Monday, February 28, 2005

As Vincent jammed on his guitar spirits of the great guitarists intermingled with the sound vibrating throughout the room. Charlie Christian was there hovering in one corner. Wes Montgomery and John Fahey were in another. Jimi Hendrix and Robert Johnson arrived together, met Danny Gatton floating in through the open window. Duane Allman with his Southern rock aura danced on the ceiling. George Harrison met the Slavic soul of Krzysztof Klenczon and they duelled together on air guitars, variations on Vincent's themes. More and more spirits converged, filling the room with inspiration. The longer Vincent jammed, the more spontaneous his music became. The combined creativity in the air seeped into his unconscious, guiding his fingers, while his musical feeling flowed into the room, affecting the dancing specters of genius. A wonderful symbiosis had arisen. It was heaven for all. It was holy.

Story #173

Saturday, February 26, 2005

It began the first night of the new month. The head appeared and followed him everywhere he went, eyes trained firmly upon him. His attempts to turn away from it saw it intrude again swiftly into his line of vision. The head caught the light and shadows such that he could never tell with certainty whether it was disembodied or not. And those unblinking eyes continued to stare. That was the worst of it, that the eyes never blinked. It made the head seem unnatural and threatening. Try watching TV under those circumstances! At each new eruption of disquiet inside him the head seemed to increase the mad boldness of its demeanor. It was always just out of reach, intensely focused eyes staring into him with a resolve that could smash stone to rubble. Even in his sleep he could not escape the ghastliness of it. It watched near his bed - the eerie illumination forced its way through his eyelids and entered his dreams at will - and looked at him. By the third day he cracked. He went directly to the collection agency and payed his overdue installment on his new state-of-the-art high definition widescreen television, upon which they called off their patented Neversleep Reminder Head™.

Story #172

Thanks for all the brilliant stories you posted in the comments section! More are welcome!

Original post: It's your turn again! I hope this photo will inspire everyone to pen their own story. Please post them to the comments section. Sunday evening I hope to post my own version.

Also, I'd like to say once in this central location: Thanks to everyone for the encouragement, the lovely comments, the links, and more basically, for reading my stories. I feel as if I've done something right, but I'm not sure what, and my only fear is that I might begin to disappoint your high expectations. I read your blogs and you're all so brilliant.

Another announcement: I will only be able to post stories until March 11th. After that I'll be on a two and a half week vacation stateside, my first time back since 1999. Regular posts will resume in April.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Martin proudly presented his photo of the Loch Ness monster to the world. He became an immediate sensation, an honored guest on talk shows, even garnered a cameo appearance on a Baywatch reunion episode in which the entire incident was recreated. His animated accounts of the legendary water creature charmed and engrossed audiences. He related how it had popped its head out of the water, turned towards him, given a sly wink, then waved its disproportionately small arms in his direction before vanishing again into the depths. It had to be true. People just didn't imagine things like that, not in so much detail. Fortunately Martin had had his camera and enough wits about him to capture the moment for all eternity, as proof of what he had seen. The photograph was later borrowed and scrutinized by marine biologists using computer enhancements combined with other state of the art methods, and finally discredited as an insidiously cheap hoax. It wasn't Nessie at all whose image Martin presented them with. It was an alien being flitting across a corn field. No one ever believed Martin again.

Story #171

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Backseat-Dog: What's going on with our road trip?
Frontseat-Dog: Yeah, why'd you pull off the freeway?
Driver-Dog: It was frightening out there. Didn't you see it?
Frontseat-Dog: Woof. I mean, see what?
Driver-Dog: That Jaguar bearing down on us. That cat nearly ran us off the road!
Frontseat-Dog: I missed that. I was counting cows.
Backseat-Dog: I missed that, too. I was playing that alphabet game, looking for all the letters.
Driver-Dog: Don't be so intellectual! Dogs can't read.
Backseat-Dog: Sure they can. You know they make dog food out of cows?
Frontseat-Dog: Oh, really?
Driver-Dog: No they don't.
Backseat-Dog: Yes they do. I read it on the package.
Driver-Dog: Anything to munch back there? All this talk about dog food is making my stomache growl.
Frontseat-Dog: Me, too. How about we go get something to eat?
Backseat-Dog: Yeah, but go to a drive-thru. Most inside places have this "no pets" rule.
Driver-Dog: OK. Just a second.
Frontseat-Dog: What's wrong with now?
Driving-Dog: I'm waiting for the right moment to pull out.
Frontseat-Dog: The right moment?
Driver-Dog: I'm not going out there again unless I can drive behind a Greyhound bus.

