“Whatever Happens” / Memorable Fancies #1678

As your surgery has now taken quite a bit of time – much longer than planned – we just wanted to give you fair warning about that phantasy we’ve been playing in your mind to distract you from what we’re doing to your body. The problem is the story line – we’re nearing its end. In just a few minutes you’ll be conscious of where you really are – in an operating room, cold air, bright lights, parts of your belly dislodged, edges of your skin spread apart and clamped down. That “Earth” … [Read more...]

Award in New Scientist Magazine competition – film to come

[from New Scientist magazine [circulation 129,000], April 30 issue, page 43]: "We asked you to send us science-fiction scenarios that you'd like to see on the big screen. Now six of your ideas have inspired this year's entrants to the Sci-Fi London film festival's 48-hour challenge, which tasks teams to devise an original short film, from concept to shooting, editing, and delivery, in the space of a weekend." From those who submitted entries, I'm fortunate to be one of the chosen six. 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...]

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...]

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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“Mothers” / Memorable Fancies #738

[“The original’s fate is of no relevance for the copy.” – Stanisław Lem]       Over the past century and a half, hundreds of imitation “Whistler’s Mother”s have been painted; seldom for fraud, often for study or pleasure. These paintings realize that they have almost no value, no matter how skilfully executed, how well they bring out the spirit of poor Anna Whistler, tired of sitting and wishing that her son would just get it over with.      At their convention, the imitations plot to … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #737

[“I will remember you and another song also.” – Hesiod] -- He remembers their song long after he forgets her – and she, him. # A tree falls in the forest. Has it made a sound if no one hears? If a TV plays in the forest does it make a sound? Will canned laughter become the swaying of trees? # Once upon a time. Twice upon a time. Three times. Four… # I no longer trust that image in the mirror; it has lied to me once too often. # The judge laughed. The jury laughed. The … [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...]

“I Dream of Jeannie” / Memorable Faicies #731

John was an enthusiast of dreams. He remembered them all, wrote them down the next morning, bored everyone around him with their fantastic plots. Then, one day, a co-worker said “John, all those dreams are about you. Do you know how egotistical that sounds? No wonder you never get invited anywhere. I’ll bet if you dream about your what your friends do, and then tell them about those dreams, they would be flattered and might even start to like you. How about Jeannie, for instance. I’ll bet you … [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...]

“The Insanity Program” / Memorable Fancies #724

     From the ceiling, from the walls, came the soft voices. Occasionally, Matthew recognized a word or two, important words that reeked of meaning: “...almost too late for...”. “...do you know what he...”.]      He strained to hear the voices, but the more intently he listened, the quieter they became. It was driving him crazy, he thought, hearing something he couldn’t hear.      “SPEAK UP, FOR GOD’S SAKE,” Matthew shouted, but the voices continued softly, calmly, unperturbed. He stuffed … [Read more...]

“Innocence” / Memorable Fancies #723

[“All that remained from his past were obsolete versions of the same self.” – John Berger] I’ve started thinking of my past as a moment by moment succession of the lives of people who were very much like me, but not exactly me. Same appearance, same habits – but what those others did was on them; I’m innocent of all that, because I’m constantly becoming a different person. That’s what I told the judge, anyway, or one of my past lives did. <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked … [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...]

“Comes Around” / Memorable Fancies #717

     “And how can you be sure that your memory of what happened wasn’t just a pass-along?” the detective asked, “a memory sold to someone, and then that person sold it to someone else and then maybe someone else again and then to you? And perhaps it was your memory all along and it came back to you at tenth-hand, like a game of ‘telephone,’ so altered by now you don’t realize that the memory is of your unrecognizable self?” [from the novel See/Saw; see … [Read more...]

“Agents” / Memorable Fancies #716

     The king put on a peasant’s cloak, held it close about him, and walked among his people to see what they really thought of him. He entered an inn. “Well,” he said to those at the bar, “what do you think of our king?” Several looked at him strangely. Then one said “For God’s sake, shut up! He has agents everywhere, some even dressed as peasants.” <END> THE MONDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here, in Facebook, or on other social … [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...]

“Through the Microscope” / Memorable Fancies #710

     Through the microscope I examined a few drops of pond scum. There was life, moving at odd angles, mindlessly flagellating their way across my vision. But then into my sight swam a vicious tiny monster. It was chasing and eating the others. Excitedly, I followed its adventures. I prayed that I would become, like it, the conqueror of my world. Gradually I became smaller, and smaller yet. I sought out a pond swarming with life. There was the monster. It was not me. <END> THE … [Read more...]

“The Key” / Memorable Fancies #709

[“We think of the key, each in his prison / Thinking of the key” – The Waste Land]       Someone tossed a key into my cell; I didn’t know who, because it happened when I was sleeping, and by the time I heard the tinkle of metal hitting the stone floor and woke up, my perhaps-friend had disappeared around a corner.      What was I to make of this? Of course I’d always wanted out of this place of dark remembrance, but that another would do me that favor was – well – suspicious. … [Read more...]

