Zero, September 23, 2022

This Show Case features six pieces submitted in response to our twenty-sixth Writing Prompt: Zero. You can see responses to each prompt in the drop down menu for this page. Try an item. They are all delicious. We hope they stimulate your mind, spirit, and urge to write. Maybe they will motivate you to submit a piece for our next prompt, which you can find on the Show Case home page.

And please share this Show Case with your family, friends, and other writers.

A Presence of Absence

by Boris Glikman

Art by Vladimir Kush

Some people are defined more by their absence than by their presence, their vacancy having more intensity and power than their being. When these people leave you, their absence acquires distinctive characteristics that their presence never possessed. The presence of their absence assumes a reality all of its own, becoming almost tangible. You find yourself developing meaningful and happy relationships with the vacuities you never enjoyed when in the presence of the actualities.

Other people exist only as outlines, defined by the presence of others around them and when the others are gone, these people fade into nothingness.

शून्य

by GD Deckard

Roy’s ad on eBay, selling a genuine Arabic Zephirum -sorry no photo available- brand new, with free shipping and always a full refund for any thing returned, earned him a startling amount from less knowledgeable collectors worldwide. All of whom eventually complained on his seller’s feedback.

“Item never received,” was the most common complaint.

To which Roy replied, “I sent you nothing. Look it up.”

Me, Zero. Taniwha, One.

by John Correll

I had a story, fluid and flowing. Full of words, floating and swimming. But sneaky Taniwha in the stream, that fabled Maori monster, swallowed each one till nothing was seen.    

Fiercely, I pulled and fought, but the beast broke my grip and left me with naught.

Carelessly, I followed, trying to stop my words from washing away. But tomorrow’s past lost anchor in the depths which drowned out the brightness of today.

Instead, I sank further into shredded paragraphs of zero, where I failed to find a veiled and valid submarine hero.

How John Dee

came to be Associated with the Cacodemon O-ek1

by Mimi Speike

My first venture into scrying occurred in 1581, with Barnabas Saul. Never having attempted the procedure previously, I had nothing to judge him by. A year later, Edward Talbot (who later revealed himself to be Edward Kelley, running from the law) came knocking on my door. 

Kelley was a phenomenal scryer, much superior to Saul. We worked well together on the scrying side, less well otherwise. It was not uncommon to have a constable at my door inquiring after him; he had defrauded many in the county.2

I hired him nonetheless. My experience has been that disreputables make the best seers.

One evening, an urchin approached me with urgency in his bearing. I had been invited to a musical evening given by a neighbor of mine. I had hired a coach, not to arrive on foot, dust-caked. Also, my knees are not the best, and it was a mile-long walk.

I had settled myself into the coach. The door was ajar. A face appeared in the opening. A boy of twelve or so said to me: Pardon, sir. Be ye His Honor Doctor John Dee? I nodded curtly. 

He continued: I have with me one who wishes to confer with you. He introduced an animal into the car. It claimed the seat opposite me. My impulse was to turn the thing out and be on my way. I was off to consort with Francis Walsingham, I had no time for nonsense. But in a remarkable pair of eyes, I perceived an astonishing intelligence. I felt compelled to inquire: Whom do I deal with here, please? 

The creature emitted sounds no one would have thought remarkable, but my attuned ear made out the words: Zir Ol. (Note: Zir is pronounced zeer.) These were Enochian words.3 I had studied the arcane tongue for two years. I translated the sounds as follows. Zir: I am/I be. Ol: myself. The animal had proclaimed–It is I, as if I should have been expecting him. I felt in the schoolroom, called before the master for misconduct.

Concealing my chagrin, I asked again: What manner of being, sir, have I the pleasure of acquainting with?

He spat: Zir O-ek, (I be O-ek). O-ek is a cacodemon, the fallen counterpart of the agathodemon Iaba.The cacodemon is known to have the ability to shapeshift. Before me sat the cacodemon O-ek, in the aspect of a cat. I have a powerful affinity for felines. For him to present as a cat was a canny move. 

