Friday, December 05, 2008

Vote Twice then Write a Story

A story will be posted shortly, but first.....

Mayuko Fujino, whose artwork you may view here and here has an online exhibit at the House of Scratch in Toronto, Canada. Truly, I am fascinated by the colors and the intimate delicacy of her artwork. If you agree, please vote for her in the juried competition at this page (scroll down to find her works).

Update: Mayuko has won the competition! Thanks to everyone who voted! Please check her new Website:

Letters Home to You is a blog that I have seen grown from unknown domain into a highly frequented Website, due to the unique and intriguing perspectives that are always spot on. The blogger is Ian. Read some of his posts, then vote for him: Canadian Blog Awards - Best Personal Blog.

Update: Ian unfortunately did not win the competition, but as far as I'm concerned, he has the best Canadian blog in the world!

Last but not least, the literary journal Greenbeard has a writing contest called The Symmetry of Flaws. There are cash prizes, and everyone is eligible to submit, so what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Indeterminacy #427

One of the missing legends of archaeology is that of the Mauktika Niila, Pearl that is Black, an indestructible statue carved from material unknown with a technique equally mysterious, and an origin lost to recorded history. The statue is so named for a chain of pearls adorning the neck in the inexplicable unity of sculpture. The pearls shine like black suns against the whiteness of the stone body, though there is no clue as to how these two opposing hues could originate in one instance of any natural substance. The hair, too, is black and the eyes retain a vivid color no one can define, as if a living woman were photographed in stone. She may have decorated the Garden of Eden, or earlier gardens beyond the grasp of memory. We gave her a Sanskrit name because it would be profane to describe her with words familiar to modern times. Only primal syllables were worthy of her conception. Many times she lay buried in the rubble of destructive wars, herself unmarred, only to be uncovered again by new civilizations sifting the ashes of earlier eras. She survived earthquakes, fires and the subtle erosions of time. In this manner she forged a path through history, appearing, then vanishing in the daze of some cataclysmic event, as her undisclosed destiny designed.

We deduced all this by looking in her eyes. In fact, there is no known mention of the Mauktika Niila in oral or written communication. No poems of passion. No paintings on temple walls. No evidence of her substance, except for the Mauktika Niila herself. Ancient Greece knew her, banning her from its mythology out of fear. Of this we were certain. We concluded the same of the ancient pharaohs, and of conjectured civilizations even before the pharaohs' time. There was reason for this. To gaze on the statue in solitude is to press one's face through the fragile film separating reality from the supernatural. The pale, white stone floods with the warm tones of flesh, as if blood had suddenly condensed in her stone veins. Her breasts reflect the scarcely perceptible motion of living lungs beneath and her eyes turn to the gazer to subsume his reason into her biology. The gazer is found later, if found at all, wandering, no memory, his identity irretrievably lost. And the Mauktika Niila, undocumented archetype of that which cannot be understood, submerges again into the unobserved chaos of time.

But I am not afraid. We know now, if two or more souls are present, the statue presents itself only as an artistic wonder. It is safe to stare, to study the form, to explore the surface with the touch of one's fingers. To assure that the unspeakable would not occur to us, we approached her over the past few weeks, my colleague and I, in tandem presence. Many fascinating clues emerged, written meticulously in our journals, clues scratching dust from the window of divinity. Our record of her would be the first the continuity of mankind had produced. We studied the pearls under magnification, excited about a nuance we detected as the spotlight shone upon her. Then, without warning, my colleague slumped to the floor, seized by a sudden asphyxiation. It is sometimes natural to die. I am sure it was natural, the death that descended upon him. What else could this have been? I stand alone at her side, appraising her eyes, unable to relax my gaze, unable to attend to his rigid form already seconds beyond the threshold of rescue. Her form glows into life, her inanimacy dissolving like a moon flaring into a sun. I cannot turn away. I dictate these words to my hands to write, but my hands do not respond. I see them hanging limp at my side, see them through her eyes. I perceive my facial features surrender to an eternity blacker than the blackest pearl. As my colleague and I had counted the pearls, a subsequent inventory, however many generations later, will show their number increased by one.