“This Moment” / Memorable Fancies #705

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

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #704

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

“The Derision of Walls” / Memorable Fancies #703

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

“Dream-Pills” / Memorable Fancies #702

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

“Understand?” / Memorable Fancies #701

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

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

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

“An Inventory of Machines” / Memorable Fancies #698

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

“The Mirror Remembers” / Memorable Fancies #697

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

“Honor” / Memorable Fancies #696

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

“Biography” / Memorable Fancies #695

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

“Five Briefs” / Memorable Fancies #694

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

“The Diary” / Memorable Fancies #693

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

“Devices” / Memorable Fancies #691

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

“Forgetting” / Memorable Fancies #690

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

“Heroes” / Memorable Fancies #689

      It is a rare honor for a young man such as I to be here, where the old men sit around the fire and tell stories of our nation’s heroes: Olaf the Bold, Harald the Dane-Slayer, and others.       When it is my turn, I tell them how I just this week vanquished the savages of Groen-Land despite overwhelming odds, and with the loss of no ships or men.       The old men nod their heads vacantly. Then one says “Another story of Olaf the Bold begins like this...” <END> THE TUESDAY … [Read more...]

“Mirror” / Memorable Fancies #688

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

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

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

“Forgiveness” / Memorable Fancies #686

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

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

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

“A Marriage” / Memorable Fancies #683

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

“The Stream of Forgetting” / Memorable Fancies #682

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

“PeaceLand – I” / Memorable Fancies #681

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

“Five Briefs XXXII” / Memorable Fancies #680

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

“Discovery” / Memorable Fancies #679

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

“Indecision” / Memorable Fancies #678

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

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

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

“The Past” / Memorable Fancies #675

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

“Longing” / Memorable Fancies #674

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

“Five Briefs – XXXII” / Memorable Fancies #673

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

“Symbols” / Memorable Fancies #672

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

“Refund” / Memorable Fancies #671

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

“The Forgettery – III” / Memorable Fancies #670

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

“My Double” / Memorable Fancies #669

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

“The Mutual Dreamers” / Memorable Fancies #668

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

“Who…?” / Memorable Fancies #667

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

“Revelation” / Memorable Fancy #666

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

“Five Briefs – XXXI” / Memorable Fancies #665

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

“Drones – VI” / Memorable Fancies #664

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

“Statues – XIII” / Memorable Fancies #663

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

“Retromail” / Memorable Fancies #662

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

“TV Delights” / Memorable Fancies #661

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

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

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

“Five Briefs – XXX” / Memorable Fancies #659

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

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

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

“Statues – XI” / Memorable Fancies #657

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

“The Going Rate” / Memorable Fancies #656

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

“Ten Books for Beginners” / Memorable Fancies #655

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

“Drones – V” / Memorable Fancies #654

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

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

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

“A Clear Conscience” / Memorable Fancies #652

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

“What They Really Mean” / Memorable Fancies #651

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

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

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

“The Book Attacks” / Memorable Fancies #649

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

“My Drone” / Memorable Fancies #648

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

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

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

“Acts” / Memorable Fancies #646

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Drones – II” / Memorable Fancies #637

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

“What’s Real” / Memorable Fancies #636

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

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

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

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

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

“Drones” / Memorable Fancies #633

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

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

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

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

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

“Polonius in Heaven” / Memorable Fancies #626

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

“A Technical Education” / Memorable Fancies #625

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

“Last Night” / Memorable Fancies #624

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

“Jericho” / Memorable Fancies #623

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

“Pig” / Memorable Fancies #622

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

“Reality Check” / Memorable Fancies #621

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

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

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

“Shut Me Down” / Memorable Fancies #619

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Exercise” / Memorable Fancies #611

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

“The Double” / Memorable Fancies #610

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

“Changing the Past” / Memorable Fancies #609

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

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

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

“LOOK Homeward” / Memorable Fancies #607

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

“Alone” / Memorable Fancies #606

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

“Undergrounders – IV” / Memorable Fancies #605

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

“Five Briefs XXVI” Memorable Fancies #604

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

“Convenience” / Memorable Fancies #602

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

“The Great Day” / Memorable Fancies #601

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

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

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

“History of the Sky” / Memorable Fancies #599

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

“Undergrounders – III” / Memorable Fancies #598

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

The Great Simplifying Assumptions – I / Memorable Fancies #597

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

“Memories of Imaginary People” / Memorable Fancies #596

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

“The Magic Blanket” / Memorable Fancies #595

     I have invented a magic blanket. Stick your head under it and you won’t, worry, plan, estimate, cogitate, regret, ponder, or have any other painful conscious thoughts. You do, however, need a trusted friend to pull you out from under every so often. Be careful not to choose someone whose head is under his own magic blanket. <END>      If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites.      … [Read more...]

“Five Briefs XXV” / Memorable Fancies #594

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

“The Prophet – III” / Memorable Fancies #593

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

“Corpulent Correctness” / Memorable Fancies #592

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

“The Contest” / Memorable Fancies #591

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

“Magic Mirror – I” / Memorable Fancies #590

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

“Quandary” / Memorable Fancies #589

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

“Together” / Memorable Fancies #588

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

“Flight 34” / Memorable Fancies #587

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

“Five Briefs – XXIV” / Memorable Fancies #586

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

“Marital Blitz” / Memorable Fancies #584

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

“Training” / Memorable Fancies #582

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