15 December 2007


The Farriers’s Tale

The constable found horseshoe tracks near a burgled house. He wanted to know if they were from shoes I had made. I told him my shoes leave no tracks. He scratched his head. No tracks? he said. I explained how I fashioned the shoes from cold iron, which repelled weight. My horses float on them. I handed him a lump of the iron I used. His jaw dropped. This weighs no more than air, he said, where did you get this stuff? I leaned close to him. Stole it from fairies, I said. He nodded slowly. Of course, he murmured.


09 December 2007


The Garbologist’s Tale

Yeah, it’s a funny name for a sanitation engineer. My esteemed colleague thought it up. Makes us laugh, anyway. We look through the trash bins as we empty them. Never know what we’ll find. I started a vintage tie collection from what I got out of one can. The weirdest thing, though, was this one house where they put their can out every single week, but there was never anything in it. Always completely empty. Made us wonder, I’ll tell you. Never saw the people. Often wondered about them. I mean, really, who in their right mind throws out air?


06 December 2007


The Exterminator’s Tale

Tell you the truth, I actually like bugs. They’re cute and most are much cleaner than a lot of other animals that people keep as pets. But I’m not sentimental about it. People want them killed and I’m there to kill them. Sometimes I get nightmares, though. I dream about giant silverfish carrying insecticide canisters and dousing me with eighteen inch wands set on wide dispersal fan spray. I wake in a cold sweat. Then I calm myself down with a cigarette on the porch and freshen up the small bowl of sugar water I put there for the ants.


05 December 2007


The Engineer’s Tale

I called it my zen bridge. There was this narrowing in the gorge where I lived. Whenever I drove by it a bridge came to my mind. The finished design was there in my head. For years I saw the bridge whenever I drove by the narrowing. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It was a bridge no one would build. There were already two bridges over the gorge, no reason for another. One day I stopped the car and walked to the lip of the narrowing. I put my foot forward. The zen bridge was there. Waiting.


03 December 2007


The Professor's Tale

My class was tough, sure, but only because my subject, Topological Constraints on Sub Atomic Singularities, was not easy. Three weeks into the semester I noticed empty seats in the lecture hall. This was not disturbing, but the next week there were several more. Two weeks later almost all the seats were empty. I asked one of my four remaining students where everyone was. She looked at me like I was mad. I don’t understand your question, she said, we’re all here. I squinted at the empty chairs. I never believed in ghosts, but right then, I wished I did.


02 December 2007


The Sailor's Tale

Our ship encountered rough seas in an enormous storm. We sunk. I scrambled onto a lifeboat and drifted for days. Eventually I beached on an island. The natives offered me food, water, and a hut until my people found me. I accepted with thanks. They brought me slaves. A man and woman in chains for my use. Reluctantly, I accepted. That night I cut off their chains. We took food and water and boarded my lifeboat. Within hours at sea the former slaves began moaning for their life on the island. They cursed me repeatedly. They called me the devil.


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