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

Sunday, April 19, 2009

67. Red Chair

I went to see my friend at his house. He was sitting in his living room. The bank had taken the rest of the house. Walls, windows, roof, rooms, chimney--all gone except for a section of floor, a carpet, and a chair with my friend in it. A red chair.

"How's it going?" I asked.

"Jill and the kids are living with her mother."

"I always liked this room," I said.

"Did they have to take my television?" he asked.

I shrugged.

He said, "I went down to the bank yesterday. I wanted to yell around. But another bank had taken over that bank, so all that was left was one office on the fourth floor. The rest of the building was gone."

"Yeah," I said, "they usually leave one person behind in an office just for appearances. And then that person disappears."

"There wasn't anyone in the office. A crow sat on the desk, pecking papers."


"What I don't get," he said, "is how that office can stay suspended without the rest of the building to hold it up."

"What I don't get," I said, "is that and all the rest. Anyway, come and live with us."

"Okay. But you'll grow sick of me, and we'll stop being friends."

"Yes," I said, "but not right away. This is the hospitable phase. We mustn't think too many moves ahead. Let's bring that chair with us, shall we?"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

66. Tomatoes

When home-grown tomatoes turn red, the gardener says, "Welcome. You've come a long way. How do you feel?"

The red tomatoes don't answer the gardener because they haven't heard anything and can't speak anyway. The gardener knows this.

Much of gardening concerns gesture, however. Much of gardening concerns waiting. Lots of gardening concerns work.

Sometimes a gardener needs to say something to something that's ripened, such as a tomato. Or a strawberry. Or a raspberry, right before the gardener plucks the raspberry, pops it into his or her mouth, tastes, and comes close to swooning. Gardeners tend not actually to swoon because stones and sharp edges always seem to be nearby. --Better to remain standing. Or seated.

Sometime a gardener just needs to stand there and talk to a red tomato, or to sit there and murmur like evening air, as birds make noise and bugs swarm.