A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2008, vol 4 no 2

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David Cobb


Iniquitous Nights: A Fairy Tale

After the Junior Creator had been given a Universe Set he played with it for a while until, like some uninventive children, he thought he knew all that it could do, and all that it couldn't do, and he was becoming rather bored with it.

Basically, the Universe Set was for putting together stories. A bit of imagination was needed, but his jealous Senior had restricted him to only a rather small portion of that, and even then he couldn't rely on it to fire just when he wanted it to.

a dusty puzzle
beneath each lifted piece
its dustless shape

But one day he had one of his rare brainwaves. If he invented characters in his stories who were story tellers themselves, wouldn't they all have imaginations of their own? And then there would be some sort of explosion of imagination, like nuclear fission? A way of releasing his muse?

for the concubine
a ladder of silken rope
in a scarlet box

His ingenious creation was a blind old Arab woman of Baghdad who herself came up with the idea of a Caliph who demanded to be told a bedtime story every night by a different lady from his harem. The morning after the Caliph had the unfortunate lady put to death.

This slick get-out appealed to the control freak side of the junior Creator's nature. He liked snuffing out characters. 'And if I get bored, I can always put an end to the whole shemozzle by snuffing out the blind old Arab woman.'

And even though the blind old Arab woman tried to stave this off by creating Scheherazade, this was the iniquity that eventually befell her.

a stagnant pond
asleep in a midge swarm
an obese frog

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