A propos de moi‎ > ‎

microfiction

I wrote these stories between 2007 and 2009 for Karen Jones wee-fiction challenges on EditRed. 'An Abysmal Story' was written 2010 but not published online.

What was that noise...?

A supine wolfhound snored on the barn floor, exhausted after countless runs to the gates, where trick or treaters had been stopping.

A black cat purred against the wolfhound's belly, nursing its paw singed by a jack-o-Lantern.

A murder of carrion crows croaked in the rafters, escaping the thunder and lightning of the Hallowe'en fireworks in Sixmiletown, Antrim.


Danny Stared at the clock

Danny stared at the clock. He had never seen  such a design. The clock had a chipped enamel ten hours face, the movement was contained in a basic pine frame ridden with woodworm holes. “Barn condition, needs restoration” the catalogue description said. Danny asked the auction valuer, Mr Charles Sothercott, about the strange object.

Mr Sothercott, who sometimes appeared on the television valuing antique teddy bears and pocket watches, explained that "this fine example of its kind (sic)" was crafted by Josiah Arbuthnot who lived in Belfast from 1770 to 1798. The man was known for his profound aversion for the number twelve. He could not live with clocks in his house, yet was anxious to keep correct time. When Mr Arbuthnot heard about French revolutionaries introducing the decimal time in 1795, he was inspired to build his own model and the device solved his dilemma.

"What a weird story!" Danny thought. In the end, however, he didn't bid for the clock, he bid for the vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar instead.

Diamonds

Mila fell in love with a song. When it went to number one, Mila felt that she reached the top too. She could identify with the singer, Tracy Diamond.

She came from outside Liverpool too and, like Tracy used to, she worked in a clothes shop. But seventeen year-old Mila was not a singer. It is not always possible to follow into the footsteps of your idol.

Mila met Tracy Diamond at a record signing. The media over exposure became the singer well: There were crowds of girls around the block waiting for her to sign their CDs and take photos of her on their mobile phones. Mila placed herself in the queue. Tracy Diamond stepped out of the pink limousine, her mini designer dress sparkly with a hem of rhinestones and trade mark diamond tiara. She was the princess of pop and the media could not get enough of their blonde ingénue.

Mila felt that “The Diamonds of my soul” just described her most inner thoughts as if it was written just for her. Her thoughts at number one... and the raindrops in her hair were sparkling in the street light like a diamond tiara.

A fistful of change

Carter Marshall never knew. He always was a sharp dresser and all his mates were the same. It is a code of conduct in this South London neighbourhood to look good because there is nothing to look forward to. I guess you can call it the poverty ghetto. They were not children any more – those twelve-year-olds wanting to be young men.

A Saturday job at the chippie and delivering newspapers yielded a fistful of change. However, week after week, fistful of change after fistful of change accumulated into a tidy sum. Carter was proud of his new baseball cap. He knew his mother was proud of him for earning the money by himself.

Naomi Marshall did not have the heart to tell her baby that across the world a young child manufactured the branded item and did not get even a fistful of change for the hard labour.

Confucius Says...

Confucius said: "We love peace. We love our home." - his words floated on a military banner in the stadium. Traditional dancers performed for the televisual world audience. A beautiful young girl mimed at the ceremony: the owner of the voice wasn't pretty enough.

The number 8 is a Chinese symbol of prosperity. My country took pride inaugurating the Olympic Games on the 08.08.08 at 08.08 hours.

The government of my country never ceases to confuse me. It wants to be our 'north polar star' to which we all turn towards and, indeed, I see it from as far as my inner exile. One day, I hope to be able to visit Shang-Ping, in the province of Lu to pay tribute to the great sage. I, Mister Kong Wan once was a 'Fu-Tse', which means 'teacher' in Chinese. Dreams and patience...

Lost and found

"The city spits the new arrivals out into its lost and found office... Disappeared and unclaimed." M. G. was finished editing his six-month research on migrant workers. He saved his essays and gritty digital photographs on a USB stick. Then he checked in his flight online, printed his ticket and put the usb stick in his wallet. A long look at the shabby lounge with internet connection and the window with the "call home cheap" sticker in it and he was out of the door past the grumpy rotund hostel receptionist who was sorting the messages in the pigeonholes behind him.

