A Flash Fiction Triptych: The Consequences of Sadness

I brought the cards from my Dixit game to my writing group. This is a fun storytelling game for ages 8 to infinity. The cards are beautiful. We used them as prompts. See the three cards I selected from the ten or so I was randomly assigned. If the image doesn’t show up, click on the blue text below.

Three cards from original Dixit Game. Artist M.Cardouat
Three cards from original Dixit Game. Artist M.Cardouat

Part The First

The true artist will buy paint over food. As Rumi purportedly said (via John Moyne and Coleman Barks) “If you can’t get fed, be bread.”

Puss in Boots, in her 92nd incarnation, this time as an artist, has made good use of her soul’s accumulated wisdom. Her current painting is of a fish, so realistically depicted, it swims off the canvas, naively thinking itself liberated, but now free to fall prey to the waiting fisherman.

Part The Second

Sadly, my head drooped. Forced back in to the ring too soon after my daughter’s death, this time was the only time in my life that I was sorry I had chosen this profession. It was the first time I felt inadequate to the challenge. I needed a clown to cheer myself up. The tears of the clown flowed down my face. I at least wished I had paid more attention to the prof in that 400 level class, “The Sad Clown.”  Back then, I thought it would be unnecessary. I’d always been the fountain of cheer.

Part The Third

Will there be anyone left alive to witness the heat death of the universe? Only the consciousness of the eternal serpent. No longer able to survive on its own waste products, the perpetual motion machine is winding down. The serpent bleeds its last drops of vitality as infinity chills toward absolute zero.

Perhaps, perhaps on its way to a new bang in the network we call the mulitiverse.

Note about the Eternal Serpent: This reference is to the Orobouros (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros), or the snake eating its own tail. The issue isn’t eating its tail though, it’s what is implied in the action of eating its tail. The snake exists self sufficiently, on its own waste product. We humans can’t do that and survive in human form. Only “The All” is capable of this feat.

See this link for an image of the Orobourus.


 What is a Knomo Choicius?

When I look at how humans treat each other, I don’t wanna be one. So, I’m opting out. I’ve decided that I’m no long going to consider myself a Homo Sap. I’m a Homo Knomo Choicius now. It’s a new day. Why wait for the plague? Why not just go ahead and create the foundations of a new spiritual path, along with the new species of Homo? Of course, new spiritual foundations would be foundations laid over older foundations. Why re-invent the wheel? We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, as they say. What religion might appeal to the Homo Knomo Choicius? What would replace the scriptures of all the ancient faith traditions?

Join me in the Convolution of Knomo Choicius!

The “Rapture”

At one point, I started to fantasize that we’d actually have the “Rapture,” where the rigid fundamentalists, of any type, preferentially got killed off by a plague. They think we’re left in the worse place, but maybe we’d be better off with fewer people who are stuck in old traditions around. They think those left behind are in hell, but I think maybe we’d be better off. But by their own beliefs, the ones who were taken would be happy too!

To be clear, I’m not out to pick on any specific religion. I once had an argument with a fundy Bahai. Now up until that day, I would have thought that was an oxy-moron, if there ever was one. But sad to say, even Buddhists have started resorting to violence in our sad, sad world. Anyway, I’m a progressive. Focusing hatred on a single ethnic or religious group is repugnant to me! It’s only because Christian fundies are the type I have to deal with in my day to day life, co-opting their own Rapture fantasy was what crystallized for me. What if poetic justice prevailed? What would the world look like, in the aftermath of the Peace Fare Virus?

There was a historical precedent for this, I reflected. First of all, when forty percent of humanity died due to the Black Plague in the Middle Ages in Europe, there was a rapid change in outlook by those who were “left behind.” Clearly, belonging to the Church hadn’t saved anyone. On top of that, the dramatic decrease in population meant that the equivalent of the minimum wage rapidly rose. The poorest of the abused under-classes experienced considerable improvement in standard of living, and the backbone of the self-reinforcing power structure of the church and royalty was broken. In the West, we ended up with the Renaissance, and eventually, a new, more Democratic vision of government.

