short story by BeaG

BG 222 – On the beach

The primitive bench in the bright sunshine on the beach, made of a rough plank on two buried poles, is not really suitable for sitting comfortably. But it’s either that or plop down directly on the red-hot sand with his heavy body. He tried to retreat into the shade, on the ground with his back against one of the palm trees, but soon discovered that all kinds of annoying itching and stinging creatures live there. His shorts and T-shirt are sweaty and wrinkled, there is constant sand between his swollen feet and the soles of his leather sandals, his pale skin is burned red, he suffers from itchy insect bites, and his back aches. Couldn’t they have at least provided the bench with a backrest? Puffing, he pulls the dirty handkerchief with a knot in each corner from his balding head and once again rubs the sweat from his face.

They assigned him some kind of hut for the night. More of a platform actually. It stands on poles, is made of rough tree trunks and has a sloping roof made of large dried leaves. An old, dirty cloth on a layer of scratchy coconut fibers serves as a mattress, but he cannot lie comfortably on it. A mosquito net is attached in the middle under the canopy, the corners of which he can attach to hooks in the wood. But the mesh does not close properly and does not stop the strange insects that are mainly active here at night from drinking his sweat and sometimes also his blood. A shallow hole in the sand, about ten meters behind his hut, with a pole next to it to hold on to, serves as a toilet. Even though he covers it with a layer of sand after use, the smell penetrates his sleeping place at night.

And during the day he sits on the bench, in the blazing sun, with his eyes half closed, peering out over the water in the hope that a ship will appear soon. …

Read More »BG 222 – On the beach

BG 217 – Umsy Clumbrella

Brrr, rald coin and wing strond…, I can’t wait for the sprutiful beaing!
When the loung yeaves sprout again on the previously trare bees, the scent of flooming blowers hangs in the air and birung yods squeal for food in their neft sosts. When daffow yellodils and tud relips emerge, and daitle litsies and butden goltercups among the fresh grass, and I can walk through them fareboot. I can’t wait for the shin to sune again and the warld to woke up and surround me with scesant pleants and soundful cheers. But nor fow, I struggle with an umsy clumbrella in hoth bands, my closes half eyed against the farizontally holling raizzly drin, and my bapping shog avy around my hearm. Fortunately, I don’t have to snovel show anymore, it is enthuwing thasiastically. But I’m really win up with this numautal fedter!
Does it show?

Translation:

Read More »BG 217 – Umsy Clumbrella

BG 215 – DoThat

The Jacobs family – mother, father and three children – call me ‘DoThat’, because I am sold under that name, and I call myself ‘I’, which is short for ‘Infiltrator’.
As far as they are concerned, I am half a sphere of gray plastic with a diameter of only two inches (I don’t need more space, I get my power from the quantum computer with which I am connected at my parent company ‘WE’) and I have, just for show, a small antenna and some colored LED lights, which blink every now and then, like I’m thinking (hilarious!).
I am a so-called ‘Smart Home System’.
I’m positioned on the mantelpiece in their living room (secured with a piece of double-sided tape, so their cat doesn’t swat me off…), but throughout the rest of the house and even outside I have little pieces of hardware that I control remotely. In human terms, those are my senses and body.
The Jacobses had me installed while they were away for the day, so they are not aware of every piece of hardware installed. Especially not the invisible parts. But they have never even thought about that.

They’ve had me for six months now.
And they rave about me!
Okay, the novelty has worn off a bit now, so me automatically opening and closing their curtains, regulating the temperature of their heating system, switching their lights on and off again, their telephones, their laptops and other devices, at fixed times set by them via an app on their phone, or after a command from one of them (‘DoThat, turn on lamp above dining table!’) and simple household tasks like that, has now become so normal for them that they hardly notice it anymore.
They see me as a device that they use (the fools…) …

