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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.

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Pay It Forward

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One of the more useful rules of living with schizophrenia is that though you may hear the voices, you don't have to do what they tell you.

I find this works for real voices, too. If some bum walks up to me on the street and follows me around whispering "kill your mother" in my ear, I can probably gut-punch him and walk away. It helps with my defense in court if the bum was actually saying "kill your mother", or was actually a bum and not a banker, or was actually present at all. Ignoring is probably best. Just in case.

Unincarcerated schizophrenics are Olympic-class performers at ignoring annoying things, because, hey, it could just be a hallucination, right? Never be the first to react. Is the building really on fire? Wait until you see someone else running. Maybe even two or three people. And don't count the ones with scales or wings. They often don't have your best interests at heart.

So anyway, Frank the Fish is taller than me, which I hear is odd for a fish, and he's not telling me to kill anybody. He just wants me to give him some money. So that's where another rule comes into play.

No one who asks me for money, no matter how desperate they seem to be, gets more than fifty cents. Because, really, if they're down to asking me for money, they've passed up a million better choices.

That's a rule I will break if the circumstances are bad enough. I mean, a certain few people have been plenty generous with me, completely unexpectedly. I can't afford not to pay it back. Pay it forward, as they say.

So I keep a thousand dollar bill folded up and tucked under the skin in my neck, right where my gills used to be before they closed up when I was a baby. My grandfather gave it to me for my second birthday. I can still feel it when I prod around there with my fingers.

I can probably get at it with this boxcutter I carry.


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

11th Sep 2008, 12:16   | tags:


Alfie says:

Great fiction Xalieri, left me with a smile on my face and new thoughts in my head.

11th Sep 2008, 12:32

... and a boxcutter in your pocket? ;)

Always happy to oblige. Thanks, man.


11th Sep 2008, 15:47

shitake says:


12th Sep 2008, 00:38


The "to go" version. Printable. Probably best for postcard sizes, but my test copy blew up to A4/Letter with no trouble.

There's at least one typo in it, but so be it. One of these days I'll hire an editor.


12th Sep 2008, 00:45

Dhamaka says:


15th Dec 2008, 19:30