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It Always Ends In Kafka

Statue of Franz Kafka

A short story:

The old Rabbi moved slightly on his bed, and the young man raced over.

     “Yes, Rebbe?”

     The old Rabbi opened his eyes, showing the cast of death which had almost consumed him. “Ka … ” he groaned.

    The young man had been told the dying Rabbi would never regain his senses, and he did not know what to do. He was scared, almost horrified, but he leaned closer.

     “What is it? What do you want?”

     The old Rabbi struggled for breath. “Ka … Kaf …”

     The young man gazed at the face, saw its pallid features and the clouded eyes. He touched a shrunken cheek, raised his voice to a shout. “What is it? What can I do?” He could hear wheezing, the struggle for air. He put his ear directly over the gaping mouth.

    “Ka … Ka …” One last ragged breath, a low hollow whisper. “Kafka died for your sins.”

Turning One Thing Into Another: Flash Fiction Contest // The Icy Moons Of Jupiter

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An Icy Moon Of Jupiter.   Turned into 100 words
AS IS:
He is not a man for grand gestures.   The gift came as a surprise, the kiss a shock. He was embarrassed by the first and aroused by the second. Time, always a constant worry – not the futile minutes, hours, days, the whirlwind passage of months, but the disappearance of the now into the past -had again taken a bite out of his life before he had realized it was gone.

 “I thought you would like it.” she said, a gift somehow made more important because it was not planned, an obvious display of spontaneity. A chance meeting in a store on a Saturday afternoon. “I’m leaving soon, in two weeks I’ll be in France.” Eyes taking in his every reaction, her voice tinged with reproach. “Do you like it?”

And of course he did, but there were too many memories laced with half smiles jamming into his head, not painful in themselves but adding now to finality. The party where he met her, surely that was just last week, at the most a month ago. Surely it did not stretch back to soft Autumn nights.

“well, here,” she writes something. “It’s for you, you know.” A look of puzzlement crosses her face as the gift changes hands, the too brief touch of her fingers. he clutches it carefully, looks back to her eyes and imagines he sees a twinge of that nonexistent past. or does she only reflect what is in his own face?

And then the kiss.

So unexpected that he almost jumps back.

The touch of lips and warm breath, the smell of fresh, soft hair against his cheek. His own mouth open in surprise, her farewell brush of lips turned partially into passion. And then she is out the door, onto the street, and he is standing by a counter feeling very old, his heart an icy moon of Jupiter.

Ah, Christiane. Salut.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EDIT:


The gift comes as a surprise, the kiss a shock.

He is embarrassed by the first and aroused by the second.

“Do you like it?”

A gift made more important because of it’s spontaneity. A chance meeting in a store on a Saturday afternoon.


“I’m leaving soon. In two weeks I’ll be in France.”

Eyes take in his every reaction.

That party they met, surely it was just last week, Surely it did not stretch back to soft Autumn nights.


Then she is out the door.

He becomes very old, his heart an icy moon of Jupiter.


Ah, Christiane. Salut!

Fishing With God And The Elephant

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A story from The Elephant Talks To God

 

The elephant was on his side in the river, where he had flopped without much ceremony beside the boulder.

He raised his left front and his left hind leg into the air, and his trunk trailed in the current like an eel. He sloshed water over the exposed parts of his body with an erratic fortissimo.

“So.” The elephant gulped water. “Explain fish to me.”

“I beg your pardon.” The boulder sputtered, for it had been caught in the back spray.

“Fish,” said the elephant. “Marine animals; sub-aquatic creatures; denizens of the deep: puffers, scuppers, suckers, guppies, herring, flounder, anchovies — ”

“An elephant,” interrupted God, “has many attributes. But very low on this mammoth list is the ability to be cute.” The boulder paused significantly. “So get to the point.”

“When you’re ponderous, it’s known as being profound,” pointed out the elephant.

“I’m the Creator, so I get to make the rules,” pointed out God. “So. What is it with the fish?”

“Well – they’re so weird. They look strange, they’re poor conversationalists, they breath in water, and they choke on air.” The elephant finally scrambled to his feet. “And they never stay still. It’s always `moving with the current’, or `moving against the current’. I mean no disrespect, and we’re all God’s creatures, but – they’re real losers.”

“I wonder,” asked the boulder, after a moment’s thought, “if you’ve heard about the group of blind men asked to describe an elephant.”

“No,” said the elephant. “I haven’t.”

“Each man touched a different part.”

As God began, he raised his voice for the benefit of the fish, who were ranged in concentric circles around the oblivious elephant. They were going to enjoy this.

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