Olivier Sillig                                                                                                                

   Short texts

Almost casually, the other day, on my bike, like formerly with my first erotic short stories, I started to tell a kind of story or chronicle, something between. I let myself go into it, because it sounded to me like a good way to improve my English. In any case, I liked to do it.
First I wrote the texts, with the help of the many dictionaries I find on the web too. Also amusing myself to give them to the automatic translators (like those Reverso and Google offer), but only from English to French, and only to detect some misinterpretations. After, I showed those texts to my nephew Mathieu, who has been living for four years in England. He suggest me many corrections, one or many times.
Because it enjoys me, I deliver those short texts here, in their actual state. I let a free space beside, for a more adequate writing, that you may suggest me, by email, and that I can edit beside.
Here, the short texts are submitted in  anti-chronological order:


Once in the future

Again, I found myself on my bike. Today, I start not very quickly, without any suppleness. Maybe a rest of the day before yesterday, when we practiced snowshoes in a very heavy and wet slush.  It is also because I become older. In some years  — twenty or fortywho knows? —, I will be an old man. Perhaps surrounded with many grandchildren. They will play around me, probably while I will be half asleep in a big and skinned armchair. Maybe I, fat, flat and flabby. Passive. I know like what: like a big pumpkin. But one which may have been forgotten in a garden during the last months of the year. It is translucent, between Slim®, this colourful toy clay, and green flesh, all the cells’ walls destroyed by the activity of the water beteween freezing and unfreezing. When the Halloween’s fruit from now on looks like a pudding. Maybe that is precisely the grandfather I will be. Maybe the swarm of children will play around me like Indians performing a war dancing around their sacred mountain.  Sometimes, they will stop and amuse themselves with my last hairs, these getting out of my ears. Or, worst, with my denture, joking with it, to scare  the youngest of them.    
This untill — still half or completely asleep, or while I feint to dream — I will let escape a big stinky and liquid diarrhoea, accompanied by noises like distant rumbles of thunder. At this time, the children will escape, deeply disgusted. The smaller will call their mother, all around the house. Maybe without obtaining any responses, their parents perhaps being out, either working in a gloomy bank office, making shopping, swimming in the deep humid atmosphere of a pretty hairdresser's, playing tennis or golf, or yet for hours gossiping in a cosy  tearoom. With all of that, they would let me lost and dipping in my drying shit. My brave heart will become very quiet, always slower. And, at least, gently, stop. And what will occur after? Nobody knows. On the earth, maybe some shuts and tears, some pontificating sentences, some sighs, those one from light relief too. But in the sky, at the heavens door, I will arrive among all those famous white and candid well dressed people. With my dry shit hanged at my flabby ass. And maybe the hall porter, the great bearded one, won’t let me in. So, I will stay, maybe for a while as long as the eternity, crouched down, on the last edge of a pale and cottonwood cloud. Maybe happy.
Olivier Sillig, 8 and 9 January 2008, on my bike and at home

