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Nano Stories the Third
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sat, May 01 2010 - 12:17 pm


Abel anted up with unnamed antecedents.

Paul primed himself with pronouns.

Moe, mystified by the multifarious multiplication of misunderstandings, melted.

Not a proper noun was apprehended!


No one could say she hadn't been a good daughter, Hansel and Gretel's stepmother thought.

A good mother, though?  She'd never been a mother at all!

Not a real mother, anyway.

No, her loyalty was to her birth mother, who lived deep in the forest very near where she and her weak-willed husband had abandoned the children.

She rarely saw her.  She couldn't abide the old witch, having barely escaped her mother's grasp with her own life intact.  She knew that her mother was fine, though, because her tempting gingerbread house was in perfect condition.  And she knew her duty.

How long would Hansel and Gretel keep the old hag supplied, she wondered.  Would they provide enough food for the winter?

Full of doubt, suddenly, she started casting around in her mind for another motherless family.

I Smell Bacon

He was sure the scientists had fucked up.

They were supposed to be growing him a hand on the end of his left arm.

But why were they hiding it under bandages?

He realized this was a highly experimental procedure.  The doctors had made him no promises.

But this hand was getting awfully big.  And the last time the doctors had looked at it they were awfully quiet.  One of them had blanched almost to the color of the bandage.

This was it.  He had to see it for himself.  He tore off the loose white tapes and almost fainted.

On the end of his arm, where a stub used to be, grew a very unmanageable mass.

He recognized it from high school biology.  His new "hand" looked like nothing so much as a fetal pig - so advanced in development that he almost expected it to squeal.

Why Indeed

Why is my life so full of lunatics?

The person who delivers the paper carries on loud assertive conversations while she delivers the paper at 3:30 in the morning.

The guy who lives in the basement sits around wearing a tin Halloween costume crown.

The old lady on the first floor hobbles to and fro offering people canes as if they were lollipops, even though her cane collection was removed because she kept hitting people with them.

The man in the next room, a diabetic delusional who thinks he's Santa Claus, goes around the house muttering, "She offered to give me a candy cane.  Me!  What is she trying to do?  Kill me?  Santa Claus?  Kill Santa Claus?"

A neighboring social scientist is seriously entertaining the theory that the divorce rate has been going up because people are not reading enough James Thurber, while I, Jesus Christ, who am trying so hard to save everybody....

Story Problem

He'd always hated story problems.  He preferred, even in grade school, his math straight up.

Now, in school as a post-grad, he started to perceive why they had given him story problems.  The only problem was, the emphasis was all wrong, back there in grade school.  The emphasis shouldn't have been on the arithmetic.

It should have been on the people!  What if Alice didn't want apples?

He hit his forehead with his hand.  How could he have been so stupid?

He'd thought the math was pretty easy.  One plus one was two.  Add another one, you had three.  Subtract one and you had two again.

Doing these simple equations with people: well, these were not equivalent to grade school story problems.

He looked at the carnage of his life.  Now he would have to do the aftermath.

He shook his head drearily.  The solution of all these complicated problems would at the very least require calculus!


His back was hurting him.  He couldn't move without wincing.

The pain colored his whole life, cast a shadow over everything, making him testy and blue.

She felt for him, because her own back ached a little from the work she had done the day before.

She imagined her pain multiplied by ten.  No, she couldn't imagine it.

"Please, God," she prayed.  "Let his pain be transferred to me."

It worked quicker than aspirin.  All of a sudden her back hurt not at all.

She looked over at his drawn face suspiciously.

A Pox on Your Toxins!

The clock tic-tocs for flocks of flotillas locked into docks.

Jocks ride to the fox, which, with moxie, mocks them.

Mawkish Botoxed moms in smocked frocks lock boxes of noxious rocks.

Vox tochsin shocks cocks out of their socks.

Blockheads hawk their schlocky stocks.

Marchers eat lox, then sock their glocks for lots of blocks.

Pocked crocks fondle their Glocks, then go for walks through the phlox.

Knock,  knock.

It's Jacques, with his wok! 




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