moblog uk


group profile | members | imagewall

« older newer »

Very short stories to read at the bus stop.

Simply do this:
1. Register for a moblog account here
2. Join this group here
3. Email or MMS your picture and text to microhappy-AT-moblog-DOT-net

Add Short stories to read at the bus stop Mippin widget

follow @creativewriting

Search this moblog

Recent visitors

A Nail in the Coffin

(viewed 2539 times)
Bookmark and Share
Ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit. The surface of the sun gets that hot. (The chromosphere and corona get hotter than that, but that's twisted-up magnetic fields for you.) In any case, at ten thousand degrees you can pretty much make steel give up and be liquid. Or vapor, even.

This is the bin they put it in when it's like that. You set fire to wood and use the wood-fire to light high-grade coal. It burns like the sun, and you drop lumps of unformed iron and ore into the bin.

There's a spigot on the bottom. You open it and molten iron glowing like the goddamn sun comes out, and you can pour it into molds. It's more fun to do it at night, when it's cooler, but it hardly matters when. It will be the light source, the heat source. The sun's a hundred million miles away. This stuff is right here in your hands.

It's odd, kinda, because iron is the death of suns. Suns die from iron. Elements fuse together, releasing energy as they go, until you get to iron. You can get iron to fuse, but it takes more energy than it releases. If a star is down to iron, it's dying. And some stars don't take dying well. They explode. Iron and anything heavier can be nothing other than the exploded corpse of a dead star. There's no other way to make it.

And here's where we heat it up until it glows like it used to, reminding it of home. Another reason to do it at night: doing it where the sun can see it might be in poor taste.

But a bin like this is an awesome place to dispose of a body. There's barely enough iron in a body to make a coffin nail, but it comes out the spigot with the rest, and absolutely everything else is ash.


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

26th Sep 2009, 03:44   | tags:


Caine says:

Love this.

26th Sep 2009, 04:00

I've been getting a lot of mileage lately out of taking pictures when my camera phone swears there isn't enough light to work with... Thank you so much!


26th Sep 2009, 04:10

Caine says:

Hee. In this case, the photos match the story beautifully - that grittiness is perfect.

26th Sep 2009, 04:17

Thank you. :)

Somewhere years back in the history of this blog are shots of one of these things lit up for an iron pour -- it's an event because, well, once you have he conditions right to pour iron, you really want to use it as effectively as possible. It's an ordeal, so it might as well be a party...

There's no way the camera I was using then (a Motorola v600 flip phone?) could have possibly dealt with that light. But I have the images in my head. And a pound or two of tile dumped out of a scratch-block I paid a couple of bucks for.

On the way home from that, years ago, was when I wondered what all kinds of dross you could dispose of in a fire like that....


26th Sep 2009, 04:29

Caine says:

Ah, it's always good to know the deep roots of a story. It reminds me of "What do you need to make a man".

Iron enough to make a nail,
Lime enough to paint a wall,
Water enough to drown a dog,
Sulfur enough to stop the fleas,
Poison enough to kill a cow,
Potash enough to wash a shirt,
Gold enough to buy a bean,
Silver enough to coat a pin,
Lead enough to ballast a bird,
Phosphor enough to light the town,

Strength enough to build a home,
Time enough to hold a child,
Love enough to break a heart.

26th Sep 2009, 04:41

That's the poem-thing I got the nail mental-image from. :) I hadn't heard of it until I read Terry Pratchett's _Wintersmith_.


26th Sep 2009, 05:24

Caine says:

Same here. I don't know it's origin, but it's likely old.

26th Sep 2009, 05:50

Viv says:

enjoyed the story, have been doing the same with pictures from my camera my last HL of Millie was when there was when my camera wanted me to use flash and I refused and love the poem thanks to you both

26th Sep 2009, 11:02

Caine says:

My point 'n' shoot does the same thing, Viv, tries to force a flash. It's a bit absurd when you have to argue with your camera. :D

26th Sep 2009, 19:24

SLG says:

This is great.Love the graininess I always disagre with my camera about light !!!!

27th Sep 2009, 11:59

It's not about whether you have to argue, it's about whether you win the fight!

Thank you, everyone! :D


27th Sep 2009, 14:26

love it.. sorry I didn't find it before.. perfect match to the story but that's hardly surprising :)

28th Sep 2009, 18:01

Thank you. :) Your confidence in me is quite flattering. I can't wait until I lob one out there that falls completely flat so I can watch everyone standing around looking awkward.... *I* know it's only a matter of time. :)

I keep stumbling across images I took months ago and never posted because I was holding them in reserve for the right story to come to mind....


29th Sep 2009, 04:17