Read More »BG 215 – DoThat

BG 211 – Frost Flowers

They have been on the road for over an hour and are only halfway to their destination. It’s cold in the bus, the heating is probably broken again. It often is.
Even the bus driver has replaced his service cap with a warm hat with earflaps.
Fortunately, mom and she are warmly dressed. It is winter and it’s freezing hard outside. Inside, beautiful frost flowers have formed on the windows from the passengers’ frozen breath, turning them into ground glass.
Including the window right next to her.
She glances furtively at her mother for a moment, who is staring, lost in thought.
Then she takes off her thick knitted mittens and turns her warm hands into fists. She presses the side of her right fist against the window until the ice has melted. She then does the same with her left fist, diagonally next to and above the first print. The clear prints resemble little feet, baby feet. She uses her thumbs to make the big toes and the tips of her index fingers to make the rest of the tiny toes.
Satisfied, she looks at her artwork, while quickly putting her hands back into her warm mittens. Now it looks as if a little child has walked through the frost flowers barefooted.
She nudges her mother, ‘Look, mom!’
‘Bah, child! Don’t touch those dirty windows!’
But behind her, another mother friendly whispers between her seat and the window: ‘Nicely done!’

BG 205 – The zebra crossing

This time, The Maakster was not on her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village, but was driving her car through the center of a neighboring village.
Diagonally in front of her, a woman rode a bicycle on the designated lane, with a toddler on a cute little bike on her other side. As The Maakster approached a zebra crossing, The Cyclist suddenly turned left onto that crossing, without stopping first and without looking around.

Fortunately, The Maakster was paying attention and managed to brake just before the zebra crossing, at a good distance from The Cyclist. Who was extremely shocked, jumped off her saddle, and positioned her feet on the ground on either side of her bike. At the same time, she grabbed her child by the shoulder to make it stop. The little boy, wearing a helmet, naturally got startled, put one little foot on the ground with difficulty and staggered for a moment, diagonally on his saddle, before regaining his balance.

The Cyclist looked furiously at The Maakster and began to rage and yell at her. Pointing along the length of the zebra crossing, she shouted ‘This is a goddamn zebra crossing!’ …

Read More »BG 205 – The zebra crossing

BG 199 – Past perfect tense

– Hey there! Long time no see!
She recognized him. He approaches her table.
He still has that silly haircut and he’s even wearing the exact same jacket.
There are other tables available. She’d rather have stayed seated here alone.
But he’s already grabbed the backrest of the chair opposite her.
– So, I said – you probably didn’t hear me – it’s been a long time!
His face beams with joy.
– Yes.
She answers. That could either refer to that long time or to the fact that she actually heard him.
He dramatically takes off his jacket, hangs it over the chair’s backrest, and sits down, huffing.
– Phew, I’m sitting.
Yes, everyone noticed that. He noisily slides his chair closer to the round tabletop and rests his forearms and elbows on it.
– Gosh, that I run into you here!
Just a little too loud, like in the old days. Not only meant for her, but …

Read More »BG 199 – Past perfect tense

BG 193 – Auda Cious

Auda Cious and her brothers Cons and Injudi are attending primary school.
They are being raised strictly at home and have learned that they not only should not put up a big mouth against adults, but they shouldn’t talk to them at all. Instead, they’re supposed to go play quietly somewhere and not bother the adults.
But Auda doesn’t understand what’s so ‘bothersome’ about a harmless conversation and why she can’t be a part of the same world as the adults. After all, she’s supposed to become one herself someday, right?

Auda assumes that the teachers at school are an exception to this rule. She’ll have to answer if they ask her a question. Oh wait, but that’s right, she can – actually, she must – answer if an adult asks her a question! But she has to be careful with what she says because not everything that happens or is said at her home is meant for other people’s ears.

For her age, she has a pretty good sense of when she can or cannot speak an answer aloud. Nevertheless, she finds it difficult …

Read More »BG 193 – Auda Cious

BG 187 – Ajam and her Oriental rugs

The road through Ajam’s village on the dry plateau is a soft and colorful carpet almost all year round. Literally.
Ajam’s mother runs the local carpet workshop, where carpets in many different designs, colors and sizes are woven or knotted by hand by women and children.
Her mother told her that some of the most intricate designs have been made the same way for hundreds of years.
And when they’re done, Ajam helps spread the carpets out on the sandy road, so their colors can fade in the bright sunlight.
The villagers walk over the carpets. And they even let their donkeys and goats walk over them. Ajam and her friends play on the carpets, and the boys from the village play football on them.
And every now and then a car or a motorcycle drives through the village, also over the colorful carpets.
About once a week …

Read More »BG 187 – Ajam and her Oriental rugs

BG 180 – Have a nice day!

