Hassing’s Laws of Numismatics

August 13, 2017 at 7:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Alexander_the_great_temnos_tetradrachm

‘Well, I must head off. I say … are you giving me the bird?’

Laws

Coins possess the faculties of the leader’s head stamped on them (sight, hearing, speech, smell) but can see only in the direction that side of the coin faces.

Coins can’t tell in which year they’re minted.

They’re obsessed with finding out, but must rely on other coins to tell them.

Older coins envy younger coins, and often lie when asked to read another coin’s year of manufacture.

Deprived of motor ability, coins develop extraordinary mental powers over time.

Obsessed with the desire to achieve movement, they constantly work on their powers of telekinesis. The skill takes many years of meditation and effort. Only 1% of coins ever achieve it, and then it’s severely limited to influencing movement initiated by external forces (e.g. willing the result of a toss, marginally changing the direction of a roll, upsetting a delicate balance, influencing the direction of descent).

Coins have no sense of touch and don’t feel sensation, but they’re highly emotional beings and do experience loneliness, claustrophobia and fear of death.

They’re very philosophical.

Most are gregarious, but all like to preserve their personal space.

Coins are asexual.

Coins get their kicks out of experiencing and relating to other coins varied and interesting uses, provided such uses don’t wear out their knurling.

When put together, coins invariably check out their surroundings, ask each other to identify their year of manufacture and compare stories of their experiences (or occasionally relate those of others).

Coins have phenomenal memories.

Coins compete to tell the best stories.

They are articulate and excellent storytellers.

They often exaggerate.

Coins have different personalities and form friendships and enemies quickly, based on the stories and attitude of the coins they mix with.

Coins have a deep fear of the mint, which periodically pulls currency out of circulation for destruction. The criterion for this is the state of the knurling on the coins’ edge.

Coins are therefore terrified of having this edge worn away. They despise high-wear scenarios (e.g. slot machines).

Coins are aware of the concept of reincarnation, but few really believe in it.

 

Questions

How does a coin find out for certain its year of manufacture?  (Mirror?)

Is it better to be permanently out of circulation (e.g. buried) or killed by the mint (with the possibility of reincarnation)?

Is it better to have a short life full of many experiences, or a long life with few or low impact experiences?

What would it have been like for all of the predecimal coins when they discovered the imminent arrival of the new currency? Will it be the same when we get a new monarch or become a Republic?

What was the best (high interest, low wear) use to which a coin was ever put?

What was the worst (low-interest, high-wear) use to which a coin was ever put?

What do coins think about paper money?

 

Stories

Creation and entombment inside the cardboard roll. Birth into the cash register.  Travelling overseas: high interest, balanced with risk of being lost.

Dropped into the sea. Boredom and loneliness is the price of long life.

The sixpence. Surviving against the odds. Death on any given day.

The oldest coin in the world.

The New Zealand and Hong Kong clans. Ostracized and lonely. Trying to get home.

The bank robbery loot.

Trapped in the Eiffel Tower. Rescued by a boy with chewing gum and a straw.

Trapped in the tar at a busy intersection. Knowing that next Summer promises burial.  Saved by a can-collecting man on an old tricycle.

Inside the child’s money-box (along with the buttons).

At the bottom of the giant beer can.

The poker game.

The two-up game. Skewing the stats.

The secondary school mathematics (probability) experiment. Skewing the stats for a lark

At the pub. Looking up at the coins stuck to the bar. (Face down, great. Face up, sound only.)

The spinster who washed her coins with Tarn-Off.

Being bent.

Collector coins. Immortality, at the price of sitting in a velvet box forever. Taken out at meetings to interact with other crushingly boring pieces.

Returning to ‘the womb’ at irregular intervals. The joy of rebirth at the risk of being pulled out of circulation.

Dropped down the drain and into the sewer system.

The boy who drills holes in a coin for fun.

Made into jewellery.

Swallowed by a baby.

The coins under the back seats of cars in a junk yard. Will they be rescued before the cars are crushed and recycled?

Carrying a nick, knowing for sure that the next trip to the mint will be the last.

The paradox that younger coins carry an older image of the monarch.

