Category Archives: Fables

1533: Inspiration

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Chris of chrisnelson61. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

The opening line was always the most difficult to write. He’d written openings many times before, but this time it seemed doubly important. It was as if people’s lives depended on it. Certainly his life depended on it, especially his career. I suppose having a career is like having a life.

Strangely, he was in a train when the opening line struck him. He’d spent days on his opening line. He’d changed it dozens of times, rarely on paper but mainly in his head. Once the opening was decided upon, all else would follow. But he had writer’s block. What was he to do? And then WHAM! it came to him while on a train.

Abraham stepped forward.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

1532: Walk to the window

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Uma of One Grain Amongst the Storm. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

One more time, he stood up and walked to the window. That was the trouble working in a busy office seven stories up with only one bathroom. At present, Dolores was probably in the bathroom applying yet another layer of makeup, or Gavin was there mesmerized by his muscles in the mirror. Bathrooms weren’t for any of that. Japendra wanted to pee. Looking at the street view from seven stories up might take his mind off what was fast becoming an urgent necessity.

There, way down in the street, a mother was comforting a toddler who had dropped an ice cream in the gutter. Japendra wanted to dash down and buy the kid another ice cream. The world is full of such hurts. In fact, he would like to buy every kid in the world an ice cream. But why stop there? Why not buy everyone in the world an ice cream? And there, not far from the mother, was a man looking through his wallet like he had lost a fortune. There! He’s found it! It’s just a bit of paper. Probably a grocery list of things to purchase on his way home that his wife had given him. Finding the list could well save him from divorce. And passing in the street, a dilapidated old car, putt-putting quite a bit of smoke from… Ah! but Dolores had just appeared exiting from the bathroom door…

Japendra didn’t want to overdo his haste. It was a busy office after all. People would notice. He wanted to appear nonchalant. He sauntered towards the door. Just as he arrived, Jock pushed past. “Gotta pee,” said Jock.

Japendra returned to his desk. One more time, he stood up and walked to the window.

1531: The closed door

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by River of The Stories In Between. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

When it comes to doors, they are either open or closed, and this one is definitely closed. Thus growled the witch to Gretel. Hansel and Gretel had been captured by the witch at the very moment they were breaking a chunk off the witch’s candy house. Contrary to what is believed, Hansel and Gretel never shoved the witch into the oven; they were too polite. Hansel had wasted away and died of forlornity. The witch took Gretel and threw her into a small room.

“When it comes to doors, they are either open or closed, and this one is definitely closed,” said the witch pointing a skeletal finger at the door at the back of the room. “Open that door and you will die.”

Gretel pined for freedom and life. She, naturally, did not wish to die. “Oh woe is me,” she said. “If only Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother could turn up and save me. Even Batman in spandex would do.” You, Gentle Reader, should know better. That is not going to happen.

Gretel lived in that little room for seven years. In the end, just like her brother Hansel, she died of forlornity. Little did she know that the door that was “definitely closed” was unlocked and led to the great world outside and freedom.

1530: What a relief!

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Alex of Alex Raphael. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

It was the last thing he expected to see when he looked out the window. In fact, a cruel Fate would suggest it was the last thing he saw. Period. But it wasn’t the last thing he saw. Instead, after seeing it, he writhed in agony for a good month before succumbing. Basically, to call a spade a spade, to say it as it is, to shoot from the hip, Buster died of pain. His death certificate stated otherwise, as death certificates sometimes do, but the cause of death was pain, pure and simple.

It had all started out as a normal sort of day. Buster had got up early, while it was still dark, because he had to take Francine to the train station. She was off to see her sister who lived in Thrushton-on-Beau. It was when he came back home that he drew apart the bedroom curtains and looked out the window. Oh God! Who would’ve thought? Buster lay on the laminate bedroom flooring for three days in intense pain before Francine returned wondering why he had not picked her up at the train station. She called an ambulance.