Story #427

Anyone wishing to contribute their own story inspiration to the photo, please feel welcome!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My first job was in the t-shirt factory. The thesis to my textilian studies was on the fine art of t-shirt removal, so I was immediately placed in charge of the testing department. The cotton garments, newly seamed, must be worn once, then removed, to assure proper function. This was the process I oversaw. The models, men in the morning, women the afternoons, paraded single file past my station. Each took a shirt from a fresh pile, tucked it on, turning and pausing before me, awaiting delivery of my contribution. I certified the tautness of the cotton coverings on bodies not much younger than mine. When satisfied, it remained for me to remove the shirt and, if no complications ensued, add a sticker - "inspected by 1." Then the slightest lull - my voyeuristic limbo: before waving the model on I stole a glance going from navel to neck, admiring the disclosed magnificence of bodily form. Men by morning. Women the afternoons. By lunchtime the flesh had me stimulated. After an industrious day, I walked home aroused into breathless gasps. It was fine while it lasted.

The cutthroat world of t-shirt manufacture left its scars on this paradise. Layoffs ensued, to ensure competitiveness. Beautiful models, no more than twenty years old, took early retirement. It was demoralizing. Now my workdays were spent at an assembly line. The shirts came by, flung onto showroom dummies, my job to undress in the measured seconds they wobbled into reach. I pulled the garments from plaster torsos scarred and scuffed from industrial use. It was a steady, repetitive rhythm, like an eight hour copulation that fails to arouse.

Soon the dummies were gone, too expensive to clean and maintain. Costs cut everywhere. Lights dimmed because of bulbs so costly. I stood alone in the factory, like a visual soliloquy, testing the shirts, pulling them on, peeling them off, a work that tires the arms, but the quota required my constant motion. After a few hours I could no longer stand, arched myself onto the floor. Dressed. Bared. Dressed. Bared. And on and off and on. Dazed from a day of this, and oblivious to anything touching my numbed skin, I walked home, my bare-breasted physique greeting the evening breeze.

Story #426

This photo appears by kind courtesy of Jonas Skerra. In the next weeks you may enjoy more of his photography at his new site: Photorama of Jonas.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Waiting for Ian

This is a photo I took waiting for Ian. Ian and I meet sometimes for lunch around the corner from where I work. I just stand there and keep a watch out for his bicycle. Ian's a nice guy with an interesting blog called "Letters Home to You" featuring solid and well-written viewpoints right on the pulse of the times. A guest post of mine is up at his site, called "North American Expat Germany survival guide: the pancake edition." If you're hungry, I invite you to stop by.

P.S. This is a repost of a guest post at Sar's, whose blog is sadly no longer with us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In anthropological journals you will find occasional mention of the "Hooded Ladies of Lanslund" -- In footnotes, implicit innuendos, little more than hearsay, vague tales quoted from legends. Direct information, however, remains sparse. Most accounts are little more than flowered renderings of the footnoted statements, statements which themselves do nothing more than hint at existence of the ladies. Whether this existence is tangible or fancy is left to speculation or even to faith. Are the hooded ladies a race of arctic Amazons, muscular and stern in their interactions with the hard environs of the Lanslund region? Are they tender like melting snow warming on Spring blossoms? Do they like to kiss?

If I could answer these questions I would be assured a doctorate. I jetted to Scandinavia, took a train to Kolari, as far north as Finnish rails were lain. From there I trudged the tundra, ever further, north by northwest, camping under the Aurora Borealis, long nights of exhausted sleep - and days of relentless treks through uneven land.

Finally I reached the lake country, an uncharted region with no official name, but in the mind one knew it could only be Lanslund. It was nearly dusk, and the Northern Lights began to flare. I stood before the threshold of Lanslund as one of the hooded ladies appeared out of the glowing shadows and stared at me. She did not blink. She stared in a self-assurance that needed not a word.

"Lady of Lanslund," I answered her Nordic silence, "I want to know you. I want to know all about you."

She did not speak, though she moved her head slightly in acknowledgement of my request. She extended a hand towards me, a universal expression of "join with me." My hand was in hers as she drew me into the timber surrounding the lake, then deeper still, past sleeping trees, into her abode, a tent of animal skins, warmed inside by the heat of our breaths.

