Tiny Tales.

Each is about(!) 200 words long.

All stories (c) Ajesh Sharma - No portion of the stories below may be used for any reason without the express, prior approval of the author.


13-Apr-2022: Sad

It was not a dark and stormy night. It was a clear moonlit night.

The fire glowed gently as he sat there. Across the valley he could see the city lights twinkling. The air was crisp and cool as he sat on the back porch of his isolated house.

He heard her slide the patio door open. He didn’t turn. She stood by him. Not a word was spoken. She put her hand on his shoulder.

“Coming in? It’s getting chillier out”, she said.

“Yeah. I think so. I’m going to make tea. You want some, too?”

“Sure. Green for me.”

He put the kettle on, made the tea and carried it over. He sat down.

She said, “Let’s not watch TV. I want to talk.”

“Sure”, he shrugged.

She talked, he listened, until it was time for her to go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13-Apr-2022: Happy

It was not a dark and stormy night. It was a clear moonlit night.

The fire glowed gently as he sat there. Across the valley he could see the city lights twinkling. The air was crisp and cool as he sat on the back porch of his isolated house.

He heard her slide the patio door open. He didn’t turn. She stood by him. Not a word was spoken. She put her hand on his shoulder.

“Coming in? It’s getting chillier out”, she said.

“Yeah. I think so. I’m going to make tea. You want some, too?”

“Sure. Green for me.”

He put the kettle on, made the tea and carried it over. He sat down.

She said, “Let’s not watch TV. I want to read.”

“Sure”, he shrugged.

They read, sipping tea at intervals, until it was time to brush their teeth and get into bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

8-Apr-2022: The Photograph

He stared at the contents of the drawer for what seemed an age. Yellowing papers, sticky rubber bands, clips and the flotsam and jetsam of pens almost hid the photograph. There were cracks and creases across the the top right. At some point someone seemed to have jammed it into the corner of the drawer and the pressure caused by that bend had been sustained for a some time.

The photo clearly showed its age. The black and white was fading and yellowing, the white border browning rapidly.ut the face in it glowed. Forty years had not aged the gentle hint of a smile, nor dimmed the sparkle in the eyes.

He placed it on the desk, took the drawer out completely and shook the contents out into the dustbin. He replaced the drawer on its rails, shut it and went to the kitchen. He opened the fridge, opened the beer can and stared out into the backyard. Across the fence, he could see the sloping hillside where the sheep grazed quietly.

He turned abruptly and sat down at the desk. He picked up the photo and stared at it as he drank his beer. He put the can down, wiped his hand, placed the photo in the drawer, right in the middle of a now empty drawer. He shut the drawer, leaned back, drinking beer, with his head swirling from the memories the photo had raised.

Outside, the world grew dark as the sun set. He sat there, lost in his thoughts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5-Apr-2022: The Professional

It was not a dark and stormy night.

It was, bright clear and, in fact, it was not night at all, with the sun shining, the birds chirping from every lamp-post. This was due to the latest convenience installed by the city. Tiny speakers embedded at the top of the lamp-posts emitted a regular supply of noises that the city felt would have come from the woods that had once graced the north-east corner of the city.

It was late spring, with just a hint of a nip in the air.

Jim walked leisurely along, his maroon and gold muffler thrown casually around his neck, his coffee cup in his right hand. He wore the traditional downtown-young-professional uniform, bright blue suit, two sizes small, the trouser legs ending well above the ankles, so his bright yellow socks with red balloons showed above the orange-tan pointed-toe shoes. A brown leather satchel across his shoulders completed the ensemble.

His day’s work would occupy him till 6pm. A fruitful day, by his standards, two revisions of the presentation and and 216 emails sent. The executives hadn’t made any decisions yet.

Maybe tomorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

30-Mar-2022: Bored Blogger

Todd had been flirting with his blog for nearly ten years.

Nobody read it, but he could not bring himself to give it up.

There had been a time when he had conducted conversations with fellow bloggers from around the world. US, Germany, Spain, Gibraltar, Italy and India among others contained bloggers who came over to read and comment. He went over to their blogs and commented on their fairly interesting anecdotes. This minor network had long since evaporated.

This was a period in Todd’s life when he felt that he would make some sort of impression and maybe gain a minor role as regular correspondent in a magazine of some sort. One in its infancy or one that found his style interesting enough to foist on their readers. Many years of this with not an iota of interest from anyone around the world had finally convinced him that it was not to be.

Now, he blogged when he felt like it; weird self-satisfying posts that amused him and made him feel, for a brief moment, a small glow of confidence. The lack of response usually meant that by the next day he was bored again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

22-Feb-2022: Pomes

Oft in vacant or pensive mood he read poetry. He remembered trying his hand at writing his own.

