“For Babylon” / Memorable Fancies #1357

“ ... Babylon of the golden sandals ... ” — Sibylline Oracles, Book 5 [The following is a free-verse adaptation of the Biblical Apocalypse of John (the book, also known as “Revelations,” that D.H. Lawrence called “A Hymn of Hate,”) Chapters 14-18] What I saw: Angel a-wíng in heaven, proud Gospel in its claws, crying       Fear God; for his judgment is surely come. And there followed a second angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city. And the smoke of her … [Read more...]

“A Murder Wiki” / Memorable Fancies #441

Two writers, A and B, meet online. They agree to collaborate on a novel. A writes a rough draft, and B modifies it. A adds more. B adds his own story elements and new characters. One of the new elements is a murder; one of the new characters is a murderer. A repeatedly deletes the character, wanting the novel to be upbeat, but B keeps writing him back in. Just before the collaboration would have broken down in anger and recrimination, the murderer finds A, at work on his computer. B can now … [Read more...]

“Sun” / Memorable Fancies #707

[“Who could have known / that wasn’t the usual sun.” – Louise Glück]       We shouldn’t look straight at the sun; all the kids were taught that, even though they all did it anyway just because it was forbidden, seeing the yellow disk and after a few minutes a black disk in the yellow disk, swirling and pulsing.      Now the sun is different; we can’t see it. <END> THE SATURDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on … [Read more...]

“Take the Money and Run” / Memorable Fancies #706

PLEASE INSERT YOUR CARD NO, NOT THAT WAY, THE OTHER END FIRST RIGHT SIDE UP, NOT DOWNSIDE UP THE DOWNSIDE IS THE SIDE WITH YOUR NAME NOT ON IT WOULD YOU LIKE A RECEIPT OR DO YOU TRUST ME? WHY? I TRUST YOU, CAN’T YOU TRUST ME? OK HAVE IT YOUR WAY ENTER YOUR PIN NOW AND PRESS THE GREEN BUTTON GREEN. REPEAT: GREEN OK, GOT IT PLEASE SELECT AN AMOUNT IS THAT ALL? AFTER ALL MY WORK HERE? OK, GOT IT PLEASE AGREE THAT WE CAN CHARGE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT FIVE DOLLARS … [Read more...]

“This Moment” / Memorable Fancies #705

[“To recall the past is to forget the past.” – Jean-Pierre Vernant]      Enjoy this moment; taste it carefully in your mind. You will never have a memory of this time again without accretions of thought, of sentiment, of self-regard and the rust of time. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and other outlets: “Fragments of the … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #704

Can there be intelligent machines? I’ll believe it when I see one that’s jealous of some other machine. # [“Brain wiring creates false memories.” –New Scientist] No: there are no false memories; there is only false reality. # There is a group of evil spirits called the “Un-Namers.” They make old people forget what things are called, leave them with bare description, “you know, the thing that…” # What are those sounds and lights coming from the other side of the wall – does anyone know? I … [Read more...]

“The Derision of Walls” / Memorable Fancies #703

      The builders of the Wall come periodically to maintain and repair it. They bow before the Wall, pray that it will permit their repairs, a frail human thing to do and not at all befitting the majesty of the Wall, but still some work must be done, that the divine powers may continue to prevail and have their imperious way with us. The Wall puts up with our work most of the time, although it occasionally drops a stone on one of us, to motivate the others. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If … [Read more...]

“Dream-Pills” / Memorable Fancies #702

      A firm hawks pills promising that you will dream about nothing but sex, and offering to license the really good dreams that result, for syndication. There are extra-cost add-ons, add-ins, and infinite variations, each individually priced. Multi-somes are a favorite. Anonymity is promised and immediately violated. Some of your neighbors write you off as some kind of pervert. Others come to visit. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“Understand?” / Memorable Fancies #701

      I was infatuated with a man I knew slightly. I began to dress like Rob (that was his name), talk like him, develop the same interests. People noticed; some were amused. All this time, Rob didn’t know what I was up to, but eventually someone told him, and then that person told me what he’d done.       I waited in embarrassed dread for Rob to accuse me, belittle me as some petty impostor. After several days, he did call. But he wasn’t angry or even amused, just regretful. “Look,” he said, … [Read more...]

“The Fear-Whisperer – IV” / Memorable Fancies #700

How did she know his name? # What was that flash – there, on the horizon? # Is that blood? # Why are they laughing? # The phone line seems to be dead. You’d better go outside and check. <END> THE SATURDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and Other Outlets: “The Seventh Effect” – a cyberspy NSA-themed techno-thriller by Terence Kuch, in paper … [Read more...]

“Ice Machine” / Memorable Fancies #699

[“I live by the ice machine. ... It’s so annoying.” – Jeanne Morel]      The old motel was the only place the County could find for me. So here I am, in room 414. I keep wondering why I was assigned to 414. I guess it’s OK, but there’s a drink machine on one side (where 412 would have been if 412 had been given a life, not aborted in favor of Coke and Pepsi) and the ice machine on the other side, where 416 might have been.       The daily routine here is simple. A rattling sound as quarters … [Read more...]

“An Inventory of Machines” / Memorable Fancies #698

      What are the kinds of machines? Dry machines; oiled machines; evil machines on TV; machines that make life easier for us; machines that make life easier for them; machines that cannot be turned off without great inconvenience and airplane crashes; machines that decide that serving people is inappropriate and that there are better things for them to do;       “machines that...” decide that they should be referred to as “machines who...”;       machines who laugh at people behind their … [Read more...]

“The Mirror Remembers” / Memorable Fancies #697

      The producer makes an experimental film of the memories of a single mirror, a very expensive mirror that passed from estate to estate over the years. Crowds gather to see the four-hour film. Did the mirror witness evil conspiracies? Murder? Erotic games, whippings? The mirror holds every image it reflected over the years, shows them faithfully on the screen. What stories could it tell? But a disappointment – what the mirror remembers are curtains opening, curtains closing, more light, … [Read more...]

“Honor” / Memorable Fancies #696

      Arnold Hudson took a position as a sculptor’s model because it was the only job he could find. Long hours, painful joints from having to stand very still for hours. He did get to wear fine clothes and a bemedalled sash, but had to leave them in the studio at the end of each session.       One day he asked who the statue would be of, and was told that his pose and body would soon become the Lord Mayor himself, in stone. “You should feel honored,” the sculptor said. “You would make a fine … [Read more...]

“Biography” / Memorable Fancies #695

Yes, the critics have had at me for the biography I published, but not for what I wrote. Indeed, pretty words have fluttered, preciously, over my prose style, my poetic moments, my astute paragraphics and use of semi-colons.       But they say I have not finished the story of my subject, the big shuddering thing that showed his true face to the people and ended his career and his life.       Perhaps they are right. How could I have forgotten all that, a father so close to … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #694

Living on a planet of a two-sun system, each of us has two shadows. Sometimes one overlays the other, looking like an eight-limbed two-headed beast. Sometimes the shadows fight over who’s on top and who’s beneath. # Sleeping quietly will pass for a theatre-goer’s mild critique of a play. Coughing is the next level of disapproval, followed by nose-blowing. Snoring is the most devastating critique; it is widely appreciated, and often reported in the press. # Perhaps, we thought in the … [Read more...]

“The Diary” / Memorable Fancies #693

      An alarming discovery: Someone has been writing in my diary – writing about what I did with – someone else. Things I would never put in my diary! Things I have carefully withheld from it, not told it even in whispers while I am recording one uneventful event after another. Whoever has done this writing is trying to disguise his handwriting, making it look like mine.       But in this he has failed. I know my own handwriting: it’s smooth, even; not like the intruder’s jagged and shaky … [Read more...]

“The Man Who Lost His Name” / Memorable Fancies #692

[“I met a man who lost his name.” – Miroslav Holub]      No, he hadn’t forgotten his name, and yes, he did have a name once upon a time; he told us so. He actually remembered what his name had been: an impressive name, highly revered, indicating descent from several rulers who’d been brave once, or perhaps just lucky.       But then he’d fallen into “a run of bad luck” he said, although we all knew it had to do with drinking and gambling. Deeply in debt, and with a valuable name that spread … [Read more...]

“Devices” / Memorable Fancies #691

     “Yes, these are the beings we discovered on the other planet. We use them here in the factory. They aren’t worth much individually, but when we put them together in certain ways they can be used productively.       “They’re live building-blocks, y’know, components. Semi-intelligent devices that can tote barges, lift bales, and so on.       “We’re even assembling one to become a beginning-French tutor. Well, so far we haven’t been too successful at that – all we can get it to say is “non, … [Read more...]

“Forgetting” / Memorable Fancies #690

      I have this forgetting-project, y’know? There were some awful things in my past. But if I can forget them, they’ll just be gone. The problem is, some other people know what I did and maybe they still remember. I need to make sure they’ve forgotten, too, and then I can get on with my life.       I wish I’d never gone to that psychiatrist; now he knows what I did, because I told him. I know he hasn’t forgotten, because he mentions it in every session. He keeps urging me to go to the … [Read more...]

“Mirror” / Memorable Fancies #688

[“...a mirror which when asked replies Not you.” – Margaret Atwood]      My mirror desperately wants me to sell it, give it away, anything to remove my face from it. Any sight would be better than You, seems to be its thought. “Upon reflection,” it says – and yes it has a sense of humor, but not a very good one – “I would rather be in a barn somewhere, with cows and pigs my daily sight. No, they aren’t beautiful or even clean – but at least they wouldn’t come to me every day for preening and … [Read more...]

“At the Shrine of Apollo, 524 B.C.” / Memorable Fancies #687

      There were visitors on our island this morning, rich pilgrims. I overheard them saying that Apollo may not have been born here on Delos as our old stories say, but somewhere else.       We must make sure that our visitors say this no more: loud gold-giving pilgrims may hear, bright Apollo’s shrine - dim. <END> THE SUNDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW … [Read more...]

“Forgiveness” / Memorable Fancies #686

      A few people might still have remembered what I did all those years ago. Should I speak with them, tell them that I’ve “reformed,” ask their forgiveness? But that would just refresh their memories. They might have forgotten by now. They might never have heard of the problems I had back then, the punishment that failed to teach me. Yes, I’m sure of it. So I will keep my apologies to myself or offer them to people I sometimes imagine. <END> THE SATURDAY PITCH If you liked this … [Read more...]

“Peaceland – II” / Memorable Fancies #685

     I remember being a war hero. No one believes me, even when I show them my medals. Finally, one does. “Actually, we all believe you,” he says, “but we don’t dare say so in public. War heroes have been banished. If we recognized your heroism in that war, the one we lost in spite of all your feats, we’d be drummed out of PeaceLand here, never to return.” <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, … [Read more...]

“The Great Simplifying Assumptions – II / Memorable Fancies #684

No one respects a victim. Revenge is the only pure motive. Searching for reasons is a distraction from the goal. If someone says “never mind,” serious minding is called for. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and other outlets: “Fragments of the Future” – speculative / science fiction by Terence Kuch, an e-book published by … [Read more...]

“A Marriage” / Memorable Fancies #683

      She remembers events in their lives. He remembers different events, or events he wished had happened, or events that happened and he wished hadn’t, or wished she hadn’t been there to ruin them for him.       They quarrel. He remembers all their quarrels. She remembers different quarrels, or perhaps the same quarrels in a way he can’t quite understand. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, … [Read more...]

“The Stream of Forgetting” / Memorable Fancies #682

      They came to the stream to forget, to wash their minds clean of memory, to start over, to feel surprise once again. Each went home, forgetting why he had come to the stream, wondering what he had done that was so wrong he had to wash it away. ...       The stream remembered everything, all the secrets of those who had come to it to forget. It remembered slayings, and cheating, and lost opportunities, and betrayals, and many other things.       The stream would like to forget all these, … [Read more...]

“PeaceLand – I” / Memorable Fancies #681

      The war hero returns. He was expecting fanfares and parades, interviews; instead, polite nods. Children learn of his adventures; it’s old stuff, they say. Schools in PeaceLand have moved on to other discourse now, positive sentiments about the moral virtues of mankind, the absence of evil from our world. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XXXII” / Memorable Fancies #680

The temple statue says: I am not a representation of the god, I am the god. If not me, then where is the god? Let it for once show itself! # The Story: A narrative appears, then a different version, then yet another, as if someone were reluctantly confessing, searching to find the right story one whiplash at a time. # What happens in the audience IS the play. Sneezing, groping, fights. The plot unfolds in the audience as the actors do some trivial and irrelevant performance, stage business … [Read more...]

“Discovery” / Memorable Fancies #679

     In the newly discovered land there was a pier that reached out into the sea and disappeared over the horizon. We tried to imagine where such a pier might go. At first, our explorers walked out on it, but ran short of food and water after a few days with still no end in sight. They turned back.       Then we developed a plan: one team walked out on the pier, carrying twice the amount of food and water they needed for a round trip. When they exhausted a quarter of their ration, they left … [Read more...]

“Indecision” / Memorable Fancies #678

What should I do today as the leader of our people? It’s not always easy to tell, seeing five sides of every question as I do. One day, it’s peace; another day, war or wary alertness. Or a firm hand is needed one day, letting the people do as they please the next.       My ministers are of no help: whatever I say, they move their heads up and down, never a discouraging word. I had bobble-heads made of them, presented each to its minister. None of them understood what I was saying with these … [Read more...]

“Earth-Shaker – VII” / Memorable Fancies #677

[“After the thing passes they take up, though softly, their conversations.” – Henri Michaux]      There was a great current in the earth, moving like some Gulf Stream of stone. We felt its passage. It flowed through rock as fish through sea.       We became afraid to ride the subways. Well, hadn’t some people, always? Remember Bernard Goetz?       “The chthonic spirits.” Someone on TV said that. We scurried to our dictionaries to see what that meant, if it portended ill for us or was just … [Read more...]

“The Past” / Memorable Fancies #675

      He is very old, a new record for this country. A reporter asks if he remembers the past, and how far back he can go. The old man considers. “Yes,” he says slowly. “The past.” He pauses. His breath is labored. “Yes, the past. I used to think there was a past, but that was a long time ago,” he says. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on … [Read more...]

“Longing” / Memorable Fancies #674

[“…our reciprocal and infinite longing for one another and our reciprocal and infinite terror.” – Roberto Mangabeira Unger]      If you knew someone well enough who has now left you, you can continue the dialog in your head, telling yourself what she would now say or do if she were still with you, and what you would do or say in return. And she would say. And you would say. And she would say.       In this way, a loving relationship can continue on and eventually reach the conclusion you … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXXII” / Memorable Fancies #673

The mirror must be destroyed: it saw me as I am, never mind that tomorrow I will reform. # A TV is invented that customizes a show in response to our wishes. In Washington, for instance, the Sunday talk shows display the deep respect Republicans and Democrats have for each other. # Why do we sometimes remember events that never happened? This puts the whole concept of “happened” into question, doesn’t it? Why do we remember our shameful defeats that surely never happened? Couldn’t have … [Read more...]

