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Tome On The Range

Short Fiction By: Oliver Zarandi
Karl Smith , April 26th, 2015 08:33

A 35-point list of imparted wisdom (or, "wisdom") from father to son — a piece of short fiction by Oliver Zarandi — makes up this week's instalment of new writing on The Quietus

A List For The Son

  1. When I was young, I lived in a solitary place by the sands, near the cliffs, where nobody came to see me. My parents abandoned me. I lived by myself and read books and spoke to the sea. I was a voracious reader - mostly Medical encyclopedias and picture books. Now I live in an overpopulated city but I am just as alone as I was back in my youth.

  2. The word father comes from the Old English word fæder. I am your fæder. Sometimes it is a good idea to treat life as an Old English tale, too. Treasure life because it doesn’t last long. The days of pestilence are only around the corner. I know this because I have seen it in a dream.

  3. When I was a teenager, I moved to the big city. I was thin and stupid. I was taken in by a big man called Chaim and he taught me about the art of love-technique.

  4. I am here in the hotel.

  5. I once read this in Newnes Family Encyclopedia (Pub. George Newnes Limited 1954):

    Wise husbands will watch their wives carefully during the first years of marriage, and take trouble to learn when these variations of mood occur. No good can come of trying to force an unwilling partner.


    I suggest you read this too, son. Women are to be watched at all times.

  6. Live with people with mental retardations. I was taught this by Chaim. I currently live with two women with microcephalic idiocy. They have heads like birds. I can fit their entire skull into my hands like a haggis. They are particularly good at mimicry.

  7. I heard from the sea that my mother was a high-grade imbecile and my father preyed on women with simple minds. I often dream of my father, large and brutish, mounting a twig-legged retard and balling her. I see her little legs, all akimbo, convulsing. But convulsing suggests life. I see her more as a corpse. The dream, then, reminds me of Galvani electrocuting a dead frog to reanimate it.

  8. I was once bullied at college. They made me cry. I didn’t do anything back. I couldn’t. I dreamed of killing these boys, but I didn’t. The girls, too, used to make me buy them chocolates. They gave me false hope. I thought if I bought the chocolates, I would receive a kiss. Instead they kissed the boys who bullied me. I would usually go home and read about bovine tuberculosis to soothe my nerves.

  9. Don’t wash your hands. Leave them to get dirty and infect other people with diseases.

  10. Buy a gun and shoot a gun. There is no better feeling.

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever held a gun but somebody told me it was good.

  12. The hotel is of poor quality. My room is a square and high up above the city.

  13. Tell the truth. Because I didn’t really live in a solitary place, near the sands, by the cliffs. I was born in a council estate. I had a mother and father too. I lived with them. My mother really was mentally retarded. My father really did prey on morons.

  14. Measure your dick with other boys at an early age. If the other boy has a smaller dick, punch him in the face and say ‘you will never get over it’. If the other boy has a bigger dick, put yours on top of it and say ‘I declare a thumb war’.

  15. When you perform cunnilingus on a woman, do not be in the possession of a moustache or beard. Once upon a midnight dreary, I stayed indoors and ate at my woman’s vagina. The strange boot taste of her vagina moistened my moustache like early morning dew. I couldn’t get rid of the smell for days and spent most of my time crying.

  16. Respect history as a fine, dark comedy.

  17. Watch the films of Woody Allen in reverse chronological order and see if you like him then.

  18. When you get a job make sure it measures at least 200 square feet in your head. Any smaller and you will suffocate in your job.

  19. When you read work by a revered author, take some time to rip a page out and eat it. You will feel closer to that author and will, perhaps, ingest some of his or her genius.

  20. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride.

  21. Chaim taught me how to suck dicks and I advise you don’t meet up with Chaim.

  22. Order drugs online and do drugs a few times and post pictures of yourself on drugs. Post videos of you doing drugs too. Post stories you have written about you doing drugs. Do this when you’re young. People don’t respect the young, so acting like a self-involved prick is OK.

  23. Don’t cry until you understand the workings of the tear duct.

  24. I went through a period of my life where I couldn’t cry. I watched videos of various holocausts and saw bodies piled up like brown wood chipping. I watched videos of beheadings and children whose skin flaked off after a bomb. I watched Agent Orange fry Asian people like KFC. I went to funerals and interviewed everybody there about why that person was so special. I filmed children inside their coffins. The coffins were small and made from pine.

  25. Remember that funerals are the opposite of weddings. Weddings see the union of two living people, in love, on planet earth. Funerals see people divorced from life but not from the earth. In the future, perhaps when the dead have well and truly rotted, will we use their mush and soil to help pot various bay trees?

  26. A child’s coffin can also double up as a pinball machine vessel.

  27. Be nice to people. Don’t be rude. I once met a young man called Donald and he was a bully. He would throw drinks at women. He would stand on tables and declare his magnificence. I stabbed Donald and now he’s dead and not so magnificent.

  28. Let women cradle you, if possible. Men are very keen to assert this thing called masculinity upon women. Men ask women to hold their biceps or to look how hard their cock is. Men occasionally beat women until their faces look like a half eaten pie. Men occasionally rape women. Men occasionally go to gymnasiums and lift weights so their bodies are bigger. But there is, son, no better feeling than feeling small and crawling into the arms and chest of a woman, nestling all snug under a large boob and sucking your thumb.

  29. You can’t choose your friends, so make sure you stand in the correct places so good people bump into you.

  30. My hotel room window is open and I see lots of city lights. I look out over the city lights and play a song from a Michael Mann film. My heart sinks like an anchor but I don’t know why. I have a strange feeling of nostalgia for a time I have never known.

  31. Nostalgia comes from these two Greek words – nostos, meaning return home and algos, meaning pain. If nostalgia is the pain of returning home, why do I feel pain looking out over a city that holds no meaning or relationship to me in the slightest?

  32. I also read, son, that nostalgia is related to the Sanskrit word nasate, which means he approaches.

  33. Therefore, son, I am not sad for myself, but I am sad because of you: it is not I that wants to return anywhere; I am waiting for your return.

  34. I stare out of my hotel window and write this last point:

  35. Return to me, my son.


Oliver Zarandi is writer and editor of Funhouse. His latest work can be found on The Bohemyth, Potluck Magazine and Hobart. Follow him on Twitter: @zarandi or visit his website: www.oliverzarandi.com

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