Story #170

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Karen had just graduated from cool school. They gave her a cool diploma saying she was cool and a pair of sunglasses, also cool. She had mastered written coolness: cool, kewl, and kool, knew how to emphasize as in keeeeewl, kewwwwl, and especially keeewwwlll. She'd picked up an idiom: "It's cool." She recognized the opposite: uncool. Her music professors taught her the coolio beats of rap, hiphop and blues. Her tutors agreed she had a cool body. After the ceremony her brother and sister, class of last year, came to pick her up and take her to the coolest club in town where Karen was hit on by a hot looking guy who taught her all about rad.

Story #169

Monday, February 21, 2005

Soon everyone would be thinking of Sharon. The package had just arrived. She had won. She had been accepted. It was as simple as that. The competition had been especially fierce and glass shattering, but Sharon had this knack for screams, screams that could turn blood into buttermilk. It was just this basic mood of hers. Her scream hit a nerve, a razor sharp balance between modern existential alienation and Nina Hagen on amphetamines. That's why her friends urged her to submit an application to the committee. The Council of Archetypes was broadening the collective unconscious to afford better representation to women. The special-delivery postman handed her the award certificate naming her the female counterpart of Edvard Munch's Skrik, the anguish archetype. Soon everyone would be thinking of Sharon...

Story #168

Note from Indeterminacy: In observance of "Free Mojtaba and Arash Day" (February 22, 2005), this blog stands for the right of freedom of speech and expression for bloggers everywhere.

Dihala was the Goddess of the Universe. Occasionally it was in her fancy to create a new planet with an intricate balance of living creatures forming together a harmony of themes to please her eyes and ears. While she was so occupied it was vital that Dihalus stand back discreetly and allow her to do her work. Creating planets was not simple. One interruption from him and the creation might be less than perfect. The creatures living on the planet might not function properly and begin to destroy the planet or each other. Dihalus was extremely careful. His conscience was still trying to live with the consequences of what happened as Dihala created Earth, and he grabbed her from behind to kiss her.

Story #167

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Clara's relationship with the wall could not quite be understood. She was never seen in the company of boys. Warm summer days found her embracing the flat gray mortar in the garden. They tried everything. The spatula they used broke when they tried to slip it in between the warm flesh and cold stone. "Get away from that wall," they told her. Not even that worked. As the moon appeared through the trees the sounds of her song drifted in through the open windows, a love song she hummed, accompanied by a summer night's breeze. The mystery was solved when Clara's aunt, an avid hang glider, landed in the back yard one August afternoon and related what she had just seen from above. On the other side of the wall, at exactly the position Clara clung to, was a boy, weeping because he had no ladder.

Story #166

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Kevin was in distress, so he issued a loud call to anyone in earshot. The three supergirls were up sunbathing on a cloud high above the skyscrapers when their supersonic ears perked to the cry of Kevin's voice calling "Help, I'm lonely!" The superheroines slipped into their tight tops and dived down immediately afterwards to where Kevin stood on the pavement of the smothering metropolis he walked. The red, yellow and blue colors darted around him, pulling him, tugging him, drawing him with them, making him feel wanted, less lonely. They sat him down at a cafe, brought him a coffee, and showered him with sweet smiles while he sipped the liquid caffeine. The three took turns whispering secrets into his ears. For one small moment, he felt confident and in control. After the coffee, they returned him to where they had first met him, did a brief dance for his benefit on the metal gate, then soared back to their cloud for some more topless sunbathing. All this didn't really happen. It was an urban mirage. Those who had seen Kevin noticed only a typical city dweller, walking along swiftly, mumbling incoherently to himself.

