CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
John could take this no longer. He walked out into Clifton Village for lunch, found a secluded spot, ensured his mobile phone was set to conceal his number and phoned the acupuncturist. They agreed to meet, but John insisted on an after-dark meeting in a location on the far side of Bristol, lest he be seen “consorting with the enemy.” John went burdened with a backpack bulging with reports of drug trials and other supporting evidence which he had put together in the two days before their meeting, all of which served no purpose but to encumber him, since the acupuncturist simply pointed out that most drugs were deliberately designed to stop the body from working in some way, which John could not deny, and that in the long term this approach could only damage the patient’s health, since the body was being prevented from functioning normally.
“But that is healing,” protested John. “You find out what’s wrong and then stop it from happening!”
“No,” said the other, still managing to remain calm, “That approach only suppresses the immediate symptoms.”
“But that’s healing!” said John, at a loss.
“It isn’t healing. Healing is returning the organ functions to normal. It isn’t randomly applying chemicals to stop the body from working…”
“But they’re not random—” interrupted John.
“…to stop the body from working in the hope that its functioning will be blocked to the extent that the poor patient’s symptoms can’t be expressed.”
“But that’s…. But they’re not random. They’re carefully worked out,” banging his hand on his stack of papers. “This is all nonsense.”
“They’re random because your understanding of the body’s chemistry is so limited you don’t know the full effects you’ll have on it. Take the asthma example. Asthma is usually caused by a weakness in the kidneys, not the lungs. But you imagine the problem is in the lungs, so you apply bronchodilator inhalers to expand the airways in the lungs which gives short term relief, but it doesn’t tackle the underlying cause. And each time the drug is taken, it weakens the lungs and eventually the lungs become so weak that some patients may even die. But we cure the asthma by strengthening the kidney function, which was the cause of the problem. With your approach, your—understandable—ignorance only harms the patient’s health.”
“Understandable— You—”
 
On the publication of Cogitation’s scholarly (and impressively thick) paper forty years ago, the local government passed a bylaw, making it illegal for any household to not possess a goldfish, and ordered Cogitation to test her findings in Perception and the surrounding county. But they required her to do this single‑handedly, because they found her paper so impressively thick that they did not want to waste any money on her ridiculous project.
She conducted her research for the past forty years, and now, at the age of seventy‑one, was nearing the completion of her trial. Near the beginning, she noticed that because Grumble Factor was slowly being converted into Comprehension Factor in the goldfish bowls, an imbalance was caused between these Factors in the community. To bring the system into balance, the residents started to produce a new type of Factor. This Factor only existed for a short while in a person and she called it Trivial Grumble Factor—because it produced in the person a Grumble concerned with an apparently trivial topic.
Over the past forty years, the residents needed to produce so much of this Trivial Grumble Factor that they had no time to spare for committing crimes. This gradually caused the police force to become incompetent in all matters except the entertaining activity of thinking up stimulating things to now use their truncheons for.
Then, one month ago, the residents awoke to find a second murderer loose amongst them. Cries of alarm and of panic‑stricken terror were rife. But the loudest of these came from the county’s police stations. This went on for a whole week, by which time the death toll had reached six people. That afternoon—amid glorious sunshine, the tweeting of birds and much wafting about of warm air—the mayor of Perception (one Ivor Medallion, whose middle name was rumoured to be Silver) finally stormed into 121 Misapprehension Lane (the police force’s headquarters—otherwise known as Bright Spark House) he stormed in—he’d had enough; by golly, he’d had enough!—and he stamped his foot several times—and rather firmly, too—and shouted that it was their job to apprehend the murderer.
In the face of this shocking outrage, half the force resigned. The numbed residue were sent on a rigorous three‑week training course and then two days’ recuperation at Clacton‑on‑Sea. On their return to duty the death toll in Perception (perhaps not surprisingly, since the entire constabulary had been absent for three weeks) had reached twenty‑one people.
This brings us to the present day in July of 1986. The mass murderer was still loose and many of the citizens had by now become somewhat hysterical.

