Last month Bonerath couldn’t remember the word ‘Broccoli’. As far as he remembers, the month before it wasn’t a problem.
It isn’t a problem now, because he’s reminded himself that the word ‘Broccoli’ starts with a letter ‘B’. As a rule, he never forgets the letter ‘B’. So now, when Bonerath forgets ‘Broccoli’ he tells himself he just has to remember ‘B’. As soon as he remembers ‘B’ he remembers ‘Broccoli’.
This is all fine as long as Bonerath remembers not to forget to tell himself to remember ‘B’ and doesn’t forget to remember how he used to forget ‘Broccoli’.
Bonerath met a woman once. She claims she met him. He’s not sure which of them is right because he can’t remember if he was at their meeting or not. Nor is he clear whether the woman was. In fact, he doesn’t know exactly when this ‘once’ was.
Yet he must know something because he’s telling this tale, or else someone else knows something else and they’re telling it.
But everybody knows everybody knows something.
Wow, if everybody knows something then this woman Bonerath once met and who claimed she met him must know something!
They should meet some time.
Flo Kontrere liked doing things she didn’t like doing. That way she avoided doings things she liked doing and therefore avoided running out of things to do that she liked doing.
Bonerath said “You’d be better doing things you don’t mind doing and then you wouldn’t run out of things you like doing nor would you be doing so many things that you don’t like doing.”
Flo said, “Maybe I wouldn’t mind doing that but I can’t say what things I would mind doing or I wouldn’t mind doing.”
“Why’s that?” asked Bonerath.
“I wouldn’t like to say,” said Flo.
Outside, the great globes were spinning. Sun was sloping away for the night. Moon was moseying over. As usual, Earth inclined simultaneously to a dark mood and a bright one.
Inside, People were ascending on a bender, in conjunction with Bar Elbow. On stage, Bonerath was fearing alignment with the mike-stand. He was declining to stand like a Stand-up.
Mike whispered “Just hold onto me and begin by saying a word, Man.”
Believing this precept to be celestial, Bonerath echoed back at Mike, “In the beginning was the Wordman!”
At this aberration the People applauded … whenceforth Bonerath gamma-radiated and meteoroided.
The ceremony started in thirty minutes.
Flo Contrere felt in command. The bright sun meant she’d look dazzling in her lemon two-piece with white hat and shoes. She’d sent that dullard Bonerath to bring the car to the hotel entrance. She dropped the sachet of confetti into her handbag, glanced admiringly at herself in the mirror then stepped out into the hallway.
Ninety minutes later the lift was finally freed. When the doors dinged open Bonerath gasped. The lift engineer dropped his eyes. Flo sat defeated on the floor, legs splayed, vomit on her dress and mascara trailing down her cheeks.
Bonerath said there was a man with one eye in a mirror, and that one of them wasn’t looking at the time. He was asleep with his eyes shut, so you might say he only dreamt this.
Except, he was dreaming something else. He must have been because he had no mirror.
Anyway, he had no wall to hang a mirror on because he lived at the top of a crane jib. That’s why he couldn’t have been asleep either. It was too risky.
But Bonerath says you can say what you like at the top of a crane jib.
It won’t help me to name it! I got up here though. It must have been me, before, at the bottom. But I don’t want this! I can’t move or speak.
Someone help me!
I am gripping the gutter brackets so hard my elbows and shoulders are in spasm. I am pushing my eyeballs as close to the wall as possible. I must do everything! My teeth clench on the ridge of the gutter. Muck and aluminium chills invade my mouth, my gums. I’m retching. My bowels are slackening.
Which way up am I?!
“Bonerath, your tea’s poured.” Flo calls.
In the last little while John Rathbone Taylor has been mentally shredding all the business plans and strategies he used to write as a director in government, charity and consultancy organizations. He says he has turned to the more serious mischief of writing stories. Some are 100 word micro-stories that have fun with characters, language and logic. Dreamscape Press featured one in their 2013 anthology: 100 Worlds: Lightning Quick SF & Fantasy Tales and we are publishing a set here. Others are short stories and novelettes in which Rathbone Taylor is experimenting with the comedic-absurd method. A British LitSite called “Beat the Dust” published one of these last year. Rathbone Taylor also has a plot for a (non-absurdist) novel worked out, and he recently worked with Luke Rhinehart–author of The Dice Man–to help produce a screenplay of one of Rhinehart’s other titles; but he says it is the short stories that are currently tugging him away from all his other responsibilities and interests! John Rathbone Taylor lives in Sheffield, England and is a member of “The Garret”–a writers’ group led by the author Simon Crump.
–Art by Bostjan Tacol