The taxi drove him from the city's underbelly to the airport. There he had an overpriced internationally-franchised coffee. He then proceeded to security check. The staff scanned his belongings, including his shoes and belt as well as his coat with all his stuff in it.


When he arrived at the gates, he realised that his wallet with the USB stick was gone. All that undercover work lost to a pickpocket! He breathed a sigh of relief when airport staff contacted him via the tannoy telling him that they found his wallet.

The Wrong Way to Write a Story

My name is Jilal.

I apologize for my actions: I know this was the wrong way to do things. I should not have burnt my passport but I do not want you to find out which wretched place I travelled from. I sneaked into your country like a thief at night.

I feared that if the authorities found me, they could deport me. I swear I did not come here because I am a predatory stranger to exploit hospitality.

The immigration officer told me that many refugees and migrants pass through his office. He has their stories in his files.

Music Man

Tonight, The Ladykillers are playing The Water Rats thanks to all the buzz on myspace. We have 653 friends including Franz Ferdinand and Ladytron.

All I need to do is to get to the Water Rats on London Pentonville Road on time.

The problem is... I live on Mars.

Believe me guys, even here they play "Take me Out"...

Delete


To his advances, I replied: "I like you, let's stay friends.".

The reality of life is that it is not always possible to deepen relationships. I thought, rather than losing contact with him, friendship seemed to be a good option.

My acquaintance was offended by my reply. He let me go and deleted me from his computer.

Idiot savant

Rebecca Kreisler, (from an interview) :

"I work as an assistant researcher with the Edmund Husserl Department of Transcendental Phenomenology at the University of Freiburg/Germany . My colleague Prof. Reinhold Faber and I are currently writing a paper titled: 'Sociology under the Dehumanised Regime'.

Our research is dedicated to the memory of Freiburg scholars Prof. Edmund Husserl and Edith Stein: It is important to perpetuate their memory of these scientists who became prominent victims of the dehumanised regime. It is also important to remind our university and scholars around the world about some colleagues persecuted under a regime which showed no respect for human identity nor cared about understanding each other.

Our paper attempts to understand why educated men and women at the vanguard of the education and academic system failed to resist Hitler's regime. Using phenomenology, we may be able to connect with their minds and their hearts via their writings, then join the dots and explain their dark side or : 'to study the subject with our conscious mind and extract what we call the phenomena reflection; thus leading us to general conclusions and transcending the essential features of our experience.'

Hopefully, the result of our research will explain why many academics and students behaved like 'idiots savants'. This term is used to describe a paradox of autism: A person who has a great knowledge of things on a specific subject and can solve complicated equations yet is unable to connect emotionally with the world around them."

An abysmal story
Reporter Cringe goes to the worst concert of his life.

I just about made it home after the promoter's courtesy taxi turned out to be a camouflaged tank. I should have known better than taking this assignment but when the agent held a gun to  my head and told they wanted the Guardian to review the gig, what could I do? And I don't even work for the Guardian!

The London Quagmire Club, located in a post-industrial no-man's land between a rubbish tip and a chemicals factory has wire-mesh over its blacked-out windows. It is fronted by two enormous men strip-searching the gang-pressed already intoxicated punters. Now I realise why the club is called like that:. If you ever set foot in this place, your evening will disappear into the well of oblivion.

Never mind about the promoter who thinks I'm a music reporter for 'The Guardian', could I at least sympathize with the audience? This was possibly the most psychopathic youth (and not so youth) culture - they think they are cool because Greil Marcus mentions them in his book. Except that I can't remember neither the book nor the name of the gang.

Even that would be irrelevant if the band on stage had been any good. These people looked like they had never seen a music instrument before, let alone can they write a song. The singer, if you can call him that, is totally incoherent, but no one argues with a singer using an AK447 as percussion. He sings about a 'Holocaust in the  Slaughterhouse', first I thought this was a tribute to the children who were gunned down in Norway, but it turns out to be a manifesto against fast-food -  this gang love their causes more than they love humans.  Despite being safe in my hide-out,  - an oil-drum dripping with suspicious liquid -  my ears  bled from hearing the ghastly lyrics. Apart from that title, I cannot remember any of the other  songs titles,   however,  listening to the whole set felt like being held hostage by vicious clampetts who can't play a note. They also had a violin to give it a folksy touch but the fiddler left it on a chair and started scratching a blackboard with his fingernails instead.