Story #165

Friday, February 18, 2005

Marc and Tammy had just built a snowman, laughing and giggling the entire time. Somehow it brought them closer together. When the final feature of the snowman's face was in place, a stubby little carrot nose which Tammy pushed in herself, Marc and Tammy kissed their first kiss. They went for a walk, holding hands under the falling snow, sharing conversation that brought them even closer. As they reached the bench, which Marc decided was a good place to kiss Tammy again, they perceived a sliding, slushing sound behind them. It was the snowman, come to life, tears of ice streaming down its face. "Please, Tammy, please," it cried. "Tell me it's me you love, and not him!"

Story #164

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Minerva was possessed by a demon. She roamed around growling and clawing at whatever came her way. Objects of lust were basely consumed, in a spiritual sense, sometimes physically, as well. One day Minerva was attracted to Maria. Maria was a pious creature, in whose body an angel lived. She prayed for life. She prayed for love. She prayed for death. But she never prayed for lust. The angel inside her dozed momentarily, enabling the feelings of life, love and death to fuse into a lust that flowed into Maria's blood and pulsed with the beat of her heart. She sprang from the wall and embraced the flesh-covered demoness. In the consummation of intense intimacy the two natures accidentally interchanged. Minerva returned to Maria's place on the wall, assumed the lotus position, and began a prayer. Maria began to growl with a hunger for lust.

Story #163

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In the beginning there was the Universe. And it was vast and empty. And the boredom that filled it constricted God who watched over it all. "Let there be light," He told it. And there was light. It filled the vastness from one infinite end to the other. But the boredom would not be vanquished. It became merely an illumined boredom with light that burned dullness into the eyes. God created shadows to contrast the light, so that now the light shared its endless space with its opposite. But the shadows were dead and unmoving. And the light was dead and unmoving. Yet God yearned for life and movement. Then He created the dancer, to charm shadows and strew light with her whims of spontaneous motion. And He saw that it was good. God now had all that He could ever desire.

Story #162

Note from Indeterminacy: This story is dedicated to Patrick of Aquarius Books, a great source of light in Cincinnati, on the occasion of his birthday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Heather pretended to read but she was actually in the book, wandering around the paragraphs through various scenes in search of the pizza delivery boy mentioned briefly on page 37. Something was not right. The boy was just a little too polite, too much of a cliché. He'd dropped off his pizza, then vanished from the story altogether, but something about his stock nature was a cry for help. She felt that and had to find him! Heather slipped onto page 38 and cornered Sherrie Baxter, the lead character, a strong-willed twenty-something with long, auburn hair and an icy demeanor, and demanded information on his whereabouts. In a droll, emotionless voice Sherrie claimed ignorance. Heather knocked the pizza from Sherrie's hands and it would have turned violent, except Sherrie had no idea how to react, being firmly anchored in another plotline. She froze. The pizza fell cheese-side-down on the carpet, revealing a message on the flip side scrawled in charcoal: "Save us - Basement." Heather rushed through the house until she located the cellar door, stormed through, switched on the light and saw scores of characters huddled together at the base of the stairs. The delivery boy was there, too. When they realized she was a reader they cheered at having finally been freed. The author had plagiarized them from other books and kept them in hiding, waiting for an opportunity to pull them out and introduce them as his own.

Story #161

Monday, February 14, 2005

"Pssst," whispered Paul as he sat down next to the mermaid, "How'd you like to be our Valentine tonight?" The mermaid hesitated. Before she could answer Pauline pressed in on the other side. "It'd be a cozy little Valentine's day party. Just the three of us," she said. "We have a hot tub," Paul went on, timing the syllables to make it sound tempting. "I'll share my bikini with you," Pauline chimed in, smiling at the mermaid with big, sultry eyes. "You take the top and I'll wear the bottom," she elaborated. The mermaid was becoming intrigued. Thoughts of salty desire swam in her plaster head. "So what do you say?" Paul broke in on the thoughts. The mermaid considered, but did not yet answer. "We'll put you back in the ocean afterwards," Pauline added in response to the sea creature's apparent indecision. As a matter of fact it all sounded extremely tempting to the mermaid. The two were like pleasant summer waves gently splashing in on each side of her. But she just couldn't answer. That was the drawback to being inanimate.

