Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Announcement: Due to time constraints I will have to switch to three posts per week over the next three weeks. I'll post stories on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekend story thing. After September 18th things should be back to normal. Sorry to have to do this.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Did you know 'Antlitz' was the German word for face?" Clara clicked with her segmented tongue while testing with skin-covered fingers the feel of her flesh.

"How would I know that!?" Frank fired forth while completing the inner transformation into a creature with fins. The thin webs forming between his toes began to tickle, causing his countenance to twist instinctively into a fish laugh.

Bob stopped strumming the guitar, looking up with the hunted look of Kafka's ape in "Report to an Academy" about to be captured and caged and taught the ways of civilization. In a moment, thick, grimy fur would sprout from the pores of his chest.

Vanessa had no time to answer. She hurriedly placed a pillow over her body to hide the debilitating change into a gelatinous blob of amoebic substance. The lips on what remained of her human formations were fixed in an embarrassed grin.

"Don't worry," Bill's exuberant voice rang out, "In a moment I'll touch my fingers together and we'll all be ants again!"

Story #274

The story contributions have been reposted at

Original post: I'm leaving for a long weekend and tried to post the weekend photo, but the blogger photo bot is down, which means I can't post. So we can try out Elveshat's idea now (see comments of last post), though not the way she meant it.

I'll describe the photo I was going to post, and you all can try to write something. How's that? There's a cute girl sitting on the floor with her back to a couch. She's wearing a beage colored insect mask, big black eyes on each side. It looks like she has an ant's head or may even be an alien! Photo left is a guy without a shirt holding an acoustic guitar. He looks kind of startled or concerned about something going on off camera. To the antgirl's left is another cute girl, also on the floor, leaning against the couch. Seems relaxed and is smiling. She holds a pillow in her lap. Next to her, photo right is a smiling guy in a yellow t-shirt, making something that looks like a peace sign with both hands, one hand high up in the air, the other down by the floor, peace signs pointed at each other (though they don't really look like peace signs). On the couch is a guy lying on his stomache, looking up into the camera and making a fish face.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Until that morning Lilly had been one of the rose maidens, a fine, majestic princess of a rose. The morning dew coated her from stem to petals, causing a transformation to take place. She tumbled, tearing herself from the branch that held her. When she came to her senses she saw that she was human. She knelt in the soil before the bush of roses she had left behind, embracing it despite the thorns pressing into her. Suddenly an emotion of sadness overcame her, and she ascertained a different kind of dew welling into her eyes, moving in rivulets across the beauty of her countenance. She tried to recall her name, but it seemed to her that she had never known it. She looked at her hands and saw that her skin had begun to shrivel. She was growing old. She returned to the bush, and removed her most cherished companion from his place among the thorns. She brought him to her lips and brushed a kiss onto his tender red skin. Her wrinkles vanished. She was young again. But only for the fleeting measure of a summer breeze.

Story #273

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I bought these new building blocks for my son. They're supposed to be educational, challenge the child's imagination, and all. So I was sure they would be good. I left my son alone in his room to play with them and went myself to watch TV. Usually my kid meanders into the living room and joins me on the sofa to watch whatever I'm watching, but after the movie was over I noticed I was alone. "Those blocks must really be good," I thought to myself. Curious as to what he'd made of them, I got up and went to his room. I pulled open the door and stumbled into a whole other universe. Before me at the end of a winding path was a magnificent castle he must have built with the blocks. It looked real. I spied my son down in the valley, dressed like a prince, on a stallion, driving off black knights who were trying to set up a television antenna.

