecessor is dead. His past is a museum exhibit in my head. The sense of freedom is dizzying.