Tales From The Town #15: Summer

A Summer’s Day

“It’s hot,” Tina said.

“It’s really hot,” Claire agreed.

“It’s too hot,” Ethel insisted.

“It’s not hot enough,” said Daniel.

A Summer’s Night

It was dark outside. Really dark. You couldn’t see a thing. But you could hear it all. It went on and on. It would not stop. Don’t they ever sleep out there?

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Notes:

1. Written on May 6th, 2021

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Tales From The Town #14: The Little Drummer Girl

The little drummer girl walked barefoot through the woods, her hair fluttering in the breeze like the flag of a forgotten kingdom. She had walked these lands since the civil war. She would walk them till the next. A trail of blood, a trail of bones. This country of ours is an endless grave. Only the beat of her drum keeps the dead asleep.

“She’s definitely a ghost,” Ethel said, as she peered out from behind the tree to a get a better look.

“She’s not a ghost,” said Claire. “She’s a musician.”

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Notes:

1. Written on May 6th, 2021
2. The title is from a John le Carre novel
3. But mostly I was thinking of this Tom Vek video
4. Which I love more than I should

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Tales From The Town #13: An Alphabet Of Absences

A

They decided to write this story without specific letters.

B

So each sentence would have a different one missing (in order).

C

It was harder than it looked at first.

D


Especially without cheating.

E

But Tina had a plan.

F

So what they did was write each sentence out however they liked.

G

And then they would use the thesaurus to find alternatives to any words that didn’t fit.

H

Claire said it still sounded like deviousness.

I

Ethel expressed an opposed theory.

J

While Daniel didn’t even know how the thesaurus worked.

K

So he just inspected up words in the dictionary that he loved the sound of.

L

His favourite was ‘phantasm’.

M

Or perhaps ‘pennyweight’.

N

‘Periwig’ was also a good word.

O

He didn’t get passed P.

P

Claire wanted to know what the book was actually going to be about.

Q

Tina said that it didn’t have to be about anything.

R

Except itself.

S

Claire pronounced that that verbalized like a load of old garbage.

T

Which was probably verifiable.

U

“We deserved to have chosen something simpler,” Ethel said.

V

“Like an acrostic!”

W

“Acrostics are the most terrible of all things!” Claire said.

X

By now Daniel was playing on his glockenspiel.

Y

And Tina had gone off sailing on her large boat that is used for the most part for pleasure cruising.

Z

So Claire and Ethel abandoned the story and went outside to feed the hippotigris.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 5th, 2021
2. The actual name for books written without specific letters is a lipogram
3. Which is a strangely rubbish word
4. For a quite pleasing concept

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Tales From The Town #12: The Sky At Night

“What’s that one?” Selene asked, pointing at the brightest object in the night sky.

“Which one?” Patricia said.

“The one I’m pointing at! The brightest one.”

“Oh, that’s the moon.”

“It is not the moon,” Selene said. “I think I know which one the moon is. I lived there long enough.”

“It is the moon,” Patricia said. “It’s definitely the moon.”

“If that’s the moon,” Selene said. “Then what’s that?”

Patricia screamed.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 5th, 2021

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Tales From The Town #11: The First Ice Cream Van Of The Summer

Agnes was in the kitchen when she heard the music in the distance. A chill ran down her spine. She closed the laptop and waited for what was sure to come.

***

Footsteps on the stairs. Doors flung wide. A swarming crowd of desperate faces, raised from some winter-long hibernation.

***

“Mum! Mum! Can we have some money?”

“For ice creams!”

“From the ice cream van!”

“We’ve got a freezer full of ice creams,” Agnes said. “Can’t you have one of those?”

“But they’re not the same!”

“They’re exactly the same,” Agnes said.

“They’re not.”

“The ice cream van has more.”

“And they’re bigger!”

“And colder!”

“They are not colder.”

“They are!”

“And they might have some new ones!”

“Last year they had some we’d never seen before!”

“They were horrible!”

“Well, our ones aren’t horrible,” Agnes said. “I got the ones we all like.”

“But we’ve been good, Mum!”

“Really good!”

“You said if we’d been good we could have an ice cream!”

“From the ice cream van!”

“I don’t remember saying that at all.”

“Well, you did!”

“You definitely did!”

“Okay, okay,” Agnes said, fishing out some small change from the pockets of her jeans and dropping it into their grasping mitts. “But don’t just buy the ones we’ve got in the freezer!”

***

Footsteps in the hall. Doors slamming shut behind them. Cries of excitement fading out down the street.

***

Agnes sat down at the table and sighed. Of all the things in all the worlds, the continued existence of ice cream vans was the thing she understood the least.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 4th, 2021
2. With thanks to Arab Strap for the title.

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If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.