I next heard: Zir Oma (I be wisdom). I was stunned speechless. Then, more insistently–he was clearly losing patience with me–he growled: Zir Obsog. This one puzzled me. I must have misheard. He had to have said Zir Obelsog, I be deliverer. (FYI: There are no articles in the Enochian language.) I surmised the cat’s vocal apparatus did not lend itself to crisp articulation. But before long he enunciated adequately, if not precisely, in English.4

I continued silent. He yowledZir Ooa! (I be eye). I took this to mean: I am a seer. I concluded he was offering to replace the scoundrel Edward Kelley, who had recently forced me to give him a large pay raise by threatening to quit my service, and who had begun to eye my wife Jane in an unsavory manner.5 

From that evening, the cat was my constant companion.6 What to call him, particularly in company? It has been said of me that one so learned had not got that way but with the help of infernal powers. To utter the name O-ek in any context whatsoever would have been dangerous. I suggested Zir-O as a safe choice, inspiring no curiosity beyond, Why on earth did you name your cat Zero?

I conceived the alias as a discreet show of respect, but I also related it to Ozongon (winds). I refer you to Hosea 8:7: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind–whirlwind denoting uncontrollable, often unhappy, consequences. Zir Ozongon suited my new facilitator perfectly. 

Zir-O had a love of the dramatic. I was forced to separate what of his jabber might be believed from what was mere theatricality. He did not make it easy for me. But that is the way of spirits. They love to play games with us mortals. 

Zir-O flattered my ego. I had never apprehended supernaturals myself; Kelley was my mediary. It was a felicitous arrangement; the receptor of Enochian communications, emerged from his trance, recalls nothing. I recorded Kelley’s babble, and teased out meanings. But I had, in fact, envied his gift extremely.

Zir-O was not one to be called forth (or not) according to his whim of the moment, as with Madimi and the several others I had to do with over the course of my troubled collaboration with Kelley. Ever at my side, O-ek was instantly accessible. I felt very special, supremely honored. 

We quarreled over the division of a sum of money awarded us for the success of a joint venture. I cannot fault myself for my behavior. What use had a spirit of that reward? I needed it desperately. We parted, and I’ve not heard from him since.

* * *

  1. O-ek is, of course, Sly, the hero of my comic misadventure. He turns to Dee for help with a matter involving Queen Elizabeth. Dee is Elizabeth’s Astrologer Royal. 
  2. Kelley, having been convicted of forgery, had his ears cropped. He concealed the mutilation with a black skullcap.
  3. Enochian was considered to be an Angelic language, and the original language of mankind. All these Enochian terms are taken from The Complete Enochian Dictionary, published by Weiser Books in 1994.
  4. Sly had memorized a few words of Enochian to impress Dee. He soon switched to the tongue he had spoken since childhood.
  5. In 1587 Kelley told Dee an angel had decreed they should share all possessions, including their wives. Dee returned (they were in Cracow) to England. Kelley remained behind, and made a fine living off alchemy-obsessed Eastern-European nobility.
  6. He attended that musical evening with Dee, during which he demonstrated his prowess on the fiddle, a skill mastered when he’d assisted a street-corner busker in London ten years earlier. I will tell that rollicking story another time.

The Answer is Zero

by SL Randall

Tall green grasses swayed overhead. 

All Bepé could do was gasp. The verse jump had been like a flat fall, and knocked the wind out of him. Slowly, he caught the air and resumed natural breathing. As breath became the background activity it normally was, he noticed his surroundings. The tall waving grass overhead, the brilliant blue of the sky, and the rich smells. Grass, fertile soil, and was that… poop? His pack, uncomfortably under him, prompted him to roll over. Now he was face to face with an enormous dung pile, teeming with buzzing insects he’d never seen before. That explained the buzz he originally assumed was tinnitus, acquired from the verse jump.

