Archive for the ‘Short Short Stories’ Category

Hey Folks,

Just thought I would write a blog that gives a short description of the more than fifty blogs I have written so far.  My blogs are divided into categories, so I will arrange this blog in the same way.  Note that some of my blogs fall into more than one of my categories, but they will only be chronicled once below. The blogs are listed in each category in chronological order from the oldest to the newest.

ADVENTURE:
In “The Mexico Expedition“, I tell about an expedition my father and I went on in the jungles of Mexico. In “Shrimp Boats” Although the next blog, entitled “Grand Canyon” is yet unfinished, I published it anyway and at some point will finish this massive blog about the fun-filled trip to the Grand Canyon with the family of my best friends.  Economizing Words details a four-day conference I attended on Long Island, where I began to learn techniques for teaching mobility skills to persons who are deaf-blind.

HUMOR
This category has several entries, but two are rather silly like, “Anti Aging” “Cream” which does not deserve an explanation and “Lovesick Squirrel“, which is also rather weak. I do think that my blog about “The Empty bus“, which details my most embarrassing moment is, if I do say so myself, pretty funny. In “No Virginia“, I shared one person’s(was unable to find who this piece originally came from) scientific analysis of the impossibility of the existence of Santa. In “jokes” I add a few favorite jokes I have received from hyper space over the years. In “National Bake Sale” I make my own tongue-in-cheek “modest proposal” as to how to solve our national debt crisis.

 Miscellaneous World Blogs
In “The Big Ponzi Scheme“, I explain why I think the free enterprise system is one giant Ponzi Scheme.  In “Taxes 101“, I decry America’s aversion to paying taxes.  In “Wiki leaks Realization“, I applaud how these revelations reveal just how stupid our world leaders (mostly men) are.  “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” is just one of my several blogs that attack the moronic bigoted behavior in the world.   In “The Wal-Marting of America“,  I talk about how China has adopted a similar policy of that adopted by Wal-mart to economically crush everyone but them.  In ‘A Letter to the Rich“, I send these sycophants a warning.    In The God of Abraham VS Spirituality,  I detail reasons why belief in this god,  contradicts its adherents claim to spirituality.   “Jesus“, is another of my polemics against bigotry.  In “The Age of Stupid“, I mourn the current anti-intellectual climate fostered by the right wing-nuts of the republican party.    In “Inherent Bigotry“,  I detail how I think the bigotry is inherent in the three major religions that dominate the world today — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.    In” There is a fine“,  I talk about why parents — not teachers — are the ones who are really the ones responsible for the education of their children.   In”I’m Tired of the Bleeping Censorship“, I point out how silly trying to control media language with “‘bleeping” offensive language is.   “Are the Republicans the New Sodomites?“,  is not actually one of my blogs, but was a New York Times OP:Ed in which Nicolas Kristoff, gives an amusing quiz that points out just how out of touch with reality the Christian right are.   In “Corporate Person-hood“,  I decry the supreme court’s decision that gives corporations the same rights as real people and I make an argument why they are not at all human.  in “Good People“, I give my opinion on what it takes to be a good person.   In “Not for Profits Please” I give my argument why these entities are a superior way to proceed in the future.   In “In the Tradition of Tomas de Torquemada” I decry the religious zealotry of Rick Santorum.    And finally in this category, I wrote two companion blogs,  “Racism is …“, which explains why we should stop using this archaic word and “Ethnic Bigotry is caused by?“, which details what science has discovered about the sources of bigotry.

NEWS RANTS
In “My Take on Egypt” I talk about what I think really spurred the Arab Spring.  In “McCarthyism Reincarnated“,  I make a short comment on the ravings of Ann Coulter.  In “Nuclear Lies“, I argue that no matter what we do with this form of power, it will never be safe.  In discuss the meaning of “Cults“, and in Bill Maher’s comments about conservative woman… I argue that Mr. Maher’s comments is neither a sexist nor misogynistic.  In Here’s Something I rant about the Supreme Court decisions on corporate person-hood.

