Friday, April 29, 2005

Billie found a magic globe in the attic. Whenever she laid her finger on a random somewhere a boy exactly at the midpoint of her fingertip would fall in love. He felt all the pangs and desires and sensed the presence of his new beloved, but he did not know who she was or how to find her. When she placed her finger on the globe a second time, the girl of that boy's dreams turned her thoughts to him. Both would begin writing poetry to their unknown loves, feeling that someday, somehow they would be together. They would glimpse each other in nighttime dreams. In windows, across crowds, and begin desperate pursuit to find who it was. During the day they might absentmindedly jot down a face, and then realize it was that one special person. But never would they recognize who it might be. It was always someone they had never seen before. Indeed, they never had proof that that someone existed. Some went on believing the rest of their lives. Some hid their flame, grew older, and settled for a more sober kind of love. But at night, sometimes, they still would dream. And oftentimes an inspiration was felt emanating from that distant soul. Billie didn't know what to do now. She had placed her finger for the boy. And after placing her finger the second time she realized she had unintentionally selected herself.

Story #207

Note: This story was inspired by a poem I read at a blog called "The Angel's Cloud". A translation of the German language poem is in the comments section.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Martin found the girl wandering downtown streets reading aloud from a book on hotel management. Everyone looked at her strangely but Martin was fascinated. He sympathized, too, because people often looked at him the same way. At night he'd lay awake tossed left and right by his trembling obsession with hotel maids. Not even his therapist could satisfactorily explain it to him. Finally he stopped seeing the therapist and invested the money instead in a weekly stay at the Marriott. He felt safe lying on the plush hotel couches with cushions holding him snugger than a mother's womb. And no matter what he imagined about the maids, there was no one standing behind him telling him what it really meant, because no matter what it meant, it never topped the surface idea with the maids. So when Martin saw the girl, he immediately invited her home with him. Now she was reciting the chapter on female service personnel the third time through. He hoped it would get her in the mood, because he had plans involving her services. When the moment was right he would reach behind the sofa and pull out a maid's uniform. She would put it on for him. Then they would go upstairs, to the bedroom, where he would watch her make his bed and tidy the room.

Story #206

Note: It's another photo from Audra in Budapest!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Nelson was out collecting butterflies. It must have been obvious because the girl in the bushes asked him just that. "Are you collecting butterflies?" her voice drifted to his ears, permeating his consciousness, leaving a sweet aftertaste like honey yet to be.

"Yes," he answered, his eyes lingering for an awkward moment of silence while the girl simply continued smiling at him. He nervously tugged at his net.

"The butterflies went that way," she said, pointing.

Another awkward silence ensued. Though she never stopped smiling, he felt he had been dismissed, so he turned to continue his hunt. "Bring one back for me," he heard her call after him from behind. She raised her voice slightly to add, "Please?"

Nelson could hardly concentrate on the butterflies. All the while he pondered the girl among the sweet azaleas, a girl whose smile induced a strange intoxication in his brain. He thought he saw her afterimage each time he blinked his eyes in the bright sunlight. The monarchs and the morning cloaks and the red admirals he had come to love appeared especially elusive today, always flitting away when he was ready to pounce. Finally, a vanessa cardui, that species known as the painted lady, fairly flew into his net, as if guided by intellect. Without hesitation he knew he would give it to the girl, certain that his token of chivalry would charm her over to him. And so he returned to her. In an instant the captured creature hopped from the net, arced, wings flapping, into the air. It lit in the girl's cupped hands. She brought it up close to her face and inhaled a deep, savoring breath. Her tongue extended as if to meet the passively waiting creature. Then she turned so he could not see what occurred, yet the slurping sound he perceived was quite distinct. A few moments later she released the butterfly into the air and turned to meet Nelson's horrified gaze.

"It's so nice to be pollinated," she said to him, but he couldn't respond. "You didn't know, did you?" she went on, her smile never waning. "I'm part of the flowers."

