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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.


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The Secret of Serenity

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The ant farm outside the window is so peaceful tonight. It's such a perfect scale model of a world. Muted murmurs, subtracted smells, bounded by the glass in front of me and the reflection of the brick wall.

Everything is so tiny. The details don't so much blur as fade to insignificance in light of the stronger details you can make out. It's how the stars hide when the sun comes out.

Two people bounce in the front seats of that Mercedes down there. She's idealized, according to the typical pig-man; she is headless, composed of nothing but cleavage packaged in a black spaghetti-strap tank-top. Next to her is a man no kidding three times as wide as she is. He also has no head. His form is incomprehensible until you realize he is a massive white cotton-wrapped torso bounded on both sides by gesturing brown forearms.

The missing details: are they arguing? Laughing? Their relative shapes are no doubt familiar to themselves, insignificant to the scope of their potent interactions. From here, though: cleavage, relative hugeness, in a Mercedes.

Of course it is peaceful. I can't hear any coarse, raucous laughter, angry shouting, or tense discussions about differing views of the future. They are headless ants in a shiny matchbox in a larger glass-and-brick terrarium.

To them, if they look up, I am an ant in a glass and brick box, inert and unmoving, further encapsulated in a bone-box the size of a tiny bead, forehead flattened and shiny against the glass window, looking out through the double-paned windows of my eyes and spectacles.

To them, I too am peaceful and placid. There's no way they can hear from where they sit the roaring laughter and jeering, the screams and howling, the hundred voices bickering and delivering ultimatums, the gentler muttering of incessant counting and sums and nonsensical statistics, the marching band playing tunes from the creche, the buzzing roar of bees the size of bears--all encapsulated in the miniature bone box the size of a tiny bead, so peaceful, so placid, and so serene.

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Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

20th Aug 2008, 05:39   | tags:

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been there...

20th Aug 2008, 09:39

It's one of the reasons God invented bourbon. The other stuff requires a prescription. In the United States, healthcare is only for the wealthy and those lucky enough to have boring ol' "standard" employment contracts. Those of us on the growing fringe just have to wing it.

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20th Aug 2008, 16:01

So is the marching band in the creche playing tunes or is the marching band playing tunes that originate in the creche?

I decided either worked fine, so I didn't bother to reword for clarity....

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20th Aug 2008, 18:07

I wish I still had that exercise I wrote in high school -- a bit less than a page -- where each sentence could be read quite differently depending on where you paused for breath, as it were, and basically told a handful of different stories based on interpretation....

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20th Aug 2008, 21:14

the original "eats shoots and leaves"

21st Aug 2008, 12:46

... but a lot shorter and probably a good deal less funny. :)

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21st Aug 2008, 15:38