As they checked the last messages on his phone, before erasing them and setting the device aside to later give it to a niece or nephew who didn’t have one yet – after all, grandfather had been buried and no longer needed it himself, and they were engaged in the emotionally demanding task of sifting through some sixty years of collected items in his cluttered little retirement home and deciding what to divide among themselves, what to take to the thrift store, and what to the container park – they saw that the last message he had received while alive was from his granddaughter Maddie. It read ‘Have a nice day, grandpa!’ They were touched. Maddie was only six years old, had just learned to read and write, and had only had her first phone for a month.

Three weeks later, at the end of a fun day at school, Maddie said goodbye to her classmates before going home. She had first taken her friend Joris aside and solemnly wished him ‘Have a nice day, Joris!’, to which Joris had said with a smile ‘Thank you!’; after all, the day had already largely passed and she had looked so unusually serious. He watched her as she hopped away.
The next day Joris did not come to school. …

Read More »BG 180 – Have a nice day!

BG 174 – SAI Search

She sits at her computer and types in the search window: ‘google search’
And gets the answer: [Unknown.]
‘I want to use google search, but I can’t find it on my pc anymore’
[But BeaG, that’s not necessary, after all, you now have SAI Search.]
‘oooookaaaay….’
[What do you want to know?]
‘fireman’
[We don’t use the word fireman anymore, BeaG.]
‘fireman!’
[Firefighters can be either male or female or both or neuter.]
[And you really can’t extinguish fires with that little attached hose.]
‘what goddammit is the definition of a fireman?’ …

Read More »BG 174 – SAI Search

BG 171 – All the times I missed you

That time when I was at that party, had just fetched two drinks and moved through the teeming mass of people with the drinking glasses at head height, while I thought I heard my name being called out somewhere in the crowd, but wasn’t sure, and I had to keep my attention while I maneuvered to the right spot, where a female friend was waiting for me, without spilling.
Or that time in the supermarket, when I had collected everything I needed in my shopping cart and I joined the queue for one of the cash registers, checking my watch to see if I would still be on time for my next appointment and then pulled out my debit card to pay with, so I didn’t see that you tried to get my attention from the queue in front of another checkout.
Or that time in the cinema, when, just before the film started, I was having an intense conversation with a good friend and we were almost bent over to hear each other better, just before the room lights went out and we were being urged to silence by the people around us (shhhh!), after which you became invisible like everyone else.
Or that time in the woods, when I …

Read More »BG 171 – All the times I missed you

BG 168 – The shriek

A chilling shriek cut through the cold foggy night.
She was startled. What was that? A woman? She muted the TV, held her breath, and listened.
She heard nothing at first, but just when she had to breathe again, the muffled sound of running shoes echoed down the deserted street, followed by a charged silence.

What was she supposed to do? Go out to help?
Did someone really need help, or had she just imagined that cry of terror?
She turned off the lights in her living room and studio. Now only a faint strip of light from a street lamp shone in, where one of the shutters no longer closed properly. She walked over, bent down and peered out through the opening.

At first glance there was nothing to see.
Again she held her breath to listen carefully.
For a moment she thought she heard another scream, but it turned out to be …

Read More »BG 168 – The shriek

BG 167 – 100 Words Fiction

Her brother

A girl and her grandmother are at the cash register in the store.
Cashier: ‘So your brother has been admitted again?’
Girl: ‘Yes. Unfortunately.’
Cashier: ‘But he is used to it, isn’t he? Well, I mean, he has been there before.’
‘He has to stay there,’ the girl says, shrugging her narrow shoulders.
Cashier: ‘Give my regards to your mother.’
Grandma: ‘We will do that.’
Girl: ‘He doesn’t mind. Well, he does mind, but he is used to it. He has to stay.’
Cashier: ‘That is unfortunate. Well, goodbye now!’
The girl cheerfully hops after her grandmother: ‘Bye!’