Carefully, he rolled to his stomach and pushed himself up to kneeling. The grasses were still tall and he couldn’t see over them. Pain prodded his body, telling him it was going to be worse later. He ignored the message and cautiously rose to peek over the grass. Where was he and what made a dung pile that large? 

A yellow sun sat three fingers over the horizon. He waited. Was it rising or setting? Several minutes passed and his thighs complained about the crouch he held. The sun rose another finger. He had a direction. In the East, the sun blanketed a vast savannah of the tall grasses. Small specks in the air, birds perhaps, circled and dove. Size meant nothing. He still didn’t have a relative measurement of distance in this world. Turning to look north, there was more grass. West and South offered a relief with a line of small scrubby trees with the ground past them rising to hills. In the southern distance, mountains wavered in and out of misty clouds. 

Bepé wondered if Dunia was nearby. Certainly they had jumped to the same place and time? He sneezed loudly and froze while intently looking for danger. The only sound was the drone of the buzzing insects. 

With a normal jump, he would begin by taking samples and writing notes. This jump, far from typical, left him with a sense of urgency to find Dunia and return them to their own verse. He looked around for the malfunctioning device. “Of course.” he muttered, when he spotted it at the base of the dung heap. He edged toward the heap and stretched out his arm. Quickly, he snatched the device, but not fast enough. Several of the insects descended on his hand. Curious, he peered at them. They were the size of houseflies, but with big bulbous eyes, a proboscis like a mosquito, and a long barbed tail. ‘Reminiscent of a dragonfly, perhaps?’ He wondered, then attempted to wave them away, but they clung to his hand. He used his other hand to swat at the insects. A sharp, stinging sensation rewarded his effort.

Bepés dung fly by SL Randall

Apparently, he wasn’t as tasty as dung and more trouble than it was worth. He watched as they returned to their feast. Examining his hand, he noticed tiny red welts where the insects had latched themselves. Larger, itchy welts appeared on his other hand, where they had stung him with their tails. He hoped the reaction wouldn’t be any worse than a mosquito.

He forgot about the insects when he looked at the device. It had completely reset to factory settings. The screen blinked softly, waiting for input. Bepé did not know Dunia’s company login details and did not want to rewrite any of the data with his own. From his vest pocket, he pulled out his own device and powered it on. Relieved that it seemed to work properly, he powered it off and returned it to his pocket. He did the same with Dunia’s device, in the event it malfunctioned again, but placed it within his pack. He stood and looked out over the grass. It undulated in the light breeze like ocean waves. Aside from the insects and distant flock of birds, he saw no other creatures. He wondered what hid in the grasses and whether Dunia arrived in one piece. Walking in ever-widening circles from his landing point, he was hot and sweaty by the time the sun was directly overhead. Still no sign of Dunia, though he had covered half the distance to the trees.

By now, he was certain Dunia was not in the vicinity. It was time to consider his own survival. Before he decided his next move, a deep rumble shook the ground so hard he could feel the vibration in his chest. “Earthquake?” he asked, looking East over the grasses. His heart dropped to his stomach as his mind fathomed what he saw. Childhood memories of cartoons, then movies, and then his education kicked in, filling in the paleontological details. Bearing down on him at a dead run was a dinosaur. If he did not move, it would crush him under the monstrous feet. He stopped thinking and allowed instinct and adrenaline to take over. He ran for the trees. 

Three steps later, he was soaring ten meters above the grass. Fortunately, the dinosaur had him by the pack. He briefly wondered what would give first his arms or the pack straps. Then the dinosaur shook him like a dog with a chew toy. That was the last thing Bepé remembered.

Bepé meets the locals by SL Randall

He woke to darkness. One breath in and he knew he could still feel. He gasped at the pain. It hurt to breathe, open his eyes and twitch his hand. He was certain thinking hurt as well. Too dark to look around, he allowed unconsciousness to take over.

