Farmer Jones’ Lament

It’s all over, even old Boxer has turned on me. I should have had him made into glue in ’62 but I’d worked alongside the cart horse so many years I couldn’t bear to part with him. I just don’t understand, I’ve always been so good to all my animals, the last few years have been a bit lean around here but they’ve always had the best our small holding could afford.

We were happy when Old Major, my albino Lancashire, was alive. The other animals loved his calm wisdom: I would often see them arrayed in the barn like theatre goers listening intently to him. It was the new generation of pigs that started the trouble.

They’re all sweet animals really, just not too bright, so when Snowball started spouting his equality rhetoric it was easy to confuse them. And with Napoleon (last year’s spring fair champion at 232lbs) for muscle any dissenters were quickly silenced.

I can’t understand why it started with the pigs, they have such comfortable, happy lives: the best slop, no work and a lovely sty. They must know they can’t run a farm: what does a pig know of accounting, budgets and markets. Soon enough they’ll all be starving and beg me to take over again.

I didn’t invent farming; this is how the system works: we all have to do our part and someone has to be in charge.


Fellow MicFictioneers,

I have been busy laying out MicFic: The Bookering, and have a question. At the moment I’m laying out themes as a double page spread. I’ve hacked together a PNG of what that looks like, but you should have a look at the example file. The left page is currently blank for the image, while the right page gives the theme title and a little quote.

I’ve taken the quotes from one of the micfic entries for that theme (the one above is, conveniently, from my entry for Ghost). I’ve also made sure that each person has a quote, but this does pose a question: what quotes do you micfictioneers feel are your best?

If you want to let me know, reply with a list of your own favourite quotes (that means quotes from your own stories, not someone elses!), one from each piece, like so:

Stop: “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Gone: “Then he turned to me and said, ‘Poof! Gone!'”

Ghost: “Oh. My. God.”

And so on! I will then choose between the quotes, and try to get your most preferred quote into the Bookering.

Also, if you disapprove of quotes, now is the time to raise your voice in protest!


Saving souls

“I should be the one to go. I am strong, fast and skilled. I can get in and save them, and I can get out. Nothing can stop me. I have faced far worse terrors than this, and always won. This challenge was made for me!”

“These people need moral and spiritual succour and support. I have trained my mind and body for over fifty years in accepting the little surprises and interesting events that life throws at us. I should be there to help these people embrace their circumstances.”

The custodian gazed down at the two men standing before him: the magnificent Nordic soldier and the slight old man. This really was a most bizarre situation. The two great men had argued all night or rather ‘had enlightening discussions’ since brave soldiers did not argue with old men, and wise gurus did not argue with anyone. Each wanted to be the one to give up his life on a desperate quest with no reward except reputation.

The earthquake hit two days ago, causing utter chaos. One of the worst-hit areas was the mountain school of Manxia, which had become a symbol in this tragedy. The earthquake had cut it off from all communications. Now the slightest tremor would bring the mountain down. The chances of anyone having survived were slim, and chances of a rescue party making it in and out were even slimmer.

“Gentlemen, your help is not required. I have recently been informed that a group of concerned relatives snuck into the mountains early this morning to be with their loved ones. We cannot allow another group to go in, so let us pray that they achieve peace and possibly safety without your aid.”

New Theme

Wow, Volume IV!

We decided that Themes for Volume IV should be more… interesting.

After some discussion, we settled on an image and a form word limit for each Theme.


0313 by Cia de Foto on Flickr
0313 by Cia de Foto on Flickr

Form Word Limit:

Instruction Manual, About 250 words.


He’s not a bad boy, really, just young, and the son of a famous father: he thinks the gods favour him. He has never been able to believe I don’t care for him. I refuse his gifts, and turn my head away from his compliments, and he simply presses me more ardently. In his mind I admire him already – the trick is to make me admit it. He is only a year or two younger than I am, but I feel so much the older.

So this is the latest attempt. He’s so proud of the stupid things, and the fact is, he just looks silly. They’re beautiful, the feathers set so carefully in the wax in that graceful curve, but they look odd and awkward attached to someone’s arms. And Zeus knows if they work at all it’s his father’s doing, not his. Even imprisoned as he is the father is a great man; the son is a spoiled child.

When he came to show me he was strutting like a giant bird, boasting of how high he’d fly.

And I stand here, in the hot sun, and watch them. It was never about me, of course. The king will be furious at their flight. They’re soaring like the seabirds, away from his father’s achievements and the king’s jealousy. Silly boy, he hasn’t thought it through – he can’t ever return to see if I was impressed. And yet there he is, trailing his vanity across the sky, going higher and higher.

The gods watch over them, him particularly. He’s so young.


Oh, you should not have come in here, with your curious eyes. Don’t start with me, don’t go ogling my stuff, don’t go touching anything. You’re defiling my perfection, the settee just so, the curtains so fine, all mine. You reek of sweat, and what is it – fear?

It’s dawning on you now. You’re reading the wrong story.

What was it? Idiot curiosity? Watery eyes mindlessly running down a page? I cannot be more clear: you are not wanted here. Fuck off.

There’s a girl on the chair, looking at you now. This is all your fault, you know, you should have gone away. Last chance: stop reading now. No one needs to get hurt. She’s pretty, isn’t she? Straight as a bone, sharp as an arrow. If you stop here, she will be just fine. Just fine.

But no. Well, it’s all on your head now, I’m not enjoying this one bit. Look at those ties, what is it – fishing line? Oh, cutting into her flesh, so sharp, so fine. Blood wells onto stretched nylon, drips onto my lovely rug. You’ll pay for this.

She cries. Such pain. And fear: she knows (I know what she knows) what a sick, sick fuck you are. She knows you’ll never stop, you’ll let her die, just for the sake of some dumb story. A story you won’t even remember tomorrow.

Tell you what: go now, and I’ll free her. I’ll stop the blood. I’ll give her a puppy, true love, a happy ending. I can do all that in here, I’ll do it just to get the stink of you out of my world.

Do we have a deal?

But no. Here you still are.

Well, it’s all on your head now.

Finding Becky

Becky once said — or so I’ve been told — that my scars are a sign of my achievements. That was such a cutting thing to say.

You see: the barkeep in this little, lakeside village tells me that he serves the best drinks this side of the water. My landlady tells me that I’ll find no better room in the village, nor no better landlady — that comes, of course, at a price. The muleteer has the hardest working mules, the pie-maker the richest gravy, the puffiest crust. They want something, all of them. There is an uncontrolled need in them, a hunger, a greed.

You see: these people are like my scars. They remind me of a past I’m glad to have outgrown, of my “achievements”, which are only the outcomes of a dubious, immature intent.

And so instead of looking for my sister I drink cheap wine and remember what I once was — I imagine what I want to be. What would Becky think if I went searching for her at her doorstep? Would she talk to me? Should I leave her to find me instead? I remind myself that I am capable of acting, and sometimes we need to act even though the consequences are unclear.

Her family home is empty. Someone sits at the pier’s end, cigarette in hand, facing out towards the water. I don’t recognise her, but it’s been so long.

I haven’t come to prove anything. I hope she no longer wants me dead.

Becky doesn’t turn as I walk up behind her, but surely she can hear me. I say, through my mask, “Becky?”