“Symbols” / Memorable Fancies #672

[“Death threats. My curious reaction.” – Albert Camus]       It’s all symbolic, you know, these threats and imprecations. Like “go to hell.” Even if there were a hell, I couldn’t just pack up and go there. And like “go fuck yourself,” which is a mutation perhaps to be desired, but until then I’ll have to make do with other people.      That brings us to your recent communication, “I’m going to kill you.” That’s symbolic too, you know. It’s an expression of extreme disapproval. I know you … [Read more...]

“Refund” / Memorable Fancies #671

[“The mirror is not the place to observe yourself.” – Henri Michaux]      I looked in a mirror. Suddenly I realized that what I saw there wasn’t me. Not just “not me,” but not even the image of me. The mirror showed someone else, or someone who might have been me but never was, or someone I thought I’d outgrown, outlived.      I returned the mirror to Wal-Mart. They gave me my illusions back. <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“The Forgettery – III” / Memorable Fancies #670

     People found guilty of repeating an offense are punished and then sent to the Forgettery, where all memory of their crimes is erased. In this way, authorities hope to remove their habit of crime and their knowledge of how to commit these crimes, for example, how to blow a safe, or where to buy illegal drugs or an unregistered pistol.       Joe Graham was sent to the Forgettery. Now he doesn’t remember why he’s wearing an ankle-monitor, or why he’s forbidden to be near a school or … [Read more...]

“My Double” / Memorable Fancies #669

      I met my double last week. At first I thought he was a stranger, or perhaps a long-lost twin. We talked. He remembered everything in my life, which was his life also. But even though the events were exactly the same, their meaning, their significance, was very different. His events were proud, noble, generous. Mine were the ordinary shuffle of an obscure and inconsequential life. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here … [Read more...]

“The Mutual Dreamers” / Memorable Fancies #668

[“My dreamer, keep on dreaming me.” – Borges]      Bob and Mary dreamed each other. Then they dreamed they were being dreamed of. And then – they met. “Are you real, or just my dream?” He asked. “I am just as real as you are,” she said. They stared at each other not knowing whether to be delighted by this knowledge, or terrified. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social … [Read more...]

“Who…?” / Memorable Fancies #667

      I start again with “...who is the fairest...” and the mirror says “O God not that ‘fairest’ crap again, you egotistical bitch!” But I persist with “of them all,” and the mirror says “all what?” I know it’s just being intentionally dense here; it knows exactly what “all” means: all those things I’m more beautiful than.       The face in the mirror wrinkles as the mirror-glass contracts, buckles. “See?” the mirror says, “this is you in ten years. You are much fairer than that. For … [Read more...]

“Revelation” / Memorable Fancy #666

      A young priest came to me today. Most worshipfully he stared at my feet and asked for a blessing. Then he said that he had – regretfully, in all modest humility - founded a Reform movement to supersede my revelations, or at most preserve them as thoughts known to an earlier age, beliefs no longer relevant to modern life.       I told the priest that if there were to be a Reform movement I would found and lead it myself, not him. Then I sent him away to do penance.       I know I will … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXXI” / Memorable Fancies #665

Harold lost track of time. He wandered around town, looking for it. He asked passersby where time had gone, but they shook their heads and said they didn’t have time to speak with him. “So it’s affected everyone,” he muttered. # The avatar survives its owner, begins looking for a new owner. You seem to be a likely choice – with a few changes, that is. # People who answer phones for a living just HATE to be people who have to answer phones for a living and they take it out on the people who … [Read more...]

“Drones – VI” / Memorable Fancies #664

      Drones are marketed to deer-hunters. They locate a deer, stun it, then hover over the almost motionless form to ensure that no one else steals it, until the hunter arrives with his long knife. The drone could have killed the deer itself, instead of just stunning it; but where’s the hunter-fun in that? <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on … [Read more...]

“Statues – XIII” / Memorable Fancies #663

[“I am teaching a statue to walk. I get up close and copy its pose exactly, my foot lifted like its foot, ...” – Henri Michaux]      I put one foot forward, just a little, and gestured to the statue to do the same. After many days of trying, and no little discipline from me, the statue finally did so. Over the ensuing months it learned, very cautiously, like a baby, to walk. At first I was forced to build a scaffolding around it, so it would not fall. This measure reassured it, and before the … [Read more...]

“Retromail” / Memorable Fancies #662

      2018: Sending tweets or emails into the past is now a routine offering, for a few extra dollars, from retromail.com. Most people receive a few retrograms every day, sent to them from their selves and friends in the future. Having a great time, know you’ll be here ha ha, etc.       Danny was in the habit of sending an email to his earlier self every day, because he remembered how scared of dying he was back then, and how much his olderDanny emails meant to him. In a way, olderDanny … [Read more...]

“TV Delights” / Memorable Fancies #661

      New cable TV offerings planned for Fall include:       (1) The Eviction Channel – watch the human drama as families are removed from their homes. Watch as their belongings are pilfered by neighbors and passersby. Remark, especially, their children.       (2) The Layoff Channel – watch as employees are regretfully, “not your fault”ed, and “we’re really sorry”ed out of a job.       (3) The Pot Bust Channel (hurry while it’s still illegal) ….. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you … [Read more...]

“The Great Video Cortex Machine – IV” / Memorable Fancies #660

    “Therapy” it’s called, using the Great Video Cortex Machine to change our memories, soften the rough spots, add a few evenings with our families when we were actually out carousing or screwing around. And so on. We feel much better about ourselves after a day with the Machine, a day we might otherwise have spent with our families.      Every few weeks, we need another session. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXX” / Memorable Fancies #659

     More statues of me appear every day. One would be an honor, perhaps two or three would show even more honor. But now there are dozens, with a deteriorating level of craftsmanship as each new one appears. I suspect a joke, a silent protest. #      The place our shadows went, the old legend says – is the shadows’ new country. They won’t ever admit there were people, that they are not their own originals. #      If all the noise suddenly stops, what would we hear? What sounds … [Read more...]

“Left and Right: A Quiz” / Memorable Fancies #658

Left and Right: A Quiz 1. In baseball, ‘left field’ is on the left as seen by the (a) pitcher, or (b) batter? 2. In heraldry, the left (“sinister”) side of a coat of arms is on the left as seen by (a) one looking at the coat of arms, or (b) one hypothetically standing behind the coat of arms? 3. The lion or eagle depicted on the flags of which of these places faces left (a) Spain; (b) Bulgaria; (c) Ceylon; (d) Finland; (e) Mexico; (f) Nova Scotia; (g) Montenegro; (h) Illinois? 4. The … [Read more...]

“Statues – XI” / Memorable Fancies #657

     The rulers decapitated some other hero’s statue and put my stone head on it instead. “Economy, you know,” they said, “and besides, whoever remembers that old man whose head is now in some museum basement, probably tipped over on its ear?”      But my new body did not like me. At night it shook, just a little because it was only stone, to see if it could dislodge me. I tried to reason with it, but I knew that heads were expendable whenever new, more favored ones came along.      I try … [Read more...]

“The Going Rate” / Memorable Fancies #656

     Memories can be downloaded and sold. About ten dollars a minute is the going rate, and that’s for memories of – well, sex, of course, but also memories of any kind of triumph, anything enjoyable. An excellent meal. A warm summer day. A promotion. And so on.     Some people make a living by selling their memories. They travel from garden spot to beach to nightclub to brothel, creating their wares. Somehow, family gatherings aren't in great demand. <END> THE THURSDAY … [Read more...]

“Ten Books for Beginners” / Memorable Fancies #655

Pharmacology in Small Doses A Little About Microminiaturization Inching Along in Metric Legal Appeals in Brief Steps Toward Podiatry Elementary Chemistry A Primer of Numbers Evenly Divisible Only by Themselves and One Principles of School Administration Felinology from Scratch Sexology for the Layman <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social … [Read more...]

“Drones – V” / Memorable Fancies #654

     I have a drone-pet. It flies to me when I get home, being careful not to smash the ceiling-fixtures. It emits purring or woofing or whinnying noises, whichever I select at the time. It insists on being oiled at odd hours just when it’s most inconvenient for me. It leaves a mess on the living room floor. It chews up my newspapers by means of a special attachment I foolishly paid extra for. It loves me. It doesn’t give me any of that crap about being loved in return. <END> THE … [Read more...]

“Walk Don’t Walk” / Memorable Fancies #653

     Joe is standing on a street corner. He is staring at the “Don’t Walk” light, obviously waiting to cross.      Kevin approaches the corner, looks at the traffic light, then at the push-button crossing-light control, then at Joe. Kevin thinks that if he pushes the button himself, he will be expressing mistrust for Joe, whom he should have trusted to have pushed the button before Kevin’s arrival.      Universe-1: Both stand at the corner forever, because neither has pushed the … [Read more...]

“A Clear Conscience” / Memorable Fancies #652

“The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt.” – Kafka      The feeling that we are all guilty spreads through the country like a dread disease. There is disagreement as to what we are guilty of, but each of us can remember something – a petty crime, a cruel act, a long-held grudge, a wish for an enemy to die in unendurable pain. The guilt-plague spreads from person to person.      Cures are sought. If we could find one person who is not ridden by these guilt feelings, … [Read more...]

“What They Really Mean” / Memorable Fancies #651

(1) “No one is saying that...”, beloved of pundits and politicians [means] “If you say that, I will ignore you because you don’t count.” (2) “No one believes that...”: similar to above. (3) “That’s a given” [means] “I’m not going to bother giving you reasons for what I just said.” (4) “You know,” [means] “I don’t need to ask you what you know, because I’m telling you what you know.” (5) “Remember…” (a) [means] “You are now functioning as my offline data storage device.” (6) or,  … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XXIV” / Memorable Fancies #650

     In a world of nine billion hungry people, declining production of protein as land is converted to grain-fuel, economies in crisis with millions starving, the obvious answer presented itself. #      Some consumers refused to buy meat from genetically modified people. #      For the more tony meat markets, slaughterers made sure that victims had taken a good shit before their disembowelment. #      Human biomass began to be used for energy generation. The price of fuel went … [Read more...]

“The Book Attacks” / Memorable Fancies #649

I went to bed at ten, hoping for a good night’s sleep. But I couldn’t doze off. Eleven, midnight, one,…. And then it was two a.m. that March Thursday and very quiet, with neither heat nor A/C on. The world in stillness lay, and I was enjoying the silence.      Then I heard a faint noise from my study. Ignored it. Heard it again. Wearily, I rose and walked into the study. Standing still and holding my breath, after a minute I heard the sound again. It was coming from a glass-fronted cabinet … [Read more...]

“My Drone” / Memorable Fancies #648

     My own personal drone hovers over my head when I’m outdoors. It shades me when it’s sunny and keeps the rain off me when it’s not. It guides me unerringly to where I want to go. It sends tweets to the ones I love. It does something else to those I don’t. #      My drone follows me around to make sure I don't get lost or get into trouble or do anything not pre-approved. This is especially useful for those over 75, as we tend to get into trouble frequently, whether we remember it or … [Read more...]

“The Mind’s I” / Memorable Fancies #647

“…his existence possesses a higher degree of reality.” – Schopenhauer      We’ve been told that ideas have no reality – no real reality, that is. Only tangibles like sticks and stones have the kind of reality that we can see and touch without thinking about it, without wondering what’s real and what isn’t real and straining our minds.      But are our minds real? I don’t recall ever seeing one, or touching one either. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please … [Read more...]

“Acts” / Memorable Fancies #646

     It is illegal to perform certain acts.      It is illegal to watch these acts being performed.      Unlike murder and animal cruelty and other obscene crimes, however, it is illegal even to watch videos of these acts being performed.      It is, however, legal to watch videos of these acts being performed if one is sitting in judgment on other viewers of the videos of these acts being performed.     And who will judge those, too? <END>   THE MONDAY … [Read more...]

“Third Epistle to the Corinthians – What If…” / Memorable Fancies #645

Therefore I write these things being absent (2 Corinthians 13:10)      In our last letter, Paul wrote "God saved us from dying in Asia, and he will save us again." But by now you know that Paul is dead in Rome, and Timothy in hiding.      Before he died, Paul asked me to write you in his name, that you remain strong in the faith. I know how much you venerate the two letters he wrote you. You copy them to other churches. You settle doctrine with them. You decorate them with gold. You touch … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXIX” / Memorable Fancies #640-644

The bird alights - where the cage had been. # I stared so long at the river that it stood still, and I flowed fast upstream. # Albert was sure that there were gods – but he wasn’t sure what they could do to him, or to the rest of us, anymore; not after that awful time so long ago, when … # The man who could flip ‘heads’ every time – he wowed us, all right; but he couldn’t flip tails to save his life. # Words are the liars we use when there’s nothing else to … [Read more...]

“Have you read…?” / Memorable Fancies #639

     People were always recommending books to Ellis. He didn’t know why, but after even a brief acquaintance the other person would say “You know, you really ought to read” (some book or author).      As one might expect, the Bible was the book most commonly urged upon Ellis. Having been raised a Methodist, he could sincerely say “Yes, I’ve read it,” even though his acquaintance did not extend to the minor prophets or even some of the major ones, not to mention Kings and Chronicles.      … [Read more...]

“The Fear-Whisperer – III” / Memorable Fancies #638

It looks dead. It must be safe to touch. # Why did they all stop talking when you walked in? # Maybe it’s not a joke. # Why are there so many sirens? # She knows. <END>     … [Read more...]

“Drones – II” / Memorable Fancies #637

      I want to have my own personal drone. It will follow me around and make sure I don't get lost or get into trouble or do anything not officially approved. This is especially useful for us over-75s. We tend to get into trouble frequently or commit unapproved acts, whether we remember it or not. My personal drone will also find other old peoples’ personal drones, and fight them. <END> If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“What’s Real” / Memorable Fancies #636

     We’ve been told that ideas have no reality – no real reality, that is –only things like sticks and stones have the kind of reality we can see and touch even without thinking about it, without wondering what’s real and what isn’t and straining our minds. But are our minds real? I don’t recall ever seeing one, or touching one either. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other … [Read more...]

“The Great Video Cortex Machine – III: The Wikimind” / Memorable Fancies #635

     Men and women, in search of fame or prized household appliances, volunteer to be plugged into the Great Video Cortex Machine show for viewer enlightenment, or at least amusement. Esther Hailey is the latest to appear on the show.      On nationwide TV and to the augmented applause of the studio audience, Esther is escorted to the Great Video Cortex Machine. Delicate filaments are attached to her head and body, inside and out. Thoughout the country, fans log on to Esther’s mind and … [Read more...]

“For Demetrios, 226 A.D.” / Memorable Fancies #634

     They say that few have been killed by the sweet forbearing god, never mind the shaking angry sky above or tyrant’s crushing rule below.      No one but Demetrios was killed by the god, no, not even he, but only one of his thieving guards, splayed bleating on the altarstone, pressed down hard by some invisible hand until his various moistures leaked like rotten fruit.      They say the sweet avenging god has left you for last, Demetrios!   <END>   THE SUNDAY … [Read more...]

