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MicroFiction by Laurence Davies
 
Music by Steven Kane
 
Art: 'pop trash' by Peter Schwartz

'pop trash' © 2007 Peter SchwartzAccording to the Book

 

To: FedSurv, Section 301F

From: Professor D. R. Quent

Responding to your appeal for danger signs in Princess, Duchess, and Baroness Counties, I have performed rigorous set manipulations of the tri-county phone book. What follows is an annotated sample taken from just one page of this alarming volume; albeit small, the sample gives a worm’s-eye view of much larger, no less menacing patterns. As a well-published specialist in the semantic construction of sedition, I trust you will find these annotations to your liking.

Biedermeier Interiors. Reassuringly restful and expensive style, but an import: why choose when Federal available?

Bilbo, Ernest. Antique detention equipment, also dauntless anti-communist senator, thus a plot to shackle honest men (or women)?

Bilharzia Solutions. What is this alien disease doing in a parasite-free zone?

Bilko, Theodore. Cf. TV show defaming the military.

Billhook, Martha. Primitive weapon used to chop and slash.

Billingsgate Aquaria. Island off Cape Cod, first depopulated, then disappeared, now a dangerous shoal.

Bindlestiff, Victoria. Allusion to criminal behavior; use of slang reflects declining educational standards.

Binwallah Wines. Commercial activity not characteristic of South Asian name.

Bissell, H. Points to high-tech cleaning, sucking up everything in path, thus endorsement of ruthless social engineering.

Bittershaft, V. B. Hints of resentment, class warfare, refusal to accept social system.

Björnsdottir, K. “Bear’s daughter” in Icelandic; support for animal “liberation” fanatics?

Blackett, Patrick. Important theoretical physicist, previously reported dead.

Blade, Millicent. Speaks for itself, but note also pun on “militant.”

Blaff Café. “Blaff” is reputed last cry of sea-urchin plunged in hot soup, thus specter of death by heat or drowning.

Blenkiron, John S. Character from Greenmantle, novel prophetic of Islamist revival.

Blodwen (Note suspicious absence of given name or evident business activity.) Welsh for “white flower”; white rose a favorite symbol of clandestine groups.

Blow, Alphonse. Cocaine; deviant sexual act; explosion – a worrisome cluster.

While many of them might also yield surprises, for simplicity’s sake I have eliminated interstitials such as Blanchard, Blair, or Biddle, interpreting only every fifth name. Each individual example rings a bell; taken in significant combinations, we may hear a whole carillon. Blackett, Blow, and Bissell; Bilko, Binwallah, Blaff; Bittershaft and Blow: in these I detect undeniable evidence of dubious association, critically suspicious operations, and a cowardly hiding behind ciphers all too typical of the extremist mindset. In order to continue exploring this and other shady avenues, I will apply the same scientific procedures to the following:

  1. Traces of recently redrawn field boundaries, especially if not aligned in traditional 640-acre squares.
  2. Unfettered talk of zenith, nadir, algorithm, algebra.
  3. Mathematically non-trivial arrangements of common supermarket supplies such as cornflakes and baked beans. As a location, ethnic food sections are too obvious, unless we are dealing with extra-subtle minds who gamble on the obviousness. Still subtler minds might choose the cornflakes and subtler yet the cous cous, but that way madness lies.

We truly live in bandit country, and the risk of turbulence events is high. The price of safety is eternal (not to mention stringently professional) vigilance.

D. R. Quent

Associate Professor of Responsible Speech

Salazar State College

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last update: July 2, 2007