When the set finally finished, I suffered from mental anguish, mortal fear and heavy tinnitus but the ordeal was not over because the band assumed the audience wanted them back on stage but the clapping that was heard was merely teeth clattering and bones breaking. We endured a three hours encore.

If this review is published, it's only because The Guardian took pity on me. This job is too dangerous, I shall stick to war reporting in the future.

Review 0/100 Abysmal.

(revised July 2011)

Dead Lucky

Recorded at Lopburi Hospice Thailand:

"Hi there! I'm Lucky...not because I won the lottery or something. My favourite song is 'Lucky' by Radiohead. I'm playing it now on my dictaphone. I don't know what to say about the song... I recorded it from "youtube" at the internet cafe last month ...

I lived by a beautiful beach... before the Tsunami and the neocons... I lived there with my partner. I met him on holiday, I felt lucky - a drifter no more..."

Lucky Afortunado died of an AIDS-related illness shortly after this recording.


All the Way


Earlier, "All The Way", a short, noisy blast of a song by The Ramones played in the upstairs bedsit; I gave a few knocks with my cane on the ceiling and the music stopped.

Now, I, Geo. Addison-Turtle, am marking a mountainous stack of school dissertations. Aesop's tale of the "Hare and The Tortoise" taught me that it is better to move constantly rather than wasting time and sprinting all the way at the last minute. Therefore, I correct the Geography dissertations on metamorphic rocks in continuous slow motion. Some of my colleagues describe me as circumspect, reliable and solid as a rock. Apologies to Aesop, but my profession taught me that an atlas is more important than literary works.

In my opinion, the lady, who told eminent philosopher Bertrand Russell that "(the universe is) Turtles all the way down", is very witty. Reasoning, obliquely, about her cosmological imagery makes me conclude, metaphorically, that I am as solid as a rock and - not unlike Atlas - I carry the world on my shoulders insofar that, as a mentor, I accompany young people all the way to the next stage of life.


Outside Chance

There is an outside chance this will be published for posterity. Don't set your hopes high on that one.

I discarded my own lack of hope and stopped doodling aimlessly on my notepad. The googled website tells me that I 'must invest' in myself and to 'be nice to fellow authors'. Acting on the recommendations, I visited eBay and I bought myself a fountain pen as an investment. I also boiled some water for tea because I've decided to be nice to my old friend Flip. He calls himself an author but I have yet to see something written by him.

Flip is late. Looks like he won't come by after all. I suppose I should get on and write that 'wee fiction'. I am raking my brain to find something cool to write - 175 words about 'A fine line'. I made a start: a fine line.

My fine line has morphed into a doodle as I am still hoping for 175 words to turn up in my head before tomorrow. Pigs fly.

Existential Fragmentation

So, my first semester at uni... personal stuff sorted. Textbooks on the shelf. One is by Hans-Jürgen Eikmeyer and Hannes Rieser: "World Words and Context"... What is this dork talk? "Actants" and "modal logics"...?

Right now, my mind is shattered and my soul in fragments just thinking of what lies ahead this year!

Unfair Advantage

Press Statement:

"At Maris-Stella, we excel in unique systems for satellite naval tracking technology. The Turing IV indubitably gives us an unfair advantage. To achieve maximum potential, we are outsourcing production to the private island of Ora e Labora in the South Pacific as we do not see labour-relations as our personal forte."

Edgar Amory-Stepney (PR)
Halford, England

Going Solo

Julia Molton-Courcy paid three hundred and seventy-five dollars for the one-way Pan-Am transatlantic flight between Marseilles, France and La Guardia Airport in New York. Julia was travelling alone. The Anglo-French translator was an independent woman used to going solo.

After clearing the customs, Julia stepped into a taxi. Jazz music played inside her head and she thought about this new chapter of her life starting in the USA. She clutched her Louis Vuitton vanity case. This was all what she wanted to save from her apartment in Vichy. Inside the case there was a guilt frame with her mother's pressed forget-me-nots, a painted ceramic mask of her, and English Victorian jewellery. When she fell in love with writer Pierre-Jean Pericard, she did not know about his Fascist affiliations.


