Child’s Play (A Prosatio Silban Tale)

(Story idea by the formidable Ann Clark; four printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

THERE IS A MOMENT IN AN out-of-control situation when its utter wrongness becomes agonizingly apparent – and it’s the same moment that the experiencer realizes there’s not a damn thing to be done about it.

Such were Prosatio Silban’s thoughts as his galleywagon slid sideways off the ridge-girdling road and down the steep cliff he had been so carefully avoiding.

He barely had time to realize what was happening as he was thrown from the driver’s bench hard against a cliffside boulder. He bounced onto his back, head downward, near the cliff’s base. The sharp pain in his ribs made him want to cry out, but he couldn’t get his breath. All he could do was watch and listen to his portable home-cum-livelihood roll over twice and come to rest upright at the cliff’s bottom.


SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE: IT IS easier to get rid of everything in one big purge than a few things in a bunch of smaller ones.

The time: June 1985. Hopped-up on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and The Dharma Bums, I aimed to do a bit of my own road scratching of experience-itchy soles. So I bought some necessaries, stuffed them into a backpack, and invited my friends to a giveaway-the-rest party. The reserves (my great-grandfather’s holy books, my birth certificate, a deck of Tarot cards, a loaded pipe, and such) went into two small boxes destined for a trusted friend’s garage. When I returned a year later, they were waiting to greet me like cardboard puppies.

I AM A FANTASY WRITER; that is to say, I fantasize about people reading my writings.”
–Your author, in a truth-pensive mood

Prosatio Silban and the Sudden Feline

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

IT BEGAN WITH AN ALMOST automatic kindness, and led to an inevitable but gracious end.

Prosatio Silban was tidying up after a somewhat slow morning when he first heard the mewing. His galleywagon was parked in the marketplace at Rathlu, the centermost of the Thousand Villages of the Uulian Commonwell. He was standing at the sink; one by one the beefy cook selected plates, bowls and cutlery from a small pile of dirty dishes; passed them through a large, teak-mounted voonith-bone hoop; and stacked the now-clean ones on the adjacent counter. I almost feel guilty using magik instead of water, he thought, seeing how there are so few of these. Still, it’s a relaxing noonday ritual.

He cocked an ear at the open half-door. Rathlu was known for its robust feline population, and the cats he had seen that day were magnificent specimens of their secretive race: cats large and small, black, grey, striped, yellow, and white, all sleek with loving care and lavish feeding. His favorites were the tiger-stripeds, and when he opened the door’s lower half, a smile lit his face. Before him sat an ancient grey-and-brown tabby, looking up at him with one golden eye; the other was a filmed-over blue.

5 Thoughts: Seminal v. Derivative

1. ONE OF THE CHICKEN-OR-egg challenges of modern media (social and traditional) is their pervasive sense of nonlinear immediacy, by which I mean the everything-at-once flattening of the artistic landscape.

A Prosatio Silban Amuse-Bouche: Utensils

“ALMOST AS MUCH THOUGHT AND effort goes into the choosing of eating implements as for the selection of food for which they are meant,” said Prosatio Silban, reaching for the sea salt container next to his fatberry-oil stove. “Silver, gold, copper, bamboo, wood, clay — the list is as long as your imagination is broad. Some are meant for soup, others enable the eating of different types of meat or vegetable; there are even specialized tools for extracting delectable flesh from mollusk or crustacean shells.

“But they all have one purpose: to convey food to the mouth without social disapproval. Lose sight of that refined principle, and you might as well eat with your hands.”

Who’s “Prosatio Silban,” you may ask? Here’s a partial answer:

CLIMATE change warning.”