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“Freuds” by Toh EnJoe

 

 

 

Freuds

by Toh EnJoe

When I went to demolish my grandmother’s house, a whole bunch of Freuds came up from under the floorboards.

The question will probably come up again, so at the risk of repeating myself, it was Freud who emerged, and in great numbers. I am not trying to be evasive or pretend it was something else named Freud. It was Freud. Sigmund Freud.

The one with the frightening face.

This past winter, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, leaving behind a big old house in the country. That’s how this whole thing got started. And once it was started there was nothing that could be done about it, and there is still no end in sight.

In her final years, my grandmother declined all invitations to live with any of her family, and she was doing pretty well on her own, but one day her sword-cane failed her and she collapsed in the garden. It is believed she meant to attack the black cat that came to the garden every day, or it may be she meant to spear one of the catfish that swam in the pond. She was in the prime of her life, like a master swordsman, and this is how she passed her final days.

The cause of death was given simply as old age. It seems she may have stumbled over one of the paving stones in the garden, and that’s what did her in.

So, about the house she left behind, the family gathered for the funeral and put their heads together, but no one was interested in moving back out to the countryside. Letting it stand and having someone live in it would be a pain, and taking proper care of it would be costly. The family could try to sell it, but who would buy it? And so the decision was made to raze it to the ground. A date was set, and the family honored the last day of grandmother’s house by gathering there once again on that day.

Before the demolition began, the tatami mats were removed, and that is when the whole bunch of Freuds were discovered.

Not one Freud or two Freuds. They just kept coming with each tatami mat that was removed. There were twenty-two Freuds in all, one lying beneath each of the tatami mats in the big living room. Exactly twenty-two. As the old saying goes, A person takes up half a mat when sitting up and one full mat when lying down. Life can be lived virtuously, simply.

The faces of our family tree, which ordinarily radiated both carelessness and courage, were struck dumb at the sight.

Twenty-two Freuds lined up in the garden. Grandma’s parting gift to this world.

Even my ordinarily bossy younger uncle, who always wants to run the show, was rendered speechless at the sight of so many Sigmund Freuds. He was completely flustered and made no gesture of directing how to move them. He just lined up the Freuds in the garden and then brought out some tables and set some beer bottles on them, trying to calm himself down.

My younger uncle appeared to be searching for words that would bring down the curtain on this act, but he was at a loss for anything clever to say, apart from an opening gambit that tossed the ball in the completely wrong direction: “If they come from underground, shouldn’t they be Jung instead?”

So far as I was concerned, the sheer number of floorboard Freuds would eclipse the problem of who they were, but my uncle seemed unsatisfied, and he responded to me: Fair enough, these are Freuds.

This is Freud’s face. There is no other face like it.

For the most part, the things my grandmother had owned during her life had been taken care of. She had not left much worth fighting over, with the exception of her sword-cane.   Dividing up her worldly possessions had been a very placid closing of the curtain. About the most exciting thing that happened then was that I put on one of her camisoles and danced around in it. Then in the end, there were the Freuds, which counted as a major deal, and in large numbers. This was not a legacy to be divided; it had been transformed into a grand game of hot potato.

What could one do with a Freud? my younger uncle’s wife wondered aloud, perplexed. Grandma was a strange one, but did she have to keep all these Freuds under her floorboards? said older uncle’s wife.

My cousin’s daughter had been staring at the many Freuds that had been carted out and lined up neatly, supine, in the garden, but then she started crying, and I led her outside the main building. If I had seen a bunch of Freuds like this when I was her age, I would have asked permission to leave myself.

This might be The Complete Sigmund Freud, my uncle said, once again tossing the ball in the wrong direction. The question of whether this was the entire collection or not was just so much pointless jaw-boning, because they all seemed to be Freud himself. Somewhere there might even be an “on” switch to press, and they would all begin giving lectures. Assuming, however, that some things remained normal, that was not likely to happen.