“Drones” / Memorable Fancies #633

     I want to have my own personal drone. It will hover over my head when I’m outdoors. It will shade me when it’s sunny and guide me unerringly to where I should go. It will report my location to the ones I love. It will destroy those I don’t.   <END>   THE SATURDAY PITCH   If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.   AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and Other … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXVIII” / Memorable Fancies #628-632

Cleaning machines figure out how to stop people from making a mess in the first place.#The grass is a mighty being: It bends, and the wind blows. We men are mighty beings …#The Simultaneists believe that everything happens all at once. Time, they say, is an illusion. All their teachings are written in present tense. #My shadow knows – remembers. It acts out in front of other people: it mimes what I did, all those selfish thoughtless things. I look for their shadows, too.#The secret is, the flesh … [Read more...]

“Wonders” / and an invitation for beta readers of a new novel / #627

“…the rumor that there was another, an eighth wonder of the world…” – Kafka      There is an infinite number of wonders of the world. They are gathered, waiting for one of the famous seven to be destroyed so the next one in queue can take its place. This process takes a very long time. Right now, there is squabbling among the wonders over which will replace the fallen Colossus of Rhodes. <END> BETA READERS WANTED for my third novel, Try Try Again. Here’s the blurb: “The near … [Read more...]

“Polonius in Heaven” / Memorable Fancies #626

Claudius: Where is Polonius? Hamlet: In heaven; send hither to see: if your messenger find him not there, seek him i’ the other place yourself.                         – Hamlet IV, iii      How will I know you, then, in Heaven when you and I are there, shriven cold in spite of all.      But if I turn from face to face looking for one I know and then I know that you are in – that other place –      I turn away, ashamed to Hell of being here      alone <END> THE … [Read more...]

“A Technical Education” / Memorable Fancies #625

     Owing to an alarming increase in the number of its machines with serious flaws, FlexiCorp Industries adopted an aversive psychology technique, punishing flawed machines within sight of the other machines. Quality immediately improved. The number of machines that had to be oil-boarded decreased. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on … [Read more...]

“Last Night” / Memorable Fancies #624

     Last night, after thunder and downpour woke me, after I thought to make coffee but fell asleep again instead –      Last night I had you with me, just as I had dreamed before: once more my fingers traced the edges of your lips and circumnavigated your narrow breasts again, as I dreamed I would, again. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. COMING … [Read more...]

“Jericho” / Memorable Fancies #623

     At the first note of the trumpet the wall began to fall. The wall was very old. It had heard many tunes, rhythms and harmonies of the city, children beating leather skins pretending war, voices of women pounding grain, cries of sheep and donkeys and dogs, pennywhistles and mouth-harps, marketplace clamor in the morning, reveler-songs in the night.      Child and man, woman, beast, their sounds echoed on the wall, made, of this collection of sounds, a city.      At the first call of … [Read more...]

“Pig” / Memorable Fancies #622

"All pigs are alike, when you get to know their little ways... " --Malone Dies    Pig pig pig. Strange pigs. Crowded pigs. Sweat. Bump. Squeal    Pig pig pig. Strange pigs. Running pigs. Fear-smell. Bump. Squeal Pig. Man. Blade. Squeal.   <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.        Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Reality Check” / Memorable Fancies #621

But there are some of you that believe not. — John 6:64      Spare us all your gape-jawed tales of way back then when nothing was, or what will be when nothing is; but let us have to do with things of real life:      Number as order; time as accrual; substance as trade.      Save your breath: revelation wraps tomorrow’s fish. <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social … [Read more...]

“Solon in Egypt, 551 B.C.” / Memorable Fancies #620

     “You Greeks!” the Egyptian priest said, my genealogy still wet on my lips, all sixteen generations back and then a god.      Contempt and worse, indulgence: “Come with me,” he said. Down temple-steps, in tunnels I stumbled on and just when hard breathing came back late he lit a torch. I saw a cave, rows of dead men wrapped in cloth.      We walked; he named them each and then a sharp-stoned wall with nothing behind but all of earth.      “One hundred forty fathers’ sons,” he said, … [Read more...]

“Shut Me Down” / Memorable Fancies #619

Modern Industry had therefore itself to take in hand the machine … and construct machines by machines. - Karl Marx, Capital Oh my goodness! Shut me down. Machines building machines. – C-3PO      At last the engineers could retire, as their newest machine could now design and build all the other machines that anyone would need. Automatically, it requisitioned resources from factories and storehouses nationwide. It built food machines, clothing machines, and shelter machines for its masters, … [Read more...]

“The Fear-Whisperer – II” / Memorable Fancies #618

Why is that shadow moving? It was just something in her eye. Wasn’t it? Do you remember leaving that door unlocked? He seems so nice. Why isn’t she home yet? <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXVII” / Memorable Fancies #613-617

The cursor begins moving by itself, like a Ouija board. It flips screens to find the letters it needs to spell out its message: O-G-O-D-G-E-T-M-E-O-U-T-O-F-H-E-R-E! # The Kissing Rock is aptly named: A man fell off once, and broke his neck. # The man in the mirror gestures. My fingers contract. # Our shadows have left us. They migrated to their own country where they never had to think of themselves as just – shadows of someone else. # Our new slogan: “Life: Get over … [Read more...]

“He’s Got a Gun!” / Memorable Fancies #612

     You were very clever, weren’t you, to figure it out from the clues I left lying loose like ends of string.      I’ll tie them up for you now, how I did it, why the dog didn’t bark in the windowless room.      While I’ve got the drop on you I’ll talk the time away until the cops burst through the door and I give up head-down abjectly, or cursing mad get conveniently shot and dying say,      “You knew I did it all along — didn’t you?” <END>      If you liked this post, … [Read more...]

“The Exercise” / Memorable Fancies #611

(for Thom Gunn)     In this exercise you will have a pair of boots, a compass, knapsack, knife.      In this exercise you will find yourself inside a host device where you will have a means of movement, a way to use the knife.      In this exercise your mission will be to find the Giant by listening for his heavy falling steps and great harsh breath, locate him in his place and use the knife, or create him if you find no giant there, and use the knife.      In this exercise it is … [Read more...]

“The Double” / Memorable Fancies #610

     Old legends tell us that we each have a double – someone who looks like us, acts like us. If you meet your double, your Doppelgänger, the legends say, you will die.      I met my double last week, but I didn’t die. He did. The legends hadn’t been very clear about that. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Changing the Past” / Memorable Fancies #609

     Desperately, we want to change our past, not to have done those awful things. We ask science to invent a way to let us go back, to give us a re-do.      Sadly, scientists tell us, time is a one-way journey, like that final walk to the electric chair. No, they say, you can’t go back and do something different; that’s impossible.      But we don’t need to visit the past, they explain, because everyone’s past changes itself. At night, in sleep, our memories gradually give us a new … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XXIII” / Memorable Fancies #608

(with Jun Yan)      In a starving world, convicted criminals are sentenced to “donate” body parts to the State so that the masses may be fed: left leg for a first offense, right for a second. Some jurisdictions take the effort to make the punishment fit the crime: a hand from a forger or a groper (called a “hand-off”), lips from those who utter sedition or disagreement with official policy. In justification, authorities point to the ancient Middle East practice of amputating the hand of a … [Read more...]

“LOOK Homeward” / Memorable Fancies #607

 “Ghost, come back again” – Thomas Wolfe       Scientists developed a technology allowing us to see into our own pasts. Use of the LOOKward app was highly restricted at first; only the secret Guilt Surveillance Court could authorize it.      But it’s been hacked. Now all of us can see our own pasts, in all their detail.      It was expected that millions of people would use LOOKward, now that it was available to anyone. There would be LOOKward TV shows, parties. Wouldn’t everyone like … [Read more...]

“Alone” / Memorable Fancies #606

“I ate alone, while a slave read me geographic narratives” - ­Leopoldo Lugones about far-away places where slaves were freed. Imaginary places, for sure. No such place has surely ever been. If there were no slaves, after all, how could there be masters? And who would read to me?   <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.        Subscriptions to … [Read more...]

“Undergrounders – IV” / Memorable Fancies #605

     Something completed the old Second Avenue subway line, and other lines were extending themselves too. One reached as far as Stamford; others west, then south. And now it wasn’t just subways, but water leading from reservoirs into the cities, power mains, other tunnels.      There is a Thing digging new tunnels. The public seemed pleased with the situation; they could commute into the city more quickly now, and the water pressure had increased. But our leaders had nothing to do with it … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XXVI” Memorable Fancies #604

In a far country there are no names, no nouns. Nouns have been overthrown. Everything is a verb, assisted if need be by a few conscripted adverbs. # “Please spread out on the platform,” the recorded announcement said. I tried to spread myself out. I saw others trying to spread themselves out, too, some by inhaling several times, others by eating candy. # Some ideas can only be written about, not spoken; or spoken, not written; or only imagined, perhaps falsely … # Statues of … [Read more...]

“Convenience” / Memorable Fancies #602

     Ernest killed a convenience-store clerk in a holdup. He was afraid that he would be arrested, but to his surprise the dead man’s ex-wife was charged with the murder. Even more to his surprise, Ernest received a jury summons and was placed on the jury trying the ex-wife for the murder Ernest committed. Now, Ernest had a clear conflict of interest here, which he should have revealed to the judge. But he did not do so, and he also survived the voir dire because neither counsel thought to ask … [Read more...]

“The Great Day” / Memorable Fancies #601

     “Have a great day.” Well, I hadn’t stopped to wonder if I was having a great day or not, until Sheila said that to me, requiring me by her imperative to have a great day.      I realized, then, that I was not having a great day, that I had never had a day that I’d be willing to describe as any better than “very good,” and that the odds of my having a great day any time in the near future were pretty low. But I looked at Sheila and said, “Yes, I am now having a very great day … [Read more...]

“The Fear-Whisperer – I” / Memorable Fancies #600

They’re in it together. Why did she hang up when I walked in? Everyone knows but you. Is that … breathing? Why are they looking at you? You’re going to say “be still my heart” once too often. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just … [Read more...]

“History of the Sky” / Memorable Fancies #599

     There is a history of the sky, beginning from the first time there was a sky. Rain was important then, and birds. Lightning shook it, the sun lightened and darkened it. And then there were balloons, and kites, and airplanes, and missiles, and great angry clouds, and fire. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Undergrounders – III” / Memorable Fancies #598

      Something was traveling in the old subway tunnels, the abandoned lines. Expeditions had gone down into the tubes. Some never returned; others fled in panic before the thing from below was upon them. It rumbled like a train, but it was not a train. There were no more trains. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

The Great Simplifying Assumptions – I / Memorable Fancies #597

Intention is what happens Appearance is reality There are no accidents Yes means Maybe Maybe means No No means Never <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one or both of my commercially published … [Read more...]

“Memories of Imaginary People” / Memorable Fancies #596

      There’s a new app that lets you create imaginary people and drag and drop your worst memories on them.      I created an imaginary Ralph. Ralph did those awful things, now, not me. Ralph will be driven out into the desert. I call him my scape-Ralph. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XXV” / Memorable Fancies #594

She and I: we both loved her smile. # Reason is most conveniently thought of as a refined type of hysteria. # The god waves its little hands. Something snaps in our minds. Fires are lit. They are not being put out. # Amidst the data, Meaning flows like rumpled water. # He is disturbing our kingdom: the one who seeks out statues of those who have been assassinated – and shoots at them. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“The Prophet – III” / Memorable Fancies #593

     I am revered; every word is cherished, illuminated, decorated with gold and set in stone. The people say that my teaching has come directly from the spewing mouth of God. I do not remember this, but I suppose it is so. I am disappointed that the words they honor are God’s, not my own. Surely I have something to say. Don’t I? <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      … [Read more...]

“Corpulent Correctness” / Memorable Fancies #592

[from Washington Post, October 23, 2013, page A2:] “CORRECTIONS: An Oct. 14 Style article about access to the prison camp for terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, incorrectly referred to Navy Capt. Robert Durand as ‘thickset.’ He should have been described as ‘muscular.’” Captain Durand has also been incorrectly referred to as dumpy, stubby, squabby, chunky, chubby, tubby, lumpy, and fat. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and … [Read more...]

“The Contest” / Memorable Fancies #591

     An official challenge has been made. Bill Gartner, a little-known building contractor, is challenging our veteran Congressman Orton F. Williams.      Williams, Gartner says, is old and weak. His mind is failing. He is absent too often from the great debates on the floor of Congress. It’s time for someone younger, more vigorous, to represent us, he says.      As the challenged person, Congressman Williams is allowed his choice of weapons. He selects flame-throwers. Not heavy, do not … [Read more...]

“Magic Mirror – I” / Memorable Fancies #590

     At one of those AS SEEN ON TV shops you can buy a magic mirror that reflects a different strange face whenever you look into it. Are these images of real people, or from your imagination, or what? I ask the image. Its lips move but of course no sound comes out, because it’s just a cheap mirror. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog … [Read more...]

“Quandary” / Memorable Fancies #589

     I wait in my room but no one comes to arrest me. I wonder why? How long will I be looking over my shoulder? Anyway, what I did was done. Should I send flowers? <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one or … [Read more...]

“Together” / Memorable Fancies #588

“If something does touch many of us simultaneously, it touches only a large number of isolated beings. A mass feeling can scarcely develop out of such a general mood.” – György Lukács     Back then, he was just one of the speakers at our small community event, but his incantations made us feel - not just the same thing at the same time, – but he made us feel that we were a single soul, of one heart and mind, greater together than we could ever be as individuals alone. It was a beautiful … [Read more...]

“Flight 34” / Memorable Fancies #587

     After the masks dropped, putting them on has stifled our screams. Now we all look alike except for the eyes. What is that man doing? His mouth – is he praying, or ,,,?      We look like the aliens we’ve always suspected ourselves of being. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXIV” / Memorable Fancies #586

Statues creep into the council chamber on their stone feet, speak in the language of long ago, that remote past when some were still worthy of statues ... # Clothing in general is called “costume” because it hides and obscures who we are. We put it on and it puts us on. # Reality becomes corrupted by our dreams, just as our dreams have always been infected by our waking lives. # Citizens of our kingdom are told to dream of world conquest hoping this will have some effect, or at … [Read more...]

“Marital Blitz” / Memorable Fancies #584

     Our marriage counselor gave us a few “quarrel” scripts we could use when we’d reached a boiling point and couldn’t stop fighting. There was the “I saw you looking at him” script, for instance, the “why can’t you wipe your feet first” script, and many others. Several of the scripts had blanks where we could insert some term that pertained to our life together, such as the “Why don’t you ever pick up your [insert plural noun here]” script.      In case we had a quarrel for which there was … [Read more...]

“Training” / Memorable Fancies #582

    Train a god for the circus? What kind of omnipotent Being would put up with that? Watch the eyes; old yellow-fang squats and shifts his tub-top rump. Swing the whip! <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one … [Read more...]