This, his friends found trying, very trying. They begged him to stop trying.

His keyboard volleyed and thundered and as he stormed through the piece his mind crack’d from side to side and out flew the thoughts and opened wide.” His thoughts wandered lonely as a cloud, as they often did. He murmured to himself, if I tell them I came and no one answered, I could always say that I kept my word.

The curfew tolled the knell of parting day and it was time to go and rest before the first grey of morning fill'd the east.

His year was almost at the spring, the lark’s on the wing and snails oozed over the thorns somewhere.

He slept knowing that when the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, a poet shoots an albatross.

Tomorrow, on the list of loonies, lo! Ajesh’s name led all the rest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

9-Feb-2022: Bright Young Man

It was a dark and silent night; not quite wholly dark, just enough.

He was a bright kid, everyone said but nobody ever thought of checking his cuffs at exam time.

Now he sat in the corner office, his body tense, his eyes seeing nothing through the broad windows. His company was worthless, its stock value equal to the value of horse piss. Fifteen thousand employees were too many they said. It was a great product line, but nobody checked his books.

He heaved himself out of his big leather chair and strode towards the twin doors. He fired up his car. It was small and red and very, very fast. He drove out onto the highway that ran by the edge of the sea. His eyes, set, his wrists taut, he sped through the night.

The corner seemed to leap into the path of the car. His wheels were no match for the curve.

People came and said words that sounded nice, as they stood by his casket of polished cherry. When it was over, they went about their life.

Such a very bright young man. Pity, he ended up that way, they said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2-Feb-2022: Dirty Boss

Mr. Dasgupta invariably wore white shirts and a tie, when he should not have worn a white shirt and tie, mostly because the collars and cuffs of his white shirts were dark with sweaty grime, his tie was greasy and black and the lenses of his thick glasses coated with a year’s supply of dust, sweat and Calcutta smog. He smoked incessantly, never flicking the ash off his cigarette, leaving me wondering when the long tendril of ash would fall off, and whether it would fall in his teacup or his lap.

He was, without doubt, the filthiest human being I had ever met that wore a tie and spoke English perfectly. He was completely unaware of the air of squalor that surrounded him.

One day, he sat smoking his ash tipped cigarette, under two lizards running around over his head.

When the male lizard jumped his mate and commenced sexual intercourse, the pressure was too much for the two of them. They fell, in a twisted, writhing heap onto his head and from there down his shirt front to his lap before leaping to the floor. We all flinched, except Mr. Dasgupta, who sat there laughing as the two lizards scampered across his shirt, onto the floor and across the room.

Such was my boss.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

26-Jan-2022: Scent of a woman

The staircase to the second-floor flat (apartment, if American), did not end at the door, but continued inside for another 5 steps to a little room over the staircase. The outside wall was all glass from floor to ceiling and spanned the entire width of the staircase, matching each landing below.

He had taken over the storeroom, cleaned out the junk and painted it. An old curtain, repurposed from discarded curtains from one of the bedrooms, cut off prying eyes. He moved his father’s old desk in, found a wicker basket as a shade for a solitary lamp and deemed it his study.

On the floor, away from the door, there was space where he could lie down and he did.

With her. Often.

It was a time for widespread powercuts in the city. Candlelight made the trysts, meant for studying for the university exams, more invigorating.

The heat of the city, the burning candles and the general air of raging hormonal activity mixed with the smell of burning wood as the candle burned all the way into the top of the desk is a scent he remembered, mixed with the perfume of a sweaty woman.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

18-Jan-2022: Dashed Hope

Todd sighed and opened the door and got out. He walked around the car and held the door open as Summer got out after collecting her bag.

“Let’s get this over with. The saving grace is Jim always has that great brisket. He really does know how to wring the best out of it”, he said.

They walked up the two steps to the front door and rang the doorbell. Jim pulled the door open and stood there with a big grin on his face.

“Come on in! Good to see you guys. You’re bang on time to see me get the finishing touches on the dinner.”

“Todd was just saying how great your brisket always is, Jim.”

“Yeah man, you really have that one nailed”, said Todd.

“Whoops! Man! Sorry! We’re not having brisket. Cynthia said we should try something different. Andie doesn’t eat red meat.”

Todd clapped his hands to his head. His eyes bulged and his mouth let out a silent scream.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

12-Jan-2022: A Slightly Musical Story

"Where have all the flowers gone?"

"Oh, I garbaged them. The water had started to discolor and leaves on the twigs were falling."

"Ah. Ok. What about those little boxes? There were so many of them; green ones and red ones and yellow ones, all taped up with ticky tacky."

