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, May 25, 2012

204. Ruby

Ruby was the wife. She'd grown up in Alabama, and her body had conveyed her through life until she had married Dan, a wealthy, large, fidgety man who had made a fortune and a half selling steel-framed windows in the era between wood and aluminum.

Ruby was what was known then as a party gal. She wore red lipstick and dresses that displayed a significant cleavage, which in turn alluded to large breasts and expansive aureoles. She liked men as much as men liked her.

There was nothing coy abut Ruby. At an outdoor party once, in California, she held and scratched the scrotum of a hound. Her husband Dan tried to laugh off the scene, the action taken by Ruby.  The women were repulsed and astonished, the men merely astonished.

Ruby and Dan used to travel to what they called "the Orient." They journeyed by freighter. No one knew exactly why. Because Dan was a rich miser? Because they were eccentric? Or because, on a freighter, there were fewer men for Ruby to astonish?

They led a boozy, stormy life, Ruby and Dan. Their various houses were decorated heavily, like the sets of the Perry Mason TV show. Wood, leather, slabs of slate, big paintings of horses, and of dogs.  Steel-framed windows.

As a child I visited one of their homes. It smelled of leather and wood, whiskey and roast beef.  Dan always wore some kind of tweed jacket.  And he made a monkey-face at children, like me, who didn't recognize it as a monkey face but as a repulsive grimace an adult male was making.

Ruby called all children "Doll." She didn't make monkey faces.  Her breasts were large. Her lips were red. She smoked cigarettes, she drank vodka, she laughed, and she gave off warmth.

Eventually Ruby left Dan. She died on Skid Row in San Francisco. By then Dan had remarried a woman who was manageable and who pretended to have a large vocabulary.

There aren't too many peopole left who remember the story about Ruby's scratching a dog's balls at a party. The vivid, the vulgar, the vibrant--yes, they go to dust like all of us, as does all memories every memory of them.

203. Sad Erotica

In the genre of sad erotica, people are tired and smell bad. They feel too fat or too thin, too old or too young or too middling.  They touch their bodies like they handle a heap of laundry.

They're hungry but too tired from work to cook, and no one's there to cook for them.  Oh, a bath would feel great but only after a drink or some weed and some food.  Hot food.

They fall asleep in front of a screen and wake up bewildered and vacant. They drag themselves to the shower, and as the hot water turns some body parts red, they think about sex, the relief it sometimes brings, the oblivion of lust, the good feeling of being something or someone someone wants to touch. 

In the genre of sad erotica, people get out of the shower and dry themselves off and put on cotton, linen, or wool. They walk slowly to bed and fall in the bed, exhaling like a beast.  They go to sleep, where dreams of romance, erotic mystery, and sex will, they vaguely hope, await them.

hans ostrom 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

202. Sun and Sex In Mainz

I remember the sun rising over buildings at the university in Mainz.

I remember a desperate needing of sex in Winter in Mainz. After walking against icy wind, after drinking wine or beer or brandy, after music and debate and delusion, god how we craved the deep bodily drama of sex on cheap sheets next to a table loaded with books from the library.

Sunshine made the broad cobblestone-walkway blaze. I let the rock-reflected light cook my eyeballs and sear my thoughts, which craved the recall of going down on brown women in California seasons earlier.

The German Winter had been especially cold and heavy. I'd read Goethe, Mailer, Vidal, Baldwin, Colette--truly devouring books from the library we had to re-organize when we weren't teaching students who rightly loathed college.

German punks with black-dyed Mohawks as dense as zebra manes gathered on street-corners.  I remember the women didn't look happy: another male jeremiad.

I remember a voluptuous woman sucking my cock, riding my face, and wanting it hard and steady, and why wouldn't she?

I remember the sun rising over buildings at the university in Mainz. The German Winter had been especially cold and hard. The steps across the smoldering cobblestones were my first strides away from it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

201. Sex at the St. Francis That Time

He wonders if she remembers the time they were in San Francisco and they got a room they couldn't afford at the St. Francis Hotel and he went down on her and she came as she looked through the window at the Bay Bridge, sunlight turning a rust color as it hit the cables and under-girding.

He wonders if he should ask her if she remembers, for he sees himself going down on her, his back to the Bay Bridge, her legs open, eyes closed, eyes open.

He wonders if St. Francis would see the sunlight as sin-light, would have approved or not of intimacy and sex in the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.  St. Francis would have approved he decides, deciding to decide in a self-serving way.  He wonders still, however, if she remembers the time they . . .