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Once, like now

All day, the sky has been going down. Slowly, slowly. Always heavier, darker and lower down. The clouds reaching the earth, the earth loosed in the fog, everything diluted in a generalized grimy grey. All the animals seem to have been rubbed out from the surface of the world. And one can not ear any of their shouts. Instead, we ear a male voice. It is the chief recalling his many wives. And now, these wives recalling their too numerous children. The older granny, standing up beside the cave’s mouth, is counting all the newcomers. She pays a particular attention to the presence of the younger. To the women too, the ones who were out with there babies. When she declares that everyone is back, a couple of men closes the entrance of the cave with dry bushes. These bushes are stocked near by. This, on purpose to protect the cave against the wind. In summer, to protect themselves against the sand coming with it. In winter, against snowstorms. For the moment, outside, it is not the case, not a breath, not a noise. But the hunters know this will soon change. And the band is happy to be altogether secured around the fire.
For a while, they are drinking silently. Know that, since the last summer, they are able to shape basic cups. That for, almost casually, they discovered a kind of special clay which it is possible to fire and then it hardens. Since then, there life changed a lot. But this discovery remains new enough to inspire respect, silence, and pleasure. The boiling liquid is so sweet, sweet to their heart. Sometime to their stomach too, because in some great occasion, they dissolve honey into their drink. But normally, since a few weeks, they dip an experimental choice of drayed leafs. So the water has been becomes so tasty and nice! With the goodness of both the beverage and the warmth, one begins to talk. First lowly, in pairs. After in groups, many, completely in disorder, hastily, with a strange impatience due to the imminence of the sensed snowstorm. The entire band is convinced that tempest is a manifestation of the gods’ anger, without understanding why the divinities are especially angry in winter. The chief raises his hands and wait. The silence comes back. He gives a look to the medicine man, who is also able to interpret the signs and predict some future. But the witch doctor shakes his head, he has nothing to say. Though, the chief turns to the forebear woman, letting her the word. Firstly the old grandmother smiles, secondly she swallows her saliva, she coughs. To make sure everybody is attentive, she throws a quick glance all around the circle, and then she starts.
She speaks slowly, with a weak but high-pitched voice, an articulation uneasy to understand because most of her teeth were missing. Maybe the members of her family, or, instead of family, her close relatives first have had to masticate the food for her. She starts lowly, not only because of her weakness but also so that everybody prick up one's ears. Little by little, she will speak louder, with more assurance and with one authority that she truly has. Anyway everybody already listens to her, because one likes her stories. And because the quiet time available may be short.
Her story is not about science fiction. Not about very high times, nor about far-off and unknown countries. It tells the tribe about its near environment. Its interests: animals, plants, the first cultivations. And its fears: weather, life, death, birth, where we go, where we come from. Our destiny. Exactly like now, in the modern TV series.  It is possible to conclude that our clothes have changed, our houses, our perfumes, our lighting’s and shadows’ games, but we remain the same, sorts of identical little shy pets, slightly tamed, but easily scared.

Olivier Sillig, 4 and 7 January 2008, home

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Urban chronicle

At the edge of town, there is a midsized street. It slops softly down towards the city centre. On one of it sides, there is a street café. During the day, it is quite crowded. Among the diners, there are old men playing cards, while smoking cigars. There are also old women drinking tea and chatting together. They are telling gossip about one recently deceased. On the other side of the street, right in front of the café, there is a very small park. Without any doubt, it is full of neglected bushes. But its main object, although not at all an attraction, is a public urinal. It is an ancient model (one made in the first hours of the local industrial development). Even if covered with a roof, its circular metallic wall remains open, both at its top and down. When the urinal was still used, one could perceive the lower part of the male user’s legs. Since many years, this urinal is not use anymore, it looks abandoned. Yet some new users have moved in: a complete colony of rats, with many young specimens too. They like to play together. Their parents have to be very vigilant, because there are some dangers or threats around. The main one is the neighbouring presence of a big old male cat. Every early morning, straight after dawn, he comes. To benefit from the new sunshine and the quietness of the still closed café, he settles himself on one of his free chairs. There, he fake to sleep some more, but indeed he keeps a half eye carefully open. This is because of his old familiar enemy. Indeed, in the urinal there is an old rat, a very old rat. Once, he was chief. All the community still shows him respect. Even their most unruly teenagers are sometimes happy to listen to his advice. That is because the old patriarch remained a malicious beastie and a true fierce fighter, not so much because of his acts but because of his ideas and sentiments. Every young rat is happy to know that the war is still on, a war mainly localized on the both sides of the virtual frontier marked by the road.
Today, the ball seems to be in the cat’s hands. Certainly the old cat pretends to be asleep. But indeed he keeps on staring at the abandoned hygienic institution. And right now, appears a group of five or six young warriors, or careless playful adolescent rats as you wish. One behind the other, they are drawing a strange kind of ring, now quite outside of the metallic wall.
So, there is the quiet street, laid for its major part in the light of the new day. In the hot sunshine, there is the café’s metallic chair with the apparently idle tomcat. The other side of the street stays still in the shadow but clearly visible in the brightness of the morning. And, above all, before the wall, you can see the strange dance of the young rats. But you can’t observe what happened between the external band and the old rat: there is an important exchange of signs. The young daring warriors are waiting for a signal, a wink from the old strategist hidden in the obscurity, a wink that the last warrior will transmit to the others.
And now, listen! It’s possible to hear the distant rumour of a motor. Now, look! After a last glance at the old rat, the band ventures on to the road. And what was waited or hoped occurs: the tomcat leaps. But he do it exactly when the car we have just heard arrives. It is a luxurious car, a little out of fashion. Its four tyres show white strips. Up to now, the old tomcat was also striped. But he is no longer striped, because the tyres striped him, undress him. His hairy coat lay on the macadam, stained with red splashes.
The old rat makes something that he makes only very seldom. He gets out of the protective metallic shed. Prudently, with counted steps, he walks up to his dear enemy’s bloody remains. He looks respectfully at them, without caring about the triumphal young warrior’s dance. With a trembling paw, he wipes away the edge of his own left eye. At his age, every victory contains a part of defeat. It has been a too easy thing. Maybe his old enemy, the first one, has foreseen that in every defeat there is a kind of victory, too.
Olivier Sillig, from 17 to 26  December 2007, home