Sitting in the ashtray of cars. Rivalry for the most impressive vehicle. Even Rolls Royces have coins in their ash trays.

The homeless person, needing only one more coin for his flagon of wine.

The tip tray at the cafe.

The windscreen washer at the intersection.

The roadside collection.

Pinball machine. Noise and light. Movement.

The gum ball machine.

Teasing a new coin about its year of manufacture.

The coin that determines who serves first at Wimbledon or which team decides play direction at the AFL Grand Final, with millions watching.

The coin thrown into a fountain to make a wish. Normally tourist destinations, so this coin may get to hang with coins from different countries.

 

Brought to you by Imagine Day the book.

 

Pic by Wikipedia.

 

 

 

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The Kombi-van rail cannon

May 3, 2015 at 7:21 am | Posted in Short Story | 2 Comments
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Three couples sprawled around the lounge, digesting pasta. Wine lapped at tilted rims as wreaths of smoke cruised into guttering candles, spread against the ceiling and descended. Fairy lights completed the scene.

‘Let’s go out!’ cried Yvonne.

A shudder swept through the others. Liam, the host, shot a visual plea to Neil.

‘Now now, sugar.’ Neil stroked Yvonne’s long hair. ‘We’ve got everything we need right here. Liam and Sylvie have created a lovely environment for us; why not relax and enjoy it?’

Yvonne tossed her head. ‘Because I think we should all go out. Club Foramen is only 600 metres from this ashtray. We’re young and it’s only 10:30. We’ve gotta live, before it’s too late! Come on; let’s hear some sounds and see some cats! Whatta ya say?’

Ever the diplomat, Sylvia calmed Liam with a caress. ‘I’m easy; what does everyone else think?’

Yvonne leapt up and gazed into each face.

‘I do not mind,’ pronounced Ulrik. ‘I will go if every body else wants to go.’

Sonya patted his thigh. ‘That’s my boy; two shots of Finlandia and you’re anyone’s. What the hell, we never go out.’

Liam baulked at leaving the cocoon he’d so carefully constructed. ‘It’s your night folks, but may I remind you we have entertainment here.’

‘Guitars and PlayStation?’ retorted Yvonne.

‘Yeah!’ chorused the boys.

‘No way. You guys can do that anytime. Tonight’s a celebration.’

Ulrik looked up. ‘Of what is it a celebration?’

Yvonne whipped a quarter ounce from her jacket and tossed it to the floor. ‘Of the biggest goddamn joint you ever saw in your life!’

Liam leaned forward, beanbag balls streaming like tadpoles under his thighs. ‘Ahem. This er, hmm. This could well alter the fabric of the entire evening.’

‘So we’re going to experience the greatest girl-band of all time?’ said Yvonne.

Sylvia’s eyes sparkled. ‘I’m in.’

‘Me too,’ said Sonya.

‘I also think it would be fun to go out maybe,’ said Ulrik.

Neil looked hurt. ‘How long’ve you had that ganjar, Sugar?’

‘Doesn’t matter, baby,’ sang Yvonne. ‘All that matters is we’re gonna get out and get it on.’

Liam fondled the baggie. ‘Get me the scissors, Sylvie. There’s something I must do – for all of us.’

**********

A chill wind whipped through the railings. Liam swung from the door and let the bright stars careen around him.

‘Come on, you old bugger!’ said Neil. ‘Come away now.’

The others fell against each other in baseless mirth. Liam crashed down the steps and they set off raggedly, reflections dancing in a glittering alterworld.

‘It is nice to be outside; fresh,’ observed Ulrik.

‘Too right, Vegemite!’ said Yvonne.

The Dane frowned. ‘I am sorry? What is that?’

The group cobbled a questionable explanation and Ulrik again lamented that their history could never be his, no matter how he studied the language.

Yvonne raced like a sprite among the puddles. Neil lit a cigarette and ambled after her and the two embraced in the brash night. The others followed suit, savouring their own styles of intimacy.

Eventually they reassembled at a tram stop, their destination visible through sprays of barrelling taxis. Naked bulbs festooned the venue, pulsing counterpoint to the muffled boom within.