She knew it would take more than an ocean to drown this love-affair but she could give it a try...

Breaking in

- confidential report from The Balcony -

19.54. The cleaner Edita Balcao of Semper Escravo Cleaning Services entered the Omnivista P.P.L.C. building. The transparent lift took her up to the second floor which houses the IT Department.

19.57. It is no secret information: Omnivista P.P.L.C developed a sender/transmitter which is sure to revolutionise the world of surveillance technology. Using audio module microscopic microchip system will allow to record people's movements and speech and transmit the data instantly to our headquarters via gamma delta airwaves. The milimeter waves have fixed wireless modules.

This will be a lucrative financial opportunity for our employers as the business of selling personal data to international bidders is blooming. Fortunately, we are not legally constrained as we are based on our own private island. However, we need to keep an eye and prevent whomever from breaking in - physically or surreptitiously.


Everywhere she looked she saw silver...

Everywhere she looked she saw silver droplets. She had never seen a spectacle like this before. These droplets looked like melted silver, metallic pearls against the flagstone. It was like stepping into treasure.

Look how they slipped from her finger! Would anyone have thought that there was silver in that old disaffected garage? She never owned any jewelry except for a flimsy gold chain with a medal which she was not allowed to wear. The gold chain did not matter because now she could make chains with silver droplets and no-one would ever take them away from her.

Now the little girl played an imaginary tune with the broken banjo barometer, her egg and watercress sandwich on the table near the silver pearls.

She would tell no one about her secret treasure, not even if her temperature rose and her dreams became wild. Playing the banjo that afternoon by the silver treasure was her happiest childhood memory.

And it went as quick as the quicksilver spring.

Even now, she dreams of silver-tainted melodies.


Picasso

(EDITED VERSION)

Guernica is the title of a famous painting by Pablo Picasso. Guernica was a village in the Spanish Basque country.

On a day in April 1937, Andoni Arotza and his father Apal went to the game. On that day, a few moments later, there was an air-raid. "Sor lekua", the land of their birth.

This attack was the first of its kind. In "Der Totale Krieg", General Erich Ludendorf had argued that civilians were combatants and as such should be targets...

Apal Arotza was a carpenter; his son, Andoni, played pelote Basque. What a invaluable athlete Andoni was! After the raid, both were dead. Barkarna, the lonely mother, is the only surviving member of the Arotza family, she is now an old lady. Over the years, there have been more bombings in Basque towns - citizens are hostages of war and violent politics. Many pray for peace in the Basque country.

In her dingy home in San Sebastian, lonely Barkana still remembers the souls of Apal and Andoni; the votive candle lights their sepia photographs and a print of Picasso's Guernica. And she remembers the lost "Sor lekua" - the land of her birth. Guernica.

Poisoned Chalice

The Lava was an exclusive night-club. You could see the most beautiful dancers, hear the coolest lounging sounds, drink the best cocktails and French champagne. If you got in, you were one of the selected few. Steve Cerberus once turned my band Chic Magazine away. Two months later, we had a number three record: "(I was wearing my skinny blue jeans and stopped) Outside the Lava Club". This is publicity you cannot buy.

Obscure singer Alycia Brentano, from Angel, was allowed inside the hallowed Lava Club. Steve Cerberus fancied her. He wanted to take her out and she understood. She had silk hair and her dress seemed as light as gossamer. At Hotel Sotalol, they shared long-drinks, it must have felt like heaven...

Later, Steve Cerberus was unconscious at the Hospital Emergencies, brought down by the poisoned chalice. That atheist should have known that angels do not exist

Sarah's problem

Sarah's problem was that she had thin hair and a long face. How could she possibly get positive attention? Given her academic achievements, she could not even justify brains before beauty. Her rat tails tangled in balls of frustrating mess. Inspiration came thanks to “Anita's Answers” in Jackie: a chin-long layered bob is "easy maintenance" and "suits thin flyaway hair". And so chop chop: Sarah became her own hairdresser with mummy's scissors. After that, she went back to her math equation: if only homework was as easy as sorting out one's hair!