Story #205

Postscript (March 2, 2008):

The Danish artist Tabita has drawn a wonderful illustration for this story.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rose and Violet were rational girls. When they discovered they each had similar feelings for Harvey they decided to settle it with a friendly bout of arm wrestling. The winner would receive full rights to Harvey and have free reign in determining what pleasures to obtain from him. Harvey watched from the cupboard, lips trembling with tense titillation. He knew them both well and wondered now what would happen when the winner took charge of him. He wasn't a powerful man, by no means. Each one of them could wrestle him to the ground with one hand bound behind her back, as he had discovered the time he tried to tie them up. "That's what I get for avoiding sports all my life," he thought to himself. Rose and Violet, on the other hand, paid close attention to their physical fitness, attending the exercise studio twice a week, and softball on Sundays. He struggled to look up from the system of ropes constraining his motion. The match was a draw. That made him shudder. Weaklings should never juggle girlfriends, and he had cheated on both of them, which came to light when he accidentally mixed up their names. With Solomonic wisdom Rose and Violet decided that each would get half of Harvey. They smiled at the prospect of tearing him in two with their bare hands.

Story #204

Note: This is the prequel to the Harvey set (Stories #174 & #175)!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The thought that she had bitten off more than she could chew swelled to gagging proportions and swirled around her head pinching her cheeks. The boys were laughing, pulling off clothes, working out who would be first with Claire. They had been drinking heavily the entire evening, just as Claire had requested. She didn't think she could follow through with sober eyes staring at her, but she hadn't expected such bravado. "I'm going to suck at this," she told herself fatally. But she had wanted the practice and the girls had enthusiastically volunteered their boyfriends for the intimate procedure which they themselves were not inclined to perform. She thought ahead to when it would all be behind her. There'd be no added company nine months later. That was certain. No, the boys would return to their girlfriends, completely content, one less tension to worry about in their conventional erotic encounters. Yes, Claire thought, it was indeed swell of the boys to help her out on such short notice, and swell of their girls not to mind. After performing the nine impromptu vasectomies, Claire was a cinch to pass her med-school exam the next day.

Story #203

Thanks to everyone who contributed! The stories have been moved to Remember, at the end of this month I'll hold a random drawing of everyone who contributed in April to award a b+w print of one of my own photos, and a story to go along with it. Late contributions are still welcome!

P.S. I think Courtney stole the show with her story.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Laura had stunning, straw-blond hair and a perfect face. Not a single blemish was to be found on that baby-smooth skin of hers. No pimples. No wart on the nose. No cracked lip. Not even a freckle. She toured the country with her brunette manager, living out of the back of a van, appearing to aesthetically minded audiences, offering them facial symmetry for the two short hours she stood before them, spotlights trained on her so that no pore should remain in shadows. She'd stand up blinking into the glare, nodding slowly from side to side, so that everyone could see each of her profiles. And they'd sit there, peering and glancing and gazing and studying the harmony she offered them. Spontaneous waves of applause would burst out and bounce from one side of the auditorium to the other. Little did she know they were looking at her legs.

Story #202

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ruby had just seduced a rock. It was a sight to see, the way she'd sauntered up to it, placed hands on the creviced gray surface, and dug her fingernails into the stony flesh. The rock couldn't take it. Cracks began to show. Pebble dust shot into the air. But after a few token tremors it settled into a tame state. Now Ruby could do anything she wanted with the mineral formation: mount it, or mold it like clay into esoteric shapes. They might even get volcanic together, go for a skinny-dip in a secluded little lava pool she knew. Ever since she was little, Ruby had been different from the other girls. She didn't play with dolls - she read geology books. People wondered what was going on, but now they knew. Ruby and her loves gave new meaning to the words "rock and roll."

Story #201

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Please don't be mad at me. I have to skip posting today. We have company staying with us this week and I didn't have a chance to prepare anything. In the meanwhile, if you haven't read all the stories, I'd like to refer you to one of my muse's favorites:

Story #7

And now some really good news: A Gag Reflex (part 2) begins today (Wednesday)! Check it out!

See you tomorrow...

