IMPISH BALANCE • by Douglas Pugh

The imp, Dracos, knelt before the throne.


With a sigh, the recumbent demi-god raised one of his heavy eyelids.

“What now?”

“They seek direction, oh Lord.”

“Who does?”

“The Thinkers on Math.”

The demi-god shuddered.

“Perverse creatures! What do they need now?”

“They seek further direction in the way of prime numbers, they have already passed the limit of definition. And…”

“And what?”

“And they suggest that the distribution is becoming… sorry, Lord…”

“Becoming? Becoming what?”

“Becoming… statistical, predictable.”

The chamber went unimaginably silent, except, thought the imp, for the sound of his own nervous swallow.

There was a slow hissing intake of breath and the sudden thunder of clawed saurlike feet landing on the random patterned marble tiles. The imp crunched himself into an even more insignificant bundle.

“Do… I… look… remotely… sta… tis… tical?”

The words boomed and echoed around the walls.

The imp swallowed again, lifted his head high enough to notice the red sock on one foot, the green on the other.

“They were not my words, master.”

A talon suddenly spiked into the soft flesh of the imp’s throat.

“And what is my name?”

“Cha… chaos, master.”

“And where do these fools think they can find prediction? Where is… Order?”

The imp eased his throat across the claw tip and nodded towards the locked and bound steel box.

“Exactly! Order has a nice neat microcosm all of his own. And do I not tend him well? Feed him soap bubbles sporadically through a straw, intersperse that with the fumes of peeled psychedelic onions, shock him with sparks as he scrubs his methodical way around his pen?”

“Yes, master, of course.”

“So… your reply to these ‘Thinkers of Math’?”

“That you will give them an answer, direction at a time to your convenience?”

The talon jabbed into the soft flesh again.

“At some random time in the future, of course, master.”

“Precisely. Now go!”

Dracos shuffled his way out of the chamber on his knees, backwards, taking care not to settle into any rhythmic cadence.

And it was only as he walked away down The Corridors of Power that he realised something.

His master, Chaos, had started rotating the socks.

Red on the right one day, red on the left the next.

Simple but orderly. Predictable even.

He allowed himself a small grin, even allowed it… for a split second… to be symmetrical.

Order must be leaking out of the vault.

Drip by predictable drip.

Drop by sporadic drop.

He really should say something.


He should.

He rubbed his throat and grinned.

At some random time in the future, maybe.

Douglas Pugh lives in Northern Ontario with a logical wife and an insane menagerie. He likes to believe that he fills the gap in the middle. Bleeding words onto a page help with his delusion. When he’s not writing, he’s probably painting or out riding his bike. He writes poetry, short stories and has two thriller novels for which he’s looking for an agent. During 2009 he has been published in The Smoking Poet, Leaf Garden Press, Every Day Poetry, Mnemosyne Journal and Short Story Library. He hopes to one day publish at least one book of his words.

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