To line up all the Freuds in the garden, I had to take their limp bodies in my arms and make countless round trips between the big living room and the garden. A terse, tangible reminder of my own humanity, coupled with that special gravity of the unconscious, lying flat across my forearms.

I had said these were all Freud himself, and my uncle picked up on the himself part and went on to say that was awkward. I too wanted to continue and say that was awkward, but that awkwardness was not any old ordinary awkwardness, it was really, really awkward.

It was my younger uncle’s wife who said, I wonder if we couldn’t sell them. While this was a forward-thinking idea—who today would want to buy a Freud?—my younger uncle admonished his wife, and my cousin added, Yeah, who would want to keep a Freud in their house?

***

To find out who would want to keep a Freud in their house, and more importantly why, check out Self-Reference ENGINE by Toh EnJoe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freuds

 

When I went to demolish my grandmother’s house, a whole bunch of Freuds came up from under the floorboards.

The question will probably come up again, so at the risk of repeating myself, it was Freud who emerged, and in great numbers. I am not trying to be evasive or pretend it was something else named Freud. It was Freud. Sigmund Freud.

The one with the frightening face.

This past winter, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, leaving behind a big old house in the country. That’s how this whole thing got started. And once it was started there was nothing that could be done about it, and there is still no end in sight.

In her final years, my grandmother declined all invitations to live with any of her family, and she was doing pretty well on her own, but one day her sword-cane failed her and she collapsed in the garden. It is believed she meant to attack the black cat that came to the garden every day, or it may be she meant to spear one of the catfish that swam in the pond. She was in the prime of her life, like a master swordsman, and this is how she passed her final days.

The cause of death was given simply as old age. It seems she may have stumbled over one of the paving stones in the garden, and that’s what did her in.

So, about the house she left behind, the family gathered for the funeral and put their heads together, but no one was interested in moving back out to the countryside. Letting it stand and having someone live in it would be a pain, and taking proper care of it would be costly. The family could try to sell it, but who would buy it? And so the decision was made to raze it to the ground. A date was set, and the family honored the last day of grandmother’s house by gathering there once again on that day.

Before the demolition began, the tatami mats were removed, and that is when the whole bunch of Freuds were discovered.

Not one Freud or two Freuds. They just kept coming with each tatami mat that was removed. There were twenty-two Freuds in all, one lying beneath each of the tatami mats in the big living room. Exactly twenty-two. As the old saying goes, A person takes up half a mat when sitting up and one full mat when lying down. Life can be lived virtuously, simply.

The faces of our family tree, which ordinarily radiated both carelessness and courage, were struck dumb at the sight.

Twenty-two Freuds lined up in the garden. Grandma’s parting gift to this world.

Even my ordinarily bossy younger uncle, who always wants to run the show, was rendered speechless at the sight of so many Sigmund Freuds. He was completely flustered and made no gesture of directing how to move them. He just lined up the Freuds in the garden and then brought out some tables and set some beer bottles on them, trying to calm himself down.

My younger uncle appeared to be searching for words that would bring down the curtain on this act, but he was at a loss for anything clever to say, apart from an opening gambit that tossed the ball in the completely wrong direction: “If they come from underground, shouldn’t they be Jung instead?”

So far as I was concerned, the sheer number of floorboard Freuds would eclipse the problem of who they were, but my uncle seemed unsatisfied, and he responded to me: Fair enough, these are Freuds.

This is Freud’s face. There is no other face like it.

For the most part, the things my grandmother had owned during her life had been taken care of. She had not left much worth fighting over, with the exception of her sword-cane.   Dividing up her worldly possessions had been a very placid closing of the curtain. About the most exciting thing that happened then was that I put on one of her camisoles and danced around in it. Then in the end, there were the Freuds, which counted as a major deal, and in large numbers. This was not a legacy to be divided; it had been transformed into a grand game of hot potato.

What could one do with a Freud? my younger uncle’s wife wondered aloud, perplexed. Grandma was a strange one, but did she have to keep all these Freuds under her floorboards? said older uncle’s wife.

