The Red-Houser

The Red-Houser

A Story by Nicolas Jao
"

A man named Cretin strongly believes the outside of their house is red, opposing the belief of his comrades and years of historical evidence.

"

It was such a strong opinion he could not let go of, one that embedded itself in his own brain, clasping on, not allowing him to let it go. A virus that fed off his mind and could not be rid of, no matter how illogical or incomprehensible it was. And that was the type he was--facts never bothered him, neither did the proclaimed indisputable evidence of his peers, for he knew the truth. And why would they not believe him? 

“There he goes again, wandering that mind of his, off into the distance of who knows where,” Lato said, spitting in disgust at the imbecilic half-wit. “That window suits you well, Cretin, because it sits there all day and cannot think, just like you.”

Aris and Patia, who were nearby, came over and laughed. “The house is blue, Cretin. Do not be foolish. The grandest of minds have established it long ago, the ancient Pyth.”

Cretin found himself surrounded by his ravenous comrades once again, who had been eating out his insides like a crow pecking at his stomach since the beginning of time. And of course, one could only stand much torture before the collapse--it was about time that he would stop ignoring their arguments.

“The house is red! You are foolish! All of you!” He spoke out loud, raising his voice until he knew everyone had heard him--confirmed by the silence of the house. “I do not claim to have seen the outside itself since it is impossible to bypass the locked doors, but I tell you, and you hear me closely--the house is red! Oh, how foolish you all are! The inside is red paint, and from that it is already painfully obvious that the outside is red too!”

Of course, they were so oblivious! How could they not see? From the ends of the very space they lived on, to the corners of the ceilings and the edges of their rooms, it was all red. Every inch of it. It would only make sense logically that the outside was painted red, too. 

Although, his nine comrades said it was impossible. It was always, “The space pioneer said this,” or, “The ancient Pyth said that!” All nonsense, for it was all irrelevant. He was full of inerrancy, and he knew it because he had proof that they did not have. 

“You are lucky we waste our food and water with you,” Aris said. “You are extremely imbecilic. This house we live in is blue on the outside, and we have proven it many times. The ancient Pyth first said it was blue because he looked at the other houses outside the windows and saw that they were all blue. Every single one of them. Logically, our house has to be--”

“How ignorant you are!”

“Quiet, or we will take your ration!” Lato yelled in a deep, furious voice. Decades of anger and harassment from Cretin’s foolishness had taken a toll on him, his brain was worn down for fighting for a cause he had full faith in--one that was also settled a long, long time ago. 

The other six members of the household, weary of the troubles Cretin had caused, chose this time to join them in the living room.

“What is Cretin up to now?”

“Will he ever shut up?”

“How can you be so stupid to believe the outside of the house is red? How unbelievable people are these days. Imagine thinking the house is red!”

Patia held up a hand to contain the noise of the household. She was to settle this in a civilized manner, with respect to Cretin. Or else they would get nowhere--although she also could not stand such stupidity. If they explained it again to him now, he would inevitably refuse to accept it, like the many times they had tried before. 

“Cretin,” she said, “we have irrefutable evidence the outside of the house is blue. After Pyth, a long time passed since his death. Many people from this household continued to believe the house was red, just like you. But then came a new age when we were inspired and driven to explore the outer reaches of the householdsphere. The first man to escape this prison of a home was the great Strongarm, the first space pioneer.”

“Lies!” he yelled. 

“There he goes again!”
“He will never listen!”

“It is useless! Lock him in the closet so we will never have to see his hideous face again!”

“Silence!” Lato commanded. 

Patia continued. “The days of being trapped were soon to be gone when somehow, Strongarm figured out a way to get outside of this cursed, locked house. And the household held its breath--the biggest revelation of human history was close, it seemed. He took pictures of the house outside, and he could not stay for long because the outside was dangerous. Today, we still have his photos. And in the photos, the house was blue, as we suspected for millennia.”

Cretin raised a palm to speak. “Let me say this, Patia. Those photos were fake. When the household watched his escapade? Propaganda. We have never escaped the householdspehere. Because it has always been truly impossible. We have never seen our house from the outside, and Strongarm’s story is false. It is all to give hope that one day we may explore the neighbourhood. The house is red, my dear comrades.”

“They cannot be fake,” Aris said. “At the time of Strongarm’s, there was no such thing as editing photos to make them look impossibly unbelievable.”