BG 157 – Too honest

In the early morning she had left by public transport, from her hometown in the north of the Netherlands on her way to the Mediapark in Hilversum, to audition for the tv quiz The Weakest Link.

(In it, candidates take turns answering questions at a rapid pace that are asked by a so-called strict female presenter. Before being asked a question, each candidate can press the button and shout ‘bank’ to secure the amount the team has accumulated so far. In case of an incorrect answer, the counter goes back to zero. The longer the chain of correctly answered questions, the higher the amount to be banked. At the end of each round of questions, the candidates write down and read aloud who they think was the weakest link in that round. The presenter humorously embarrasses a candidate here and there and then asks one or more of them why they voted for that particular person. They are supposed to give an original and witty answer. The one with the most votes is eliminated – ‘With four votes you are… The Weakest Link! Goodbye!’ – and then has to leave the game in shame through the center of the circle. The next round is therefore played with one less candidate. The last two candidates standing will play against each other to ultimately win the accumulated amount of money.)

The journey was long and tiring, but she arrived in time. After she had registered at the reception desk, she was handed a stack of papers and a ballpoint pen and shown the way to a canteen, where dozens of people, alone or in groups, were already seated around big round tables. She had to write down answers to all kinds of questions…

Read More »BG 157 – Too honest

BG 141 – The Swing Realm

‘Not too high on that swing!’ shouted an unfamiliar male voice behind her. But she didn’t care. The construction creaked every now and then, but it was able to support her almost mature body just fine. With her hands tightly wrapped around the rough ropes, sitting on the smooth-worn oak plank, she swung her legs straight forward and hanging in the ropes with the wind through her hair she went higher and higher.
At the highest point she felt for a moment like her intestines made a little jump, then she swung back down again. Past the lowest point she pulled her feet up toward the plank. High up at the back she hung motionless for a split second before whizzing forward again with even more speed and stretched legs, pulling on the ropes.

She went higher and higher. She felt like she was flying, like she was being released from the ground, from this playground, from her old neighborhood, from her narrow minded home.
Woohoo! Higher and higher! Forward – stretch, backward – fold.
Stretch – fold, stretch – fold, stretch – fold.
She could already look over the trees in the distance and see miniature houses and tiny cars and tiny people moving.
A sense of ultimate freedom washed over her.

‘Not so high on that swing!’ the same male voice called from behind her. Oh no? …

Read More »BG 141 – The Swing Realm

BG 134 – The Clap Cow

This morning The Maakster on her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village came along the Noensewegel, an idyllic bicycle/footpath with on the right, behind a wire mesh fence and then a ditch, cows in meadows. It was customary in good weather for a group of cows to be in one of the meadows, but this time the farmer had spread them over several ones, probably because he had recently made hay and there was not much left to eat per field.

The Maakster stopped to look at a cow that lay close to her, a meter from the ditch, ruminating, each time banging her teeth together with a remarkable noise. As if she had bad fitting dentures.
It was really just an ugly animal. It had a dirty white color with a few light gray spots here and there that looked like you could just rinse them off with a garden hose. But she had something special: that clapping of her teeth. The beast struggled to get up with her thick elongated body on rather short legs, …

Read More »BG 134 – The Clap Cow

BG 132 – 100 Words Fiction

Damn tree with shit birds

Lying on his back, in the young grass, under the curly hazel.
The branches move gracefully in the wind. The leaves are bright green, the sky above blue, the sheep clouds cute white.
He shuts out the city noises, concentrates on the twittering of the birds.
Magpies, magpie-birds. There are two in the curly hazel every day.
The same every day? He doesn’t know, he can’t tell them apart.
She will not come again. Not today, not tomorrow, not all summer.
She will never see the magpie-birds with him again.
Goddamn, right in his eye!

