Monday, 21 October 2019

Crastination - funny short story

Honda Prelude - astral travelling
Honda Prelude - astral travelling
'Crastination' wrote Honda Prelude, then wondered where the word had come from. A quick glance at her dictionary suggested there was no such word, but she felt there possibly ought to be.

For one thing, pondering the existence and possible meaning of the word 'crastination' seemed preferable to astral travelling, especially after her recent visit to Ertia, the ultimate dystopia.

Honda wrote the heading 'Crastination' on the top of a sheet of paper and pondered.

The word had been present in her mind as soon as she woke, warm and cosy beneath a small hill of yak-hair blankets and wrapped in her woven flax sheet. One doesn't want yak hair next to the skin, after all.

Crass-tination could possibly be a very shoddy type of tin plating? She thought. Or Crastin could be a Christian name found in the deep South of the Great Plains of Ertia? In which case crastination would represent the christening process - 'Her 'as bin Crastin'd.'

'But one purpose of this exercise is to prevent reminiscence of Ertia,' conceded Honda. 'So I'd better pursue a different avenue.'

Honda found herself walking towards her cave, chewing her pencil. What am I doing? she wondered, and realised she had felt the need of a cup of hot water with some herbs in it. Rousing the fire and making the drink proved a pleasant diversion, then she returned to her typewriter, poised on the rocky outcrop overlooking the valley.

'Crastination,' she muttered. 'Hmm, talking to myself again.'

Honda noticed the appalling state of the end of her pencil where she'd been chewing it, and resolved to tape it with something, something with an unpleasant taste. That should bring such unsavoury habits to an end.

'Crastination,' said the page heading, and Honda underlined it. The trouble was, when you chew a pencil it tends to fragment and fall apart. Bits of it get caught between your teeth. Between your teeth and gums, actually. It might even be bad for your gums. Imagine the bacteria that could get started in the gap between tooth and gum. The fragment of polished rock that Honda used for a mirror revealed a reassuring lack of pencil, after she'd used three lengths of dental floss - improvised from the stringy substance extracted from stalks of last summer's hemp crop. She returned to her page.

Where the hemp stalk/ dental floss had been wound around her finger a tiny drop of blood had appeared. It wasn't serious, but indicated all too clearly that regular hand washing in sub zero temperatures had taken its toll of Honda's poor hands. Oil, that's the remedy. Even hand cream can be made from the oil extracted from sunflower seeds. Honda admired her freshly oiled fingers, remarkably supple they looked, despite the decades of almost non-stop typing, and imagined herself as a part-time pianist.

'Toast!' she said, as her stomach chronometer announced the arrival of elevenses. It was very thoughtful of pilgrims to bring her flour all the way from the road, several miles below. It made a change from rice, lentils and sunflower seeds, that's for sure. After several rounds, another cup of hot water, and some more hand oil, Honda returned to her writing desk.

'You wouldn't be much of a pianist with hands like those,' she conceded. Such unkempt nails would clatter on the ivories, and no mistake. She whistled contentedly as she whittled away at her nails, first with elderly scissors, then with a nail file donated by an elderly male visitor form Bognor Regis, England, who, on arrival, had announced his desire to learn from her. Then he proceeded to lecture her on the advisability of life assurance, variable share options, a subscription to the Browsers' Indigestion and The Daily Mule, Sainsways loyalty card, and various other 'indispensable' aspects of modern life that she'd apparently overlooked.

All of a sudden a chill ran its sinister fingers along the exposed square inch of Honda's neck between jacket and ponytail. Honda looked up and saw the shadow of the nearest peak inching its way towards her seat. The day seemed nearly over.

Honda felt a resolution tingling its way up her spine and tummy, destination - vocal chords.

'I am pro-crastination, on balance,' she said, apparently to a large black bird of prey, possibly a raven. The plausible raven regarded her with a seemingly unblinking eye.

'But maybe I'll sleep on it before writing the article,' she added, amazed to be justifying herself to a bird.

The raven remained impassive, its two eyes staring in virtually opposite directions.

'The world doesn't exist unless it's observed,' it thought, as it belched and tasted anew the previous night's meal - a descendant of Schrodinger's cat. 'So here am I, single-handedly maintaining the existence of the world.'

A few moments passed, during which the world continued, apparently concrete.

'Though it's more to do with my two eyes, than a single hand,' it added.

More moments passed, uneventfully. The raven amused itself by peering at a lamb, maybe a mile distant. It gambolled and bounced amongst the spring grass.

'Life is so good, couldn't you just screeeeam!' the lamb seemed to say.

'And I don't have any hands,' conceded the raven, 'and neither did the cat.'

Still, the reality of the world seemed to be holding up quite well, that seemed the important point.

Then it blinked.

Both eyes at once.

Honda shivered anew and felt a strange urge to look behind familiar objects to see what was really there. The metaphorical scaffolding behind the advertising hoarding of the everyday, so to speak.

Crastination, she wrote. noun.

Then she rubbed it out and started again.

Crastinate. Verb. To dwell on small issues as a means of avoiding awareness of the large.

'Not much to show for today,' she complained, pouting at the solitary sentence on the single sheet. 'But tomorrow shall be different.'

Copyright P.J.Fairbrother 
Tags: funny, fiction, fantasy, 


  1. 🤔 Q. Are you anti - crastination, or pro? Behold the minimal workrate of the habitual philosopher (this is not a criticism !)

  2. More stories please


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