Story #160

Note from Indeterminacy: Happy Valentine's Day to all!! (Mermaids included)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Bill, Bob, Yvonne and Yvette were out for a Valentine's day walk. They happened to be sitting on the bench when the Cupids arrived. First, one Cupid came strolling by, then there were several and soon the park path was flowing with an entire phalanx of Cupids, all marching towards the make-out point located at the end of the strategic lane. It was to be a surprise attack, which was why they weren't flying. Bill, Bob, Yvonne and Yvette were obvious targets for the impish little love soldiers overanxious to shoot off their arrows of amorosity, tips anesthetized so as to postpone the pain of love. With so many thousands of arrows there were bound to be mistakes made, especially with Yvonne and Yvette sitting so close to one another. The two girls sat now fully charged and would show someone the time of his life that night, as soon as they could work out who to leave with.

Story #159

Note from Indeterminacy: Thanks to everyone who posted their own take on this photograph!

************************ The pre-story post ************************

Today's post is something of a departure. Since I'm going away for the weekend and won't be able to post anyway, I thought I would leave the blog in the capable hands of my visitors. Here's the photo I found (above). I invite my visitors to write the one minute short story this time. The story can be anything you want and if you have trouble starting just write the first thing that comes to mind. Free associate, even if you think it's stupid. You can always go back and make it brilliant afterwards. The thing that used to intimidate me most about writing was getting started. I used to think to write you had to have a completely worked out scenario, a particular moral you wanted to convey, etc. Some writers may be comfortable with that, but it certainly intimidated me. I tried to select a photo that would fit with Valentine's day, which is Monday. But that doesn't mean this has to be a love story. And it doesn't have to be spectacular. Just write! I look forward to Sunday night, when I'll log back on and check the comments. Until then, have a great weekend!

Thanks to Robyn for this idea!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Every time she looked into the bottle a feeling of déjà vu overcame her. Why was this so familiar? What did it mean? She'd glance over to her girlfriends sitting near her, search for some reaction, but they were silent, avoided her eyes. They always seemed to notice what was on her mind, passing uneasy looks between them. They could have said something. She was sure of it. But they didn't.

This time she confronted them: "You know something, don't you?"

"Uh, well, I don't know," one of her friends declared evasively.

"About me and this bottle. Tell me."

Nervous pause. A cough.

"Look, I'll get off this bus and never hang out with you again," she said, and meant it, though it wouldn't be easy, as she had known her friends as far back as she could remember. Everyone called them "The Inseparables."

Her friends' eyes darted about tentatively. Their silence was masked by the motor of the bus revving as it turned down a new street. This time they couldn't back down. An imploring glance, a nod, then one of her friends spoke.

"Well, we didn't know if we should say anything. It's just that you-" her friend couldn't finish.

"You're a genie," another blurted out. "We found you in the bottle. You gave us a wish, and we wished for you. We wished you to be our best friend for all time."

"Yeah," another friend went on, "you've been places, seen the world, we thought it'd be really cool to hang out with you."

They took turns explaining now:
"But then you lost your powers and your memory."
"We thought it'd be kind of traumatic, if we reminded you."
"So we avoided it."
"But you're still fun to hang out with."

The former genie smiled and peered dreamily into the bottle: "So that's where I come from..."