Story #272

This is a repost (and slight rewrite) of a story I posted at Michael's Blogin_Idiot blog. Go there now! There's still time to write a story for his Friday story game.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The party in OP had everyone in stitches. The nurse shed her sterilized whites and began dancing on the instrument counter. Dr. Indigo injected 300 CCs of adrenaline into the stupefied patient and hooked up the heart monitor to the intercom, flooding the clinic with a wickedly cool techno beat. Someone broke into the medicine cabinet and started passing around the stimulants, while someone else set the x-ray projector on strobe. Everyone who wasn't unconscious moved to the beat. Nurses popped into the waiting room to lure fresh blood into the party. Dr. DJ stepped up and played the latest tunes of the dance genre "medical" which he carried around on his iPod and listened to during surgery. Between midnight and morning couples drifted off to secluded corners of the facility for intensive care consisting of mutual sponge baths and massages. It was good, healthy fun. The next day was spent in ciphering the expenses into convincing labels like "Left-Dorsal G-Scan" or "Protein-X Supplementation" and slipping them into the various bills.

Story #271

I dedicate this to all the brave nurses out there who have to look at us when we're sick. And especially to Sk8-rn.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sonja was a sensitive girl. She hosted sensations of hate in her body for the man who'd seduced her with vodka and pills, taking her finally against her will in the moment when her defenses succumbed to the potent embrace of the chemicals. Each movement of his was a soul-rupturing death she felt acutely with astral awareness, though her physical faculties would not permit her to move. In the midst of her martyrdom she planned each motion of her revenge, a choreography of purposeful movement in a rigid rhythm of time. He must feel the vitiating deaths that he had lavished upon her. There must be reciprocity...

She knocked on his door. He answered. The cold metal of the weapon and the frigid stare of her eyes forced him back as she entered and pressed him by sheer will onto the couch where it had happened. She allowed him some moments of fear, waited for beads of sweat to form, waited for him to tremble and whimper for his life. And then she ended his existence. The first shot emasculated him. The second scrambled his brain into an ugly stew. It always took less than five minutes, as her internal clock perceived. Finally, with the power of her sensitivity, she threw herself back in time ten minutes previous, to appear at his door again, and repeat what from her perspective had just happened. She had counted each of her deaths, and would return them to him in equal proportion.

Story #270

Note from Indeterminacy: A big thank you to the strange and beautiful Argimpasa, for kind permission to use her photo.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Great War of 2015 left little behind in its wake. No books, no flags, no photographs. Of course there were human survivors, there always are, because even the most thorough of annihilatory practices leaves unexpected havens somewhere, just as a tornado passing through a street levels one house and leaves the next house unscathed. Those crawling out from under the rubble had other concerns than rescuing the trappings of the failed civilization. An occasional preservation of objects reminiscent of the old times did however occur, and was attributed to a feeling of nostalgia that has always been a part of humanity, the melancholy cousin of the dream for a better day. These objects were placed in a museum in displays without commentary. The photograph of the boy pledging his allegiance was part of a trinity, found in the abandoned ruins of a stone cellar, the owner perhaps dust. The photograph had been used as a bookmark in the Bible, the Bible itself wrapped in a flag.

Story #269

Thanks to Aral Peppermint Patty Pez who suggested I use this photo for the weekend stories. I wouldn't have thought of it myself. This begins the second year of indeterminacy. The stories posted in the comments section have been reposted at

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'm going to pass you around to some stand-up comics today, to some posts that caused me to break down laughing.

First there's Tina Dupuy's "No one ever went broke" at her Sardonic Sideshow site.

Then I'd like to show you Tony Calabrese's classic classic "Miracle of Bookstar" at his Fuggettaboutit blog.

It will be a miracle if you can visit these two sites and not laugh. I will be back next week posting stories. We'll see what I post tomorrow ;-)

P.S. Would any of you be upset if I got one of these google ad things at my blog? I don't expect to make any money, but I'm thinking it could be hilarious the way the adbot software selects ads based on keywords in the stories. What do you all think?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I wanted to share a new blog with you that I found through BE. It's called Geschwallemachen: Daily blogging by a German-wannabe, almost-college-grad, mennonite living in the midwest. The combination just sounds so cool to me. And in a way the blogger (Phil) reminds me of me, before I moved to Germany, during my college years and my first years out of college. Maybe that's why I stuck around. Anyhow, his posts are interesting, well constructed, imaginative, and I think it will turn into a fun place to hang out. The post I wanted to direct you to is called "A trip down Gender Road". It has a Seinfeldian flare to it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Today I'm guest-blogging at Waking Ambrose defining expatriate, so I guess I can send you there. The photo you'll see is me, taken during the late sixties, when I was seven or so. Should I take that as my profile image? The one I'm using now seems to frighten people.