My cousin’s daughter had been staring at the many Freuds that had been carted out and lined up neatly, supine, in the garden, but then she started crying, and I led her outside the main building. If I had seen a bunch of Freuds like this when I was her age, I would have asked permission to leave myself.

This might be The Complete Sigmund Freud, my uncle said, once again tossing the ball in the wrong direction. The question of whether this was the entire collection or not was just so much pointless jaw-boning, because they all seemed to be Freud himself. Somewhere there might even be an “on” switch to press, and they would all begin giving lectures. Assuming, however, that some things remained normal, that was not likely to happen.

To line up all the Freuds in the garden, I had to take their limp bodies in my arms and make countless round trips between the big living room and the garden. A terse, tangible reminder of my own humanity, coupled with that special gravity of the unconscious, lying flat across my forearms.

I had said these were all Freud himself, and my uncle picked up on the himself part and went on to say that was awkward. I too wanted to continue and say that was awkward, but that awkwardness was not any old ordinary awkwardness, it was really, really awkward.

It was my younger uncle’s wife who said, I wonder if we couldn’t sell them. While this was a forward-thinking idea—who today would want to buy a Freud?—my younger uncle admonished his wife, and my cousin added, Yeah, who would want to keep a Freud in their house?

Legend Winners!

This time, Intern Veronica has selected the winners! Ca4AY81UAAAdwr9 (1)

 

She’ll be mailing them out after all, on Monday. So, without further ado, here are the six winners of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 1: Dawn.

 

First up is Isabelle Ryan: Her poem was an excellent and engaging lyrical and poetic synopsis of the premise. It was detailed, yet subtle and made me want to read LOGH. 

 

Then we have Karine Z.: Beautifully conveyed the epic scale of LOGH and made me eager to pick up the book.

 

Number three: accosteddarling: Your testimony is proof positive of a good story’s transformative effect on readers.

 

And then a haiku won! Benjamin: He wrote an emotionally evocative and beautiful cosmic, space haiku.

 

Five! Brandon Perkins: Wrote cool a mini essay on the duality of the text, its metaphorical and figurative symbolism, and its plot in a smart and appealing way.

 

And the last winner! Lyryken: Wrote a funny little anecdote about a failed attempt at flirting that somehow led to being recommended to read LOGH

 

Thanks all for playing, and we will be doing this for Volumes 2 and 3, so keep watching the skies!

 

 

It’s the LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES giveaway contest!

We know you’re excited. Get more excited. Our Legend of the Galactic Heroes, v1: Dawn product page is up, and our friends at io9.com are running an excerpt today. So, now it’s time to channel that excitement into the possibility of a few copy of the book!

We’re giving away six copies of Dawn, and it’s easy to win. Just leave a brief essay, or poem, on the comments of this post, basically flipping out at us about how much you love LOGH. You can talk about the anime, the manga, your attempts to learn Japanese to read the books, dreams you’ve had, how you think it compares to other space operas…whatever you like. The six best essays and/or poems will get free copies! We read English, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Greek around here, and we ship anywhere, so please try! We’ll announce the winners around noon, Pacific time, on Friday, March 4th.

 

Sound good? Get typin’!

Excerpt from Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 1: Dawn

At that moment, the Second and Sixth Fleets of the Alliance were reeling from shock, having only just learned of the sudden change of circumstances. Even so, they had not decided to veer from the original plan and were still advancing toward the battlefield at the same velocity as before.

Vice Admiral Paetta, commander of the Second Fleet, was sitting in the command chair of the flagship Patroklos, jiggling one knee outside the crew’s line of sight. Irritation and impatience kept it rocking nonstop. The fleet commander’s psychological state was reflected in his subordinates, and the air on the bridge felt charged with electricity. Amid all that, the vice admiral noticed one man, and one man only, who didn’t look especially bothered. After the slightest of hesitations, he called out his name: “Commodore Yang!”

