More Short Stories part two (An Empty Bucket)

My motor isn’t fixed yet. The car doctor has gone all evasive. Sometimes you hold your breath even though there’s little chance of things working out. In my heart of hearts, I know how things will turn out. While I wait for that hammer to fall, here’s a bit more of my early catalogue + several You Tube cameos

I started writing short stories in 2009. Sometime in 2010 I worked out that I needed to sort out my writing style before I embarked on the next serious project so I went to writing groups. The problem was, each time I went, a whole bunch of ideas wanted out. Anything up to say 3,000 words, I just wrote it. Ideas that might work out longer were a problem. I didn’t want them to die but wasn’t confident I could to do them justice. By 2011 I’d worked out that the best way was to write enough so that themes and direction would be clear to me when I returned. By doing this I’d put down enough to re-capture the essence of the piece. I considered those stories to have been written up to a ‘landing stage’.

By the end of 2012 I had just about finished with a rewrite and restructure of my first novel, A Guide to First Contact. At this point I hadn’t summoned up sufficient courage (or cash) to think of getting it professionally edited. Besides, I needed a break, so I decided to have a look at the stuff I’d done, and maybe tidy bits up. The following involved more background research than normal.

An Empty Bucket – Romance
A romance gets a little gardening assistance in An Empty Bucket.

Music from a Bottle – Tragedy
An Empty Bucket is re-examined through the haze of liquor.

Message for Oeipa – Historical (part of a larger work)
Oeipa lives in Roman Alexander. Her father seeks a suitable suitor for her. I ended up providing a translation table to help with my schoolboy Latin description of the family villa.

Winter in Alexandria – Historical (part of a larger work)
Following the slaughter of three Roman legions at Teutoburger Wald, the Emperor Augustus is reputed to have said ‘Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!’ The life of a Roman legionary was challenging. Presumed death would throw matrimonial plans into disarray, such as Oeipa’s.
Then as now, sport was enthusiastically followed. The sport was chariot racing but the same preoccupations applied: who would win? how to celebrate? Principal factions were based on colours; Blues, Greens, Whites etc. The legionaries here don’t discuss their sporting rivalry outside the event – to do that away from its proper place was ill-mannered as well as dangerous. Instead they discuss the disaster of the Teutoburg Forest.

The Flitter – Fiction / Tech/Web
Gadgets in Science Fiction. Nice to have, but what happens if you can’t maintain or fix the gadget in question? Frank Baragon, a small town, real estate manager sees something and wants it. No wonder he’s behind on his alimony. Much of this story takes place online. It features a tradeable MMORPG gameworld hero, a casino clear down of unused gambler credit and a show designed to embarrass the contestants: The Shame Game.

Wending Hall – Fiction / Historical
The founding of a public school in the fictional village of Wicester, is a story within a story, where a mercenary and a trader reflect on their changed circumstance as Norman and Anglo-Saxon. The Norman mercenary is a third child and has no inheritance; the Crusades promise adventure and loot. The trader is Anglo-Saxon and has married into Soghdian blood. In the ancient world, Soghdians were synonymous with the Silk Road. The trader anticipates the rise of the Mongols and strikes a bargain. Resonances of that past live to shine through to the present.

In The Distance – Tragedy
A young man from China has enjoyed the benefits of the Pacific Co-Prosperity Academic Program… American University Accreditation scheme. He reflects on his life and the consequences of his decisions.

Little Jimmy – Fiction / Realistic
Before the Second World War broke out, there was a plan to create a reservoir that could have covered much of Rossendale (Lancashire, UK). The topography of the valley suggests a number of different options in the siting of the main dam. If built, the result – up to 2 km³ of water – would have been in contention for the largest man-made reservoir in Europe. The second world war and subsequent financial constraints prevented any of this from going ahead.

Little Jimmy assumes that the township of Bacup was submerged – hence ‘Bacup Water’. Those displaced gravitate into a fictional Industrial Heritage Theme Park.

Includes dialect local to Lancashire.

Asbestalux – Fiction / Realistic

If Bacup Water had been completed there would have been significant scope for water based leisure activities and, even a micro climate to study. Such a body of water could have supplied the region and would have brought significant continuing economic benefits to the area.

Were the water level to go down, it might be possible for unauthorised fishing to catch things that were better left in the water – which is where Asbestalux begins. It follows events in Little Jimmy.

Warning: dialect local to Lancashire used.

Pax Imperii – Alternate Universe / Realistic (part of a larger work)
Back in Stalin’s day, bureaucracy functioned as intended; pervasive and intrusive; and oppressors and victims remained anonymous. In this Earth, bowler hats and pin stripes are symbols of power. The Ministry, along with the Foreign Corps, administers the Earth ‘for its own good’. Pax Imperii – the peace of the empire.
Assume a state of affairs in which the British Empire reforms; that accounts for the Commonwealth. The United States has become the First Empire and everything else sits in the New Empire; all run by UK-WorldGov. Is the shape of the Earth still unclear?
Set against the backdrop of a ‘Bacup Water’.
Warning: dialect local to Lancashire used.

Mungo Park – Historical / Humour

Collected here:

An Empty Bucket cover
An Empty Bucket


About Terence Park

Collections: vinyl records, comic books, paperbacks; I've plenty of them all. I also do spreadsheets.
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