PICTURES
 In “Pictures“, which is not really a blog in my list, but a menu item at the top of my blog, I display some of the favorites from the pictures I have taken.   I display some pictures of my master in “My Cat: Wheatina Turdmonky“.  Lastly in this category, I chronicle the tragedy of  “A Green Heron Saga”

WEIRD
This category had a few entries, but the others have already been mentioned in other categories, so there is only one left.  “A Mystery Noise”  Tells about an actual, very frustrating experience I had in my home one long night.

SHORT STORIES
I have two short stories of my own in this category, “Symbiosis” a completely fictional short short story about an encounter with an unusual individual and “Words in Time“, another short short of mine with time travel as its theme.  And finally in this category, I put in one that is not mine “The Story of an Hour“, by Kate Chopin.  Although only one page long,  this is one of the most powerful short stories I have ever read.

WORDS
In this final category, I offer on blog that lists some of my favorite “aphorisms” in general and then two more that deal specifically with “Death” and “Ennui”  I also include a list of “Aphorattemts” which lists some original quotes of mine.

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Words in Time

Posted: February 24, 2012 in Short Short Stories
Tags: , ,
By means not germane to this anecdote, a man disappears from his living room in New York City late in the afternoon on a sunny August day of 2011, and is transported to a sidewalk bustling with people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the same month and day, but in the year 1840.  In a state of shock, he has absolutely no idea what has happened or why he is there, but when he sees his reflection in one of the store windows he is frozen with shock by his appearance as he is dressed not in the clothing of only a moment before, but is now garbed in the same manner as other men who were passing him on the street — if not more elegantly, he reflected with a peculiar pride.  But he was relieved to at least see his face staring blankly back at him.  He noted that his clothing — complete with a stove-pipe hat and a riding crop — appeared to him at least, to be the height of fashion.
As he slowly turned around to survey his surroundings, his hand wandered into the right pocket of his elegant calf-length coat and his  hand encountered several large coins.    Pulling one out to examine it he was astonished to see that he held a twenty dollar gold piece.
 Just then he noticed what looked suspiciously like a bar across the street, as evidenced by a man followed by a waft of smoke, staggering out through two of those iconic swinging doors.  With his heart racing and his mind reeling, he decided that a few beers might be the ticket right about now.  And he certainly now had the means to pay for it, because not only did he have the coin in his hand that could probably feed a family of four for a year in 1840, he had a pocket very heavily full of such coins.   So, he stepped off the boardwalk onto the cobblestone street and headed in the direction of those swinging doors.

Once inside, our traveler found his way to the bar and ordered a glass of beer and as he did he asked the bar tender:

“ I am sorry sir, but I am not from around here, could you tell me the price of a beer here?”

“Five Cents”, barked the bartender, “if that ain’t fair then go somewheres else.  And you sure talk funny.  You ain’t from around here are ya?”

“Uh no I’m not,” he stammered, “I’m from New York City.”

With a somewhat astonished, somewhat doubtful look on his face the bartender said, “I never heard no folks from New York talk like that”

He started to answer with “they will”, but decided instead to say, “oh its just a family thing, my folks are from the old country” and before the bar tender could question further, he quickly went on:  “But anyway how ‘bout that beer?”, he said as he lay the twenty dollar gold piece on the bar, “ and I’d like to buy a round for the whole bar.”  The “whole bar” consisted of thirteen people including bar tender and our philanthropic traveler.  A  great cheer of affirmation arose from all and everyone immediately forwent further criticism about the funny way he talked.

As he sipped on his beer that tasted like nothing he was used to or had ever even sampled in in his many visits to various exotic brew pubs in The City, he became aware of two gentleman sitting next to him, one  just starting to relate a story to the other, so he listened in.

The story went on for about fifteen minutes detailing how the story teller had risked his life and limb to save a bunch of people from a fiery train wreck.  Whether the story was true or not, with a red face and wildly waving arms the man wove a terrific and exciting tale that soon had all in the bar listening intently.

When the man finished the account our traveler who was also very impressed with it, blurted out.

