Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’

Aesop and the Ass ©

The ass was sore with Aesop for having made him look a fool in public. One day he approached the story teller and said,” Well sir, you made me look ridiculous with your ridiculous stories; Am I not more intelligent than a horse?”
“Oh sure, more than a hobby horse.” Aesop said with a chuckle.
“We shall see to that.”
Next morning all over the town large bill boards were seen, with the following words,” Aesop says: An ass is more intelligent than a ‘ hobby’ horse.” The word ‘ hobby’ was in fine print and none noticed it. The advertisement campaign launched by the ass was so successful the price of horses slumped overnight.



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All My Sons©

When my sons came of age I gave the eldest a stamp I had but no envelope to stick it on; nor had a friend to send. I had one blind count in Florence who couldn’t read a thing any way so he didn’t count. Just the same he left his villa to me and I gave it to the second oldest. My third son got a painting that I had picked from one of the flea markets on the left bank of Seine, Paris. To my fourth I entrusted a paperweight. Of course to my last I gave a denture with initials GW.
Before I could leave this world my eldest son came smug and self assured and said, “You gave me a Penny Black,1840.”
“You have made a fortune?”
“Oh no, my dog just chewed to pulp.” said he.
The second son managed to arrive at my deathbed and we hugged and he said he had converted his villa into an orphanage for stray dogs. With beating heart I asked,” what of that western wall on the piano nobile ?”
“Oh the figure of Christ was nude; so were apostles. So I painted over the whole thing.”
“Son, it was by Michelangelo.”
“Never heard of him. I had to protect the feelings of the house keeper”.
The next one said the painting was so unlike a face he could live with.
“Matt, it was by Picasso. One from his cubism period”. My son Matthew said, “Picasso or Pickaxe, what do I care? Either you get the face right or use a digital,- Canon is my choice, for gods sake.’
‘My fourth son George, only cared for his own feelings, but still made my day. I asked what he did with the paperweight.
“How long do I think I can go on feeling a piece of glass in my pocket?”
“So what did you do?’
“I threw it into the garbage of course.”
I murmured, “Hope Diamond, my paperweight and my nest egg.” What George did not know didn’t hurt him. I greeted my last son and he said, ‘Pop the denture you gave belonged to some fellow called George Washington. You think I’ll keep some one’s dentures, the one that didn’t fit him, will sit well with me?’ So my son had smashed it and thrown it away. A man’s whole life in the face of such calamity is likely to speed up and mine was in a flash.
It anyway cured me.
“Well, well,” I got up from my bed and said,” A bunch of hopeless idiots I raised up. I must get down to business.”
All my sons were aghast and tried to restrain me. “No you are in your deathbed. Stay.”
“Oh no,” I was sure. “I cannot afford to die. I must at least make some money for myself.The Undertaker does not do his job for free. It is a fact of life.”


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Changing values

In a curious town like Pye-in-the Skye there are many ways to be considered ‘mad.’ Max was not an idiot but the folks thought he was a borderline case. They didn’t take kindly to those who did not live unto their expectations. Nor did they warm up to those who stuck to their guns. As soon as he learned to assemble a refrigerator he knew he wanted to sell one. Where did he go but to the North Pole and naturally the rest sighed and said, ‘Good riddance.’
He wanted to sell refrigerators to the natives.
The Inuit didn’t buy a single one and he died a very poor man. All that he left behind was some ice boxes and a technical manual.
On the other hand Dr. Faustus having made a pact with the devil became the most celebrated scholar. He knew everything that went under the Sun, which passed for knowledge. How the crowned heads and scholars alike feted him! Then came the computers that made him redundant. He died in grief. He said that a machine beat him. Yes.
The world went a-changing! Then came a thaw and ice melted. The polar caps vanished as an icicle in a furnace. The people in Nunavut learned to live with the climate changes. Then someone found the papers of ‘Mad’ Max and it was a discovery that electrified the whole region. They began to make fridges themselves and control their houses to the right temperature.
The world in their own muddling ways saw a great injustice was done to Inuit. They owed to them a great debt for destroying their old way of life. How to repay them?
Nunavut became synonymous the home of refrigerators. The world leaders came to an agreement that fridges made there could be sold worldwide duty-free. Buying fridges made in Nunavut was consistent with principles of ethical living. Inuit prospered.
Who contributed to the welfare of the world more? A fool or a scholar?

