Tag Archives: micro fiction

1885. Kent’s gabions

Kendall suggested to Kent that what his (Kent’s) back garden area needed was gabions. Kent’s back garden area was susceptible to flooding. By putting up gabions along the stretch of creek that ran along the bottom of the section, when it rained heavily the creek wouldn’t drown the garden he had so lovingly tended.

Gabions – in case you don’t know the word, as the writer at first didn’t – are basically a pile of rocks stuck inside a wire cage. They can look quite pretty. Artistic even.

Kent went even further. If he slightly dammed up the creek he might be able to use the water in the heat of summer to irrigate his plants. The dam wouldn’t be big of course. And he would be able to open it so that during a storm the water could flow naturally.

It was a lot of hard work, but Kent, with the help of his friend Kendall, created a flood-proof backyard complete with a little irrigation dam. It not only was practical, it also looked good.

One weekend, when Kent was away attending a gardening convention, it rained heavily. Kendall was on the ball. He went over to Kent’s house and opened the floodgates, just in case things flooded.

By evening the creek was a raging torrent. The gabions held the water at bay. There was no flooding in the garden! But my word! The streamlining of the water flow meant the water shot past at a terrific rate. It couldn’t spread out, so it sped up.

The neighbour’s back garden was completely flooded. The raging waters had simply washed all soil away to the sea or somewhere. There was nothing left but stones and rocks.

Rather quickly, Kent (with the aid of his friend Kendall) removed the gabions and dam and no one was the wiser.

1880. No bucket list

How pathetic is that? Caleb had been given six months by the specialist, and he didn’t want to make a bucket list. How backward is that? It’s not as if he was incapacitated. It would be a while before that happened. The disease would slowly work its way towards completion. There was plenty of time to write a bucket list and see the list come true. Provided it was practical.

But no! Caleb would have none of it. “Why on earth would I want a bucket list?” he said to his wife, Leticia. Leticia had been the one who carped the most about his creating such a list.

Why don’t you climb that mountain? You’ve always wanted to.
Why don’t you go to visit the Soda Factory Museum? You’ve always wanted to.
Why don’t you take up golf? You’ve always wanted to.

It seemed that Leticia had made out a bucket list for him. Of course, it was her way of coping with the impending doom that waited down the track. She was doing her best, and perhaps some of these things on the list they could do together – and for the last time. Perhaps they could make a few more memories.

In the end, Leticia won the day! Together they climbed the mountain, both physically and figuratively. “It was very satisfying,” said Leticia. “We’re both feeling pleased with ourselves! The view from the top was stunning. And such a happy memory!”

Together they went to the Soda Factory Museum. “We’ve always wanted to do it,” said Leticia. “It’s so silly really, because the Museum is just down the road. Only twenty minutes away by car. So at last we’ve done it and it was fascinating to understand the history of soda manufacturing.”

Together they played golf. In fact Caleb and Leticia went to the golf course once a week. It was a measure of Caleb’s health and strength. At first they played eighteen holes; later, fifteen holes was enough. Still later it was nine holes; then four. After that, they never went again. “But it was such fun,” said Leticia. “It was something we did together that we both enjoyed.”

The sad day arrived. Caleb passed on. No matter how prepared one is for the death of a spouse, it’s never at all like one imagined.

Cleaning out his things Leticia came across a small piece of paper tucked away as a bookmark:

My bucket list:
To make Leticia happy.

1864. An unsolved murder

The murder of Octavius Snickenbough was in all the papers. It was in all the papers not because it was a murder (goodness knows, murders are so common these days they could hardly be considered newsworthy) but because of who Octavius Snickenbough was.

Octavius Snickenbough was the local vicar who, despite having being married to a lovely wife for many a year, had singlehandedly fathered three children on the one night, all born in the same local maternity hospital on the same day, and all registered by different mothers with the information on the father recorded as “Octavius Snickenbough, Vicar”.

It had turned Octavius overnight, on the one hand, into a folk hero, and on the other hand, into a fiend. And now, several weeks after the births his body was discovered lying murdered in the sands of the local beach. The beach was in a sheltered bay and most popular over the summer months. The sand was a mass of hundreds of footprints going in all directions, so the murderer’s footprints going to and from the body were indecipherable.

Clearly, Octavius Snickenbough had been chopped to death by a tomahawk. In fact, it was patently obvious because a tomahawk, the kind used to split firewood kindling, was still protruding from the crown of his head.

Naturally, the three mothers of the three new-borns were questioned by the police, as indeed was Octavius’s wife. None could offer any information that caste the slightest light on the situation.