“They are, dear Aris. The myth of the house being blue on the outside is a legend, just like the monsters of the deep, or the cities of gold, or the horses with coned-foreheads. And all the other houses are blue? That does not mean ours has to be as well. It is possible our house is different, since, this household is also the only one with life, is it not? No other houses have life. So why can it not be that we are also the only household that is red? That is true logic, my comrades.”

He could not dare call them friends. He had been abused for too long to call any of them that. All his life he had been insulted for his belief, his so-called, “cretinous belief.” It had been such an era of being called cretin by his comrades that he had forgotten his own name. They had too, so they continued to pester him with “cretin.”

His schooling was a joke, as well. The homeschool organization which consisted of the two Soc and Parm in charge of education had enforced the ideas early on in everyone’s head that the outside of the house was blue. And this context was established from historical fact. Or so they claimed. Cretin knew, as he had known his whole life, that it was all fake. The house was red. And he knew in his heart, truly and seriously, that he was given mistaken information purposely by his peers, who would not take him seriously themselves. They thought he was tricking them, for they knew it was impossible to be so stupid. But he was not! He knew the truth! The comrades are liars! They want power and control! They are forcing me to believe the house is blue--there could not be anything more false someone could know! 

“This is getting tiring,” Lato said. He needed some way to finally prove it to Cretin. And of course, what better way than to send him out into the neighbourhood?
“We will send him past the householdspehere,” he announced. “I want Cretin to finally acknowledge that he is wrong, which would be the most satisfying thing in the household. All in favour?”

“Aye! Aye! Aye!”

“Very well, then. This mission is intended to educate Cretin. Find the crowbar! Clear the entrance! Get our best lock picker! Prepare the space pioneer suit! We will end this argument once and for all!”

The entire household cheered and chanted, “Wrong is Cretin! Wrong is Cretin!” as Cretin himself was in disbelief. There was no way they would break the barrier into the neighbourhood. It was impossible. Let them try.

It took a decade to figure it out, but now they were ready. And, in fact, Cretin was wrong. It was proven that they could escape the house. Cretin did not like admitting he was wrong about that, but he had not changed his opinion of the house’s colour. Ten years later and Cretin still strongly believed in what he had always known his whole life. The house was red. The opposing argument, its outside walls being blue, was just propaganda. It was all false. The photographic evidence was fake. But now, this was his time to show them the truth. To prove to them that they were wrong and the house was red. And they were about to send him off now.

“Three,” Lato said, his hand at the doorknob. Cretin prepared himself. He had performed all the precautions. “Two.” Lato was turning the doorknob slowly. Cretin was two seconds away from blast-off, and two seconds away to finally find out the truth, to finally find out he was right. He was nervous but excited, for he had full faith in his belief. “One.” Cretin put on his helmet, which was a round, glass sphere, and mentally prepared himself.

The door was opened. Everyone watched as Cretin escaped the householdsphere. The entire group was tense, but the tensest was Cretin as he walked towards the sunlight and fresh air, toward oblivion. He was about to find out the truth. 

He went outside. 

Through a camera connected to Cretin’s suit, everyone watched as he viewed the outside of the house, turning slowly to see its vibrant colour. This was it. This was the moment. On the other end, they heard a gasp.

“I cannot believe…” Cretin began. 

The entire household held its breath. 

“…that you would rig my helmet and make me see this disgusting, blue colour! This device on my head has obviously been tinkered with, and I am not stupid! Shame on you all!"

###

© 2020 Nicolas Jao


Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5

Author's Note

Nicolas Jao
This story is a satire on the modern belief of the earth being flat. Some people out there, even after being shown irrefutable and historic evidence countless times, still place their faith in a flat earth. They'll refuse anything you tell them, so don't try. This story showcases how stubborn a human mind can be.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

I hesitated before responding, given that you’d not asked for feedback. But given that you have a fixable problem that’s holding you back, one responsible for your not getting more responses to your work, I thought you would want to know.

The problem is the result of a misunderstanding common to us all. Because we were given a skill called writing in our schooldays, we make the understandable assumption that it’s the kind of writing referred to in the name of the profession, Fiction-Writing.

But did your schooldays writing skills leave you ready to write a script for film or stage? No. Did they allow you to apply for a position as a journalist or tech-writer? Again no, because they’re professions, and professional skills are learned in addition to the set of general skills we’re given in school.

