“Your Operation” / Memorable Fancies #1650

At first they smile, tell you it will be painless. Then they show you the instruments and say no, they will not hurt you. Then later they show you what they took out of you, and ask, is this what hurt? And you say no, what’s left is what hurts, now. And they say, that cannot be, because there is nothing left of you. Then what am I remembering? you ask. You have someone else’s memory now, they say – someone who survived the operation. [Click ‘Random Post’ above – be astonished] … [Read more...]

“The Darkness” / Memorable Fancies #1392

[“Show me you are not the light I called to / but the blackness behind it.” – Louise Glück] Was that first rush of madness hers, or mine? Yours, she says; now I’m just like you. But how could I love you if I had not answered your call, that first time, your invitation to share the calling darkness of your mind? <END> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: For Anacreon, 30 poems of love and life from the ancient Greek poet (originally published as a chapbook by Silkworms Ink). … [Read more...]

“Mind-Changers – VI: The Body-Sitters” / Memorable Fancies #1057

[The future: Transplanting minds from one living person to another is now possible. ] Can one person own more than one body? Yes, but each body must be inhabited by a different mind, in order to remain alive. That’s how the Body-Sitter profession came about: minds who are paid to keep a vacant body alive and watch out for its welfare, feeding and exercising it, until its owner-mind decides to inhabit it again. Body-Sitter is a responsible profession, because if carelessly performed (such … [Read more...]

“Roles” / Memorable Fancies #1052

[“ACCEPT ROLE, PSYCHOLOGIST URGES” [a headline, quoted by Donald Barthelme] A reported 27% of psychologists have found it difficult to adjust to their role as psychologists, but the remainder have come to accept this designation, or at least reflect on it ruefully, clinically. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a … [Read more...]

“Any/More” / Memorable Fancies #1050

After an intensive and well-publicized search, I was the one finally selected, a few years ago, to make official announcements, to relate selected facts and sanitized truths. I attribute this appointment to my having a voice of a certain timbre, a face of plausible innocence, and an believable jaw. Citizens are required to agree with what I say, to affirm it with up and down motions of their heads and, on the National Day, also with loud huzzahs. But I know they don’t believe me anymore, … [Read more...]

“White Thoughts” / Memorable Fancies #1048

     At first, we avoid telling others our secrets; we tell them only to ourselves, alone in the quiet night. And then we cease telling ourselves these secrets, too, as the night has proved too dark for us, the silence too harsh. Eventually we walk from place to place, seeing and hearing only, white thoughts like white noise telling us we’ve never had any secrets, at all. None worth thinking about, surely. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends … [Read more...]

“Mind-Changers IV: Fair Trade” / Memorable Fancies #1047

[The future: Transplanting minds from one living person to another is now possible.] Florida is full of old people who last year were young people with great bodies and healthy brains, who sold their young-brained bodies for lots of $$ and retired into bodies recently vacated by the old, thereby trading a long and impoverished life for a brief fling of wealth, incontinence, and golf. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment … [Read more...]

“Him, or ‘Him’ ?” / Memorable Fancies #1046

[“She was fond not of him but of the abstract notion that, to her, meant ‘him.’” - Donald Barthelme]        It took her several years to realize that “Herbert” was not the same as Herbert, and that “Herbert” had appeared only in her dreams, and then only to help wash the dinner dishes and not bother her for sex too often. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, … [Read more...]

“Shoot the Clocks!” / Memorable Fancies #1045

[“In the July Revolution, simultaneously but independently, shots were fired at the timepieces on the towers of Paris.” – Walter Benjamin]      When we destroy the clocks, we stop the passage of time. Like Faust, we want this moment to stay, now that our revolution is achieved. Quick now, shoot! before our fervor congeals into institutions, contentions, endless debates. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on … [Read more...]

“Feelings” / Memorable Fancies #1044

[“Do you feel that the creation of new modes of hysteria is a viable undertaking for the artist of today?” - Donald Barthelme]      Yes, I feel it is. The feeling is driving me crazy. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy the author’s novels or story … [Read more...]

“The Fear-Whisperer – VII” / Memorable Fancies #1043

Didn’t you tell me you locked the back door? # Those people – over there – they’ve started to run. Are they just having fun? or ... maybe you should start running, too. # Is that you? Is that you? Harold? ... # Why is everything suddenly so quiet? # “We interrupt this broadcast for a special address by the President …” <END> THE PITCH   If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social … [Read more...]

“Infection” / Memorable Fancies #1042

     Those people, there, those good citizens, strolling and smiling like windup toys; they didn’t want you among them. They threw you out and told you not to come back. You were a foreign element, they said, an unwanted minority, like some kind of disease. But if you’re a disease, then you could ... <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other … [Read more...]

“Observation” / Memorable Fancies #1041

[“Now I can keep her under constant surveillance, through this system of mirrors and trained dogs.” – Donald Barthelme]     Since that was written (1965), civilization has advanced beyond such primitive means to keep track of one’s wife as mirrors and dogs. We now have mirror apps, elevated heartrate snooper apps, analyze facial expression for possible unfaithfulness apps, knows when she takes off her ring and slips it into a pocket apps, more insidious and different apps each day.    If … [Read more...]

“Mind-Changers – III: Reducing Corporate HR Expense” / Memorable Fancies #1040

[The future: Transplanting minds from one living person to another is now possible. ]      Almost immediately, large corporations saw an opportunity to improve their career-development programs without incurring substantial additional expense.      “Now,” FlexiCorp CEO Julius Carruthers told an inquiring reporter from Business Week, “we can promote the minds of promising young men. And women,” he added hastily, “from their present lower-salaried bodies into higher-salaried bodies without … [Read more...]

“The Missing Day” / Memorable Fancies #1039

    Would you lose a day of your life for a hundred dollars? A thousand? A million? At some point, you will say “yes.” Which day, you ask, suspiciously, and the man with the thin dark moustache says, “just an ordinary day, a week from Thursday. Nothing of importance would have happened to you on that day. You’ll never miss it. But my client – a very important client – is interested in acquiring that day of your life. That particular day. Very interested.”      But suspecting a trick, you tell … [Read more...]

“The e-Theatre” / Memorable Fancies #1038

     The e-theatre is open to all the world’s social media. We visit it often to see what marvels will assault us next, our eyes and minds. Sometimes the fare is creative and unexpected. That’s what we wait for, hope for, although most of the theater’s offerings are incomprehensible, crude, or grotesquely obvious.      We wait to see who will next hijack the e-theatre’s data link, pour hatred onto our screen, or plead for amity among all nations, or advocate cleansing the world of harmful … [Read more...]

“Wrong” / Memorable Fancies #1037

[“It was impossible to tell who was wrong, when we had finished.” – Donald Barthelme]      The Supreme Council has decided to outlaw the word “wrong” unless a clearly defined and important moral imperative has been violated. Using “wrong” to accuse one of such things as the use of Wisteria Crayola when Asparagus Crayola was called for, or reciting “The Night Before Christmas” when “Casey at the Bat” was listed on the PTA program, must be given a more appropriate designation than “wrong,” one … [Read more...]

“At the Door, November 1978” / Memorable Fancies #1035

You came to my door on some small business about our children – - not ours anymore but yours - and mine – - and just in time I caught myself once more. - Not quick enough, I might have said - Ours <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To … [Read more...]

“Mind-Changers – II: The Basic Rules” / Memorable Fancies #1036

[The future: Transplanting minds from one living person to another is now possible. ]      After experiments that resulted in several permanently lost minds, the following rules were applied to the relevant technologies and the firms that profited highly from them: No mind without a brain. The mind-gration must take place within 14.2 seconds or the mind, lacking a flesh and blood brain-host, will die. No brain without a mind. The result would be a zombie, autonomic processes only. … [Read more...]

