Un-Tall Tales now in Kindle

Un-Tall Tales cover, draftIt was in paperback, and now by popular demand of the author himself, Un-Tall Tales is in Kindle too.

Un-Tall Tales is Chris Page’s collection of short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, and odds and ends, all in one slim volume with lots of white space, short paragraphs, and easy-to-read short sentences.

And to mark this event, you can grab a copy for free.

From January 18th, through the 22nd you can download a Kindle copy from the Kindle site, without paying the whopping £1.99 Un-Tall Tales would normally set you back.

What’s in Un-Tall Tales for you?

The Freebie

Is Billy Freeb the world’s most innovative musician or is he the world’s laziest man? Is he a genius or is he a plonker? Billy’s 15 minutes are upon him — will he survive?

Cats Die 

Middle age and disillusion are creeping up on our hero and he plans to take it lying down. His adulterous plan could bring him release or ruin. Or, of course, nothing in particular.

Poems

These poems, as all good poems should, explore underpants, teeth, chickens, and tombstones.

Dumb Novel

A lot of dumb novels are big hits, but in this story the hero becomes the biggest of hits for dumbest novel he didn’t write.

Escapology

Houdini did it, so why not our hero? Well, he’s not Houdini, is he. On a whim, he has himself chained, locked in a box and dropped through a hole drilled in the Arctic ice cap. Will he survive?

Bog

Extracts from a weblog by an author on the go. Talking cats, sausages, new uses for bananas, nuclear explosions in the office, sex on trains, more sausages — is it real or is it made up? You decide.

Un-Tall Tales is available, as are all Chris Page’s other stories, from the author’s Amazon page.

And Un-Tall Tales (note to SEO manager: am I repeating the title enough times?) has a site of sorts of its own, where you can read extracts and see other bits and bobs.

The winter is long and cold, and late January is officially the most depressing time of the year, so this is a great opportunity to curl up in your basket with a good read without messing with the post holiday budget.

Note: Un-Tall Tales includes The Freebie, which was published by the London Magazine in 2002, and in 2019 published by Psipook Press as a stand-alone ebook.

Another note: On this page I have linked to my Amazon UK author site, but for best downloading results, go to your regular regional Kindle store (ie, where you usually download your Kindle books).

Final note: Many people have understandable reservations about using Amazon. If you prefer, please contact me directly and I’ll send an ePub file.

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Shit, Sherlock!

alimentaryx300

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November 29, 2017 · 1:54 pm

Nothing more horrible than a nice cup of tea, don’t you think?

Of all the stupid things people say, one of the most stupid is ‘Would you like a nice cup of tea?’ I mean, what is the word nice doing in that sentence? It’s the sort of thing daft old grannies like to say. ‘Ooh! Let’s have a nice cup of tea.’

So I went round to my Gran’s the other day and I said, ‘How’re you doing Gran?’ and she said, ‘All right, you know, considering.’

She’s dead, my Gran, but she takes great care of herself, you know what I mean?

So she says ‘Come in, sit down. Would you like a nice cup of tea?’

I thought to myself, God, if I hear that one more time … But I said, ‘No thanks, Gran I’m all right.’

Then she said, ‘Would you like a horrible cup of tea?’

I thought for a moment. ‘How horrible? Without sugar?’

‘Without sugar. And I’ll spit in it.’

‘Nah, I’m not too bothered, thanks, Gran.’

‘I’ll put some spiders in. No sugar, spit, and spiders. And I’ll make it with toilet water.’

‘Aye, all right then. Cheers.’

‘And how about some nuclear radiation?

‘Nuclear radiation?’

‘Nuclear radiation. I’m got some yellow cake.’

‘Now you’re talking, Gran. Champion!’

This nice cup of tea was brought to you by Un-Tall Tales, the collection of short fiction, flash fiction, holed socks and bits and bobs by author Chris Page. And by an odd coincidence, George Orwell had strong opinions about tea too.

 

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Cats Die

‘What’s the difference between melancholy and sad, Dad?’

‘Hmm. I am sad because my cat died. I am melancholy because all cats die eventually. Sad is pretty quick, but melancholy goes on and on and on.’

Rory and Tanya, five and seven years old, sprawled across the sofa and his lap, were quiet a moment, perhaps trying to fathom the subtle distinction their father had just alerted them to, or perhaps trying to locate some melancholy within themselves.

If the latter, they won’t find any, they are simply too new for melancholy. Melancholy is for silly old losers like their father.

H and the kids are having a rare five minutes together and they are reading a book about another melancholy old loser called Joe, who has lost his cat up a tree.

For H, for anyone, it is tough at the age of thirty-nine to accept that you are a silly old loser. The understanding can seriously spoil your life. But H is resourceful; he can deal with it. In fact, he plans to take it lying down.

H is horrified by the utter predictability of Joe’s story. Joe dotes on his cat. But the darn thing took a stroll up this tree hours ago and can’t get back down again. It is way up there, near the top and Joe is way down here at the bottom. The cat sits up there all on its own, quite unbothered by its predicament, fat and smug and very aloof.

A neighbour comes along with a ladder and offers to help, but Joe refuses because he doesn’t want to put the neighbour out. The neighbour tells Joe he would love to get the cat out of the tree because it is such a fine animal and no man should be separated from his cat. Joe says no. The neighbour goes away. Then the fire brigade comes along but again Joe refuses help because he thinks a whole fire engine and crew and mechanical ladder is too much palaver for one silly cat even if the fire brigade is specifically there to help people. The fire brigade goes away. Next the local human pyramid team comes along and say they would love to make a human pyramid tall enough to fetch the cat down. They insist that building human pyramids is their absolute favourite thing and it would be no trouble at all. Joe doesn’t want to be responsible for anyone falling off the pyramid or being hit by a low flying jet. The human pyramid team goes on its way.

