Monday, 11 December 2017

When you’re my age

When I was five, the universe scared me. The big encyclopedia talked about billions of years, billions of billions of miles. When I worked out what a billion was, I was terrified. “But what’s it all for?” I wailed. “Wait till you're my age,” said my mother.

When I was thirty-three, I asked her again, “So, what’s it all about, remember?” But she just said, “wait till you’re my age”.

She died at seventy-six, and now here I am, seventy-six myself, her age at last. And I still don’t know what it’s all for.

I guess that’s what she meant.

Monday, 27 November 2017


“I know you said to get off at Leyton and not Leytonstone, or was it the other way round, but anyway, I must have got off at the wrong one and then somehow I couldn’t work out which train to get to the right one, and before I knew it I was in Epping but a darling man helped me find the right train back to Leyton, or was it Leytonstone, but I must have nodded off on the train and then I panicked when I woke and dashed off and I’d only walked a short way when I realised I had no idea where I was and I couldn’t find the station again and I’d lost your address and then a policeman asked if I needed any help, well, I thought he looked rather young for a policeman, of course I didn’t say that, but I’m afraid I broke down a bit and cried and somehow he found your address in my handbag and got a police car to take me here and was it a good party?“

“Yes, mother,” I said. “Glad you could make it.”

Sunday, 29 October 2017


After the gods had created the universe, and the multiverse, and Man, they wondered what to do.

“Consider Man,” said one. “Man invents obstacles, then overcomes them. This he calls ‘fun’.”

“What is an obstacle to the gods?” said another.

“This!” said one, and split into a billion stars, each a fragment of the whole.

“This!” said another, setting to study what was, before the gods.

“This!” said a third, and placed a sliver of himself into a Man.

One day they will end their fun and return to themselves, and their creations will vanish like a dream upon waking.

This story — and indeed most of my fiction here — previously 
appeared on Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Weekly Challenge.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

When The Gods Were New

When the gods were new, they assembled together to know what they should do.

“I have made a strange thing,” said one. And he showed how out of nothing he conjured a vast universe of whirling balls of fire and rock.

Another said, “I will make a stranger.” And he punctured that universe with many holes, and inside each he showed that self-same universe reduplicated.

A third said, “I will make yet stranger.” On a single tiny lump of rock in that multiverse, he created a host of small figures that fought among themselves, and took themselves to be gods.

“This is the strangest thing,” they agreed. “Let us call it ‘Man’.”

Monday, 23 October 2017

My dear Dr. Brezoianu:

I regret that the Journal of Neurosemantic Research must decline to publish your paper, “Obstruction of Remote Memetic Excitation by Aluminized Mylar Composites”. It has been closely read by three referees, all experts in the field, who unanimously recommend rejection on the respective grounds that its results are absurd, well-known, or trivially obvious. Furthermore, I don’t care for the over-familiar manner in which you approached my wife at the Oslo conference last summer.

With best wishes for your publication, but not in any journal I have anything to do with, 

Prof. Dr. Dr. Jarogniew Grzeszkiewicz (Editor)


The sun would soon rise, and in the pre-dawn glim a group of a dozen people were walking down a rocky path. Among them was a woman with a two-year-old toddling along beside her. As toddlers do, she toddled, and wobbled, and fell down, going all her length on the ground, then burst into tears. Without missing a step, her mother bent down and swept her up into her arms, bouncing her on her shoulder to calm her, and walked on.

Just an everyday incident, in a tribe of Homo erectus, a million years ago in the Olduvai gorge.

This story previously appeared on Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story weekly challenge.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


“Are robots alive?”

——What is life?

“I don't know, but I know it when I see it.”

——That’s easy then, just look at a robot. Do you see life?

“That’s not fair!”

——It’s fair, you’re confused. How about asking one? Hey, metal man over there! Are you alive?

——What do I know about philosophy?

——Whadya think? Lifeless machine, or alive with better things to do?

“I don't know, that's the problem, how could I tell?”

——What about me, then, your perfect drinking partner? You act like I’m alive. What's your real question here?

“I guess it’s... am I alive?”