Tag Archives: Alastair’s Photo Fiction

Dear Aunt Hattie…

Dear Aunt Hattie Letter

I refolded the yellowed paper and after slipping it back into its crinkled envelope, I set it back against the gravestone. As I stood up, I saw a chinchilla staring at me from the top of a gravestone twenty feet away. Its eyes seemed to glow in the dying twilight. I’d never seen one in the wild before.

The sun sunk below the hills and the cemetery was plunged into darkness. I bolted for my car, every second dreading to hear tiny, skittering footsteps on the path behind me.

 

 

 

 

 

chinchilla gif

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Rabid Disregard

Captain Rabid did not inspire confidence, beginning with his name and ending with his apparent desire to kill his entire crew. On his first day he dismissed the ship’s doctor in order to motivate the men not to get injured or sick. He routinely ordered them to charge enemy ships head on, despite the fact that it gave the foe a perfect chance to rake the ship from stem to stern. Eventually enemy ships would just turn and run, not wanting to fight a crazy man.

One of the midshipmen had a pool going to guess the reason for this apparent insanity. The top choice was that he was suicidal; the second choice was homicidal. Less popular choices were that he had a father who was a hero and was trying to follow in his footsteps. In last place was the idea that he just wanted to get fired and go home.

*        *        *

Captain Rabid opened his diary.

Dear diary, I have done everything exactly wrong and still I am employed. The ship’s pool is at almost 100 pounds. Tomorrow, I will claim it, then have a naughty phrase concerning the admiral’s mother painted on the side of the ship. I should be at home in my garden by the end of the week.


The Legend of Arthur King

The Legend of Arthur King

“Good evening, and welcome to the BBC News at Six. He calls himself the reincarnation of the legendary king of the Britons, but his passport says Arthur King. Mr. King is on a quest to rid the country of what he calls ‘invaders and filthy foreigners.’ He was recently arrested after threatening to ‘blow up Essex’. Our history correspondent Alastair Forbington interviewed him today.”

The picture shifts to an inmate in Belmarsh Prison.

“It’s disgusting, you know, the way these foreigners are taking over everything. When I was king, Briton was ruled by the true British. Not like now. Now, the Anglo-Saxon horde has so completely overrun our fair island that you can’t throw a stone without hitting one of them. They’ve even gotten into our place names. Essex? That’s just ‘East Saxon’. England? That means ‘Angle-land’. And the sad thing is, we just let it happen, little by little. Starting right now, I’m calling for a crusade against these foreign devils. All true Britons come meet me in Gwynedd and slowly, we will take back our country.”

“I see. So you are declaring war on every last man, woman, and child on Great Britain, including yourself?”

“If that’s what it takes. One more thing, we need to stop using this barbarous ‘Angle-ish’ language. From now on, it’s Brittonic or nothing.”


Nursery Rhymes of the 1%

142-02-february-7th-2016

copyright Al Forbes

Ralph Owl and Eleanor “Pussy-cat” McGrint set sail in a beautiful pea-green 80-foot yacht. They left from Dover because that’s where Ralph’s investment firm was based and he needed to catch up on emails before they left.

“Hey El, where’s the honey?” Ralph called from the yacht’s kitchen. It was an 80-foot yacht so of course Eleanor didn’t hear him. He found her on deck. “Where’s the honey, El?”

“Who cares about honey?”

“We’re on this stupid boat for a year and a day,” Ralph said. “You really want to spend the whole trip with no honey?”

“Why are we starting off arguing about bleeding honey?” Eleanor shouted. She threw a fiver at him. “Get some flown in.”

That night in the Channel, the stars were out in a beautiful panoply of natural wonder, the universe on display above them. Ralph got out his guitar and started to play.

“I’ve got a headache. I’m going to bed,” Eleanor said. Ralph punched the railing in frustration and threw the guitar overboard.

After a while, Ralph went to the intercom and entered in the code for the bedroom. “Why are you so unhappy? I’ve bought you everything you could ever want?”

There was no answer.

“I’m sorry,” he said after a while. “I’m not trying to be a jerk. I love you. Really.”

A minute later, Eleanor stepped out on deck. She was wearing a white dress that glowed in the moonlight. “I’m sorry too,” she said. “Start again?”

He went to her and they danced.

They danced by the light of the moon.

