Author has written 15 stories for Humor, General, Humor, General, Life, and Politics.
“Your bridge, the bridge of your nose,” he explained. “It’s a perfect line segment. Yes: it emerges beautifully, organically from the center of your face—not at all inclined to favor either the left side or the right—then it slopes gracefully downward at the linear perfection already described…” he said concisely, for surely this was a man of verbal economy, “till it reaches the tip, and then it immediately turns inward, past two curvaceous nostrils, after which it becomes one again with the face at a degree of perfect perpendicularity. Altogether your nose is the true marriage of Art and Nature,” said he, concluding this sort of nasal-geometric-postmodern-prose-poetry.
I gave one last feeble cry as he pushed down on the gas and drove me off into the piercing reality of the sunset—into an eternal delirium of desire and revulsion—of booze and sex—of chains, thongs and noses.
Things were changing so rapidly—like the spiral-shaped pastries which only a few minutes ago had existed in full and now would never be seen again. The once great dominion of Wendell and Ben had all but disappeared, caught in a vortex of rebellion and transition. And yet once not so long ago they lived in a palace, the most splendid one would find anywhere. Drawn away by popular dissatisfaction, upheaval, and revolt, they now huddled in this cabin, in the eye of the maelstrom—how much longer would it be before they would sink below the surface? How much longer could they hold out before even this cabin was a thing of the past?
The door burst open, and in strode Tom, a small and slight man, followed by about ten other Revolutionaries, who grabbed Ben and Wendell and led them out of the cabin, where only a few footfalls along a winding path through the deep snow stood between them and their executioners, who stood waiting at the top of a spiral staircase, waiting in the palace tower with sharpened blade.
So the ex-dictators had fallen under, and the cabin in the woods was abandoned, save for the rare afternoon when Frederick would wander out that way again, and enter the cabin, and sit by the empty fire grate, and eat a funnel cake in silent reflection. So he would sit and eat and think. He generally thought for a long time.
“You want me to kill him?!” she gasped. “I couldn’t do that! As Table-setter of the – you know, what’s it called, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday – ”
“The week?” said Franco.
“Yeah. As Table-setter of the Week, I could probably wrangle a murder or two in cold blood with minimal effect on my employment status—providing my knife-blades always point inward toward the plate, perpendicular to the edge of the table, and my cups are aligned on the exact center of their coasters—but I’m a recipient of the Table-setter of the Month award, mind you—that carries some prestige, it does! I can’t just go slaughtering our patrons willy-nilly… unless, of course, I say I’m really, really sorry and won’t do it again. But otherwise, bang! There goes Table-setter of the Month! There goes all my waitressing credentials, flushed down the toilet, and I go back to dishwashing staff, along with all the other murders!”
The first time Marvin wore his hat in public, it was not a success.
Another month passed before Marvin wore his hat a third time in public, and this time, it was an undeniable social triumph.
Their faces as he walked into Lady Windermere’s ballroom that evening: stunned, astounded, blown away, mouth agape, eyebrows arched, hair on end, ears erect. And they were compelled—yes, compelled—to touch the hat. And many did. And the butler came around, his purpose being to ask for Marvin’s hat and coat, but when the time came, nerve failed him. He could not take this hat away from this man; it would be the ultimate rape, to see that hat hanging lifelessly on a rack somewhere, when it looked so beautiful and animate crowning Marvin’s golden-red hair. The coat he did take, and as the party progressed his pants also, but the hat remained where it was brought into its existence to be: perched atop Marvin’s head.
“You just shot your maid through the head,” Francine observed dryly.
“But, seeing as we’re friends of yours,” said Peter, “do you really think he’d mind us being here? I mean, it’s not like there’s anything going on in this house that’s cause for alarm,” he concluded, propping his feet up atop Winston’s dead body.
Francis was living an artistic nightmare, perhaps the most severe blow of public indifference he’d suffered since taking up his craft. Already the gaudy son shone loudest from its midday cabaret, and yet not one wealthy patron had entered his shop to buy one of his porcelain citrus fruit pieces. Not that anyone was seriously interested in this bizarre and often disturbing outlet of creative expression, but he’d deluded himself into thinking otherwise. His creations were of no outstanding artistic merit, but he did sell a few now and again—his art as a salesman was far more refined, easily comparable to the best salesmanship of Da Vinci, Renoir, and Matisse.
Lady Catherina was deeply moved. She was losing her free will, her power to resist as Francis congratulated himself on his performance and looked on hungrily as she slowly, almost against her will, slipped her purse from her shoulder in a way that gave her a sort of averse sex appeal. And there was Beauty. There was Beauty for one or two seconds, then the illusion passed, and the art was again in the pretense, in the salesmanship, in the porcelain citrus fruit.
So Monday through Friday Rita sold cookies at Cathy’s whilst her father worked across the street, selling French pastries at Pierre’s Patisserie. They carpooled together. Unbeknownst to either, Cathy’s and the patisserie were owned by the same conglomerate.
The Mylar balloon bobbed against the ceiling. Rita glanced up from the word search magazine to which her father had just given her a subscription. She was really enjoying the Mylar balloon. She’d had the people at the shop print “19” on the surface in red ink.
The Mylar balloon bobbed its way over to Rita. Giving it a second examination, she had a great urge to pop it. The “19” looked unbalanced, like the 9 was too heavy and would topple. It would have looked better written “NINETEEN” or “XIX” or if only she was a different age altogether.
Cliff appeared illuminated in the doorway. Again tripping over the welcome mat, he used the bouquet to break his fall. Handing Rita the crumpled roses, he unexpectedly knelt down before her and launched into some sort of speech.
There were a number of things known to make Albert extremely nervous, but none as formidable as Sunday. Every Sunday, week after week, sent him spiraling into fits of depression—when all before him seemed insurmountable and he could hardly bring himself to do anything except collapse and reflect on things that made him nervous. Such as walnuts—he hated walnuts. They were woody, like bark, and always tasted stale and fibrous and he would have nothing to do with them. Then would come the memories, stark and smoldering, of bygone Sundays, such as the Sunday when he’d realized how he loathed walnuts. He had already been quite nervous for being forced to take dinner early when it was still quite bright, and next came the walnuts in a grinding arrangement all over the agnolotti he’d ordered—it tasted simply frightful and there was no avoiding them and all his mother had to say was, “Well, I’ve always preferred pecans.” Or the Sunday when he’d gone mini-golfing with his father and the ball refused to go where he put it and the sun burned the golf club which winked at him which burned images in his eyes which already stung from sweat mixed with sunscreen. He’d been quite young then, but nothing ever changed.
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