P.S. I had a relaxing time on the train to work this morning reading in James Thurber's "Let Your Mind Alone!" in which he lampoons all the self-help books of his day. I keep rereading it because it's so funny. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The keeper of images sat in the darkened room, staring at photos he had suctioned out of the Internet. He devoted his attention to each image for a fragment of a second. He saw youth after youth all around the globe forming their fingers into the gangsta signs. He saw cute girls kissing other cute girls, captured instances of a lingering quality. He glossed over gaggles of friends lying in the grass, heads forming a circle, bodies extending like spokes of a wheel. Weddings and birthdays, discos and parties streamed by in pounding regularity. Self-portraited adolescent girls displayed a pierced navel for a boyfriend or for personal study. Boys displayed the self-evidence of their masculinity. All of these were expected and observed in the miniscule time the keeper devoted to each picture, one of which blurred into the next. Uncounted thousands of images flashed before his eyes until one rare moment astonished him. It was a subtle hint of emotion in the eyes in combination with lips turning a thought into words, or a nuance of interaction between persons, two or more, an expression he had never yet seen. These were the images that riveted his attention: seconds, minutes, between dreams. The keeper had found something new. He wrote down the story and added it to his collection of archetypes.

Story #200

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The dogs trotted by as if nothing were amiss, but it bristled their fur to see a stray human out alone, without a leash. There were laws against that sort of thing. Humans had repeatedly shown themselves to be the most irrational and volatile creature on the planet. At any moment it might pick up the potted plant and hurl it against the building. Or turn on them screaming and kicking, for no apparent reason! Not even the wisest canine scientists were able to explain these unprovoked outbursts. Therefore the dogs remained nonchalant, exercised no sudden moves that might intrude on the creature's precarious mental equilibrium, and got the hell out of there. It had been a mistake to import the humans to the planet, but the damage had been done, indeed, was only just beginning. Once a male and female of the species got together all the barking in the world couldn't separate them. So each year there were more and more of the creatures walking around, and what was worse, they didn't even taste good.

Story #199

You all have been so great about contributing I wanted to start giving prizes, maybe once a month. So I'll start retroactively, write each poster's name on a slip of paper, one paper per story, and pick one at random. So anyone who contributed stories in February or March, one of you is going to win something. I'll announce the winner on Monday, and what they've won. There will also be prize for April, once the month ends.

Announcing the winner of the random drawing of all contributers: M.P. of Portugal! The prize is a black and white enlargement of one of my own photos, and a story to go with it. Sorry it couldn't be anything valuable.

Later today I'll move these stories to the companion blog: Anyone still wishing to post their version, please do so!

Friday, April 15, 2005

The cult of Fé was considered odd. Its members wandered around like zombies echoing "Fé Fé Fé..." to anyone who would listen. But that was in the religion's beginnings. After their spiritual leader Fang Fu ascended into the promised land of Foy, various splinter movements of the main belief were formed. One group with an almost fairytale like spirituality wandered the countryside declaring "Fee-Fie-Foe-Fum" while planting beans. Another, more musical group, called itself the Fa faction and caroled from door to door repeating "Do-Re-Me-Fa" in a sing-songy voice adhering to some kind of new four-tone system. An alternative Fa movement sprang up singing "Fa-La-La La-La" but the two did not get along, as they sang in different keys. The remaining members formed a swing revival band, gaining reknown for their rendition of "Flat Foot Floogee with a Floy Floy." Then came Fifi. She wasn't like those boring old gurus with long, white beards who traditionally led cults. Fifi looked nice, and she bathed. Under her beauty the splinter factions unified into one. Now they strolled happily around town, chanting "Fifi Fifi Fifi..." ad infinitum, followed by an eager pack of female dogs, who must have thought it was about them.

Story #198

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Waldo was obsessed with Marge's arm, the one with the mole on it. When they started dating she thought at first how romantic it was that he would grip her soft appendage and begin kissing and nibbling before she could even roll up her sleeve or, in later stages of the romance, remove her top. The trouble was, he never got past that particular extremity. Marge gave subtle hints. Such as "lower," to which Waldo responded by pulling her arm down to the floor. Or "My back is so sore, I sure could use a massage." That only started Waldo stroking her forelimb while repeating his theory on acupressure, how all nerves end in the elbow. It was quite frustrating until Marge decided to get a second boyfriend, Bill. She still let Waldo nibble her arm, but gave the rest of herself to her new love. Waldo was fairly progressive about the whole thing, that is, as long as Bill stayed away from the arm.