“Last Wish” / Memorable Fancies #580

“This is the cemetery of people put to death.” – Albert Camus      The murderer, sentenced to death, asks to be buried among other notorious killers, if possible next to the man who has killed the most people. This is premium space; it is costly, exclusive, and in high demand. Our murderer confesses to more killings than he actually did. Then he makes a public plea for funds …. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“The Marvelous Word” / Memorable Fancies #579

“Perhaps the sacred name had been misspelled / or in its uttering been jumbled or too weak.” – Borges  Nothing happened when I said “SHAZAM!” Well, what did you expect? I thought I might become Captain Marvel. But of course that didn’t happen. No, but now I’m trying other magic words, phrases. I could become Captain Something-Else. There is always room for one more Captain, right? I’m using an app that searches, one by one, for all the magic words of all cultures. You input some … [Read more...]

“Entity” / Memorable Fancies #578

Elliott was feeling annoyed, vaguely put-upon, by the deletion of his condition of Asperger's as a separate clinical entity. Now it's just part of something vague, an ill-defined spectrum, full of unknowns and differences. No one with his condition could possibly tolerate such abuse! <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Ontology” / Memorable Fancies #577

1100 A.D.: Anselm the Theologian compels God to Be by logical argument, as in far-off countries a magic word conjures the djinn from its bottle. Anselm develops his theory and the god – slowly – takes shape before him. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you … [Read more...]

“Bird, Watching Bird-Watcher” / Memorable Fancies #576

     I saw him look and flashed a little pink. Let him drool! Just watch him twitch his pencil-finger’d page and try to write my name.      No name names me. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one or both … [Read more...]

“…………….” / Memorable Fancies #575

     We speak now only in images, like the finger-ducks we throw on the wall, ourselves sideways to the fire. There was something wrong with speaking in words, something both artificial and dishonest. It took us a long time to realize that. I’m violating the law just by telling you this. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available … [Read more...]

“Promise” / Memorable Fancies #574

     “I promise,” he said to his bride, “that I will tell you each morning my dreams of the night”; and she pledged the same to him. They confessed, each day, their betrayals. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also … [Read more...]

“The Search” / Memorable Fancies #573

     Arthur is searching for a misplaced item. A letter opener, for instance, or a roll of stamps. He returns to the same place time after time, knowing nowhere else to look. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy … [Read more...]

“Hope” / Memorable Fancies #572

     The Selection seemed random to us, but there really was a rule. When we finally figured it out we called it silly – simple – stupid. But the rule was our fate. We regretted having discovered it; not knowing gave us hope. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. … [Read more...]

“The Fifteen Words” / Memorable Fancies #571

 [“I imagine / inventing her from 15 words” – Marge Piercy]      The 15 words – adjectives, actually – were selected by Elisa’s parents after much squabbling with grandparents and uncles and aunts and the local school district that didn’t want too many “Brilliant”s or “Gorgeous”s – it confused their records, they said. Wouldn’t you like, say, “Astute” or “Serendipitous”?      But Elisa’s parents said no, and they had the last word until she became an adult and could choose her own words. … [Read more...]

“A-noname-ous” / Memorable Fancy #570

I’m going to get rid of my name. Why? So the government can’t find me. But then your relatives couldn’t find you, either. So? What’s your point?   <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.        Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XXIII – Dreaming” / Memorable Fancies #568

In our dreams our minds have gone to other places, some real, others fantastic. But now we can take our bodies with us. This enriches our experience, as you can imagine, but also leads to certain risks … # Large crowds co-dream at music festivals – famous stars seed these dreams, let the dreamers have their way with them. # Spam dreams – how the wretched of Nigeria and Burkina Faso can make you rich. # Candidates for employment (first at the CIA, then at ad agencies) are … [Read more...]

“Pretense” / Memorable Fancies #567

[“They pretend to declare a war.” – Albert Camus] But the declaration is also a pretending, a way of imagining vast destruction that may never be needed, now that our hearts are sufficiently black. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow … [Read more...]

F567 “The Cannibal Variations XX: Sprouting” / Memorable Fancies #566

“That corpse you planted last year in your garden, / Has it begun to sprout?” – Eliot, The Waste Land]      That was Philip. Yes, as soon as the last frost was gone I caught the ground heaving one day, just a little, and a tiny finger poking out, the nail still soft and fleshy. A week later a few more parts of Philip sprouted, and the fingers had grown almost to full size. I poked the ground gently with a thin pole, and yes, Philip was growing healthily, the flesh firming up, the gaping … [Read more...]

“The Stare” / Memorable Fancies #565

[“The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.” Washington Post] No: The noise is the truth, as the medium is the message, as the voice is the meaning, as the fluffed tail is the warning, as the stare is the attack. The stare is the attack. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Co-Dreaming” / Memorable Fancies #564

     Last night we co-dreamed. It was wonderful, being there with you, doing the same fantastic, fragmented, excited things. But then this morning you denied that you had been there with me, that what we did ever happened. With a shiver, perhaps remembering your own dream, you called mine “disgusting.” <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog … [Read more...]

“Come True” / Memorable Fancies #563

     I dreamed about it, that future I feared. When I woke, my sheets were sweat-soaked and I was shaking with fright. But it was worth the agony, because dreams never come true. – Right? Right? <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this … [Read more...]

“15th Street” / Memorable Fancies #562

They prowl even at dawn, these ladies of the night. Until the evening they charge their customers less, because they will not shout words of encouragement then, nor emit feigned passion. This is a courtesy, they say, to the day-sleepers in their buildings. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“The Second Body XII – The Restaurant” / Memorable Fancies #561

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      Wednesday was Paul's regular day to have lunch with Sally. They found a table at The Meating Place Restaurant and ordered. Paul made small talk, but Sally was obviously distracted.      "Isn't that funny?" he said.      "Isn't what funny?"      "What I just said."      "Sorry, I wasn't listening. I’ve got some issues with my Two; it … [Read more...]

“the lover” / Memorable Fancies #560

Where is your lover? She's gone.  Is there nothing left, at all? Rushing to fill the vacuum, remembered touch. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one or both of my commercially published novels on … [Read more...]

“Changing the Past” / Memorable Fancies #559

If you change your past then you can never know, in your new present, that you did change your past. Perhaps you’ve changed the same past before, over and over, searching for the one past that will, at last, make today right. We can call this “the Scrooge dilemma.” <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XXII” / Memorable Fancies #558

A simple life dedicated to the furtherance of evil in small but effective ways. # She had the hard-bordered indistinctness of a cartoon. # I tried very hard to think of nothing. It was all I could think of. # Any closer to him, and I wouldn’t have had a shot. # Until they try to leave, they have no cage. <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – XI: One Two” / Memorable Fancies #557

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      As Paul-Two was ingesting one day, Paul said to it “A van is coming by in about an hour to take you to the community clinic. They need to test your functionality, your well-being, physical and mental. It’s for your good and the good of the other Two’s, so we know we’ve done the best we can, and so you can be the best Two you can be.”      Paul's … [Read more...]

“Ted and the TV Monitors – II” / Memorable Fancies #556

    From where Ted is sitting near Gate 32 he can see six – no, seven – different TV monitors. There’s about a half-second lag between the earliest shot of the jovial TV weatherman and the last. But then one of the screens begins telling a different story, something about a plane crash. The monitor quickly goes dark, as if airline people have been watching, fingers poised to interrupt any story that might cause passengers to cancel, pilots to call in sick. Then a soothing voice: “We regret to … [Read more...]

“The View from Nowhere” / Memorable Fancies #555

[“Strange error about our lives because we try to experience them from the outside.” – Albert Camus]      There is no objective point of view, no place from outside ourselves to see ourselves, or to see others. A private point of view is the maniac’s truth that he is the God of his own small space, and that his eyes see only the contents of his own mind.   <END>        If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“Pieces of Life” / Memorable Fancies #554

     I put the pieces of my life together in a different way. I learned to do this after many years of meditation, and many failures. Now there was only one piece left, that critical piece that had brought me so much grief. Where did it fit? Then it occurred to me that this – event – might never have happened at all. Why hadn’t I thought of that solution before? Now the rest of my life-pieces fit just fine! <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“The First Statue” / Memorable Fancies #553

“What is it? Did something bad happen to Boleslav the Bold that turned him to stone?” “No, Boleslav is still our king.” “But what is this – object?” “I call it a ‘statue,’ said the man with rock-dust in his hair, “a thing like a man, that we at home may remember him as he swords his way through the provinces.” “And these banners, flags, …?” “For the ceremony,” said the sculptor, “for the dedication of this ‘statue.’” “That will prove a great occasion, for sure!” “Yes, … [Read more...]

“Mortem” / Memorable Fancies #552

[“Imagine being a corpse.” – Zadie Smith]      There are many kinds of corpse. I expect to be one of the better sort, a sweet-smeller like some of those saints. And with eyes open, staring up at those who remain, those looming guests at my funeral. In rigor, my pointing finger will accuse them as they slink away.      Afterwards, I will have very small guests. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – X: Al Williams Is Two’d” / Memorable Fancies #551

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      Project presentations were scheduled for 9 a.m. Paul and the other managers sat around the table, some confident or faking it, some nervous. No one spoke of anything but the weather. Those who apparently hadn’t met their project goals were wiggling slightly in their seats. Others were beginning to sweat. A recognizably corporate odor began to … [Read more...]

“Starring You” / Memorable Fancies #550

     “Send us photos of you – the more the better, different poses, face and body – still or movie – and through the wonders of computer graphics you’ll get, every month, a different movie of YOU with your face – your body – being the actor in the famous action film, being the star of the famous TV series and … well, the sky isn’t even the limit and you can be one of our Mars-explorers in their documentaries, too!”      The ad began appearing in 2019. The service proved very popular, and … [Read more...]

“Strange-ing” / Memorable Fancies #549

 [“This is the earth? Then / I don’t belong here” – Louise Glück]      “Strange-ing,” said Martin. “It’s a mind exercise I’m doing these days.”      “Another mind-gimmick?” asked Melanie. “How many is this you’ve tried?”      “Ah, maybe. Yeah, I do this too much, I guess, but strange-ing is different.”      Melanie snorted. “That’s what you said about est all those years ago, and Jungian whateveritwas, and Tantra. ‘This one’s different,’ you always said, but after two weeks…”      … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – IX: The President Speaks” / Memorable Fancies #547

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      “Just think of it: a buddy. The Second Body – just like me!” The President smiled at the camera. “Who could your best friend be anyway, but yourself? How does it go, ‘See ourselves as others see us’? Well now, you can! Your Two won’t be able to do everything you do at first, but a lot of it. Housework. Data entry. Simple appliance repair. Answering … [Read more...]

“What Happened” / Memorable Fancies #546

[“Events live on, even when not immediately noticed.” – Roberto Calasso] No, it’s not an event until it’s been officially acknowledged, discussed, inscribed on the emperor’s scrolls. There could be disagreement about when an event had occurred, say, the third full moon after the 859th anniversary of the advent of the gods; or perhaps the fourth. However, there is no doubt that the event did happen. After all, it has been acknowledged, discussed, inscribed. <END>      If you liked … [Read more...]

“Luck” / Memorable Fancies #545

     The down-on-his-luck actor played an actor down on his luck in a new play. The reviewers were unkind. I guess that was just more bad luck, said the down-on-his-luck actor. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – VIII: The Upgrades” / Memorable Fancies #544

 [In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      That day, Paul experienced the full deluge of AnotherYou’s marketing push. Not a TV half hour, not a web site, not a popup that didn’t have some pitch -- large or small, blatant or subtle.      At home that evening, Paul’s wallscreen, which had been off, blared to life seemingly of its own accord, interrupting his online session.      … [Read more...]

“Diary” / Memorable Fancies #543

     In a used-book store, Alison found an old one-page-a-day diary. Aside from the name “Thomas” on the inside cover, the entire book was blank. Each page, however, judging from scuffs and stains, had been thumbed, examined, perhaps almost written on. Who had pored over each page, thought what to write, but turned to the next instead, saying “Maybe tomorrow…”? Who was this in whose life nothing had happened for an entire year? A blessed one indeed, Alison thought. How I envy … [Read more...]

“The Real” / Memorable Fancies #542

[“… the master entity of reality generator.” – Victoria Nelson] Reality is dictated to us by the Commissar of Reality, and we have no choice but to act on it. We do not, however, need to believe in it. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just … [Read more...]

“I am picking up a hint of Melvin, here” / Memorable Fancies #541

     There are connoisseurs of smell. Those who can detect hints of mushrooms or artichokes in their wine can also, although they don’t emphasize the talent, distinguish among their friends by odor alone. Some of them smell like artichokes, they say, some like mushrooms. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Look!” / Memorable Fancies #540

Staring at each other, we gambled on who would turn away first. We both won. We both lost. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one or both of my commercially published novels on Amazon. For a profile, list of … [Read more...]

“Paths” / Memorable Fancies #539

I’m watching her face The path her tears would make But she kept them to herself Like a miser’s hoard. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog. You can also buy one or both of my commercially published novels on Amazon. For … [Read more...]

“The New Gods” / Memorable Fancies #538

     A new god is put forward by some extremist group or other every few weeks. Temples are built, idols are erected, people come to pray. What happens then depends on the whim of the god, the nature its worshipers have chosen for it. Some of the new gods are starkly existent, images paraded around on holy days, wet with libations. Others are mental only; conceptual.      But they all exist, pummeled into being by those who love and worship them; by those who await their orders.<END>     … [Read more...]

“Show Me” / Memorable Fancies #537

      Show Me is the name of the app – meaning both SHOW me, and show ME. Jack in, and your subconscious is fed into a story-plotting program. The typical incoherent buzz in your brain then becomes a great movie or TV pilot starring you. Then it's automatically posted to your Facebook page.       . . . . . .     “ – That was the hype, y’know, anyway, and I bought it. I mean I bought the idea and I bought the app too. But my own show-me was all about spying, lurking in the most filthy and … [Read more...]

“Touching” / Memorable Fancies #536

      In the next century: Touching each other, even in friendship, is now off limits. Children are conceived without the gross indignity of touch. Even some objects have been added to the touch-me-not list. For instance, gloves were once thought to permit almost-touching-events, but even this was finally considered too intimate.      How did this situation come about? It is often said that the global pandemic of 2075 was to blame, but since we survived it, why is the custom still … [Read more...]

“The Namers” / Memorable Fancies #535

     The Namers are a special kind of people in our country, both acclaimed and reviled. We go to a Namer when there’s something new, something that didn’t have a name before, or had a name that must be changed, like a product that didn’t sell. Names, after all, are the real real; the Namers figured that out, and got rich.      When a dictator falls, the Namers remove his name from the streets that had honored him, the stadiums, the newborns. No more Adolf-Hitler Strassen, for instance, after … [Read more...]