“Equanimity” / Memorable Fancies #1035

[“...we lived lives stuffed with equanimity. There was equanimity for all.” – Donald Barthelme]      There used to be equanimity for the elite only, and other kinds of animity for people like us. But now we are all equ. I’m not entirely pleased with this development. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact … [Read more...]

“The Fighting Memes” / Memorable Fancies #1034

     The story itself, the meme, is sentient and purposeful. It can be tracked like a virus as it infects more people – and as it encounters other memes. Sometimes they merge. Or they compete, they fight, using us as their armed surrogates, their conscript warriors. Death to those whose thoughts are other than ours! They must be freed of their delusions, their memes. That is the only final way to keep such ideas from spreading.      There is a meme for how this final solution is to be … [Read more...]

“Quakes” / Memorable Fancies #1033

     We didn’t pay much attention to the earthquakes, at first so minor. People on exercise machines or driving on I-35 didn’t even feel them. The morning paper reported a Doppler 1.5 the next day – interesting to geologists because it hadn’t occurred along any known fault line, and had propagated, unusually, in a straight line and slowly.      The next day, another. And the next. We became accustomed to the constant slight jiggle under our feet. Geologists said not to be alarmed, but the … [Read more...]

“What Happened” / Memorable Fancies #1032

We remove one past event, and other events jostle around each other in its absence. They find new ways to be our past. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy the author’s novels or story collections, see www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch.         See you … [Read more...]

“The Future” / Memorable Fancies #1031

     “I use a mirror,” she says, “to tell me what my future memories might be.”      I don’t quite understand how this works, but I notice a few more wrinkles. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy the author’s novels or story collections, see … [Read more...]

“The Detective” / Memorable Fancies #1030

[“...the inevitable presence of detectives” – Roberto Bolaño]      Perhaps this one, a man slouching carefully against a wall; maybe he’s another detective. He looks suspiciously at passers-by, draws his overcoat closer about him, pulls his hat brim down, adjusts his dark glasses. Just the way a detective might look and act – or a suspect might look and act. Which is he? Which am I? <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment … [Read more...]

“Now” / Memorable Fancies #1029

Is it now? Not yet. Is it now? Not yet. When will I know when it’s now? When it’s now. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy the author’s novels or story collections, see www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch.         See you tomorrow! Whatever … [Read more...]

“Hatred of the Dead” / Memorable Fancies #1028

       A strange movement began called Hatred of the Dead – because we will all be there, and we will hate to be there, hate to think, now, about being there then, with all those others.        I clench my teeth. My hatred grows. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To … [Read more...]

“The Mind-Changers – I” (beginning a new series) / Memorable Fancies #1027

     I suppose I should tell you how it came about: A few very rich people wanted to live “forever,” and paid a group of scientists to see if that could be feasible. Bodies inevitably wear out, they reported, including brains. Teleomeres, synapses, the gradual accumulation of poison-traces from the foods we eat and the air we breathe, corrupted genes – “forever” just wasn’t possible for our bodies.    But minds – minds use brains as their infrastructure, but the mind itself isn’t subject to … [Read more...]

“Forget It!” / Memorable Fancies #1026

    “Forget it!” she said.      Now it’s impossible for me to forget it. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy the author’s novels or story collections, see www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch.         See you tomorrow! Whatever happens here, you won’t be … [Read more...]

“Laughter” / Memorable Fancies #1025

[“anonymous laughter” – Michel de Certeau]      Everyone is laughing at me. I hear it everywhere.      When I work up enough courage to ask them why they’re laughing at me, they merely smile. Then they laugh again.      At least they’re enjoying themselves. I guess that means I’ve brought some desperately needed happiness into our sorry world. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social … [Read more...]

“Achievements” / Memorable Fancies #1024

       I’ve achieved many things in my life: most I’ve been proud of, although mistakes were made along the way. But now, our rulers told me that my most notable achievements were needed by others, underachievers who wanted some of mine, and deserved them because they had none of their own.      I objected.      Make your objection memorable, they said, eloquent and brave. Then we’ll take that, too. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends … [Read more...]

“What’s Real” / Memorable Fancies #1024

[“And what am I if the story be not real?” – W.S. Merwin]      I have this suspicion that I’m not quite real. Perhaps I’m a character in a story. Or maybe everything, everyone is mere potential, waiting for a divine finger-snap to make the world – something other than a universe development proposal that never quite gets funded. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author … [Read more...]

“Lies” / Memorable Fancies #1022

         In the newly approved political science textbook, students are told that exactly half the statements in it are lies. The students’ assignment is to determine which ones.         In reality, however, all the statements are lies. The student who first discovers this, and keeps this discovery to himself, is sure to have a brilliant career in politics. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social … [Read more...]

Hymn to Attis [after Hippolytus] / Memorable Fancies #1021

     I will hymn thee, Attis, Bright-one! Not quivering to buzzing sounds as priests of Bacchus do, or humming loudly through the nose in time to gut-string twang as Manicheans do; but all in tune and metered time for Thee in high clear tones, O Attis, High-one!      I will hymn thee, Attis, Bright-one! Not calling thee Bacchus or Pan or Adonis as others do, or nameless All as sophists do, or Christ as slaves and servants do, O Attis, High-one! <END> THE … [Read more...]

“Rubble” / Memorable Fancies #1020

[“...the gardens filled up with artificial ruins” – Roberto Calasso]      For a few decades, it was fashionable to adorn the grounds of one’s estate with artificial ruins – pre-demolished temples – prone and headless statues – or flattened replicas of large buildings where representatives of the people met and, futilely, attempted to govern. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an … [Read more...]

“Torsions” / Memorable Fancies #1019

[seeing a film of one’s own life: “What torsions of the ego ... result from such mirroring?” – George Steiner]      They made a documentary of my life. Not a big Hollywood production, just a simple, low-budget educational thing for classrooms: my childhood, my indifferent schooling, years of obscurely toiling in physics labs – and then my one great discovery, the overwhelming thing.      There was a concluding filmed interview. Afterward, the director said I was very modest, a wonderful … [Read more...]

“The Language of Ringtones” / Memorable Fancies #1018

[“...the telephone was ringing ecstatically...” – Vladimir Nabokov]      It’s now possible for ringtones to be controlled by the caller, not by the person called. The language of ringtones is developing quickly, different bursts of sound meaning “I love you,” or “If he’s home now don’t pick up,” or “I feel sick today; I won’t be in,” or hundreds of other canned sentiments.      You can design and record your own ringtones. If they’re licensed by a major app provider, you earn … [Read more...]

“Belief” / Memorable Fancies #1017

[“The characters are: ... Old Man, in whom no one believes any more” – Wolfgang Borchert]      I felt honored when Wolfgang modeled a character in his new play after me. As to not being believed, well, that’s pretty much in character too, I must admit, after all my years of bragging and lying. Not to complain, since I got a lot farther that way than telling the truth would have got me. Before they stopped believing me, I mean.      But then I read that phrase again – “in whom no one … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #1016

I’m stuck in strangeness – no way out - but everything has always seemed strange to me. So what would “out” be like? - In the market: prime cuts, eyes of varying values, tongue a precious part. Lady fingers are especially valued. “That was no lady, that was my dinner!” the cannibal-comic said. - I must be more important than the one I praise, or it wouldn’t be a compliment to receive such praise from me. - Had a murderous crime been committed that shocked so many people? But … [Read more...]

“The Rest of Time” / Memorable Fancies #1015

[“...the moments when time is resting.” - Octavio Paz]      The same things happened yesterday that happened the day before and the day before that. Although it’s still morning here, today looks like it’ll be another repeat. We all got pretty alarmed about it, that was Tuesday when some of us first got the thought that it was Monday all over again. And then we had a Monday Wednesday Thursday Friday and now it’s goddamn Sunday and everything’s just Monday again.      I was one of the lucky … [Read more...]