A soft breeze woke him the second time. Fragrant flowers just outside his bedroom wafted around. Bepé yawned, stretched, and groaned with pain. His eyes flew open as the memory of where he was returned. The concerned face of a strange woman peered at him. Dark dreadlocks hung about her smooth, brown face. Young, he decided. She wore some sort of animal hide tunic. His mind frantically searched for a reference point. Did he know of any worlds where humans and dinosaurs co-existed? Or had that damn device malfunctioned again? 

Bepé winced as the woman prodded his shoulder. “How long have I been here?” he croaked. 

She ignored him as she continued her examination.

He followed her with his gaze. He found he could move his limbs without too much pain. When he tried to sit up, she easily held him down. She still didn’t utter a sound. Then she left. He considered trying to sit up again, but found he lacked the energy. Instead, he let his training take over. 

The enclosure, constructed of bones, sticks and hides allowed sunlight to filter in through a hole in the roof. He examined the bones. With a chill, he realized it could be the bone of a dinosaur. He looked around at the various dried herbs hanging from the roof. He recognized none of the plants, but attributed the lack of recognition to his inability to examine them closely. Slowly, he let his gaze spiral in toward himself. He reclined on a bed of hides near the dirt floor of the hut. Dead grass clumps still lined the inner edges, which meant they had erected the hut on the grass. Looking at himself, he could only see a lump covered by a hide. 

He thought back to being picked up and shook like a dog toy. All he could remember was looking down at the enormous taloned feet. There had been zero opportunity to study anything else. He definitely didn’t remember escaping, and wondered how that happened. He hoped the woman would come back soon so he could begin the arduous process of learning to communicate and get answers. 

As if responding to his wish, she came back. Behind her, another figure entered. 

In his mind, he felt vindicated for every time he argued with the company that anthropologists needed to interact with the people they studied. The stern woman who stared down at him was magnificent. She wore an elaborate headdress of large, colorful feathers. Ridiculously large teeth framed her face. Draped about her shoulders was a cloak of sleek black feathers, tied across her chest with a leather thong, also adorned with teeth. She had dark intelligent eyes, and if he didn’t know better, a smirk on her face that said he was an idiot. He’d seen that look on his wife’s face many times. Then she spoke.

Healer by SL Randall

“Garai Bepeigian?” she asked.

He blinked. 

“Garai Bepeigian?” she asked again. “This is your name, is it not?”

“I, yes.” was all he could say. How did she know? How could she speak English? He struggled to organize his brain.

“Very well. I will let him know.” She left the hut.

“But!” Bepé called after her. “I have so many questions.” He finished to himself as the other woman also turned and left.

His mind raced. So many questions and zero answers.

Never Enough Nothing

by S.T. Ranscht

Image credit: S.T. Ranscht
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69 thoughts on “Zero, September 23, 2022

  1. Boris Glikman
    “A Presence of Absence” is almost existentialist in theme. People defined by others, past or present. But I’ve not seen it better put.

    शून्य
    I have nothing to say about this.

    John Correll
    “Me, Zero. Taniwha, One” is poetry. So many images packed into one another. Worth reading more than once.

    Mimi
    Remarkable and delightful for its knowledge and whimsy. Just what one would expect from you. Thanks for “How John Dee came to be Associated with the Cacodemon O-ek.” It is now a favorite of mine.

    SL Randall
    “The Answer is Zero” is excellent imagery. It put me into the scenes and made for an engaging story.
    But the editor in my head suggests “Relief that it seemed to work properly, he powered it off and returned it to his pocket” should probably read “Relieved….”
    Sorry. Can’t ignore the editor in my head. Damned thing has big bulbous eyes, a proboscis like a mosquito, and a long barbed tail.

