The Scales Fall (A Faux Poirot Mystery)

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

A 100-word, six-sentence mystery with apologies to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

The Scales Fall

“That one, she has had too much happiness, mon ami,” Poirot said, “it is time for the other foot to drop, n’est-ce pas?!”
“Can one have too much?!” I cried.
Mais non, Hastings, you see her there perched like a bird, but I ….”
Springing into a blur of action, Poirot tackled a passerby greeting her, extracting the poisoned dart between his fingers.
“I sense the balance of scales, the moment of the tipping,” Poirot said, panting, “and me, I was there to save her!”
But I always wondered, had the great Belgian detective planted evidence to make his case?

For Denise's Six Sentence Story ("blur") and Rochelle's Friday Fictioneers (100 words, photo prompt above). Join us!

The Sphinx and American Ivy

A little fun combining three prompts: from dverse where I chose to use all the podcast titles to compose a poem (Articles of Interest: American Ivy, I Was Never There, Legacy of Speed, Not Lost, Pivot, Reveal: After Ayotzinapa, Rumble Strip, Serial, This American Life, Ghost in the Burbs); Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (100 words or less using the photo prompt below); and GirlieonEdge’s Six Sentence Story (prompt word: VISA). Does the story poem succeed? Well, you be the judge!

photo prompt © Roger Bultot

The Sphinx and American Ivy

It isn’t fair, it isn’t fair, it isn’t fair: just some
articles of interest, American Ivy shouts.

The Sphinx runs behind Reveal (after Ayotzinapa,
he was never the same), columnar legs
standing astride this American life with a VISA card.

Playing the ghost in the burbs? American Ivy
taunts, the riddle and its answer are one!

I wasn’t there, Sphinx replies
(she’s a serial liar).

American Ivy laughs: Life isn’t fair, but here’s
the rumble strip to your legacy of speed:

neither’s love, the riddle YOU can’t solve.
Sphinx pivots: All’s not lost? and

Ivy laughs, says, Love conquers all.


The Bell-ringer

A short story of 100 words (for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers using photo prompt) and in six sentences (for GirlieonEdge’s Six Sentence Story, “knot”).

photo prompt © Dale Rogerson

The Bell-ringer

Remember the bell-ringer, Sundar!
Mummy, just now I’m trying to find . . . !

There once was a bell-ringer whose job it was to . . .
ring the bell at dawn announcing Christmas.

He was born without . . .
no, born with a heart of gold that shone . . .
and stomach in knots he’d walk remembering Christ Jesus,
all alone, in the dark town
past sleeping people.

Look up, Sundar, you’re almost there and . . .
I can see you, Mummy, I can see you!

———
NEWS ALERT: Elderly man found dead in church bell-tower.

Giovanni Segantini – The Bell Ringer, 1879-80. Image via Arthur Digital Museum.
Continue reading “The Bell-ringer”

The Prisoner

[A Short Story]

“When’d he stop talking?” asks the new inmate, staring at the gargantuan man working his mouth on a wad of gum and carting the cell block’s laundry, a mountain of a man encased in glacier-like silence.

“Hasn’t opened his mouth from when they brung him in back in ‘73,” Sully answers, shaking his head, “but he sure as heck works that jaw of his on that gum, never without it, like he’s gotta be chewing on something or somebody he’s got it in for.”

“They got him locked up like a vault, I heard ‘em say, murdered too many for comfort ….”

“More like spliced,” Sully interrupts softly, “cutting up their body parts, reworking ‘em into something unnatural so as you wouldn’t know what they were made to be in the first place.”

“But the cat got his tongue?!”

They laugh, until suddenly he turns to face them, and in the chilling clarity of revelation, they look away, stiff with terror, speechless.


