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Short stories

Pascal is not happy

1. Pascal is not happy. He should be happy, but he is not. Pascal is not happy because the bread that he ordered the night before has not arrived. Pascal cannot eat his breakfast without bread. Like most men, Pascal likes to dip bread into the yolk of an egg. Pascal likes the taste of butter mixed with egg yolk smeared over thick, crusty bread. Pascal thinks about eating an apple. On the table, there is a bowl and in that bowl, there are two apples. These two apples are green. When Cortés landed upon the beach, he saw the first coconut. The men with Cortés wanted to get back into the boat and sail away. These men were gripped with fear. Some of the men believed the coconuts to be the testicules of giants. Pascal has only one knife. If he uses the knife on the apple, the knife will taste of the apple and thus transfer the taste to the bread that will shortly arrive. Apple juice, bread, butter and egg yolk do not mix smeared over thick, crusty bread. Also, Pascal cannot decide if to cut the apple in half and eat both parts or simply peel the apple and eat the meat. Cortés tiptoed over the strewn coconuts. As you know, the coconut is brown and hairy.

2. Pascal is not happy. Pascal cannot sit down. He must always be on the move. Pascal is easily annoyed. He blows his nose into a silk square. Jean Jacques has a snotrag. Pascal contemplates upon Sappho of the countryside. Cortés rode up the beach upon a horse. The horse was not named Bucephalus. Alexander the Great’s horse was called Bucephalus. Cortés’ horse was a god and so had a god’s name, Rayo. Cortés climbed off Rayo and stood before a coconut. Pascal is getting angry. Pascal cannot eat an egg if the egg is in the style that René Descartes prefers. Not many men can eat the egg that René Descartes prefers. It is the reek. René Descartes has a stronger constitution than Pascal. Bernal Díaz del Castillo states that Cortés enjoyed dipping his soldiers into the egg of a yolk. Soldiers are slices of bread cut lengthways and smeared with butter. Cortés had a strong constitution. Pascal picks up a cup. In the cup is water. Pascal takes a sip of water. The water is warm. The warm water stirs the first pangs of hunger. The vacuum produces a noise.

3. Pascal is not happy. There’s a knocking at the door. Pascal opens the door. It is Jean Jacques. The little man possesses an idiot’s grin. He also has rotten teeth. Jean Jacques drinks too much red wine. Jean Jacques likes fairytales and believes that the Devil takes strolls through the countryside. Jean Jacques is married to his cousin. They have three children whose features have been designed by a genetic imbalance. The corpuscles on Jean Jacques’s nose have popped. “Well,” says Pascal. “No bread,” says Jean Jacques, “but I have this.” Jean Jacques holds up a coconut. Cortés kicked the coconut out of the sand and onto a rock. He would not handle it. He unsheathed his sword, heaved the sword above his head, and finally, after an interregnum, split the coconut in two. The men watching gasped. A milky substance flowed. Yes, the coconut was the testicule of a giant.

Paul Kavanagh

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