    S.T. Ranscht
    “Never Enough Nothing” is proof positive that nothing beats like a broken heart. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • You guys finished strong! GD said everything I was going to say. Kudos, everyone! Boris’ opening para was as arresting a bit of writing as I’ve ever seen on this site. And Mimi continues to tease with playful erudite bits of nonsense that snap, crackle and pop on the page. GD takes a solid turn with an amusing anecdote. SL Randall and John Carroll turn in pieces worthy of extended discussion. And Sue finishes with a sharp haiku. All-in-all: might be the best of the showcases.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I’m so glad you said this. That takes me back to every literature class I have ever taken and heard the teacher expound on the meaning of the writing. While I appreciated their insight, I always wondered how they knew what the writer was thinking! Over the years I have come to the conclusion that writers pen what’s in their heart to the best of their ability, and if they are particularly talented at stringing words together, they weave in all sorts of layers. So perhaps, such as GD’s existential interpretation, you wrote intentionally, yet also subconsciously and added that existential flavor.
        Just my brain working over time to figure out the meaning of my space in time lol.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sandy, it often happens that readers give me insights into my own work and point out levels of meaning and different interpretations that I myself didn’t see or realise. Indeed, some of my stories and poems have received dozens of different interpretations. So, the way that I see it, the meaning and the interpretation of a literary piece is not set or determined or limited by what the writer intended to convey, and the readers contribute to a piece’s meaning and interpretation as much as the writer does.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Long ago, I read a good limerick featuring zero.  Forgot who wrote it and could not submit it to this show case because it is not by me, but I will share it anyway below:

    The function that’s nowhere defined
    is an orange with only a rind.
    But it turns up the hero, like the null set and zero,
    in many a proof you will find.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Boris, Again your writing inspires art. Painting or drawing to negative space is fun. Using the context to bring to life the unseen. I read your piece several times. It brought several images with each reading. Well done.

    GD,
    OK I admit … I had to google Zephirum … EVENTHOUGH you spelled it out at the end! lol Clearly Roy would not make any money off me for nothing! I also kind of think that’s what some politicians get away with to garner votes.

    John,
    I love the way you weave. I’m also delighted to have a new mythological creature to study. One of the series I’m working on, will eventually provide me with a personal compendium of mythological creatures. I did not know of Taniwah … So thank you for the introduction!

    Mimi,
    This is by far my favorite Sly story to date. Ok so I don’t have many under my belt, but I love the work you did with the language and I always love the historical references. Keep Sly stories coming… I look forward to them!

    Sue,
    As Always, thoughtful simplicity especially with the complex heart…You nailed it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you Sandy.
      I’d be interested to hear what interpretations/images of this story occurred to you when you read it several times.
      And yes, I have written several pieces inspired by images that utilise negative space.
      Just to be clear, as with most of my stories that are accompanied by images, it was the image that inspired this story, rather than my story inspiring the image. In majority of these cases, I came across these images by chance on the net, and they just happened to inspire ideas that I then turned into stories or drafts of stories. Having said that, there have also been collaborations in the other direction – various artists were inspired to create illustrations, after reading some of my stories and poems.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “The presence of their absence assumes a reality all of its own, becoming almost tangible.”
        I know GD referenced the beginning of this passage… but for me it is the most evocative.
        In my current Grass dragon chapter, my characters are talking about the absence of a large stone statue in front of the library.
        They discuss the fact that no one seems to have noticed it missing and that they likely would not have noticed either except for something that happened to draw their attention to it.
        While writing that portion I really got to thinking about that sort of phenomenon. How your awareness slides over people or objects that you for whatever reason don’t attach import too. I.e. homeless people. How often are they overlooked and then fade away when gone.
        I love that visuals inspire your work.
        For me my work requires me to take the extra step and create a visual… rudimentary as they are… but somehow it satisfies the creative in me.
        Perhaps you feel similar when putting words to pictures?
        Arrggh who said “a picture inspires a thousand words, but I want to choose the words?” Or something like that .. I literally just saw that somewhere but my brain cells only retained a portion of that experience! Lol

        Liked by 3 people

        • Sandy, it is interesting that you also contemplated the issue of the presence of absence in your writings.