What would such a Renaissance look like today? How would the daily lives of ordinary people change? Mother Earth would surely breathe a sigh of relief with a significantly lower population burden. I fantasize that there would be more resources for the poor, who would still outnumber the rich. Life might just be a little bit easier for those who currently have it so rough.

But, I asked myself, would we even still be homo sapiens sapiens?

Recent scientific work has shown that we are not the single human race that the Adam and Eve story made us out to be. Maybe this is part of the reason that there are large fractions of the population who can’t communicate with each other. At least they can’t communicate anything more subtle than “Please pass the salt.”

And isn’t part of the definition of a biological species that it can freely interbreed? Why do so many couples need fertility clinics?

The First Alchemist: Text Version

Alchemist Number One

The Year 420, After the Peace Fare Virus

A planet far from Earth

“Good night, Fritzie. I love you. Sleep well.” Hilda felt almost like what she harbored as a dream of motherhood from her far away memories of life on Earth.

“Story, mommy. Story please!” Fritzie was doing well up on the mountain. She sometimes didn’t want to admit it to herself, out of fears that the situation might change, but she felt good too.

“Ok, Fritzie. A story.

“Once upon a time, that means a long time ago, that means on Earth, before humans came to live on other planets, there was a boy named Brandon. He was a little boy, and he found all things interesting. He loved music, and making art, and playing games, but he loved the outdoors too, perhaps more than anything else.

“Even though he had only lived through about eight summers at the time of this story, he used his skills of observation to a greater advantage than most adults. He also knew how to move very quietly in nature. Between those two accomplishments, he made a lot of opportunities for himself to see birds and insects and snakes and lizards and the like up close, and in detail.

“He kept a notebook made of paper. The computer age waited in the future. He decided that every day, he would find time to walk the same path through some woods and a field where a lot of different kinds of plants grew. When he managed to sneak up on a bird or squirrel, he drew a picture of it. He did not know how to read or write, so he had only his pictures to remind himself of what he had seen.

“One day, he found a striped caterpillar on a milkweed plant. He had heard that these black-and-white-striped caterpillars eventually turned into big orange and black monarch butterflies. We don’t have butterflies on this world. The monarchs were big insects with beautiful colored wings that lived on Earth, where daddy and I were born. Brandon did not have anything to take the caterpillar home in, so he watched it munching on the milkweed, drew a picture, and left it in peace.

“The next day, he found it, or another one like it, on a milkweed plant a meter away. This time, he was prepared. He again watched it, and as he had been taught, he watched it until he noticed something different from what he had noticed they day before. Instead of paying attention to the colors of the caterpillar, like he had the day before, he watched how it moved. He made a series of pictures showing a caterpillar next to a leaf. Each picture had a little less of the leaf left. He actually got to see the caterpillar poop. It was green, the same hue as the milkweed leaves, but darker.”

Fritzie giggled softly.

Hilda continued, after gently rubbing Fritzie’s arm.

“When he was done with the drawings, he picked some milkweed leaves and put them in a jar, along with the caterpillar.

“Now most people know that when the caterpillar stops eating and attaches itself to the stalk of a plant, it’s ready to transform itself into a beautiful green chrysalis and then into a butterfly. And, most people who go to the extent to keep a caterpillar to watch, have noticed the beautiful, light green chrysalis which becomes visible after the outer striped skin falls off. Most people notice that the green tapered cylinder becomes less cloudy over time, and less green, eventually showing the new butterfly inside of a delicate glass like casing. But some people, who are really observant, have also noticed that there are tiny gold spots that form on the chrysalis as well.

“Well, Brandon was very curious. His family did not have much money, and he wondered if he could collect the gold from the chrysalis. But he did not want to hurt the butterfly.

“Every day he drew the chrysalis and the developing butterfly. He noticed that the widest part of the chrysalis had the center part of the butterfly. The head and body were wrapped around the top wide part of the chrysalis. He noticed that the gold spots were concentrated at this wide ridge. The butterfly had gold eyes and a line of gold spots along its tummy.