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The Fire- Bird ©
One Chang of Hainan island on coming to the mainland wanted to present himself before the emperor. He had a court dress made and it was splendid in silk with sashes and embroidered work.
He arrived with great pomp and show since he had money and contacts to make his visit a talking point. But in the city of Sun and the Moon the hostelry where he was lodged having an equally fanciful name, he waited for the call from the Court Chamberlain. Disaster struck! His Presentation dress was eaten by moths. When he complained the inn-keeper said these moths were the personal property of a fabled bird, which lived in a sacred grove not so far from the Imperial palace. An immortal advised hapless Chang thus,“Make your complaints to the bird with the speech of man and who guards the gates of heaven. He will surely pay for damages.”
“Surely I will make him pay.” Chang was angry and dismayed. With the aid of an experienced guide he reached where the phoenix used to roost on a cherry tree.
After hearing his complaint the fire-bird said that those moths were indeed part of his plumage.
“Then you shall be happy to help me out?” the man was hopeful, ” It is with great effort that I got this court dress.”
“How many times do you think that I have risen from ashes?” the bird asked.
Mr. Chang stamped his foot in vexation. “But I get to see the emperor only once,” he interrupted. The man was really put out, ” I have no time to make another dress.” The fire- bird continued as if he did not hear him,” those moths have survived fire each time.”
“But they damaged my dress!” “Fair enough.” The phoenix replied, “You give your dress, in exchange for mine.”
Chang thought for a while but the idea of a dress from a bird known for self consuming in its own fire seemed too overwhelming. ”What if I should develop its very nature?” After a pause he exclaimed in horror, ”and is reduced to ashes!”
“Oh no!” he shrank from his presence, saying, “I will borrow from one who is about my size.” He was for forgetting the whole thing.

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The Man Who Made Women As Good As New ©

by Benny Thomas

camp: Svandalen, Norway

19 April 2010

The man had no special gifts except his hands. And he had made the city his home.

The city was called Sin City. The particular adjective gave no air of anything even remotely hinting of moral or ethical lapse. In fact the city touted quality of life as its promise. Quality of civic life nevertheless made the name stick. The city fathers had given their solemn promise and through thick and thin of economic meltdown the city did not let go its virtue: quality of life for all. Yet the civic fathers failed them not for wanting to try but for something none could put his finger on.

Men made the city work for them but women found something go out of their lives.

They could not exactly say what. They made their homes and kept their budgets tight and in all that computing and meeting their civic obligations they ceased to feel quality of life, assured by statutory laws and it did not make them feel precisely as a woman should feel. Nothing between their legs or their biology suffered but a general malaise of being alive. At the same time of being made less than before. They shielded their own brood from the brunt of life they carried on daily basis. In making the nest they merely stressed their own strengths and these didn’t account for the empty nests the chicks would leave behind. Somewhat similar to this, women felt city had carried them high only to deny them something they could not find words for. Quality of life in their pursuit of happiness was not equal to what their femininity expected them as due. That gap merely became ever perceptible as time went by.

Somewhere in a woman’s life what she is born to and what she ends up with is a fault line and it creates symptoms. Some tried alcohol and another coke; some tried acupuncture and another yoga. There were many stimulants and sessions and every thing worked up to a point.

One woman tried massage and discovered him. How the man worked on her pressure points made her feel as good as new. He worked well and what he charged was worth every cent. She passed on his name to another. This made the out-of-towner to stay on. He was a masseur more of a complete woman than a body. He solicited custom on that point and women accepted it as the truth.

Each woman,young,fading,floundering or dithering felt as new.

Twenty years he worked with his hands and he could not yet say what made them exceptional. His hands were well padded but not fleshy; it was neither hands well shaped or that of a brute. His hands were such ordinary as hands that stuck out of cuffs neither calling attention to them nor to the cut. He was ordinary and the spanking whiteness of his shirt or his pants added little to to his evanescent personality. When he worked with his clients he was almost not there. His work-out made each woman count the professional hour as homage paid to her and he spoke not a word that was out of place. He was loathe to draw attention to himself. His hands worked silently. Even where what some positions of his workout could have compromised him he was cool detachment all through.

He lived and made the quality of the city pay him dividends. His office gave him panoramic view of the city and he desired nothing except what his hands could earn.

He put every client at ease and never he rose to a higher or lower pitch to give himself away. Part of the hour he let her sat on his lap or he bent over her while his discreet stance gave nothing that she could have benefited. Her private thoughts were all hers and if these put out tendrils of hope or nostalgia, and she seemed to float back in womb of time it was all hers. He merely let his hands touch pressure points and if his clients took off from there he chose to remain an outsider. His service was faultless as his distance from his clients was thoroughly cultivated by sheer will power.

