Category Archives: Petites Contes – Small Tales

1000 Lifetimes

 

1000 Lifetimes

 

“I’ll wait for you a 1000 lifetimes.”

My dental hygienist considers. And then,

“Okay.”

“We can have a 100 children.”

“A 100!”

“That’s 50 each. And we’ll live in separate houses.

Preferably across town from each other.”

She really is very pretty. Has muscles too.

The dentist, on the other hand, wears a mask

as he pokes around. I’d tell him he is gorgeous – he

isn’t – if the mask didn’t stop me.

It’s spring, after all, and never mind the chair

and drill.

“You look fresh as a daisy.” (He doesn’t.)

Speak the words that come into your mind.

When all is said and done, as it is at the end

of the visit, take the toothbrush.

My secret is that I can wait 10,000 lifetimes.

                                        ____

 

 

 

 

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Universe of the Crumpled Fridge

Universe of the Crumpled Fridge

 

No, he’s not going to go out today. The winter light is golden outside the window, and he stares. It’s light reflected off a building and giving beauty to a flat blue sky. Thin branches of close trees form their traceries without pattern. The UPS guys retrieved the damaged shipment, hauled it out of the basement, the same two who made the delivery. Equally cheerful, first and last. Beginning and end. Call it, universe of the crumpled fridge. (Go back to sleep, Einstein. It’s just him again.) He went out this morning. Out this morning. First thing. After a long nap, it’s best to put some cheese on bread into the micro. It fills the tank. That fridge – he won’t say “poor fridge” – had been serviceable, but the negotiations broke down and now it is somewhere out there. Someone dropped it. Squashed it. Buyers will flock elsewhere. They should have taken his offer. He would have made use of their damaged goods.

As for himself, he will continue to inspect the golden light and perhaps not go out.

 

______

The Girl in the Tree

THE GIRL IN THE TREE

The medium-sized tree grew in the park. In the crook of one of its branches stood a girl. Her dress covered her from neck to ankle. Hair to shoulders. No shoes. Hands clasped before her. One morning she was there in the tree and the next and the next. All the visitors to the park and those who walked through it got used to her. She was in the air, asked for nothing and caused no trouble. Spring, summer, fall and winter followed each other.

An elderly couple visited the park and sat on one of the benches in front of the girl in the tree.

The next day, they decided to return and visit again in their own quiet way.
At first it disappointed them to find that there was no longer a girl in the tree. When they looked about, they noticed that other trees held in their branches girls similarly dressed as the one who had disappeared. The couple stayed where they were a while longer and, when they finally got up to go, they saw other couples just like themselves seated on park benches.

Once back on the street, if they had turned around, they would have seen that the park had become empty except once again for the girl in the tree.

***

No Lead in the Water

The salt truck passes by, no fuss, no bother. No bothersome, hysteria inducing alerts on wall-to-wall TVs. It sprays crystals in a broad wake, The driver drinks from his thermos. He has his radio on and he listens to the national emergencies south of the border in the most prosperous country on the planet. They are into year two of electing their president. He watches it all on TV. It’s better than a canoe race. Unless you have a paddle in the river. He will scoop his hands into the water and drink. He will feel smug until something happens.

Most of his surprises await him in the bedroom. He is subject to strange dreams, that is all, and he finds he has difficulty uncurling his toes.

His wife is drop-dead gorgeous. That’s how it is.

 

_________

The Magic Sail

The Magic Sail

They all fell overboard and drowned.

It was a porpoise that witnessed the event and informed all the other fish in the sea. Eventually a hermit crab reported the details to another of its kind that decided something must be done and, since its fellow crab was smaller in size, it listened to the idea with respect and attention. Also it had the hope of taking over the bigger one’s shell once it had grown out of it.*

The octopus who guarded the entrance of the deepest cave in the water found himself faced with all the creatures in the sea and agreed with them all. It swam into the depths and returned with a silver sail that glowed in the dark.

The newly fitted boat bobbed on the waves and those who had drowned climbed the ladder that hung from its side. They were full of life and congratulated themselves on having survived a watery death.

As soon as a wind arose, they were off and visiting all the places they had planned: islands with white beaches, sea ports with lots to see and buy.

Once they had completed their trip, they set a course for home. So well did their magic sail perform that they sped along just above the waves without a single bump.

* Hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans of the superfamily Paguroidea. Most of the 1100 species possess an asymmetrical abdomen which is concealed in an empty gastropod shell carried around by the hermit crab.

Outside its shell, the soft, curved abdomen of hermit crabs, such as Pagurus bernhardus, is vulnerable.

Most species have long, spirally curved abdomens, which are soft, unlike the hard, calcified abdomens seen in related crustaceans. The vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators by a salvaged empty seashell carried by the hermit crab, into which its whole body can retract. Most frequently, hermit crabs use the shells of sea snails (although the shells of bivalves and scaphopods and even hollow pieces of wood and stone are used by some species). The tip of the hermit crab’s abdomen is adapted to clasp strongly onto the columella of the snail shell.

As the hermit crab grows in size, it must find a larger shell and abandon the previous one. This habit of living in a second-hand shell gives rise to the popular name “hermit crab”, by analogy to a hermit who lives alone. Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, use vacancy chains to find new shells; when a new, bigger shell becomes available, hermit crabs gather around it and form a kind of queue from largest to smallest. When the largest crab moves into the new shell, the second-biggest crab moves into the newly vacated shell, thereby making its previous shell available to the third crab, and so on. Hermit crabs often “gang up” on a hermit crab with what they perceive to be a better shell, where they will actually pry its home (shell) away from it and then compete for it, and one will ultimately take it over.

Most species are aquatic and live in varying depths of salt water, from shallow reefs and shorelines to deep sea bottoms. Tropical areas host some terrestrial species, though even those have aquatic larvae and therefore need access to water for reproduction. Most hermit crabs are nocturnal.

A few species do not use a “mobile home” and inhabit immobile structures left by polychaete worms, vermetid gastropods, corals, and sponges.

***