"I put them in the garage. Hey, Joe, where you going with that ?"

"I was thinking of going down to Yasgur's farm and pick up some of his little green apples."

"Wait for a couple of minutes. It's a bit of a drive. If you get bored I'll be there for you. Especially if the rain starts to fall, as it's threatening to."

They drove into the countryside past the old oak tree with the yellow ribbon. Up on Cripple Creek, the scarlet begonias sparkled in the sun.

"Hey! Watch where you're going? Dreaming, dreaming again with some song playing in your head?"

"Oops, sorry. Didn't see that lane reduction."

He put the basket full of fruit down and they sat by the banks of the Ohio watching the clouds rolling away.

Apologies and acknowledgements to the song writers. If anyone really wants to know all the references I can provide a list...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

28-Dec-2021: The Wait

He stood on the porch watching the drive, the dog sitting upright next to him, waiting.

Waiting for the car, for her.

He watched her get out and wave to him. He waved back. She was smiling, a smile he knew so well. He smiled back and walked down the porch stairs as she came up. The hug felt familiar but slightly uncomfortable. Behind her came her companion.

He hadn’t been able to think of him as her husband.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

22-Dec-2021: The Loon

Oft in vacant or pensive mood he read poetry. He remembered trying his hand at writing his own. This, his friends found trying, very trying. They begged him to stop trying.

His keyboard volleyed and thundered and as he stormed through the piece his mind crack’d from side to side and out flew the thoughts and opened wide.”

His thoughts wandered lonely as a cloud, as they often did. He murmured to himself, if I tell them I came and no one answered, I could always say that I kept my word. The curfew tolled the knell of parting day and it was time to go and rest before the first grey of morning fill'd the east.

He looked at the word count and cursed inwardly and wrote his final thoughts.

His year was almost at the spring, the lark’s on the wing and snails oozed over the thorns somewhere. Tomorrow would be all ice everywhere as today’s rain froze over, making for an interesting drive.

He slept knowing that when the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, a poet shoots an albatross.

Tomorrow, on the list of loonies, lo! Ajesh’s name led all the rest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

21-Dec-2021: Rhoda

"Oh, Ed's flying me to Australia on Monday! I'll be at the Rugby Finals!

"Wow, Rhoda!", cried Megan.

"Yes, I'm so excited! After the game we're going out into the outback. I've always wanted to see what's it like. Read so much about it. Dying to see it."

"You guys are going to have so much fun.", said Tom, "By the way, you better get those rhododendron bushes planted before you go, Eddie boy!"

Ed grinned.

"All ready for the planting. Beds are dug."

Four weeks later, the distraught Ed Miller filed a missing person report for his wife Rhoda Miller.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15-Dec-2021: Hello, World

#include <stdio.h>
main()
{
printf(“Hello World! \n”);
}
He stared it for a while. He hit F5 and the screen said "Hello World!"

He erased the word "World" and typed in his name. He hit F5 again.

He erased his name and typed in her name and hit F5 again.

He switched off the computer and went to bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1-Dec-2021: Floyd Sonata

They sipped their coffee at the breakfast buffet. The pianist played live on the grand piano. He thought he recognized Moonlight Sonata and wondered why.

The music changed and she said "Floyd!"

And sure enough he could hear those famous 4 notes from the intro to the "Wish you were here" album.

He knew then, as he'd always known, that she was the one for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

23-Nov-2021: The Pirate

Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, the lonely sea pirate sat on the deck with his wooden leg beside him and his parrot on his shoulder.

He was lonely. He was sad. He was bearded. His one-eyedness matched his one leggedness.

He wondered about the sea, the storm, the jagged lightning that broke through the night. He had just started to wonder about the light and the meaning of life when it hit him.

I’m here to tell the tale of what might have been.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17-Nov-2021: In Sync

"That's the standout line in the song, you know."

"I know exactly what you mean!", he exclaimed.

She said, "Most people will say that the 'freedom's just another word' bit is the big line, but for me the line is "trade all my tomorrows'".

In that moment he knew the answer to Foreigner's cry "I want know what love is."

His heart filled with joy, he stood up, held the door jamb and stretched.

And made another cup of coffee.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10-Nov-2021: The Train Conductor

The soap opera went through fifteen tense moments in the airtime allotted to it between the main focus of the show, the advertisements selling everything from TVs to underwear.

Then the lights were turned out and they slept. He dreamed of Saturday nights with no trains to manage. He was on stage, playing, living, being the tablas, cut off from a life that offered him little in the present and nothing for the future.

She dreamed of the little warm and then cold bodies she had once held in her arms, her tears of joy mixing into a rain of sorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~