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

Friday, November 4, 2011

183. Academic Dinner

When he's invited to a formal academic dinner, he's asked (not in so many words) to play the role of guest and the role of performer and the role of audience for the Famous One, who is in town for one night to make what seems to some a lot of cash.

At the dinner, more than one person out of, say, 15, will fawn. More than once he's noticed the fawning and felt badly. He feels like a grubby hick and double-checks to insure his elbow is not on the table.  He keeps an unobtrusive eye on the Famous One.

Out of nervousness, he will inhale the food, which always has too much sauce on it. Usually he cracks one good joke, just sophisticated enough, and he asks one question the Famous One likes answering.  He earns his keep.

Outside, finally, he gulps cool air in darkness, loosens the noose of his red tie, gets the blazer off. He disappears from the group. He drives away like a burglar who got nothing but escaped arrest.

At home, more often than not he gets out of the car and stands behind a tree in the dark. There he opens his trousers and pisses.  As he pisses, he breathes easy.  He stares into rain or fog, or up at stars. He knows he will never master the art of being an academic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

182. The Mapes Hotel

And I recall the Mapes Hotel, Reno, first hotel in which I ever stayed, 9 years old? --The weird harmless hell of casino bells, fizzing lights, jangling coin-vomit, tobacco smoke, red carpet, red everything. That smell, how I loved it: notes of whiskey, sweat, grease, old carpet, trapped air. And Elevator: first one I'd ever ridden on; it was simple, absolute magic:

step in, be in (solemnity of those moments & engine whirring), then be elsewhere suddenly. Because of the Mapes Hotel, I remain enchanted by elevators. And by Keno women.

Then there was, there is, the Idea of a Hotel Room: bad art that looked so good back then; massive lamps; beds better than what we had at home but still sad like abandoned cars. Garish drapes as heavy as lead. Stationery, envelopes, post-cards, pens!

...And the hotel detective, whom I saw just once, bulging arms in a shiny suit, hair slicked back, a red mole on his neck, a shiny forehead, and on his face what I would learn later to call a smart-ass smirk.  He was rushing to the elevator--trouble somewhere in the Mapes Hotel. But he saw us and let us get in.  He took the stairs. Down, down.