In her tent she taught me. Gazed into me without a sound, pasting complex sentences into my mind, that I could never speak in words. I became dazed, I felt numb and saw only her, soon like a dream, where faces loom the size of novas. It is all I remember.

My next recollection is walking back with her the way we came. She led me to the Lanslundan frontier. I turned to look at her, encountered again that unyielding gaze, as immobile and inviting as the slabs of Stonehenge. I turned and traversed the tundra back to Kolari, to the train, the airport and ultimately back to the desk where I performed my studies. Still the same person, but different. Now I knew. I knew how to write footnotes.

Story #425

Anyone stopping by is invited to post his/her spontaneous story and/or impressions given by the photograph above...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lips looking ladylike she smiled like always, then pouted, the rapid metamorphosis wrenching my reason from a grasp already unsure. We worked together, side-by-side for months. Businesslike. Official behavior, the way that colleagues do. I stalked her secretly, saw the URL she visited once, and noted it, repeating the address intensely to myself until I could write it away: an online beauty contest she'd won: "Loveliest Lips on a Lady" contest. Thousands of males lustful and lusting came voting for that facial detail of hers, some sharing comments imaginative in ways to make lipstick blush. She read every one. But I could enjoy her lips anytime I wanted to, at least the view of them. She was much too involved with her work to notice my rapt appraisal of that lower hemisphere of the face. There were moments, though, that she suspected. The sight of her then sent me spinning away. I'd blurt out words I knew could make no sense. Lorelei lips. Slashdotted lips. Anything but subliminal. And then it all went black. Then suddenly light, as she pressed my reboot button to call me back. This was the finest moment. As she waited, and I booted, those lips formed words at me: "Damned Vista!"

Story #424

Since I kept you all waiting so long, I think the least I can do is post the next story right away with the photo. I check my logs occasionally and see some of you stopping by from time to time, hoping maybe to find a new post. Thanks for the compliment.

Anyone who feels like it is more than welcome to post their own story to the above photo as a comment, but don't feel obligated. I guess I owe you all a few for the long wait.

Important message: is back! New format, new stories. Check it out!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Six Word Memoir

"I rarely smile - I'm so serious."

Miss Pansi tagged me with this meme in which you write six words about yourself. I think Miss Pansi will like this picture because I am wearing a designer jogging jacket. We visited an outlet mall during vacation. But somehow it feels strange to have someone else's name on my chest. Maybe that's why the jackets were so cheap.

I get to tag five new victims:

1. Aral Peppermint Patty Pez (who also hasn't posted in a while, so I hope she will do so now!)
2. Cooper (because we know so much about her already, and every little bit is gold.)
3. Jamie (who is too young to write a memoir, and if she weren't, it would be more than six words!)
4. Ian (because I know he hates these things *snicker*)
5. La Delirante (because she's cool, and blogs from Malta)

Here are the rules of the meme:

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Those of you who haven't yet heard, there's a new literary e-zine on the scene, called Greenbeard, featuring an illustrious anthology of poetry, short stories, reviews and artworks. One of the main contributors is Angela Meyer with several reviews and a story in the best tradition of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. There are film reviews by Batul Mukhtiar, who herself is a filmmaker, and one by Greenbeard's editor Mariana Sabino. Mari reviewed "Sedmikrasky", which is one of my favorite films - and thanks to her I finally understand it! You'll also find pieces by The Observer, Sherriff and The Sylphidine. The only way I can list all the highlights is to copy and paste the table of contents. One of my pieces is in there too, and I feel quite honored about that, seeing the quality of the other contributions.

I will begin posting here again soon - I have just been lazy, enjoying life as if the Internet didn't exist. I do apologize to all of you who keep stopping by here. It was a great vacation, and we just missed a second snowstorm on the way back. Really. A few hours after we flew out of Chicago they cancelled around 500 flights because of a snowstorm.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Indeterminacy #423

I am away for a two week vacation in the gentle, snowstorm-covered plains of Ohio. Until I'm back (around March 25th), I leave you with this wonderful work of art by Mayuko Fujino entitled "Dia de los Muertos Georama" which I playfully combined with a song from the 1930's. You are all invited to contribute your stories and impressions to this image, and when I'm back in two weeks or so, I will post my own story. In the meantime, you're also invited to enter and enjoy Mayuko's fascinating world of art spanning paper cutouts to shadow plays. Here are her sites you can visit:

Myspace (videos):
Photo Galery:

Note: The song I used is "My Unfaithful Cowgirl" by the Swift Jewel Cowboys (found at westernswing78).

Here is a static version of the image:

My tip: Load this photo in your full screen, play the song, and look at the picture. It's so much fun!

Another Note: A warm thank you to Cooper for featuring Indeterminacy at With your help, Cooper, I really might be famous someday.

Friday, March 07, 2008

It wasn't like a deluge, with buckets of rain descending as if poured from above. It happened so fast we didn't even have time to get wet. Wetness only exists in the presence of that barren realm of empty air which is hardly better than a vacuum. But that was gone, replaced. The ocean was simply there that morning when we woke up, all-encompassing, a rich, briny substance for us to move through. Surprisingly, no one drowned. It wasn't so bad breathing the aquatic thickness into our bodies, only a slight irritation of the saltwater as each inhalation reached it's maximum of expanded lungs. But you got used to it quickly. "Ocean? Ok, ocean," everyone thought, then went about their routine as if it were just another day. And actually, it was. The stock markets opened. The buses ran. Everyone could go to work, school and other planned elsewheres, all as if nothing had happened.

Not that I loved my everyday rut - it had gnawed at my being just like everybody else goes through with their personal routines. But how can you escape that lobster's claw of responsibility that in the end demands movements that even a zombie could fulfill, mindlessly, monotonously, like waves moving back and forth? Sure, I wanted out. That thought skirted my mind like a floating balloon that never soars, just hangs there at waist level, lolling back and forth, a kind of a taunt, because you have to keep on walking past it, but never forgetting that it is still there hugging into your personal space, and always will be.

I thought that fleetingly, as always, and then her presence segued into the trailing thought. There she was, right across from me in the sea-filled bus. I glanced over quickly, catching her eye for a moment, noticing the silent acknowledgement, as always, but this time, not interrupting it. This time I did not turn away to glance at the ads or the other people. I held my eyes steady, beaconed tentatively with my hand. Somehow, magically, hers was in mine. With our two free hands, and the steady rhythm of our legs, we took off though a window of the bus, and swam upwards into the sunlight.

Story #422

A long time ago I promised Colored Clouds that I would use one of her photos for a story - but somehow I never got around to doing so. So I paged through her beautiful blog called Creations of Another Nature and found the photo I posted here. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise for her!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bethy built a boy trap. Part of it was a metal frame stuck in the ground, two legs on each side (V's turned on end), and a connecting bar on top. From the top bar dangled two chains, ending at a black rectangular seat down by the ground. In fact, the construction looked exactly like a swing. And since it looked exactly like a swing, Bethy decided she didn't actually have to build that part herself but could borrow the swing at the playground on her way home from school. A boy trap is, of course more than just that. It's a complex merging of chemical, biological and psychological elements that are as easy to understand as why no sometimes means yes.

On Monday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon Bethy walked past her trap. The trap was empty. On Tuesday she walked by again. A boy lingered nearby, snapping twigs he'd torn from one of the bushes. On Wednesday as she passed the swing, there was the boy, caught!, hanging by his legs from the top bar, waiting for the girl to free him. Bethy walked towards the boy, to help him out of the trap and onto his feet again. The boy saw an inverted Bethy walking in close, smiling up at him, ready to turn his entire world upside down. This was the ineveitable result considering his belief that he had just caught Bethy with the girl trap he had built.

Story #421

This was the third in a series of sketches by Tabita. If you'd still like to contribute your own story, please feel welcome to. You can see more of Tabita's work at her Danish gallery - the series of self portraits especially caught my eye. Tabita and I plan on collaborating more in the future: stories to pictures and pictures to stories, like this very sweet surprise for Indeterminacy #205 (page down to see it).