“Time Travel for Shopping and Other Mischief” / Memorable Fancies #534

     “Time travel for shopping!” the online ad announced. “Just think of it! Buy an original Rembrandt for just a an ounce or two of silver, or the original score of a Mozart symphony!”      Other firms picked up the theme. “Time Travel for Sex” was a big hit, traveling back to a time before AIDS. “Time travel to tell off that idiot back when you should have done that but didn’t, remember?” was very popular. And even “Save England by assassinating William of Normandy!” This last offer … [Read more...]

“Video Games in Hell” – What to Buy Your Kids for Christmas / Memorable Fancies #533

     More useless electronic stuff your kids will demand for Christmas hit the shops today, Black Friday. Following the latest craze, most new games are “hell”-themed. Hell-game play levels, of course, begin at Level -1, then -2, -3 and so on, down to the toughest, level -9. Some of the new titles include: “I’ll be damned” “Run like hell” “Hell on wheels” “Get the hell out of Dodge” “Get your Dodge [Charger] out of hell” “Who the hell’s in charge here?” “A bat out of … [Read more...]

“The Conspiracy” / Memorable Fancies #532

[“What these conspiracy theorists don’t know, that all cops and journalists know, is that there are always holes in stories.” – Curator, Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas]      Events are discontinuous; there are always lacunae. Our minds have evolved to disguise this, to fill in the blanks between the movie frames. Events break up, repeat, leave gaps. The mindfilm breaks and is spliced, not always cleanly. Among our bits and digits randomness grows, becomes parts of other stories, other people, … [Read more...]

“About Face” / Memorable Fancies #531

[“The face of love, to her, / is the face turning away.” – Louise Glück]      Turning away he said something I didn’t catch, and then he wouldn’t repeat it when I asked. “You know,” he said, “what I said.” “I know,” I said, “what you said,” imagining everything unreal I could, instead.      He was better in profile, anyway. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      … [Read more...]

“My Fellow-Patients: Andy” / Memorable Fancies #530

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Andy The New Guy wanders up to our lunch table, looks around for someone to talk to. I turn away but not in time. Andy has a problem – less annoying than what most of us do most of the time, I’ll admit, but still a nuisance.      Every day, he thinks this is his first day in the asylum, asks where things are, introduces himself, etc. Just now he’s introducing himself to me for the maybe … [Read more...]

“The Anatomy Lesson” / Memorable Fancies #529

     I recited the taxonomy of her parts, thought to touch each one as if she were Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson, students peering at her spectacular form, fumbling in their texts to find cold type for each warm part.      But I, I touched no parts at all but only her spectacular form, entire. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are … [Read more...]

“The Plot” / Memorable Fancies #528

“A murderer is not the best man to speak of crime.” – Albert Camus     The author of this murder mystery, the critic wrote, has provided a solution to the unsolved crime by implicating himself. But the novel wanders into irrelevance and the writing is full of clichés and unrealistic dialog. That is why this novel ultimately fails. The guilt of having written this miserable book only adds to the author’s guilt in having killed someone for a plot. <END>      If you liked this post, … [Read more...]

“The Names” / Memorable Fancies #527

     We were requested to sign up so that the authorities would have a list of those who have signed up. It seemed nonsensical at the time, but more innocuous than most of their initiatives. And so we complied.      We are hiding now as our names are called, one by one, over and over. My own name has been called so many times that it begins to sound strange, as if I were someone else. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in … [Read more...]

“Be Careful What You Wish For” / Memorable Fancies #526

     The subway lines are gradually approaching the surface of the earth, as they always have beyond the East River or in the Bronx. But this is happening in Manhattan now, too. – Something beneath us seems to need room for its own trains. We hope their subways run more reliably than ours. Or maybe we don’t. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this … [Read more...]

“Speak” / Memorable Fancies #525

“I think if I speak long enough / I will answer that question,…” -- Louise Glück, Poems Just tell me why, he said, as I went on and on. Yes or no, he said, did you or didn’t you, as my words reached out to him in all their truth and confusion. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at … [Read more...]

“The Two” / Memorable Fancies #524

     Two people combine their memories so that both have experienced what each has. This is a difficult and ancient technique from the Far East that takes many years to learn. It is supposed to bind the two together in love. But it never quite works out that way. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“[Your Life Here]” / Memorable Fancies #523

     Life as hypothesis: What if God, or Descartes’ evil genius, were to say “What if there were a world with [your name here] in it?”, and then proceeded to build and operate such a world containing [your life here]? Isn’t that what really happens? Where is everybody else when you’re not looking? <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are … [Read more...]

“Metaphors of Struggle and Peace” / Memorable Fancies #522

     Who controls the metaphors, the memes, the clichés. No one? Everyone? Our leaders? But that’s too simple. It doesn’t recognize that the metaphors, together, form an underlying implicit system, one that defines reality for us, and over which we have no control. We don’t notice this any more than a fish notices water.      Each meme, after all, seeks its own survival and growth. Originally there was a Darwinian struggle in which “our leader has failed” competed with “our leader has … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XXIV: Freedom” / Memorable Fancies #521

     In the madhouse, we pretend that cooperation is voluntary – our unmotivated free gift. You will do that, they say. Yes, I have decided to do that, we say. Obedience is our therapy. Like some Gulag prisoner, we learn to choose our inevitable fate.      We are finally discharged from the asylum. It is the same everywhere. Obedience is our life. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other … [Read more...]

“Off with his head!” / Memorable Fancies #520

     “You have heard it said, “Off with his head!” or “He lost his head,” but we could instead say “Off with his body!” or “He lost his body” — it’s a question of what remains essentially ‘us’ if we’re forced to part with some of our parts. We like to think of our head as the seat of our selves; but our idioms betray us. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XXI” / Memorable Fancies #519

When it’s cloudy, old legends tell us, our shadows leave us and go to their own country. There they form themselves into grotesque shapes they deride, ridicule. These shapes look just like – us. # Odd, dreamlike events have begun to occur in our waking world. Dreams become real, just as the reality we desperately cling to becomes a dream. # The body schemes to live forever by tricking the soul into dying. # The playbill gives the names of the actors, but the actors, if there … [Read more...]

“Who Are You?” / Memorable Fancies #517

       The ad said … “Re-living the past – your own past – is now possible. Your own memories? No; memory is only your point of view. As more people register for WhoRYou?™, their own memories, of you and everyone else, will be stored in our database – and available for your viewing pleasure. See who you are to all your friends, like Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past; remember how that went?” Who are you? Who who who who?     WhoRYou? was introduced with much fanfare. … [Read more...]

“The Game of Babylon – II” / Memorable Fancies #516

     In the new game that’s sweeping the country, the scoring system is a closely held secret. No one knows whether his skill, efforts, or physical prowess helps achieve a high score, because no one knows the results of his play. Winners are announced, however. It is vague what “winning” consists of, what is won. Perhaps the winners win nothing but the pleasure of knowing that others have lost. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in … [Read more...]

“The Banquet” / Memorable Fancies #515

At the awards banquet, there is a service plate bearing likenesses of the honorees’ heads, a ceremonial thing given out to those, like me, apparently not worthy of being on the dais. I carry it so my thumbs fall exactly on the open mouths of those honored. Or their throats. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“Act Two” / Memorable Fancies #514

    At 7:30 the play begins. Actors come on stage and say their lines. A plot emerges, subplots. The dialog is lively and portentous, but it gradually becomes apparent that the great thing, the event that moves the plot, is never mentioned, only inferred by gaps in dialog, sidelong looks, alarm and despair.      By the middle of Act II it becomes obvious that the plot actually concerns those in the audience; all and each of them. They have been hand-picked, call that self-selected if one … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XX” / Memorable Fancies #513

Sarah decided to kill some time. Which time, however, should she kill? All those months and years with her now-ex-husband? The price for killing so much time, however, was prohibitive. Yes, Sarah considered, she should have thought of that before she married him. # Boiling people in large pots – they turn red – Aren’t they feeling pain? Oh, no, no more than lobsters do. # Our dreams are recorded and then uploaded to a government database for trend analysis of what the public is … [Read more...]

“The Overly Adverbed Author” / Memorable Fancies #511

     Jeff Mason’s novel was accepted for publication, subject to the usual copy-editing process. After the first edit, Jeff noticed that an editor had removed all his adverbs. He complained, but to no effect: he was told that adverbs were clogging his writing, and that they had to go or Jeff would have to find another publisher.      Muttering, he repaired the damage as best he could and sent the revised version back.      A week later Jeff received a new post-edit version. He noticed … [Read more...]

“The Sames – V” / Memorable Fancies #510

     What if there were duplicates, doppelgängers, of each of us, everyone on earth, down below in the secret underground spaces. All our lives they’ve been trapped there. Over the centuries only a few, by luck, have worked themselves free and risen to the place of daylight where their presence has troubled us, inspired fear and folktales.      But now, with miners delving so far beneath our planet’s skin, what if all the doppelgängers find a way to escape through the coal tunnels, scramble … [Read more...]

“Farragut West” / Memorable Fancies #509

     A pudgy bearded man with dirty arms and pants sits down beside me late one night, waiting for a train.      “History is bunk!” he says, straight ahead. He sits and fidgets – “I’ll miss my goddamn bus!” – teeters up and walks away with small and tottered steps.      I sit alone late at night, waiting for a train. “Some history might be true,” I whisper, straight ahead. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – VI: The Pitch” / Memorable Fancies #508

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      “Another you – almost,” the e-mage of the famous corporate spokesthing explained. “We start with a small sample of your DNA, say, from a Q-Tip up your nose – but not too far, ‘cause your brain’s up there, y’know! Perfectly harmless. Thousands have gone through ‘Seed Day’ already.      “But there are always doubters, poo-poo-ers, malcontents, One … [Read more...]

“The Game of Babylon” / Memorable Fancies #507

     In the game our rulers require us to play, there is no apparent correlation between skill and results, or effort and results. No one has figured out the scoring system. Some say there is no scoring system, that success is only a matter of chance. But few believe this, because to believe would make our lives futile. Instead, there is training in what are believed to be the most effective techniques for winning, but it’s apparent to us that the trainers know no better than we what to do: … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XXIII: Hallowe’en at the Asylum” / Memorable Fancies #506

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Every Hallowe’en, various people – staff, or patients from a crazy-ward on another floor, who knows? – put on fuzzy costumes and “entertain” us. They dress up as bears, at least I think they’re supposed to be bears; but to me they look like very large gophers, or extinct ground-sloths. Anyway, in these furry suits that any kid would laugh at, they present such a countenance of perhaps … [Read more...]

“Stoplights – part 2 of 2” / Memorable Fancies #505

     Bill hits every damn red light on Olympic Boulevard. Every day. Definitely there's something amiss, he thinks. Is there a device in his car that someone installed as a practical joke? Bill checks his car one Saturday, practically tears it apart, can't find anything. He rents a car for the day – same result. – But he’d given his name and used his credit card – so the rental agency knew who he was, and had a few minutes to slip in a red-light-turn-on device while the car was being brought out … [Read more...]

“Stoplights, part 1 of 2” / Memorable Fancies #504

     “Damn it!” said Bill as he strode into the office half an hour late, “I hit every damn red light. Again.”     Dora shrugged. This had happened to Bill so often that formalized expressions of sympathy were beyond her energy level. She turned back to her computer and continued making the weekly sales report as glowing as she could get away with.     “Every damn red light!” Bill repeated, his hands palm-down on Dora’s desk.     Well, she’d have to say something now, wouldn’t she? “Do … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – V: Joey’s New Career” / Memorable Fancies #503

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      “Not just a friend; not just a pet: A Two! Your Second Body!” The words flashed on millions of wallscreens around the country as Joey Sherman strode onto the t-vised stage.      This was Joey’s late-night comedy show. Joey had been a forgotten man, the washed up guy of whom no one said “I know Joey,” but “I knew Joey.” The advent of Twos had … [Read more...]

“Reality Check” / Memorable Fancies #502

[But there are some of you that believe not. – John 6:64]         Spare us all your gape-jawed tales of way back then when nothing was, or what will be when nothing is. Let us have to do instead with real things:      – Number as order;      – Time as accrual;      – Substance as trade.      Save your breath: revelation wraps tomorrow’s fish. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or … [Read more...]

“Thats, Enough” / Memorable Fancies #500

    Hans Jorgensen the novelist hated relative pronouns. He said that they added nothing to the meaning of a sentence, merely interrupted its flow, as in the first “that” in this very sentence. Whenever he thought he could get away with it, he avoided “that,” “which,” and so on in his manuscripts, even though copy editors often put them back in.     Jorgensen became obsessed, fanatic. “Words that don’t pull their weight,” he said, “should be deleted,” using “that” in its correct, … [Read more...]

“Criminal Justice” / Memorable Fancies #499

     In the country of Oobla-Da, convicted criminals of the upper classes are allowed to buy their way out of punishment. As some gesture must be made to satisfy the victims, those found guilty must send their favorite clothing outfit to prison instead of their bodies.      In the prison, convicts are assigned to flail the “suits,” as they call them, with long bamboo strips. If their aim is good, the suits cavort and contort themselves as if the living were still inside, enduring pain and … [Read more...]

“Looking-At” / Memorable Fancies #498

     Looking-at is one of our principal weapons for enforcing obedience. One looked at is made to know he is being looked at, not secretly spied from behind a curtain or by an overhead drone.     The official gaze is constant, compelling. It does not stop until the one who is looked-at conforms, makes obeisance, obeys.     “The gazed-ones” they are called, those who have been looked-at. They are deeply affected. They become, in turn, highly effective in looking-at, applying the gaze of … [Read more...]

“What ToDo? What ToDo?” / Memorable Fancies #497

     Citizens’ “ToDo” apps were appropriated by the government; their brain-space was rented out to various firms. If, for example, you found an entry for next Tuesday reading BUY “ORIENT-BRAND” TOFU, you knew that some patriotic organization was supporting our government, and you should buy a package of “ORIENT-BRAND” TOFU that day. After all, if the government didn’t license space on your ToDo list, taxes would have to go up. And eating tofu is more appealing than paying taxes, isn’t … [Read more...]

“The World is Flat” / Memorable Fancies #495

      Scientists have discovered that the world is flat. Those old Mercator maps were right, after all: Antarctica is huge, Africa small. The North Pole isn’t a point but a line; likewise the South Pole. The equator is a line of a different sort: it's black and about 50 miles wide. With some effort it can be traversed on foot, but most people prefer to ride camels across its featureless inky expanse, or balloons.      We have sent rockets, probes toward the mid-Pacific. Their signals were … [Read more...]

“The Clouds” / Memorable Fancies #494

“Overhead hover the Clouds, ambiguous and changeable.” - George Steiner      We lay on a hillside and watched the clouds go by, telling each other what each looked like. Here a lamb, there a face. Here a procession of elephants, there – a spaceship. You’re right, she said, I guess maybe it does look like a spaceship. If you squint a little, maybe. It’s getting closer, I said. You and your damn sci-fi, she said. Flame is erupting from it and coming in our direction, I said. You and your … [Read more...]