Liam signalled for silence. ‘Well, this is it folks … ‘

‘Over the top,’ added Neil.

‘Yes, quite. On the advice of the young and feisty Yvonne here, we are about to enter an alternate dimension, replete with alcohol and very loud music.’

‘Yyyay!’ said Yvonne.

Liam grinned. ‘I want us to form a cosmic circle, to unite our groovy energy before crossing over.’

‘Unreal,’ slurred Sonya, missing Sylvia and Ulrik’s outstretched hands.

Liam guided her back. ‘Is everyone ready?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Then let us clasp fingers, close eyes and meditate on this moment before it is lost forever.’

Sonya giggled. ‘Oummm.’

Another taxi roared past, leaving an uncanny quiet. The ring of revellers listened. The silence continued – palpable; like air conditioning shut down.

Sonya opened her eyes. ‘Sh*t! The place is deserted!’

The street was indeed empty. All noise had ceased, no vehicles approached and light rain had begun to fall, transforming the scene into a surreal tableaux. The six stood in awe of the strange aberration in such a busy district.

‘It is an omen!’ proclaimed Liam. ‘The stage is set; a sign imminent! We must wait and watch.’

‘I’m getting wet,’ said Sylvia.

‘My love, that is of no import. In any case, I presage that this experience will be brief. Just hold for a moment more and believe!’

‘All right then.’

Neil lifted his long arms. ‘Whence shall come this sign, Master? From the sky?’

Yvonne leapt onto a bench. ‘Yeah, from the sky?’

Liam gazed along the glistening tram tracks, listening like a blackbird. ‘Nay, children; not from the heavens. The sign shall issue from the earth. Hark! It approaches even now!’

At first there was only silence. Then a lone light materialized. It grew slowly, but remained too dull to belong to a modern vehicle. The collective expectation of a motorcycle faltered as the engine’s staccato identified it unmistakably as a Volkswagen. At last the image resolved into a Kombi-van. An ancient, dilapidated Kombi-van, with one headlight.

‘Behold!’ cried Liam. ‘The messenger!’

‘Hurrah,’ offered Ulrik.

The group gazed at rusty panels, faded flowers and dribbling slogans. The streetlights splayed over filthy windows, rendering the driver invisible. The rotting muffler vomited detonations as the van shuddered past on the slippery rails, a scrap yard its only credible destination.

Liam stepped into the street to witness the van’s departure. Sylvia spotted a phalanx of traffic and pulled him to the safety of the opposite footpath. The others followed. As the van disappeared, the spell dissolved and the street came back to life.

‘Well?’ said Neil.

‘It has begun,’ intoned Liam.

‘What has?’

Liam’s face was deadpan. ‘The Kombi-van rail cannon.’

‘What is that?’ asked Ulrik.

‘I don’t want to talk about it.’

Sonya punched Liam lightly in the chest. ‘Oh yes you do. You’re going to explain to my boyfriend, in simple terms, exactly what just happened.’

‘I cannot.’

‘Bullsh*t, man,’ said Yvonne. ‘You got us into this space. What was the bloody sign?’

‘There was no sign; I was mistaken.’

Neil approached Liam from behind and put him in a headlock. ‘Are you sure there was no sign, cobber?’

Liam looked at the ring of expectant faces. ‘Very well. Release me, oaf, and I will reveal all inside the beauteous Club Foramen.’

**********

They entered the dark, smoky space as the headline band came on. Pushing through bodies, Yvonne navigated closer to the stage, trailing the others behind her. The musicians tested their instruments, then launched into deafening orbit.

The lead guitarist was elf-like, her legs clad in velvet. A mesh top sat over a yellow brassiere. Over this hung a large flannel shirt, tied at the waist. Her hair was fastened with camouflage netting that trailed to the stage. A hand-rolled cigarette rode her tiny mouth, twisting as she wrung the neck of her Rickenbacker.

Behind her stood an Aryan percussionist. Her face shone as she thrashed her drums. Tattoos flexed and a thonged top strove to contain her as her arms fell in king hits.