“What a fantastic story!”

Much to the travelers surprise all eyes turned toward him and for a moment there was total silence in the bar.  Then the story teller jumped to his feet and shouted, “Choose your weapons sir!  No man calls me a liar and lives to tell the tale.

Stunned into silence our protagonist’s mind raced through what to say.  He  suddenly realized his error.  In 1840 fantastic meant unbelievable, instead of, exceptionally good, as the meaning of the word has evolved to mean now.  So after about a five second pause he said with great deference and with his hands forward and his palms down in supplication :

“No, no please, I meant no offence.  I do not think you were lying.  Please excuse my strange manner of speaking, what I meant was I was very moved by your story and it was a perfectly awful!   So please let me buy you another beer!

To this the man said, “ Well in that case, thanks for the compliment and sure I’d like another.

The following is a short short story from the public domain, by the early feminist author Kate Chopin.  I was amazed that such a short story could have such a punch.

“The Story of An Hour”

Kate Chopin (1894)

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will–as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that owuld belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they ahve a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door–you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.

This is a very short story I wrote a few years ago and had forgotten about.

SYMBIOSIS

W hile walking on the trail that runs along the Erie Canal this Saturday, I met a most peculiar gentleman.  I was headed West and he East and since the canal and thus the trail runs perfectly straight, I was able to watch as he approached, first appearing as an unrecognizable tiny moving dot, but gradually as we approached one another becoming a man with recognizable characteristics.  Even from quite a distance I began to notice his unusual attire: A derby hat; a long sleeved billowing what appeared to be muslin shirt with bloused sleeves, over which he wore a three-button leather vest.  His well-pressed pleated pinstriped pants were tucked into white socks, causing the bottoms of his pants to blouse in a military fashion and on his feet he wore bright red high-toped converse sneakers.

As he we drew closer, I noticed some sort of string or cord attached to the top button of his vest, running from there up to his left shoulder where it appeared to be fastened to something there.  It was not until we were about ten feet apart that I realized that the cord was actually a small leash running to a collar around the neck of a live Chameleon – not the kind that is native to the southern U.S. and that can be obtained in almost any pet store, but the very exotic kind from Madagascar with the bulging eyes that can move independently of one another and that the sport the tightly curled tail.

I then shifted my eyes from the lizard to the man’s face, and found that he was smiling at me, apparently pleased that I showed interest in his reptilian companion.  I took that smile as an invitation, so as we were just about to pass one another I approached him.   As I did I noticed a huge red blotch on his right cheek and I immediately made the mental self-query – boil, melanoma, herpes? On closer inspection, I noticed that it was a very gooey bright red gelatinous glob and appeared to have been applied, not a grown there.

“Hi”, I said, “Great place to walk one’s Chameleon”

“Yep”, he laughed “Me and Geico walked all the way from Verona today.”

“Geico”, I said rolling my eyes and laughing, ” that’s funny, but if you don’t mind my asking, were you aware that there is a large glob on your face?”

“Yep, that’s strawberry jelly”, smiling “everybody asks about that”, he said, shaking his head and making a facial expression that indicated he thought that asking such a question was really weird.  “But”, he said, “Since you asked, I’ll show you what it is.” and after a short pause, he added, “if you want me to that is.”

“Please do.  I wouldn’t miss this for anything “, I quickly replied.

He positioned himself with the canal on his left and directed me to stand facing him from about five feet away.  He then told me not to move around or say anything for at least the next minute, but to watch closely.  He said nothing more, but with his head slightly turned to the left, froze in position as still as a statue of a mime.  After about 30 seconds, a fly buzzed around his head briefly and then landed right next to the mass on his face, ready for a sugary feast.  That fly’s desert was cut short by Geico’s eight-inch tongue, which lanced out like a striking rattlesnake, snatching the hapless fly from his partner’s face.

At the end of this amazing performance and without saying another word the man proceeded in his original eastward direction.   I watched his progress for a few moments feeling enriched by my encounter with this strange symbiosis and then turned westward.