The power of language is no small thing in Dante’s writings. Language is a gift of God, a blessing unique to man. When abused it becomes a curse, as with the Tower of Babel when in his pride man misused his speech to defy rather than honor God. In The Divine Comedy Nimrod and his fellow giants of that time are condemned in Hell to not only chains but to speak gibberish, incomprehensible even to themselves. I’ve mentioned in other posts how honey-tongued Ulysses speaks with Dante, as do many others in the Inferno, showing by their speech alone the manner of their thought while on earth. Both the ambiguity and precision of rhetoric as art is on display here.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Tower of Babel (1563), oil on panel,

Yet there are times when language gives way, as when in Canto 32, Dante is met with the sight of the lowest circle of hell where there is no burning fire, only cold, hard ice.

Had I the crude and scrannel rhymes to suit
the melancholy hole upon which all
the other circling crags converge and rest,

the juice of my conception would be pressed
more fully; but because I feel their lack,
I bring myself to speak, yet speak in fear;

for it is not a task to take in jest,
to show the base of all the universe-
nor for a tongue that cries out, “mama,” “papa.”

Inferno, Canto 32, ll. 1-9, tr. Mandelbaum

The language that utters familiar words of love falls short of this landscape, a vast frozen lake, at the center of which stands Satan, each of his three heads (in an unholy parody of the Trinity) chewing on a traitor, Judas, Casius, and Brutus. The only sounds are the cries of the treacherous who are damned here, planted variously about in the ice.

Twice in his Commedia Dante experiences the utter failure of language to convey the sublime: first, the horror of this frozen landscape with Satan at its center, and then in Paradiso when he receives the beatific vision.

What he sees in the icy core of hell makes him cry out,

O reader, do not ask of me how I
grew faint and frozen then-I cannot write it:
all words would fall far short of what it was.

I did not die, and I was not alive;
think for yourself, if you have any wit,
what I became, deprived of life and death.

The emperor of the despondent kingdom
so towered from the ice, up from midchest,
that I match better with a giant’s breadth

than giants match the measure of his arms;
now you can gauge the size of all of him
if it is in proportion to such parts.

If he was once as handsome as he now
is ugly and, despite that, raised his brows
against his Maker, one can understand

how every sorrow has its source in him!

Inferno, Canto 34, ll. 22-37, tr. Mandelbaum
Illustration by Gustave Doré

Unlike Milton’s Satan, Dante’s Satan is silent, dumb with fury, powerful but imprisoned and, worst of all from his perspective, a means of the pilgrim’s ascent, as following his guide Virgil, Dante makes use of Satan’s hairy legs as the only way to climb downward in order to re-emerge upwards in the opposite hemisphere and into the light of the stars above once more.


See Denise's Six Sentence Story Prompt for more stories using the word "vault" or click here.

Journeying on Geryon

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot
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Journeying on Geryon

Dante’s Inferno lies open as I sleep.

On winged Geryon we descend into the infernal sublime of fraudsters, flatterers, the treacherous, their earth-borne bullshit stench exceeded here by that of countless privies.

Geryon’s human face seems kindly, despite his serpentine body and scorpion tail, and I ask: “Geryon, will I recognize anyone in the Malebolge, this place of stone?”

He, answering sweetly in steady meter: “Nay, why, for art thou not too clever for such?”

I relax, then gasp, as he drops me in the mire.

Alas, it’s not as one living but as one damned to her final destination.


Illustration by Gustave Doré 1867, The Flight of Geryon.

In Canto XVII of Dante’s Inferno, the pilgrim Dante and the poet Virgil, his guide, ride on the back of the monster Geryon to descend from the seventh to the eighth circle of hell in the third ring of hell, the Malebolge. It is described in this way in the next canto:

There is a place in Hell called Malebolge,
made all of stone the color of crude iron,
as is the wall that makes its way around it.

Right in the middle of this evil field
is an abyss, a broad and yawning pit,
whose structure I shall tell in its due place.

The belt, then, that extends between the pit
and that hard, steep wall’s base is circular;
its bottom has been split into ten valleys.

Just as, where moat on surrounds a castle
in order to keep guard upon the walls,
the ground they occupy will form a pattern,

so did the valleys here form a design;
and as such fortresses have bridges running
right from their thresholds toward the outer bank,

so here, across the banks and ditches, ridges
ran from the base of that rock wall until
the pit that cuts them short and joins them all.