He performed with clinical efficiency that his secretary kept strict watch over. Daisy from her cubicle saw the naked bodies of clients contort or go limp and if she grimaced or nod in approval it was over the client and not over the man. His hands were miracle workers and nothing more. She noted in satisfaction no woman remembered afterward the face except her. She took down appointments and arranged his daily schedule knew his worth.Her position was secure and won over as with the man by her professionalism. She greyed and somewhat frayed around her supple body in service. She didn’t mind, Her quality of life she wrested from the city by her iron will.

Each day she checked with her boss before the day. He worked by appointment. His office on the 10th  floor was as unobtrusive as those who came in or went out.

Under the watchful eye of his secretary he learned to work as though he were a free agent. He never felt imposed upon by certain rules of office practice each expected from the other.  His ten minute recess at the end of one hour session was strictly enforced and he appreciated she saw to that he had sufficiently recovered from the previous before he began the next. He was a miracle that paid for her bed and board and a place in the community. She was not going to lose all that by neglect. Her selfishness he saw as altruism. If he were not placed by society women in their social engagements or made calls it was not her problem. He had to have work. That was all he insisted upon. There was no let up from day one.

His anonymity gave his hands their mystery and women found it an exhilarating. Consider he had moved into the City with one valise and the clothes that he had on his back and in a matter of some 20 years every woman who made the city her home swore by them. His hands made them feel as good as new.

That day the women waited for their turn. She saw him take on the first patient. She saw the blond and saw her hair roots were dark. He jawbones relaxed she was not what she considered as a threat. She had a body that was far below the expectations her dress called out to all. She saw him in his kimono and he divested of his clothes and go through his routine. Five minutes later she heard the body of the blond turning over. He was still a machine that performed and only then she relaxed. She went through the papers and made notes. First two hours made her keep her mind alert that the day’s routine went on without a hitch. She was somewhat over alert and she noted with a frown. On that day sky was grey and the weather made its chill in her bones speak up. She was cautious as never before. It was on that day as though her mind sensed lurking dangers and every sound made her jump and noise broke the thread of her routine. She heard one speak with some elation,’Ah that feels good, I can cry!’ Her forehead furrowed, hardly letting go her own defenses. Perhaps age was catching up before she headed into the dangerous Forties.

Each day she had to keep watch and yet seem not inquisitorial. Each client took something of him and he was indestructible,- not a moment letting his guard down.

She remembered it was she who insisted he take a recess after an hour long session.Only that day made she was none special. She was on the wrong side of thirty!

She carefully scanned his face and gestures. She casually let her eyes rest around his boxer. He was relaxed and concentrated on his work. His movements didn’t hit any hitch but he was as cool and controlled as before. Again her mind took a defensive stance with the last patient and she could mentally describe every spot he covered or every sigh that escaped women feeling the waves of unease escape their psyche.

Daisy didn’t ask what made her feel uneasy that particular day. Fifteen years she had spent manning her station while the man prodigiously worked with his hands.Was it her hormones her age or what?

As the last patient made ready to leave she sent him sms to ask for an extra session.

‘Under exceptional circumstances, she pleaded.

He texted back:OK

When she went from her desk the man awaited his patient from the door. He was not a whit puzzled or complaining to see her. Before she removed her dress she asked,’ Do you feel embarrassed?’

He raised his eyebrows.

‘All those women who come to you see you as a machine.’


I come to you differently.’ she stammered and feeling red. It was painful to express what was so long churning up inside.

She removed her clothes coming closer and closer. Her eyes teased him now. ‘They want to be put at ease.’

He stared at her puzzled.’I want to be excited. Feel my heart!’ She took his hands and put them against her heart.’You surely must feel something.’

‘No I feel nothing.’

Her face went pale. She had removed her panties and she let it drop.

‘I am lying down. Make me feel like a client’.

He just sat on his stool shadow of dejection expanding from his forehead to his chin.

‘Oh I had a hard day, and my hands are like wet rags.’

Daisy whimpered. ‘Twenty years I slaved for you. Do I mean nothing to you?’

He turned his head away. He heard her hands bunch up the hem of her dress. She let it fall on the floor in helplessness. He could not bear her accusatory eyes. ‘ I ask to be treated like any other woman’ Her voice trailed off in a moan. He sat there. ‘You have hurt me!’

Her voice faltered and she did not cry but shook in convulsions of despair and loneliness.

‘You are my wife, and not my custom.’

‘I put 200 dollars before I came,it is there in the day-book. Consider it as my fee.’

He rose mechanically and walked towards the curtain wall of glass that looked towards the sea. He stood there lost in thought as though he wanted to watch the rising mist from the sea. He could not bear meeting her eyes that were misted in tears.