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The fisherman is not a fisher

A man settled comfortably on a campstool. He is watching over his fishing bamboo rod without caring about the copyus paddling around, although he looks like these ugly beasties. But, basically, this man is not the fisher his actual activity makes you think off. He is the death’s soul, the soul of death. And the soul of death is here spending its holidays, incognito and ignored. This strange soul is especially ignored because, indeed, no one can imagine that death has a soul. And worst, to imagine that this soul has holidays.
Olivier Sillig, from 20 to 26  December 2007, home

Freely inspired by a fragment of note:

En fait, l’homme bien installé sur son pliant qui surveille sa ligne sans s’occuper des ragondins barbotant tout autour et auxquels il ressemble, ce n’est pas un pêcheur, c’est l’âme de la mort. Elle est là en vacances, incognito, ignorée, car ici personne n’ose imaginer que la mort ait une âme.

 (Au réveil, avec des résurgences des Landes le 7.6.04)

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On my bike

Let me summarize, especially for you, what happened to me this last hour.
At least fifty times a year I ride my beloved bike.
Many years ago, set on my bike, I created a “one man show” which I first performed at a friend’s party. And after that, in various theatres all around my district. I have created it all while riding! Likewise my first short stories. The beginning of my first novel, called Bzjeurd, too. In these past times, my bicycle was the best place space to expand my imaginary.
Listen !  Today it was a bit like that, but, instead of creating a new story, I decided to work my English. First I described what I was seeing. For example, people walking. At that point, mainly old persons. A couple, the man first, wearing big glasses. His wife behind, closing their small grey metallic gate. Also a young boy running, maybe because he had a private lesson during the Wednesday school free afternoon. A bit further, I described the woods which looked grey, because of  their bared trees, surrounded by the still green fields. The whole, under a beautiful light blue sky. And so on.
Then, later, the way became a bit sloping. At the top of the hill, not exactly at the top but at the highest point of the country’s little road, there was a small village, just above nine hundred habitants. It is the birth place of one of our local heroes. I don’t like very much the heroes, especially the national ones, ever less the war heroes, though this is not the question. This guy was called Adjutant Davel, I suppose because this was exactly what he was. At that time, our district was military occupied by ours neighbours, the Bernois. So, this decent adjutant decided to free the land of them. In order to do that, he came to the castle’s place and captured the occupation government. Unfortunately, the people didn’t follow him in this adventurous venture. He was caught and thrown into a jail (maybe the jail was just for the legend, maybe I have just invented it too. Maybe, in fact, he was just locked in a usual bedroom with a real bed, a mattress and some cushions as for all the officers of every time!). After a brief trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to death, poor little heroe!
One fine day, he was brought to the lakeside and executed, beheaded. There were many people to look at the sad show. Among the onlookers, there were two middle-aged farmers who chattered during all the execution. They walked (of course they have not cars neither horses nor ox!) back home together.
One said:
— That was sad, but fortunately, the weather was nice!
And he insisted on the word fortunately.
Thanks to this little example, you came perhaps to realise how our mentality is, I mean we, from French Switzerland, from the district of Vaud. $$
I wouldn’t summarize all what I sad during my trip, to myself but with a clear and strong voice. That would be too long and a bit boring. Moreover, my fingers are tired. But I am very glad and proud of having done all of this. And even more, to believe that I have been able to write it!  May be it looks like something not completely far-of from a rough English!  
Olivier Sillig, from 5 to 28  December 2007, first on my bike then at home

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© texts and illustrations: CinÉthique, Olivier Sillig.

Mots clés: stories, short stories, story, stories
V:.26.01.08 (14.01.08)