          Actually, this piece “A Presence of Absence” is part of a trilogy, with all the 3 pieces inspired by different paintings by the same artist, Vladimir Kush. The other 2 pieces in this trilogy are “An Absence of Presence” and “An Absence of Absence”, and each of the stories are about entirely different topics.

          And yes, I am indeed inspired by images. I now have either completed or have drafts for over 600 stories, poems, vignettes, micro-fiction pieces etc that are inspired by images that I came across on the net.

          Usually, I don’t have to work on trying to put words to pictures – either an idea comes to me straight away or it doesn’t. And so with all my stories that accompany images, the idea for the story came to me straight away after seeing the image and then it was just a matter of working more on that idea and turning it into a finished piece.

          Regarding a picture being worth a thousand words, scientists have actually just recently discovered that a picture is worth not a thousand words, but 999.7454095824 words.

          And, just to give the right credit, it was Carl who referenced the beginning of my piece in his comment.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Boris, The absence of presence has intrigued me for as long as I can remember. It’s a part of existence in we tend to take for granted. For instance, faith in religion asks the believer to revere the unseen, the unfelt and the unheard. There is also the fascination with time in between or the between time. The moment just before or the moment just after. There is the fascination in photography and art, with light and shadows. All of these paint the unseen, yet we continue to unsee. I find this fun to explore while writing and painting. For me this is the “magic pixie dust” where secrets are made to be revealed.
            As to Vladimir Kush, thank you for introducing me to his work. I now follow him on instagram. His work is inspiring.
            And my apologies to Carl for the mis-credit!

            Liked by 2 people

            • Sandy, you mention “the absence of presence” in your comment above, while my story is about the presence of absence. Two sides of the same coin?
              Regarding Kush, I am good friends with his personal assistant – she really likes the pieces that I wrote to accompany his paintings and she arranged for me to speak on the phone to him. I have written enough pieces that have been inspired by his paintings for a whole book, so perhaps one day I will collaborate on a book with him.
              Here is his website, where you can sign up for an email newsletter from him and find out more about him: https://kushfineart.com/

              Liked by 2 people

      • Wow … Takes me back… to high school … if only I knew then what I know now. Naw that would have taken the fun out of the whole journey. Nevermind. On another note… I know several musicians who would call this irony or sarcasm.😂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the whole episode but only have a specific comment for GD.

    I gather that Roy on eBay here is the same con artist who runs the Forex Fitness Center in a previous episode.  Can’t help but like him.  In addition to being clever and funny, he is relatively benign.  Marks who enter FFC can leave as satisfied customers who don’t know they’ve been conned.  Marks who buy a zephirum can (re)learn the importance of reading the fine print at modest cost.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Boris – I can see how Vladimir Kush’s artwork inspired you. We do have a tendency to think of people in the most positive light after they are gone. (To give credit where it’s due, I used Image Search with Google Lens to ID the artist and add the artist credit to the image you used.)

    GD – Roy has become one of my favorite characters in all of literature. He’s undeniably despicable, yet endearingly enterprising and direct. Can’t help but think he’s merely a reflection of a dark corner of his creator’s mind. Muahahahaha!

    John – I don’t know what makes “good” poetry, but I do recognize a good story when I see one. Yours has creative imagery and strong rising movement till it descends to a marvelous line where you “failed to find a veiled and valid submarine hero.”

    Mimi – I agree with all those who say this is their favorite Sly episode so far. You’ve given Dee the most nuanced voice of any of your characters. Obviously he’s highly intelligent, but his self-deluding arrogance leads to a susceptibility to flattery and self-serving false assumptions that completely evades his awareness. It destines him to be an intricately interesting subject. Well done.

