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Very short stories to read at the bus stop.


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How Shall We Fill It?

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"Is that new?"

"Most babies are new, or at least newish, by definition."

"Most? Not all?"

"It's not important, but there are rare exceptions. I had a second cousin that I met when I was eight, nine, maybe ten years old. He was more than twenty years old, but he never grew more than the level of development of a couple of months old. Never learned to crawl, couldn't hold his head up. Would be a baby all his life. Clearly a rare exception to the rule. Not important."

"Ah."

"But this little head is empty. How shall we fill it?"

"Cereal and milk?"

"Traditional. I like it. What else?"

"Blood and brains? Teeth?"

"Too young for teeth, I fear, but I like the way you think. What else?"

"Television. Sesame Street and Spongebob."

"Classics. What else?"

"Lullabyes. The alphabet. Crayons and blocks with numbers."

"You're on a roll. Keep going!"

"Popping balloons and laughter. Fear of clowns. The flavors of Pla-Doh and Elmer's. Useless scissors with rounded tips. Popcicles."

"Fantastic! And then?"

"Night terrors. Dreams of the smell of spoiled milk. Segments of insects. Puppies that lie there and never move."

"It's like a lasagna of layered flavors! Keep going!"

"The chill of a darkened room with blinking fireflies outide the sunset-heated windows. The frustration of a wooden box you can't get open. A discarded revolver found in a hollow tree behind the playground."

"Slowing down yet? I can see you're slowing down..."

"The smell of a strange woman's perfumed breast. Car headlights at eye-level. Fragments of steel and rich soil."

"Is there room for another layer?"

"Cheese-flavored crackers shaped like fish. The smell of hospital antiseptic. Buttercream frosting salted with tears. More crayons. Purple and black. And a lollipop."

"Perfect! You're more than ready to be a parent. Congratulations!"

[*]

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

28th Jun 2009, 00:19   | tags:

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Dhamaka says:

poignant

28th Jun 2009, 08:35

factotum says:

Brilliant riff on the image! I really enjoyed this.

28th Jun 2009, 11:00

Thank you, everyone!

The baby-head bowl was a gift someone gave to my wife for her birthday -- I think it's from an Etsy store and was briefly featured on BoingBoing. It's an awesome addition to a house where it's already Halloween all year long....

My project is still in the works to bottle ingredients like these and sell them. I still need a safe place to set up a distillery. :/

[*]

28th Jun 2009, 16:33

jc1000000 says:

Brilliant! You must know the UK's favourite poem right?

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

-Philip Larkin

2nd Sep 2009, 23:35

You know, I think I have heard this poem before, but I had no idea where it came from! Awesome!

Reminds me of Sterling's Zeitgeist's summation of the central message of pop music (via his character Betsy Ross, The American One from the fictional Spice Girls rip-off band G-7): "You don't have to be like your parents."

[*]

3rd Sep 2009, 13:22