Short-short Stories

Short-short Stories (600 Words or less)

Girl In A Rabbit Hat
Hunger comes in many forms and though there was little food in Sugar Ditch, I never learned to catch a rabbit. Every inhabitant here dreams of escaping, but those who remain must often hunt for luck under the rabbit moon beyond a fickle trickle creek.

Game can be elusive or curious. A trapped rabbit was in easy reach, twitching in fear. In hunger we prayed, I thought, and the rabbit hoped to hop from me, a foolish-stewing-hopeless human, who seemed to let luck escape to places where fecal creeks don’t drown perfumed hope.

Gone then. I was broken down in Sugar Ditch waiting for a scholarship, wheeling like lightning struck me down. But news people and scouts seem to descend with antennas and gear from The Place.

The documentary camera came just before a thunder wash, and saw the open sewer that’s home to family shame. I pulled out my crying rag, time moaning sack of clothes, and the man got to hear me sing while driving me away on lightning roads.

Honking horns daring me to dream away from poverty, I bent my trumpet to heaven’s ears. But no one told me evil flies to me every place I go, and King Sorrow would reign over sovereign hopes.

I reached the skyscrapers, a tourist of bad timing. It had to be the highest place to see heaven, I thought, but there are hungers of many kinds unquenched. More.

After lightning struck this New York place, I was lying under debris, my quilted sorrow bristling with cast off bricks.

Mortar thoughts around me, being so damn mortal, I could have been thundered away to the heavenly scene. But a steam pipe was hissing while lifted stones flew away like missiles whistling choruses of dusty blues.

Jaws of life jacking time, they slid my body out in time, and let the building collapse on through. Oh, but, I thought I heard old Joplin singing, more on Earth will be slapping you, if you dodge more bullets from another fool.

And when I sang right out across the clapping crowds, my best laid blues had gone right to you, New York girl in a rabbit hat, the one who waved at me, saved me, and nurtured that day. Did you bring me here? I know you did by a magic rabbit moon. Oh magical girl, my new love, you kissed the breeze, and made illusions fondle my wishes.

Now I dream of you deeply: my salvation laughing everywhere. To whinny, my dream horse gallops, your giggling jiggling in my cortex, cerebral fondness hunting for you in pulsing fibers embedded in desire, throbbing in crevices of nerve-cell books, passions hiding in no man’s nook.

I have found you in this place of luck and hope, and you journey through my mind, scampering mind dancer, doing wild animal tangos.

I embrace your beauty in the hunt to capture your essence; my dogs sense your scent, a presence so foxy, they transcend all knowing, rockin’ and rollin’ in serotonin.

I have traveled into you – touch me there where thoughts are real and lightning tingles fine: hats off to everlasting good times. I have traveled far in my dreams. When I awake to you now, I am in heaven.

Douglas Gilbert
The Last Thanksgiving

Because the ration coupons expired the day after Thanksgiving, it seemed like a perfect day for the Grand Thanksgiving Fund-Raising Dinner. The Congressman would be pumped, plump, and relaxed, easily impressed by the Graceron Mansion near the confiscated coal mine, and the sound system would lull him to sleep in the warm bath of his smugness. With his help we could endure the cold days ahead.

Congressman Jason was a pushover for our fawning, as we knew what was music to his ears, but one must say that the Dog of the House of Representatives could bark or howl like the devil he was. His security entourage was more of a challenge, but our inside man saw to it that we got the contract for all the bottled water and juice the firm bought for their employees. Mary’s father had bought the bottling company on a tip: he had sold the coal mine for a fortune just before the government seized it for pennies on the dollar. Nowadays coal is forbidden on the surface. Below the surface, schemes in the seams can bite.

Wine, women, song, and stun grenades – well, no, we decided on explosion-and-gunfire sounds pumped out over the sound system that would stump the band. Mary’s women were stunning and sexy. Poor Jason, the dog.

“Welcome Congressman,” I said. The band played a fanfare, followed by “Happy Days”.

“Thank you very much my good friend, and may I say what a magnificent place this is: marvelous marble, ha… and um, great band …” He listened carefully to the sax and the giggles of the women, asking his staff to send notes to one of them. He chose Joan, one of Mary’s girls.

Joan nodded at me. “Congressman Jason, and everyone, shall we be seated at the banquet table, please,” I announced. I escorted him to the head of the table with the glistening china and polished silverware under the chandelier past the grand staircase and Roman columns. Joan sauntered over. “Congressman, may I introduce Joan…” They sat down at the table and smiled at each other as Joan reached under the table.

The band played on and everyone feasted. Joan said, “So, um, Congressman, you have said that if elected you will abolish the Vegan Department of Security and …”

“Joan, such beauty and intelligence too – perhaps we should discuss this further in private…”

“Yes, what a lovely idea,” she said. Joan could be quite entrancing and efficient, but Jason was no challenge for her. She led him up the stairs to the special bedroom. He was happy to strip off all his clothes and she promised to give him a complete oil massage, front and back. As she massaged his back she said, “Give me your hands.” She quickly tied his hands behind his back.

After a few hours, everyone had had the correct wine or the appointed bottled water, and the secret ingredients took effect. Mary and I looked at our watches. The explosion and gunfire sounds sent the security people into a panic. The adrenalin in their bodies triggered the poison and they all fell as planned.

We all went upstairs with our chefs and gang to check on the Congressman. He was oiled and hogtied. We put him on the rotisserie spit, and carried him to the kitchen. Despite the Vegan laws, we’d have plenty of meat for the coming mini-Ice Age, and tons of coal for our power plant in the basement. We don’t plan to vote for him.