This was the place in which we found ourselves
when Geryon had put us down; the poet
held to the left, and I walked at his back.

The Divine Comedy – tr. Mandelbaum – Cantica I – Canto XVIII
Sandro Botticelli (1480), Inferno, Canto XVIII

Come Hell or High Water (A Very Short Story)

Written for Sadje’s WDYS #157 photo prompt and Sammi’s Day 5 prompt of 13 Days of Samhain. Thanks to both for their inspiration to write this short story. Do check out Sammi Cox’s amusing serial mystery featuring Damon, the caretaker of a graveyard full of undead inhabitants. Click here for part 1. You won’t be disappointed.

She grew up looking at the world sideways, knowing if she saw it head-on she’d only see the mask, not the face outlined behind it. Better the warm, blemished skin than the plastic over it.

Never took anyone too seriously, neither. Not worth the trouble and trouble was all that ever brought. Better to know they’d break their word than be surprised when they did.

People wondered why she was always so placid. Why? Because she was never disappointed. And however bad folks were, they could be worse. However good they were today, it really didn’t pay to think they’d be the same tomorrow.

When the Imp came along, she adjusted. She was stuck with it. One day she opened her eyes and there it sat, twisting every nerve and joint in her body till it brought tears to her eyes.

She asked God about it. She said she felt like Job. And then she ended up covering her mouth like Job did when she realized there were things she didn’t need to know as long as God did.

The Imp turned the screws on her off and on. “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good,” it would say, as her footsteps got slower and slower. Then she’d get better. Then she’d get worse.

But she stopped looking at people sideways. “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good,” they’d tease, and bring her a pumpkin-face latte when she couldn’t get up in the morning.

The Imp kept up its mischief. They kept up their love. She kept thanking God for setting her straight, come hell or high water.


1 Corinthians 13:3-7, 12-13 (NIV)
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. …
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Image credit: Valeriia @ Pexels

The (Other) Girl Next Door

I hear Dante pass, still fresh with the horror of the infernal pit he had risen from to see the stars once more. My breath catches again.

Does he see me? Now? Ever?

I’m no Beatrice. My face proves not salvific.

I had lived too long. She, too short a time.

Would you say to her, death is quite romantic? Or, death will immortalize you in terza rima? You would not say that of me, the one overlooked in search of another.

Here in purgatorio, my envious eyes are sewn shut. My mouth is not. Yet the voices in my ears speak generosity.

So I say, as he passes, The pain that twisted me to bitter envy I unloose to blessing. May it guide you to Beatrice. Nay, may it guide you to the God of love.

And the wires loosen from my eyes.


As a young boy, the poet Dante lived next door to Beatrice who, though he never spoke to her, he loved from afar, and to whom, through his love for her, he credits his spiritual and poetic journey. I have imagined in this piece of fiction, “the other girl next door” who never caught his attention but had fallen in love with him to no avail and to her own self-destruction.

Continue reading “The (Other) Girl Next Door”

The Light-Catcher’s Quest

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Rochelle asks that we use the photo prompt (© Roger Bultot)
and limit our words to 100 or less. 
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photo prompt © Roger Bultot

Genre: Fiction
Word Count: 99

The Light-Catcher’s Quest

Maisie gazes up at the light-catcher’s abode. She had tracked him down to this narrow street months ago, carefully observing his habits.

She still wonders why he’s here, when the comfortable far-palaces of Glinoraram are his for the asking, this youngest son of the king.

She was sent to bring him back, by force if necessary. Instead she finds herself discreetly helping him as Abaddon’s1 darkness grows heavier.

The dwellers on this dismal street need every light-scrap the light-catcher can find to give.

Emerging from his eyrie, his keen eyes meet hers knowingly. Did he know she loved him?


1The Hebrew term Abaddon (Hebrew: אֲבַדּוֹן‎ Avaddon, meaning “destruction”, “doom”), and its Greek equivalent Apollyon (Koinē Greek: Ἀπολλύων, Apollúōn meaning “Destroyer”) appear in the Bible as both a place of destruction and an archangel of the abyss. In the Hebrew Bible, abaddon is used with reference to a bottomless pit, often appearing alongside the place Sheol (שְׁאוֹל Šəʾōl), meaning the realm of the dead.