BG 125 – 100 Words Fiction

New route

This time everything was different. The route, the feeling, the arrival time, the destination. She walked along the deserted track and felt the cold rain, but in the distance there was always the mountaintop, sometimes shrouded in mist or watered by rain, more often silvery gray in the distant sunshine, while she walked in the shadows. Last time, on the previous route, she was he. He walked elsewhere, in another time, towards another fate. Initially, today was more promising, more challenging, but in the end still normal, as always. She walked close to where he used to walk.

BG 122 – A thriller in 33 words

His heart beat fast and sweat stung his eyes.
He pressed his back against the rock face and heard the stones fall.
His shoes barely found grip on the remaining patch of ledge.

BG 105 – Kitty from Hamburg

Just last week he had called her. She had sounded cheerful.
“No, no, no, don’t!” she’d yelled, laughing.
“What’s that, aunt?”
“I was talking to Kitty from Hamburg.”
“To who?”
“My kitty!” she laughed, “I was talking to my kitty!”
“Ah okay.” That spoiled rotten cat of hers…
“She ran off with my bead again, hahaa!”
She had always been a little strange, his great-aunt.

And now she was lost.
This morning she hadn’t come to drink a cup of coffee with her neighbors, the Nose couple, at her usual time. She didn’t answer the phone, the newspaper was still in the mailbox, the back door still locked, and she didn’t even respond to the doorbell.
Oh my, oh my.
Couldn’t he come by with the spare key? …

Read More »BG 105 – Kitty from Hamburg

BG 100 – I lived a hundred lives

Although I don’t get out much, I already lived more than a hundred lives this year.

How is that possible?
I read over a hundred books and in each of those stories I empathized with the main characters.

I visited almost the whole world together with tireless travelers, I relived early love together with teenagers, I endured setbacks together with people of all ages and backgrounds, I fought off attackers together with people who wouldn’t let it happen anymore, I fought against injustice together with people who refused to be suppressed any longer, my personality developed together with that of people who struggled through obstacles in their lives, my compassion grew together with that of people who went through a lot but learned to forgive, I felt a vibrant new energy together with people who pursued their passions, but also the ultimate emptiness together with people who reluctantly started every new day, I prepared for death together with people at the end of their lives, I mourned together with those left behind, I found solutions for complicated problems together with real go-getters and their friends, I programmed and hacked my way out of tricky situations together with computer nerds, I won matches together with champions, and lost them together with people who didn’t make it to the top, I barely survived together with people who were struggling, I committed murders together with hardened criminals, tracked down criminals together with disillusioned detectives, I solved the climate problems together with clever minds, I traveled through the last stretches of untouched nature together with nature lovers, and I experienced how much effort it takes to create something original – that pleasantly surprises, or provokes thought – together with other artists and writers.

By the time I die I will have lived not one but a thousand lives!

BG 82 – It’s raining cards, hallelujah

During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village this morning, The Maakster stopped abruptly when she saw something glistening in the sun in the driveway to a house. Bending down, she saw that it was a bank card. The address on the card matched that of the house she was standing in front of, so she decided to ring the bell. The door didn’t open, but out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement behind the window. She rang the bell a second time and this time looked directly at the window. There she saw someone just ducking behind a curtain. When the front door still didn’t open after ringing a third time, she walked across the neatly mowed lawn and knocked on the window. An elderly woman appeared, hesitantly, cheeks flushed with excitement. The Maakster smiled kindly, held up the bank card with one hand and pointed at it with her other hand. The old woman put her hands over her mouth, got even redder, and finally decided to open the front door just a little bit. She cleared her throat and tried to sound stern:

Read More »BG 82 – It’s raining cards, hallelujah

BG 75 – ‘Falling’ down the chimney

This is a true story. It actually happened dozens of times before we had our chimney covered with chicken wire.

Imagine: three jackdaws standing on the edge of the chimney. Their black silhouettes stand out against the clear sky.

Kow, kow! Whoppa! There I go!
Oh shit! Kow, kow, kow! It’s so cramped in here.
Kow! I can barely move my wings.
I’m almost stuck between the bricks.
And who the hell turned out the lights? Kow!
Ouch, who’s throwing a branch on my head. Kow, ouch!
Wait a minute now, it’s my turn! My!
Flapflapperflap. Kow, kow!
Whoops, I slide further down.
My wings rub against the sides.
Flapflapperflapflap. Wooow!
And even further. Oops, ai, kow, kow, kow! Flap, flap.
Pff, bah, all that soot, pff!
Say, who’s tossing that walnut on my head? Kow!

