Posts Tagged ‘ Fictions ’

Prosatio Silban and the Profound Breakfast

2009.07.26
By

IN ALL THE STEAMING LANDS there are none so pious as the villagers of Imperny. And yet, even within that island of serene certitude, Prosatio Silban found a disturbed soul.

The cook had parked his galleywagon a-purpose, on the edge of Imperny’s market square closest to the local shrine. but his “COOK FOR ANY PRICE” banner had attracted only one breakfast customer — a serious young man who had picked his way half through a plate of Random Eggs. He sighed and looked up at Prosatio Silban.

“I have not seen you before, nor do I expect to again,” he said. “May I impart a stranger’s truth?”

“The eggs are not to your liking,” the cook began.

“No! No, they are perfect,” replied the young man. “But I am not, or rather my understanding isn’t. I cannot decide whether or not my prayer is effective.”

Prosatio Silban, a former holyman who long ago decided to feed people’s bellies instead of their souls, had ceased to wonder why his gods wouldn’t let him alone. Instead, he asked, “What do you mean?”

“I was deep in my devotions this morning,” replied the other. “And it occurred to me: am I praying because I am grateful, or am I grateful because I am praying? In other words, do the gods grant me peace of mind, or am I fooling my mind into peacefulness?”

Prosatio Silban thought for a time. “Does it matter?”

“Yes. I think. Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because by one I am doing the gods’ will. By the other, I am silly.”

“But that is already true, in the eyes of those who don’t share your particular piety,” Prosatio Silban said. “If you live for others, you will be concerned with what they think of your actions. If you live for yourself, you will be concerned with what you think. But if you live for the gods — you won’t care what anyone thinks.”

The young man smiled. “Pass the tomatoes,” he said.

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Fable

2009.07.16
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MORE THAN ONCE UPON A time, in a land surprisingly near, lived two distinct peoples. Both were composed of friendly, industrious individuals with a long tradition of respectful coexistence in all matters save one: One group took every Monday off; the other, every Thursday.

Ordinarily, this would not have been problematic. But part of their mutual respect was based on a sincere celebration of the other. Weddings, births and funerals always drew a large and mingled crowd, but their different days-off caused the more well-meaning of their members great stress and worry.

“How can we truly share everything if we have to separate ourselves on the weekend?” some lamented. “We are in grave danger of appearing hypocritical.”

In time, as this issue became bigger than everything else the peoples built, either together or separately, each more tightly gripped the other. Neither now exists.

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First Day In Orbit

2009.07.02
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“ENSIGN MULDOON. RISE AND SHINE.”

“What? Huh? What? Time is it?”

“Oh six hundred.”

“Oh SIX hundred? But it’s still dark ou– oh.”

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Prosatio Silban and the Beloved Animal

2009.06.05
By

A FEW YEARS AGO, I began writing some short fantasies concerning a notable resident of the Land Beyond The Sunrise: Prosatio Silban, reluctant holyman turned freelance cook, questing for a true love he met once as a youth and never saw again. (Or so he thinks.) Six stories are completed and undergoing revision, but the following flash is complete in itself. Enjoy.

Prosatio Silban and the Beloved Animal
By Neal Ross Attinson

HALFWAY BETWEEN HERE AND THERE lay a town whose chief feature was a particular animal, wild but benign, which had made its home in a civic park. So charming were its ways and so touching its mannerisms that the townspeople painted its winsome form on signs and walls, dyed their clothes to imitate its pelt, and dated their history in terms of the Beloved Animal’s first appearance. Great crowds would gather around it every day, punctuating its every move with an ooh, ahh, or “Look!”

Prosatio Silban watched the Beloved Animal from the edge of the park. He thought the townspeople a bit fervent in their adorations but said nothing; he had his own share of eccentric fervencies. After a time, he realized that the Beloved Animal’s eyes were looking into his.

Why am I so popular? asked a voice in his head. All I do is sit here, occasionally scratching. And they feed me and love me.

“You don’t need to do anything else,” Prosatio Silban replied. “It’s in the nature of people to love something like you unconditionally.”

Oh. But why?

“No one can say,” the cook said. “Perhaps they simply need to know such love exists.”

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