The ambulance people said they’d never seen anything like it. It wasn’t just the sight of Buster that was hard to take; it was the sounds he uttered. It sounded like a cross between a screech and a groan, a scream and a gasp. And then in the hospital things became so bad that they had to get Leila, an old nurse who was stone-deaf, to look after him. A visiting surgeon from the Netherlands was tempted to fill a syringe with some stuff to help Buster shuffle off his mortal coil.

Quite frankly, it was a relief when Buster died. It didn’t put just Buster out of his misery; it put everyone else out of misery, especially Francine who had suffered throughout the final month with sterling fortitude.

Of course, what no one realized was that the cause of all this was still lurking outside the bedroom window.

Waiting.

1529: Monica’s lucky escape

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Yvonne of Hello World. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

Monica didn’t know that her clock was ten minutes slow. It meant that she left home for work ten minutes late. It didn’t greatly matter because her boss at work was flexible.

What Monica didn’t know was what would have happened if she had left on time. If she had left on time, while driving down Park Avenue she would get caught in the middle of a high speed chase. The police car would ram into her car on the passenger side. Monica would suffer minor injuries. She would be patched up in hospital and released. The car however would be a write-off. Luckily it was insured.

So what a fortunate escape! By NOT leaving on time, we the writer with a God’s-eye view know what a tragedy it could have been. The main thing, of course, is the shock. There were a few minor scratches but the whole experience of an accident can become surreal. Thankfully Monica, by leaving home ten minutes late, was spared. Praise the Lord!

But Monica never left home at the right time, so none of this happened. Instead Monica left her home ten minutes late, oblivious to the sequence of events Providence had spared her from. Driving out of her gate Monica was hit by a stray bullet from a gun that accidentally went off in the neighbourhood. The funeral’s on Friday.

A manifestation of ennui

Hello Everyone (i.e. my possibly two and a half readers)

I don’t know if this will work or not, or if you’d be interested… I thought it could be fun to have readers make suggestions for an opening sentence to a story. Then I would put a link back to your blog (if you have one) when I post the story.

THANKS TO ALL WHO LEFT AN OPENING SENTENCE. THE SUGGESTION BOX IS CURRENTLY CLOSED! BUT I SHALL BE CALLING FOR FURTHER SUGGESTIONS IN A COUPLE OF DAYS!

Thanks
Bruce

Here are the first Sentences used thus far. For the sake of tidiness and ease of not getting muddled, comments below are “removed” once a suggestion has been used:

1. It was a dark and stormy night. Letters from Athens.
Story Here!
2. Monica didn’t know that her clock was ten minutes slow. Hello World.
Story Here!
3. It was the last thing he expected to see when he looked out the window. Alex Raphael.
Story Here!
4. When it comes to doors, they are either open or closed, and this one is definitely closed. The stories in between.
Story Here!
5. One more time, he stood up and walked to the window. One Grain Amongst the Storm.
Story Here!
6. The opening line was always the most difficult to write. chrisnelson61.
Story Here!
7. Jane’s biggest regret in life was that she’d never danced. nananoyz.
Story Here!
8. The esteemed and highly intelligent host limited them to one sentence each. Chelsea.
Story Here!
8. Jim Mackey was a real s.o.b., but that wasn’t what Rudy admired about him. Sarah Angleton.
Story Here!
9. She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. Itching for Hitching.
Story Here!
10. When he looked at the clown in his greens and reds, his raging coulrophilia kicked in. Fighting the dying light.
Story Here!
11. The problem was Gertrude didn’t know which glass contained the arsenic. An anonymous contributer.
Story Here!

A whinge, a whine, a whimper, and a wine

“Whinge” is such a good word that I thought I’d use it. This posting is a slight departure from the norm; hence, I haven’t given it a sequential number as per usual.