Douglas Gilbert

Nasrudin Becomes King

Mullah Nasrudin bounced into the room, his turban wobbling the way it always did when he had some major announcement to make that his wife would lovingly determine was minor, but not this time. The last time, he was appointed Prayer Leader for an empty room after a building collapse. This time, he was triumphantly excited but conflicted when he said to his wife, “The Supreme Leader has announced there will be a special election, but, but, um … as the presidential election caused chaos, the new election is for King, but there are, however, some special conditions …”

The Mullah’s wife didn’t wait to hear the conditions. “You’ll make a fine King,” she said, and kissed him on the cheek.

He was surprised and suspicious when she bowed. “But the King is to serve for one year and then is expected to martyr himself in a foreign war.”

The Mullah’s wife said, “Maybe you should run. I’ve always liked your brother – he could help you.” She scampered around the room, seeming to look for an address book, or perhaps, just performing a supplicant’s dance.

“Only a fool would run for this office,” Mulla Nasrudin shouted, trying to draw back her full attention.

The Mullah’s wife paused and smiled. “Yes, of course, but that’s why you could win. I’ll make you a robe.”

Mullah Nasrudin watched her dance to a sewing box. He tried to stitch together in his mind the proper words for an answer. He thought for a while and then said, “Yes, it’s decided: I will be King.”

Finding a bolt of suitable royal cloth, the Mullah’s wife swirled it out like a matador’s cape. But she was thoughtful enough to say, “You should write a will and I will marry your brother.”

“That won’t be necessary. I can be King and live a long life.”

She said, “You consider one year a long life?”

“No,” he said, “on my last day as King, I will make a speech at the U.N.”

Confused, she asked, “How will that help?”

Mullah Nasrudin stood up in a regal way and said, “I will abdicate and appoint the Supreme Leader as King.”

“Will that work?” she asked.

“No,” he said, “but you’ll love New York.”

Douglas Gilbert


6 thoughts on “Short-short Stories

  1. i just thought i would inform you that the last 5 paragraphs of girl in a rabbit hat is really very sexy. Especially the ending paragraph…it’s enough to make a girl swoon.
    I really liked the other two stories in this post too, but i keep going back and reading the end of girl in a rabbit hat again and it combined with the bourbon i’ve drank makes me unable to think of a good comment for the other two stories. (fans myself off, teehee)
    i probably should’ve started trying to comment before i had a drink. I would’ve sounded more intelligent i’m sure…anyways i think i’m gonna go read girl in a rabbit hat again.

  2. Hmm, well, I worry about beginnings and transitions, and plot development, and the search, and um, stuff… and I wonder where the journey is going… if this… if that… the rhyme, the reason… things seem awkward… BUT… at least, apparently, I got the Climax of the story right… I hope there’s a prize for that… um, I mean other than “the thing is reward in itself”… maybe in a singing contest I could win for the Last note of the Opera even if I sing everything else off-key… ooops, that’s a flawed analogy: a single note can’t be off-key because there’s no way to tell what key it was in if no one heard the rest. Hmm, I wonder how I would write a story entitled “The Last Smile”. If you began with seeing “the last smile” and not knowing the context leading up to it, it could represent anything — “the last smile” of the King who has just killed everyone on the battlefield, or his “last smile” with the Queen before his death, or the “the last smile” after… Hmm, maybe a contest: “Name that smile”
        I guess we do dream to be fully awake with another as one mixed intoxication shaken on ___________ [I was going to say hot ice, but that doesn’t work… Oh well, can’t finish that phrase. { sometimes I just erase things like the above when they don’t fully work. thought I’d just leave a fragment this time} until i get to the edit button… difficult to push the right buttons sometimes…

    1. (giggling) you’ll have to excuse my behavior, i have great talent in the art of embarrassing myself. I had an explanation typed up on this box and then i realized i was just about to embarrass myself further (so i erased it) hehe…
      Honestly, i think it is wonderful all the way through. Your beginnings and transitions from one part to the next are smooth and vivid, full of imagery and emotion. But if there was a climax prize i’m sure you’d get it. I didn’t mean to imply that the rest of the story or the other two stories weren’t as grand. I’ve just been a little excitable for some reason the last week or so. Perhaps one of my buttons got pressed or mother nature flipped some switch or something (i am in my thirties now…) and then i got extra excitable during those paragraphs…i’ll umm just stop talking now…

    2. ‘I guess we do dream to be fully awake with another as one mixed intoxication shaken on’ rocks of love? maybe? i don’t know, i was just going with the ice idea and how sometimes it’s called rocks.

    3. Seems like a wonderful subject : the excitable arts. I need to write some more stories. If I have a variety, not knowing the mindset of the judges, I might have a better chance. But it would have to be original. On the comedy shows they’ve made jokes about having magazines in sperm donor waiting rooms… maybe when space-aliens abduct Earth women for hybrid experiments they have poetry in the waiting room. Maybe I could do a satirical story on that. I don’t know — I’m not sure where the delicate–indelicate line is : this week on the history channel, “in search of an ancient orgasm..” Might be exciting… I don’t know… Hmm, I saw Mother Nature on television once doing commercials for butter or something(oh, I guess it must have been for margarine); the tag line was “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” I don’t remember now but I guess they were saying that their margarine tasted as good as butter.

  3. The excitable arts…that’s a good name. I like the alien waiting room idea, but with only six hundred words, that seems pretty limiting. Maybe you could do an extended version (after you’ve entered your contest one) that has some of the poetry that the women were reading in the waiting room, yeah, that seems like a great idea (big grin). I mean, readers would definitely be curious about what the women were reading…

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