In the Book of Revelation of the New Testament, an angel called Abaddon is described as the king of an army of locusts; his name is first transcribed in Koine Greek (Revelation 9:11—”whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon,”) as Ἀβαδδών, and then translated Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon. The Vulgate and the Douay–Rheims Bible have additional notes not present in the Greek text, “in Latin Exterminans”, exterminans being the Latin word for “destroyer”.

Tales from the Beyond: Woodbury Piles No. 13

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Genre: Horror
Word Count: 100

Tales from the Beyond: Woodbury Piles No. 13

M.R. of Woodbury is “E-tonic” to Oxbridge friends. He retires nightly with a tonic, his Eton tie, and an e-book of M.R. James, his namesake, until McQuin, his uncommonly phlegmatic valet, comes to softly extinguish the lights. McQuin says he has “the mind of a nice child.”

Tonight he reads, “saw someone crawling towards him on all fours with his eye hanging out on his cheek,” when he does. See someone. Like that.

“McQuin, when you’ve husbanded the modicum of blood left in you . . . ” he says.

Just before McQuin slips its thin arms round his neck.


Today’s tale brought to you by the inspiration of that master of horror, M.R. James, whose story, “The Mezzotint,” is happily alluded to.

Judgment Day

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photo prompt © Ted Strutz

Genre: Realism
Word Count: 100

Narrator: dorahak Background: Arctic White Noise and Wind (link)

Judgment Day

Cur Deus homo.* Why? Blindly, we sail past the pinnacle of what we could be.

The cruise ship Earth is all fun and games. Whether the fun intended causes others misery or not isn’t part of the equation. The equation only includes playing gods, every individual for himself, the rich richer, the poor poorer because they were losers. Losers become slaves because that’s how the game is played.

Like the pharaohs of old, we will take the living into hell with us.

Out across the ice, I see Frankenstein chasing his monster. And the worm turns.

Judgment Day.


*Cur Deus Homo (Latin for “Why a God Human?”), usually translated Why God Became a Man, is a book written by Anselm of Canterbury in the period of 1094–1098. In this work he proposes the satisfaction view of the atonement.

In its preface, Anselm gives his reason for writing the book:

I have been often and most earnestly requested by many, both personally and by letter, that I would hand down in writing the proofs of a certain doctrine of our faith, which I am accustomed to give to inquirers; for they say that these proofs gratify them, and are considered sufficient. This they ask, not for the sake of attaining to faith by means of reason, but that they may be gladdened by understanding and meditating on those things which they believe; and that, as far as possible, they may be always ready to convince any one who demands of them a reason of that hope which is in us.

Preface to Cur Deus Homo, transl. Sidney Dean in St. Anselm
The beginning of the Cur Homo‘s prologue, from a 12th-century manuscript held at Lambeth Palace

The Day of Visitation

This week for Friday Fictioneers I took Rochelle’s Thoreau quotation to heart, to wit: “It’s not what you look at that counts, but what you see.” Apologies in advance, since I am in no doubt I am treading heavily on your patience as I take liberties with the purported speech of birds that speak in excessively lengthy portmanteau-like, compound words. For those interested, I was thinking of Mark 11:12-25 and Luke 19:44 when writing this.
Image credit: ©Roger Bultot
Join in the storytelling by clicking on the frog:

Genre: Prose/Poetry
Word Count: 100

The Day of Visitation

I did not know at all how to be, which way to live.

I came to wash on the shore, from city street wandered in, when spectacles lit, unfolded, slipped onto my nose, to where care had not brought down the voice so sweet of blackbirds and cuckoo:

(Stray)nger. SoreThumber.
Ins(hide)r. Persiflager.