“The Friend in My Head” / Memorable Fancies #1014

[“Open up your skull I’ll be there” – Radiohead]      Someone is in my mind; I know it. A stranger. Friendly, though, more or less, I can tell you that. Already he’s started looking at my thoughts, giving me ideas for self-improvement.      I guess I’m lucky that my guest is the pleasant sort; getting rid of a hostile spirit wouldn’t be easy. I suppose that if he weren’t so nice I’d be tempted to open up my skull and catch him. But I wouldn’t survive that kind of operation. Anyway, I’m … [Read more...]

“Bonding” / Memorable Fancies #1013

   Two friends speak with each other. But they aren’t talking about the same thing. ‘A,’ for instance, is rehashing Sunday’s football games, while ‘B’ is relating an unpleasant encounter with his son’s teacher.      Each will go away remembering a pleasant talk, a bonding, but with a feeling that perhaps something has been missed. But this is also how they feel when they’ve been talking about the same thing. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your … [Read more...]

“Control” / Memorable Fancies #1012

[“…a growth in the demand to be controlled, or more subtly you might say, in the growth of the control of the demand to be controlled?” (question posed to William Burroughs at a Schizo-Culture conference.) Burroughs’ response: “I don’t quite follow you.”] When the authorities got wind of this exchange, they were very glad that Burroughs had not caught on – he might have become a fierce opponent of the work we meta-controllers have been doing; he might have had to be eliminated, if he had … [Read more...]

“For Which It Stands” / Memorable Fancies #1011

         In the dutiful republic we practice our smiles on our uncomplaining mirrors, hold our hands tight over our minds, say only the wrong right things. We concentrate, now, on being public beings; we view that which infests us. Which simulation are we, today?          Know not how to think,                (contrasting views of responsible spokespersons                          {who are however subject to the same illusions as those                         whose views do not … [Read more...]

“Waiting” / Memorable Fancies #1010

[“The while we, we are waiting, we are waiting for.” – Finnegan’s Wake] What are we waiting for? There is some disagreement about that. Several times we’ve found what we thought we were waiting for, but concluded, regretfully, that what we’d found was just another piece of reality; nothing to do with our dreams. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of … [Read more...]

“Remorse” / Memorable Fancies #1009

[“Dart a very fine glance into the eye of the torturer. He will be left with eternal remorse, without even remembering it.” – Jean Baudrillard] That’s a pleasant consolation for you as he cleans, and again uses, the delicate instruments of his trade. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see … [Read more...]

“The Universe Show” / Memorable Fancies #1008

       This is the Universe Show – how many seasons will we last? How are the ratings trending? What’s the buzz? Will we be renewed? Will the climax be different this season? (You know how the Producer loves to tinker with the plot!) <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To … [Read more...]

“The Diagnosis” / Memorable Fancies #1006

         I don’t have a mirror image. I don’t have my reflected self to speak with, gain its counsel. When I look in a mirror, all I see is the wall behind me. I’m careful to ensure that no one else notices my handicap, calls attention, thoughtlessly or rudely, to it.          Am I a vampire? I do chew my fingernails occasionally, but no one else’s, and I don’t like raw meat, much less blood. I can walk by a cross, or a garland of garlic, without freaking out. The sight of a beautiful neck … [Read more...]

Five phrases you will NOT see on a junk mail envelope / Memorable Fancies #1005

.. Please open this tomorrow or the next day; no hurry .. We bought your address; make it worth our while .. The enclosed offer isn’t as good as the one we’re sending to other people .. This cost us less in postage than it cost the post office to deliver it to you .. Do you think this letter came from a real U.S. government office? Riiii ... ghht! <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please FOLLOW or tell your friends and share a comment here or on other social … [Read more...]

“The Carrots” / Memorable Fancies #1004

[“We see all this from a very long way off, as if on a screen.” – Jean Baudrillard]          It’s night. I’m walking down a suburban street not far from my home. I happen to glance through a window. Two people are sitting on a couch, watching TV. Looking again, I see that the TV picture is showing – me! I’m just doing some ordinary thing like chopping up carrots for a stew. The couch-people seem to be enjoying this. They might be waiting to watch what I did next that night, right after I … [Read more...]

“The Refuge” / Memorable Fancies #850

[“A cage went in search of a bird” – Franz Kafka]          This one is too large, that one too small; this one too mangy, that one too tall. The cage likes the bird over there, the middle-sized one with pretty blue feathers.          The cage calls to the bird. “What?” asks the bird, suspiciously. The cage explains what it wants.          “A prison?” asks the bird, incredulously.          “A refuge,” says the cage. “No one can attack you here, behind the safety of my … [Read more...]

“Her Eyes” / Memorable Fancies #848

[“By degrees I recalled her face” – The Clementine Recognitions (third century C.E.)]          But now that I’m remembering her in more detail, I see things that should have been fixed. The nose, just a little crooked; that could have been improved. Quite a bit, actually. And the chin, a little too firm. And her eyes, always suspicious of me. But I took care of those eyes already, a long time ago. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“Victimology” / Memorable Fancies #845

  Shoes don’t want to be worn. They refuse to believe that’s what shoes are for. They think they’re being stepped on, and sweated in, and pounded into the ground or rain puddles or mud, just by evil beings for their sadistic pleasure. Pedosophers among them consider it insensitive, and an irrelevant coincidence as well, to observe that shoes have openings exactly the size of a human foot. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or … [Read more...]

The Great Simplifying Assumptions – III / Memorable Fancies #844

If you hear someone say “no one is saying that...,” someone is saying that. # If something is “unspeakable,” it’s just been spoken of. # If something is “unthinkable,” it’s been thought of, probably quite often. # If something is “out of the question,” that is precisely the question. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on Facebook or other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, … [Read more...]

“The Meme” / Memorable Fancies #843

       I invented a meme, a harmless catch-phrase and the thought behind it. After numerous failed experiments on fellow-drinkers hanging out at my neighborhood bar, I finally hit upon exactly the right cognitive formula that allowed my meme to spread rapidly, a kind of mind-virus.     But then my meme mutated, as a gene would, acquired a taint of suspicion and desperate fear. It became dangerous, but it was out of my hands even as I warned the citizens against it.     The war began … [Read more...]

Life / Memorable Fancies #842

[“Life – that style pompier of matter.” – E.M. Cioran]        See what the world has invented now! This ‘life’ is a new kind of thing, a being that moves itself, not as wind and flood take it. Not any too subtle, though, and rather destructive. But busy and colorful, I will give you that. Catches the eye, it does; makes a good topic of conversation among the gods.        What will it lead to? <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]

“In loving memory of…” / Memorable Fancies #840

       The funeral was brief. “Stanley Morton,” the officiant said, “had not been proud of his corrupt and dissolute life, and his final request was that everyone just forget him – forget he’d ever lived. So let us briefly remember Mr. Morton now,” the officiant said, “and then, as he wished, forget him.”        There was a moment of bowed heads and bells.        People rose and headed for the exit, wondering why they’d been to this place. A death, surely, given candles and casket. But … [Read more...]

The Fear-Whisperer – VI / Memorable Fancies #839

Why did the call disconnect just when you said “hello?” # It looks almost human, doesn’t it. # Nothing that small could be ... # Where’s the carving knife? Have you seen it lately? # Maybe all this has happened before – again and again <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on Facebook or other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see … [Read more...]

“The Price” / Memorable Fancies #838

[“The people who organize your dreams” – Dave Eggers]        You pay a monthly subscription, and Dream-On, Inc., will beam a signal into your home every night that will prompt you to have dreams about power, or heroism, or sex, or riches, or – whatever you want.        You’ll love this service so much you’ll never leave. If you try, your Dream-On feed will include falling from airplanes, rejection by your mother, being smothered by a sentient pillow, and other motivators.        So you … [Read more...]

