CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
When Craig first met Dicky, he merely disliked him, but over the following few years he gradually came to loathe him. He first noticed something was not quite right with Dicky when they attended a conference together. During the social portions of that weekend, he mingled enthusiastically. The problem was that Dicky’s only social skill seemed to be telling jokes, and most of his jokes involved him ridiculing himself due to his name. He would thrust himself into a group and say something like, “Dicky Bright is the name, but why do they call me Bright Dicky—eh?” and he would even nudge a few of the group, “Eh? eh?” nudging them, “—don’t know? Because that’s exactly what I’ve got—a glowing dick! In a power cut, it’s always me who leads the way—ha!”
He then walked off, leaving the group speechless. Then he spotted another opening and appeared amongst them, his hand thrust out before him, saying, “Richard Bright here, Dicky to my friends,” and he leant closer and said, “But only if they bend down—ha!” And he looked around the group, laughing as if machine-gunning them, passing from face to shell-shocked face.
This routine went on the whole evening. Dicky would thrust himself into a group, reveal the shocking details of his name’s derivation and when no-one responded he would machine gun them all and move on to another group. And in Craig’s eyes, Dicky seemed like a helpless passenger on a Ghost train, riding around the room while something he saw in Dicky’s face—perhaps desperation—seemed to be saying, “I’m sorry I’m like this but I don’t have any choice; I don’t know how else to behave. But I can see it’s not right, so I’m sorry to everyone but I still have to go on doing it,” and his eyes watched them with that helpless, embarrassed look as he machine-gunned the room with his raucous laugh.
Over the following months, Dicky behaved in this same way in the office. Whenever he saw a new client of Craig’s waiting for a consultation, he would enthusiastically appear before them, his hand thrust out, and introduce himself using one of his standard jokes. On several occasions Craig suggested it was perhaps not altogether appropriate to be making jokes about his glowing genitals when most of Craig’s clients were allegedly involved in sex crimes. Dicky dismissed these suggestions as “twaddle” and suggested Craig send out a search party to look for his sense of humour.
The tension between them grew steadily, until about three months ago, when Craig made an unacceptable observation. On a few occasions, Dicky looked over Craig’s work and made comments along the lines of: “I notice you feel it’s wasting your time to do a good job on clients who are of such low social worth.” Each time he made this comment, Craig attempted to correct his wrong impressions but Dicky seemed unreachable on social matters. And when Dicky again repeated this same comment, Craig thought he must be simply stupid, and told him so.
This seemed to disturb a hornet’s nest under Dicky, since, from that moment, he found it impossible to sit still. And over the following three months, he danced around the office, listing the names of his celebrity and other prestigious clients, and leaving hanging in the air such comments as, “Nobody who’s ‘stupid’ could get a client like that. And here’s you with your low-life clients, and apparently that makes you ‘intelligent’. Oh, what a strange world some people live in—” and he would dance back into his own office. But the hornets’ nest would not let him rest and half an hour later he would come dancing back out, singing his own praises and then theatrically wringing his brow as he attempted to calculate the worth of a certain solicitor who could only attract “low-life” clients.
He sat in the driver’s seat and checked under the dashboard. He looked under the front seats, then lifted the carpet and poked around under it, tapping the floor in every spot at least twice, but sometimes even three times. He climbed over to the back seat, shook the headrests, then lifted the back carpet and again tapped the floor. He sat up and looked through the window, wound it down, wound it back up, then wound it down again (marvelling at how smoothly the mechanism worked—Will you look at that; well, I’m blessed!). He poked his head out of the window, looked behind the car, looked to the front, then up to the sky (reflecting on the weather—Doesn’t it seem like a nice day! and look at those few wisps of clouds! how delightful). He opened the door, hung out, peered under the car, then noticed the tread of the tyre and tapped it several times (reflecting that there was certainly nothing wrong with the tread—Will you look at that! what a fine bit of tread). He swung himself upwards, peered on top of the car, peered behind it, then sighed and scratched his head—for he had upturned not even a hint of mass murder.
He then stepped over to the house’s front door, where he was now standing—with his back to the door and his brow knitting in an athletic manner while he continued puzzling over the car. The door opened behind him and he turned round and abandoned with great relief the gruelling intellectual struggle.
Sally watched Roland Wise’s face beaming at her. She thought of Peter sitting at the kitchen table and of what he was about to get for constantly trying to trick her into thinking she was ugly. At the thought of this, she smiled at Roland.
Roland opened his mouth to speak but she turned away and walked back into the living room. He gaped at the empty doorway while slowly bobbing up and down above his flexing ankles and clasping his hands behind his back. Then he closed his gaping mouth and stepped over the threshold. He peered closely at the doorframe, decided he ought to perhaps tap it several times and in several different places—just to make absolutely sure there was not any criminal activity anywhere to be found. He did this (reflecting on how nice the paintwork looked—Will you look at the shine on that! how impressive), then shook his head in a doleful fashion, sighed and followed on into the living room, where Sally lay along the sofa with her head turned away from him. He sat in the easy chair beside the sofa and fidgeted about for a moment while trying to work out what words to use to handle this difficult situation—the problem of how to initiate that day’s session of sex with her. Then he was miraculously struck by the perfect solution and began fluently conversing with himself about the plot of an Agatha Christie novel.

Links

Some links to other sites of literary interest.

Project Gutenberg. The first internet archive of free electronic books. There are now over 25,000 books available free at this site.

eBooks@Adelaide. The University of Adelaide Library’s collection of Web books. The collection includes classic works of Literature, Philosophy, Science, and History.

ReadPrint. Online books, free to read. From all the classic authors, though with some authors, only the most well known of their books are yet added. The books are nicely laid out easy to read.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The Web's first edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare. The texts are clearly and simply laid out, making them a joy to read. Navigation within each play is also straightforward.

The Literature Network is a vast store of online texts: books, short stories, poems. The full texts are included but the more popular works are peppered with advertising. If you don't mind that, happy reading.

Gaslight is an archive of classic short stories which were originally published as an internet discussion list. Genres include: mystery, adventure and The Weird.

East of the web. A growing collection of classic and newly-written short stories made available on the Web. Stories are organized by theme: fiction, romance, crime, sci-fi & fantasy, humour, horror, hyperfiction, children's, and nonfiction. Includes works by many famous authors.

George Boeree. This site contains many fascinating nonfiction etexts introducing every aspect of psychology. George's writing is clear and straightforward.

The Internet Classics Archive. An archive of works of classical literature in English translations. The works are mostly Greek and Roman, with some Chinese and Persian works.

Online Magazines

TheAtlantic.com. Current affairs magazine with short stories, essays and poetry. See the archive of short stories.

Narrative Magazine. Fiction, poetry, short short stories, nonfiction, features. Good quality writing. You can subscribe to the site free of charge, which will allow you to read the full text of the stories.

The Oldie. This magazine was created by a previous editor of Private Eye, as: an antidote to youth culture but, more importantly, a magazine with emphasis on good writing, humour and quality illustration.

Zoetrope All-Story. A short story magazine. You can read samples from many of the stories online, but will need to purchase a subscription to read the full text.

3:AM Magazine. Containing fiction, nonfiction, interviews, poetry, opinions.

Resources

How to Write a Story is a blog consisting of articles on how to write.

Refdesk.com. Today's news stories from around the world. And other similar reference material.