Emerald Bolts Anatoly Kudryavitsky
A Magazine for Flash Fiction

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Practical Absenteeism

Count Cagliostro conducted a seminar on the art of Absence for university students. He encouraged them to ask all sorts of questions.
     “Where were you when the bomb exploded?”
     “I was having coffee in the neighbouring quarter.”
     “Were you a victim of the hold-up of the stage-coach?”
     “No, I had alighted at the previous stop.”
     “He's first-rate on every level!” students whispered. They were still far from perfection. Over the last year they were training themselves to be absentees in the land of high hopes.
     “My favourite trick is being absent on group photographs – as if by chance,” Cagliostro pontificated. “As for you, you will eventually succeed in your perfect and irretrievable absence, for everybody achieves it sooner or later.”

Misadventures of Odysseus in Crimea

As always, Odysseus was in a hurry. Having disembarked from a trireme, he entered a long tunnel. The grey Cimmerian light was barely visible at the end of it.
     “Hey, you should have already been there,” the Nation's Voice said to Odysseus.
     Odysseus contrived to get instantly to the end of the tunnel, where he found a ladder.
     “Hey, you should have been at the top of it by now,” the Nation's Voice announced.
     Odysseus replied that he already was at the top of it, because he really was there.
     Next he was told that he should have squeezed through the eye of a needle, and it turned out that he had already done so. All the same, he was late for his own life, which is why some other people, with faces as red as their flags, have since been living it for him.

Keeping Me Company

On the right side of a man an angel abides, while the devil dwells on the man’s left side. The angel sent down to me is a listless, drowsy creature. As for the devil, he happens to be married and drags all over the place not only his sabre-toothed hag but also a couple of drowned girls. The cosy little gathering every so often fails to keep pace with me, and asks me in unison to slow down.
     I envy my friends whose archfiends are spouseless and talkative. The only thing I hear from my Old Nick is the usual, annually asked question, if I am finally ready to yield to him my exhausted soul.


- Anatoly Kudryavitsky   (Ireland)

Anatoly Kudryavitsky is a poet and a novelist. The book of his selected novels titled Disunity has been brought out by Glagoslav in 2013. He has also published three poetry collections, the latest being Capering Moons (Doghouse Books, 2011), as well as a few novellas and short stories. He lives in Dublin and edits Shamrock Haiku Journal.

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 Copyright © Emerald Bolts Magazine, 2014
The front page image is copyright © by Tony Kitterick, 2012