Whinge: Am I the only one on Word Press who has to log in MANY A TIME in order to give a like or a comment? It’s driving me crazy – and in fact stops me from liking and commenting. It’s not everyone’s site that does it, just some. What an annoying thing! What is its meaning? It’s only fairly recently begun to do this. I’ve cut down on the number of blogs I read, like, and comment on daily to save time and frustration.

Whine: I’ve almost finished my aim for 2019: to compose 153 pieces for the piano. I chose 153 because that’s the number of piano pieces in Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. Of course, they’re not exactly up to Bartok’s standard, but I still dunnit. Despite some helpful and kind suggestions from a couple of readers, I still don’t know what to do with them. I hate to foist 153 piano pieces on my unsuspecting half dozen or so faithful followers. Even if a piano piece was surreptitiously snuck into a posting once a week it would take 3 years, by which time I’ll possibly be in a hole in Kopuatama. (Kopuatama, for those not well-read, is the name of the local cemetery). So I’m going to post the music in blocks of fifteen now and again, provided no one feels compelled to listen to them out of a sense of friendship and loyalty. Relatively low self-esteem was always one of my finer hallmarks – which probably accounts for the fact that I’ve only once sent my brilliant post-modern novel manuscript to a publisher. (I think the publisher has since died, and can only hope that my MS was the cause of it).

One of these is Bartók

Whimper: Last Spring (it’s a cold Autumn here in New Zealand now) I was unable to find any globe artichoke plants in any plant shop. Being particularly partial to artichokes, and given the exorbitant expense of buying canned artichoke hearts, I planted a packet of artichoke seeds. Artichokes require a coldish winter. I had 32 seeds germinate, and planted then around the garden. They are a lovely structural plant anyway with gorgeous thistle-like edible purple flowers. The artichokes have flourished. Each single plant takes up several square yards. I’ve never had them so big. Imagine 32 gigantic plants. There’s no room even for a humble carrot, and I haven’t the heart to pull any out! Roll on Spring with its promised feast! I’ll just nip out now and get you a photo!

Here is one of 32!

Wine: My car died just on 12 months ago. Death came suddenly and in the middle of a busy highway. I phoned the Automobile Association and in an effort to ascertain where exactly I was I opened the car door and the dog leaped out onto the road. Picture, if you will, me on the phone (the only time I’ve ever used my mobile) dashing between roaring articulated trucks and trailers in an effort to catch the dog. We are both lucky to be alive. The whinge part however, is that I haven’t yet been able to replace the car! I was to be paid for months of work this past week, but the money has not yet arrived. Getting a car is top of my list, as I’ve been borrowing an old truck every time I run out of wine groceries. Contemporary used cars seem to come in 50 shades of grey – I will certainly be looking for something more titivating than 50 shades of grey (colour being the only thing I know about automobiles).

My dead car being taken away

That concludes this collection of whinges, whines, whimpers, and wine. Thank you for reading, and please feel welcome to leave comments – whether sharp or blunt.

1500. Reaching the pinnacle

 

Bruce hadn’t achieved much in his life. There was one thing, however, he could do: he could be the first in the history of the world to climb one particular peak of the local mountain range. Reaching the top of this peak had been an insurmountable problem for many who had attempted it. Although few had died in the attempt, no one had arrived where apparently “no human had ever trod before”.

It wasn’t the most earth-shattering thing to do, but Bruce would attempt it come what may. At least to himself he would achieve something of note: a legend in his own mind.

He set out.

After many strenuous days, after falling rocks and slippery shingle slides, after warm days and freezing nights, after scratches and insect bites, after encountering inquisitive tourist parties and aspiring solo mountaineers, he had only a few feet left to go. He reached up to the last crevice on the mountain peak to pull himself up to the top. And…

… he did! He did it! “At last!” he said, “at last I have arrived where no human had ever trod before!” The view wasn’t as spectacular has he had imagined. And scattered about were a couple of squashed coke cans and some cigarette butts.