We all recognize that. But somehow, we don’t apply that to fiction, and assume that writing-is-writing. But what kind of writing did we learn in school? Think back, and compare the number of reports and essays you were assigned to the number of stories. When you graduated you were pretty good at writing reports, but…

Did even one teacher explain how best to open a scene, and the issues we need to address quickly, so as to provide context? Did a single teacher point out that, as put so well by E. L. Doctorow: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

No, they never did. And since you’re weren’t aware of the difference between nonfiction and fiction in approach, you’re using your school-day report-writing skills, coupled with the storytelling skills you use each time someone says, “So how was your day?” The first can’t be used because its methodology is to report and explain, and the second can’t be used because it’s a performance skill that requires the audience to hear and see the performer.

Look at a few lines from the story, not as someone who intimately knows the characters and setting before they begin to read, but as someone who knows only what the words suggest to them.

• It was such a strong opinion he could not let go of, one that embedded itself in his own brain, clasping on, not allowing him to let it go.

You know what “It” is. But unless the reader does, the line literally tells the reader: Someone you don’t know holds a strong opinion on something undefined—an opinion he wants to change but can’t." If a stranger walked up to you in the street and spoke that first line would your reaction be, “Tell me more?” Or would it be, “What are you talking about?” Which response it would generate is critical, because the reader is the one making one of those two responses. So were you that reader…

• A virus that fed off his mind and could not be rid of, no matter how illogical or incomprehensible it was.

Forgetting that this is what’s called a sentence fragment because it lacks a subject, does this clarify or confuse the reader who’s still wondering who “he” is and what the issue is? In fact, you spend 138 words, the entire first standard manuscript page and part of the second before we learn what “it” is. And all of those words come from someone who’s neither on the scene nor in the story—someone talking in generic terms to a reader who's not been made to care.

In reality, your story begins with the line, “The house is blue, Cretin. Do not be foolish. The grandest of minds have established it long ago, the ancient Pyth.”

But then, instead of having Cretin respond, or give thought to what was said, you—as yourself—jump on stage again to lecture the reader in overview. When he does respond, we know nothing about any reaction he may have had internally, either directly or by a change in his expression or body language.

So in general, someone in the story speaks and you use that as a starting point for an authorial info-dump. Then the one addressed responds and you’re off again. In other words, you’re presenting a report on a conversation between people in a contrived situation. In other words, instead of making the reader feel the rain as the protagonist does, you’re focusing on describing the rain as the author views it.

The primary difference between fiction and nonfiction is viewpoint. In nonfiction the narrator describes and reports as an external observer and lecturer. In fiction we work to make the reader become the protagonist and live the events in real-time. And that’s what sets the mood of the reader. To better understand what I mean, you might try this article on the importance of the protagonist's viewpoint:
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/the-grumpy-writing-coach-8/

The solution is simple, though not easy: Add the tricks the pros take for granted to your current writing skills. It’s not a simple list of, “Do this instead of that,” because we’re talking about the skills of a profession. But without them? Since the day you began reading you’ve chosen only work created with the skills of the profession. And while we no more see those tools and decision-making that went into creating the story than does viewing a painting teach us the brush techniques used, we see the result of using them, just as in reading we see the result of the techniques and tricks. So those “tool marks” are what you expect to see, just as others expect to see them in your work—which is the best argument I’ve found in favor of digging into the profession a bit.

The library’s fiction-writing section is a great resource. And as I so often do, I suggest that, for an overview of how different the approach for fiction is from the writing skills we're given in school, check a few articles in my WordPress writing blog.

Then download the best book on the subject I’ve found on the nuts-and-bolts issued of constructing scenes that sing to the reader. It’s free here. Use the leftmost button to select the format needed by your reader:
https://ru.b-ok2.org/book/2640776/e749ea

That book won’t make a pro of you. That’s your job. But it will give you the knowledge and the tools needed to do that if it’s in you. And what more can we ask?

So give it a try. And while you do, hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nicolas Jao

3 Weeks Ago

Thanks! I'll make sure to take in your advice and keep improving.



Reviews

I hesitated before responding, given that you’d not asked for feedback. But given that you have a fixable problem that’s holding you back, one responsible for your not getting more responses to your work, I thought you would want to know.

The problem is the result of a misunderstanding common to us all. Because we were given a skill called writing in our schooldays, we make the understandable assumption that it’s the kind of writing referred to in the name of the profession, Fiction-Writing.

But did your schooldays writing skills leave you ready to write a script for film or stage? No. Did they allow you to apply for a position as a journalist or tech-writer? Again no, because they’re professions, and professional skills are learned in addition to the set of general skills we’re given in school.