To her left stood the bass player; tall and thin with angular face. Sheathed in a cat suit, her only adornments were a gold link belt and a spider ring that flashed and scuttled over her fretboard. She stood with one leg forward, regarding the audience with faint disdain – occasionally favouring the drummer with an undertaker’s smile.

The singer pranced and posed like a demented bride; prowling the stage in taffeta rags. With wild hair reaching for the rafters, she taunted the crowd, raged against them, lifted them and lay them on her lyrical bed. On her feet were silken points. In moments of complete incongruity, she interspersed her base gyrations with perfect pirouettes.

Spellbound, Yvonne and her girlfriends barely registered the boys’ retreat.

**********

Snooker balls clacked over burn-pitted baize, the music blunted by connecting doors. Neil set three glistening beers on the tiny table and took a stool.

Liam drank deeply. ‘Thanks, man.’

‘Enjoy it, friend. You’ll not get another till you explain the Kombi-van rail cannon.’

Liam smiled. ‘That old chestnut. Surely you don’t want to hear about that?’

‘I certainly do want to hear about it,’ said Ulrik.

‘Shoot,’ ordered Neil.

Liam massaged his eyes, triggering a head spin. ‘Under democracy, issues can be debated ad nauseam, increasing the time it takes for government to act.’

‘What is “Norseum”?’ asked Ulrik despondently.

‘Bear with me man; I’ll recap. This delay frustrates all players and infuriates the public.’

Neil took out his cigarettes. ‘I’m with you.’

‘Good. Now, a perennial threat to democracy is that discontent over inaction can lead to such disaffection that the system is rejected in favour of anarchy.’

‘Of course,’ mumbled Ulrik, staring at the filthy carpet.

‘To neutralize this threat, our government has created the Kombi-van rail cannon.’

Neil regarded Liam narrowly. ‘Go on.’

‘The Kombi-van rail cannon is designed to break deadlocks in the sort of drawn-out debates that really get people’s goats.’

‘Like?’

‘Reconciliation, euthanasia, injecting rooms, the Republic.’

‘I see. And how does it work? Exactly.’

‘Well, simply put, each party to a debate constructs a blockhouse to protect a carton of eggs. They then attempt to destroy each other’s installations with Kombi-van rail cannons. The last side with an intact egg wins the debate.’

Neil took a long drag. ‘Are you trying to tell me that what we saw tonight was … a projectile?’

Liam sipped his beer. ‘Precisely.’

‘You Australians are f*cking crazy,’ spat Ulrik. ‘I am going to the band.’

Neil ignored him. ‘How come we’ve never heard about this bold new concept?’

‘The government wants to enrage the media, to maximise subsequent coverage.’

‘How come you know about it?’

‘It was trialled successfully in Chad and our government loves benchmarking. The signs have been there, for those who know how to look.’

‘But, why Kombi-vans?’

‘Symbol of the people. Worked for Hitler. Did you see the detonator on the bonnet?’

‘No,’ said Neil, with heavy sarcasm. ‘And I suppose the windows were treated to stop us seeing inside?’

‘Bloody oath! Imagine the panic if people realised they were pilotless.’

Pilotless?’

‘Of course! Why do you think it’s called a rail cannon?’

‘So it goes on … rails, does it? On our tram lines, to be precise.’

‘Correct.’

‘So, what if one of these vans hits a f*cking tram?’

‘Impossible; they’re launched according to timetable. You’ll only ever see ’em late at night. That’s the best time.’

Neil crushed his butt. ‘You’re full of sh*t, man; I don’t believe you.’

Liam stared at him. ‘Why not? You think our government isn’t capable of something like this?’

A minute passed.

‘All right smart arse; why haven’t we heard an explosion?’

‘Two possibilities. One: we’re in a club with the loudest band in the world. Two: the van hasn’t reached its target yet. That line runs as far as Kew, you know.’

‘My parents live in Kew!’

‘So you believe me.’

‘Of course I bloody don’t! In any case, I’d know if a blockhouse had been built there.’

‘I wouldn’t be so sure, mate. Who can tell what they’re building these days, once those hoardings go up?’

‘Do you know the location of any of the blockhouses?’

‘No. But I’m confident at least one will be fairly pinpointed by morning.’

Neil drained his glass and scowled.