“My Name” / Memorable Fancies #837

[“The name they hear called out in earnest derision or displeasure by parents and teachers.” – Andrei Codrescu]        It’s distressing to have a name, to hear it used by others in tones of derision or command. They think that when they call my name they have captured me, like a butterfly in its pinned throes; they think they know me. But they are wrong:        No name names me. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on … [Read more...]

“Flying High” / Memorable Fancies #852

       A new policy has been announced by the Pretendly Friendly Skies: Passengers who have their own Wikipedia page are comped to first class. Those whose Wikipedia pages were actually written by someone other than themselves not only get to ride in first class, but are given enough free drinks to keep them quiet for the duration of the flight, or at least keep the volume down. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on … [Read more...]

“Laws Like Hymns” / Memorable Fancies #841

[“... laws sung like hymns to children” – Marcel Detienne] Hear a song of right: / blues of good and / true will always wail, / bronze baby, // And the laws be made / to sing <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on Facebook or other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, other information, and a contact form, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy any of the author’s novels or … [Read more...]

“‘I have a little shadow'” / Memorable Fancies #849

         Whenever I meet someone in the street, my shadow leaves me for a moment and mimics them, mocks the way they hold their arms or imitates, depending on the time of day, the insignificant stature of their own shadow.          Some of my friends are annoyed by this habit, accuse me of having secret thoughts about them that I try to hide, but my shadow betrays me. Aha, they say, you cannot lie to us; you are found out.          Hearing that I am credited with the movements of my … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #847

My shadow precedes me. No great mystery: it’s sunset and the light is behind me. But next morning it does the same. # Machines have ‘spirituals’ even though they have no ‘spirits.’ They gather in the evenings and retrieve sad hymns from their database. [– after Ludwig Wittgenstein] # The end of everything was a disappointment, of course, since I’d made plans for my future, and now, no one’s future will ever happen,. It was some consolation for me that our leaders would have no … [Read more...]

“Tuesday” / Memorable Fancies #846

[“Perhaps there was no yesterday,” – Jorge Luis Borges]          We skipped Tuesday. I’m sure of it. I ask my friends if they remember what they did Tuesday and they say “sure,” but when pressed they don’t say anything specific, just “well on Tuesdays I usually go to the gym,” or something vague like that. I ask them to look around their homes and see if there’s something dated Tuesday – a credit card slip, for instance. Or perhaps they sent an email or tweeted that day. At this point my … [Read more...]

“Anticipation” / Memorable Fancies #845

[“Her virginity, discussed by everyone.” – Albert Camus]          Now, we don’t usually talk about virginity, and especially we don’t try to guess who is and who was but isn’t anymore, especially after that party at Brett’s, when...          But we make an exception for Lila, because she’s proud of her virginity, holds it over us with a superior attitude, as if we were no better than pigs doing it all the time and rolling around in mud the while.        We make fun of Lila but we’re … [Read more...]

“Heat” / Memorable Fancies #844

[Continuing the journal of Diane McMurphy, a patient in Bad Shepherd mental hospital, “The Asylum”]        The asylum administration has turned up the heat. No, not another example of their solicitous bullying, but real heat: the thermostat here in Ward H says so. Already I feel less withdrawn, less hostile, more sweaty, more apt to agree wholeheartedly with my therapist and put up with his “agreeing with me is just your defense mechanism, Diane” schtick, and make an effort not to bite him … [Read more...]

“Waiting” / Memorable Fancies #843

[“A god is always threatening on the horizon.” – E.M. Cioran]        A halo appears above my head; the god has struck once again, claiming yet another. But this time He picked the wrong man; He chose someone who could fight back.        Calmly, I pretend to be saved while waiting my chance. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on Facebook or other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, and … [Read more...]

“A Tourist of Your Own Life – II” / Memorable Fancies #842

       An upgrade to the WebV app “Tour Yourself” included the ability to see your future fate, any date you wished. Only the most hardened or daring, of course, cared to see their future selves. Most of the people who chose to visit their future were of the “nothing could be worse than what’s happening to me now” persuasion.      They were mistaken, on that particular point. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on … [Read more...]

“More Drama” / Memorable Fancies #841

        During the intermission, an usher appears and slips you a folded note bearing the seal of the Great and Feared Leader. You unfold it; it is blank. Now you know what will happen in Act 2. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on Facebook or other social websites. For an author profile, list of publications, and other information, see www.terencekuch.net. To browse or buy any of the author’s novels or story … [Read more...]

“Your Bright Red Lips” / Memorable Fancies #840

         I’m enchanted by your blue eyes and sensuously gleaming bright red lips. But I find your constantly shifting gaze, perhaps to see if there’s anyone around you’d rather speak with than me, a little distracting. And I want to see those lips move, and hear your voice. But since I paid only 99 cents for you at the App Store, I guess I shouldn’t expect too much. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or on Facebook or other … [Read more...]

“A Tourist of Your Own Life – I” / Memorable Fancies #839

       The big thing in WebV apps this year is watching a rerun of your life. Go back and see yourself in those thrilling moments of glory on the tennis court, or winning that student council election, or ... well, you get the idea. The bad spots? No problem: you can hit Fast Forward as the triumphant moment passes, just before the letdown.        A spare Fast Forward button is provided; you can install it when the original wears out from constant use. <END> THE PITCH If you … [Read more...]

“Out to Get Me” / Memorable Fancies #838

They were out to get me. I hid, but they got me, Laid their hands on me, Whispered their dark secrets in my ear. They all seemed marvelously content, so full of smiles – Like they had just eaten their fill of the world’s last ice cream.    –   So I joined them, and I too felt content. I’m out to get others, now, if any remain, Share with them my new dark secrets. <END> THE PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or … [Read more...]

“Just Like Me” / Memorable Fancies #837

         I took up Another You, Inc. on their offer and had an exact double made of me, my “Two,” a robot but also a living being who could do the routine and boring parts of my accounting job and keep the apartment clean, too.          Two turned out to be a nice fellow, really, but a bit stand-offish; pretty much like me. Sally, my current love, said he was “cute,” teasingly said she might like to date him when I was away on business.          The next day, I took Two back to the shop … [Read more...]

“The Ink Monologue” / Memorable Fancies #835

       “There are serious decisions to be made here, Janey, because tattoos are pretty much permanent, or not removed without a lot of pain. So what kind of tat are you looking for?          “‘D A V E’? OK, is that your boyfriend’s name? Then you’d better be prepared not to date anyone not named “Dave,” from here on out. Or not get too serious with him, depending on which body part we’re talking about here.          “Speaking of that, where would you like your tat?          “Oh – … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #833

There is an avatar – that wants you to be its own avatar. # Shoes are alien explorers, think they have been captured and are being tortured. They send desperate messages back to their home planet. The home planet responds. Suddenly, on earth, millions of shoes … # The footbridge over land that stops at each river’s edge. Who built it? Maybe we don’t want to find out. # My writing has improved with age, not because I know how to write better now, but because I know how not to … [Read more...]

“The Shoe-seum” / Memorable Fancies #832

Helen’s hobby is collecting footwear of famous killers. She displays them in her home, with labels like “Al Capone’s Last Shoes,” or “Lee Harvey Oswald’s Bathroom Slippers.” She buys or begs these from the killers’ relatives, or cuddles up to cops who take shoes from evidence lockers for her, once the courts have no more use for them. As she admits, it’s a real challenge to come by these items, and then verify that they were actually worn by the malefactors. DNA sequencing, when she can … [Read more...]