Fiction

Stories from a Leaking Mind

Stories from a Leaking Mind
A collection of short stories. Each of the eighteen stories are different in style but all feature a comic, thoughtful and poetic approach to this exploration of the striking inner worlds of these memorable characters. Read more>>

Andrea Segovia Loses Control

Andrea Segovia Loses Control
Short story. Andrea is addicted to correcting other people’s mistakes, and when she moves to London to meet her new boyfriend, she finds that she has plenty of work to do. Read more>>

The Gallery

The Gallery
Short story. A woman stumbles into a gallery and finds pictures of her own life displayed there. Read more>>

The Price to Pay

The Price to Pay
Short story. In a moment of recklessness I begin overspending which soon attracts the attention of a shady character who watches over me. I then discover the shocking price I must pay. Read more>>

Choosing the Right Drinks

Choosing the Right Drinks
Short story. How do we choose to spend our life? And is our chosen path of any value? Joseph is dying and is troubled by the choices he made in life. Clemency, his nurse, has no answers for him but his turmoil causes her to re-evaluate her own life. Read more>>

My Constant Companion

My Constant Companion
Short story. A man is being pursued by his shadow—or so it appears to him. Read more>>

The Wimpering Beach

The Whimpering Beach
Short story. In a tropical paradise, the boundaries are blurred between love and terrorism—but then perhaps those boundaries are blurred everywhere. Read more>>

Irresistible Temptation

Irresistible Temptation
Short story. An old man offers me some simple advice which I ignore and this begins the adventure of my life. Read more>>

A Substitute Passion

A Substitute Passion
Short story. Many Truman is accident prone when wearing stiletto heels. She decides to wear them one more time and finds this unleashes from within her a shocking passion. Read more>>

The Armchair Ballet Dancer

The Armchair Ballet Dancer
Short story. To the outside world, Benjamin Clark seems unusually happy, but this only masks his inner turmoil as he struggles to live with the consequences of a single reckless decision he made at the age of eighteen. Read more>>

Fiction Archive

Fiction Archive
A selection of classic fiction by past authors, including short stories, longer fiction, and poetry. Read more>>

The Tragedy of Perception

The Tragedy of Perception
Full-length novel. In a town called Perception, the citizens are ruled by an extravagant madness. The novel is a comic allegory about communication problems. Read more>>

If only Cats could Speak Japanese

If only Cats could Speak Japanese
Short story. Lorna Glover does not know whether her boyfriend has any feelings for her, so she decides to consult the Emotional Detective Agency to try to solve the riddle. Read more>> 

Craig Stemford's Imprisonment

Craig Stemford's imprisonment
Short story. Craig Stemford’s life seems like a prison sentence. He meets a new girlfriend on the internet, secretly hoping that she might set him free, but instead he only gains a deeper insight into his sentence. Read more>>

Samuel Pam

Samuel Pam’s Salvation
Short story. Samuel’s life is plagued by strangers who whisper to him unwanted messages of a sexual nature. Read more>>

Shorter works

Shorter works
Short pieces of fiction, poems, prose poems, nonsense poems, or other short pieces of writing that don't seem to fit anywhere else. Read more>>

The Beckoning Precipice

The Beckoning Precipice
Short story. A doctor, who is racked by guilt, is contemplating suicide, but are his misdeeds imaginary? Read more>>

Daniel and the Wine Stain

Daniel and the Wine Stain
Short story. In one way or another, we are all disabled. Daniel’s disabilities are not immediately obvious, yet when he is forced to face them, he becomes overwhelmed. Read more>>

The Betrayal of Jack Baynes

The Betrayal of Jack Baynes
Short story. Ray Herring recalls his school days and the betrayal of his best friend, Jack Baynes. Read more>>

Thinking Inside the Box

Thinking ‘Inside the Box’
Short story. A burden is thrust upon me, in the manner of a cryptic message. Read more>>

A Martial Artist Meets his Match

A Martial Artist Meets his Match
Short story. Jack Hutton was a martial arts champion. But nothing in his training had prepared him for his life’s ultimate challenge, which began the day Maryanne moved in with him. Read more>>

Trout with Celery Stuffing

Trout with Celery Stuffing
Short story. I attempt to eat a simple meal in a restaurant but find myself getting deeper and deeper into trouble and unable to negotiate my escape. Read more>>