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

Monday, March 30, 2015

239. Maxx Lomar, Private Writer

I've always bought my notebooks one at a time. That's just the way I work. I'm a private writer. If something needs to be said, I'll say it, in writing. I'll use the one notebook I have going, the kind with lines on the page, with a vertical red capillary running down the left side to set the margin. I like to work alone. That's why I never joined the force. I have an imaginary secretary in the imaginary outer office, where I see my name stenciled in black on fogged glass, and underneath: Private Writer. . . . Oh, and then she came through the door, 5' 6" of trouble dressed in beauty. Yeah, she was quite a poem. She said she had some revisions that needed to be done and was I interested? I lit her cigarette for her. There it was, between her red-lipstick lips. The tip glowed as she took a drag. I looked in her violet eyes and said, "Oh, I'm interested, all right. Tell me more." Yeah, I'm Maxx Lomar, Private Writer. * * * hans ostrom 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

238. White Ants

He'd been at his place of work many years when one day white ants swarmed into his official space and climbed all over him. They bit him, making red marks, stinging. He slapped and brushed, danced and ran. His co-workers stood stone-faced, looking at him and the white ants on him. "Will you help?" he asked them. "No," one of the colleagues said, speaking for all. "These white ants are a sign that you've never fit in here. They are a sign from the god of careers!" hans ostrom 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

237. My Heart

My heart is like an onion tree, which doesn't exist, so bite me--hey, just kidding. My heart is like New York poets who report regularly on their ongoing struggles with genius. Oh, my heart might be saying "Brooklyn," but let me tell you, it is thinking "Harlem." My heart talks. And talks. "Shut up, will you, heart?" That is something I say to myself. My heart is like the CIA and the KGB. It tortures, patriotically. My heart is like an analgesic dream. It costs too much. My heart is like an ancient people who had it all going on. It is wiped out. My heart, my heart. Nobody cares what it is like. People care about their own hearts, as they should. Nobody cares what my heart is or that it is mine. My blah is like a blah and so is your blah

Friday, March 6, 2015

236. Strawberry Thoughts

Apple trees have strawberry thoughts. Thunder is dissatisfied. When he opened the closet, the clothes got quiet all of a sudden. They had been making jokes about him. Seeing lightning made her think of maps and arthritis. Hope covers dread like a watery, thin lotion. Street surfaces are a genre of art. Fog, in some instances . . . When the water-line broke, the fountain in the public square went dry, and we were sad to see how plain the fountain looked when it wasn't wearing water. "This poet was an undrafted free agent coming out of college, Al." "That's right, Bob, and look at her now." hans ostrom 2015

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