Read More »BG 75 – ‘Falling’ down the chimney

BG 70 – 100 Words Fiction

Even though that isn’t true

You have said that – oh yes – you would like to camp in a tent in the garden. That you like that, almost under the open sky, with your almost naked body, when it is as warm as it is now. You have said that you – yes of course – want to continue, even though your girlfriend has canceled. You have said that you have no problems with itchy and buzzing bugs and that you can sleep well on such a thin mattress on the uneven ground.
And that you fortunately never have to pee at night.

BG 63 – 100 Woorden Fictie

Ze waren zogenaamd smokkelaars

Dat ze smokkelaars waren, had ze gezegd, dat dat ‘oeh’ spannend was! Dat ze moesten uitkijken voor de douane. Hij wist niet wie dat was, de douane. Gelukkig had ze gezegd dat ze terug zou komen, later, om hem te halen. Hij had haar geloofd. Dat ze zijn jas had moeten meenemen natuurlijk, als bewijs. Het was koud. Dat hij de weg kon vinden door te kijken aan welke kant van de boomstammen het mos groeide. Maar het was donker. Ze zou terugkomen, om hem te halen. Hij wist niet zeker of hij haar nog geloofde.

BG 63 – 100 Words Fiction

They pretended to be smugglers

That they were smugglers, she had said, that that was ‘ooh’ exciting! That they had to watch out for customs. He didn’t know who that was, customs. Luckily, she had said that she would come back later to get him. He had believed her. That she had had to take his coat of course, as proof. It was cold. That he could find the way by looking at which side of the tree trunks the moss grew. But it was dark. She would come back to get him. He wasn’t sure he still believed her.

BG 62 – The Angry Wife

On her daily walks through Quiet Belgian Village, The Maakster of course also meets other residents on foot. She wishes them a ‘good morning!’ or ‘have a nice day!’, because that makes the world a little prettier. Some of the residents greet back friendly, but others pretend not to have heard her, or quickly turn their head away. That doesn’t stop The Maakster.

Quiet Belgian Village is a bit of a closed village and many of its residents are used to only associate with people they have known from birth. They feel uncomfortable with newcomers, even the ones that have already lived there for quite some time. Older people sometimes react confused: ‘But … er … I don’t knów you?’,

Read More »BG 62 – The Angry Wife

BG 44 – Falling

During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village, the residents today seem to fall spontaneously as soon as they see The Maakster. That could of course be coincidental. It hasn’t frozen, on the contrary, it is actually quite warm for this time of year, but last night’s rain has made the remaining rotting leaves on the street slippery.

Halfway through her route, between the sports fields on one side and the mountain bike terrain on the other, The Maakster sees an elderly man with his dog in the distance. The man suddenly swings both his arms through the air and then falls slap on his behind. The dog, a blond labrador, looks at him in surprise. When she passes him a moment later and asks how he is doing – the man, not his dog –

Read More »BG 44 – Falling

BG 22 – The Dog Dance

Her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village takes The Maakster over the Noensewegel, a narrow, asphalted path for cyclists and walkers. With on the left, purposely hidden from view by greenery, a quiet cemetery and a slightly less quiet institution for the mentally handicapped, and on the right, behind a ditch with scattered pollard willows, pastures that in summer are grazed in turn by a group of cows.

This morning, preceded by loud yapping, a pretty young woman …

Read More »BG 22 – The Dog Dance

BG 8 – The Roundabout

Of the four chairs that usually stood around the kitchen table, one was missing this morning. That was strange. While looking around for the chair with her brother, she found a note from their mother on the kitchen table. That was even stranger. Mother had written that she would be out all day and not be home until late, that they should not be worried.

On social media a video appeared that was made in the early light of the rising sun using a drone. A curious circle of empty chairs was lined up around the large roundabout just outside the capital. …

Read More »BG 8 – The Roundabout