Story #197

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

People sometimes threw away odd things but this was beyond Vic's wildest dreams. There were four of them. Four lovely young girls in the dumpster. Each one more alluring than the other. He left the cab of the junk truck and approached them, casually smiling with his smoothest bedside charm. He knew four girls who wanted to have fun when he saw them.

"Could I give you girls a ride?" he asked them innocently.

"Sure, we'd love to come with you," the girl in pink answered, followed by a chorus of sures and giggles from the other three.

"Be my guest," he said. One by one he offered each girl his hand to help her down. "There's plenty of room in the cab for all of us." The girls filed into the truck.

Driving with the four girls at his side Vic's thoughts danced ecstatic jigs. His imagination acted out all the details of getting them inside his house, mixing them drinks of sweet cola and whiskey, just in case they might change their minds, although they certainly seemed willing now. The two girls in the matching tops intrigued him. Were they twins? They could be. Their hair styles differed slightly, but when the time was right he would give them special attention, explore their minutest details up close to his greediest satisfaction.

A sudden bump interrupted his thoughts. "Sorry girls, just a pothole," he stated authoritatively, turning to his passengers to show his smile once more. But the girls weren't there. He saw four hefty bags piled on the seat next to him, bursting with garbage, black plastic glistening in the setting sun. Vic decided that he desperately needed a vacation.

Story #196

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"Melon" May Lo was known in a region comprising several hundred hectors of the Asiatic mountain range that was her home. Word about her twirled up phallic peaks and down floral valleys from boy-mouth to boy-mouth. May Lo's handiwork with the watermelon was so stunning that members of the less verbal male gender often had trouble expressing the experience in words. They would hem and haw and stutter their way through a stunned stupor - "And then...and th-th-then sh-she..." - while the physiological reaction induced by May Lo and the sweet fruit she used recurred in embarrassing intensity, creating quite an awkward mess to have happen during a boy-to-boy conversation. May Lo never saw any boy longer than a week, but that was part of the plan. After those days and nights spent subject to May Lo and her pronounced skills with the watermelon the boys were hooked, eating from then on two to three watermelons a week, originating from the one and only distributor of such exotic imports to the region: May Lo's father.

Story #195

Note: Thanks to Roachz of for her blind permission to use this photo. I hope she'll forgive me for the story.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The lady in the moon lazily lifted her eyes. Her alarm clock screeched like a meteor skating on atmosphere. There was to be a full moon that night, meaning she would have to shine her very best. But she did not feel like showing herself at all. Her makeup had run out, and the solar tides had put her in such a state of exhaustion she couldn't even orbit her eyes, let alone her whole body. She sent out lunar waves of mayday to the clouds. "Cover me up," she begged them, "for I am too tired to glow."

"No," the clouds told her, "it has been an entire month since we've seen you in all your splendor, and we will not be denied this feast of light."

"If only someone would eclipse me," she cried, tears beginning to stream down the dark side of her face.

But none of the heavenly hosts volunteered to eclipse her. They were waiting, all of them, to see her this one special hour when no one of her curves was veiled. The lady of nighttime rolled over and went back to sleep. Once in a blue moon she shone only for the lovers in her own dreams.

Story #194

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Magister Mecanus worked in the Destiny Department predestining love. He selected a pendant from the girl pile and one from the boy pile, placed them next to each other, and examined them closely with his magnifying lense. The match was aesthetically pleasing to him even in the minutest of details. His highly trained fingers felt the flat metal likenesses for affinity static and dangled them millimeters apart, one in each hand, to test the magnetism. Finally he reached for the abacus on the corner of his desk and computed the time the boy and girl would share. His computation worked out to just over eighty years. The rest of their lives, in fact. This made Magister Mecanus very happy. It was always sad when the pendants came back to him so soon to be melted down again.

