“Fireside Chat”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Fireside Chat



          Dr. Sock Monkey eased back and got that distant look. Quiet as a mountain range…just there. He nodded. Okay. Start.

          I refocused on the end of the room where the painting of the flowers in a mountain meadow opened out into the real world of a window…and beyond icicles hanging off the eaves, big stalactites, my god, if they dropped just right.

          Dr. Sock Monkey cleared his throat. Let’s pick up from last time. The furnace metaphor.

          Ah yes, thank you. Yes, I got going with that image…yes, the universe…the world…humans writ large in society, down to you…me…furnaces, requiring fuel. First, the central image of fire. The universe is an indescribable fire, explosion, yes…then look at the sun, a great ball of nuclear fusion, more fire, and untouchable and bring it on down to the blue marble …at the core…a liquid fiery center that spews up through vents. Okay, it’s working now. Man way back invents fire…rather, steals it from Mother Nature. Why? The sky gods toss fire bolts to earth and sometimes there’s fire left. They grab up burning limbs of trees. They keep the fire going. Woe to the man or woman who loses the fire. Even by then fire has burned someone; maybe even they have burned up a bad someone found creeping round the camp. The stranger…cut loose by his own people. They cook him. They eat him. They gain his power. Fire does that, the god’s gift for transforming the animal world to cultural food. Writ large we have the fire in war…cannons, bombs, Hitler’s ovens…and our time the MAD strategy. We’re all living in an apocalyptic furnace scenario awaiting the push of a button. Cosmic recycling.

          Dr. Sock Monkey cleared his throat and glanced at the clock on the wall. Let’s continue our “fireside chat” next time.




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