Temple(ate) in winter, summer cocooned
Sing cuccu
1

Wrapt in(word) Word-horde strong
seed(l)ing is icumen
2

In(to)ward barren no(thingness)
Sing cuccu

Trinity, Three-in-One, God is.
love: creation, revelation, (re)creation

Light(sends word)Light(tabernacles)Light(sheds abroad)
Sing cuccu

Kingdom b(earth)ing on a cross
Imparts life over death

Stay stranger, stay in(side) Christ
Sing cuccu


1,2“The Cuckoo Song” – “Sumer is icumen in” – Middle English, mid-13th century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer_is_icumen_in

Weathervane

photo prompt © Dale Rogerson
Genre: Realism 
Word count: 100
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Weathervane

She prays all night. The church doors had been surprisingly unlocked. Its interior, its peculiarly aged scent of wood, recalls her standing between her parents, singing in her clear soprano voice, afterwards accepting praise from teary-eyed elders.

How long since she’d sung a hymn? Her music had taken her a long way from the church’s doors.

At last she rises. Outside, she looks back at the steeple lit by the dawn, a rooster weathervane atop the cross.

Bending her head, she weeps to remember that even Peter1 had denied his Lord three times before the rooster crowed. And been forgiven.


1Mark 14:27-31, 66-72 (NIV)
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’[Zech. 13:7]
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today–yes, tonight–before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. …
[After Jesus’ arrest] While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.
When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”
Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.”
And he broke down and wept.

Trade-off

PHOTO PROMPT© Liz Young
Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
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Trade-off

— It looks fabulous!
— What does?
— Isn’t that heaven?
— Those are elevators.
— Can I go on one?
— No. You have to take the stairs. You don’t have a golden pass.
— Why not?
— You can’t afford it.
— But I have money!
— It’s not just money. It’s talking a certain way, shopping at the approved stores, socializing with the proper sort, voting for the prescribed party.
— Well, I’ll do all those things then.
— Okay. But first I have to tape your mouth shut, blindfold you, tie up your legs and lobotomize you.
— And then I’ll get to take the golden elevators?
— Yes.
— Okay.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

photo prompt © Krista Strutz

Knowing Me, Knowing You

I watched him.

Rather queer really, how his eyes held the same question as my nestlings when they dared to look over the edge of their eyrie.

Here was a grown man suddenly struck by the mystery of being: “I see the eagle. The eagle sees me. We see each other. Why?”

This man meant nothing to me yet I pitied him as he drifted past on his piece of wood.

I raised my pinions, taking flight on the warm current of wind. There was only one mystery that mattered: how to know the One who freely gave us life.

Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
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Rivers

PHOTO PROMPT © Penny Gadd
Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
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Rivers

The first murder set it into motion, the river of death running red with blood, black with vengeance and lust. This rivulet was one of many winding their way past graveyards. At this bend, she kissed him goodbye for the last time. Just twenty and off to war.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of death
Thou art with me . . . .”¹

Once she had thought that death had the run of the land. Now sitting on the bank, praying with her daughter before beginning her home school lessons, she knew there was also a river of life.


1Psalm 23 [A Psalm of David.] (KJV)

The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Waiting for Michaux-Perreaux

photo prompt: Brenda Cox

Read more about the Michaux-Perreaux here, a French bicycle company that later invented the steam velocipede, one of three precursors to the modern motorcycle. I chose Michaux-Perraux for its rhyming allusion to Godot in this semi-allegory.

Genre: allegory; Word count: 100
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Waiting For Michaux-Perreaux

Every day, after work, the old cleaning woman sat on the bench staring at the Michaux-Perraux half in, half out of the building’s side. She was as much an oddity as the bicycle. Sometimes she was seen wiping tears away. Usually she sat poised expectantly. Nothing ever happened. Then, bowing her head, she would walk slowly away.

One day, an earthquake shook the town. The building was evacuated. As everyone watched, debris began falling, the wall with the bicycle cracked, and people screamed and ran.

All except the old woman.

The bicycle fell loose. Smiling, she rode it home.

