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, September 4, 2020

276. Quantum Colors

One door is white. One door is red. The white door is enthralled with light. The red door is in love with itself. One shoe is green. One shoe is pink. They don't match. Yet's obvious they belong together. Today my shirt is black. Tomorrow's shirt is like Schrödinger's cat. It doesn't yet exist. And it does.

hans ostrom 2020

Sunday, February 16, 2020

275. The Status of Primary Colors

The red in orange is slightly embarrassed, having consorted with yellow. Whereas the red in purple thinks a lot of itself. The privilege of working with blue, and all of that. As to the red in pink, it will not brook criticism of any kind. White works for it, red-in-pink claims. Pink is beautiful, pink is better than red! it cries. It's this kind of thinly veiled self-loathing which the community of red cannot abide. At the same time, it's this alleged community that red in brown sought to escape when it disappeared into green. It lives there humbly now.

hans ostrom 2020

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

274. Rude Dream

Well, that dream spat me out like a wheezing cat--leaving me stranded in a tangle of sheets and angst. Something about a packed subway car full of snarling belligerence. Then came a Hollywood-propped drawing room--walls of books, read draperies--full of accusatory ex-lovers I don't/didn't/mustn't recognize (hence the accusations?). Finally a scuffle of worries, a flurry of muffled voices, a storm of squalid fretting misers who form  a sarcastic chorus singing of me and my failures and low-level fuck-ups. Plus as I try to wallow around toward awake, I can't confront my subconscious mind because it takes such pique and invests it, reaps synaptic profits, and spends them on professional plaid-clad sleep-tormentors, talking statues, and loquacious apples blabbing at a cocktail party full of rapidly moving eyeballs, tremulous eyelids, and sweat glands, and now I push myself through the crack between dreaming and not-dreaming, and am exhausted, which is not the aim of sleep, I would argue, if my mind weren't clogged. Fogged.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

273. The Borges Hat

Stitched inside the Borges Hat is a series of runes which one Dimitri Ornelas has translated in a limited edition monograph, with notes, in Mainz. Soon thereafter the Borges Hat disappears for 47 years, reappearing on the head of a British spy in Buenos Aires. It is at this point that dimensions of time wrinkle and suddenly you, Mademoiselle Rameau, take position of the hat. You wear it at a party on a yacht in Copenhagen. Late in the evening, your husband Josef, who insisted on wearing a red cumberbund that evening, tries to murder you. He is unsuccessful and arrested. In the disruption of the moment, the Borges Hat fell off your head. Someone picks it up and offers it to you. He is a wizened but fit man who looks like a retired stevedore. He asks if you are all right. Yes, thank you, you say. He says, "This isn't the first time the Borges Hat has provided important protection."

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

272. Red Shirt

Once I bought a red shirt, and it was a big mistake I wore. People let you know, you know, when you make a shirt mistake. The great thing is no one remembers but me because they quickly go on to assessing other people's wardrobe. The scorn machine never sleeps. Too, I got lucky and no one photo-seized me wearing the red shirt. 

Along with the shirt, I'd purchases stylish shoes. Another mistake. Always is. Stylish means you're trying too hard. The question is, why record such incidents of low-grade shame? Because recording is a triumph over shame, thanks for asking. I bought a red shirt once, and now it doesn't matter. The shoes are walking all by themselves somewhere in the Mojave Desert. Which is a very stylish desert. 

hans ostrom 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

271. Eccentricity Emergency

There's a point at which one's eccentricities create such a tangle of knotted growth that one must cover them as if they were mutant antlers anchored to wood covered in red velvet. In fact, there are times when one simply must not be oneself. Must behave as a conforming lackluster hologram so as not to startle, offend, alarm, disappoint,  confirm, or disgust. This is called acting or behaving responsibly. One can tell if it's working if people start treating you as if you were behaving conventionally. Agile small-talk, short-lived, may be one indication. Of course, through it all you may be thinking of the antlers in the basement, and the basement, and wanting to be there playing with the wires, carving wood, doing push-ups, perhaps listening to a vinyl long-playing record that hasn't accrued any particular significance in the culture. Of course, you will have your own equivalent of the basement. And the antlers.

hans ostrom 2019

270. What Can Happen When You Begin with Red

If it begins with red, then we're in trouble. Red is notoriously complicated, and do we want a complicated beginning? No. It must start in a way that's easier than red. What's easier than red?

Well, anyway, the second part is about a lake, rain, woods, electronics, and, sure, a bird. Dirt and rocks, but that goes without saying.

"When I meditate," says someone in part three, "I meditate in blue." Other "people" in part three are sick of hearing this kind of thing from that someone.

And finally, let's end with this: Remember that a thing in three parts can resist all efforts to make in a proper three-part thing. Yes the thing can purposely disgust like the yellow on your great aunt's teeth.

hans ostrom 2019

Friday, June 29, 2018

269. Dream Date

I went to sleep in a building on land and woke up on a big wooden ship. So there's that.

I asked a smelly crew member, "Where are we headed?" He took out a a stub of a red pencil and a note card and scribbled. He said, "We keep a tally of the first questions visitors ask."

Just then--well, almost--all the said went up (and down) in flames. The sailor said, "Go back to Sleep.1 and find another ride. It's mutiny time!"

Back in the building in bed still dreaming, I met a woman I'd never seen before, and Lulu was her name. Sing it! And Lulu was her name!

Crisply I told her my sea story. She said, "I believe you, but only because I'm sleeping, too."

"How about we fuse our dreams, Lulu?" I said.

She said, "That's sweet, honey. But no."