Red Mist

Everytime I come here on holidays in the Spring and in the Autumn, I have to paint, paint and paint, dust, dust and dust again. I need to paint my house and every day, I need to dust my car, hoover the seats. That stuff is even in my food, on my television and on my cat's fur.

The neighbour explained me that the reason why in this region everything is painted ocre and red is because it's a practical thing to do. The Sirocco wind carries particles of red sand from the Sahara to the Mediterranean coast and its red mist infiltrates engines and buildings.

At home, in my English industrial town, I fight against the black haze from the nearby refinery. Everytime it rains, an oily mist covers the surfaces. My car is never white, nor is my cat, nor is my house. I won't give up flying the white colour against the red mist and the black fumes.

---
inspired by Arley's story

Christmas Cheer

Ofelia's letter,
London, December 2007

...When you left home you said you wanted to find your independence. You became a sailor in the merchant navy and then you lived by the beach in Thailand with your partner. The images of the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2005 still haunt me. I'm proud of you that you stayed and helped your new friends there.

I still volunteer for the Salvador Allende Cultural Centre in London; My regular job as a cleaner gets me very tired but I hope that in the New Year I'll get a better one. I would like to work as a shop assistant.

We both ceased to believe in Viejo Pacuero and his reindeer sleigh because he never came through our window. Remember when we stopped setting up the manger scene and going to the Midnight Mass? The parents were so angry at us, yet, we felt we had grown up. We wouldn't rely on miracles no more and we would give presents to each other. There was no need for Viejo Pascuero.

I wanted to send you a CD from England. I tied the ribbon in a red bow around it, I also put a loaf of Pan de Pasqua filled with candied fruit in the package. Then, last week, I received a message from Lopbhuri Monastery in Thailand via the Red Cross. Now, I am wearing a red ribbon on my jacket in your memory. A silent Christmas Cheer to you, my beloved Brother....

smoke rose from..

Smoke rose from the city... Calling that place a 'city' would be a compliment for that toxic dump and cultural no-man's land. I left it – I was fed up of commuting in the acid rain and filling my lungs with polluted air. This morning, as for the unteenth time I was trying to decipher the contours of the hazy leaden-coloured landscape, I decided: “this is it”. I logged onto the internet and bought a ticket to the countryside. My coffee was cold and tasted of chlorine but I drank it anyway because I had to take my asthma medication. After a last glance at the grey roses on my post-stamp front balcony, I stepped into a 'vaporetto'.

The canals were smelling of rotten fish and sulphur. That place wanted to be the 'Futurists' Venice'. The town-planners demolished museums, cinemas and libraries to fulfil Marinetti's dream of “the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke;”...

The last straw came when the last cinema closed: 'Cine Paradiso' provided my weekly dose of hope.

Ciao, 'citta bella' (!).


Under

No Circumstances

(revised version)

The beautiful lady in expensive designer clothes protested and complained but Yokusai Nagawama  did not allow her yacht to moor. He was only doing his job:

MEMORANDUM.
Recipient: Yokusai Nagawama - Omega Security Services

The society convention organised by our sponsors THCV Global Communication Inc. will be held at the exclusive Primordial Hotel on the private island of Mosaique. We expect very important international guests.

Inspect all the press passes and direct the reporters and photographers to the specially designated area.

Admissions must be checked thoroughly against the guest-list provided. Under no circumstances must any scandalous incident be allowed to disrupt the evening. And, under no circumstances must our employer's divorced wife be allowed ashore.

the Bracelet

When a seven-year-old-boy was attacked in our neighbourhood, it was time for the local community to react. So we, as worried citizens, started a campaign giving out "no street violence" leaflets and raising funds with yellow silicone bracelets. A teenager designed the logo. It represents a chain ' as in 'the chain of solidarity'. The local media came to interview the campaigners at the Community Centre. We organised a street-party with balloons, face-painting and a magician. We had a talk by the Metropolitan police to tell children how to stay safe. The next day, there was a photo on page 4 showing happy children and their parents all wearing the yellow bracelet; the caption said: 'the chain of solidarity against street violence'.

One year on, the campaigners have sold five-hundred bracelets. A few people in the neighbourhood still wear those, including the teenage delinquent with the tagging bracelet.


all stories written by DKav - copyright. zebras54 2007-2011
Comments