“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...]

“The Game I Always Win” / A Memorable Fancy #388

[“I could lose, but I always win.” – ‘M,’ in Last Year at Marienbad]      In the sequel, M has invented a new game for four to six players. Each secretly chooses a number from 1 to 10. Whoever has chosen the highest number that no one else has also chosen, wins. A man called X gallantly plays but always loses. M always wins. A, the ravishing femme, this time leaves with M, having always liked the idea of being with a winner. Perhaps he will reveal the winning strategy to her; then she can be … [Read more...]

“Prediction” / A Memorable Fancy #387

     Tronn returns home from seeing a play. He takes off his shoes and creeps up the stairs in his stocking feet. There is a voice: “How was the play?” Tronn answers, “There is a scene where the male lead takes off his shoes and creeps upstairs in his stocking feet. Then a voice calls out: ‘How was the play?’ The actor replies ‘dull and predictable.’” Tronn realizes that the play was dull and predictable, too. As is his life. <END> If you liked this post, please tell your friends. … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XVI: Introducing Sugar Odette” / A Memorable Fancy #386

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      Sugar Odette is my particular friend. The hospital, not being able to enforce the absolute celibacy they’d like to see (which would however drive us totally nuts, thus justifying the hospital’s existence) acknowledges such relationships in a way that doesn’t commit them to admitting to the Board that any fornication is actually being accomplished. We have this ceremony in the day room, … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs – VI” / Memorable Fancies #385

Out of pity, we discard our wornout memories where we know the poor will find them, perhaps at least once remember food, laughter, warmth. # In the land of Oobla-Da, even before one opens one’s mouth the other nods, smiles; or shakes, frowns. But this other does not speak, because one knows exactly what he would say if he were to speak. One merely nods, or shakes, or kicks, or gouges. And then the other – [“No one speaks there, for everyone knows what everyone else wants to say.” Eliot … [Read more...]

“Pre-Op Consultation” / A Memorable Fancy #384

     “What angle would you like your hand to be?” the surgeon asked. “I could make it look so good no one will ever guess you’re crippled until you reach for something, or I could make it strange enough to get you sidelong looks and condescension; you decide.      “Your hand won’t be able to do a few things now,” he said, “all the simple things you want to do and won’t know you can’t do until you try, hand wagging futilely in air.”      He roared and slapped his leg and winked at me and … [Read more...]

“They Told Me” / A Memorable Fancy #383

[“Might I not believe that once, without knowing it, I was taken far away from the earth – that other people even know this?” – Wittgenstein]      They told me I went to another planet and came back. They insisted on interviewing me even though I didn’t have anything to say, because an accident on re-entry had wiped out my memories – they told me. I don’t remember being on another planet. At first I thought they were pulling my leg, or playing some practical joke while watching me with a … [Read more...]

“Asylum – XV: The Tale” / A Memorable Fancy #382

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]      I’ve saved telling you about the best visitor for last: the President himself, in goodly godful person, came by for a photo-op one day, preceded by Service agents pretending futilely to be Secret, bomb-sniffing lemurs, radiation detectors that however didn’t pick up the vibes the Aliens are beaming at us from Mars (so says one of us here in Ward H, who receives these vibes from the cell … [Read more...]

“‘No one believes…'” / A Memorable Fancy #381

     “No one believes that Smith personally knew that…” said the talking head. It was the inevitable “no one is saying that…” or “no one believes that…” Who is speaking for me without my consent? I did not delegate my mind to the talking head. It’s worse in a democracy, because the agreement of the people must be claimed, even if not obtained; only an authoritarian regime needn’t acknowledge the space your ideas exist in. Bill Watson concluded these thoughts with the realization that no one … [Read more...]