Story #158

Note from Indeterminacy: This story is for Cori.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Stacey had a shrunken boy in a blue balloon. All the cool girls had one these days. It was a new voodoo spell that spread through the high schools and girl cliques like a combination of wildfire and flash flood, burning some, washing away others. Fun things could be done with the boys. You could inflate or deflate their personal space, tie the balloon to a string, bounce it around, or even pop it. That was not good for the boy, as his atoms would then scatter in the wind. Many girls tied the balloon to the foot of their bed and drove the boy crazy with the eyeful he might have had, if he could see clearly through the translucent rubber. Others teased the boy by blowing up the balloon to the maximum tension, then stopping. Miriam and Stephanie saw the fun that Stacey had and would probably get themselves a boy in a balloon soon, after finding the right boy. Beth looked up in the air, wondering what had become of her boy when the balloon accidentally slipped from her fingers and jetted out through the skylight.

Story #157

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Snow White had been around for a while. She'd pricked her finger on more than a few spindles, gone out nights while no one was watching, to press lips and wrap tongues with frogs, and lost more slippers in palace bedrooms than she cared to admit. By now the princes had lost interest. They didn't want a beautiful woman going on 30, in orange dress. They preferred a fresh young maiden in white, old enough to be the woman's daughter. Even the mirror qualified its praise with " your age class." Snow White returned to live with the dwarves, awaiting resolution of her lawsuit against the Grimm estate for reneging on the "happily ever after" clause in her fairy tale contract.

Story #156

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In the course of his travels Professor Zahlschmidt of mathematics encountered a two-headed girl with four arms. Fascinated by the sheer numerics of it, he invited her home with him, pondering her categorization the entire time. For example, was she a two-headed girl with four arms, or a four-armed girl with two heads? He couldn't decide. He counted sixteen fingers, four thumbs, ten toes, and two wonderful breasts with geometric proportions he had never even dared fantasize about. Wild mathematical dreams overwhelmed the protective boundaries guarding his sleep. He multiplied two times four on a calculator and it kept coming up "LOVE", which confused him because it wasn't really a number. Then the enjoined females came storming after him, juggling perfectly formed orbs in perfectly formed circles. One afternoon while the professor was taking a nap the girls snuck away to the train station, to leave on the next train. They hoped to meet someone with whom they could share their primal passion: hugging.

Story #155

Monday, February 07, 2005

Dick and Jane wandered around the labyrynth, hoping to work out a storyline for their next primer. "See Dick run" just didn't work with today's youth. Why were Dick and Jane running? What was their motivation? There was no passion to the plot. Kids wanted action, suspense, drama. Dick and Jane had to be running in mad panic, trapped in an M.C. Escheresque setting, one step ahead of a pyschopathic killer tracking them with his pet dog, Spot, a ravenous hellhound with three heads. They tested the maze, developing various scenarios. But did it have to be so horrific? The idea for a sexual education manual was fun to work out in all its detail, and they did, several times, but deep down they knew it would never make it past the education committees.

Story #154

Sunday, February 06, 2005

This would be a night the girls would never forget. Stripper Ken would see to that. His decadent dance would cause a crescendo of feminine heartbeats to pound in rhythm with the blaring disco beat. One by one the scraps of clothing would come off, each movement and each baring of skin driving the women higher, until the one thing they came to see was revealed. The club owner was a sadist, which is why he had hired this particular male dancer, a failed clone experiment from the 1980's named after the Ken dolls of Barbie fame, by virtue of his endowment. When the moment came there would be shocked gasps from the women, some would faint, and the remainder would wander the streets for hours afterwards in a distressed daze.

Story #153

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Michael put on his boots and his safari hat and went out into the back yard to hunt for girls. Many would have admired his grit and determination, throwing himself into situations so dangerously imbalanced to his detriment. He didn't carry a firearm or knife, not even a whip. A lasso, his lone defense, hung from his belt, but he knew how to use it. He surveyed the yard, checked behind trees, saw out of the corner of his eye movements in the tall grass. That's where they were hiding, he told himself. A sudden giggle, interrupted as quickly as it began, confirmed his subliminal impression. Like the free-spirited coyotes of the Great Plains he cornered them before they could reconceal themselves or dash away...
"Alright babes, I've got you surrounded. Come out!"
They giggled again.
"Come out here and kiss me or I'll tie you up!" he called to them resolutely, in a voice that threw down a gauntlet, daring them not to obey. They peered out from the grass at him.
"Shall we kiss him?" the one said to the other.
"It might be educational..." she answered
"Hmm, yes, it might be..." her friend went on, playfulness in her eyes.
Michael stood, stone-faced, not flinching a moment as they approached him. It was great being ten years old, he thought to himself. He hoped it would be as easy with girls when he was sixteen.