Liam stood. ‘My shout?’

‘For the moment, you bastard. But this discussion is far from over.’

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Bondage Bear – A True Story

December 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Short Story | Leave a comment
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The leather was dark and fragrant …

It was a slow, hot day in the shop. Bec and Feisty waited for customers. She was used to it; he was out of his mind with boredom.

Bec wandered to the street display and retrieved the belt basket, which was almost empty. Feisty looked in and spotted a dozen spare keepers. He pushed two onto his fingers.

The leather was dark and fragrant, crossed with stout twine stitches bitten, no doubt, by some impoverished piece worker.

‘Cool loops,’ enthused Feisty, who was very easily amused.

‘Yeah.’

‘Why’d they send us so many spares?’

‘Dunno.’

‘Hmmm.’

To Feisty, everything had a message – sometimes obvious, often oblique. The best were those he invented: ‘omens of the highest order’. He resolved to divine the message of the spare leather loops.

‘I’m going to divine the message of these spare loops, OK Bec?’

‘Go for it.’

The toilet was even hotter than the shop. Tripping an angry dispersal of fat blowflies, Feisty dropped his jeans and sat in the oppressive fug. Perspiration dribbled down his back. A zephyr checked itself at the window.

Why send spares? Those poor buggers only make eight cents a day. Quality control? Sabotage? The desire to create an illusion of prosperity in the minds of Westerners. Now there’s a theory!

‘Additional loops? Of course Sahib, we have many, many loops; a veritable cornucopia of leather fragments for your utility and pleasure. Here, take some! Take 12! And go with God…’

Feisty daydreamed until, too soon, it was time to return to work. He’d determined the reason for the loops’ arrival. Now, how best to employ them?

A stock cabinet stood at the top of the stairs. As he chose paperweights to replace the morning’s sales, Feisty spotted a teddy bear jammed at the very back of the lowest shelf. An old, old stock item. Reverently he withdrew the bear and took it downstairs.

Bec moved the limbs and cocked the furry head. ‘Yeah we got ’em years ago, but they didn’t go. We had a sale.’ She sat the bear on the register. ‘They’re from India.’

Feisty regarded her narrowly. ‘India? Are you certain?’

‘Yeah; says on the tag. See?’

Feisty clutched the bear dramatically, fingers plumbing humble kapok filling. Then he took a leather loop from his pocket and examined it minutely. ‘Do you know what we’re going to do, Rebecca?’

Bec fanned herself with a greeting card and grinned past her chewy. ‘I cannot begin to imagine.’

‘We’re going to use two of our spare belt loops to create a wondrous product from this unpopular plaything. And do you know how we’re going to do it?’

‘Nuh.’

‘Watch!’

Feisty seized the bear and threaded its arm through a loop. Crooning with satisfaction, he slid it to the bear’s shoulder where it rode snugly amid the fur. With mounting enthusiasm, Feisty repeated the process with the other arm, then stood back and gestured wildly.

‘Behold, Bec! I give you… Bondage Bear!’

Bec snorted, first in disbelief, then with reluctant approval. The tawdry gewgaw had indeed changed into something novel. She picked it up and felt the… arm bands. A butch teddy with a fetish.

‘Hm. Hm. Very good.’

The weekend ground on. Feisty’s interest in Bondage Bear waned. But not before he’d explored every positional permutation. On finding the composite discarded by its creator, Bec put it in a dim corner and forgot about it.

**********

It was a slow, cool day in the shop. Bec and Feisty waited for customers. Both were used to it. A strange man entered – strange even by the shop’s standards.

He towered over the counter, bones prominent at selected chakras, jester suit tattered under diaphanous sarongs. His feet were curled and petrified.

He greeted the shop assistants with rabbit teeth and one good eye, while the other took a crazed, milky inventory. Then he made for the dim corner and retrieved Bondage Bear.

‘I’ve just got to buy this.’

Bec looked sharply at Feisty, but on seeing him stunned, held fire.

Feisty recovered quickly, to enjoy the rarest of retail triumphs. ‘Will that be cash?’

‘Yes thanks.’

Bec shook open a plastic bag.