 

The Original Inspiration


Living in a House of Leaves

copyright Al Forbes

copyright Al Forbes

“And dry leaves can make good insulation for cold winter nights!” Dr. James Hunt said, a touch too cheerfully, Alex his assistant thought. She bit her lip. Teaching homeless people how to survive on the streets seemed like a good idea on paper, but out here, it was a joke.

“Of course,” James continued, “newspaper is even better for insulation. I’ll pass out a list of recycling centers.” The assembled faces watched him impassively, just waiting—Alex was sure—for this to be over so they could get their promised free meal. They knew all this already; they must. It was a like a Boy Scout leader teaching a platoon of Special Forces about pocketknife safety.

“Well, I think that went well,” James said after the class. “What did you think?”

“It was a band-aid solution on the real problem.”

“Sometimes a wound needs a band-aid while healing takes place. I’m addressing the city council in a few months on the issue. I’ll share my research with them.”

“What research?”

“The research where I live on the street for two weeks,” James said. “I’m starting in a month.”

Alex stopped. “You’re crazy, it’s almost winter.”

“So?”

“So what if you die?”

“Then that will speak much louder than I ever could.”

“Tell me where you’ll be, at least. I’ll bring you soup.”

“Only if you bring enough for everyone.”

“How many homeless people are in the city?”

“About 13,000.”

“Be careful.”

He put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll try.”


Busting out Putin

Note: this story is not political, only silly.

Busting out Putin

What does Vladimir Putin eat? That was the topic of debate after my friend Antonio got his new batch of miniature clones (or mi-clo’s) in the mail from Thailand.

All the others were eating. Antonio squatted over the holding pen’s grated top, rolled up a pancake and pushed it through the bars. Mi-clo Mother Theresa and Pierre Trudeau ran and snatched it up. Putin didn’t move, just shook his Lilliputian fist at us and jabbered away in Thai (a sure sign of a knock-off).

“Do you think he only eats Russian food?” Antonio asked.

“You’d have better luck with pad thai, probably,” I said.

“Well, I only know how to make pancakes,” Antonio said. “He can eat them or starve, I guess. I only got him because he came free with the Freddy Mercury I wanted.”

Over the next few days, Putin still refused to eat. He was getting thinner and his 1-foot tall frame soon looked bony. I was getting worried but Antonio only shrugged.

Finally, I decided to get him out of there. The next day, when Antonio went to the bathroom, I lowered a rope down. Putin grabbed it but was too weak to hold on. I unlatched the door and dropped down into the pen.

Bad move. Tony Blair and Cher jumped at me but I shook them off. I seized Putin and jumped out of danger right before the rest of them swarmed to attack me.

“Let’s go get you some food,” I said. “You like tacos? Burgers?”

He said something I couldn’t understand but it didn’t sound like either tacos or burgers. “Let’s try tacos,” I said and ran for the door.

I didn’t know what we’d eat and I didn’t know how this would end, but I was certain that I was going to save this little guy if I possibly could.

Epilogue: Putin turned out to love Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwiches. He soon returned to health and is now living happily in an abandoned dog house in the woods behind Walmart.


The Man with the Basilisk Eyes

The Man with the Basilisk Eyes

I tow my stone dog carefully up the ramp in front of Precinct 45, the rear wheel of the red wagon squeaking with the weight. A woman holds the door, trying to smother her amusement.

Squeak, squeak, squeak. All the way to the desk sergeant.

“Hey Sarge, I want to report a crime.”

He peers over at me. “You don’t say? How old are you?”

“Ten. What, ten year olds don’t have any rights?”

“Touché. What’s the crime?”

“A man in the park turned my dog Scruffy to stone. I was playing fetch with him and Scruffy ran over by this man with real yellow eyes, like a basilisk, like in Harry Potter. Scruffy gave a yelp and ran back, but he started running slower and slower like he was caught in molasses. By the time he got back, he was like this.” I tap the stone dog in the wagon.

“So . . . you want me to arrest this ba-zo-lisk eyed man?”

“Of course! He killed my dog. Ain’t petrification a crime?”

“Here’s the thing.” The sergeant leans over. “My buddy over at Precinct 28 told me a kid came in last week with a stone dog and the same story.”

“Well, if you can’t get justice one place, you go somewhere else,” I say, but it’s clear I’m getting no sympathy there. I wheel ol’ Scruffy out to where Brad is waiting.

“Any luck?” he asks. I shake my head.

“Let’s try 51. I hear the sergeant over there is a fantasy nerd.”

“Okay,” Brad says, “but let’s hurry. Mom’s going to be pissed if she notices her lawn ornament missing.”


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