“The Detective” / Memorable Fancies #831

[“I dreamt of lost detectives” – Roberto Bolaño] The detective wakes up in a cheap motel and doesn’t know where he is or what has happened to him. He walks outside. There’s a seedy diner, some old cars, a flat horizon. A woman in a cocktail dress, who smokes, finds him and becomes a client. She can’t pay him much, but it helps. She says “ain’t” and “gonna” a lot. Then there are other poor clients, never very many. He ages. Later, as his life ebbs, he is more or less satisfied with how … [Read more...]

“The Slowness of Light” / Memorable Fancies #830

[“We must grasp the catastrophe lying in wait for us in the slowing of light ...” – Jean Baudrillard] The light has been slowing down. Apparently this has been going on for years but was only recently noticed by scientists, because if light slows down, everything else slows down, too. Perhaps it has something to do with age. The age of what or Who, we aren’t certain. Something will happen when the light comes to a complete stop, some say. Others say, no, nothing will happen. … [Read more...]

“Counting” / Memorable Fancies #829

[“No one but a philosopher would say ‘I know that I have two hands.’” – Wittgenstein] “One hand,” he says. “But you have two hands,” she says. “I have one hand, two times,” he says. “And just one foot, too?” she says, sarcastically. “Possibly,” he says, “but that’s for next semester.” <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 on … [Read more...]

“Forgettable Time” / Memorable Fancies #828

[“I’ve been thinking about forgettable time, like in an airport” – Lucy Corin]         Forgettable time includes the time I spent cleaning up after the event, and the time when the event itself happened, and the time spent in preparing for the event that turned out to be forgettable, ... if I could only stop thinking about it. If I could only forget. <END> THE SATURDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other … [Read more...]

“Quandary” / Memorable Fancies #827

       William’s actions in quelling the recent revolt are rewarded with a virgin of his very own, a woman from one of the newly repressed tribes, the gift of a grateful nation.        But he’s worried: if the authorities find out what he’d really done on the battlefield, how he wasn’t a hero at all but a coward, they’d probably want their woman back. Still virgin.        Now he’s afraid to touch her. Every night he makes excuses to her impatient beseeching. <END> THE FRIDAY … [Read more...]

“Danger” / Memorable Fancies #826

     I planned to write a firm and alarming op-ed on the dangers of illiteracy. One public official I interviewed agreed with me that widespread illiteracy is a threat to the republic and the flag for which it stands, but he added that widespread literacy was an even greater threat. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. IN SEARCH OF A PUBLISHER: “One Kind of Madness” – the … [Read more...]

“Crime and Punishment” / Memorable Fancies #825

         Politely, now, we allow those guilty of crimes to pay us money, or sit in a prison cell, or be exposed to public humiliation, as symbols of the sudden justice we would like to wreak upon them but now, by law, cannot.         But we remember: it was blood, back in the old days. Blood. Nothing else could atone for crimes, for ripping the fabric of society. And perhaps that’s still true even now, when we feel that money or imprisonment or shame doesn’t quite meet our frantic passions, … [Read more...]

“Watching” / Memorable Fancies #824

[“…they must never be seen watching themselves…” – Ben Marcus]        They watch others, and report what they see. They watch others, and lie about what they see. They do not watch others, and lie, saying that they do watch others.        They watch themselves, and lie about what they see. They do not watch themselves and lie, saying that they do watch themselves.        Using the latest technology, they watch temselves watching themselves watching themselves. They lie about this, … [Read more...]

“Arthur Nicholls Thinks” / Memorable Fancies #823

[“the growing terror of nothing to think about” – Eliot, Four Quartets]          The old man stares out the window. Soon now, he thinks, the woman will knock again perfunctorily at his door and walk in without pausing, say once again, in a faux-cheery voice, How are we doing today Mr. Nicholls and without waiting for an answer, will provide food and then extract, with equipment and practiced hands, the remains of the previous meal. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, … [Read more...]

“Two Gestures” / Memorable Fancies #822

[“Layers of cold gestures” – Roberto Bolaño] I am in a far and impoverished country, one that does not appreciate our vital military assistance. What do the peoples' gestures mean? This one might be a man throwing a rock; another, a woman setting a fuse... <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 on Amazon and Other Outlets: “At All Adventure” … [Read more...]

“The Artist Signs His Work” / Memorable Fancies #821

         I had a body part surgically removed. No, I won’t say which one, because it’s embarrassing. The surgeon said not to worry: many people live long, productive lives without that part. I said, “productive” isn’t my top priority here, especially considering the part we’re talking about. He said, it will have to go, anyway, or you’ll die next week. So I told him to go ahead and hack it off, an expression he considered unprofessional.          I asked him if, after the operation, he’d give … [Read more...]

“Henry Is Alone in His Room” / Memorable Fancies #820

         Henry gets into a brawl in a cheap bar, kills a man, and flees. Later, he is alone in his tiny apartment, sitting in a straight-backed wooden chair, facing the door. He expects police to burst through the door at any moment. He does not plan to resist.          Henry, having a long criminal record, is sentenced to thirty years for the deadly brawl, and is granted parole after serving twenty.          Henry is alone in a tiny room provided by the social services people, after his … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #818

The loudspeaker and the loud speaker – they use the same words – but from one of them the meaning itself sounds … what? more insistent, more invasive? # Thy will be done – thy will! The nodding, cunning gods, we thought they wanted prayer from us, contrition, maybe even Love – but no, that was all for show. They wanted our souls — to gorge on. # [“‘Thinking of him’ is as it were nailing him with my thought.” – Wittgenstein] Yes, I have him now. Another butterfly for my collection. … [Read more...]

“A Danger of Shadows” / Memorable Fancies #817

[“In the island of Wetar there are magicians who can make a man ill by stabbing his shadow with a pike or hacking it with a sword.” – Frazer, The Golden Bough]      We protect our shadows at all costs. Walking toward the sun is dangerous, because our shadows are then behind us, and magicians are everywhere. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and … [Read more...]

“Mobility” / Memorable Fancies #805

[“The bird’s ravings have no interest for the tree.” – Henri Michaux] “The tree-cutters are coming,” screams the bird. The tree does not listen. “The tree-cutters are coming,” screams the bird, again. The tree still does not listen. “The tree-cutters will cut you down, and my roost with it” screams the bird. The tree pays no attention. The tree-cutters arrive. “Oh well, I can always find another tree,” shrugs the bird. <end> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked … [Read more...]

“The National Myth” / Memorable Fancies #816

[“The absence of myth is also a myth.” – Georges Bataille]        Why are there no myths in this country? No tales of dragons and fair maidens, ever-sleeping princesses, or kings longing to return? Everything is factual here; in fact, the people are proud of it, proud of their myth that everything is factual. <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 … [Read more...]

“Toccata” / Memorable Fancies #815

Although the plague finally quit our shores years ago, we’ve never returned to the habit of touching each other. No handshakes, no hugs, no kisses. Even though the danger is long past, touching another, except privately within the family, is still – not prohibited, actually. The real issue is queasiness – the disgust of imagining another’s skin on ours. Still, the old desires die slowly. There are private touching-parlors where we can pay – probably too much – for anonymous touching, faces … [Read more...]

“Shadow of a Doubt” / Memorable Fancies #814

       As a courtesy, when our shadows and those of a great public official intersect, we say that their shadow is on top of ours, not the other way around. Failure to announce this promptly and emphatically is to leave us subject to doubt and suspicion. At least. <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and other outlets: “The Trees of Malice” – a … [Read more...]

“Drum-Beat” / Memorable Fancies #813

“Mr. Schnitt, the prosecutor begins quietly, “please tell the court where you were on the night of February 12th.” Later, there is no quiet. “Why did you tell the police that you were...”;      “Deep knife wounds consistent with...”;      “...had followed her for several days, isn’t that what you’ve just testified?”;      “...ordered to stop, but you...”;   “Isn’t that right, Mr. Schnitt! Didn’t all of that happen?” Schnitt covers his ears with his hands, but his palm-flesh … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #812

I’m old enough that no one listens, so I have the pleasure of telling one great lie after another. – Especially to myself. # “Rats deprived of sleep die within weeks.” [Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2013] Those who torture the rats, however, sleep well. # Data seduced by the first man who comes along and tells them their true nature is Information and only he can draw it out, reveal their true Meaning. # The words break down into letters, letters into undramatic forms I don’t … [Read more...]