Oh, I promised to send you someplace brilliant each day, didn't I? Not that Doug isn't brilliant, but he should be more particular about his guests. How about this post at Hauptwege und Nebenwege (Highways and Byways), the blog of Portuguese composer César de Oliveira, in which we discover the secret of one expat's road to success, fame, fortune and happiness. *Organ music up*

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I feel like a marathon runner who's just completed a 365 mile marathon. Now I need a breather, to recharge my brain cells, spend time with my family, watch TV, read my favorite blogs, answer my e-mails, sort through the photo backlog, sleep, etc. I'll be back next week with regular stories. For those who are used to stopping by here regularly I will post a daily link to something I saw at another blog that I thought was brilliant. Today I'd like to point you to an amazing short piece I read at a relatively new blog: You @

Monday, August 15, 2005

The vicious pirates Peg Head Jones and his offspring Baby Face Barnacle were terrors from Costa Rica to the Caribbee and as far north as Cincinnati. In '98 they jumped the early-morning line at an inland Toys R' Us, making off with a swag of first edition Barbie dolls just ready to hit the shelves, worth more by this time than the combined income of the top ten supermodels. Their daring escape down the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi on a leaky raft dazzled the media, and their subsequent daylight disappearance into the Gulf was legend. Now they roamed the rain forest path in search of their stash, ears attuned to the myriad patterns of sound indigenous to South Sea islands: the tinkling waterfall, the exotic song of unseen birds, the hushed murmur of natives far off in the distance.

"Matey, be ya sure this were the spot?" Baby Face Barnacle looked up at the taller pirate.

"I'd swear on a keg o' potato rum!" Peg Head swaggered, rubbing the back of his head with a piece of sandpaper. "I lefts a sign by th' tree what says 'Schefflera actinophylla' and thar it be." He pointed to the inconspicuous, white marker in front of the tropical trunk.

"But we dug an' dug' an' nuthin' but a duster it were. I says we's goin' 'round in circles. I got more deja vooze than a skippin' gramophone." Baby Face shook his head, more puzzled than a parrot in Pittsburg.

"Har, me lad! Somethin' be wrong, but I'll be a pied Peter Pan if I kin get me 'ook in it," Peg Head answered, and glanced about from side to side, hoping to catch sight of something definitive.

"Ay, we be wanderin' for hours and ain't got nowheres. I says we--" The sound of footfalls on the path interrupted Baby Face. He looked up suddenly. "Argh! It be that crazed dog of an islander again. Let's you an' me scar him off!"

Baby Face Barnacle put on his mean look and Peg Head Jones snarled, but the approaching native seemed unconcerned. "Look here," he said, "you two are beginning to frighten the guests. I've told you already, no digging, and now you're making faces at everyone. This is your last warning. Remember that you're in a conservatory!"

Story #268

Note from Indeterminacy: Thanks for all the stories! They have been reposted at This is the anniversary post of Indeterminacy. I've been writing the stories now for exactly one year, the first story was on Friday, August 13th, 2004. And in case anyone hasn't guessed, that's me in the above photo, with my son.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Someone invited a car seat to the beach party. No one was sure who was responsible. It hopped around, flirting with the ladies, brushing up against them with its soft upholstery, inviting them to recline in its splendor. "I'm adjustable," it told them. "You can mold right into me." But the ladies declined the offers to flop onto the seat. Not that they were prudes. This type of experimental interaction was one they would have preferred to the privacy of a locked bedroom, where no other eyes could see them. "Please!" the seat persisted. "Let me wrap my seat belt around you." Firm no's rained down upon it. As the party progressed and more and more guests spilled beers onto the cushioned piece, it became bolder, finally pinning one woman against a tree, pressing its back onto her. "This feels so good," the seat said. "From now on, I will never let anyone sit on me in the conventional way."

