Tag Archives: microfiction

2256. Over the teacups

Pricilla was an expert at tasseography, and she made a pretty penny at the trade. Of course, she did it for fun although some people took it seriously. To read tea leaves in cups brightened everyone’s day. Occasionally a group of friends would come along together and after drinking their tea would insist on a communal reading. It was good for a laugh!

Sometimes however Priscilla took things more seriously. Reading teacups could be more of an opportunity to listen and help people who were at a loss. They had come to the tasseographer because they were reaching out for help. Pricilla was an expert at divining those who were distraught and bringing out the best in people. Telling fortunes by reading tea leaves was simply a vehicle. In fact, once in a very long while, a friendship would form “over the teacups”.

Once a woman had come along to have her tea leaves read (although it should be noted that Pricilla also read coffee dregs if that was the client’s preference). Pricilla could tell she was distressed. It turned out that the woman had murdered her husband. It had been all over the papers and the police had been at a loss as to who had done the dastardly deed. And here was Mavis A. Clenovavitch of 29 Hartford Lane (sorry, I shouldn’t have used her name) telling Pricilla what the police had spent weeks trying to find out.

Now things had reached a pretty pass for Pricilla. Should she, or should she not, tell the police? I mean, was she under any obligation to report such things or should she regard confidentiality as sacred?

In the end Pricilla decided not to tell a soul. That is why to this day Mavis A. Clenovavitch of 29 Hartford Lane walks scot free, and both she and Pricilla enjoy the substantial fortune Mavis’ late husband left in his will.

2252. Study the Atlas

The teacher, Mrs Freud, didn’t think much of the new boy in her class. His name was Freddie. He was tall, skinny, and would spend most of his free time looking at an atlas. He didn’t go outside to play as did all the other boys in the class.

Mrs Freud encouraged Freddie to go outside and get some exercise but he didn’t. He just looked at the atlas. And then Mrs Freud insisted, so he left the atlas open on the Uzbekistan page and went grudgingly outside.

Years later Freddie was older and had one question left to answer in a television quiz show in order to win twenty million dollars.

“What is the capital of Turkmenistan?”

“Tashkent,” said Freddie.

“No,” said the compere, “the answer is Ashgabat.”

“That is the capital of Uzbekistan, not Turkmenistan,” said Freddie.

Freddie was the one with the wires crossed. If he hadn’t been sent outside to play by Mrs Freud he would have won the twenty million. However, he’s not going to make a fuss about it because he’s married to Mrs Freud’s daughter and his six kids adore their grandmother.

2251. The eyes have it

Upon the birth of her baby Desdemona was horrified: her baby had three eyes. Everyone said the baby looked like its father, but all that Desdemona could see were three eyes. It was indeed a deformity that couldn’t be corrected.

Only a few commented on the three eyes. Most were polite and coo-cooed at the “lovely baby”. But it wasn’t lovely; it was hideous. One or two offered a cruel joke by way of coping. Things like: Peek-a-boo, I see a twinkle in its eyes.

Eyes in society are not only for seeing; they are things of beauty. Eyes come in different colours. Some wear coloured contact lenses to complement their hair colouring. Some wear makeup – mascara and eye shadow and artificial eye lashes.

Desdemona and her husband came from different worlds. Her husband’s planet was renowned for its eyes. In fact her husband had eleven eyes and Desdemona had hoped that some of his genetic material would have rubbed off on wee Billie. It was disappointing. Despite his eleven-eyed father Billie would be saddled with only three eyes for a lifetime.

1994. Magic mirror

Alexander told his younger sister Clarissa that if you take seven deep breaths in front of the mirror something spectacular will happen.

“You need to do it outside,” he said, “because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Clarissa took her small wall mirror outside and propped it up against the leg of the porch chair on the lawn. She looked in the mirror and took seven deep breaths.

That is when Alexander threw a bucket of water over her.

1962. Interplanetary Cultural Exchange

(Today is the first of seven stories to celebrate Science Faction Weak).

Some of the more erudite among you may have heard of the literary genre of Science Fiction. If you haven’t – no matter. It is all made up stuff, which is why it is called Fiction. But this story here is Science FACTion. Those who regularly follow this blog know that it pulls no punches, takes no prisoners, and refuses stolidly to enter the airy-fairy world of make-believe.

This then, needless to say, is yet another true story proving once again that FACTion is stranger than FICTion.

Imagine the world-wide excitement when the Earth Government and the Government of our nearest inhabited planet, Loupchian, came to a mutual agreement; a scheme would be set up to allow for the interchange of students between the two planets. It would last about six months in each case. What a tremendous opportunity for artistic understanding! There was hardly a household on Planet Earth that didn’t want a LICK (Loupchian Interplanetary Cadet Kid).

