Fragments from books that don’t exist


The last time Hicky visited this patch of dead-end-ville he’d told himself it was definitely the last time, yet here he was again, standing in the rubble and remembering why he’d detested his father so much. It wasn’t just the lying, even though that still burned and registered a high slot in his own big book of resentments. And the fact that she – that woman forever to be known only as ‘she’ – had sat idly by and pretended that nothing was happening, nothing was out of order, God was in his Heaven in this th ebets of all possible worlds. So they were idiots, and mean, practically the only qualifications for high office in these latter days. There was also the matter of the little sister who never was, wiped from the scrolls and eliminated from conversation, history and memory. How does a person disappear like that? And here he was, returned again, vowing once more to find the facts buried somewhere in this concrete heap of wasted life and wasted time. Hicky got down on his knees, rolled up his sleeves, and started digging.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


“Cry Wolf,” Wen Li calmly explained. “A not very good movie from quite some time ago. No idea what it’s even doing in the archives up there. I think maybe a certain someone had a weak spot for a certain female type, not sure if it’s Kristy Wu or Sandra McCoy, but I think I can guess.”

“And you are talking about what?” Kandhi demanded. “Do you have any idea how freaked out they are at CC right now?”

“I do,” Wen Li replied. “I have been on all the chat rooms.”

“And you are babbling about wolves?”

“One wolf, actually. Referred to in the film as “the wolf”.”

“Why are you talking about movies? What are you trying to say?”

“Sorry, boss,” Wen Li said. She was tired, and a little upset, and she knew how much Kandhi hated being called ‘boss’, but she couldn’t help herself.

“Here’s what it is. Somehow all eleven of those crew members are experiencing the same movie, a pretty terrible film called ‘Cry Wolf’, a sort of horror movie about some private school kids.”

“How are they watching movies?” Kandhi nearly shouted. “They are all still in their capsules, right? Please don’t tell me they are not all still in their capsules.”

“They are still in their capsules,” Wen Li reassured her, although she was not entirely certain of this. It was possible, though extremely unlikely, that the subjects were still hooked up to the sensors and yet not still in their capsules.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


In the early days of the 23rd century, nothing was left to the imagination. The planet had been re-carpeted as well as re-upholstered, and the effect was intentionally displeasing. One looked out of windows with caution, for the skies were filled with contraptions attracted by a glance, bio-mechanical bird-bots which would swoop down in a rush and smack themselves against the glass, leaving behind a rubbery residue of gloom as they slid down the several levels to the sea. Stilted towers tilted gradually, swaying with the tides in a gentleness that could easily be mistaken for a hopeless fate. Time depended on where the sun was, if and when it chose to appear. The moon and stars appeared more randomly since that debacle with the inter-galactic, bluetooth-connected light switch. Everyone was named in honor of long-since faded flowers. Rose Petrie III was no exception. She and her spouse-like creature (Hollyhock Wiltins) spent most of their time crouching in the corner. It was smoother over there. When the wind chose to blow, they listened to it hustle through the cracks and told each other imaginary secrets. Rose was determined to one day open that little door in the wall. She was convinced there still remained a single grain of sand in the cosmos somewhere. Why not here, she reasoned. If anything can happen, can nothing also happen?



this cover was intended for another in my recent frivolous if not utterly obnoxious series of fragments from books that don’t exist. the image is a color-modified logo of Cafe Bustelo, coffee from the Dominican Republic, which I’ve been drinking for decades but which recently has also become a de facto “ethnic stamp of approval” for Netflix original content, showing up prominently in every new show featuring people of color, so much so that I’ve taken to instagramming every occasion i come across.

but i digress. Biswas Taliwak won’t be writing this one. I will, and it is going to be the name and cover of my “memoirs”. I never wanted to write any damn memoirs, but a couple of days ago i found out i have a stage four cancer and now i feel obligated to spill as much of my true life stories as i can regurgitate for my family. i won’t be publishing that stuff here on this blog, but the blog may not be long for this world either. i mean to say that of course one never knows but in a year or two or three there will be no more entries and no one would ever know why, but this is why.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


Swinton Cargill sent the children off to place another bet and returned to swigging from his grandfather’s flask.

At this rate,” he thought, “I’ll be done with the old bastard’s fortune by Tuesday.

It had long been his goal to blow through it all, the whole kit and kaboodle as he liked to say, and while it lasted the children enjoyed these fine summer days at the track and all the pretty horses running around and around and around.

“All things must pass,” he’d tell them, and they were pretty sure he was talking about the horses and how the loser he’d bet on might just catch up. Of course it never would. He was too careful for that.

“You don’t want to win, ever,” he said to the oldest, Billy, who was only nine but beginning to figure things out.

“Once you win, you get a taste for it,” he continued, “and once you get a taste for it, you’re as good as gone forever.”

Like the old bastard,” he appended silently. “Thought he had it all figured out. Thought he could pull a better world right out of his hat, but I’m saving that hat for last, and into the incinerator with it, along with all the other wretched refuse he was so fine and dandy about.”

One more pull and he was done with the flask too, just as Proper Cadence came in last just like he wanted her to.

“Well, my boy,” he said to Billy, while Clara and little Stubby stood by. “It’s back to the shelter with you.”

“Aw,” Billy said, “Can’t we stay for one more race?”

“Sorry, lad, we’re all done here. You all did a fine job, though. Here’s another hundred for you each,” Swinton said, handing out the bills. The kids, who were no relation, eagerly took the money and ran.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


Rory left the car running and ran back into the house to fetch her overnight bag because you never know. It’s true. You don’t. She never knew that car was going to take itself off down the hill and slam right into the neighbor’s shed, crushing the goat and both the rabbits. That was the beginning of the trouble. Up until then, she’d gotten along just fine with the Forsbergs. They minded their own business and she minded hers, but after that incident there was no minding anymore. The Forsbergs let everyone in town know exactly what they thought of that irresponsible scamp, and snuck over in the middle of the night to leave all manner of dead creatures wrapped in burlap and hung from her front door head, usually with a casually scrawled note attached mentioning something about critters and their just desserts. She put up with it for a while. After all, she felt guilty about what she’d done but finally she had enough and so one day, after everyone else had gone off to work and the coast looked like it was clear, she sauntered on over there and took the cat. She and the cat went for a ride and she left it somewhere far away.

Fragments from books that don’t exist


By the time the ripples had reached the other side of the pond, Hirsut was gone, lost among the trees. Erbak waited for him to peek out from behind a bush, but he never showed. Eventually, she too got up and left, heading home by way of the eucalyptus-leaf-strewn path until she reached the main road. By then snow had begun to fall and she hurried, feeling the chill. She wasn’t angry at him yet.

Hirsut was thinking a lot, and this hurt his mind almost as much as the bruise on his shoulder from last week’s tumble ached. He’d left his home many weeks before, setting out on what was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime but was turning out to be a complication on top of a nuisance.  He didn’t like this small town, or any of the other small towns he’d ventured through, but he was convinced his destiny lay in one of them. Could this be it? Could it be that scrawny, brainy girl after all, with her gap teeth and her thin brown hair and her mother who made noises all day like a hen?

Destiny’s a bitch, he thought, and then he muttered out loud, to no one in particular, “but I’ll be damned if it’s going to beat my ass.