Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Archive for the ‘Sticks & Stones’ Category

Sticks without Stones

Monday, August 11th, 2008

This is not a sequel or prequel but pairs with the stand-alone, “Stones without Sticks.”

The stick was once known fondly by its parent as a limb… until a biped severed it from its parent, stripped it naked, and hobbled on the stick up the mountainside. Despite the biped’s initial cruelty, the stick grew fond of the biped as its palms wore groves into the stick’s flesh. Before being held in the sleeping embrace of the biped’s flabby yet warm limb, the stick had not experienced true love.

Sadly, the relationship was one-sided. In spite of enduring long hours of pressure and pain because of its devotion to the biped, the stick broke unexpectedly and was, without a teary goodbye, discarded for another. “Oh, I see,” said the stick, “love me and leave me, will you?” But the biped neither answered nor returned.

The stick lay quietly for many moons, too upset for words, until another biped stepped on the stick, and it snapped:

“Why don’t you watch where you put your oafish feet? You think you can traipse through this neck of the woods and not notice upon whom you’re stepping? You don’t see trees uproot themselves and stomp on your fingers.”

The biped pretended not to hear and strolled on through the stick’s home.

A stone came rolling along. The stick, still nettled by its busted-up life, yelled at the stone to help out a fellow inanimate object. It showed no interest in the stick’s plight. Burned again, the stick thought, by a stone this time; it doesn’t get any worse than this.

The sun came and went. Rains came and went. Snows came and went. The stick lay still, nursing its wounds, when a black ant showed interest. Finally, the stick hoped, it would be loved for itself.

But no, the ant was a termite and it hollowed out the stick and laid eggs in it that wiggled and lunched on the stick’s innards. The pain was as excruciating as it had heard the biped complain that kidney stones were, but the stick felt too hollow to be hurt again.

Or so it thought.

On the last day of its life, a biped spotted the stick, put it over its knee, and broke it in two, then, carrying it back to its lair, built an altar encircled by stone, and set the stick on fire. Perhaps the stick ought to have been bitter about the flames charring its flesh, but it couldn’t help noticing the biped’s worshipful and submissive posture.

Stones without Sticks

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

The Rolling Stone was his own man, so to speak, and traveled past lands unseen. The stone, being a stone, was stoned with the inordinate pride of having gathered no moss–his being’s essence unsullied by another being’s essence, which his most restless and rocky friends had firmly warned him against.

To scale new heights in his rollings, he started at the foot of a mountain that poked holes in passing clouds. For millennia (a figure rounded by reckoning since stones don’t count), he forded streams and outstripped boulders attempting the same ascent. Occasionally, a biped wandered by, and Stone leaped into the crack of its foot’s second skin. This saved him hundreds of years of bounding up the path. The free rides never lasted long, however; for in short order, the bipeds removed their skins (they obviously gathered another kind of moss).

Along the way, he heckled those stones who had given up the struggle–not only gathering moss but water, earth, grass, and trees, even! What odd, stiff, wooden creatures they were to stand heartlessly on his fellow stones. It served the trees right to die in a few hundred years.

The higher he climbed, the stranger the substances that his fellows had drowned in: water solid as stone! He chatted up a few, but they all seemed frozen in fear.

Finally, Stone reached the summit. He leaned over a steep precipice and roared his triumph at achieving his dream. That’s when he heard the triumphant yahoo of a biped which swallowed his pipsqueak roar. Before he could turn, the biped’s second skin kicked him over the ledge.

Stone cursed the biped–though the beasts’ lives were already abysmally ephemeral–until he realized this was another journey (if considerably faster) to tell his grandchildren about. Stone bounced and sparked other stones who, excited about Stone’s journey, joined him in the Great Fall. Despite the descent, it pinnacled Stone’s achievements: His fall was his meteoric rise: so many other stones leaping to join in Stone’s headlong, boisterously joyful fray–a veritable pride of the unmossed, so quintessentially, so unreservedly stoned in their stony abandon.

Panting and laughing, they landed at the foot of the mountain with a flurry of dust. What a rush! They spoke of the great race for eons to their children’s children. Eventually, Stone gathered moss, but it was nice not to be bald anymore.