The Loupchiens were a strange evolutionary line. They were like hairless dogs that walked around on two limbs and wore clothes. They were intelligent and showed an extraordinary facility for languages. Research had shown that it was a tiny insignificant event that had shoved the evolution of Homo sapiens in one direction and the Loupchiens into another. In fact, the Loupchian bipedal dog-look-alikes kept house pets that looked remarkably like homo sapiens. Except the homo sapiens pets were naked and dumb.

The exchange program went almost perfectly for a year. Thousands of LICKs were exchanged. Both sides became steeped in one another’s way of doing things. It was described as “a stunning bicultural enrichment”.

There were two things that rankled on Earth however. Those Earthings who returned could not be re-educated to stop bad habits they had picked up on the Loupchian Planet. The human boys would cock their legs to pee, and both sexes went around sniffing each other’s bottoms.

1954. Dismantling the chicken coop

It was to be just an ordinary day for Kendall. It was a Saturday, so it was not a work day. He would take apart an old chicken coop that he had made maybe forty years ago. His daughter’s little bantam with chickens had long gone, as had his daughter now married with a family of her own.

The coop had sat unused in the corner of the garden for years. Occasionally Kendall moved it a few feet this way and that in order to mow the grass which grew long and untidy around it.

Today was the day he would knock it apart. Until he began to dismantle it he didn’t realize just how many nails and staples he had used to hold the pieces of wood together. No wonder he and his wife were always short of money: he’d spent it all on nails!

Getting the wire-netting off was the worst bit. The wire-netting was stiff and the more he released it from the staples the more it swung uncontrollably around. It was almost inevitable that he would scratch his hand or arm. And scratch his hand he did.

It wasn’t exactly a scratch; it was more of a “poke”. A pointed piece of the wire-netting poked into his index finger on his left hand. Ouch! It wasn’t much, and although it bled a little bit (before stopping) Kendall carried on working. A little blood on a dismantled chicken coop was no big deal!

That night his finger began to hurt. By the next morning it had swollen. It was now Sunday and Kendall thought he would wait until Monday to see a doctor. It’s nothing much and the swelling will probably go down of its own accord. The cost of a weekend emergency visit to a doctor was astronomical.

By Monday he was dead. Who would have thought that an innocent chicken coop that he’d mowed around for well-nigh forty years would be the cause of his death?

1853. Goldfish pond murder

The murder had been a long time in coming, but it was well worth the wait. Dale’s third wife, Damaris, had tragically drowned. One minute she was sitting in a wheelchair in the sunshine reading Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind and the next minute she herself was gone – floating dead in the garden goldfish pond, wheelchair and all.

Husband Dale was distraught. “I never knew wheelchairs could float,” he gasped at the policeman. People in morning sometimes say the silliest things. Later he added something about “fortunately she didn’t get the book wet.”

It must be stated clearly from the beginning that Damaris didn’t need to sit in the wheelchair. She was perfectly well in all respects. Her visiting sister, Brierley, was using the chair because she had sprained an ankle while messing around with Dale in the garden. Brierley had gone inside the house “to have a rest and put her foot up” and Damaris was sitting in the wheelchair because it was convenient and she liked to watch the fish. Suddenly the unbraked wheelchair went whizzing into the goldfish pond, and although Damaris was a reasonable swimmer she couldn’t untangle herself from the chair.

The deed was done! It was a tragic accident. As soon as they can dry the wheelchair Brierley will be making a fast entrance down the aisle of the nearest church. Let’s hope Dale doesn’t try any funny business with his latest wife. After all, Brierley has secret, perhaps handy, photographs of Dale holding Damaris under water.

1784. House renovation

Molly had always wanted a sort of “do-it-yourself” house where she could “do things” like painting rooms. No big hammering stuff. Just arranging this and that, and sanding this and that. In fact, the first thing she did once she had moved in and settled was to sand off the old paint on the staircase bannister and stain it. What a transformation! Now to transform the whole house!

As time went by, she became a little more daring. A little window frame change around here and there. She even bought a skill saw! Hammering nails in and pulling nails out was ho-hum. In fact she almost became convinced that in another life she must have been a carpenter.

It was no use wallpapering the passageway, for example, until the physical renovations were complete. In fact, Molly was practically rearranging the whole house. Once all the physical changes had been made she would begin the decorations. The original staircase bannister had already been removed, which goes to show that one can be over enthusiastic when it came to “doing things” too soon.

Because all the changes were not outside the house, no one had the slightest clue that there was such activity going on inside. No permits or the like had been obtained from whatever branch of government demanded such things. Who would know? And indeed, Molly was right.

There was just one more thing that Molly wanted to do before beginning the decorating stage of her project; she wanted to make a wide opening between the dining room and the sitting room. That way it would become an expansive area, an area of vision and visage! But it was going to be Molly’s biggest task. Thank goodness she did not intend to have doors, even sliding doors, in the newly created space. She was a little too impatient for such precision!

Molly cut a large opening in the separating wall. It took only an afternoon. Thank goodness no one was hurt when the roof of the house caved in.