Story #193

Note: Thanks to all who contributed stories this weekend. They may be viewed all in one place at

Friday, April 08, 2005

The pool party had long since ended, the music had stopped, the wet bodies had dried themselves and drifted away, but Brenda's reflection lingered at the pool's edge, hoping for her own private plunge into that liquid element of life. But she found it impossible to venture in alone without her body of substance to draw her in after it. She was doomed to roam hither and forth along the concrete edge of watery pleasure, passionately yearning but never able to dip into the coolness. Brenda herself was in the arms of a boy she met while swimming. He had admired her in her dripping bikini, lay now in her arms looking into her eyes. But she seemed vacant to him, hardly responding to his touch or glance. She had left an important aspect of herself at the pool, but never suspected. And so she would remain. The reflection of Brenda could not run away to find her mistress, as reflections may only exist where they have been cast.

Story #192

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Eugene loved Katy so much he locked her in a closet. "I love you, Katy," he would tell her upon leaving for his confrontations with the world outside.

"If you love me, let me out," her muffled voice invariably called to him as he moved out of the room, out of earshot.

He would come back from time to time to feed her, and give her clothes. In a generous moment he even gave her a flashlight and a mirror so she could see what she looked like when she tried on the clothes. But he never let her out of the closet.

"I love you, Katy," he always called to her as he left.

Weeks, months and precious years watched over a ritual become reflex. It came to pass that Eugene could no longer speak with the vigor he once knew. As he tried to utter his declaration of love he could only cough helplessly. Before leaving the room to lay on his deathbed he etched his epitaph in the accumulated dust of their time together: "I love Katy."

Story #191

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

She is the spirit of water, or Neera, as dying men in the desert call her name, pressed by an archetypal instinct of primal language and a desire for one of her teardrops. Neera is a sad spirit, but when she cries it gives life, though she mourns the teardrops she gives forth for others, making her even sadder, for each droplet, no matter how small, is a part of her. When exhaustion subdues her she drifts the Earth in search of any remains of the waters she gave forth. What she finds she absorbs again into her flesh, but knows that she is doomed to perpetually part with it again. Neera swam in the pools of the Garden of Eden. Those days she was happiest. But that was so long ago, a memory nearly washed away by the tide that is her heartbeat. She caressed the throat of every great and every minor person who ever lived, and caresses the throat of everyone alive. She refuses no one. Despite her promiscuity, her purity is eternal.

Story #190

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Reporter: I'm here with Professor Ernest Grimm, the world famous archeologist who has made what is perhaps the most significant discovery of our 50th century. Professor, would you please explain what you found.

Professor Grimm: I'd be glad to. Here you see a petrified specimen of the race that once inhabited this land during the Google dynasty. Now, we were sure that some kind of catastrophic event ended their civilization. A solar flare melting all the credit cards or a fatal disease like hiccups. We just didn't know.

Reporter: But you've solved it.

Professor Grimm: Yes I have. You see, this specimen here was coming out of a server room with a backup of the Internet in his hands. Luckily, the Outdoor Computer Museum in Antarctica is in possession of a working Windows PC, the only one in existence, reconstructed from pieces dug up where the Pacific Ocean used to be. The point is, we could read the backup.

Reporter: Were there problems translating it?

Professor Grimm: Actually not. The backup was in English, one of the simpler languages of that era, spoken universally by all primates. It doesn't present a problem to us. But I digress. You see, you have to understand about this race. They thrived on humor. It was their nourishment. It kept them alive. Gave them hope, something to laugh for, as one of their ancient sayings goes.

Reporter: And this backup proves that the humor ran out?

Professor Grimm: Yes it does. As we know, the ancient God of Comedy was Retarius, who channeled his humor to the masses by use of a blog. But one day he closed the blog and that was the end. With all the humor gone, everyone instantaneously turned to stone.

Story #189

Note: is one of my favorite blogs, because it's brilliant and it makes me laugh. Every time. On March 31st Retarius announced that he would stop blogging. It wasn't an April Fool's joke. This story was written as part of the tribute organized by Deryke of Fortunately Retarius has reconsidered his decision, thereby averting a catastrophe of proportions we can only begin to imagine.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Kathy was a girl who consorted with plants. She had given up men long ago. During a few careful conversations with her vegan friend Susan, she ascertained an unspoken willingness to experiment, though outwardly her friend still upheld a semblance of resistance to such exotic interactions. That night Kathy invited Susan over to her house and softened her fears with a tasty wine made from plums just before their first stage of ripeness. It was very sweet and resulted easily in the desired clouding of Susan's inhibitions.

