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The Word Jugglers

Six short stories with words at their heart …

The Last Beat; London, 1966

A policeman walks the empty streets of London Town on the eve of his death from a heart attack. As is his custom, he makes up tongue-in-cheek plays on words while reflecting on the sad state of society. The rhymes come to him to the beat of his footfall and a clock announcing midnight.

From a Critical Point of View; New York City, 1990

A wicked critic writes columns for a daily paper. He finds it more rewarding to criticise by twisting the truth into satire than to produce balanced reports on the artistic efforts he evaluates. Loneliness is his only friend, and he writes for the self-satisfaction by putting down others with his eloquent pen. 

The Palindrome; England, 1976

In the exchange of two letters – one begging for human contact, the other refusing it – it is shown that you will reap only what you have sown. The reader’s sympathy is intentionally meant to shift as the facts are revealed. The story has been written in such a way that the events go continuously backwards in time while it maintains its palindrome framework. A palindrome, for those who may not be aware of it, is a game with words that spell the same backward or forward (‘able was I ere I saw Elba’).

Neville’s Daughter and the Genius with the Bottle; Ireland; 1984

Recognition, admiration, village bard … all fine words that come with a price. Irish poet Neville thinks more of the sea and his dead wife than the daughter he has lost to city life. When she unexpectedly returns, his life is upset in more than one way. A tragic story in which the destiny of its main character is accompanied by his poetic visions.

The Man the Gods Punished by Giving Him the World; Greece, 500 BC

When a mortal uses his talent to mock the gods in a play, they decide to get even. To accompany his fame and great talent, they punish him with excess. This story is written with a nod to the Greek mythology tradition, although at the core the present-day myths are not any different.

Homage to a Man of Letters; England; 1901 – 1997 

Zachariah Abercrombie was an illuminated, creative and verbal man in every combination of the words. This ‘relay homage’ to the prolific scholar one year after his death gives glimpses of the multitasking, word-juggling genius he was. Twenty-six persons, one way or another influenced by him during his lifetime, get their own words about Zachariah off their chest. 

Click on the link below to read a sample …

Excerpt: The Word Jugglers