Story #267

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lady Sleek kept the peace in Utopia. She bided her time, watching the stars through sunglasses, until the vibes of a dissonance rippled ultrasonically upwards to her perch at the peak of the metropolis. At the slightest cue she curved up and over the lookout's railing, swooping down faster than Superman could have, because of being so sleek. She'd land on her feet and rip off her glasses, staring her karma into the contrary eyes of the person who'd strayed. There'd be calm smiles, relieved sighs and brotherly-sisterly hugs all around. And then she'd return to her platform high over it all, focusing her nirvana eyes upward on the brightest star on the dark carpet of night, causing peace to reign briefly in the far off worlds of elsewhere.

Story #266

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The New Delhi office was kept dark to save electricity and increase productivity. There were to be no distractions of extraneous light, although the darkness did sometimes facilitate a certain lack of discipline. Ravi began his day of work by looking through his bookmarks. He commenced surfing blogs, reading the capsulized perspectives presented in the posts, clicking his way through the no man's land of monthly and weekly archives. He ranted, raved and praised, in guestbooks, shoutboxes and comment fields, changing identities faster than a chameleon in a kaleidoscope. At some blogs he was the entire audience, so engaged was his enthusiasm for the pleasures of surfing. It was a kind of high that raced through his veins at the speed of a DSL download. An e-mail arrived sending him more links, and he surfed those, too. By mid-afternoon he hadn't done anything but look at blogs. Someone tapped him on the shoulder. It was his supervisor and he had something to say. "Ravi, we've chosen you as employee of the month. Our management and our customers are extremely satisfied with your work. Nobody here generates as much Website traffic as you."

Story #265

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

George was methodical. He unpacked the grocery bag, item by item, and stacked the wares on the table. The cappuccino, the green beans, the mineral water, and everything else. It looked OK. His eyes darted back and forth running inventory on the products he was about to put away. He always performed this check, comparing his shopping list with the receipt and with the wares, to ascertain the sterling symmetry of his trip to the supermarket. That's when it struck him. A lady's head mingled among the items he'd purchased. It had eyes, a nose, supple red lips, and the pupils were trained right on him, tracking him as he paced nervously up and down the before the table. This threw his entire ordered system out the window. Wherever did the head come from? Once again he compared his documentation with the actual items. The paprika, the apricot jam, the milk, and everything else belonged. But not the head. No matter how he crunched the numbers, the head was always left over. He was in a state of immense agitation at the breakdown of his meticulousness, as he spied the suggestion of delicate, skin-colored fingers wiggling around below the head's chin. He let out a sudden shriek, jumping slightly in the air. He'd heard about ladyfingers, those sweet, finger-sized sponge cakes you served with coffee. He had selected a pastry to go with the cappuccino. Might they have been ladyfingers? He hurriedly packed his shopping into the cupboard. The head was relegated to the refrigerator, behind a melon, face turned inwards, away from the door. He did not want to see the eyes staring at him when he searched for a snack. George returned to the supermarket to post a notice on their bulletin board about a missing head. But he never went shopping there again.

Story #264

Monday, August 08, 2005

Special announcement: Sorry to take so long selecting the winners for June and July. There were so many story contributions in June, I decided to select two names (at random): Alix (again!) and Ariel. For July the winner is Jamie Dawn! Prize is one of my b+w prints in paper or digital form. I'll write to the respective winners tomorrow, but now it's late and I'm going to bed. Good night.

Alice, nymphal in size and litheness, was candy for connoisseurs of the lean. During her Sunday stroll in the park a dapper, doll-sized Teddy Bear darted across her path and into a clump of trees, bobbing left and right past slanting trunks.