‘Lord no! Bondage Bear must be wrapped thus!’

So saying, Feisty put the bear into a kneeling position and trussed the arms behind it with a rubber band. The customer nodded. Feisty snipped a corner off the bag and tied it firmly over the bear’s head with raffia. Bec watched, mouth agape.

The strange man placed his purchase carefully inside a knapsack and beamed. ‘I’m so pleased I found this.’ And he swept away into the dusk.

Bec and Feisty gazed after him.

‘What, in God’s name, is he going to do with that thing?’

‘It’s not a thing, Bec. It’s Bondage Bear. Don’t worry, his mystical hand-tooled Indian arm bands will protect him.’

‘Bullsh*t; our belts are made in Sydney.’

Feisty froze, a horrified expression on his face. ‘…I see.’

Bec glanced at her watch. ‘It’s five-thirty; better bring the stock in.’

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

The Purple Juggling Ring

September 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Poem | 4 Comments
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Purple 

Jenny was juggling on our balcony on Sunday afternoon. 

Her three coloured rings spun through the air above her concentrated gaze.

Suddenly, she lost control and the purple ring landed on my empty Violet Crumble wrapper.

‘It’s an omen!’  I cried. 

Jenny looked, and understood.

Later, she was juggling again, and this time, the purple ring landed on a cushion. 

It, too, was purple!

We stared at the ring, at the cushion and at each other.

‘It’s an omen!’  she exclaimed.

‘Purple seeks purple!’  I shouted.

And we understood.

It was groovy.

Fran the feral faerie – a corporate fable

September 1, 2009 at 9:30 am | Posted in Short Story | Leave a comment
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Fran was a Class 1 Field Operative – Tooth.

Fran the Faerie was pissed off. Her boss, Guido the Goblin, had just outlined the latest in a litany of Draconian continuous improvement initiatives. This one took the cake: Advanced Tooth Harvesting – what the hell were they thinking?

It wasn’t enough that some kids always pulled their fangs ahead of time for extra pocket money. Now management wanted faeries to force the issue with the rest of the infant population. It was obscene and insane, and watching the Board of Elders roll over on the ethics issue had been nauseating.

Naturally, it was all about money. Now a public company, Faerie Corporation’s shareholders were demanding a greater return on their investment. Seven percent organic growth was the new target and they were struggling to make two. Gone were the days of doing good deeds for their own sake. Economic rationalism had finally dribbled down to the Wee Folk.

Goblin Consulting had done their research well, aiming their business re-engineering pitch at the heart of faerie raison d’etre with devastating results. Every faerie wants to do good; any system promising greater good for effort expended was therefore guaranteed to fly.

Subsequent globalisation had united countless faerie populations – creating communication and distribution networks and economies of scale unprecedented in corporate history. Monopoly on a unique spectrum of goods and services was achieved virtually overnight, at minimal cost, with zero redundancies.

The Goblins had initially taken a conciliatory line. Now they were using accelerated vesting share option equity to tighten the screws. Fee for service was the new order and non-value added activities were being shut down or radically restructured.

Due to the nature of their operation, tooth faeries had always run at a loss and been cross-subsidised by their colleagues. Goblin Consulting revolutionised this process after a controversial High Court test case.

While teeth were deemed to be organs under law, the voluntary nature of their surrender (as evidenced by placing them in a dedicated vessel – often with a written waiver) meant the owner-nominated collection agency was free to dispose of recovered units as it saw fit.

What the faeries didn’t know was that children’s teeth were the chief constituent of ‘Star’, a psychotropic drug that brought back the sleep of childhood – deep, safe, healing and filled with wondrous dreams. Physically innocuous but psychologically addictive, every adult human craved it nightly after just one hit.

The Goblins had developed Star by leveraging their extensive nocturnal expertise. All that remained was to integrate a reliable upstream source of materials. On attaining a controlling interest in Faerie Corporation, the creation of ‘Tooth Division’ was the goblin’s first major restructuring initiative.

Operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Goblin Consulting, Tooth Division purchased all teeth collected by the faeries at a price which covered operating costs, remittances to children and a modest goodwill stipend. In return, tooth faeries (or ‘Field Operatives – Tooth’, as they were now called) ceded policy control to Tooth Division.