Along comes a snotty-nosed boy with a catapult, who tells Joe he is such a good shot he can ping the branch with a stone and the cat will drop out of the tree and into Joe’s hands. Joe is horrified. Suppose the boy accidentally hits the cat, suppose he did hit the branch but Joe missed the falling animal, suppose the boy missed the tree altogether and the stone pinged on someone’s head. So the deadeye, snotty-nosed little dick goes on his way too, leaving Joe to stare forlornly at the cat, no closer to getting his hands on it, his flow of opportunities apparently all dried up.

It was not clear to H what or who Joe was waiting for.

As he was reading, H’s mind was elsewhere speculating on the ending of the story. Joe will do nothing useful and will continue to refuse all offers of help. Eventually a big wind will come along and the cat will be blown out of the tree and into Joe’s grateful and relieved hands. Then, of course, in the same wind the tree will topple, impaling Joe and his cat with its spiky branches.

‘Did your cat die, Dad?’ asked Rory, throwing H with this abrupt return to the theme of sad and melancholy.

‘Yes, it did, young man. Very much so.’

‘When did it die?’ Tanya wanted to know.

‘Years and years ago. Or was it years and years and years ago? I forget which.’

‘Did you cry?’

‘What do you think?’

‘I think you cried like a poof.’ They giggled cruelly.

H was not sure whether he was more put out by the barbaric stereotyping in the remark or by the emphatic dismissal of crying as a legitimate response to nature. Tears, after all, are the wine of melancholy.

The above extract is the beginning of Cats Die, a short story collected in Un-Tall Tales by Chris Page

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Underpants and Teeth

every day, day after day after day,

we wash our teeth and

change our underpants

and we wash our teeth and change our underpants

day after day after day

and this is life; this is what we do

to keep the days going by

day after day after day

we wash our teeth and

change our underpants

and we learned from our parents

who day after day after day

washed their teeth and changed their underpants

the need to wash our teeth and change our underpants

day after day after day

and in our turn we’ll teach our children

to wash their teeth and change their underpants

day after day after day

and we will go on

day after day after day

washing our teeth and changing our underpants

until we have no more teeth to wash

and no more underpants to change

and then we’ll die

and then we’ll be dead

day after day after day

From Un-Tall Tales, by Chris Page

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Bananas on my mind

May 27, 2004

How many uses for a banana are there? I can think of a few.

  • mimikaki for people with large ears
  • if tied to the bottom of feet they are a cheap alternative to roller blades by virtue of the slippy quality of banana skins
  • a crutch for a small person
  • a device for cleaning around the U-bend in toilets
  • a neck support for passengers on long haul flights
  • a stirrer for your tea
  • a friend to talk to
  • using advanced laser technology, a banana could be a device for storing huge amounts of information such as a novel like War and Peace: using clever mathematical formula you can encode War and Peace as a single long number: using clever laser technology you measure the exact mid point of the banana, then convert your number code for W&P to a fraction of one, and burn a line exactly that fraction of a centimetre from the mid point of a banana, and voila, you have the entire contents of W&P stored on a banana
  • a non-returning boomerang
  • a dug-out canoe for mice
  • an artificial chonmage
  • a lump in your pocket
  • prosthetic fingers for amputees
  • a snorkel for people who don’t do their snorkelling under water
  • vegetarian sausages

Extract from ‘Bog’ in Un-Tall Tales the collection of short fiction by Chris Page.

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Sex on the commuter train

November 21, 2003
image loadingOn my way to work this morning I was reading Haruki Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle. I don’t know if you’ve read this novel, but if you have you will know that it has some pretty frank sex scenes in it. I came on one of these scenes while hanging from my commuter handle. It’s weird. The book has 605 pages and just a few of these sex episodes, but I only come on the sex when I am on the train. What do you make of that? I don’t come on these scenes when I am alone or in private. I come on them when I am on a crowded train, standing crushed between smelly old men and old women who look like sacks of potatoes. Anyway, so I’m reading this steamy scene this morning and I guess I was in a pretty vulnerable state because I started to overheat, if you know what I mean. Right there, with all the commuters and the bad breath, I am getting a woody. So I stop reading and look around the carriage to find something to distract myself before it gets too obvious. And I make eye contact with this young woman right in front of me. I figure she had noticed my state of heated fluster but instead of being shocked or offended, instead of mocking me, she was getting pretty turned on too. I mean, it was just obvious. So we stared at each other, each with the same thing in mind. She was pretty darned good looking too. So this is a situation. We are two strangers consumed by the hots for each other — I mean urgent hots — but we are on this crowded train. What to do? Without a word, we climbed up on to the luggage rack and had energetic, wonderful sex right there, above the oblivious heads of the other commuters who were perusing their morning papers, listening to walkmans, reading books, staring out the windows, scratching their balls, picking their noses. Eventually the train reached my stop. She pulled on her clothes and got off the train too. Most people were getting off here. On the platform I looked for her, but she had been absorbed already in the thick crowds. Absorbed, dissolved. Gone. And me too. I went on my way to work.

From Bog, the blog thing, in Un-Tall Tales

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