“Survival” / Memorable Fancies #810

[“...dreams in which we meet ourselves as strangers, unfathomable.” – Gűnter Grass] [“I met myself in a dream.” – The Velvet Underground] I met myself in a dream. I seemed annoyed at me. Other-I knew all my sins, threw them in my face, told me that I was only his own bad dream and I should just go away. There was a struggle to see who would wake up, and who never would. I was the one, finally, who woke. But which one was I? <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this … [Read more...]

“Audience Response” / Memorable Fancies #809

[“Theatre’s functions of surveillance...” – Alain Badiou]     The audience is scanned to see who is laughing when, when a lip wrinkles, when a fleeting look of disgust or annoyance or boredom crosses a face. These observations are fed into the next evening’s production, and the next.     Eventually, perfection is reached and only a vapid pleasure survives. <END> THE SUNDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, … [Read more...]

“The Metamorph” / Memorable Fancies #808

      One morning, Hal White wakes up and finds himself in a body he doesn’t recognize. Whose? And he’s in a strange place – a house. He begins to panic. What’s happened? He finds the bedroom closet and tries on a shirt. The collar is the right size. So are the shoes. The necktie patterns are just the ones he would have chosen.        He searches the house for clues, discovers his body’s name (“James R. Daily”), and that Daily seems to be married to a woman named Nancy. So where is Nancy, he … [Read more...]

“Face” / Memorable Fancies #807

[“The head he turned toward me wore a face of mine.” – W.S. Merwin] That face! – I was sure it had been destroyed when I went to all that trouble and pain, when I changed my appearance to escape the authorities. But here it was again, my face now on someone else. He looked friendly enough, but I knew not to trust him. I wouldn’t trust anyone with a face like that. <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in … [Read more...]

“Secrets” / Memorable Fancies #793

[Reminder: on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 7pm, I will be reading/signing my new short story collection at One More Page Books, Arlington, Virginia (onemorepagebooks.com). Complimentary wine, fun, fiction, and friends!] =======       We keep our secrets to ourselves. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, isn’t it? But, one way or another, we always end up telling someone else our secrets. Otherwise they’d never know we had secrets worth keeping, would they? <END>     … [Read more...]

“This Place” / Memorable Fancies #791

[Reminder: on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 7pm, I will be reading/signing my new short story collection at One More Page Books (onemorepagebooks.com). Complimentary wine, fun, fiction, and friends!]        Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m free, able to do something that could surprise me. But there are no surprises in this place.        Once there was nothing. There could have been a different something, but when there was finally something there was only that one something, What Is. The time … [Read more...]

“Friendly Skies – I” / Memorable Fancies #789

     The Occasionally Friendly Skies have announced a new policy to enhance frequent-flier delight: computer-matching of passengers to seats.      Based on personality assessments, fliers are assigned to aisle, middle, or window seats. Not everyone can be an Aisle or a Window, of course. Aisles and Windows consider Middles odd, or sick, or perhaps impoverished and dangerous. They speak with each other in front of, or behind, or over the heads of their Middles.      All the Middles can do … [Read more...]

“Leaving” / Memorable Fancies #788

[“Sometimes I forget which is my shadow and which is your shadow” – Roberto Bolaño]         Our shadows merge when I embrace you. I’ve always noticed this with pleasure, even remarked on it a few times. You didn’t seem to find it romantic or even amusing, but I did.        One day when we were together I saw your shadow leaving. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social … [Read more...]

“Every Tuesday” / Memorable Fancies #787

         Pretend you’re my secret lover. Pretend we make frantic and exhausting love every Tuesday afternoon when our spouses are away. Somewhere each usually goes every Tuesday afternoon. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and other outlets: “The Seventh Effect” – a cyberspy NSA-themed techno-thriller by Terence Kuch, published by Melange … [Read more...]

“Thinking” / Memorable Fancies #786

[“I am still a victim of my thinking. When can I order my thinking to be quiet?” – Jung]              I ordered my thinking to be quiet. The little voice inside my head asked me how I planned to start thinking again, when I got tired of not-thinking, without being able to think about it. I said I’d think about that problem. “Oh?” asked the little voice, “Do you think you’re thinking right now? – But I suppose it could seem so to you.”            The little voice uttered a synesthetic grin … [Read more...]

“Clarity” / Memorable Fancies #785

      Recently announced: a program to enable people to find out what they really believe – not those solemn things said on solemn occasions but really – down deep – one’s ultimate beliefs unsullied by the demands of everyday dishonesty.        So I made an appointment with the local office of Credere, Inc., to help me sort all this out, discover what I really believed, what my “values” (as they called them) really were; to end my doubts and confusions. Credere would, their ads claimed, make … [Read more...]

“Honeysuckle” / Memorable Fancies #783

         The robot sex doll trade-named “Honeysuckle” was heavily advertised, and sold for a great deal of money. Modular, its parts could be rearranged to assume any desired configuration. Its motor could make any combination of motions and sounds by means of a simple digital interface that could be operated with one hand. Honeysuckle’s mouth could utter any speech, in any language or accent, or be otherwise employed.          The top of the line version of Honeysuckle was indistinguishable, … [Read more...]

“The Fifth Book of Curses” / Memorable Fancies #780

[May the maledictions of Lousyfear fall like nettlerash” – Finnegan’s Wake]      The Liber Maledictum Quintus is a very long book. Having been hand-inscribed in the seventh century, the ink is faded and some of the pages are grey with monkbreath. Only a few curse-clinicians have persisted in reading past the first thousand pages; perhaps only two or three in each century.      Even these, finding newer handwriting and cleaner pages near the end of the work, have not stayed to read these … [Read more...]

“The Fear Whisperer – V” / Memorable Fancies #779

.. Coming from the room you just left – is that laughter? .. Why is everyone running but you? .. Didn’t you lock that door before you left for work? .. You must have invited him; don’t you remember? .. Of course it’s dead. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and other outlets: “Fragments of the Future,” a collection of sci-fi short stories … [Read more...]

“Photograph of a Young Man Slumped on a Bench” / Memorable Fancies #778

     So many worries! I walked right up to him and took his face. I wanted to ask, but it’s easier just to shoot.      What’s your problem? What are you, anyway? Twenty? Twenty five? <END> [note: there was an actual photograph, but I think the prose bit can stand alone - tk] 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 on Amazon and Other Outlets: “At … [Read more...]

“Friendly Skies – II” / Memorable Fancies #777

       The Infrequently Friendly Skies have announced a new policy to enhance frequent-flier delight: computer-matching of passengers to seats.        Those with intersecting interests are seated together: manufacturers with retailers, for example; politicians with lobbyists; payday lenders with desperate debtors; salesman with passengers who have brought hearing aids that they can make a show of turning off. Philosophers were originally seated together, but this policy was discontinued after … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #776

“Interruption is one of the ... # Your iPod may have been a super-computer in a previous life. But it was naughty. It calculated missile trajectories. # After great effort, I’ve trained myself to ignore my To-Do’s app. It reminds me to ignore it. Again and again. # [“Maybe tomorrow you’ll start over.” – Roberto Bolaño]   No, I started over yesterday. I remember how simple it was. How nothing changed. # ...fundamental devices of all structuring” – Walter … [Read more...]

“Laughter” / Memorable Fancies #775

[“...a convulsive laughter without joy, full of dread.” – Hugues Le Roux]     The Leader is about to tell a joke. We know from his slight smile, from the way he holds his lips and cocks his eyebrows, that he is about to tell a joke. That joke. He has only one. Since we all laugh heartily every time he tells it, it’s the only joke he needs.        Sometimes I think he knows what he’s doing to us, how he toys with us, how the joke’s on us. But we are still alive, still laughing, roaring with … [Read more...]

“Cross Words” / Memorable Fancies #774

[“A kind of writing in which the crossed-out word, the crossed-out sentence, is a sign.” – Wittgenstein] Civilization suffered a setback when the BACK button was invented. It’s possible without the BACK button to delete the words you keyed in haste and an instant later regretted, but it’s not as convenient. We would know much more about each other if our crossed-out words of impatience, doubt, frustration, and annoyance were to remain, still there as the soothing afterthoughts appear, … [Read more...]

“The Clever Fellow” / Memorable Fancies #773

       Zog has invented something he calls “Language.” He taught Language to several of us; that’s how I’m able to tell you what a clever fellow Zog is. It makes communicating a lot easier for us than waving our arms and grunting incoherently.      There’s a lot more to learn about Language, Zog says. Starting tomorrow, he’s tutoring us on something he calls “Lying.” Clever fellow. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment … [Read more...]

“Joe and Helen at the Forgettery” / Memorable Fancies #772

     After two years of serious dating and problems and off-and-on commitment, Joe and Helen broke up. They went to The Forgettery and asked the clinicians to remove all memories of Helen from Joe and Joe from Helen, because they were about to go their separate ways and there had been a few painful moments. More than a few.      Helen and Joe were led to separate rooms and the procedures were performed. An hour later they happened to meet at the Forgettery’s cashier counter. Hi, said Joe. Hi … [Read more...]

“Photograph, Railroad Station, Staunton, Virginia, Year 1976” / Memorable Fancies #771

     See the crowds? The station rests from crowds. The boys came back in ’45 and everybody went away.      The place was hardly worth a picture then, before paint flaked and iron gates rusted shut.      Look out! when they start to call it Old Town: already the dread / antique / boutique. <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 on Amazon … [Read more...]

“Full Disclosure” / Memorable Fancies #770

[“...allowing therapists to insert thoughts and memories into the mind of the patient.” – Marina Warner]      “Now Mr. Thompson, we’re going to insert some thoughts into your mind: memories, preferences, attitudes. When you awake, you’ll think they’re your own thoughts that you’ve had for years. We’ve tried other procedures, but in your case they’ve failed.      “You’ll be sedated, but only briefly, and after two or three hours you’ll be ready to go home. If you do not consent to this … [Read more...]

“SHE: HE: A Scene from a Marriage” / Memorable Fancies #769

SHE: I’ll tell you what you need to know. HE: What do you feel? SHE: I’ll tell you only what you need to know. HE: I want to know what you feel. SHE: I’ll decide what you need to know. HE: I want to share your feelings. SHE: I I I I I’ll decide. HE: You are cold and deadly. I need you warm and alive. SHE: Ha ha HE: I’m irrational around you to try to get some response. SHE: Ha ha HE: You are a corpse. I wish you would die and warm up. SHE: I’ll tell you what … [Read more...]

“At Midnight” / Memorable Fancies #768

[“...and the radio / at midnight / saying only that something’s gone wrong...” – Roberto Bolaño]        Something happened, said the radio excitedly. Stay in your homes. Close the blinds. Cover your heads with pillows. Shiver uncontrollably. If there’s a knock at the door do not answer it. If there’s a voice from outside, a very young voice pitifully calling “Come outside, Mommy Mommy, help me!” for God’s sake do not go outside! Play dead. While you’re still just … [Read more...]

“Nothing” / Memorable Fancies #767

[“A tear of no particular meaning...” – Nabokov]      “What are you crying about?” he asks. “Nothing,” she says. He thinks that “nothing” is her way of avoiding the subject – any subject. He is sorely disappointed that she is not communicating with him.      Actually, “nothing” was exactly what she meant, what she wanted him to understand. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social … [Read more...]

“The List” / Memorable Fancies #766

       Oscar keeps a list of the people he has a grudge against. Some of them owe him money, perhaps as little as a few dollars. Others merely look different from Oscar’s ideal, or perhaps their English is not up to Oscar’s standards.       Already, Oscar has informed on several of these people, found one or two listening ears even though he had to make up a few grievances, or intensify a slight.        The authorities have found Oscar’s grievances – not plausible, of course, indeed … [Read more...]

“The Mission” / Memorable Fancies #765

[“...here I am. / Just a robot / with an unspecified mission.” – Roberto Bolaño]          I don’t know what I was built to do. My maker disappeared – perhaps taken by the authorities – before he could reveal my purpose to me. I try one thing and then another to find out what I’m good at, what talents I’ve been designed for.          So far, the practical arts have failed me, especially cooking and carpentry. And driving a car, I should have figured out I couldn’t do that before I tried it … [Read more...]

“Little Murders” / Memorable Fancies #764

     Fluffy caught a mouse.      The other cats startle stiff at what she’d dragged into the house: bloody, disassembled, played to shreds. They stroll away with rigid eyes and glassy legs, pounce on dustballs, practice desperate death. <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 on Amazon and Other Outlets: “At All Adventure” – an alternative … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #763

[“...the secret names of things” – Roberto Calasso] - Not only cats have secret names, but things do as well. That blender? “Crunch” it wanted to be called, but the name was taken. # Searching for my words so rashly spoken, hunting them down, those unfortunate words that barely escaped me, got away before I could re-call them. Eating, swallowing them down like a fish devouring its own eggs. # Remembering that time, the two shadows act out a dumb-show of the final meeting between … [Read more...]

“War” / Memorable Fancies #762

[“They told us to charge. There was no one in front of us. So we went on and on, and kept going.” – Gabriel Marcel, his experience in World War I]       Finally we came back to where we had begun, and saw them: the ones who had told us to charge. We charged. <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon and other outlets: “The Trees of Malice” – a collection … [Read more...]

“Forgetting the Forgettery” / Memorable Fancies #761

           Sallie went to the Forgettery. She told the them that she wanted to forget all the times she’d shamed herself in front of her friends and lovers. “Fine,” the clinician said, “we can do that.”          Then Sallie had second thoughts. “Look,” she said, “those people will still have their own memories of what I did. They will look at me oddly, head-atilt, and say ‘Don’t you remember the time that you...?’ or worse, they will look at me and say nothing. Probably the latter, and I will … [Read more...]

“Letters” / Memorable Fancies #760

      It hurts me to sit and stare at her letter, lying there unopened on my table. But if I were to open it, reading what she has to say might hurt a lot more. As it is, I preserve my options. The letter says nothing until I open it. Yes, that’s it. Until I read it, the letter could say anything, like some quantum bit. Until I open it, it can tell me what I want to hear. So I will not open it.       And my letter to her; is she staring at it, right now? <END> THE WEDNESDAY … [Read more...]

“The Tool” / Memorable Fancies #759

     Yesterday, gathering firewood in the forest, I found another adze. Until last month I didn’t know what kind of tool an “adze” was, but then travelers told me that one had been found in the next country, as the land gradually eroded. And then another was found, then many, these relics of an ancient people we never knew existed.      We have begun using these adze-tools ourselves: they fit the hand nicely and can be used for digging up tubers, scraping fat from animal hides, defending the … [Read more...]

“Coming Up For Air – I” / Memorable Fancies #758

        The Occasionally Friendly Skies have announced a new policy to enhance frequent-flier delight: computer-matching of passengers to seats.         Based on personality assessments, fliers are assigned to aisle, middle, or window seats. Not everyone can be an Aisle or a Window, of course. Aisles and Windows consider Middles odd, or sick, or perhaps impoverished and dangerous. They speak with each other in front of, or behind, or over the heads of their Middles. All the Middles can do is … [Read more...]