Post Script:

Dear Reader,

This is the 1500th story on this blog, and the final posting! I would like to end on a personal note:

Back in 1986 I was studying for a degree in a relatively famous institution in Boston, Massachusetts. It was possibly the most flamboyantly happy time of my life. I was very popular! North America was big, and I came from a tiny island at the bottom of the globe. I revelled in the vastness of it all, and delighted in the generosity and openness of Americans!

When I came back to New Zealand, in the first month I received over two hundred letters. This was the days before the media revolution. I began to answer the letters, starting with the ones from people that I didn’t have a clue who they were! The people I was closest to could wait. The people I didn’t know answered. I replied to them again. The people I knew the best waited. And waited. And in the end, all drifted away.

These days I would not know who is dead and who is alive. These people are memories, but no longer personal friends. This seems to be the friendship cycle in my life.

For the past 1500 stories – and some music and poems as well – I have enjoyed the company of many – some for a long long time. I would like to mention names but won’t! Most I don’t know much about. Have you family? Where do you live? In many cases I’m not sure I even know your real name. That’s the strangeness of friends on the blogs! Some I have offended, and I’m sorry.

Thank you to all who walked all or part of the way with me (those of you who are still alive!) I have enjoyed the privilege of your company. I suspect there are other adventures waiting for me. I hope so.

I sometimes thought (in highfalutin moments) that some people (maybe creative-writing teachers) might like to use these stories as “starters” for their pupils to extend to new and exciting conclusions. There are enough weekly starters to last roughly 38 years before a teacher need begin to repeat! (Boring bloody teacher, repeating stuff after 38 years).

I wish you every possible wonderful thing for always.

Bruce

1483. A reflection on a pair of wood pigeons

Mr and Mrs Wood Pigeon were a handsome couple. Not only that, but Mrs Wood Pigeon had laid an egg. It was a smooth, white, oval egg. They were both very proud of it. Mrs Wood Pigeon sat on it first, and then Mr Wood Pigeon had his turn at keeping the egg warm. For several days they took turns at incubating their fabulous egg.

Mr Wood Pigeon had another job in between sittings. He had to make sure the area around the nest was safe from enemies. There was one smart-alec male woodpigeon on the other side of the field. He clearly had his eye on Mrs Wood Pigeon. He would strut around, and then perform spectacular aerodynamics just to show off. And he imitated everything that Mr Wood Pigeon did. If Mr Wood Pigeon flew up in the air, the smart-alec would as well. If he flew down, so did the smart-alec. It was infuriating.

“One day I’m going to teach you a good lesson”, called out Mr Wood Pigeon to the smart-alec across the way. And he did! One lovely sunny afternoon, just after Mrs Wood Pigeon had taken over the care of the egg, Mr Wood Pigeon swooped across the field in pursuit of the smart-alec. The smart-alec flew towards him at a fantastic rate. They collided. WHAM!

Mr Wood Pigeon’s neck was broken. He’d flown into his reflection in the window of the house across the field. Mrs Wood Pigeon waited and waited, but Mr Wood Pigeon never came back.

1218. Fly from the nest

Gretel was a baby magpie. Her little brother was Alecsandre. They were together in a nest near the top of a pine tree. Their mother and father spent all day bringing them food.

Gretel loved it when a breeze blew the branches back and forth, back and forth. Wheeee!

And then the time came to leave the nest. Alecsandre left first. Gretel stepped up to the edge of the nest.

“No one told me we were this high up in the air,” said Gretel. “It’s terrifying.”

“Don’t be such a baby,” said Alecsandre, flying back to the nest. “Just jump.”

“Jump?” screamed Gretel. “I’ll fall to the ground and die.”

“You won’t,” said Alecsandre. “You’ll fly.”

“I can’t,” said Gretel.

Alecsandre gave Gretel a push. She flew.

“Look at me!” marvelled Gretel. “I am flying like an eagle!”

But she wasn’t flying like an eagle at all, silly. She was flying like a magpie!

“Another wretched magpie,” said Farmer Jasper aiming his gun.