Postscript: Tabita asked me to thank all of you on her behalf for your stories and comments. I'm happy she let me borrow her artwork for a set of stories. So thank you, too, Tabita!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Striped socks, checked socks, striped socks, checked socks
coursed Theta's thoughts, as she stood before the mirror.
The skin of her soles touched the floor – the planks of the wood were happy.
Checkers make the boys go blind, spinning cubes before their eyes.
Stripes might make them lose their mind, wondering what is hid behind.
Blind boys. Crazy boys. Blind boys. Crazy.
She dressed in stripes for today she was lazy.
Now she waited, staid in the park, wond'ring if crazy was what she'd want.

Story #420

This wonderful sketch appears by kind permission of Tabita.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Annique and Lila lay in the grass, a chessboard resting between them. They were as silent as the sun as they concentrated, eyes fixed on the board. "Checkmate!" called Annique, after moving the queen two squares away from the empty edge. Lila searched out her king. She found it prone in the grass, stoically tickled by the green blades. She placed it on the vacated square in direct line of the queen. The king was surrounded now by fatal fields that dared not be touched. In response Lila allowed one of her pawns to take a diagonal retreat. Annique added a bishop directly in that square, and Lila backed the pawn away a further space. This time Annique slid the queen a few squares down, with Lila placing a rook in the regal woman's wake. Back and forth, more and more pieces appearing. With each turn, the population on the board increased - the pawns, rooks, bishops and knights falling back into their original constellation, like an explosion seen in reverse. Finally the pieces rested on two opposite sides of the chessboard, in two solid rows each. "We won!" Annique and Lila exclaimed together. "Now let's play again!" Lila suggested in a delighted tone. "Yes, let's" Annique agreed, as she turned the board 180 degrees. "But this time," Lila continued, "I will be white, and you will be black."

Story #419

Thanks Tabita for sharing your drawing with us! And thanks everyone for contributing stories! Tabita is a new friend I made at Redbubble where I reposted some of my older stories. I saw some of her drawings in a style I really liked and asked her if she would post more. A few hours later she posted a new drawing, this one you see above, with the comment that she didn't have more, so she had to draw one first. There's an enchanting charm to Tabita's sketches that I can't help liking.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clop. Clop. Clop. Clop. Never since The Battleship Potemkin, that moment in film on Odessan stairs: soldiers, civilians, blood and a baby carriage rolling unattended to its fate - never had such a scene of revolution presented itself, albeit in the category of humoresque. Three donkeys on three stone steps, each clopping from one end of the step to the other, meticulous tick-tocking, a synchronized trio. As the donkeys reached the end of their walk, invariably at the same moment, they twisted around with a flurry of hops and clops, landing about-face and beginning again the slow clops to the other end. Synchronized swimmers are less of a marvel, lacking, as they do, elongated ears, furry tails and the shaggy fuzz of burro bellies.

A crowd built as steadily and rhythmically as the beasts of burden paced their narrow gangways. These were pack animals, so it wasn't surprising that the movements of the creatures held up and carried the pulse of time, became the new ticks of time, the space between clops defining the new second, and delineating these new seconds from other, subsequent seconds, the turning-in-place defining the minute. Faces watched and continued to watch, not without impression. Hours slipped past. Then it happened. A birth. A zeitgeist carried by lightning not seen but felt in the mind. The next day throughout the land, the new way of fashion was there, the result of instant incubation. Fabric was thrown off. Discarded. Passé. The mysteries of bodies male and female gave themselves from breast to pelvis through shaggy fur pasted in place, ears like big furry almonds, a bushy tale hanging behind, and shoes that went clop.

Story #418

Banno, whose site is called Banno, Dhanno and Teja, invited me to borrow one of her photos for a story. Not this one, actually, but I just fell in love with this picture, taken by Teja.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

John heard a legend about the Valentine's Day hitchhikers - two sexy lady-girls just turned 18 who appeared once a year, on a road out of Clay County, in a wild zone of Kentucky. John screeched his car to halt when he saw them posing at the roadside.

