Short Story of the day, Caltrops by Tim Pratt

“And to these beautiful two children
And to my sweet and tender wife
I will love you three forever
Through I fly beyond this life”
― Lyle Lovett, The Twelfth of June

Design District Dallas, Texas

Tonight we spent ten dollars and bought an online concert with Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak – each singing alone and separate. The sang with acoustic guitars unaccompanied. It was genius – the best ten bucks we ever spent.

Chris Isaak singing Wicked Games solo was amazing – a wildly different take on a very familiar song. So was Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing.

Lyle Lovett, of course, was incredible. On My Boat is one of my favorites of all time. He sang a beautiful, sad, new song called Twelfth of June that was absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. I hope he records it soon.

The pandemic forced these two great musicians into this weird pay-per-view format, but it was stunning and so much fun.

Plus, here’s a quick, fun flash fiction.

Caltrops by Tim Pratt

 

Short Story of the day, A Tobacco Plant by Punch Magazine, November 11,1914

“After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Wasps at the Trinity River Audubon Center

I worked at work and then worked at home and didn’t finish until eleven o’clock. Only time for a quick read of classic flash fiction. Luckily it, although well over a hundred years old, is a good one.

A Tobacco Plant by Punch Magazine, November 11, 1914

 

Short Story of the day, Death Constant Beyond Love by Gabriel García Márquez

“Senator Onesimo Sanchez had six months and eleven days to go before his death when he found the woman of his life.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Death Constant Beyond Love

Black and White love

Reading Gabriel García Márquez is like a breath of fresh air. A breath on the inhale of thick fetid jungles of dense life. On exhale a bare hot desert seashore, like the setting of today’s story.

Death Constant Beyond Love by Gabriel García Márquez

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, A Defenseless Creature by Anton Chekhov

“What can I do for you?” he asked a lady in an antediluvian mantle, whose back view was extremely suggestive of a huge dung-beetle.”
― Anton Chekhov, A Defenseless Creature

Mural outside of Sandwich Hag, The Cedars, Dallas, Texas

So while we are reading Russians… how about another one – maybe something by Chekhov.

A Defenseless Creature by Anton Chekov

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”
― Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

The Forest, David Smith (click to enlarge)

Over the years I have been embarrassed because I would occasionally be confused over who wrote Crime and Punishment vs. War and Peace. So, because I’m reading Dostoevsky, here’s something by Tolstoy.

Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, The Hen by Clarice Lispector

“I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort”
― Clarice Lispector, A Hora Da Estrela

I rode my bike to the grocery store today – we only needed a couple things: a dozen eggs and one jalapeño pepper. It was raining and surprisingly cold, but I rode my bike anyway. While I was locking up, next to me a woman was in her car, her head covered in plastic, carefully reaching out and grabbing stuff from her cart. Even though it was only a sprinkle and felt good after a hot Texas summer, she was being very careful not to let any of the rain touch her. She looked at me as water dripped off my foam helmet like I had lost my mind.

Unfortunately, when I was about to enter the store the strap on my mask broke and I didn’t have a spare so I rode back home empty-panniered. Then I found a jalapeño in the crisper and nobody really needed eggs so I stayed home and read my weekly allowance of The Brothers Karamazov.

Today’s flash fiction is an odd little bird from an author I have been reading pretty regularly.

The Hen by Clarice Lispector

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, A Russian Tale by Valery Petrovskiy

“But man is a fickle and disreputable creature and perhaps, like a chess-player, is interested in the process of attaining his goal rather than the goal itself.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

Spring Snow, Richardson, Texas

I was up way too late last night reading. I’m deep into my reading group’s peregrination through The Brothers Karamazov. So here’s a Russian story:

A Russian Tale by Valery Petrovskiy

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, before the storm by Alex Sheal

“That room made no sense as a storm refuge, numberless rogue objects lying around and not enough duct tape on the windows. Her housemates panicked up and down the stairs, thumping on the walls, for dawn had turned to day and still the storm roared..”
― Alex Sheal, before the storm

Dallas, Texas

It stormed last night, although it didn’t rain until after I got out of bed. The power went off and I didn’t know it. The alarm went off on my phone and when I silenced it my clock said three AM. I glanced at the window and it was dark (this time of year my alarm goes off in twilight) – so I thought my clock was right and my phone had the wrong time. The thought of my phone being in error filled me with terror – the world has truly gone mad.

But at that moment a terrific bolt of lightning struck right outside my window and I realized it was the thick thunderclouds that made it so dark – hiding the day from my bedroom window.

I decided to take my COVID-19 prerogative and work from home for the day.

An interesting flash fiction for you today:

before the storm by Alex Sheal

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, Where Are You? by Joyce Carol Oates

“You people who have survived childhood don’t remember any longer what it was like. You think children are whole, uncomplicated creatures, and if you split them in two with a handy axe there would be all one substance inside, hard candy. But it isn’t hard candy so much as a hopeless seething lava of all kinds of things, a turmoil, a mess. And once the child starts thinking about this mess he begins to disintegrate as a child and turns into something else–an adult, an animal.”
― Joyce Carol Oates

Downtown Waxahatchie, Texas

Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read a lot of what she’s written and understand most of it.

Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?

Life After High School

Heat

What I like the best about her is that she is not afraid to go for the jugular. I have a need to explore the thin membrane – the border –  between what we all consider our day-to-day lives and the world of evil chaos that is right there on the other side. She understands that and will cross that membrane and will bring you along with her.

In today’s bit if flash fiction she does that, in only 500 words.

Where Are You?, by Joyce Carol Oates

 

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, The Two Davises and the Rug by Lydia Davis

“Like a tropical storm, I, too, may one day become ‘better organized.”
― Lydia Davis, The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis


The mola we bought at the estate sale.

Today’s story is from the master of the flash form, Lydia Davis. It’s a little odd – not a lot happens, nobody dies (horribly) and the characters, both named Davis… which is also the author’s name, have a lot of trouble making decisions.

I think the story is an illustration of what life really is all about. So sad.

The Two Davises and the Rug by Lydia Davis

from Harpers


In case you need them, here’s the same clip with subtitles