We all recognize that. But somehow, we don’t apply that to fiction, and assume that writing-is-writing. But what kind of writing did we learn in school? Think back, and compare the number of reports and essays you were assigned to the number of stories. When you graduated you were pretty good at writing reports, but…

Did even one teacher explain how best to open a scene, and the issues we need to address quickly, so as to provide context? Did a single teacher point out that, as put so well by E. L. Doctorow: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

No, they never did. And since you’re weren’t aware of the difference between nonfiction and fiction in approach, you’re using your school-day report-writing skills, coupled with the storytelling skills you use each time someone says, “So how was your day?” The first can’t be used because its methodology is to report and explain, and the second can’t be used because it’s a performance skill that requires the audience to hear and see the performer.

Look at a few lines from the story, not as someone who intimately knows the characters and setting before they begin to read, but as someone who knows only what the words suggest to them.

• It was such a strong opinion he could not let go of, one that embedded itself in his own brain, clasping on, not allowing him to let it go.

You know what “It” is. But unless the reader does, the line literally tells the reader: Someone you don’t know holds a strong opinion on something undefined—an opinion he wants to change but can’t." If a stranger walked up to you in the street and spoke that first line would your reaction be, “Tell me more?” Or would it be, “What are you talking about?” Which response it would generate is critical, because the reader is the one making one of those two responses. So were you that reader…

• A virus that fed off his mind and could not be rid of, no matter how illogical or incomprehensible it was.

Forgetting that this is what’s called a sentence fragment because it lacks a subject, does this clarify or confuse the reader who’s still wondering who “he” is and what the issue is? In fact, you spend 138 words, the entire first standard manuscript page and part of the second before we learn what “it” is. And all of those words come from someone who’s neither on the scene nor in the story—someone talking in generic terms to a reader who's not been made to care.

In reality, your story begins with the line, “The house is blue, Cretin. Do not be foolish. The grandest of minds have established it long ago, the ancient Pyth.”

But then, instead of having Cretin respond, or give thought to what was said, you—as yourself—jump on stage again to lecture the reader in overview. When he does respond, we know nothing about any reaction he may have had internally, either directly or by a change in his expression or body language.

So in general, someone in the story speaks and you use that as a starting point for an authorial info-dump. Then the one addressed responds and you’re off again. In other words, you’re presenting a report on a conversation between people in a contrived situation. In other words, instead of making the reader feel the rain as the protagonist does, you’re focusing on describing the rain as the author views it.

The primary difference between fiction and nonfiction is viewpoint. In nonfiction the narrator describes and reports as an external observer and lecturer. In fiction we work to make the reader become the protagonist and live the events in real-time. And that’s what sets the mood of the reader. To better understand what I mean, you might try this article on the importance of the protagonist's viewpoint:
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/the-grumpy-writing-coach-8/

The solution is simple, though not easy: Add the tricks the pros take for granted to your current writing skills. It’s not a simple list of, “Do this instead of that,” because we’re talking about the skills of a profession. But without them? Since the day you began reading you’ve chosen only work created with the skills of the profession. And while we no more see those tools and decision-making that went into creating the story than does viewing a painting teach us the brush techniques used, we see the result of using them, just as in reading we see the result of the techniques and tricks. So those “tool marks” are what you expect to see, just as others expect to see them in your work—which is the best argument I’ve found in favor of digging into the profession a bit.

The library’s fiction-writing section is a great resource. And as I so often do, I suggest that, for an overview of how different the approach for fiction is from the writing skills we're given in school, check a few articles in my WordPress writing blog.

Then download the best book on the subject I’ve found on the nuts-and-bolts issued of constructing scenes that sing to the reader. It’s free here. Use the leftmost button to select the format needed by your reader:
https://ru.b-ok2.org/book/2640776/e749ea

That book won’t make a pro of you. That’s your job. But it will give you the knowledge and the tools needed to do that if it’s in you. And what more can we ask?

So give it a try. And while you do, hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/the-grumpy-old-writing-coach/

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nicolas Jao

3 Weeks Ago

Thanks! I'll make sure to take in your advice and keep improving.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

18 Views
1 Review
Added on June 12, 2020
Last Updated on June 16, 2020
Tags: literary, literature, satire, metaphor, symbolism

Author

Nicolas Jao
Nicolas Jao

Toronto, Ontario, Canada



About
It's the cliche story. I've been writing since I was six, and it's a passion. I like to read, listen to music, watch the NBA, learn science and programming, and eat food. My favourite book is The Hous.. more..

Writing
Cosmos Cosmos

A Book by Nicolas Jao


Candy Candy

A Story by Nicolas Jao