The Decameron Stories – Day Three

In the year 1348, while the Black Death went scything through Italy, ten young people took refuge in the countryside outside of Florence. To pass the time while they waited for the Reaper to be on his way, they told each other a series of stories.

On the third day of story-telling they elected Neifile as their queen of tales. She wanted to hear stories about people who attained the objects they desired, but only by virtue of their own efforts. There followed many windings and turnings, searchings and yearnings, until ten worthy objects were wrestled from the flux by even worthier hands.

Then, as on the previous two days, they all looked up from Boccaccio’s dusty pages and waited to hear the tale that I would tell.

“We enjoyed your first story and your second story very much,” Neifile said to me. “In fact, we spent much of last night discussing the themes they have in common – themes that are not at all unfamiliar to us. Money, sex, friendship, betrayal, the whims of fortune. Perhaps we don’t know what a Ford Fusion is, not precisely, but it doesn’t sound much different than a horse. We have been saying how strange and wonderful it is, that even across the chasm of seven hundred years we understand you so easily! We hope the understanding is mutual. (Did you like Filostrato’s story about the axeman, who pretended to be deaf and dumb so he could infiltrate the convent and enjoy the company of the nuns? That one was my favorite.) At any rate we beg you once more to speak freely and in keeping with your own times. Shock us and ravish us! Black Death or Covid, we are in the same predicament. The centuries cannot stand against us.”

I thanked Neifile for her kind words, and after warning them all that I couldn’t hope to rival Filostrato’s story about the nuns, I gave them another swill from the dregs of 2020.

Day Three

the tale of Dick Long Harding

There was in recent years a certain man from Minnesota, whom we might as well call Dick Long Harding, for he developed in his middle age a rare and raging affliction.  It was a condition that delighted both he and his girlfriend for the first several hours during which it occurred; but after a whole day of it she was sore in every hole and he was dangling at the edge of a heart attack.  They decided together, breathlessly, in an apartment that was completely destroyed, that he should consult a doctor about his sudden insatiability.

Continue reading “The Decameron Stories – Day Three”
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The Decameron Stories – Day Two

In the year 1348, while the Black Death went scything through Italy, ten young people took refuge in the countryside outside of Florence. To pass the days as they waited for the Reaper to be on his way, they told each other stories.

On the second day of story-telling they elected Filomena their queen. She demanded from each of them a tale of misfortune, which must end unexpectedly with happiness. So one by one they went stumbling through hazards and sorrows, until ten happy endings left them breathless under the setting sun.

Then, as on the first day, they all looked up from Boccaccio’s dusty pages and waited to hear what I would say.

“We enjoyed your first story very much,” said Filomena, “and we appreciate that you told it according to our fourteenth century customs. But we beg you to speak more freely and in keeping with your own times. Shock us if you must. We won’t hold the centuries against you.”

So I told them a tale from my own time, inventing at will as I went along.

Day Two

the tale of the Ford

Once upon a time there was a

2013 Ford Fusion

tuxedo black with beige interior

front wheel drive

 some kind of engine

 automatic transmission

 120,000 miles

The lady wanted seven thousand for it, but Josh had talked her all the way down to five.  On condition that he paid cash today. 

Continue reading “The Decameron Stories – Day Two”

The Decameron Stories – Day One

In the year 1348 as the Black Death went scything through Italy, ten young people took refuge in the countryside outside of Florence. To pass the time as they waited for Death to be on his way, they told each other stories.

On the first day of story-telling they elected Pampinea their queen. She demanded from each of them a story about anything at all, because it was her wish that the teller had freedom for a tongue. So one by one they ventured into topics of their choosing, until ten tales were told and the day was nearly spent.

Then, very much to my surprise, they all looked up from Boccaccio’s dusty pages and patiently waited for me.

Day One

the tale of the bean counter

Not so very long ago there was a bean counter in the land of New York who had a beautiful wife through whom he sired two incredible children.  They all lived in a great big house which they filled with many wonderful things.  Moderate success and moderate happiness came easily to them, and it seemed to their neighbors that they must be the most fortunate family on earth.

Continue reading “The Decameron Stories – Day One”

Xenomatra – Part 2 [short story]

Intro to Part 2

Link to Part 1

On the formatting: I hope the screenplay sections are readable.  I realize that they’re formatted a little strangely – I did what I could with the limited tools available.  I still can’t figure out how to indent the first line of a paragraph, so it’s a bit miraculous if I managed to cobble together some legible script writing.