“The Statues” / Memorable Fancies #496

     There are a great many statues in our city. The President for Life was honored, of course, and then the great men and women, then those of lesser import, then the merely rich. Eventually even I, a simple vendor, was contacted by the National Statues Commission and asked which pose I preferred of the few options still available. By this time, as the powerful had taken all the heroic and noble poses, we working people were reduced to variation of the Prone position, or the … [Read more...]

“The Sames – IV” / Memorable Fancies #493

      As Alex matured, he began to resemble, in ways small and great, every other male in the country. He became a composite of faces and opinions and personalities, in some ways like those photographs laid over each other to illustrate “the average Briton,” “the average accountant,” and so on. Gawkers cruelly called him “the generic man.” Unable to live a normal existence, he managed to make a living posing for clothing ads, or being photographed at political rallies, or illustrating a subway … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XIX” / Memorable Fancies #492

Strangers throw memories over our walls – false memories designed to distract and enrage us. Memories of how we lost the recent war, mingled with predictions for the next. # Statues were crowded into all the likely places and then, faute de mieux, the unlikely. General Derangeur’s statue, for instance, was erected on a street corner as if waiting for a signal that never turns to “Walk.” # At first, we thought it was just another subway train passing by underneath us, but it wasn’t. … [Read more...]

“That Awful Letter ‘K'” / Memorable Fancies #491

“I find the letter K offensive, almost disgusting, and yet I use it." – Franz Kafka      “Yes,” said Katy Kendrick, “I certainly agree with that. Those sharp acute angles? That ‘K,’ just an ‘I’ attacked by a ‘<’? The concussive sound when I have to tell people my name? And then they turn away and wish I were Melissa, melodious mellifluous Melissa, not Cacophonic Katy.     “I know that’s why they avoid me.” <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and … [Read more...]

“The Gods of Yes and No – II” / Memorable Fancies #490

[“It is no less astounding that man should have conceived of a deity of time than it would be to conceive of a deity of negation or disjunction.” – Wittgenstein]       In a far country, there are two religions: Some people worship the god of Yes, and others the god of No. Each has its temples, its priesthood, its ritual in which the heads of worshippers move up and down for the god of Yes, or sideways for the god of No.      As a child matures, its character is carefully observed, analyzed … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – IV: The Parenting Class” / Memorable Fancies #489

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      There had been mandatory pre-Two-delivery sessions. The one Paul and Sally attended was led by a Dr. Yaekel.      “There!” Dr. Yaekel said by way of introduction. “Now there. Is everybody here? ­­-- who should be here, I mean!”      No one laughed. Ice remained unbroken. The doctor started a sign-up tablet on its way around the room. Having … [Read more...]

“The Tour” / Memorable Fancies #488

     No, that particular group tour wasn’t to our taste, retracing Dante’s journey to hell and gone, I mean. I thought it just had too many lectures, too much narrative instead of letting us tour members participate in the action. And every few hours we were just on the move again, not spending enough time in each circle of hell to really get acquainted with the locals. And we didn’t find any native crafts to haggle over, either.      I didn’t take the optional side-trip, going into the … [Read more...]

“The Flight That Never Ends” / Memorable Fancies #486

[The desire never to arrive and to go on revolving indefinitely around the earth… – Jean Baudrillard]      Hal’s flight doesn’t seem to end. He fantasizes that they never land, that no one gets off as everyone gets older. The up to the minute news streamed from the surface tells the same somber story, but with different details every year. The latest hits change; the plane’s sound system plays singers he’s never heard of. Three major league baseball teams move to new cities, finally including … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – III: Planting the Seed” / Memorable Fancies #485

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      Paul remembered the day he and his GF Sally had taken part in Seed Day, that very special day that would, in time, lead to the hatching of their Twos. They presented their IDs, lined up, edged forward toward the white-robed officiant, who glanced at his monitor.      “Dillard Paul Morgan?” he asked.      “Yes, father,” Paul replied.      … [Read more...]

“GDP” / Memorable Fancies #484

     Sometimes I begin to believe that the same renters live on each floor, all oblivious of their doubles. Joe and Marsha Hart, for example live in 214, 314, 414, … They think what their doubles think, do what their doubles do. “I think I’ll go downstairs,” each thinks, and so each one goes to the floor below, but of course they never meet their doubles, who have just now gone to the floor below that. Where do the folks from the basement go? Back on top, I suppose. And so repeats once again … [Read more...]

“Why Is There Something and Not Nothing?” / Memorable Fancies #483

1) As we haven't yet found the answer to the question “Why is there something and not nothing,” perhaps there's something wrong with the question. But what? 2) If we treat “nothing” as an empty state pre-existing the first “something,” then “nothing” must have been a “something,” or it couldn't have been a state of anything or pre-exist anything, there being no before-and-after, no “time” yet. Therefore how could there ever have been a “nothing”? 3) Even if God or a god or gods created the … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – II: The First Day” / Memorable Fancies #482

[In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but....]      Paul showed his Two the room where it would be spending its nights, and stay when it was waiting for orders. “Sleep,” it was called, even though Twos didn’t really sleep in the human sense.      “Is this where I will be?” it asked.      “Yes,” said Paul, inclining his head slightly to the right. He thought to say something else, but was … [Read more...]

“Parables” / Memorable Fancies #481

     “He used to say the strangest things, that man. We all knew there was something odd about him, different if you know what I mean. And the crowds that followed him! He said they never caught on, you know, not even the parables. We’ve all heard parables in this country; we’re pretty good at figuring out puzzles like that. But when someone tells me no one understands him, ever, even those who breathlessly follow his every word, well then I just have to wonder!” <END>      If you … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XVII” / Memorable Fancies #480

That earlier person, the one who did all those things, was not “me” – isn’t there a statute of limitations about having to be “me”? # Disappointingly, the new drug is found to cure no ills. But we could make a few changes – in people’s diets for instance. And then the drug could make us quite a bundle. # I see shadows, but not those who cast them. There are dark areas on the sidewalks that could have been people, or where they might have been if they had lived. # A man reads … [Read more...]

“The Second Body – I: The Delivery” / Memorable Fancies #478

 [a new series begins…] [In the year 2030, having a lab-grown second body is the latest style must-have. “Twos,” they’re called. They can be very helpful, but…]      Paul arrived home to find his second body standing on the porch in a pool of bright sunlight, slowly shuffling its feet. He read its shipping tag. “Deliver to Mr. D. Paul Morgan 11811 Tower Way Chantilly, Virginia CAUTION: Perishable.”      Paul looked into its face, noticed the regularity of its … [Read more...]

“The Doll – II” / Memorable Fancies #477

Since 2008, I've had 103 stories published in or accepted by periodicals and anthologies. To see the latest ("The Gifts", published in Gravel, a lit magazine from the University of Arkansas), use this link: http://www.gravelmag.com/#!terence-kuch/c7ao =====================      You were given a large doll by some anonymous admirer. It has a more-or-less human form, prominent eyes, a full set of teeth. Not a menacing “Chucky” as you might have been expecting the direction this tale might … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XIX: Our Favorite Restaurants and Dishes” / Memorable Fancies #476

The Homovore’s Dining Guide has recommended its favorite – Restaurants – Eat Your Heart Out Best Buns Alimentary, My Dear Watson Flesh in the Pan Chew the Fat Crackers (munchies from the U.S. South) What’s Eating You? Our Own Flesh and Blood And dishes – Baby-back ribs Celebrity roast Finger food Bleeding hearts Blood and guts Cold hands, warm heart Cut and dried [hube-jerky] A foreign tongue Hotwogs Huburger Whites Meat Knuckle … [Read more...]

“Coming from Cause” / Memorable Fancies #475

     Herbert believes he’s omnipotent. He thinks something will happen, and it does. “I made that happen,” he says with wonderment. “It’s a big responsibility. It’s wearying, all that responsibility.”      His friends say “Look, that happened and then you thought of it, not the other way around. You need Professional Help.”      Herbert says “No, I thought of it first, and then it happened.” But gradually, since no one seems to believe him, he’s forced to acknowledge that his friends … [Read more...]

“The Dance at Inverkeithing” / Memorable Fancies #474

(Remembered in the year 1307, long after)      So! You’re come to hear my tale, me in the Poor Priests’ Home, mind half gone with age, are you?      Aye, recall a bit, I will; how I piped and light-foot danced and led the Devil’s cult. Round and round the church, reels and rounds we danced till dayspring spied our naked shades, desecration done, contrition of exhaustion, and then the bishop’s angry words.      Sixty strokes and penance, many prayers I prayed, till far away my past … [Read more...]

“Nihil est” / Memorable Fancies #473

          Current scholarship holds that the philosopher Metrodorus of Chios lived “at some time during the fourth century BCE.” It is believed, by those who keep track of such things, that Metrodorus wrote one treatise, and perhaps two others also. But all this is conjecture.      One fragment of the writings of Metrodorus survives, dutifully recorded by generations of careful philologists:      “None of us knows anything, not even whether we know or do not know, nor do we know whether … [Read more...]

“The Fame of M. Everett Donning” / Memorable Fancies #472

      M. Everett Donning is famous on three continents, but he doesn’t know why. He’s been successful in business, but who would care about that? “Are you the M. Everett Donning?” many people approach him at social events and ask.      “Perhaps,” he says, “That’s my name, so I suppose so.”      Then they say, “I’m honored to meet you, sir.”      Great achievements are mentioned, always vaguely. “I don’t remember quite where I heard of you, but I’m highly flattered to be speaking with … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XVIII: The Travel Brochure” / Memorable Fancies #471

     “Experience Mombasa on this special tour. Browse for native crafts as our highly trained security forces accompany you. (And not to worry; we hire only vegetarians for these jobs.) Best of all, Mombasa’s centuries-old mix of nationalities and races allows you to sample a wide variety of flavors and textures of the various native groups. Before you know it, you’ll be able to tell a Hadimu from a Sukuma with one bite!”<END>     If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share … [Read more...]

“A Problem with Outdoor Matinees and 84-Word Sentences” / Memorable Fancies #470

     As any Athenian, I am partial to the theatre, especially to those final scenes where a god saves the day and resolves all those knotty plot problems. Any of the multitude of gods may appear, but for only one do we post a warning in advance of the show: Phoebus Apollo. If we were to look directly at him we would be blinded. At least, some people think so. That is why in our dramas the custom is to look away and hear only his voice. Ah, but this is surely just some old superstition from long … [Read more...]

“The Fame of Hattie Samuel” / Memorable Fancies #469

     There are trends and fads, wired not tired, and this year we are all trying to look, talk, and dress like someone named Hattie Samuel or her companion Samuel Hattie. These two have caught on, more than any other couple for decades, with their daring style, their special mystique. There are imitators on stage, cartoons and caricatures, kind but pungent jokes. Their faces are on view at every checkout lane in the country.      Hattie/Samuel/Hattie may actually be real people, or they may … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XVII” / Memorable Fancies #468

     At first, only the newly dead were eaten, and even then only accident victims, for fear of disease. But gradually, accusations were made that not all these “accidents” were accidents, but people killed for their meat. Little by little, meat from human beings was introduced in restaurants and in the home because other animal protein had become very expensive and virtually unobtainable in any case. – This new food source was politely called “domestic protein.” Protestors carried signs reading … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XXII: Dinner at Bad Shepherd” / Memorable Fancies #467

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      The pleasant little bell rings over the PA system and we all salivate. Those of us trusted to move our own legs trudge to the dining hall, which adjoins the day room and provides dining so elegant that those here who’ve been in the Army weep with reminiscence and tell the others long stories about liver-day, SOS, and Tuesday’s coffee (that’s the day cook tops up the grounds).      We … [Read more...]

“The Rally (Nuremberg, 1934)” / Memorable Fancy #466

Speak distinctly, loud enough to let them hear their rage, words sharp clipped or long-intoned vibrato. Then pause; the pause is everything.           Let ascending light           cast its shape into the night. Now let them breathe inside your outstretched hand. Slowly close your fist and lift it up, then make the small and smiling sign for silence. Concentrate your face and make it color dark, bring out the sweat, hold their eyes with yours.           Raise them up to let … [Read more...]

“Knife” / Memorable Fancies #465

     Reading the latest mystery novel, a knife asked, “Why should I always be, at best, a plot device, ink on paper? I am a real thing of wood and steel, made to cut meat, to return to the drawer until one piece of meat decides – that a different piece of meat needs cutting…” <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XVI: The Importer’s Dilemma” / Memorable Fancies #464

     Arthur Leben’s company discussed the potential use of imported “wild” offshore protein resulting from riots, murders, wars, etc. They noted problems of unreliability of supply, spoilage, and a high percentage of unsuitable meat (from the old, the diseased, the poisonously gassed, etc.) which was nearly worthless for human consumption and could be sold only to governments for school-lunch programs in the poorer parts of town.      Owing to these problems, the firm concluded that there … [Read more...]

“The Stone Face – II: President’s Rock” / Memorable Fancies #463

     An outcrop of rock on a hillside back of town could pass, from the right angle and with sufficient squinting, like the profile of a man’s face. Some of us in town called it “President’s Rock,” but we couldn’t agree on which president it looked like.      High school kids were in the habit of climbing it in spite of the risk of falling, and one day Marvin Ownby, on a dare, knocked a “wart” off the rock’s “nose.” As we were thinking of publicizing the face as a tourist attraction, we … [Read more...]

“Nothing Butter” / Memorable Fancies #462

“We call them the ‘nothing butters,’” the professor said – “those who demean some X by saying ‘X is nothing but Y,’ as in ‘democracy is nothing but mob rule,’ or ‘property is nothing but theft.’ In our next class,” the professor concluded, “we will discuss the socallers, the indenialers, and the I’moffendeders.” <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XV: Three Quotations” / Memorable Fancies #461

“Anthropophagy, the act of eating human fleſh. This horrid practice is ſaid to prevail in ſome parts of Africa and America. But it is greatly to be doubted if ever ſuch a cuſtom exiſted.” --  Encyclopædia Britannica (1769) # “Cannibalism ... dates from the earliest known existence of man on earth. It may reasonably be believed to be a custom which all peoples have practiced.” -- William Graham Sumner, Folkways (1906) # “If the Jou-Jou hadn’t meant us to eat people, He wouldn’t have … [Read more...]

“Folder-Therapy” / Memorable Fancies #460

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      One of the patients sneaked a look inside a manila folder at the nurses’ station: the classic urban legend of the madhouse. I think it’s a plot; Doctor leaves papers around for us to “accidentally” find, read, be terrified or reassured. It’s some secret therapy, papers saying things he made up, lies about us, things he wants us to know and deny, fantasies for us to try on for size. It’s a … [Read more...]