One had auburn hair, tanned limbs and a one-piece blue-splotched dress, modernly abstract, ending tangibly above the knees. The other was blond, hair braided in a ring crowning her head, like an unofficial princess. She looked tasty in the two pieces she wore, one black and daringly high, the other pink and daringly low. The girls had curves like zig zags never existed.

"We just turned 18," Auburn stated with a no-nonsense look at John.

"And we're going to our birthday party," her blond friend continued. "Would you like to take us?"

"Sure ladies," John said, "hop in."

They took the back seat for themselves, dangling and bending legs so that knees reflected in the rear view mirror. John was euphoric to have two such sweetnesses in his car. He turned the wheel, and pulled back onto the road.

"Where is the party?" John asked.

"I don't know," Auburn said.

"Neither do I" said Blondness.

"This is quite a dilemma!" John replied, hoping they had a fun solution.

"We'll just have to find it, won't we?" Auburn imposed.

"And don't be late!" said Blondness.

John drove and drove, unable to concentrate on the road. All his thoughts were with the female population of his car. He took turns, drove up slopes, drove down slopes and took more turns. He had no idea where they were.

"Do you have any idea where we are?" asked Blondness.

"Are we getting close to the party?" Auburn wondered.

"Nothing to worry about ladies - it's still Kentucky," was all he could think to say.

More driving. Every time he peeked into the mirror to glimpse his guests he saw their eyes studying straight into him, and the kind of mischievous smiles that any moment might spill into giggles.

"We're getting tired," ahhhed Auburn.

"Yes, take us to a bed," suggested Blondness, just as the car shot by a sign for the Lonely Hearts Hotel, 5 miles ahead.

In a few minutes, they were there. John checked them in quickly. There was no trouble. They entered a room with a table, a TV and one wide bed.

"Wow! There's room for five of us on that bed," Blondness noted.

"Yeah, too bad there aren't five of us," Auburn added.

John was weak with excitement. He sat on the edge of the bed, smiled 15 smiles at once, and gestured them to join him. Auburn and Blondness smiled steadily back at him, then approached.

"Close your eyes," Auburn requested with a wink.

"Yes, we want to surprise you," added Blondness.

"Whatever you ladies desire," John said, as he shut his eyes and covered them with one hand while propping himself on the bed with the other. He waited, heart beating like the drums in "Sing Sing Sing." He sensed a tender touch on his lap, then another. Hands sneaking into pockets. His mind felt like it was spinning in place. He waited. And waited. Not a sound. Not a breath. Finally he had to open his eyes. Because nothing else happened. He looked around. The girls were gone, but in each of his pockets he discovered a candy. He squeezed them out of the wrappers and into his mouth. Tongue playing over both candies at once, he tasted a mingling of honey and cola.

Story #417

Previous Valentine's Day stories:
Story #160 (2005)
Story #334 (2006)

And here is a news flash from Creative Crabbing:

Story Contest Canceled
by Kizz Myass
for The Crappy Times

The Great Valentine's Story Contest (see post below) has been canceled due to fear of the wrath of Brittney and/or lack of interest. You're still welcome to submit a story if you wish but there is no longer any competitive factor. Yam Man would be proud!
Kizz Myass

If you're feeling playful, why not go over and make Brittney change her mind! There are some cool stories posted there already.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I sit gazing at the most beautiful girl in the world. It wasn't easy making the arrangements for this to happen. It took months in quest of her mere existence, months of walking the streets, lurking on corners near beauty salons and hair studios. Ironically the girl who caught my eye walked a straight line past a salon without even turning her head. She was completely natural. Exactly what I wanted, needed, desired for my purposes. A girl of lesser aesthetics, touched up cheaply to hide her imperfections, would not be satisfying to me.

Once I had spotted her, I had of course to arrange a chance meeting, and to make it appear as chance. I could not in the slightest way pursue her. That would be all too familiar to her. Pursuit. That boorish behavior of the conquering male. It would frighten her away. Our contact had to come about in a way that made it seem as if she were the initiator. I trailed her to her apartment, noted the address, then arranged rooms across the street from her. From there I could observe her routine, and once I instinctively felt every regularity and variation of it, could blend myself into it, producing the mutual proximity that would lead to her noticing me.

