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, March 30, 2011

163. Hey, Chief, Relax

Hey, you have red eyes from over-work, not enough sleep, and who knows what else. Hey, chief, relax: we're all just along for the ride. Nobody drives. (It's okay to think you do, especially when you're young, but you're not young.) I mean, come on: the physical forces of the universe alone withdraw control from you, from all. Add in luck, the Leviathan that is humanity, and the helplessness of babies, and we're all just along for the ride.

What you may be able to decide, chief, is how low-down, mean, and nasty you're going to be (or not), and if you do go bad, how many lies you're going to tell to cover it up, and how much damage you think you really need to do just to be you.

Are you going to be a bad person or a good person, chief? (No, now don't quibble about definitions with me. Let's just agree we've both read philosophy.) Whether to be a bad person or a good one--that's a little piece of human business you can decide.  It's not much, chief, but it's something.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

162. Big Man At the Bus-Stop

There was a big man
at the bus-stop today.
He had thick wild hair
and a broken leg,
aluminum crutches
and a wadded, wet
bus-schedule. He

wore cut-off jeans
in the rain, the temperature
below 40 Fahrenheit, and
a red-and-black NASCAR
jacket. His hands, thick
paws, were grimy, black
under the fingernails.

He had to get somewhere
in a hurry, he told me,
told anyone, everyone
in a loud voice. He
didn't say why he had
to get there soon. His
long hair was so oily
and heavy, the watery
wind couldn't push it

Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom