“The Staring” / Memorable Fancies #1563

Two windows watch each other across a shared driveway. Occasionally the residents peer out, a minor annoyance to the windows who will soon resume their patient, silent, staring.  [Book ad: The year’s hottest new TV series is a reenactment of a famous murder trial ... but was there more involved than murder? A plot to take over the U.S. government? Read Try Try Again.] … [Read more...]

“…on the Wall” / Memorable Fancies #1460

[“Why, despite all our mirrors, do we never really know how we look?” – Schopenhauer] I have a mirror in every room. I hung them there so I could watch myself, catch myself doing something I shouldn’t. But I never look at them anymore. I sidle into each room eyes-down, crabwise walking, never looking up. But I know the mirror is there. And I know what it sees.     <End> Buy it at amazon.com/author/terencekuch: Everything Wants to Happen, the first thousand Memorable Fancies from this … [Read more...]

“The Circle of Eyes” / Memorable Fancies #1452

[“Venice is ... a labyrinth of secrets where you have the impression that everyone is following someone.” – Jean Baudrillard] Everyone is following someone. Everyone who is following is also being followed, and everyone who is being followed is also following. If one were to turn back, look at his follower, all would turn back, spying those who spy them, an endless circle of eyes. Then each would turn forward again, continue their furtive stealth. <END> Buy it at … [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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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 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...]

“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 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...]

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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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 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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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 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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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 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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“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...]

“Looking-At” / Memorable Fancies #498

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

“The Dolls – I” / Memorable Fancies #344

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

“Spying” / A Memorable Fancy #185

I am spying on myself, divining my sins. I hunt out guilty secrets, nonconforming opinions, base desires. I began a journal of these observations, but burned it when I found myself reading it, spoiling these secrets from myself, making them no longer secret. How can I bear to read those horrible words? The priest said “We all have sinful desires like yours, my son; we do sinful things. Very much like yours. Exactly like yours.” Then he turned and ran from the confessional, screaming and … [Read more...]

“The Group That Spies on Itself” / A Memorable Fancy #073

The terrorist cell is consumed by a passion to know everything about itself. It spies on itself, then spies on its spies. It finds excellent and highly effective ways to do this, and, without quite intending to, uses the same techniques as the government it is trying to overthrow. The cell is desperate to find out who is really in charge of it. And why it exists. [– after Jean Baudrillard]   … [Read more...]