"It's so lovely," Kathy mused, "lying on the bed, the vine wrapping itself around you, sliding across the most sensitive parts of your body."

"But I couldn't kiss it," Susan stated anxiously, fighting off the desires confounding her determination.

"You'll learn to love that," Kathy countered in a sisterly voice full of encouragement. "Look, I'll show you." Without turning around, she lifted her forearm. The ivy awoke from its slumber in the pot, slowly extended itself, slinking down to her shoulder and into her hand, inching unambiguously towards her waiting mouth. Her tongue met the quivering leaves.

"Lesson one," stated Kathy with a mouth full of ivy, "stroke the leaves with your tongue - from bottom to top - as many as you can. When they begin to twitch in all different directions - they're yours to devour."

"No!" cried Susan, panicking, "I can't do that! I can't eat them without a dressing!"

Story 188

Sunday, April 03, 2005

- Are you sure this is going to work?
- Oh, yeah, it's an ancient thing, you know. Tried and tested.
- Won't he put a curse on us or something?
- Nah, that only happens long after the embalmment, if someone starts to mess with him.
- But he's not embalmed yet.
- Duh. That's because he's still breathing.
- You mean, this might kill him?
- Well, he wanted us to make him into a mummy. You can't bake a cake without breaking a few eggs.
- OK, if you say so. But if he puts a curse on me, I'll tell your mom what you did to her linens.
- Will you just shut up and seal his nostrils!

Story #187

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Lynn is her name. I spied her there several times, on days I bowled, or tried to bowl. When she wasn't watching me my eyes followed her pleasant curves and the straight lines she walked. In my imagination I equated her dimensions with the perfect shape of a bowling pin. She never bowled, yet she was always there, bee lining back and forth in a patient, ambling gait, eyeing the bowlers, but never smiling at them. There was something odd about her presence there.

One day I was ready to bowl my first strike. My form was perfect. My grip immaculate. I concentrated like a Buddha at the gate of Nirvana. I threw. Ten feet later the ball rolled into the gutter, just as I had wanted to roll onto Lynn. That's when she smiled at me. Girls make me nervous when they smile, especially when it's at me. I didn't hit a pin that entire evening. And the strange thing is, the worse I bowled, the more she glowed with lips upturning and eyes welling with love, as if to tell me, "It doesn't matter. I believe in you. You'll get your strike." But the more she warmed to me, the worse I bowled.

We've been together now for several years. Sure, she told me about her past, but I didn't mind. And it did serve to explain the attraction she felt towards me that night. For years she had been the lead pin in her lane, bearing the blunt blows of those horrid orbs bringing her down dozens of times a night, knocking her comrades against her. One day she willed herself not to fall. As the ball concussed a magic spark electrified her, transforming her into real flesh. She haunted the venue as a live girl until discovering my mercy for the pins.

Story #186

Friday, April 01, 2005

"Come over here to the railing," the beautiful girl said.

Jeff was stunned. He thought he had heard talking out on the balcony, but it couldn't be Bo. She broke up with him weeks ago, stating in her knifey, no-nonsense way, that he would not see her again.

"Why did you come back?" he asked her, suspicious of her intentions.

"I changed my mind. I want you. Come over here and want me."

Jeff wanted to believe, but he also knew it was April Fool's day. The contradiction of Bo-ex and and Bo-his collided to the sound of sirens as his desire nudged him forward. A dim thought arose. What if she intended to hurl him from the balcony at the end of the kiss he would snatch from her lips? She knew judo and was extremely hard to pin into positions she did not want to be in. He hesitated.

"You're going to come and hold me, aren't you?" she cooed at him with a tempting smile to back it up.

That smile was one of those addictions he could never resist. He lunged forward towards the promise of carnality. As he bent closer to lick the soft parts of her body his head bumped with a loud bong against the railing. He looked up and she was gone.

"April fool!" laughed the burly male baritone in his head, a sadistic voice that had taunted him since the day Bo left. He would have to do something about those voices he was hearing. It was beginning to annoy him.

Story #185