Friday, March 10, 2017


(A little story I wrote in 1995.) Cover by Sara Morgan


The little clay man, after the people had all left the room, in
fact had been gone for a few hours, started to move. He
carefully stood up, lifting first one leg, and then the other. He wasn't sure if he had been molded correctly, and didn't know if a leg
would fall off as he moved around the room. All around, the
other clay figures were waking up. A clay dog was leaping around the
room and a clay ballerina did graceful pirouettes.

"The legs wobbly." he thought to himself,
"but they'll stick."

He firmly and steadily paced back and forth on the top of the
shoe box, and finally satisfied that all his joints would stay
on clambered carefully down the side.

When he reached the floor he sang a little song.
"I am just a clay man,
my feet are made of clay
I get to wear this clay hat
that was made for me today."

As he sang and danced his foot fell off,
but he just spit and stuck it back on.

"The life of a piece of clay, now that's the life for me." he thought.
"Who knows what I will be molded into tomorrow, but today, I am
one well dressed snazzy little piece of clay."

He walked up to the window, where a three piece clay band was
playing to the frenetic traffic, street lamps. neon signs, HOT
HOTEL CLAY sign flashing, city street noise, horn blares, and
passing crowds.

He danced with the clay dancer and they sat down for a meal of
fried clay fricassee, southern style. And then they stepped out
into the night.

Clay taxis rolled by down the clay avenue. Crowds of clay men and women jostled down the busy street, going In and out of the finest clay stores. Clay subway cars roared underground, and clay skyscrapers towered up, as high as clay could get, into the clay colored sky. Up above, as high as the eye could see, the clay moon glowed.

"Bless the hand that made you" said his date for the evening.
She was molded so damn fine.

They grabbed a copy of the clay gazette to find out what was

"That's the way clay is," said the clay man, "even it has it's
limits." "Can you remember three years ago, that futuristic wasteland
clayscape, where we all dried up in the sun and cracked? Now that was a disaster."

The dancer laughed in agreement. "Sometimes the best laid plan of the hands goes off the clay" she said.

Their adventure that evening was enthralling and stupendous. It
was a clay night of nights. They flew over the clay city in a
clay copter, and landed on a clay island, where they saw a circus
of clay elephants leaping through clay hoops, and clay acrobats tumbling through the air. One fell off the trapeze bar while performing a triple somersault and missed the clay net. They had to scrape him off the floor. His performance was a Little flat for the rest of the evening but everything else was like nothing they had ever seen before.

Late in the evening, they sat for one last glass of clay
champagne. "Clay la vie," they toasted one another. Then they climbed up with everyone to the edge, where they stood in line to leap together with everyone else, into the giant squisher that squeezed everything back into one big huge giant lump of clay.

This was a wonderful night, said the dancer to the clay man.

Why must we part? It is not a parting, said the clay man, we will all be squished back into one big lump, and joined together. Tomorrow, a part of you will be a part of me.

"We will be all one" chanted the clay people around them. They could here the shouting of the crowd of clay leaping over the edge.

Some clay people just screamed. "You know, this is just clay poop. I really don't want to be squished into everyone else." Said the clay man.

"Let us try to escape" said the clay woman.

"Remember when we flew over Clay city in the clay copter? You
asked about those lights at the horizon. The pilot said, 'that
is not clay.'"

They took a clay cab to the edge of the city.
The clay cab driver looked suspicious.

Isn't it squishing time? What are you going out here for?

“We have a clay plane waiting for us. We are going to fly into the squisher at 200 miles per hour just as the clay bell tolls.”

Well, that's the real clay. Said the clay cabby.

"We'll get out here." the clay woman said.

The clay cab pulled over to the side of the clay road.
”There's no clay plane here” Said the clay cabby. “What are you...”

But then it was too late.
They opened the door and were running away, hand in hand from the
clay city.

That night was terrible. Clay dogs, and clay police, clay
Copters flying over head with spotlights, amplified voices over
clayspeakers. "Come back, and be one with us" they implored.
One big lump. They hid in a cave. Later that night was even more terrible.
Giant steamcrushers rolled over clay city, and squished
Everything down flat. They could hear the screams of those who didn't want to be squished. Then they fell asleep in each others arms.

In the morning they went back to clay city. Now it was the O Clay
corral. Clay cowboys and clay cowgirls rode on clay horses. Clay
cows grazed in clay hills.

"You folks from around these here clay parts," asked a clay
cowboy. "They're from yesterday, said the clay judge. "
"They are not as one. Let's string them up."

And they ran again. They ran and ran, past the edge of the city, until they found themselves climbing over a mountain.

On the other side they came across a valley. It was amazing
sight. Giant hands moved back and forth. Hundreds of hands, walking on
their fingers. "I don't think this is the place for us," said the clay woman. But it was too late. A giant hand had snuck up behind them.

"Oh, my pretty lumps of clay. Said the hand.
"I think I will make you into a large candle holder.
Or a pot."

"But we can think and have feelings" said the clay man.

"In that case, I will make you into a abstract diorama. I am
going to call it "You Can't Escape." Chortled the hand.

The clay woman picked up a giant pin that happened to be lying
around and stuck the hand right in the palm.
"Aargh." Screamed the hand as it fell on its back, fingers
wriggling frantically.
The two clay people ran. As they ran they became separated.

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