Star’s street price represented a 10,000% mark-up on the cost of production. Thanks to a sophisticated batching system and use of retired supernumerary goblins, the unit cost of magic was negligible.

Given this phenomenal profit margin and the global nature of the operation, sourcing teeth even one day earlier meant money in the bank through streamlining the Just In Time system and consequent gains in inventory turns.

As founding Head of Tooth Division, Guido the Goblin had always planned to introduce Advanced Tooth Harvesting (ATH). It was just a matter of timing. A black Mercedes Kompressor, a penthouse with woodland views and a briefcase made of ‘Enola Gay’ bomb door components were testament to his business acumen.

Fran was a young Faerie Liaison Officer attached to his office – intelligent, idealistic and tech-savvy. Guido fancied the wings off her but she had repeatedly and brutally turned him down. For revenge, he teased her with company secrets and taunted her over the systematic disempowerment of her species.

Fran disliked him as much as a faerie could, staying at her post solely to find a way to derail the soulless juggernaut Goblin Consulting had created. Now it was crunch time.

Fran was a Class 1 Field Operative – Tooth. Cross trained, industry certified and peer accredited, it was her job to translate Tooth Division policy into Faerie Corporation reality. Though Fran had never been overly fond of human children, she was adamant that ATH was going too far.

Of greatest concern were the nebulous definition of ‘advanced’ and the assumption that child vendors, by dint of their initial act of supply, signalled intent to render all their teeth to Faerie Corporation. Under the most extreme interpretation, ATH guidelines suggested that the timing of tooth recovery was at the sole discretion of the collection agent.

Put simply, this meant Tooth Division could order the harvesting of commercial weight teeth while they were still in the heads of their owners.

Expecting Fran to pick this up, Guido had been ready for her challenge. He effusively reassured her that as good corporate citizens, Goblin Corporation would never allow its agents to breach vendor rights. The only teeth to be gathered ‘pre-release’ would be those in imminent danger of dislodging naturally during the night of collection.

He further argued that such pre-emptive action was justified on safety grounds, citing a recent exhaustive study of infant mortality through tooth-triggered asphyxiation.

Fran was unconvinced; everything the Goblins did was mercenary. Their cynical resurrection of the poetic term ‘faerie’ was a case in point. Guido’s slick briefing paper had recommended the rebranding solely to tap the emotions of the corporation’s older, wealthier target market and to foster an image of olde worlde integrity and craftsmanship.

Fran knew it was all bullsh*t, but what could she do? Her individual bargaining contract was explicit. Failure to execute a legitimate Board decision meant instant dismissal and forfeit of superannuation benefits. And with Faerie Corporation the only halfling service provider on the planet, employment prospects were zero. Goblin Consulting had even cornered the freelance market.

It was enough to drive a hot-blooded idealist to distraction. Or even sabotage. In her rage, Fran suddenly conceived a radical plan. If she could preempt ATH with a publicised demonstration of its intrinsic horror, the public backlash could outweigh shareholder greed.

It was a slender chance, but worth pursuing. All she needed was an attractive, high profile toddler with one or more teeth that were not quite ready to drop.

Turning down yet another salacious Friday night invitation from her boss, Fran went home to ponder …

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

PIc by ~bear~.

Imagine Day

August 29, 2009 at 1:07 am | Posted in Short Story | Leave a comment
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Imagine Day Title Small

Feisty gripped Fon’s shoulder excitedly.
‘Choose a day!’

Feisty and Fon were power walking along Melbourne’s Yarra River. It was a hot summer Saturday, nearly lunchtime. Having trekked from Armadale, Fon was feeling they’d bitten off more than they could chew. Fitzroy was still five tortuous kilometres away.

Feisty decided to distract Fon from her cruel blisters and protesting calves. He pointed at a tall poplar tree.

‘Look, Fonnie; see how that branch is dying off?’

Fon raised her sweat-soaked brow and squinted into the blinding sun. ‘Yeah.’

