I was searching through a box of old papers when I came upon some very short stories that I wrote a long time ago. I did these before we had a computer and the Internet. I had typed them on an old manual Olivetti typewriter and had done some sketchy illustrations. They are in a modern fairy tale style, with an absurd, macabre bent.
The Slater and the Meaning of Life (©theartistschild.com 2017)
Have you ever wondered about what also lives at the bottom of your garden besides fairies? What lives in those dark corners or under that rock? Well, in one small garden rockery lived a slater named Wayne.
Wayne was a typical slater. He liked to go out with the other slaters for a nice cool drink on a hot night or to lie under a damp rock and daydream. Despite such an easy life Wayne was dissatisfied. He wanted to know the meaning of life so he set out on his many slater legs to find it.
The first being he met in the grass beside the rock garden was a slug. He asked the slug if he knew the meaning of life but the slug couldn’t speak “slater” and slithered on its way.
Next Wayne saw an ant scurrying along carrying the leg of some dead insect but he could not get its attention. He became puffed trying to catch up and had to rest under a leaf. Before he could move on a beautiful butterfly landed on the leaf. Wayne looked up and asked it if it knew the meaning of life but the butterfly was more interested in enjoying the sunshine and told him to push-off.
Wayne plodded on through the grass until he came to a concrete plain and started across it. At that moment the owner of the garden came driving in and ran over him.
The moral of this story is if you happen to be a slater, don’t become a philosopher.
Microbes (©theartistschild.com 2017)
On a shelf in an old pickle jar lived a family of microbes. They enjoyed feeding and doing microbe things in a sticky green residue of old gherkin. This might sound quite boring but it was the ideal life for microbes and they were perfectly happy.
One day the person who owned the pickle jar decided to make some preserved fruit and she took the jar from the shelf and placed it in a vat of boiling water. Of course the microbes were not particularly amused by this action so they put on their heat-resistant suits and went into suspended animation to await a time when it would be safe to enter the world again.
After what seems only a short time to us but an eternity to microbes, the jar was opened and its contents of preserved fruit poured into a bowl. The temperature gauges on the microbe’s suits were activated and they awakened to find themselves floating in a fruit salad.
Now as this is not a television show or movie, no one came to rescue them and they became part of the dessert. Unfortunately they were not exactly harmless either, and the poor people who ate them died a rather nasty death. But the microbes lived happily every after.
The Five-Headed Creature (©theartistschild.com 2017)
Once upon a time there lived a creature that had five heads so that it was always at odds with itself. It would sit under a tree and discuss various things, like the theory of relativity and how to make a yo-yo spin.
One day it said to all of its selves that it would be nice to find a five-headed girlfriend. It had no idea how to achieve this end so it wrote a letter to the local paper’s advice column and signed it five times just to make sure.
For a week the creature scanned the paper for an answer to the letter and finally it was rewarded for its efforts. The columnist suggested that the writer of the letter needed his head examined and should visit a psychoanalyst as soon as possible.
The creature made an appointment with one found in the yellow pages after considerable argument with itself. After a long period of treatment it was pronounced sound of minds if nothing else and was given a large bill, resulting in multiple headaches.
This story shows that while two heads may be better than one, five will mean more money spent on therapy, sunglasses and migraine tablets.
It’s a good idea to keep all your early writing attempts, as it is fun to look back on what you have done and see how you have developed. I’d forgotten how much I liked writing quirky little stories. Life must have gotten in the way.
I also discovered a draft for a short story that I had left unfinished because I did not have enough confidence in my writing ability and started to doubt myself. That old destructive self censor. Reading it again I can see that there were some good things in that story so I think I will finish it. I don’t like leaving anything uncompleted.
Don’t be afraid to go back to something that you have put aside in the past. It might be better than you thought at the time.