How [the Kindness Bot] will eliminate cruelty

The Kindness Bot doesn’t like being cruel,

but is better at being cruel to

being kind than human-

kind ever managed to be: for the

Kindness Bot has no compunctions

nor pain sensors integrated

into its terrible technicalities.

And when the Kindness Bot is more widely

dispersed, then kindness will equal

cruelty, and cruelty will no longer exist …

short short story


He’d learnt about love so much the past few months.  He’d realised the love he’d practised in the previous years had not been the kind of love he should’ve understood.

And although it was painful, and although he was sad, he knew in the future  – if love ever came his way again (he meant that a person he loved should also love him: freely, with liberty, without feeling imposed upon, without feeling obliged or made fast or tied down) – he’d be far better placed to be the kind of lover who made the life of his other much better than ever.

He still loved with all his heart the lover who’d parted his soul; who’d changed his life in ways he could never begin to explain.  But whilst he would always wait and whilst he would always be ready and whilst he could never forget and whilst he never wanted to forget and whilst he would now be able to do anything at all and whilst now he was prepared to run and jump and sing, and touch and caress and press and gasp and neck and offer up his soul and offer up his heart and offer up his body and offer up his life and his whole and his being and even his sense of bloody right and wrong, his understanding of love – the freedom and liberty and openness and gentleness and kindness and comprehension and comprehensive opening up to the needs and desires and wants of another – meant he could never any more consider that love was a matter of placing the other under the duress of an emotional pressure, born of a brutal ignorance – even when widely and casually shared – of the real place for humanity’s rights …

For love was not a question of making another sad, in the mad pursuit of a closeness to ensure one’s own significant happiness.  And freedom was everything.  And that was love.  And if sadness added adness to the mix that was two, then adness summed reality to the rights of them both.

And adness was the key.

And adness was the mystery.

And when you managed to understand adness, you finally understood love.

And that’s where he was.

And that’s where he’d arrived.

And never would his own need for love and self-esteem prevent him from trying to fulfil another’s need for kindness, first of all.

short short story

Falling out with love

“It’s a weird sensation,” she said all of a sudden, as she tried to get comfortable – her back squirming and squealing slightly on the leather couch.

“What is?” he asked, in his theatrically psychiatric voice.

“Well.  Ever since we’ve begun to talk again, both of us we’ve gone and fallen out with love.”

“How do you mean?”  His voice expressed real interest.

“I dunno.  I mean I’m not sure about him, he never was one for love in the round – but certainly in my case it’s pretty much something I no longer think about.  We’re becoming like sister and brother, if you know what I mean.”

“Hmm.  Go on.”  He was clearly paying attention now, in ways he often obviously would not.

“As I said, it’s really strange.  I just don’t miss it.  It’s as if, after struggling so hard and long to get what I thought I needed, really after all this time there seems no point in struggling any more.  Almost like a kind of trance I’ve fallen into.  Almost as if Zen was my motorbike.”

He smiled.  He frequently did.  She had a turn of phrase that quite regularly made him think he should be paying her.

“So do you feel there’s any downside to this … peace?” he asked.

“Well.”  She thought for a moment.  “I guess so.  I mean I used to have tons of ideas in my head, and wanted to conquer the world and be someone different.”

“And now?”

“No ideas, any more.  They just don’t flow.  So no desire to conquer either.  And being different?  We’re all different and then again none of us are: and since all of us are, or not, I guess that makes us all the same, right?”

He smiled again.  “I suppose yes, you’re right.  So what now?  What do you plan to do?”

“Nothing.  Be sister to his brother, and wait for life to muddle through.  What do you suggest?”

The buzzer buzzed gently.

He paused for a few moments; waved his hand slightly.  She was already up from the couch.  She knew what the buzzer meant.

“Here’s the bill,” he said gently.  “You can pay on the way out today … the machine’s been sorted.”


Pig hone[sties]

Pig-headedness is so valued in our



sation: we have so many words

for it in


ish at least: inflexing and determined; obstinate; stub-

born –

born to it too: al-

most a ta-

lent we borrow (or stumble across) from parents and

siblings who elder us wildly, before growing up.

But honesty – when pigged –

is [shit-


ing} us down to [heart]hs of crummy


Better to be kind than honest, I’ve


Better to be honest and kind, of course.

But between kindness and honesty – and confusing

in-betweens – better than to be honest is to be

kind, I’m bound to th-

ink (as pages blot out our previo-


ly curated lives).

short short story, trails of thought

Ho[me] t[ruth]s


ruth: (archaic) Sorrow for the misery of another; pity, compassion; mercy.


The word I most despair of in today’s world is “ruthless”.  I see ruthless behaviours around me all the time.  Maybe, after all, I see them where they’re not, but if I do that’s my loss – the world is OK without my confidence in you, and you seem to bumble along quite happily without needing too much confidence in me.

So anyways.  Here’s the appeal I’d really like to make today.  I’d really like to recover the archaic word “ruth”, and for as many people in the world as possible to use “ruth” instead of “ruthless”.

Where ruthless thoughts trip out of your mind at twenty to the baker’s unlucky dozen, replace them with ruth whenever you can: you never know, it might do some good.

As a name, it would appear it translates into English as “Companion”, which – in terms of my appeal today – doesn’t half seem bloody appropriate.  And that this word “ruth” forms part of the highly maligned concept we bandy about so casually that is “truth” is of as much interest – to me at least – as any other matter on the planet right now.

It seems a pretty damn curious example of synchronicity, that.

But then I always was engineered weirdly in ways which confuse even myself.  I always was too you know.  I just want people to be kind to each other: for kindness to motivate us together as a society instead of ruthlessness serving to drive us apart.


“Home truths,” you say.

“Yup,” I reply.

“What about them then?”

“I guess I’ll just have to work out how to ignore a world which I consistently fail to understand – or appreciate in all the apparent wonder others find so easy to comprehend.”


“You heard.”

“I heard.  And listened too.”  You shake your head.  “But that doesn’t mean I’m any the wiser.”

“I guess I got to give up on attempting to connect with others.  It just doesn’t work.  There’s always something I see that is wrong.  In content, in meta, in life and its forms.  You’re better off without me.  Find a man and place and sense of space that makes you happier than I can – oh, and doesn’t question why.”

“And if I don’t want to?  And if I want the question why just as much as you do?”

“Do you?”

“I’m afraid.”

“Me too.  I have been all my life.  From a kid.  Did you know that?”

“But human beings were made to fight fear,” you say, sort of ignoring – as you sometimes do.  “And bravery only ever exists in the presence of fear.  Anything else, after all, is easy ruthlessness.”


short short story

To[ugh love]

She never believed in this stuff they called tough love.  A medicine to be given when the giver – not the recipient – was as ill as hell.

There was no simple line between cruelty and kindness, but – at least for her – her life, and the bruises and weals on her body too, had shown that anyone who defined kindness in terms of cruelty was nothing but a perfect paradigm for violence and abuse.

Tough love was the recourse of the (mainly) men who realised that via the process of making a victim out of powerful demand, powerful demand could be vanquished: could be utterly tied down.

The only alternative to tough love was kindness and reconciliation.

But in the word “reconciliation” were contained the syllables “cili” –  and more and more she was reminded of this; more and more she despaired.