“Sir?”

“How do things look to you? Your opinion, please.”

Yang, having risen from his station chair, removed his beret again and lightly scratched through his black hair with one hand. “The enemy is probably trying to destroy our forces individually before we can rendezvous. Since the Fourth Fleet is numerically smallest, it’s only natural they’d try to get rid of them first. The ball’s in their court as far as which target is most pressing, and they’re making the most of the initiative.”

“Do you think the Fourth Fleet can hold out?”

“Both forces have clashed head-on. Which means the advantage lies with the side outnumbering its opponent, and moreover, with the side that strikes the initial blow.”

Yang’s expression and tone of voice seemed indifferent. As Vice Admiral Paetta observed him, he kept opening his fist and then squeezing it shut, trying to exorcise his annoyance.

“In any case, we need to get to the battlefield ASAP to reinforce the Fourth Fleet. With any luck, we should be able to strike the enemy from behind. If we do that, we can turn the tide in one fell swoop.”

“That probably won’t work, sir.”

Yang sounded unconcerned as ever, which almost made Paetta let his words pass by unacknowledged. The vice admiral had started to turn his head back toward the screen, but he stopped and looked again at the young staff officer at www.gmail.com

“What makes you say so?”

“The fighting will already be over by the time we get there. The enemy will leave the battlefield, and before the Second and Sixth Fleets can rendezvous, they’ll circle around to the rear of one or the other and launch an attack there. Since the Sixth Fleet is the smaller of the two, it’s almost certain they’ll be the ones targeted. The empire’s taken the initiative, and at present they’ve still got it. I don’t think we need to keep doing what they expect any further.”

“Well then, what do you propose?”

“That we change tactics. Instead of rendezvousing with the Sixth Fleet in that battlespace, we go rendezvous with them now—without a moment to spare—and prepare a new battlespace in that sector. If we combine the fleets, we’ll have twenty-eight thousand vessels, and after that we can challenge them with better than fifty-fifty odds of victory.”

“. . . Meaning, you want me to just look the other way as the Fourth Fleet is massacred?”

A note of deliberate reproach was apparent in the vice admiral’s tone. That is one cold-blooded thing to say, he was thinking.

“Even if we left right now, we wouldn’t get there in time.”

Yang’s tone was curt, whether he knew what was going on in the vice admiral’s head or not.

“But I won’t abandon a friendly force.”

At the vice admiral’s words, Yang shrugged his shoulders lightly. “Then ultimately, their tactic of attacking each group separately will make easy prey of all three fleets.”

“Not necessarily. The Fourth Fleet won’t go down without a good fight. If they can keep holding out . . .”

“I just told you it was hopeless, but—”

“Commodore Yang, reality is made up of more than just cold-blooded calculation. The enemy commander is Count von Lohengramm. He’s young and inexperienced. But Vice Admiral Pastolle is a seasoned warrior forged in countless battles. Compared to that—”

“Commander, he’s inexperienced as you say, but his tactical planning—”

“Enough, Commodore.” The vice admiral cut him off, displeased. He couldn’t hold back his disgust for this young staff officer who just wouldn’t give him the answer he wanted.

The vice admiral motioned for Yang to sit back down and turned his head back toward the screen.

***

Four hours had passed since the start of battle. By this point, the Fourth Fleet of the Alliance Navy could hardly be called a fleet at all. There was no tidy, well-organized battle formation. No unified chain of command. It was nothing more than scattered pockets of desperate resistance: isolated, cut off, single ships in every quarter waging a losing battle. You can login to gmail.com and mail us queries

The flagship Leonidas was now a colossal hunk of metal wandering in the void. Within, there was nothing left that lived. The body of Commander Pastolle had been sucked out into the vacuum by the air-pressure differential in the instant that concentrated enemy fire had opened up a large crack in the bridge’s hull. What condition his corpse was in and where in space it was drifting, nobody knew.


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