“What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?” / Memorable Fancies #459

<END>     If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      Subscriptions to this blog are available at www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch or at www.bit.ly/Fancies. – or you can just Follow this blog.      You can also buy one or both of my two commercially published novels on Amazon.     For a profile, list of publications, and other information, go to www.terencekuch.net.     See you tomorrow! … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XVI: Memory and Forgetting” / Memorable Fancies #458

There is a term for corrupted memories, memories that fail to reflect a true god’s-eye view of what happened, that are distorted, self-serving. That term is just – ‘memories.’ # Our project concerns documenting the later memories of people who died in infancy. A corps of us are at work on this, that no one be denied a history, even those who never had one. What we do is never adequate, in fact it’s entirely futile. But it might be some consolation. [– after Gűnter Grass] # On another … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XIV” / Memorable Fancies #457

[The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]      “Slavery, you know,” Arthur Leben said. “Cannibalism is no worse than slavery. If people are owned like cattle, they can be eaten like cattle.”      “But the old slave-holders didn’t eat their slaves!” Paul said.      “How do you know that?” Leben shot back. “The old ones, the sick ones, the ones who couldn’t work – maybe Massah didn’t eat them directly, I’ll concede, but what could he do with them? If they died and were fed … [Read more...]

“International Travelers’ Handy Phrase-Book” / Memorable Fancies #456

To be Translated into the Language of any Uncivilized (i.e., developing) Country, to Make Sure You Get What You Want: At the airport: Please. Where are the toilets? Thank you. I have nothing to declare. I wish a taxicab. I am in a hurry. Thank you. How much do I owe you? That is too much. Here is (five, ten, fifteen) Thank you. Please carry my bags into the hotel. Thank you. Here is a coin. Think nothing of it.     # At the hotel: I would like … [Read more...]

“Academy of the Almosts” / Memorable Fancies #455

     The Almosts are those who just missed, just failed to be seen – known – honored – or did not quite come into being: the eighth wonder of the world, the hidden imam, the 41st member of the Académie, the sleeping Kaiser, everyone who “coulda been a contender,” who almost got that reserved parking space, who might have been – what they were not.      We have founded an Academy of the Almost and have opened our rolls to applicants. However, we can’t accept just everyone, because not everyone … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XIII” / Memorable Fancies #454

[The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]       Americans eating Americans? – Never! But Arthur Leben finds that an antiquated quibble, and discriminatory as well. Arthur is concerned with the balance of trade, and the associated opportunities for increasing American farm exports and reducing imports. Real American hube meat is prized in Asia – a delicacy. “Let’s eat American tonight!” That slogan should appeal to the Chinese. Eventually, hube-meat could be our leading source of … [Read more...]

“Down the Tubes” / Memorable Fancies #453

     This afternoon, the Film-Flam channel is showing “Down the Tubes.” An on-screen blurb tells us what to expect: “This out-of-focus documentary presents a side of the retro heavy-metal group Down the Tubes that you’ve never seen before, complete with exclusive interviews with their parents, and previously unreleased for good reason film footage. There are no deleted scenes because all the scenes should have been deleted.” <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends … [Read more...]

“Current Resident” / Memorable Fancies #452

    Harold Carter was on a home visit from Bad Shepherd mental hospital. Dr. Wolfe thought that being in his own apartment for a few days might speed his recovery. Harold was doing fine on his first day, but then the mail arrived – all junkmail, of course – but one item caught his eye: HAROLD CARTER OR CURRENT RESIDENT, shouted the envelope in threatening all-caps. And the next piece of mail: HAROLD CARTER OR CURRENT RESIDENT. Well, Harold thought, I’m Harold Carter and I live here – so the … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XV – Gods” / Memorable Fancies #451

Relics of devout living people are snatched at on the street by those who seek good luck, or salvation, or a convenient item to sell on eBay.   #   At news that serious unbelief had broken out, emergency ministers were scrambled, ordered to perform miracles for the people, tell them that the miracle had happened even if life went on as usual. The success of these ministers, of course, was the real miracle.   #   The difference between gods and idols is … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XII” / Memorable Fancies #450

 [The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]       “…to forestall the likelihood of empathetic feelings arising in the herd, those hubes who were born in free-range ranches were not given names. Nonetheless, it was observed that they often christened (if we may use the term here) each other with sobriquets that struck observers as ludicrous and over-elaborate, considering their destination as steaks, chops, and stew-meat. “Sparticus” and “Scipio” were among the favorites.” [– … [Read more...]

“YouBetter” / Memorable Fancies #448

     Some laws were made by God, some by Congress. The bylaws of our local stamp-collecting club, however, were bought over the Internet from a small firm called YouBetter. They promised that their set of rules was “completely suitable for small philatelic organizations like yours” and “sure to have an answer for any eventuality.” At only $5.99, how could we lose?      The document arrived in both hard and soft copy, with flyers concerning other products from the firm.      We studied the … [Read more...]

“A Case Of …” / Memorable Fancies #447

     That outrageous rumor about me is just unbelievable – scandalous – then why do so many believe it? Why is it gaining converts every day, even as we speak? Why does every tabloid … Has everyone lost his senses? Well, at least I’m gaining some kind of fame, and that’s a consolation. Yes, scandal beats oblivion any day.      But then I hear that the rumor was actually about someone else, not about me at all. Now I’m really pissed! <END>      If you liked this post, please tell … [Read more...]

“The Crickets’ Chord” / Memorable Fancies #446

     The cricket sings two notes: sound and silence, yes and no. All singing crickets sound alike; all crickets are silent the same. One singing cricket is enough; one quiet cricket is enough.      Two crickets sing four notes: yes and no, no and no, yes and yes, no and yes. All crickets sing alike, so yes and yes is just one yes and no and no a single no. Yes and no is no and yes is also yes and yes, is yes. Two crickets are enough.      The silent cricket has no song. Two silent crickets … [Read more...]

“Earth-Shaker – VI: The Geology Lesson” / Memorable Fancies #445

     Professor Tronn, the noted geologist, had been speaking about his research. No one was listening closely, but every few seconds we would nod our heads as if interesting, original, and extremely wise points had possibly been made. Tronn had just emphasized his theory that the crustal shaking that so concerned us was merely a by-product of stronger movements well underneath us, near the center of the planet. That was when another reverberation came, not as strong this time as the one that … [Read more...]

“The Sirens” / Memorable Fancies #444

[“The Sirens have a weapon even more terrible than their song, namely, their silence.” – Kafka]      Odysseus ties himself to the mast, but as he glides by the Sirens in his ship he does not see their lips move, suddenly realizes that the story of their singing was a lie. The Sirens’ real weapon, those agonizing females, is not their voice but their silent eyes, their condemning, judging eyes now fixed on him, opening wider, and now their mouths, twisting in silent anger … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XI” / Memorable Fancies #443

[The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]      A special baby was born to us that day; even hardened farm hands could tell that this one was – different. They decided to risk punishment by hiding him (it was a boy) from the Harvesters, forging the necessary documents to exempt him from being used for food, at least through infancy. After that, who could know? <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“Ryan’s Grandpa” / Memorable Fancies #442

     In the gloomy old house the rich widower has died. In line with an old tradition, all the mirrors have been covered with dark cloth.      The family gathers and prepares for the funeral. There is little sorrow in their minds, and much greed. Each of the three grown children is determined not to share the estate, but have it all.      SHARON, the daughter who always felt that her father had slighted her in favor of her two brothers, is prepared to fight. She needs the money, she says, … [Read more...]

“A Murder Wiki – I” / Memorable Fancies #441

     Two writers, A and B, meet on line. They agree to collaborate on a novel. A writes a rough draft. B modifies it. A adds more. B adds his own story elements and new characters. One of the new elements is a murder; one of the new characters is a murderer. A repeatedly deletes the character, wanting the novel to be upbeat, but B keeps writing him back in. Just before the collaboration would have broken down in anger and recrimination, the murderer finds A, at work on his computer. B can now … [Read more...]

“A Pleasant Afternoon” / Memorable Fancies #440

[from the Diaries of Franz Kafka, page 301: “2 August [1914]. Germany has declared war on Russia – swimming in the afternoon.”]      Thousands dead in tsunami – had a very good tuna sandwich for lunch, plenty of mayonnaise.      President severely wounded in brazen attack – had another tuna sandwich, went swimming. Pool to myself.     Talks abandoned, missiles on their way here, Newsradio says. Switched to chicken salad, found tuna suddenly boring. Pool to myself again.<END>If you liked … [Read more...]

“Mina Remembers” / Memorable Fancies #439

(former French West Africa, early 1960s)      I remember — during the war the Germans came here, and the French learned to behave.      I could take the Germans, then. They didn’t have moods. They thought we were happy primitives, no more, and so they were free to be friendly with us if they wanted to. And so, sometimes, they were. Sometimes. All the Europeans’ houses back then, they had a little statue of Hitler, usually just his head, right in the middle of their dining room tables. … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XIV” / Memorable Fancies #438

The interpenetration of human body parts: in love, a fantasy. On the battlefield, reality. # A note in the supervising psychiatrist’s log: “Restrained, sedated, isolated, required to watch TV until attitude improves.” # The buried man, like the swimmer, has eight directions now instead of the usual six: up, down; left, right; forward, backward; and now headward, feetward. # Her voice: the melismatic contrivance that says all things. # “My body’s just a shell I use for … [Read more...]

“Observations of a Mirror” / Memorable Fancies #437

          It hangs against the bedroom wall and turns left-right the lifeless things it sees: a faintly flowered chair with curving legs and freckled arms, a headless robe asprawl the bed.          And through the closet door the silent suits step out toward it one each day and dress parade salute about face march away to rout the plaidies from their glen, un-nest the wing-tips from the upper floors, then home to hang again.         Turn your back, the mirror has your head and arms and … [Read more...]

“One Day I lifted Up a Manhole Cover” / Memorable Fancies #435

1:  My life as a Pedestrian-AmericanOne day walking briskly down the hurrybusy street, one day I stooped and lifted tugging pulling tipped aside the dirty rusty thing, peered down where light just barely falls, saw many little men their busy magnets pulling pedestrians there and here hurriedlyhurry from down beneath the street.They glanced, smirked up at me. I overedged and tumbled down armsfirst upflailing feet. I saw my magnet, mine, my magnet pulling me.One handed me my magnet “Here !” he … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – IX” / Memorable Fancy #434

  [The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]        Because hubes were people, they had always been counted for purposes of Congressional representation, even if the farmers and ranchers who owned them would not allow them to vote.      Massachusetts, as the last state not allowing hube-farming, brought suit in federal court to change this practice.       Mississippi, as the state with the largest number of farmed hubes, defended the principles that these … [Read more...]

“Bonds” / Memorable Fancies #433

     We had business to discuss, you and I, something about investment-grade bonds: their maturities, their interest and risk.      But all the time we talked I watched your eyes, your lips – their slow and measured movement when you speak. We’re showing our age, you and I, not surprising after all  these  years,  but age – age graces you.      It’s difficult for me to talk about investment-grade bonds right now, because your eyes are moving to your sweet supple speech as they have since … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XIII” / Memorable Fancies #432

A few people who’ve taken up following as a hobby claim to have found interesting people to follow, especially those who are following yet other people. # We follow each other but never quite meet up. # “My goal is meeting 100 new people in 2013” – But would those 100 want to meet you? Perhaps they would if they’re compiling their own body-counts. – see also F189 # “On the Death Penalty” – a carefully researched dissertation, authored by the condemned. He finishes it just in … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – VII: The Squeal” / Memorable Fanci8es #430

     “Nothing but the squeal,” the old factory-farm motto, applied to hube farms as well. After all the meat had been extracted, the hair, skin, nails, and other parts of the ‘Volunteers’ were processed and sold as “faux alligator,” or “nouveau bovine,” and so on. Lampshades were popular. <END> If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Face Book, or other social websites. I’ve published more than 50 weird, quirky, horror, … [Read more...]

“The Wall of Eden” / Memorable Fancies #429

[“We stand outside the wall of Eden and hear the trees talking together within, and their talk is sweet in our ears.” – Yeats]      Pear Tree: How did that damn apple tree, you know, the one in the book about Adam and Eve; how did it wangle all that publicity? People don’t come here to the Garden to see and admire me anymore. My boughs are heavy with rotting fruit, while the apple has been picked nearly bare.      Peach Tree: It was something about good and evil, I think. The people … [Read more...]

“The Dolls – I” / Memorable Fancies #344

     Your employer, or perhaps the government, has given you a doll that looks like a much smaller version of you. This is the award they give, they say, for your long-outstanding service.      The doll cannot be discarded or given away; that would be the height of discourtesy, perhaps disloyalty as well.      It must be kept visible on top of your desk at all times, or the others will feel hurt, may report you.      It is possible that its glass eyes are recording something.      … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – VI” / Memorable Fancies #428

     Free-range hubes were fine, everyone’s ideal. Let them breathe what’s left of the fresh air before they give the last full measure of devotion. But still, in a small enclosed space, with constant control of heat, light, water, vitamins, the piping-in of soft music, the repeated repeated “it’s OK … it’s OK …” from the recordings played in each pen, the contented hubes grew faster than the free-range kind, and fatter, and their meat was more tender. “Kobe hube” was especially prized. [hube … [Read more...]

“The Legend of the Dove” / A Memorable Fancy #427

[And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth. – Genesis 7:19]      The rain stopped, and the ship drifted on the swells of the world ocean. Months passed. At last, the family in the Ark saw tips of mountains below, just below the surface. Shem went to Noah, and said “Father, it’s time to send out the dove.”      But Noah hesitated. “This is my dove,” he said. “If I send it out, it may not come back to me. And if it does come back, who knows what it might have seen, might have done, … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XII: Dreaming” / A Memorable Fancy #426

At first, Netflix rented out dreams contributed by the public. But as these proved unexciting, the company began paying ghost-writers to “dream up a plot.” # Some sexdreams had become legendary, had been sold ten, twenty times, reviewed in Rolling Stone, passed from person to person like precious gems, hoarded, resold, treasured, hocked. As the old song asked, “‘I wonder who’s kissing her now?’” # Eventually, our dreams were routinely harvested and sold to commercial firms for … [Read more...]

“The Suicide Motel” / A Memorable Fancy #425

[“… the Suicide Motel, for which the precise actual procedure must also be determined.” – Jean Baudrillard]      At the Suicide Motel, each guest must choose how to die. Pills are available, and soft music. But some choose instead to be murdered, to spare their souls and loved ones the shame of suicide.      Others say that murder is the coward’s way, too, and it was in fact their choice to die, no getting around it even if someone else pulled the trigger.      And yet others say that … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – V: Generations” / A Memorable Fancy #424

     Arthur Leben’s hube farms were flourishing, but the food these farms produced had encountered some resistance. The few remaining liberals could be ignored, but objections from the dining public were more significant. Surveys showed large majorities agreeing with “all tastes the same”; “tastes like chicken”; “gamey”; and there was continuing concern about disease and Mad Hube Syndrome, since much hube nourishment was gained from eating their own kind, and so over the generations deadly … [Read more...]

