Other Short Ditties

stories by Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry


Once upon a time, frogs could talk ... they spoke English ... Good morning, Mary , Good morning, John ... and they lived very happily ... but ... they were complainers - frogs complained about everything ... but mostly they complained about being so small, and especially about being so short ... they hopped about like most frogs do today, and they were always getting dirty, and especially muddy ... they'd complain, We're all frogs, stuck, knee-deep in the mud ... and they'd complain all the more about it, they'd write laws and press charges about it, they'd even sing about it: We're just frogs, stuck, knee-deep, in the mud, knee-deep, in the mud, knee-deep, in the mud ... they complained all the time, and so much so that of course, after a very long time they slowly began to forget, how, to speak English ... they forgot to say, good morning, they forgot each other's names, then they forgot their own names, and they even forgot what they were complaining about ... eventually all they remembered was, to complain ... knee-deep, knee-deep, knee-deep ... Knee-Deep ... Knee-Deep ... knee-deep, knee-deep, knee-deep, ... KNEE-DEEP....


Once upon a time, there was a little, bowl of jello, sitting in the refrigerator ... and the little, piece of jello, sitting in the little bowl, was so tiny, that, it did not know how to, wiggle ... all it could do was go----wiggy!

[charmed 4-year laughter tends to end the story right there, but we can extrapolate]

Sitting next to this little bowl of jello was another, little bowl, of butterscotch pudding ... and they both wanted to be eaten ... they'd call out, "eat me ... please" ... and the little child who heard them calling, did!

Cinque Minutes En Retard

(Five Minutes Late -- originally in French, 1973)

[suggested as a Fantasy Island plot for a procrastinator -- a dear friend of mine]
She stepped suddenly, dipping her head as she passed through the little flowered arch in the midst of the garden ... and she was no longer in the garden, but at the end of a wind-whipped dusty street, a French Rue in the middle of a vacant arrondissement - didn't look familiar, just dusty - and leaves picked-up by the errant breezes.

She walked timorously forward, no longer such suddenness - perhaps the first evidence of her procrastinations falling away: she couldn't count on the regularity she'd blithely flaunted, which put her in arrears too frequently - but, he'd said, just enjoy the passage, and expect nothing more important than gladness to leave the false landmarks - false indeed: these were unknowns in the middle of a non extant garden. She glanced behind her: curiously now, that little flowered archway was there at the end of the Rue, more brightly lit than the dour shadows amid the hauntingly quiet street angles - a faint whistle of wind, the scratchy scraping of one big leaf dragged along the concrete sidewalk, and quiet again.

She walked along the roadway, avoiding the sidewalk for the moment. There was laughter - she could hear it somewhere nearby: a voice, maybe two, inarticulate but distinctly human, throaty - and it stopped: she disturbed it. No, it was self emoted, and it came from indoors - there, up the steps of the gray double-decker town-house - well, these were all gray double-deckers - but it was this one. She looked at the windows - empty, ni shade ni shadow - neither drapes nor curtains - barren like the rest of this street: where were the children?! she thought angered.

She stepped up to the curb: a moment of bravery, and she paused - there was, faint talking, behind that, front door: Couldn't make-out what was being said, just that it was a voice - maybe the same that laughed before. She took another brave step: this one up the first block of the front-walk - it was wide enough to look nonchalant: she could step on-ward if she had to retreat.

Quite Suddenly that laughter burst-out once more, and the front-door swung full open ... revealing, nothing. A faint breeze emanated from the open portal - there was nothing more. Silence befell as it had before. She waited ... and she waited - fully five minutes before her bravery resumed its curious impetus. Then she stepped up another block - this time to the narrow-way - no-one could mistake her purpose, so she hurried a little more, up two more steps to the porch. The door was ajar - it swang loosely in the percolating breezes. She stepped to the door, and peered-in.


Okay, there was furniture, a little: It was a dining-room - maybe - or a kitchen nook with a few stools at a counter: or more like a soda fountain. But the voice wasn't there - anymore. She trembled, and laughed to fill the emptiness she felt. She entered, voluntarily. Hello, is anyone home, she offered, hoping not to hear any answer - and none responded. It was a room like any wooden-floored eating room with tables and chairs but quite empty of people and their ever-possessively located personal effects - so it wasn't what she expected....