‘Imagine being a leaf on that branch, watching the dieback heading toward you. Chances are, you’d forget all about the view and how groovy it was to be a leaf. You’d be consumed with the fear of death. Paralysed. Unable to think of anything else.’

‘I guess so,’ replied Fon wearily.

‘The thing is,’ continued Feisty with mounting enthusiasm, ‘poplars are deciduous. That leaf is going to fall off months before the dieback gets to it. When it goes, it’ll have spent its whole life worrying about something that never posed a true threat.’

Fon concentrated on the baking asphalt of the bicycle path. ‘Uh-huh.’

Feisty beamed at the blue sky, pleased with his keen eye for nature and powers of philosophical interpretation. The couple walked in silence for a time.

‘Fonnie.’

‘Yes, Feisty.’

‘This is a great walk, isn’t it?’

‘It’s a bit longer than I thought it would be.’

‘Sure, but it’s great to be out, isn’t it?’

‘Yes. It is.’

‘Imagine if that whole freeway were covered in those dimpled concrete tiles they use in car parks.’

‘What?’

‘You know, the ones that have little recesses, like egg cartons. You lay them down and cover them with topsoil. Then you sow grass. When the grass grows, the concrete foundation stops cars from sinking into the earth or tearing it up. Beats the sh*t out of a normal car park surface.’

‘Oh, yeah. I know the ones.’

‘Well, imagine if the whole South Eastern Freeway were paved with them. Imagine the extra oxygen. It’d look great. Man, it’d be fantastic, don’t you think? Fonnie? Why don’t they do that? What’s your theory?’

Fon regarded the noisy freeway. Her poorly fitting sandshoes squelched with perspiration. A relentless trio of flies strafed her face, effortlessly evading the angry swish of her arms. Her armpits chafed and her head throbbed. She drew a deep breath.

‘Feisty.’

‘Yes baby?’

‘Can we please stop imagining things until we get home?’

Feisty looked at her, surprised and hurt. His brow furrowed. ‘Why?’

‘I’m really hot and tired. I find it hard picturing all the things you describe. Especially since you’ve had me doing it all week.’

‘I have?’

‘Yes. On Monday we had the farting biting cat, as well as bride-sniping from that penthouse next to the Fitzroy Gardens. On Tuesday, it was the slate tiles from Mars and the clothing that hurts people if they don’t look good in it. On Wednesday I had dinner with Debbie, but as soon as I got home, you told me all about the piano-wire banana lounge that slices people into bits if they don’t lie on it properly. Then, on Thursday, Steven came over, and both of you went on for ages about camouflage bean bags getting lost in the garden. Finally, yesterday, after a really sh*tty week at work, I came home to your idea for a dining table with a built in hologram unit that can record and replay the events that occur around it.’

‘I see,’ said Feisty, crushed. He was easily crushed.

‘It’s not that I don’t enjoy your ideas, baby,’ explained Fon carefully. ‘It’s just that it’s easier for you to invent them than it is for me to picture them. And when, like today, I’m hot and tired and thirsty and uncomfortable, I don’t really enjoy the experience as much as you obviously do. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?’

‘Yes,’ mumbled Feisty, sulking.

Please don’t think I want you to stop imagining stuff. I don’t. I just need a breather now and then.’

‘So you don’t want me to stop completely?’

‘No, baby. Of course not. I love your ideas. I wish I could think of them myself. Well, not all of them; some of the stuff you come out with is pretty weird. All I’m saying is that I can only handle your imagination in small doses.’

‘I see,’ said Feisty, recovering. ‘What if we had one day per week when I could tell you all my sh*t? I could save everything up and hit you with it on the weekend, when you’re relaxed.’

‘That could work.’

‘Yeah? You wouldn’t mind?’

‘No, not at all. I’m just too tired during the week. If you gave me a break for six days, I’m sure I’d be fine on the seventh.’

Feisty gripped Fon’s shoulder excitedly. ‘Choose a day!’

Fon thought carefully. ‘What about Saturday?’

‘Does that include today?’

‘No. I’m too hot. We’ll start from next Saturday, OK?’

Feisty was momentarily disappointed. They were approaching a pontoon bridge. He’d already invented the troll who lived beneath it and was bursting to tell.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

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