CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
“But I haven’t eaten my trout yet.”
“He said he’s not going to,” Roger told them.
“That doesn’t mean I’m not going to,” I said, in desperation.
“Who’s a liar now!” said Roger.
“Come with us,” said the second burly man, who seemed less patient than the first. Nevertheless, I tried distracting him with an elaborate intellectual argument and soon found myself being lifted from my chair and transported from the restaurant. Two days later, I was stood before a judge.
“You should not play with fish,” the judge told me.
“I was not playing with it.”
“You were seen doing it.”
“He’s a liar,” shouted Roger.
“Order!” shouted the judge. “I will decide who’s a liar and who is not.”
“The waiter’s a liar,” I said.
“Do you mean you were not playing with the trout?” asked the judge.
“No; he said he owned the restaurant, but he didn’t”
So, you admit playing with the trout?”
“I nudged it a few times; I did not play with it.”
“I’ll decide if nudging it a few times is playing with it, or not. Exactly how did you nudge it?”
“With my fork,” I said, puzzled.
“Hmmm. That sounds playful to me,” said the judge.
“I was not playing,” I shouted.
“Did your fork pierce its skin?”
“Did you cause a wound?”
“Of course not.”
“Well, there you are. You were clearly playing with it. If you had serious intentions, you would have pressed your fork through its skin and into its flesh, but instead you merely played with it.”
For the remainder of the trial, I remained in stunned silence. I was then taken to an open field on the hillside that overlooked the village. The two burly men were charged with constructing my prison and for days they toiled, carefully placing each solid, irrefutable brick upon the ever rising walls of my cell, leaving me only one small window. They placed their last brick on the morning of 6 August, and through my window I watched Roger parading on the grass of that hillside, adorned in the red sash. Back and forth, smiling, caressing the sash, watching my cell, turning, parading back down the hill, then back up again, but somehow seeming unable to wear his victory in comfort. It did not fit, was too small, too large, or irritated his skin with its rough fabric. His delight was corrupted with worry. He increased his pace, became almost frantic. He had the red sash but it was not enough; something was missing. Finally he ran to my cell and shouted in at my window:
I ordered the trout. Ha! What do you think of that?”
He strutted off. His victory was now complete.

In the goldfish bowl, Bruce and Sheila Softly were hovering side by side. For the past ten minutes there was nothing but silence, and—to Bruce, anyway—the silence seemed to deepen with each minute.
For one further time, Sheila looked accusingly at Bruce; and Bruce could not stand this any longer. He turned to swim off, when Sheila said, “Where do you think you’re going, Bruce?”
Bruce opened his mouth to speak but there did not seem anything to say, so he just watched Sheila with his mouth hanging open.
Sheila demanded, “Well?”
Bruce said, in an experimental tone, “For a swim—?”
Sheila snapped, “Get back here—I want a word with you.”
Bruce turned back and sighed.
Sheila said, “And just why can’t you see me as a bus driver?”
“That! you’re asking me about that?”
“Come on, why?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do, Bruce.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You do!”
“I don’t!”
After a pause, Bruce said, “It was only an example—that’s all.”
“But why pick that?”
“No reason, Sheila; it was just the first thing I thought of.”
Sheila scowled at him and said, “You think that’s all I’m good for, don’t you?—driving busses.”
“Of course not.”
“Why then?”
“It— er— it just didn’t seem like your style, that’s all, Sheila, not your style.”
“Not my style?”
“Why not?”
“I just pictured you doing something better.”
“Something better?”
“Of course, Sheila.”
“Like what?”
“Like whatever you wanted to.”
“And what if I wanted to be bus driver!”
Bruce shouted, “Be a bus driver, if that’s what you want!”
“But you said it wasn’t my style, Bruce.”
Bruce glared at Sheila for several seconds—his glare steadily intensifying—then he turned and darted away.
Sheila called, “You said you couldn’t really see me as a bus driver, Bruce.”
Bruce circled the bowl, going quicker and quicker, trying to block out the sound of Sheila’s taunts.
Sheila kept shouting, “—Saying that’s all I’m good for—that’s what you were doing. I can see exactly what you’re thinking, so don’t think you’ve fooled me. No, you’re just pretending it’s not what you were thinking, Bruce. That’s it—I can see everything you’re thinking—I can see it in your face!”
Bruce was now so enraged he was in danger of deliberately leaping from the bowl to escape Sheila’s taunts.
But Sheila then seemed to have finally emptied his whole head of words, so he turned, peered silently through the glass of the bowl and continued watching the view in the living room—but this time smirking smugly.


Fiction and nonfiction by Fletcher Kovich and also classic writers.


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