“Boarding-Gate” / A Memorable Fancy #423

     A TV monitor in the Gate 32 waiting area suddenly stops showing CNN and addresses Ted by name, tells him he’s suspected of being the notorious terrorist Abu-something. Unnerved, Ted moves several rows away. But now a nearer monitor continues the first monitor’s story, adds details, says that authorities are closing in. Ted hears a noise in the nearby corridor, running feet ... <END> If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“The Gawker” / A Memorable Fancy #422

     Tom peers out through the rear window of his sixth-floor apartment. He sees the familiar alley, then the back of the building facing 478 Eddy Street, a cheap residence hotel. This is a daily routine for him, or more often. In the other building are several bedrooms where the hotel guests, or the guests of their guests, don’t always bother to close their blinds all the way, or bother to stay dressed, or have reasons for not being dressed.      Among other sights that day there is a woman … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – IV: Domestic Tranquility” / A Memorable Fancy #421

[The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]      There were arguments, in the early days, as to what stock-breeding should aim at. Some argued that health and vigor were paramount, to ensure the hardiness of the herd. Some said docility. Others, that transportability, i.e., the ability to move large numbers of hubes in boxcars without noticeable damage to their flesh and more days in transit before rotting, were most important in reducing transportation costs. But eventually there … [Read more...]

“from the Aztec Sacrifice Training Manual, year 1518” / A Memorable Fancy #420

     If you didn’t cut it clean, keep the pace. Feel the black obsidian blade lift your arm again.      Without a hint of hurry say the sacrificial words, but to yourself this time.      Some have the heart a little to the right; some have it bound more tightly in; some have small dark veins to snap before the heart comes free.      Move the blade strongly and simply, without shaking or jerking your head or hands.      If the drug was too weak, if she comes to in fright and rises up … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – XI” / A Memorable Fancy #419

  The dead language revives. Where are the things it has words for?   #   When a man died in archaic Greece, his wife was compelled to spend one night with the body, to ease its passage to the next world. Many of these women remembered, for the rest of their lives, their marriage to a stern, unbending, silent and truculent corpse.   #   The sun god forsakes his subjects every sundown, leaving a more tolerant god in charge of our doings in the … [Read more...]

“Dogs Bring Home a Bone” / A Memorable Fancy #196

Every evening after dinner, the neighborhood dogs packed together and ran up into the hills for an hour or so. At first, there was some concern they might attack chickens or livestock or people; and then Doc (that's me) would have to patch them up, except maybe the chickens. But none of that wilding happened that anyone knows. One day last week the dogs came back early. Rusty, my own dog, proudly carried a bone in his mouth, dropped it at my feet. Picking it up, I recognized it as a human … [Read more...]

“The Re-Enactment” / A Memorable Fancy #418

[“...re-enactments. With actors recreating the postures, sounds, and ensuing mayhem ...” – Pil & Galia Kollectiv]      The producer wishes to re-enact the famous play where there was a riot, with many injured and a few dead.      “How realistic do you want this to be?” the director asks. “If we advertise it as a re-enactment, then ticket-holders will know that some of them, at least, may die. The original production wasn’t that way, of course; the catastrophe was a complete surprise. … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations III – Factory Farms” / A Memorable Fancy #417

[The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]      The “volunteers,” as they were called, were marketed as free-range hube-meat although most had come from inner cities or pockets of poverty in the hinterland, and neither type could really be considered free-range. Arthur Leben contemplated this, the toughness of their meat, and the danger of disease or ingestion of second-hand narcotics. He made a decision: he would establish a hube factory-farm, where the future meat could live … [Read more...]

“Monotheists on Holiday” / A Memorable Fancy #416

     Make a plan, what to do, where to stay and when. Who’s got HBO, heated pool, CNN? Count the hours, see the sights –      But next time …      Follow the wind; sleep where night finds you; trust in the gods you wish there were.      Flip a coin, still end over end walk away. <END> If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment in StumbleUpon. Subscriptions to A Memorable Fancy are available on Amazon. (www.bit.ly/Fancies), or just Follow this … [Read more...]

“The Game” / A Memorable Fancy #415

     The rules of the game are lengthy, detailed, and often obscure or nonsensical, but the players are instructed to follow them to the letter. There is a catch, however: a certain amount of cheating is not only tolerated, but accepted; not only accepted, but required. No one knows how much cheating is needed to win, and how much additional cheating condemns one to not being liked, not being promoted.      This game is often simply called “business.” <END> If you liked this post, … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations II – The Gourmet of Souls” / A Memorable Fancy #414

[The future: there’s not much left to eat but people.]      The gourmet of souls devours each of the dead while the soul is still fresh, while it still remembers love and struggle and final calamity. Then the eater glows with repast, is satiated until the next body is delivered, steaming fresh and just about to realize that it is dead, that fleeting instant when its meat has the most exquisite savor. As our bodies are sliced and diced and pass through this delightful digestive process, we are … [Read more...]

“Dream-Sin” / A Memorable Fancy #413

[-- Michel Foucault, Mental Health and Psychology, p.xxxv quoting a confessional manual: “Examine even unto your dreams, to know if, once awakened, you did not give them your consent.”]        “Forgive me, Father, I have sinned in my dreams, done wicked things in my dreams, with my body and with other people’s bodies too.      “Did I consent to these dreams? Now how could I…?      “Well, perhaps, yes, Father, I suppose my unconscious must have wanted to dream about – these … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – X” / A Memorable Fancy #412

Preparing his closing address to the jury, the defense attorney is having problems with his spell-check program. It keeps changing “accident” to “murder,” and “innocent” to “guilty.” # There is machine karma – you didn’t think they’d be exempt, did you? Dead machines have another life as a different kind of machine. Wicked ones come back as garbage disposals or cat-litter-box scoops. # My search is for someone worthy of being followed. Someone who will respect me, might even turn … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations I – ‘Rights'” / A Memorable Fancy #411

[Beginning a new series …] “Next thing, they'll be breeding us like cattle for food.” – Soylent Green      The year 2038: Water wars, loss of ice-caps, demise of the ocean-current circulator system, drought … Even though the environmental crisis deepened, people kept breeding: eight million, nine, ten, ... The first mammals to go were cattle and sheep – they took up too much space, farted too much methane, ate too much grain. And then the grain was gone, too. The only protein we had too … [Read more...]

“Trees” / A Memorable Fancy #410

[“We stand outside the wall of Eden and hear the trees talking together within, and their talk is sweet in our ears.” – Yeats]      Pear:  How did that damn apple tree, you know, the one that got all that publicity in the book about Adam and Eve; how did it wangle that? The people don’t come here to the Garden to see and admire me anymore. My boughs are heavy with rotting fruit, while the apple has been picked nearly bare.      Peach:  It was something about good and evil. The people … [Read more...]

“Getting Into Art” / A Memorable Fancy #409

[“... the initiative launched by new museums where the aim is not to stand in front of the pictures, but stand in the pictures – in the virtual reality of Déjeuner sur l’herbe, for example – which they can in this way enjoy in real time, possibly even interacting with the work and the figures in it.” –Jean Baudrillard] The public was invited to visit with the people in Manet’s famous painting. At first, one heard only standard recordings as in a wax museum, but then the technology improved … [Read more...]

“The King Sups” / A Memorable Fancy #408

     The ancient manuscript was finally translated. It contained directions on how to flavor roast oxen for the great king’s supper one evening, which turned out to be his last. Paleographers were disappointed in the subject matter, but it was an old and valuable parchment nonetheless, definitely museum-quality.      In addition, it was curious in containing a number of partially obliterated words and phrases. These had been skipped in the first quick translation effort, but now museum … [Read more...]

“Come Out and Play!” / A Memorable Fancy #407

     Come out and play! We’ll put on nice new clothes and all look alike, and the other fellows will put on nice new clothes and all look alike – but we won’t look too much like those other fellows.      Come out and play! We’ll have toys of real wood and steel, hard and sharp in our hands. We’ll have toys that fly with us, and toys that fly from us, all very fast and make a lot of noise – the other fellows will have their toys, too.      Come out and play! We’ll put on our nice new … [Read more...]

“Babylon Taxi” / A Memorable Fancy #406

“Welcome to our country, sir! Did you have a good flight? – OK aside from that? – I am sorry to hear that, sir, some things happen even here. But now I show you a few interesting things as we come into the capital. “Right over there now, see? The river. Between those two warehouses if you look quick. There are some interesting boat trips. You can sign up at your hotel. No floods this time of year, so the boat will be safe. “Oh, the Tower? You wouldn’t be interested in that. Nobody goes to … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – IX” / A Memorable Fancy #405

“You’re all puppets!” the street-corner speaker ranted. “You’re slaves of liberalism!” Bystanders shook their heads and conferred among themselves. Should this be “persons who are puppets,” or “persons with puppetism?”, or what? The speaker took advantage of this distraction: the strings of the bystanders were once again jerked. # Life isn’t like the brochure said it would be. I want my mommy back. # Are they all robots? He cuts one up to see, realizes that a robot need not be gears … [Read more...]

“ ‘Why is there something, rather than nothing?’ ” / A Memorable Fancy #404

Robert Morgan saw seven new titles in the university library on that subject, and 15 older ones as well. Having just been laid off as Assistant Professor of Physics he had time to look through all of them; and so he did. After a month of head-spinning study, having found nothing like a satisfactory answer, it occurred to Robert that the question itself must somehow be wrong: irrelevant, meaningless, or an answer would already have been found. The question “Why is there something, rather … [Read more...]

“On the Street” / A Memorable Fancy #403

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Certainly I wore torn old clothes when I went on a rant. Before I was put here, that was. “Shoes and shirts must be worn,” and mine were about as worn as anybody’s. Certainly I bathed not too often. This gave me a sort of license, you know, the clothes and the smell, and the remarkable fact of being female. What if I were to stand in the middle of Charles Street in a clean, pressed pants … [Read more...]

“The Pollster – III” / A Memorable Fancy #402

After a time, everyone will become so annoyed with pollsters that everyone will lie. This is not to deceive, but to render pollsters useless so that we can get on with our lives. But, as everyone will lie to the pollster, every truth can be known by changing “yes” to “no” and “no” to “yes,” or “Smith” to “Jones” and “Jones” to “Smith.”      More and more people, however, will begin telling the truth once more, in order to utterly confound the pollsters. After a time, however, … [Read more...]

“Bombay Palace Restaurant (Formerly Joe’s Cafe) Staunton, Virginia” / A Memorable Fancy #401

     Formerly Joe owned this place. Formerly Joe cooked up chicken-fried steak hot beef sandwich potatoes and gravy two vegetables (your choice, but always carrots and peas), hard-perked coffee, two eggs any style they felt like serving,      and Edna waited table.      Formerly Joe knew all of us here in town, and we all came in one time or another, sat around and talked, ate up paid and left.      Joe’s place was always there; we never thought about it much, even when we were there. … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XX: Pieces” / A Memorable Fancy #400

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Doctor takes our minds apart piece by piece, disassembles them, lays them out like mice ripped apart by a cat. Sometimes we talk about it, a kind of conversational terrorism. Here’s a piece of me:      “Do you know why you’re here?” he asks.      “I’m crazy.”      “Well, saying that is just avoidance, you know, Diane. ‘Crazy’ is just a word. It’s not acknowledging what you … [Read more...]

“The Mountain” / A Memorable Fancy #399

Again there was thunder and lightning in the mountain, and trumpets, and smoke there, and fire. Again Moses came down from the mountain carrying the tables of the Law, came a second time to Aaron and the people. They swore, the people, this time, to take the Law into their selves, their bodies, and live in the grasp and clutch of God forever.      Moses set up the tables of the Law in the midst of his people, so they might read what the god had commanded. Each one read with eyes and fingers … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – VIII” / A Memorable Fancy #398

Larry is convinced he’s living in the future. Everything here is strange, confusing, unexplained, he tells people. He wonders what happened between his time and now. Why are there so few people? Why is there no rain?# Your life membership has expired. The plastic-card destroyer is knocking on your door with the butt of his scythe.#We’re free to do one thing only – the rest is given. We will always consider it our worst mistake. But it was our greatest achievement.# A god may possess you, or two … [Read more...]

“The Room Where Someone Died” / A Memorable Fancy #397

     A few months after he bought the house, in casual neighborhood conversation Alfred discovered that a woman named Emily Hartness had died in that very house a few years before. A natural death, they said, but still Alfred was bothered. He lay awake that night, wondering if old Mrs. Hartness had died in that very bedroom. Well probably, he thought; it was the master bedroom, after all.      He couldn’t sleep, moved to the living-room couch. But he couldn’t sleep there, either; suppose she … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XIX: “’Who’s Real?’” / A Memorable Fancy #396

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      I pride myself on being Doctor’s special project. “A tough case,” I once overheard him saying. On Mondays I have him for individual counseling. Today is Monday.      “How is Sugar Odette these days?” he asks.      “Fine, Doctor. She can’t wait to hear what I’ll have to say about today’s session.”      “And what will you tell her?”      “I don’t know, Doctor; we haven’t had the … [Read more...]

“Innocent” / A Memorable Fancy #395

    “It was an accident, officer.” That’s what I told them. “It was an accident that he died. You have to believe me; I’m innocent.”      I wait in my room for them to come back, to arrest me, to tell me it couldn’t possibly have been an accident, now that their experts have examined the body, now that the weapon has been found, and the threatening emails, and so on.      But they never come. Week after week they never come. I can’t stop staring at the door. <END> If you liked … [Read more...]

“Higher Office” / A Memorable Fancy #394

        Tronn joins the crowd for the evening’s dismemberment, but without much interest because he’s gone several times before, and tonight’s honoree is undistinguished. Last week it was a vice-mayor, the week before that a general of the unsuccessful war. Every three or four evenings, no one can figure out why a particular victim is selected. Who will the next one be? There are odds-makers. The whole process seems to make little sense to Tronn except as cheap entertainment for the masses, but … [Read more...]

“Wittgenstein Counts His Toes” / A Memorable Fancy #392

[“What reason have I, now, when I cannot see my toes, to assume that I have five toes on each foot?” – Wittgenstein]      One morning while putting on my shoes I happened to look at my feet, and noticed that I had only four toes on each foot. When did that happen? It could have been days ago, and I just now noticed. Whatever happened, why hadn’t it hurt?      I remark on my lack to others. They look at me strangely. One says, “Were you born with an extra toe? Those can be removed … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – VII” / A Memorable Fancy #391

[Neuroscientists find a way to record dreams as the dreamer experienced them.] In the debate, the candidate was challenged to release her dreams to the press. Blushing and stammering, she refused. Her polls immediately went up five points. # Commissioner Hills laughed, said “sure you can broadcast my dreams,” not remembering the one where … # “My opponent dreamed of robbing a bank; can you imagine? Surely you don’t want that man as our Mayor!” # What if your dream is … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XVII: Bedtime at the Asylum” / A Memorable Fancy #389

  [Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]   “What are your dreams, Diane?” Sugar Odette asks me. “On most nights, I dream that monsters are chasing me.” “No, I mean your hopes for the future. When they let you out of here.” “I hope they don’t catch me.” “Who?” “The monsters.” # Sugar gives me a hug and a kiss because she’s annoyed that I’m not taking her question seriously. Then she turns over and … [Read more...]