Fishers of men & other improbabilities

Small dark animals with long tails & pointed snouts: fishers, four of them. They walk into our camp from each of the four directions. Amazed, we drop to our hands & knees. Human & weasel circle each other warily, looking not for an advantage but some point of contact.


I feel something moving under my skin right below my shoulder — the same place where my mother once had a botfly larva hatch out after a trip to Peru. I pull up my sleeve & look. My arm is transparent, & the approximate color of amber. Various winged insects are suspended in it. A few have died, but most still struggle to escape.


I’m working as a freelance journalist for some highbrow publication on popular culture, in which capacity I have to do a phone interview with Metallica frontman James Hetfield. We talk about his flirtation with Christian Science, & he jokes that this was his substitute for a more fashionable heroin addiction. I pretend to know something about religion, about addiction, about making music, but I’m glad when the interview’s over. You don’t want a guy like James Hetfield finding out that you are a total fraud.


I decide that all nouns are clichés. I discover a way to display my poems electronically so that every time the page is renewed, all the nouns change. I program in a bank of nouns to draw from, like numbers in a lottery. Conspicuously absent are such poetic-sounding lies as light & stone & salt.


I usually leave my computer on all night in order to avoid messing up the wireless connection, but I feel guilty about the waste of energy, & I don’t like the way its hum permeates the house. Always in my dreams I am waking up, I am going downstairs & beginning to type. I am blogging my dreams in my dreams.

Don’t forget to keep checking qarrtsiluni for more very short stories and poems. The special summer reading edition continues through the end of August.

8 Replies to “Fishers of men & other improbabilities”

  1. Terrific entry, Dave. Terrific short shorts too.

    The first one, about the fishers entering the human camp, gave me instant goosebumps, chills, hairs on end, especially around my shoulders. And then you gave me the second one, about the embedded larvae. Yikes. We seem to share a capacity for creepy, vivid dreams.

  2. I’m interested that these are either dreams or dream-like, perfect short-short material, glimpses, fragments. Of the important and of the mundane but indistinguishable the one from the other at the time. Thanks for posting these.

  3. I read that second to last one and laughed and laughed. It’s so you, Dave, in a certain dream-like way. It’s a fun series.

  4. Since dreams are absolutely real at the time of dreaming, why not write them as real experiences, in the present tense, with an active narrator? The night-world is an amazing world in any of its dimensions. You’ve certainly imparted some of that in these poetic pieces, including a living amber arm… cool.

  5. These are wonderful glimpses behind some pulled curtain. I like what I see. Each is the beginnings of a story that I want to hear all the way through. I really want the poem with the nouns changed, and then changed again.

  6. Thanks for the comments, y’all. It’s always nice when something I spend half an hour writing ends up so satisfying. Wish it worked like that every time!

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