"I'm bait!" his voice drifted back to her. She took off after him, hoping to catch and cuddle him. Her pursuit brought her into a dense sameness of shadowy green where she no longer saw any motion. She wandered along for a while, unsure in which direction the Teddy had vanished, until she came upon a clearing. In the clearing was a tree, and around the tree was dancing the Teddy, apparently waiting to be caught. "He's all mine!" she thought as she dashed under the hanging foliage, towards the hopping and skipping bundle of fluff.

"Eat me," said a cookie dangling seductively from one of the branches above her.

"Go ahead," said the Teddy, looking up at her, "It's a cookie tree." The aroma of freshly baked cookies drifted down to her nose. She took the cookie and began nibbling at it with increasing excitement. It was still warm!

"Why, these cookies are exquisite!" she exclaimed, enraptured by the taste.

"Thank you," said the tree. Meanwhile the Teddy bided his time, leaning against the tree trunk, glancing at his pocket watch.

"Eat me," said another cookie. And another. An entire chorus. The more cookies she ate, the fatter she got, until finally the tree was out of cookies.

"Dear me, I'm going to need new clothes," she said to herself, perceiving that her old blouse and skirt had burst into tatters under the stress of her new ampleness.

"You came to just the right place," the Teddy tossed in, "I'm a designer, specializing in costumes for fairy tales. But business has been bad of late. No more fairy tales." He shrugged and handed her his calling card, which she turned over in her chubby hands, studying the sleek, stylized lettering on the small rectangle: "Fashions of Theodore - Have Cookie - Will Crumble."

Story #263

Note from Indeterminacy: Isn't this the worst story I've posted yet? I feel I have to apologize for it. ;-)

I wanted to double dedicate this to Alix in Wunderland and to Alice in Wonderland or Not but it doesn't make sense to dedicate a story about an overweight Alice to an Alice and an Alix who appear in my fantasies as the slender nymphs of the before cookie Alice. (OK, I'll do it tentatively - but if there's any offense, let me know and I'll take it back).

All your stories will be reposted at and tonight I will announce all the winners of the June and July contributions.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Erotian women were rumored to possess extraordinary beauty, but no one from the outside world had ever seen one of their faces. The tiny republic with ancient roots lay hidden in the Arabian peninsula, owing to an incredible labyrinth of coincidental sand dunes so elaborate that anyone venturing unawares towards the kingdom must surely have perished. The walled city was accidentally discovered by archaeologists excavating a series of antique statues in the region.

When King Asudem opened his land to tourism, men flocked over the border in droves to see the heralded beauties Erotia had to offer. But the King issued a decree that no woman of the Erotian lands should ever show her face to a non-Erotian. Feet were OK, legs and shoulders were also on the white list, even the midsection with its delicate navel and incurving lines. But not the head. It was a fair compromise, especially on the Erotian beaches, plus the King distracted the tourists with other sites of interests, the Museum of Sculptured Art, for example, where guests marveled at ancient relics of past millennia.

Regarding the quest for beauty, most visitors went home happy with the memory of smooth legs and huggable waists presented by the native females. It had been a stroke of genius of the Information Minister, spreading those rumors. No one would have come had they known the women were all descendants of Medusa.

