ten bedtime stories
by David Sheskin
The yellow bee pollinated the red flower and a month later an orange blossom sprouted that was eaten by a large white bird that six months later laid two cream colored eggs from which hatched a pair of golden chicks who matured into two formidable birds of prey who one day ascended up into a shimmering indigo sky towards a faraway twinkling silver star only to be consumed light years later into the bottomless abyss of a dense black hole.
A man named Blondie and a lady named Brunette adopted an infant boy named Albino from an orphanage located in a remote mountain kingdom which was known for its flocks of fluorescent birds and its schools of fluorescent fish. As Albino matured it came to pass that he emitted a peculiar fluorescence that made him glow in the dark with such intensity that he was able to shed light on numerous heretofore unsolved mysteries of nature.
Nobody Owns Everybody
In the country of Busybody outside the village of Somebody there lived a doctor by the name of Anybody who had a dog named Everybody who bit a man named Nobody. Curiously, in the country of Busybody anybody bitten by a dog becomes the owner of that dog. And that is how it came to be that Nobody now owns Everybody.
It seems that a man named 1 and a woman named 2 married and together produced a girl named 3 who was the sum of all her parent’s parts. Years later 3 coupled with a fellow named 5 and the two of them combined to make a boy named 8 who many years later would suffer a serious injury that would render him half the man he used to be, and because of the latter all those who knew 8 would deem it prudent from that point on to call him 4.
The Lives of the Twins
Once upon a time a psychic by the name of Precious identified a man named Stone as the person who kidnapped a girl named Emerald who was subsequently rescued by a detective named Gold. Many years later the man named Stone was apprehended by a policeman named Silver who discovered that Emerald had not been kidnapped by Stone but, in fact, had been abducted by his identical twin brother Granite who it turns out by that time was married to Emerald’s identical twin sister Sapphire.
A Pied Piper played an enchanting melody on a long red flute and lured all of the town’s children into a deep valley in which there lived a large purple dog who proceeded to lick the nose of each child after which the child found its way back home where from that point on he or she would exhibit either preternatural wisdom or alarming sexual proclivities.
In a most peculiar case a beautiful princess was tricked into taking a bite out of a poisoned apple by an old hag who had transformed herself into the visage of a handsome prince. Remarkably, instead of suffering a horrible death a few days later the princess sprouted a pair of golden wings and metamorphosed into a gigantic butterfly that ascended upwards into the heavens and rained down upon the earth millions of gallons of milk and honey.
In a place called Sympathy there lived a woman named Empathy who married a man named Telepathy and the two of them had a boy named Apathy who because he was bullied developed great antipathy towards his peers which culminated in him inflicting such harm on others that he was diagnosed with psychopathy which it turns out is resistant to treatment with allopathy, osteopathy, homeopathy and every other type of pathy.
In the annals of geography there once existed a place called Atrophy whose citizens were obsessed with philosophy, seismography and oceanography. Most notable among the citizens of Atrophy was a man named Myopathy who in his autobiography revealed that he had a seemingly incurable addiction to pornography which one day was miraculously cured when he became a dedicated devotee of calligraphy.
In the country of Electricity a woman by the name of Domesticity had a dream in which two girls are kidnapped by a man named Toxicity. Coincidentally, a month later it was reported in the news that two missing girls named Felicity and Eccentricity had been found by a detective named Audacity in the basement of a Mister Toxicity — so it would seem that perhaps there is such a thing as synchronicity.
David Sheskin's writing and art have been published in numerous magazines over the years.
Most recently his work has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, Shenandoah, The Satirist and
Chicago Quarterly Review. His most recent books are David Sheskin’s Cabinet of Curiosities
and Outrageous Wedding Announcements.
— Daniel Webre
"If she assumed he was Hans, then that was her business. It shouldn’t reflect poorly on him. And why not Hans? He tried to imagine how a person called Hans might respond in a situation like this one. He adjusted his posture accordingly, standing up straighter. Hans would be confident, though not excessively so.
“I am here now,” Bryce said, and this was absolutely true."