After a week of observation I had her routine, and constructed my habits to match hers. We saw each other in the same bus, in the same stores, at the bank. My appearance is tall and distinctive - it wasn't long before she began to notice me. And finally, in a sudden moment, when we found ourselves catching each other's eye, a hint of a smile formed on her lips. Then I knew - that it was time. I began a conversation with her, "You live around here, don't you? We always seem to run into each other."

"I live around the corner on N----- Street, next to the tobacco shop," she told me.

"Ah, that's why we see each other so often - I live right across from you. I was sure you couldn't have been stalking me!"

She laughed a disarming laugh of childlike charm, not sensing the irony of what I'd stated. It was progressing beautifully. Soon we found ourselves immersed in conversation that flowed like rivers flow: swiftly, madly, wildly. All the while, in back of my mind, the knowledge of what was to come. Soon I would take her. I would take her, and have her as long as I wanted. But now I must make my move. My instincts told me she would not refuse a drink at a neutral location, the corner cafe, for example. To invite her to my apartment, now, for the drink, would have created too direct an impression, and possibly ruined my entire plan. She would not invite me to her place either, not this soon. But the location was inconsequential to me.

I am very good at card tricks, the sleight of hand necessary to hide objects and make them appear. It's all done with misdirection. And so, when we sat across from each other, flowing in words, it was simplicity itself to slip the drops into her drink. She would not become ill or lose consciousness, rather she would become highly relaxed and susceptible to my hypnotic attentions. I began swaying my head slightly as I spoke to draw her into the rhythm, and as I picked up the glass to drink a sip, I held it suspended, creating the pendulant motions that would open her psyche to my suggestions.

My gestures and movements drew her deeper and deeper into a pleasing passivity. When I was finished, she trusted me implicitly, as if I were her own father, a father who had never damaged that trust. That was the look she gave me - a culmination of all that was pure and honest in her. I made a good note of the way she looked at me, because that is the look I needed to memorize while she was able to give it. After the drink, we said goodbye, with the nonchalant suggestion of doing it again sometime. She left, but did not return to her apartment. In her mesmerized state, I had subtly instructed that she lived in my apartment. Some more sleight of hand had exchanged my key for hers. She entered my rooms, removed her clothes, stretched herself onto my bed, and slept - with the oblivion of a stone. I followed her upstairs, with my second key, entered the bedroom, and began. To take her.

I know no other word for what I readied myself to do, so I say "to take her" because on a simple level, it is analogous to the taking of a picture. I brought out the gel, a gel of my own making, and began to massage it onto her body, front and back, over her entire form, her neck, her face, the work of art that nature had made of her flesh and her limbs, until she was completely encapsulated. The gel hardens swiftly and can be pulled off with no pain or consequence to the real skin. This I carefully did, giving me the parts of a mold. When I was finished I sponged the traces of my work from her slumbering physique. Next I returned her keys to her purse, and whispered the suggestion that would thaw the sleep into a state of vague wakefulness. She rose, reclothed herself, returned to her apartment, still in a trance, still in a daze, but with no remembrance of what had occurred from the time she first smiled at me. She will have lain down on her bed, sound asleep, while I, at the same moment began the intense work with the molds I had taken, to construct the perfect symmetry of her, lifelike and desirable in every way, down to her ruby smile and trusting eyes, pearls of finest agate. So real. So real. The hair to ornament her head I stitched into the scalp strand by strand, hair selected to match her color and length as if it had come from a twin. I placed the finished model in the corner, shone a light upon it, the likeness so close to perfection that it seemed to possess an aura. Now I am old, and the living girl's beauty and trust have given way to the erosions of time and experience. But her original youth and exuberance are completely, eternally mine.

Story #416

Consider this a Valentine's Day story, even if it is a little early. Thank you everyone for your patience, and for the stories and comments you made. I will answer them in the next days. For now, I hope you enjoyed this story, and Story #414, in case you haven't noticed, has also been posted a few weeks ago.


Mavin gave me and a few other bloggers a nice surprise for Christmas, which post I'll be answering in the next days:

Thanks, Mavin, for the very kind thoughts! And Happy Birthday (Jan. 2nd)!