Story #262

Note from Indeterminacy: Tomorrow I'll post a storyless photo for one and all to write their own stories to. For now, how about visiting Michael at who does the same thing on Fridays.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Suzanne was lying in her bathtub when they came, the alien soap beings from outer space. They smashed through the front door with tremendous force, those beings of solid, rock-hard, sun-baked soap. She put on a towel, while running out to see what had happened, saw them spreading out through the entire house. Stationed at windows. Blocking the doors. There was no way to get past them. Though small, the rectangular cakes of lye were a formidable group in centurial magnitude. "We take your planet house by house," they told her as they closed in, forcing her back into the bathroom. "This is house one," she heard continued. They rushed her, but she was able to slam and bolt the door in time. It held for as long as a bubble in a grease vat. With a collective whomp they splintered a hole through the door and in they streamed. She backed away until finally she was in the bathtub again, in a daze as they filled the room. When she looked out, the tub was surrounded by the ivory-white animate objects, cold, soapy countenances staring at her: "So this is human being," they said, "so this is girl." Initially the smooth marble sides of the tub seemed unscalable to them, but they swarmed and forced some of their number higher until their lathery mouths became visible over the rim. The first ones up pulled with them a towel for the rest to climb. Suzanne tensed. One by one they plopped into the water, were on her, trying to subdue her. She felt the slippery things touching her skin, all over her, sliding around in wild circles. It felt good, though she knew this might well be her last feeling. The soap beings reacted swiftly with the water. Suds formed, more and more, covering her. It felt so relaxing. Was this how one succumbed to them, as to a sweet poison bearing a final, pleasant sleep without dreams? She closed her eyes, brought her hands to her side and waited for the end. As the last bar of soap had completely dissolved, a still solitude prevailed. Suzanne was as surprised as the soap creatures must have been, considering they came from a planet with six suns and absolutely no water.

Story #261

I have no choice but to dedicate this to Little Bar of Soap.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It was like this, you see -- What? -- For the deposition? -- OK, my name is Matthew Lovings and I work as the security guard at the Young Fashions Boutique. That's how I first met her. She didn't have a head like other mannequins, but I believed in her. There was something special about the way she modeled those t-shirts. -- What it was? The body language, I suppose. She just seemed so inviting the way she stood there, arms hanging by her side and all. After noticing her, I started going to her during my daily lunch break. I'd sweep aside that stack of t-shirts at her feet, sit down, and work through my lunch box. -- No, I never heard her talking to me. She's shy like that, being headless and all, but I started reading to her, inspirational works, something to build her up, like "The Little Engine that Could" or Dale Carnegie. She's a great listener. -- Yes, I'm sorry, I'll get to the point. -- Yes! Of course I know how to use a gun. -- Why I didn't? When the gangsters rushed into the store I sensed instinctively that she needed me. Those guns pointing and those voices shouting not to move terrified her. The emotions inside her were tearing her apart, and without a head to think it all through she started trembling on that platform and wobbling from side to side. I had to go to her. To calm her down. Those gangsters told nobody to move. They would have harmed her. I don't remember much more. I guess that's where you must have found me, on the floor with her, embracing her tightly, whispering words to her I can't recall now. So, what did the doctor say? Are they going to let me go home soon? -- I see. But it's awfully decent of you to put her in the same room with me. We need each other.

Story #260

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"No! I can't let you through here," the shadow of a border agent shouted to the lady with the rouge scarf and dark tunic drawn around bare skin. Borders formed where the brushstrokes of the oil painting ended, scarlet barricades, flanked by shadowy guards one dared not defy. She ran the blind, panicked run known to recur in nightmares, deep into the sanguine darkness, weaving past shadows that felt like presences, but vanishing when touched. And stood again at a border. The same one or maybe a different place, as all were identical. "This border is closed!" the guard declared emotionlessly, twirling an extended umbrella. "The exit, I must find the exit," she told herself in desperation, and sensed that it was hidden in the center of the city, among the multitude of unlabeled buildings. She covered her eyes with one hand, extended the other before her, then bolted off in an unknown direction. Harsh whispers showered down upon her, growing louder the closer she came to the door, wanting to confuse and disorient her, to make her forget. They did not want her leaving. She dashed through unlighted streets, looking inwards to see, stumbling finally upon the hidden destination as the whispers reached a crescendo. With one last surge of adrenalin she leaped through the vacant door frame into the room with the red sofa and the painting she had poured hours of her fantasy and imagination into. She sloped onto the cushioned softness and closed her eyes in sleep. Refreshed by the transitory interlude of an instant, she sat up in wakefulness to a scene unchanged, swimming constant on the threshold between the real and the irreal. Still lingering in her memory was the nuanced knowledge of how to complete her masterpiece. Orange. More orange.

Story #259