On the epithets: There are some racial slurs in the text.  I don’t use them flippantly or gratuitously.  I’m confident that the character who makes use of them is absolved in the end.

On the story itself: This is either the dumbest or the smartest story I ever wrote.  Part of me wants to write twenty more Xenomatra stories, follow her into adolescence as she grapples with her identity, into adulthood as she thrashes in the moral quicksand of social justice.  The other part of me wants to burn the little bit that I’ve already written.  What I know for sure is that nobody will publish any of it.

Anyway, here’s the second part of Xenomatra – Social Justice Warrior Continue reading “Xenomatra – Part 2 [short story]”

Xenomatra – Part 1 [short story]

A Brief Intro:

Here’s another story that will never have a home.  This one had its genesis in the very simple, completely juvenile observation that the Greek goddess of ‘social justice’ is a dyke.  Never mind that her name is spelled D-I-K-E and is pronounced differently (it rhymes with Nike) – it was close enough to the mark that I had myself a chuckle at the expense of wokeness.

It ought to have ended there, with the ‘heh’ I probably muttered under my breath.  But for some reason a mythic origin story for the Social Justice Warrior began to appeal to me.  I wondered what would happen if I set aside my antipathies and chased a certain kind of narrative logic to its unbiased conclusion.  Xenomatra is the unexpected result.  I’m posting it in two parts because a) it’s rather long, and b) formatting this particular story for the blog has been a nightmare.  Part 2 is still under the knife.

So here is Part One of Xenomatra — the original SJW. Continue reading “Xenomatra – Part 1 [short story]”

Escape from Psycho Pasture – Part 3 [Jim #19, Short Fiction]

The gates of Psycho Pasture opened after Jim ate the banana, and the whole host of pedophiles was unleashed upon the grand plane of paradise. There were some like Jim and the King, who had suffered innocently in the unlucky crossfire between the devil’s conceit and humanity’s prejudice – but most were pale and greasy and thoroughly guilty. Tens of thousands of child-raping men and women stepped out into the light and were bewildered by it. Continue reading “Escape from Psycho Pasture – Part 3 [Jim #19, Short Fiction]”

Escape from Psycho Pasture – Part 2 [Jim #18, Short Fiction] #18

For two years Jim occupied a dungeon cell at Psycho Pasture. His leg was chained to a radiator, he used a stamping machine to make customized license plates for the non-rapist free peoples of paradise, and his cell mate was a pale and greasy man with thin hair and skin disease. Garvey was remorseless about his pedophilia, and Jim often tried to convince Garvey that he ought to feel bad about raping children.

“I mean, at the very least you know that you’re an asshole, right?” Jim said on several occasions. “All other considerations aside, all arguments out the window, in the absence of God and absolute moral authority – you still know in your heart that you’re asshole.” Continue reading “Escape from Psycho Pasture – Part 2 [Jim #18, Short Fiction] #18”

Escape from Psycho Pasture – Part 1 [Jim #17, Short Fiction]

The Psycho Rapist Pasture wasn’t really a pasture. It was more like a circular prison that never came around all the way, and in the middle there was an off-limits garden. Jim figured calling it a pasture was some kind of euphemism.

“And if you’ll look over here,” said the chipper tour guide, “you’ll see the Masochist Chambers, where psychotics can torture, bind, mutilate, and rape a few lucky visitors. The facility is equipped with every known torture machine devised by man, dating all the way back to the bronze age – and a few that the angels cooked up themselves.” Continue reading “Escape from Psycho Pasture – Part 1 [Jim #17, Short Fiction]”

A Mile High in Paradise [Jim #16, Short Fiction]

Abdulaziz al-Omari stood on the corner of a busy intersection in Downtown Paradise. He rang a bell and wore a cardboard sign that said, 911 was an inside job. He looked weathered.

Jim watched him from the veranda of the ice cream shop, spooning sundae into his mouth. The terrorist didn’t wear much for an expression – maybe it was sober and kind of defeated – and he just rang his bell with long steady swings of his arm. Every now and again a passerby dropped a nickel in his tin can. Continue reading “A Mile High in Paradise [Jim #16, Short Fiction]”