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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

235. Dear My Friend Jerry

Dear my friend Jerry, I fear, I fear I'm nothing now tho writing you (tho writing thou, a joke 4 you), for I read in red headlines at market how celebrickies (celebrities) with more to/two/too live 4 than I (for example) are found dead adjacent to vodka and pills or with heroin needle in arm or ass, yet here, hear I, here me live on in my smallness like our (the hour come round at last) mutual friend Gregor Mendel, x-cept in my case, I should say, today they at my work-job fired me 4 nothing x-cept that they could. Jerry my dear friend I know you know I was, I should say am, good at my work-job, small thought it was. Yes, 4 twenty-5 years I came to work they said sit down I said no I know you're firing me, and I don't want to sit after you say "Sit!" Jerry, they said, let me tell you they said, Hand over your keys and two men from Security walked me away. I said What about my personal items? They said they will send them. 25 years no reason, warning, cause. Just b-cause. No, my friend Jerry, not heartless but a heart filled with poison. A hearty, hardy firing, 'twas. A biz-noose dying a machine-death, place of my former work-job, dear Jerry, and me no money now x-cept the sum of the some I have saved. I saved it but will it save me? Not, I think not, given what we know about the facts. Thank you, dear Jerry, for reading, for having read, and for having red wine. Jerry, let us have coffee. Stand by. Your friend, Al, which is short for . . . . [[[hans ostrom 2014]]]

Monday, September 29, 2014

234. Let Me Build You a Patio

Let me build you a patio, as we call it in our patois. A lump of dirt will do to start. After I have leveled with you, I will arrange stone and mortar.  I will perspire, grunt, and imagine.

Shards of blue and red ceramic plates and cups, green glazed pieces of pottery, the occasional brick. These I shall include. I am no patio purist, slavish about slate.

It's a jazz patio. Up for that? Riffs and notes. It will drain in the right direction, don't worry.

Yes, it will be lumpy and curious, stout and eager.

My patios never speak. They listen.

People will envy the fact that the patio is solely yours, inimitable,  and not at all like that other patio and that other one and all the sameness-patios. I assert this.

The patio will be as useful as other patios. It will be maddeningly whimsical. It will be this, and it will be that, and most of all, it will be done, on Earth and not in heaven.

This is the patio-package I present to you.


2014 hans ostrom

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