Well, that was a profound thought: take-away the expectation, and it was a façade - but it wasn't where she'd come through the garden - this was a stand-alone façade. And silly to think-of it: she'd entered alone - and she was standing alone - she was the one talking - she was the one laughing - she laughed again: there never had been anyone here but that which filled her own meager expectations - and that was all that she was missing because she was now five minutes too late. She laughed with a guffaw, and bolted back for the door, bursting it open.

Out she went with a woosh of her own breeze, traipsing down the steps.

She ran for the end of the street - the shadows now thronging around her like desperations' brood - everything was disappearing from her hopes: if she was late getting back to the garden, she might be lost here forever ... but it was still there - at the fin de la Rue - the brighter glow, she noticed now, came through that flowered little arch.

She stepped into the light.

Foundation's Fear(s)

by Gregary Benford SIM

... un repartee en parody: one good sim deserves another ...

No, I'm not claiming to have sim'ed Gregory Benford - though gladly I'd have scribed his plume with subtle parody, Sir Gregary - no, I mean merely to impart the subtler evidences of a theory gone awry, for you see, Sir Gregary, as we shall call him, did not know or perhap did not notice, in those last moments as they huddled on page 131, or thereabouts, at the cafe, watching, waiting, for below at the full-human's desk wrenched a fervorous, Nim, seeking out their new life-forms everywhere they'd boldly gone before across the Mesh, exterminating these as he could direct - the President - yes, The President - had demanded he do it, to save them all, - no sim-back-ups could be kept at this pace: The President cared nought for such drama: his own playing too loudly.... in those last moments, Garcon, the mechtype sim, having two arms free (for he had four arms, you may recall) reached into his shirt pocket, and pulled-out a piece of, merely a white rectangle of folded disposable napkin, thought Joan - she'd seen such things eight thousand years prior: she had memory of that much remaining, as neither Marq nor Sylvia, nor the accumulating twentieth-place digital-precision rounding-errors encroaching the tenth place in millennia, had attempted to remove that from her free-association parameter synapse classes ...
Now wait just a second here, as I [sat] reading: to my left at this moment is a woman reading aloud the role usually assigned a man to act as the spurned Julia who dons men clothes to spy on her beloved Porteus who has just rudely read for the word, concealed, its mis-enunciation,..., as he the while wilely conspires a plot to rid himself of his best friend played by his best friend sitting on the floor, to gain by artifice art and by deception receipt his purchased painting's former owner, Sylvia, his best friend's mistress, played by his best friend's irk - in those days they hadn't invented the insultory, bring your camera next time and take a picture: ancient portraiture foreshadowed the latter type in this peer-shaker's delight - alas, this is what the Sir Gregary sim was missing: this multilayered woman, reading the male playing Julia dressed as a lad and presently describing to sweet Sylvia on my right how 'he'd once played a woman - there: five layers: the beginnings of a TCP/IP stack, thought I; for here sat I listening as she adeptly disentangled the words from her book copy-written by the presumed male, Shakespeare, him-self, so to speak, recently again reputed as possibly some disguised and well-penned woman, and I myself a man, a male, yes, fully a seven-layered TCP/IP stack with myself making eight layers this week: the very Internet itself - "moi, je suis le net," wrote Grand-Admiral Petry: yes, I'd read it; yes, I'd writ it.... But then-again, surely, I bethought, every reader knows it was writ by none-other than Lord Bacon and his royal courtiers then-busy respelling the entirety of the English language, And the so-famous W. Shakespeare was none-other than their Editor-IN-Chief, a simple—poet and thespian—to prove their every public word public writeable and public readable....
And here in this instant Garcon with his two free hands, for he had four, quickly placed the folded white serviette in Monsieur Arouet's haut poche. Voltaire glared-back for just an instant of electronic stilledness - he, too, recognized the incongruity so slipped-by everyone reading and watching all this: for p-mail, slight acronym for protonic-mail, was unknown in this far-future, for recorded somewhere back around the twenty-first century, in dark-time, the main post-office of the earliest dark-ages had decided that all communications should henceforth be by electronic reproductions, e-mail, electronic-mail requiring four-thousand times less average avoirdupois, with images of signatures at first, though eventually even this last vestige of humanity would disappear before the onslaught of binary digits, the smallest bits of information available at the time. But here, Garcon had slipped Voltaire the impossible: the reasonable piece-de-resistance that Voltaire had once argued-for - no-one below noticed it, thought the honey-haired-human-girl embraced in one of Garcon's arms: they were all too busy exterminating their dreaded fear of inquisitors by murderously disguising and deleting their very evidences, rather than merely reclassifying that evidence as a new data-type saved unreadable ... in any case the post-office had subsequently remanded all undelivered mail to e-space conversion, and subsequently then-after deleted all p-mail remains, because they could always recreate adequately secured hard-copies on needful occasions. Thus all evidences, and eventually even the evidences-of-evidences that history once proudly knew, had become evaded, for the very post-office was subsequently replaced by distributed e-mail on something called, the net, and the meanings of the words, post, and, office, so changed inflections as to hide their original intent, and their now-alien earlier manifestations and had-been histories, lost in the furious and desultory art-forms which sprang-up in intervening centuries and millennia ... but here, for an instant, Voltaire recognized a truth as fundamental as his own: The letter, as it were a thought he had not-yet thought-of, had to have been delivered from his own era, manually slow, set-aside, electronically converted and redistributed, then survived the re-conversions from net to web to Mesh, which at last lasted twenty millennia itself in near perfect final form; and now, by some unimaginable fluke of faith or reason, as though this very postal missive had that elusive 'soul' of its own, perhaps reposed in Joan's unflinching digital faith in her Mr. Arouet (she called him), that he would reason some way to save them, to prevent the threatening horror gaining on them in sim-space ... they flickered just for that instant - but in that instant lost in the raster haze, Voltaire looked-out, disdaining his tormentors as well as any Episcopal might muster ministry, "but Sir Gregary," he demanded, "would Sir Issac ..." -his words encrypted in the ensuing noisy disconnection- "... with Sir Arthur" -the screen was blank.

