“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...]

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...]

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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“Taste” / Memorable Fancies #732

      Survivors of the disastrous meteor strike barricaded themselves in forts, lived in giant public compounds where secret murders would be impossible. When the danger of mass starvation became too great, a portion of the refugee population was slaughtered by lottery, and a few volunteered, to be fed to the survivors. It was terrible, revolting, don’t think about it - but it was either that or all would die.      And that’s how it began, how we developed a taste for … not … [Read more...]

“Tommy’s Problem with Shadows” / Memorable Fancies #725

[“And where are you going / That you take no shadow? – W.S. Merwin]      Tommy’s problem was that he cast no shadow. His classmates in grade school took turns following him and laughing and calling him names, chanting “Vampire! Vampire!” until the Human Sensitivity Office got involved and forced the children to apologize, which of course made them even more hostile to Tommy, made his life even more miserable.      Specialists were called. Sadly, they told Tommy’s mom and dad that his rare … [Read more...]

“Getting Around” / Memorable Fancies #718

[“... an accrual of phantom limbs” – Kathleen Stewart]       Yes, losing a leg in that car crash last summer was bad, although I’m doing a lot better know, learning how to get around without too much trouble. When I woke up in the hospital, back then, I did have the “phantom limb” sensation – that my leg was still there. The docs said don’t worry, that’s a common experience, harmless.      But the last few days now, I’ve been feeling that I have more than one phantom limb. Five more, in … [Read more...]

“Trek” / Memorable Fancies #711

     A long trek through the desert; several died but at last we found a fertile land, well watered and green. There were houses, streets, businesses; but all had been abandoned. Not deserted in a hurry, but … as if everyone had just left for some very ordinary purpose and never came back. Where did they go? Why? We found no answers to these questions.      Anyway, we settled in and were content for several years. And then one of us left one ordinary day, and then others, and then the … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #704

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

“The Mirror Remembers” / Memorable Fancies #697

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

“Forgetting” / Memorable Fancies #690

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

“A Marriage” / Memorable Fancies #683

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

“Indecision” / Memorable Fancies #678

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

“Refund” / Memorable Fancies #671

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

“The Forgettery – III” / Memorable Fancies #670

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

“Drones – VI” / Memorable Fancies #664

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

“Retromail” / Memorable Fancies #662

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

“Statues – XI” / Memorable Fancies #657

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

“Ten Books for Beginners” / Memorable Fancies #655

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

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

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

“My Drone” / Memorable Fancies #648

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

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

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

“Drones – II” / Memorable Fancies #637

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