“Well, he decided to go back to the milkweed field to try to find more caterpillars or chrysalises. He succeeded, and had the beginnings of a gold mine! Or so he thought!

“Sadly, his attempts to use the butterfly gold mine for security to buy a new house for his family did not go very far.

“But, discouragement had no place in Brandon’s life. For the next few summers he started a new butterfly gold mine. He hoped the banker would see the light. Finally, at age ten, his parents decided that they could put off teaching him to read no longer. Brandon had been hounding them to teach him anyway. Soon, he started researching the lives of insects. He found out that the gold spots were simply the dried tears and sniffles of the monarch butterflies, royal beings, crying for their lost freedom, not yet aware of the greater freedom that awaited them in flight.

“So Brandon cried too. No gold mine, no new house. But his tears dried quickly, as he ran off to celebrate his freedom to breathe in the fresh air of the summer afternoon. And he rejoiced when he saw a sparkly gold rock! But this time he knew that the gold he would probably end up with was the gold of new knowledge and understanding of the natural world, and probably would not be accepted as a down payment for a new house!”

“Thanks mommy,” Fritzie said very sleepily. “Better let you grown ups worry about money, whatever that is.”

Hilda walked softly out of the sleeping area. Karl had a cup of tea poured for her.

“He’s asleep?”

“Will be in a minute, if not.”

She sipped her tea. “It’s hard to come up with stories that make sense on this new world.”

“What do you mean?”

“I realized too late in the story that we don’t have banks, gold, money.”

They both laughed.

“We can live without it, can’t we?”

Karl put down his tea and got up to pick Hilda up, because he could, and gave her a hug.

I took the NaNoWriMo Challenge

Just About 108,000 Words Later, Space for Meaty Ideas

I first wrote the story of Star Fool and Silver Wing for National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org) in 2012. It took a lot of editing.

It’s been fun and frustrating at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about creative writing styles, and decided that I’m going to write the way I want to write at least some of the time. I LIKE old books and I like reading what the action was rather than having to read a description of a situation and figure out what it looks like. Most description of action is hard for me to see in my mind anyway. I have a cognitive dis-function in that area. That’s why I’d rather read than see a movie. I miss stuff in movies. My story doesn’t have much of that type of physical action. It’s more an exploration of ideas.

Hope you enjoy!


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The Statue: Flash Fiction

The Statue

NOTE: The origin of Lady Justice with a sword had to do with the fact that you needed bronze to make a sword and that was EXPENSIVE. So only the rich had swords, and thus only the rich had the means to enforce their judgments and decisions.  The arrival of the iron age brought a little more democracy!

By Shona Moonbeam © 2016

The arm of Lady Justice still pointed her sword upward to heaven, but the green patina of the bronze was streaked white with pigeon droppings.

Kelly stopped in front of the statue that guarded her school, and looked up into Justina’s kind face. Kelly had made friends with the lady over the years, stopping often to chat on her way home. Asking for advice when a teacher was mean to her, or to any of the other kids, or for acknowledgment of the sorrow she felt for her fellow humans when the current events class had covered particularly distressing news.

Usually, she held her conversations with Justina in private silence. But today, the first day of a new year, she felt optimistic. “Lady J,” she said, softly, at first, and then a bit louder, as she felt a surge of confidence after the words escaped from her throat.

She looked up again, at the face, and then allowed her eyes to follow the arm up to the clouds, and back to the face. Kelly jumped back in surprise. The head of Justina was tilted downward, to look at her.

“Lady J?” asked Kelly, “do you really see me?”

The mouth of the statue started to curl upwards at the corners, just slightly, for an instant.

“I think that the new teacher is an improvement,” Kelly told the statue.

The statue nodded its head, then resumed its former impassive, classical pose.

“Thank you,” Kelly whispered, “thank you.” Then she turned and started walking home, thinking, thinking.