    Sandy – I love your illustrations! The story continues to move forward at a pace that carries the reader’s interest with it and compels speculation. For instance, I’m guessing the “him” the healer refers to is Dunia — who else would know Bepé’s name? I’d like to offer an editor’s suggestion, if I may: The first time you use “zero” diminishes the impact of the second, more important, “zero”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mimispeike says:

      Sue, thank you for your comment, but I don’t think about Dee that deeply. I’m extrapolating on what I’ve read of him, and having fun with him, and letting my story go where it will, like I always do.

      I’ll comment here this weekend. Right now I’m too worn out. From this piece, from cogitating on Arrogance, and from working in the garden.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Sue, you are right. Vladimir Kush’s art (along with the art by another artist, Michael Cheval) has indeed inspired a large number of stories, vignettes etc in me. They are the 2 artists for whose artwork I have written the most number of stories and story drafts. (around 80-100 stories and story drafts for each artist.) In fact, most of the artwork that has been featured together with my stories in these showcases has been either by Kush or by Cheval.
      I can credit the artists for the images that I submit from now on, but it is also the case that many of my pieces were inspired by artwork by unknown artists, as I just come across these images online and they are not always credited to artists, and Image Search doesn’t always help.
      Regarding your interpretation of my piece, you are correct that we tend to value people more after they are gone, but my piece actually went further than that in what it tried to convey, for I was trying to say that people’s absences can acquire their own presence and reality.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s always appropriate to credit an artist if possible. If not, then maybe state something like, “Artist unknown”.

        I wrote a fantasy/adventure serial of more than 300 episodes, each of which had its own illustration. This was before Image Search, and if I didn’t use my own work, I would spend hours digging to uncover the photographer or artist who created the piece. The ultimate truth I learned was that if my search reached down to Pinterest, I would never learn the creator’s name.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Sue, you keep me on my toes! I did question the placement of the first zero. I think thats a great example of being too close to the piece when self editing. Sometimes you can’t tell if it’s a weed or a pretty flower and you’re afraid to pluck the wrong one. Thank you!
      As to Dunia, you are correct, but hopefully that knowledge is one of the nuggets that keeps you reading. I’m sure there are questions about Dunia. Stayed tuned!😁😎

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sandy, a fascinating story that holds one’s interest throughout and makes one yearn for more. Your illustrations are delightful too and I would love to see more of them.

        Have you read “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury? In that time-travel story an encounter with a dinosaur also plays a decisive role, although I know that in your story it is travelling through various universes rather than time travelling.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you Boris. Eventually I will post a lot more of my art work. At the moment I haven’t completely decided on how I want to do that, and my “studio” is a corner of our tiny crowded house at the moment, which limits what I can do. but if you check out my blog … I am writing a dinosaur story, primarily for my youngest brother (38 year old man with Down Syndrome) and I add paintings for all of those as well.

          Blog


          As for the showcase stories, I spent a lot of this upcoming showcase researching and figuring out exactly how my multiverse works … I was hoping to include a picture relating to that, but right now my characters have begun arguing … we’ll see where the next episode goes.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. GD, it is apt that you title your story using the Hindi word for “zero”, as it was of course in India that zero was invented.
    It is interesting to explore the various linguistic nuances of the concept of “nothing”, as well as the logical paradoxes and contradictions that can ensue from the different ways that the word and the concept of “nothing” can be utilised and interpreted. Your story does this in a playful and fun way.
    You might recall my story “The Triumph of Nothingness” back in the April’s Nothing showcase, where I also played with the various nuances of the concept of “nothing”, although my story utilised the different nuances of “nothing” for a serious and dramatic effect, rather than for a humorous effect.
    (Given the similarity of meanings of “nothing” and “zero”, my story “The Triumph of Nothingness” could have just as easily appeared in this showcase, if it hadn’t already appeared in that earlier showcase.)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. mimispeike says:

    GD, if you have a Zephirum to sell, Ebay is certainly the place to do it. I have been caught up in a bidding frenzy myself, and regretted it. Being a new user, and seeing an item I thought was very unusual, I got carried away and paid way too much for it. So I can see your strategy (sort of) working.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Boris, you’re the master storyteller of Yin Yang, a Buddhist with attitude. A concise, honest, thought-provoking look at ourselves.