This all happened several months ago, and the police are no closer to solving the mystery and making an arrest. The closed beach has subsequently reopened, and parishioners seem to rejoice in the appointment of the new vicar whose homilies are considerably shorter than those once offered by the late Reverend Octavius Snickenbough. Rather fortuitously, the new vicar has his own house, so Mrs. Snickenbough is more than welcome to continue to live in the old vicarage. After all, why should it remain empty when it is warm and welcoming, and suitable enough for a lone widow to live comfortably? The potbellied stove in the kitchen is a little old-fashioned but Mrs. Snickenbough doesn’t mind that – once she gets a new tomahawk to split the kindling.

1862. Large family

Hi. My name is Nona. My mother named me that. My father apparently didn’t like the name much because it means “ninth” and I happened to be only the third.

“But I want a Nona,” said my mother.

“Who the hell is going to pay for all those babies if we have nine?” asked my father. So my mother, not to be stymied by silly particulars, named me Nona even though I was only number three.

These days Nona is not a very common name, mainly I suspect because people don’t have large families anymore and to get up to nine children could be scorned upon by the disparaging masses. I like having a not-so-common name. I have a younger brother called Octavius and an even younger sister called Decima.

Once my father abandoned the family, not long after I was born, my mother met my stepfather. By the time my mother and stepfather had reached number nine they couldn’t use Nona so they named number nine after the number three because three hadn’t been used. That is why I have a younger sister called Triana. Strictly speaking I should have been named Triana and my sister named Nona.

People these days stare if we all go out together. Just the other day my mother took all ten of us to the zoo and we went by bus. No sooner had we all sat down than an old lady asked my mother in a very loud voice, “Are they all yours, Sweetie?”

My mother said, Yes” and the old lady said “Goodness, that’s a lot. Aren’t you embarrassed?” I was so mortified.

When we got home from the zoo I heard my mother ask my stepfather what the Latin name was for Eleven.

1857. Magic mushrooms

Cameron was wandering through the forest for no particular reason when he came across a little collection of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He knew they were hallucinogenic because he’d seen photos of them in a woman’s magazine in the dentist’s waiting room. There was an article in the magazine about how not to touch these mushrooms, because although they were very pretty, they were also dangerous.

However, the article did narrate how some people used the mushrooms to undergo an out-of-body experience, and others had used them simply to provide a kaleidoscopic in-your-face state of mind. All in all however, the article had said “DON’T TOUCH”. It was that warning that came to Cameron when he first saw and recognized them in the forest.

When he got home Cameron searched for more information and discovered they were called psilocybin mushrooms, and the effects of psilocybin mushrooms come from psilocybin and psilocin. When psilocybin is gets in the body, it is broken down to produce psilocin, which is responsible for the psychedelic effects.

The online information was most educational and in the end Cameron knew with certitude that what he had found in the forest were psilocybin mushrooms. The only thing the information didn’t say, and Cameron couldn’t find the information anywhere, was whether or not he was meant to dry the mushrooms first and then smoke them, or ingest them the way they were, or dehydrate them before eating. In fact, was he meant to cook them like regular mushrooms?

These mushrooms have a short shelf-life, so if anyone out there knows?

1855. Fate deals the cards

Olga stumbled across a free online webpage that would interpret the four tarot cards clicked on. The entire deck of cards was spread out, face down. Things hadn’t been going well for Olga recently and she was searching for something positive to cling to. She had been threatened by strangers several times in the past week because she had been seen going into a fast food establishment that was no longer considered woke.

Olga clicked on four cards, even though she thought that such things online were bogus hocus-pocus. The four cards when clicked on turned their faces up. An interpretation of the selected cards was proclaimed by a computerized voice.

The first card shows that you are insecure and do not know whether or not to accept a recent invitation to a birthday party. Go! Go to the party!

That’s true, thought Olga. I have been invited to Elaine’s birthday party at the solstice and I wasn’t keen to go.

The second card indicates what sort of gift you should bring to the birthday party. Nothing too expensive; nothing too ostentatious. Just a pleasant gift that the person would enjoy.

How right that is, thought Olga. I am so pleased I bought Elaine a simple peace lily in a lovely pot.

The third card indicates someone else at the party whom you meet for the first time. It could be a person of the opposite sex. The card indicates that they will become a significant person in your life.

That is so exciting, thought Olga. I’m well into the marriageable age and have yet to find Mister Right.

The fourth and final card indicates…

It was then that Olga’s phone rang. Hello. Hello, said Olga. It was Elaine. Could Olga email her the online address for party games she had told her about? Sure she could. She would do so immediately.

What a shame that Olga never heard the reading for the remaining card she had selected. Otherwise she may not have been murdered at the party by “Mister Right”.

1847. It pays to check

When Clyde got out of bed that morning he had no idea (who does?) how his day would end.

There he was in early afternoon innocently sitting on the window ledge of his girlfriend’s new apartment when suddenly Tracey pushed him out the seventeenth story window.