He said,’Let us go home. After dinner we shall make love as we used to.’ He walked over to her and silently held his hand out. He felt her hand and he closed over it. He sighed. It was a relief. He felt the day was much more difficult than he ever thought it was.

They took the elevator down two figures numbed already by the awful silence of the tower that was easing itself for the night.


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The jester wore his cap and bell. During the banquet the king laughed so hard at his jests; so did  the entire court. Only that his son remained glum and silent.  At the end the king called his jester  to thank for the  entertainment. Jester frankly admitted he didn’t utter a word.

“I know your cap and bell took over.” The king took the cap and slapped it on his son’s head. “Son let your cap and bell be your company.”Hardly had the young man worn it he went into a giggle that made the entire court roll on the ground with laughter. King and the queen were also rolling in mirth. Throughout this the bell was struck dumb . ‘Before a giggle becomes a  joke I had better leave.”murmured the jester So he did unnoticed.


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Mr. Lazybones went in search of work. “A new town is coming up beyond this river,”he heard the people say. ‘But I thought economy was in bad shape?”
“I too heard but never trust rumors,” said one as he passed by. He moved on. When he crossed the river there was quite a crowd. They were all excited. Lazybones smiled to see everyone happily jostling one another. Watching them he brightened up. He had enough time to try his hand in some diversion before he settled down for good. He knew it was his last chance. He heard a fellow grumbling,”A reg’lar scrimmage! Can’t believe my eyes!”
“I always wanted to try my hand at scrimmage.” Said he.
He would have made a dash past every other but a man blocked his path. He sat in front of a table and he gave such a look Mr. Lazybones thought rugby was not as he thought it ought to be.  The burly man in a dirty overalls, “Have you got your pass?”
Mr.Lazybones looked here and there. “What are you looking at?” The man with dirty overalls asked him.
“ But where is the ball?” He replied. He said,”You mean football?” He leant towards him and said,” Work is what you find here!” Lazybones instantly knew he was a hard taskmaster.” I thought of a forward pass. Intead I find work. Impossible!”
He was about to leave but the man said, “ Why did you come here in the first place?” Mr.Lazybones said he was greatly mistaken. “Watching the crowd was fun. Following a rumor also also up my alley.” Mr. Lazybones grumbled,”But I’ve had no idea it shall lead to this. So soon!”
Thus Mr.Lazybones turned away. He went into the plains. He walked for sometime. The sun was very hot. He wished for some shade. Surprise! Surprise! A tree grew up instantly. It went on growing till it reached the clouds. “Ah I shall sleep for a while.” Mr.Lazybones yawned and he stretched himself. He could not sleep. So he said, ”I wish this tree would fan me while I sleep. What is the use of a tree which cannot be of use to man?”
Luckily it was a wishing tree. The tree began swaying at his command. Murmur of leaves was like a lullaby and he could not help smiling. It brought back memories of good old days when he was put to sleep in a cradle. Every night. He would have said to the tree, ”You are like my mother.” But he was too sleepy and he slept off.
Mr. Lazybones got up with a terrific headache. He was annoyed. He looked around. He saw the cause for his headache. A coconut had fallen on his head. He said to the tree rather angrily. “You may rock me to sleep but do not let coconut fall on that account! My head is all too tender. ” The tree went on swaying.
Mr.Lazybones would have gone back to his sleep but again another coconut fell. This time it fell with a thud on his shoulders. He sat up rubbing his bruised shoulder. “Didn’t I tell you..?”
The tree said, ”I am a wishing tree. There is one who asks for my favour.” Angrily Mr.Lazybones looked around.
One man lay a little away from him. He looked as if he had settled himself comfortably well. But he was sheepish to make his request,”Say fellow, you have two coconuts. Be good enough to pass one. I am thirsty!”  Rubbing his bruise Mr.Lazybones asked,”Who are you?” The newcomer still lay stretched out. “It is a bother getting up. Please bring one over.” Mr.Lazybones remained still where he sat. “Can’t you do a favor?” He queried. Mr.Lazybones was still angry. “Who do you think you are?”
He introduced himself,” Mr. Good-For-Nothing. That is my name.”
Mr.Lazybones hated to keep his anger for long. He was about to toss one over. “ Please,”said Mr.Good-For-Nothing, ”While you are at it save me the bother of cutting it open.” He was so angry that he almost choked. Mr.Good-for-nothing said casually, ”Why get angry? You are close to the wishing tree. You ask it to open.  And it is done.”
Mr.Lazybones realized that he had found his match. And he did not like it one bit.


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