About Red Tales

Here's an evolving electronic collection of short prose pieces, with a poem contributed occasionally. Brevity guides. Although sometimes a piece will run to 900 words, most pieces are much shorter. Here one may find erotica, flash fiction, brief observations, and modest improvisations. Another rule is that each piece must have something to do with"red"; at least the word has to appear in each piece functionally. . . . All pieces are numbered and titled, so there's a de facto table of contents running down the rail below, under "Labels" (scroll down a bit). Browse for titles that look interesting, if you like. Thank you for stopping by. Look for some red today, tonight.

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

233. The Game in the Village

In the village, the game has been played for generations. The stated purpose of the game is to discover the rules of the game.

Each generation, all players, and all moves within the game support this purpose. As rules are discovered or invented and thence incorporated officially into the game, players adhere to the rules as they play. But none of the rules or the play may inhibit the discovery or creation of new rules.

Basic particulars of the game include the following: As few as two as and many as seventeen players may play the game. Each player gets a small stick, a red wrist-band, a geometric token, ten words, and twenty two-digit numbers.

Play begins when one player grasps his or her tongue and tries to say one of the ten words. Play continues.

Eventually one player wins--but when, and how, and why? Such larger questions, if one may call them that, live at the heart of the game in the village.


hans ostrom 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

232. When Your Lover Is Sad

When your lover is sad,
offer her or him
a glass of fresh water.
Invite the lover
to take a bath
while you cook something
welcome. Play
some music the lover
likes. Make sure
there are fresh linens
on the bed for when
the lover wants to sleep
or re-explore the contours
of passion. --Oh, and every
lover of every gender
likes flowers. Common
sweet-pea blossoms
will work. Or almost
any wildflower. Or of course
just one red, fragrant rose.
And wash the lover's clothes.


Hans Ostrom 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

231. Clearing the Mind

The decidedly deciduous phase of a mind's elaboration occurs when a startling multitude of platitudes, lessons, opinions, rules, gestures, and common wisdom falls fast and splendidly, disintegrates, and disappears. On a clean Winter street, you may stand wondering why you carried all that bright rot in your mind for so long. And you may see the bizarre neighbor in his red wool cap; he will be waving at you, the air will be cold, and he will shout, "The time has come!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

230. Arguing About a Couch

As the two people argued warmly about whether to purchase a red sofa they had been examining in a store, the terrestrial sphere on which they stood whirled in infinite space. Such energy the two directed toward their contest of wills concerning red furniture, a decorative and functional mass! Where, oh tell me where will the red couch be in a thousand years? (In ten?)

Monday, April 21, 2014

229. Pecking Disorder

The smallest chicken listened
again to the rooster, spikes
on his ankles, red gristle
below the throat. Again

the rooster seemed to be
throating things like
I'm a dictator, I'm boss,
a movie star am I, a
celebrity, a CEO, a pastor
of a mega-church, a
full professor, a senior
partner, a Wall Street
broker, a stand-up joker!

The rooster's crew then
came over to pick at
the smallest chicken,
who took it, and who

after they finished,
amused itself by picking
at the chicken-wire,

until, one night, a
hole appeared and a coyote
entered.  In the morning,
the smallest and only
remaining chicken
picked its steps through
what bones were left
and feathers and blood,
gristle and spikes and
beaks. It walked through

the hole, proclaiming nothing,
and was picked up by
the soft hands of a god
from that place the smallest
chicken had always thought
to be a bigger chicken-house. 


hans ostrom 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

228. Love-Equation

Let a big red L stand for Love, a set of arbitrary elements. Multiply (L) by p, where p is equal to or greater than 2 (persons), and the result is equal to or greater than complicated.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

227. My Love Is Like a Red, Red Something

Oh, my love is like a red, red onion: it's purple, not red. My love is like a red, red dog without a collar, sniffing its way down an alley, smelling for some leavings, lifting a leg to mark what's verticle. My love is like a red, red car--rusted out, sitting on flat tires in blond weeds and armored thistles. My love is like a red, red stone in a load of blue river-rock: out of place. My love is like a red, red scarf worn by Robert Burns on a night of drinking: likely to get left behind.