As she pushed him suddenly out she was heard to exclaim, “Die you selfish toad. I love Shane now and I do this for Shane.” What Tracey didn’t realize was that her accommodation unit was set in the middle of a high-rise rooftop garden. Clyde fell no more than three feet onto a soft paving.

Clyde got up, brushing a little sandy gravel off his knees. He was half bemused and half shocked. It was the last thing he had been expecting.

Tracey had jumped out the window herself when she realized her murderous plot had backfired. She turned her shock and agitation into concocted horror. Naturally she pretended it was a practical joke. She was merely playing around. Of course she didn’t love Shane; she didn’t even like him. Shane was a creep. Everyone knew that the window seventeen stories up opened onto a rooftop frequently used for barbeques.

Clyde didn’t believe her for one minute. The rooftop was surrounded by a safety balustrade. Clyde picked up Tracey and threw her over it. She almost floated down to splat amongst the ant-like figures busy about their business way, way in the street below.

It certainly pays to check before throwing someone from a great height. That got rid of Tracey. Now there was no one to come between Clyde and his boyfriend, Shane.

1829. The birthday gift

Dear Nora,

Thank you so much for the birthday gift. First of all I would like to say that the packaging, thank goodness, is recyclable. There’s nothing worse than getting a gift and the box it comes in is wrapped in plastic or even cellophane. I mean, what is one meant to do with it?

Yours was most thoughtfully wrapped, and the coconut fibres used as packing I can give to my garden worms that consume the few scraps I have.

I noticed that the stamps on the package weren’t fully cancel-marked by the Post Office, so I managed to steam two of them off to use again. However, once I had steamed them off I saw that possibly they had been licked, so I am going to put them in my recycle bin. Can you remember if you licked them? Thank goodness I was wearing rubber gloves before I even started with that.

The instruction booklet that came with your gift was printed on glossy paper. Really Nora! We no longer have to do things the way they were done ten years ago in the Dark Ages. What gets into manufacturers’ heads that makes them think they can print these days on glossy paper?

And the glue on the spine of the book! I know it’s an old book, but it comes from the days when glue was made using cows’ hoofs. I couldn’t bear to open it and be party to the cruel practices of our forebears. I suspect the book must have some value, but a book on bee-keeping is so insensitive. We imprison bees, in effect, and then steal the honey they make. It is a barbaric practice.

All in all, Nora, thank you once again for the recyclable packaging.

The other day, as President of the Green Party, I received a letter from the secretary of the Dyers’ Guild. In it he said that the colour green was the least biodegradable of all the dye colours, and that includes green printer’s ink. Green is a quite inappropriate colour for those who care about the health of our planet. I wrote back and said he must have better things to fill in his time than worry about non-biodegradable dyes and their environmental toxicity. Isn’t it funny how people get hung up on such unnecessary and insignificant little things?

Regards
Norman

1809. Beautiful shoes

Esther saw the shoes in the shop. They were black ankle boots. They were beautiful. They were expensive.

Almost every day she would look at the shoes. Yes, they definitely cost too much. If she had more money she could squander it on these shoes.

Esther showed the shoes to her friend, Caroline. Caroline agreed that the shoes were lovely. “They would suit you down to the ground,” said Caroline. Of course, Caroline admiring the shoes wasn’t going to get Esther the shoes! Carolina could ill-afford to buy the shoes as much as Esther.

Not having enough money didn’t stop Esther longing, and looking, and wishing, and hoping, and dreaming.

Then one day, the shoes were not there. They had been sold. Goodness knows who had purchased them. Some rich person no doubt.

As she walked along the dusty road, Esther was consoled by the fact that none of the other kids at school could afford shoes either.

1808. Wax works

Have you ever been to Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum? The one in London? Jane went there now and again. She was a famous catwalk model. She loved to walk amongst the figurines of famous people and have her photograph taken standing next to what appeared to be a real person. Of course the Royal Family were cordoned off. You couldn’t put your arm around the queen and pat her on the bum.

But Elton John, Joan Baez, the Beatles, the Supremes, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Cher, Charlie Chaplin, Ellen DeGeneres … the list of celebrities went on and on. And so realistic!

This time there was one celebrity that Jane couldn’t identify, and there was no name tag. He was the most handsome of all the celebrity figures in the room.

“I’ve got to be photographed with that one,” said Jane. “We can worry about what film star he is later.”

Flash went the camera! Flash again! And again! Jane patted the figurine on the bum. “I wouldn’t mind spending a night or two with this one,” declared Jane to the gaggle of onlookers who had gathered to stare at the real live catwalk model. Everyone laughed! Flash went the camera! Flash again! And again!

Later it made a good pub story for Dwayne; how he’d been visiting Madame Tussaud’s and was patted on the bum by Jane, the famous catwalk model.