short short story, trails of thought

Stale-mate (not as in chesssss – as in food you’d never touch!)

He’d realised a long time ago that life wasn’t like chesssss.  They often said it was, but it wasn’t.

Chesssss was a game, where the rules were clear, limited and defined.  Life, on the other hand, had far more rules – even as the permutations were severely reduced compared to the former.  That was the curious thing about life: it could be done in millions of different ways but, weirdly enough, the outcomes were just three:

  1. birth
  2. life
  3. death

Within each, of course, there were sub-stages which reminded one of a PowerPoint when outlined in similar ways:

  1. birth
    1. happy and beloved
    2. sad and deprived
  2. life
    1. happy and beloved
    2. sad and deprived
  3. death
    1. happy, beloved and well remembered
    2. sad, sordid and poorly recalled

Compare and contrast that with chesssss, though.

He refused, of course, to even contemplate the process any more.

He realised, too, that the mate who was stale in the equation wasn’t his significant other: she seemed perfectly happy as she was: sometimes despairing of his inability to gain any kind of employment, but otherwise toddling along quite nicely it would seem.


It wasn’t her.  The problem was clearly him.  He was the stalest mate a woman could ever (not) hope for.  And in his stale and ageing condition as was, he refused to grow old with the grace she was able to summon up.

His destiny was clearly to be lonely cups of breakfast coffees, and chat about the latest news, and discussions on the subject of house-hunting and food programmes, and stuff like that, and stuff he didn’t give a shit about.  And that was his problem: he was far too demanding.  He wanted to enjoy life, after all; wanted to stretch himself; wanted to wake up not knowing what’d happen or be achieved that day.

Yet inertia imposed, and failure defined, and life’s juggernaut of casual insignificance rode its merry way.

And so he ended up with neither the gumption to change matters significantly nor the bravery to end it all by ultimately resigning himself totally to a diet of comments on Jamie Oliver’s haircut.

In such a limbo did he discover his destiny.

And there was nothing he was now able to do about it.


And my best wasn’t good enough; and that I have to accept …

I tried my best, in the absence of a best

man: and in the absence of a best

man I sensed what was slipping away.

It was no reality that escaped my grasp


the reality I dreamt was only ever

a dream I dreamt, and never some

thing I might one day have really


So what I sensed was slipping away,

in the absence of better man I so wished

I might – maybe – have had,

maybe some day,

was the hopes (not reality) I had held

for a better kind

of life; a kinder sort of

better; a lifely wifely

class of just aiming to be myself, where

learning was daily, and love was

eternal until that tragic day of death

do us quite journal.



Modus vivendi (III) (REALIsaTIon)

You make of what you’ve been given, but making

can end: it’s too late on occasions to

change what-

ever may have lasted in previous e-

poxs: illness and happiness in equal pro-

portions are layers of experience

which essence our lives with flavours

and saviours we’d love if we could:

but hubr-


is there: in darkness and light, and light

but mainly darkness: th-

is is all there is.


REALIsaTIon is tough.

I am not.

I have forgotten what

living in love could be.

And what you forgot really does not

hurt that much: if at all; at all it does

not really hurt.


Who are we convincing?  No one,

I guess.  But the necessary mot-

ions must fly apart and attach to other

ways of being that one day

will for-

m: for you and for me, luv.


REALIsaTIon is that.



Modus vivendi (II) (morning and night)

Just be.

Forget truth.

Forget getting it right.

Forget bright ideas.

Forget following the trail of

Oregon pioneers.

Forget virgin forest.

Forget tree falling in wood.

Forget getting it right.

Forget truth.

Just be.




M[od][us] v[i]v[end]i (I)

He identified strongly with hearts for some

reasons: one, the first, the most elfishly imp-

ortant, was the love they re-

presented every time he saw or touched one.

Second, his heart was white in-

stead, at home, on his hearth: not black by

any means: he never meant that harm that

black cruelly re-

presents in the tongues we kiss and

speak with.

Although black – in other re-

spects – he identified with strongly,

he hunted not, and was no hunter of black.

So a white heart he was: neither black nor red.

Third, he felt that maybe love

was sacrifice after all: a heartbroken heart both

described itself naturally and de-

scribed itself using itself to de-

scribe its very entity.

Fourth, he now needed a mod-

us v-




so much, he was prepared to sub-


e in electronic life, maintain

his being only in that false

world he realised had been

assigned him long ago, and reach plac-



lying agreement to fake what was left

of life:

for what was life if not an act-

ing profession?


As that terrible man so long ago said:

“The art of communication

doesn’t lie in saying what you believe

but in believing what

you say.”  Hey-ho.  Ho-ho.


And he would now communicate this way,

and the modus vivendi would be lies

all the time, and reality

would never quite match the truth, and the

truth – like him, like the love he would

no longer wear as a badge of collect-


ve c-


age – would diss-



e in digital stroking: a stroking of ego

not sex.


And love your memories dear people: for they’re all

we have




chOOsing not to

ChOOsing not to

sing out loud, or sing at all,

is a choice we make, can take,

and may pro-

ceed to nurture; tend; grow

where we can, and water without or


And all that was needed

was a

better under-

standing of my own self

and being: that foolish desire to

sire a man who might lead through

a kindness or two; an empathy

felt for another soul out there.

But that isn’t easy; maybe isn’t right.

To take a de-

cision which breaks with the past

is hard work indeed for the kindly.


Or maybe the story was quite

another thing: maybe they’d typed me

as an unkindly man: maybe their

number-crunching crunched h-

orrible numbers: maybe the

truth is I needed to be crushed under-

foot of heavy clay and other

boots of concrete


Maybe it’s just fair I should end

up chOOsing nothing more than a

corner of keyboard and chair.

If respectful I remain, what train of

thought could I follow ever which might

leave me without the reason or rhyme

to wallow a tad self-indulgently in

queer questions and


of curious about-

turns, and seagulls that flap noisily on

waters darker than stern


None, I imagine.

None, I am sure.

Nose clean.

Democracy disengaged.

Forgetfulness reigns.

Forgettable, our fate.


And it’s not too late to re-

verse the clock of time but it is

too late for

this verse at least.