The Knights of Amontonar

“Let’s talk about these warriors of old, they who people the Sagas of Amontonar.”

“What of them?”

“The Sagas tell us they wore clothing made of metal.”

“What on the Terròn would they wear metal clothes for?”

“Right! I mean, that’s awfully heavy clothing.”

“Cold.”

“Stiff. Would poke you in the tender parts.”

“Right in the tender parts.”

“Damp. Would not ‘wick’ away moisture.”

“Then what would be the purpose?”

“Because other warriors are carrying weapons.”

“Describe weapons.”

“Steel. Flat. In the shape of an isoceles triangle. A very long narrow isoceles triangle.””

“Awkward.”

“Has handle. Handle in a cylinder shape, for ease of carrying.

“So you can carry it. But why?”

“So you can find another fellow and poke him with the isoceles triangle. A successful poke = a victory.”

“Difficult to poke successfully. Seeing as his clothes are metal.”

“That’s the reason for the metal clothes. So the isoceles triangle can’t get through.”

“So everyone has metal clothing to prevent puncture by triangles. And everyone has triangles that they may attempt puncture.”

“Yes. You catch on.”

“But here now. It strikes one as awkward. This arrangement of implement of puncture, and garment of puncture prevention. A lot of trouble.”

“That’s the way of human interactions everywhere.”

“But say. What of this? Suppose, instead of a triangle, a warrior simply carried a long paintbrush. Then, instead of metal garb, each warrior could wear, say, a white shift. Instead of a poke, the object is to leave a paint mark on the shift.”

“Easier, I suppose.”

“Less dangerous.”

“More humane.”

“Greater comfort achieved.”

“Aha. But hold on. Suppose, just suppose everyone’s wearing these white shifts. They’re light. Diaphanous. The ultimate in comfort.”

“Ideal, I’d say.”

“Then one clever fellow has an idea. Sets down his paintbrush. Picks up an isoceles triangle. Rides forth among the nightie-clad. He’d carve up a real buffet.”

“A bloodbath.”

“A massacre.

“A decimation.”

“So your idea is total crap. One isoceles triangle shoots it all to hell.”

“My idea runs up against the inexorably clever human urge to subdue.”

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Announcement of a new novelistical enterprise

The work is a Sword and Sorcery Epic.

This Author read the first page of “A Game of Thrones.” He then read the thirteenth page of “The Lord Of Various Rings” by Junior Token.

He thought to himself. “This looks easy. I can’t do that.”

This Author had recently completed a novel about time travelers that was fairly not good. The only problems with this work were: plot, characters, theme. Those were bad. (But it was chockfull of cleverly employed pronouns.)

The new book has none of the bad things. It will only have good things. People who dress in metal and carry things that are sharp. Magical people who sneeze magic out of their nose-holes. Harmless dragons, dangerous stoats.

From An In-Progress Sword & Sorcery Epic

“But I don’t want to sweep streets, Father.”

“First thing you learn as a street sweeper. One spends very little time actually sweeping. The Union has seen to that.”

“What do you do if you don’t sweep?”

“There is the Cigarette Break. It’s in your contract, you get fifteen Cigarette Breaks per day. No stipulation as to how long a break may last. Jorge Chiapa, my colleague, he hasn’t gone to work in three years. He is still clocked out on a smoke break.

“There is the Water Fountain Visit.

“There is the Checking One’s Mailbox.

“There is the Call of Nature, # 1.

“There is the Call of Nature, #2.

“There is the Mandatory Rest for the Tired Feet.”

“Your feet must get awfully tired taking all those breaks. Does anyone in this profession actually sweep the streets, ever?”

“Well. Have you seen the streets?”

Zoqueto glanced Fallward up the Rúa dos Suspiros. He then twisted his head and surveyed the scene Fromward.

Scene: wind-whipped papers, dead kits, pile of rotten oranges, ruins of fruitstand, scrap metal, hubcaps. A pair of skis.

Skis?

“Now,” his father said. “Isn’t this something you would enjoy not having to clean up?”

Publification!

I’ve just had two stories accepted by Flash Fiction Online. “The Cratch, Thy Keeper” is  forthcoming in the March issue, and “Face Time” is presumably coming soon after that. It’s nice to think of getting paid for writing that doesn’t involve hospital computers. I plan to frame whichever of the checks arrives first.

Daedalus and Icarus are on the beach.

Icarus: …where the tuna salad went, Pops, you can’t tell me that there was half a Rubbermaid of tuna salad and it just went missing, do you think I’m still a toddler, that you can pass off these pathetic

Daedalus only half listening. Shell in his hand, calculating azimuth by triangulation.

Icarus gives up, stalks back to the beach hut; the hut their prison, their private hell, their pied a terre in loneliness.

Daedalus returns to the beach hut, ignores the contents of the Frigidaire spread out accusingly on the kitchen table.(Among the contents: an empty Rubbermaid that lately contained tuna salad.) Daedalus enters a screened sun porch whose most striking feature is a four-by-five sheet of plywood with a roll of butcher’s paper tacked to it. Stares at the blueprint inscribed thereon; fifteen minutes later, adds three peremptory strokes. Satisfied, Daedalus returns to the kitchen, retrieves a beer from the countertop. Drinks, warm.

Rewarding yourself? Icarus in the doorway. Tone: tart, accusatory.

Daedalus mumbles. Solved the Bernoulli equation for generation of aerodynamic lift.

The Person With A Newspaper

Lily was playing in the sandbox with the other children. The game seemed childish to her.

She looked across the park. There was a man seated on a park bench. He had a cigar in his mouth, and was reading a newspaper.

“Don’t go talk to him” said another girl. “You can’t ever come back if you talk to him.”

“I’m bored here,” Lily said. She left the others to play in the sandbox. She approached the man and sat by him.

The man said nothing. He didn’t acknowledge Lily.

Lily quickly grew bored with the bench. She started to get up.

“I wouldn’t,” the man said suddenly. He didn’t lower his newspaper.

Lily stood up anyhow. The ground seemed far away. That wasn’t it. Her legs were longer.

“I’m all grown up,” she said, surprised.

“Yes, that’s right.” The man still didn’t lower his newspaper.

“I’m going back to the sandbox.”

“You can’t go back,” the man replied. “You can’t ever go back.” He lowered his newspaper. Lily looked at his face, and realized she’d known him forever, and would always know him. The sun went behind clouds, the ground tilted, and the sound of birds and the sound of children were far away, as distant as the Himalayas or Mars.

Science fiction, fantasy, nonsense