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.”

Of Heroes, Waterbeds, and After-Midnight Television

THERE IS A MOVIE THAT follows the struggles inherent in the so-called Hero’s Journey: a high-born child is raised in secret by commoners, and eventually groomed by a wise elder to overcome obstacles and fulfill his destiny by taking his rightful place among the knighted nobility. And that movie is called … The Black Shield of Falworth.

If TBSoF (1954) sounds a bit like Star Wars (or even Excalibur), that’s because it travels the same mythic highway. And if it feels like 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, that’s because it too was based on a Howard Pyle book, Men of Iron.

Prosatio Silban and the Twice-Cooked Eggs

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

ONE OF THE NICER THINGS about traveling in a buopoth-drawn galleywagon down a smooth dirt road is the slow pleasure of the unfolding scenery.

Prosatio Silban, as was his wont on such journeys, took it all in with wide eyes and a wider heart. The gentle hills just west of epicurean Pormaris were thick with rosemary, juniper and other fragrant underbrush. Olive and bay trees spread their branches over ubiquitous fatberry bushes rich with maroon fruit, with here and there a tumbled limestone shrine or bluerock outcropping accenting the landscape like three-dimensional punctuation marks. Now and then he could spy a furtive voonith near the undulating horizon, and musical birds in profusion cast their nets of song over the steady thump-thump-thump of his quaint lumbering dray-beast’s footsteps.

Boulevard of Broken Animals

FIRST, THERE WAS THE ONE-legged California towhee.

She didn’t actually start out as one-legged. But when we first noticed her in the backyard, one of her legs was badly withered. It eventually dropped off. We named her “Tikvah” — Hebrew for “hope” — and loved her for some years from afar.

After she died came the one we called “Noisy Evans.” California towhees (Melozone crissalis) are known by their one-note “pipping” calls as well as a rapid cascade that conjures up images of an ice-crystal fountain.