Story #152

Friday, February 04, 2005

A beautiful model was found standing in the parking lot. People walked up to her, peered at her from all sides, then asked her what she was doing there, but she chose to remain a mystery. They only got that enigmatic model's smile from her lips, the kind that aroused covetous emotions in men to possess the model and in women to possess the clothes. A few helpful individuals scouted the area for anyone looking like a professional photographer or camera crew, but none were found, though a few curious onlookers made the odd snapshot to take with them as a souvenir, while the model posed, smiled and blinked. They called diverse model agencies to see if any were missing a model, for soon it would be evening, and much too cold for what she was wearing. Finally a quick-witted passerby had a brilliant idea: "Is that a Dior?" he asked, looking inside her dress, at the back, to see what was on the label. They telephoned the designer who drove by a half hour later in a mannequin truck and took her away.

Story #151

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The ghost was out looking at new apartments. His old haunt had gone drastically downhill. Inner city. Condemned buildings. Crime. The usual. He looked rather silly rattling chains in front of gang members doing the same. His own efforts notwithstanding, the neighborhood had become quite frightening, so he drifted out to the suburbs to see what life was like there. This particular attic room endeared itself to him immediately with its sensitive aura of Kafkaesque paranoia, the kind where it seems like the walls are perpetually closing in on you but leave the final contraction to the imagination. The view with the shadows was nice, too. He took it. Hopefully the neighbors wouldn't be too loud.

Story #150

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The two forest sprites hovered near the campfire, beaconing to the men to join them in the forest. One of the campers, intrigued by the seductive possibilities and ribbed on by his friends, went with them. The lovely sprites escorted him out of view of the flickering firelight, deep into the woods where night shadows reigned. Whatever it was they did, it was over before the remaining campers could sing even three songs. Then the nymph-like creatures returned to lure the next man along with them. Halfway between midnight and dawn all but one of the men had left with the two sprites. That final man remained resolute, telling himself he would never go with them, regardless of what they might try. They planted wild forest pleasures in his imagination but still he resisted. They implored his manhood with voices tasting like sugar. But he did not surrender. Something told him they might lead him to an empty spot in the heart of the forest and turn him into a tree. All at once the sweet voices ceased. Only the sounds of the crackling campfire flames were heard as the two creatures retreated irretrievably into their forest realm. At daybreak, the lone survivor ran through the rows of trees, feet falling on sunlight strewn here and there on fallen leaves. He found his friends, broken men, all of them. Broken financially. The sprites had sold them worthless lots of quicksand deep in the woodland swamp, for all the money they had.

Story #149

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Mona's mouth went on vacation. Although she didn't really need to, she signed up for the No Nibbles diet to make herself slimmer and more attractive to men. After losing about two pounds in the first week, nothing else happened. It was just like all the other diets. Her skin somehow drew fat out of the air. Not only that, her dates with guys weren't going well anymore. Without a mouth to talk to them, smile at them and other things that girls' mouths did, she found the guys were avoiding her for even heavier girls who were able to put their money where their mouth was. She sent a registered letter to the No Nibbles company asking them to return her oral appendage but they refused. They had a verbal agreement, and the orifice was theirs now, to do with as they pleased, at least for the next year. If only she had thought twice before opening her mouth. After the initial shock she started hanging out at the art museum, in the Dali section, where she didn't feel so conspicuous. She finally met a nice student who was into surrealism. He took her just as she was, though she was still sensitive about the bump on her face when she unthinkingly tried to stick out her tongue.

Story #148