Tomato Soup for You

Heavenly Father,

I’ve always stood out. Indian child. Small town. No friends really. A lonely thing with a big moon that followed her. I thought about you a lot. Didn’t know you thought about me too. You know the story. You loved me even when I didn’t.  I wanted to DO something. Never did. I trained with pretty great chefs, one from Paris. They agreed all I did right was making tomato soup. What could I do? I opened a stand-out “All-Things-Tomato” take-out. Some can pay. Some can’t. I do it for You, Lord. May it be to Your glory.

Photo © Dale Rogerson. Click her name for more on the photo.
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Humble Singh and the Giddy Widow: A Good Friday Story

It was Good Friday morning and Humble Singh was watching the clock.

He had done this every Good Friday for as long as he could remember, even while his wife, Millie, was still alive and before he had sold his business and moved to live with his son and his family.

It was a quarter to nine. Soon Jesus would arrive, cross-laden, at Golgotha. His face is beaten to a pulp, Jewish and Gentile spit mingles with his blood, and he is struggling with exhaustion and pain as long strips of deeply scored flesh lie open on his back from the scourging, and every nerve in his body screams in anticipation of the crucifixion. The soldiers hurry him along. They conscript a bystander to carry the horizontal beam on his back.

Ten till. Humble sat in his sitting room at the back of the house. Suddenly he leapt up and went into the back garden. Red tulips. Purple hyacinths. Large burgundy magnolia buds like the bruises that covered Christ’s body. The Roman soldiers had mocked him with a purple robe and a crown of thorns while beating him repeatedly. The Jewish priests and their hitting, spitting and slapping needed their scorn driven home. But it was their hour of shame. “His blood be on us and on our children!” the crowd had cried. The mob must have its victim. Even if that victim was pure, blameless. The Lamb of God.

A minute till nine. They lie him down, stripped, arms held down on the cross beam. Humble looks up at a movement in the shrubbery. A bunny had scurried through the open garden gate. Humble hurries to close it.  Piercing nails. Blood running free. Writhing agony. Joints stretching in excruciating torture. The crowd gathers round. Women sob. Many watch in satisfaction.

“Humble! Yoo hoo, Humble!” a woman’s voice sings out. It was Prithi, known in the predominantly Asian neighborhood as the “Giddy Widow.” She approaches him with a broad smile and with nowhere to run, unlike the bunny, Humble returns her greeting. She comes into the garden, her heels clicking on the pavement, bangles bouncing on attractively plump arms and her rouged face a pantomime of coquetry.

They wander around the garden, Prithi chatty, Humble surreptitiously checking his watch. It was a large garden, professionally tended, an arbor here, a fish pond there, a large oak in the middle of the grounds, shady trees of cherry, plum, and maple. No olive trees. Unlike that garden where Christ sweated huge drops of blood at what he would be enduring today. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”

Continue reading “Humble Singh and the Giddy Widow: A Good Friday Story”

nota bene

Verses on the futility of unread books, presented as a nota bene (handwriting Hs. I 300, City Library of Mainz)

“Take this down,” I said. Two shades sprang up, one more agile than the other, stood poised and ready.

I ran my fingers along a dusty mantel.

How to begin?

“To Whom It May Concern.” Friends.

I hesitated, unaccustomed to the sunlight streaming in through my two windows to the world at large.

“Now reblogged, then nominated, somehow . . . ” despite the shadows.

I squint into the sunny brightness, the dust motes like butterflies.

“. . . to both a due and hearty thanks . . . .” surely no more, no less rather than to carry on so til grace given is grace lost.

“That will do.”

The shades sprang down from their high perches, still gaping, and light stood like pillars under their cargo.

Even so back to books and lamplight, and Thou, my guardian.

The Three Sisters

What betrayals do we unwittingly commit in mistaking selfish desires for selfless love? Happy to recommend a newly published fairy tale, “The Three Sisters,” a wise meditation on men, women, and our expectations one of the other. As C. S. Lewis once said, “Sometimes fairy stories say best what needs to be said.”

Once upon a time there were three brothers who lived with their parents in the midst of a vast forest. If there were any other people in the forest, they knew nothing of them, for they found no tra…

Source: The Three Sisters – Metaphorosis Magazine