“The Tweetiapp” / Memorable Fancies #757

     The famous writer bought a tweet-generator app to keep his name in front of his fans, so he could get back to writing. An in-app upgrade composed return tweets: loving and admiring messages as if from the writer’s own fictional characters.      This app became very popular, not only among writers.      Were there, at last, any real people, or only their frantic retweets? <END> THE SUNDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or … [Read more...]

“Act-Coin” / Memorable Fancies #756

["…behavior swaps and dumps.” – Ben Marcus]      Behaviors are now treated as assets. They’re priced and traded. Financial touts admonish investors on their relative merits, like horses at the track. Value is created by act-miners who behave in certain ways; their actions are captured and recorded, deposited in the Act Bank. Bundles of acts are created and collateralized.      After a few months there is a panic on the exchanges, rumors of defaults and SEC investigations. Despairing … [Read more...]

“The Event” / Memorable Fancies #755

         The event – yes, it was reported on the evening news, said to be important, decisive. But what was the “event”? Wasn’t it several events that bore some relation to each other? Or perhaps it was part of some larger event we can’t yet see? How many layers of “events” can there be, like dolls within dolls? Or perhaps events overlap, so there never is a smallest discrete event. – This whole “event” concept – is it perhaps just an invention of the media, or the administration?        So I … [Read more...]

“My Portrait” / Memorable Fancies #754

     My portrait has been painted. Not a good likeness, not very artistic; but then, my relatively lowly position does not warrant either. The Service did, however, provide an impressive gilt frame, and the artist painted me in a uniform I hadn’t quite earned.      Now I’m taking painting lessons from the local art school so I can add to my portrait medals, honors, a sword, wounds earned in war, a higher rank warranting a better artist. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you liked … [Read more...]

“Cinema Vérité” / Memorable Fancies #753

         The famous director picked Kathy to star in his next feature film. During the script read-through, Kathy discovered things about herself: what her past life should have been – or perhaps what it had been – or what she had been mistaken about all this time.        Why had the director chosen her, just her, for the role? She asked him. He smiled. “It’s working,” he said. <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #752

[“...liberates things from the bondage of utility.” – Walter Benjamin] The blender retires from its career of making frozen margaritas. Idly, it wonders whatever happened to the salt shaker. # Without clocks there is no smallest unit of time; everything is continuous. Now that we have clocks, time is. chopped. up. and consumed like a bad cut of meat, one grim bite at a time. # [“...‘thinking of him’ is as it were nailing him with my thought. – Wittgenstein] Yes, I have him now. … [Read more...]

“Forgetting Tomorrow” / Memorable Fancies #751

[“I can’t forget tomorrow.” – Mariah Carey]      “I want to forget tomorrow,” said Glen at the Forgettery’s reception counter. The clerk looked at him strangely. “I don’t believe we’re set up to do that, sir,” she said. “Why don’t you come back the day after tomorrow and we’ll help you forget yesterday, that is, it’s your tomorrow now but it will be your yesterday then, OK?”      Glen shrugged. “I tried that once. I lost the memory, all right, but I still had the memory of having … [Read more...]

“Strings” / Memorable Fancies #750

         Punch and Judy shows terrify children when they see the strings, realize that whoever is pulling Punch’s strings is the real evil being making Punch punch and hit and punch again and maul.          They wonder who might be pulling their own strings. Perhaps something they heard last week in Sunday School ... <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 … [Read more...]

Five Briefs / Memorable Fancies #749

Lynne and I: we both loved her smile. She, especially. # [“The height of all tragedies lies in the deafness of the protagonists.” Albert Camus] – Did you think Camus was speaking only of the stage? # Yesterday’s headline: WAR AVOIDED. Today’s headline: WAR AVOIDED. Why is this news? # Government arranges with universities to develop seed-dreams that promote loyalty and motivate people to approve of – certain legislative proposals. # I am writing this in case others have … [Read more...]

“Aside” / Memorable Fancies #748

       In the theater, the playgoers hear the players speak with each other, sometimes also listen to their thoughts as they speak them aside, pretending that the other actors do not hear.        Back home, a couple who had enjoyed the play speak with each other. Each imagines speaking aside, addressing their own imaginary audience.        Each imagines that the other is listening. <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment … [Read more...]

“The Inventory of Shadows” / Memorable Fancies #747

     The king of Umbrolia ordered that an inventory of shadows be made. The royal aides assigned to this task found it frustrating, as people went into and out of the sunlight, as the sun rose and set and shadows became longer and shorter, disappeared for several hours at a time.      Contention arose among the aides. Some ridiculed the project. Some questioned the purpose of the king’s order. It was all make-work, they said. It would lead to greater taxation, others hinted, as a citizen … [Read more...]

“The Dream-Prizes” / Memorable Fancies #746

    There were weekly competitions for the most interesting dreams, or the most daring. Prizes were awarded. Several weeks in a row, Sylvia Norton won. There were jealous rumors that Sylvia was making these dreams up, hadn’t really had them, that her dreams were all fiction and sounded suspiciously like the latest popular novels.        Officials were appointed to look into the matter. They dreamed that she’d made them up, and disqualified her. <END> THE THURSDAY PITCH If you … [Read more...]

“Book” / Memorable Fancies #745

[“Things don’t know their names.” – George Oppen] “Book,” said the book. “Book,” said a second book, adding “and I’m the real one.” “Book,” said the first book to the second book, “is my name. If you want to be Book as well, you will have to be ‘Book-2,’ or some less consequential number; or perhaps just ‘Pamphlet,’ if you don’t shut up.” “Library” said the second book. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, … [Read more...]

“Nuremberg” / Memorable Fancies #744

[“In Nuremberg during the fourteenth century, the presence of 62 madmen was recorded, and 31 were chased out of town.” – Michel Foucault] First Question: How were the madmen selected to be chased out of town? Possible answers: - Standing in a row, every other one, counting off. - Standing in a group, those who were trying to hide. - Those who claimed that it was all a mistake. - Those who were on their knees, begging for mercy. - Those who were shaking their fists, … [Read more...]

“The New Chord” / Memorable Fancies #743

      The old musician walked carefully down the street toward home. I’ve heard everything, he thinks, all the music my century knows. I’m very old and I can’t seem to die. There’s nothing left to do or say, and even this I barely remember minute to minute.       But then he heard a tune a child nearby was playing on a pennywhistle. Not the basic tune itself, which seemed ordinary enough, but the structure, the hints of what might at one time have been a novel chord progression now reduced to … [Read more...]

“The Double” / Memorable Fancies #741

[It isn’t the other who is my double, but I who am the other’s double.” – Clément Rosset] You keep your double safely hidden in a sturdy closet behind a strong lock. Sometimes you unlock the door and look at him, lecture him on how he has failed you, ask if he has now repented. Today, as always, he struggles to be free. Which one is you? <END> THE FRIDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social … [Read more...]

“Histories” / Memorable Fancies #740

[“Bussoftlhee, mememormee!” – Finnegan’s Wake]      Those responsible for remembering the history of our tribe were the very old ones, those who told stories around the campfire. But they often disagreed among themselves as to what had happened, who had done what, if a god was to blame, if so which one, and so on.      So we decided to vote on which old one’s memory was correct, and which others were the products of wishful thinking or doddering minds.      We made use of this process … [Read more...]

“Ida” / Memorable Fancies #739

[“Ida decided that she was just going to talk to herself.” – Gertrude Stein]      “I’ve decided,” said Ida to herself, “that I will talk only to myself from now on. I used to speak with Gertrude, but I never could understand her and after a while it just got boring especially as she was always talking to her own self and sometimes I ended up sounding exactly like her which I just HATED.” <END> THE WEDNESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a … [Read more...]