Microcuento 9: The Fire

Microcuento 9: The Fire

Okay so there has been a fire going on in the Shenandoah Valley and it’s causing everything to smell like smoke. Hence my new microcuento.

O and don’t forget to check out this thing, this thing, and this thing, just for fun…


“The lingering fumes of burning foliage and the desert of ash they leave in their wake…”



Here’s a thought. How far can you push the boundaries of literature itself? That story (above) is just a sentence fragment. No verb involved. No action. Does that make it a poem or does it still remain a flash fiction?


Microcuento and Roman Wine

Microcuento and Roman Wine

Apparently the Romans liked to drink wine. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me, being part Italian. It’s just in you to drink a little (relatively speaking) of the grape. I even remember reading in Livy that the Romans chased 3,000 amphorae of wine across the Mediterranean that belonged to their enemy. They even abandoned their allies, who were under siege, to go get it!

That’s true love if there ever is such a thing.

A picture of ancient Roman “amphorae.” Clay containers used to transport wine and other liquids. They would be buried to keep the wine cool and don’t allow oxygen to come in contact with the wine, preventing it from becoming vinegar too soon.

Turns out they love it even more: click to read me

I think this should inspire us all to go grab a chianti classico and take it easy for a day.


Or write a microcuento:


“It was a sea of flowers, sweet and delicate. Their luscious aroma awakened kinder memories in his mind’s eye”


If you don’t know what the “flor” is, go look up how Spanish sherry is made!


Microcuento: The Stone: Part IV

Microcuento: The Stone: Part IV

“This way,” she said, leading them over hills, dead leaves, twigs, branches, and trees. Snakes crawled away, and wild nimli-wips scurried away at the sight of the tax-collectors.

Within a cock-stride was the stone. She pointed directly at it, forgetting the promise she paid to a dying man.

“There is nothing here.”

“We have to wait for the light,” she said. They waited through the night, never batting an eye, or sleeping. They only watched her, as she lay her head down on her mother’s lap.

When the noon came, the light struck the stone. Anticipation welled up in them like a rising tide, but nothing appeared.

“Lying girl!” the tax collectors screamed. “This is nothing!” They descended upon her. She screamed and fought as they lifted their hands against her, striking her mercilessly against the stone which she thought would save her.

“Please, no!” her parents cried.


Suddenly everything was still. The tax collectors and her parents were frozen in their motions, like pictures or sculptures rather than people.

The trees did not rustle.

The wind did not blow.

The earth did not stir.

Only the sound of a horn from across the mountains singing its tonic major carried its way to her ears. She stood up and looked around her. The horn was calling for her.

“The wonder-horn,” she whispered to herself.

She turned to her parents, with tears cascading down her face. They spoke to her with their eyes, glistening with mournful anticipation and a single command:

Run, Yillah, run”

And so she ran…

Microcuento 5: The Stone: Part III

Microcuento 5: The Stone: Part III

Returning home always felt like compulsory act forced on her from an outside source. She dreamed of the rock, and its magnificent fish, swimming in an ocean-blue universe of its own. The miserable edifice she called home barely had three legs of wood left to stand on. She could hear yelling from inside the building.

“I am afraid we have no choice,” A pair of tax collectors said; one a man, one a woman. “She must be taken to satisfy the state.”

“Please, I cannot afford to lose her, I have been out of work. Take the house! Take the furniture, whatever is left, but not my daughter,” her parents screamed. One of the collectors turned, hearing the sound of her panting as she stood frozen in the doorway. They grabbed her and held her in their severe grip.

“I am sorry, there can be no bargaining. That is the will of the people of the state. Debtors must sacrifice their children to the village.”

“She is not even that beautiful,” her mother said, reaching for her daughter. “They cannot want her for—”

“It is not for beauty, but for durability. Beauty wanes very quickly. It is best that they start young; they will become more easily accustomed to the life.”

“Please! No!” they begged. Her father lunged, but was struck down by the man. He coughed weakly, his sickness having extinguished the hate and anger that temporarily gave him strength.

“I have something,” she said, breaking the rough fury of the talk with her voice. “Something of value.”

The adults were all silent. Her weak-constitution mother, her ill father, the tax-collectors; all turned their gaze to her.

“Let us see it,” they said in unison. She headed out towards the stone.

Microcuento 4: The Stone Part II

Microcuento 4: The Stone Part II

“Perhaps you would be willing to part with something more valuable in exchange for another go?” the man in the golden robe asked. A red boar charged through his enchanted robe, as though in that two-dimensional world was an infinite golden universe made for the boar’s exploration and madness.

“I have nothing,” the other man replied, his beard on his chest.

“Pity,” Ique-bar (the man in the golden robe) replied. “I have heard you travel every second week to a secret place in the canyon of grey rocks. You search for something there? Or you have found something?”

The man did not reply, but widened his eyes as though he had trouble seeing. His hands trembled.

“Show me its location if you lose.”

“I cannot. It is all I have left.”

“Then I shall obtain my nimli-wip and leave,” said the man in the golden robe, gently lifting his beast out of the tiny box in which it was contained and placing it back gently into its cage. It was a strange creature, a small bird-like lizard with forearms and small fluttering wings that allowed it to lift itself off the ground some inches, but not very much. It was about the size of the palm of one’s hand.

“Please!” the man said suddenly, jumping out of his chair onto the floor. “I will have another go.”

The nimli-wip was placed into the box, and the rats released into the box with it. It proceeded to attack the rats with clinical efficiency. Before the last drop of the water clock struck time, Ique-bar was enjoying the cheers of the other betters and bookies. The man with sorrowful eyes sighed and wept into his dirty hands.

He looked up through his bloodshot eyes and weakly said, “Come with me.”

Microcuento 3: The Warrior

Children sought to emulate him. He was their warrior. He was their hero. Fathers fashioned wooden swords for the children to play with, each boy claiming to be the true double of the hero. They would be silent when he walked down the street with his long strides and fur coat.

“Legend held,” the Old Woman, Tallah, said as she prepared figs and honey for the children who occasionally visited her to hear the plethora of stories she held in store for them, “That the warrior ventured out in search of his amulet—an amulet of mysterious and magical powers…”

Tallah continued to woo the children’s imaginations with tales woven together from the threads of history and fiction. Their wide eyes fell captive to the old woman’s voice, which, with every croak, whisked them away into the past…


               They huddled at the window of the village’s tavern and looked inside. Every evening the warrior would walk into the tavern and huddle over a table with a broth, robust orange cheese, and a hearty slab of meat. His round fingers wrapped around his thick black brew. His eyes were far away, as if his soup were the sea, and the dumpling the ship the carried him away. His wiry grey whiskers hardly shifted with his sigh…