[Mr. Petry used a preliminary-form of Hari Seldon's psychohistory mathematics to describe the effect of an adult-education, in his adult teaching credential thesis, UCLA, 1982; -and many of his biparous quips and quipperish bips are fairly historic and technical:- indeed ca 1979 the US Post Office considered bids-&-proposals for an electronic transmission of mail, something like its web-to-mail facility today,- and he was at the time working for the likelier-winning-team, if we do say so; and bits, binary digits, can be actually reduced to less information, eg. true-or-erasure-(no information), etc.]

Y2K: The Classic



YEOMAN, a santa-elf-dressed female in red-and-white fluff, approaches the Captain:

Captain: We're approaching the inner Y-2-K-limit: E-T-A: 10-point-7...

Steady as she goes, Helm!
(a beat)
Communicator: Open hailing frequency!

Hailing frequency open, Captain:

(cf 'Chestnuts Roasting')
Test-nets hosting on an open wire,
Crack-posts kibbitzing your news,
U-R-L's being hung by acquire,
Jokes trussed-up like ASCII-moes.
Everybody knows--
Some turkey,
And his missile-in-tow,
Helps to keep the seasoning light;
Tiny dots,
With their 'i's all a-glow,
Will find the hard disk cheap,

(sidles-up, quiet)
(a beat)
Some of the crew have this Y-2-K-pool -- and were wondering if you'd like to, participate?

Comm: Can you eliminate that?!

Sure, Captain: But, 'tis the season!
    (music diminuendo)
(resumes to yeoman, quiet)
What's the catch?

All expenses paid...

Sounds like fun--when did-they pay?

(overly loud)
We have anomaly, prediction--!
(to side-display)
One-way Certification cut-off...!
Due to: Time-zone differentiation!
Net result: Insecure reflections!
Duration: 40 kilohesits!

This could be real serious hype!


Strategic Director: Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry
Screenplay by: Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry

© var,1973,1981,1997-2002 Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry