Minute Mitzvah: Play Nice

Today: Don’t shame anyone.

Explanation: When you make someone feel painfully self-conscious, you destroy a little piece of the world — and not only for them. Your own soul / psyche / personality suffers as well. In today’s hyperpartisan social climate, the temptation exists to make others hurt as much as they want to hurt you; but that’s a trapdoor without a bottom.

Exercise: Ask yourself: “Do I really want to be That Guy?” Tone down the snark, online and off. And act according to your ideals.

Prosatio Silban and the Anxious Drummer

(Two printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction. Enjoy.)

NOT FOR NOTHING HAD PROSATIO Silban parked his galleywagon outside cosmopolitan Soharis’ main military barracks. Soldiers are a notoriously hungry lot, and use any excuse to spend their extra pay on the sort of food they aren’t able to obtain in their daily mess.

His location was perfect – not so far from the bayside city’s bustling fish market as to discourage the attentions of peckish shoppers, not so close to the barracks as to be thought a security risk. The wind rising from the bay was also cooperative, keeping the market’s fabled aroma at a discreet distance.

“…And Just Exactly What Is A ‘Buopoth?'”

“MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT the quaint and lumbering buopoths native to the Exilic Lands and other curious places – but to this day, little remains understood about the shy beasts beyond the proverb that ‘they will haul all day on a fatberry-cake and a kind word.'” — from Road Bound, a soon-to-be-published Rimless Sea tale

That’s the in-universe explanation of my Prosatio Silban stories. Outside the stories, it’s a different matter entirely…

According to H.P. Lovecraft‘s 1927 novella The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (a ripping good read if you’re so inclined):

In former dreams he had seen quaint lumbering buopoths come shyly out of that wood to drink, but now he could not glimpse any.

Cook’s Honor (A Prosatio Silban Tale)

(Three-and-a-quarter printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

THE FIRST CLUE PROSATIO SILBAN had to the midnight intruder was the sound of someone rifling through his galleywagon pantry. The second was the paring-knife at his throat – his own paring-knife.

“Wake up, stranger,” came a frightening – or was it frightened? – whisper in his right ear. “I need your silver.”

“I don’t have any,” the cook whispered back. “It’s been a bad week. But if you let me live, I’ll cook you a meal more than worth your time.”

“A meal!” scoffed the would-be thief. “What do I want with a meal? I can make my own meals. What I need is your money. Fetch it now.”

Plague Haiku

Is growing by the hour.
I hope it’s heartburn.

My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.”
— John Dominic Crossan

Prosatio Silban and the Last Meal

(Three printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

ASIDE FROM BUOPOTHS, NO ONE knows exactly what a fatberry-cake tastes like. But measuring by how many the quaint lumbering beasts eat, the greasy maroon lumps (smelling faintly of lavender) must be a delightful treat.

Prosatio Silban pondered this mystery as he fed his own buopoth, Onward, a sixth cake of the day and wiped his hands on his faded green apron. It’s a good thing fatberries are ubiquitous, he thought, or I’d be out a useful dray-beast – and an equally useful traveling companion.

He scratched Onward behind one ear, told him what a good buopoth he was, and stashed the fatberry-cake bag under his galleywagon’s driver’s bench.