    GD, you’ve captured the essence of a spiv like Terry Pratchett’s Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler or Joseph Heller’s Milo Minderbinder.

    Mimi, your stories always have such hidden depth. I spent an hour ignoring the “donate to Wikipedia” messages to discover all I never knew about John Dee and 16th and 17th century England and Europe. Amazing. Well done.

    Sandy, totally not fair. In the age of binge-watching, instant-gratification, all-at-once, now-now-nowness, you expect us to wait a whole fortnight to find out what happens to Bepe?

    Sue, I see the beauty of math in your poetry…

    Liked by 4 people

      • I wouldn’t regret that too much Sue. To hate math is a personal journey. To relinquish that hate and learn to appreciate math is part of that journey … Some of us will get there, some of us won’t. Those of us who do arrive, do so because those that love math and see the beauty continue to do so despite the haters. In short, Lead by example … some of us will come around! lol.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Math is a love-hate relationship. When it makes beautiful sense, I love it. When it tricks me with false hopes, like this inane idea of fluctuating-indiscrete integration (for faster area estimation) that I’ve puzzled over for months, then I hate it intensely.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That sounds like bouncing off a wall and running right back at the dent you left. I felt that way about parts of calculus, but I know in my heart and in my head that the order math describes is its beauty whether we make it work for us or not. It is what it is and will not bend to our will. Kudos, mathematical relationships!

          It’s like knowing on a gloomy, overcast day that the blotted-out sun is shining on brilliant white mountains of cloud we can’t see from down here.

          Liked by 2 people

    • John, that’s an interesting interpretation of my piece that hadn’t occurred to me previously. I am not that familiar with Buddhist scripture actually, so the similarity to Buddhist thought is coincidental.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. There is a Zen quality to waiting …😁😎

    Besides, I had no idea how in depth I had to figure out the Rules of Verse jumping! There are rules! In order to write the next episode I smacked my head on that outcrop. Now, several pain killers later (and sleepless nights) I think I sort of understand the rules … Not sure how to offer this visual … prepare for an edit of this reply lol
    EDIT: Totally could not get the pic in my reply …

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sandy, as someone once said (I can’t exactly remember who): “Waiting is an ancient art that is, perhaps, dying. Nowadays, it seems people either have no time for anything except patience, or they have time for everything but patience. “

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hmmm seem to remember that guys post not so long ago! Absolutely apt Boris! I am so guilty of wanting things right now, but I actively force myself to wait. There is a beauty in waiting. Perhaps I’ll figure out how to paint it one day …

        Liked by 1 person

          • I know my Mom, as a child used to say “he who waits gets it last,” usually in reference to a rare treat doled out by my grandma. She also had four siblings, so jockeying for position was typical. I always found it fascinating to imagine what a house full of siblings was like. I had one brother until I was 20 and my mom had my youngest brother. Then I had my own kids … mystery solved lol

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, Mellow and Sue. You just proved a point made by Boris, that readers can actually contribute to a story. I actually see the character, Roy, better knowing he is (has to be) “relatively benign” and “undeniably despicable, yet endearingly enterprising and direct.” The two of you did a better job fleshing out that character in my mind than I did.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I think Roy is in my kitchen trying to bake banana bread right now … I picture my Dad when I read Roy. He’s visiting from Wichita. This morning’s Dad nugget, “Hey look at this FB post, some one is asking if I’d sleep in a mortuary for a week for $600,000. Heck Yeah I would, they’re just dead people. They don’t care.”
    For my dad … he’d do it for free … just because it’s a free place to nap.🤣🥰

    Liked by 2 people

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