Lords of the World

“To whom goes your empire?” asked the anxious Ptolemy. He and a dozen other Macedonians – lords of the world – crowded around.

Alexander, who had cut a swath of destruction from Turkey to India, whispered at last: “…To the strongest.”

His hand went limp; his signet ring fell to the floor.


By: Thomas R. Keith

Elephants and Eagles

Even though the black, heavy statue staring at me is illumined by the glowing coals in the braziers, I still shiver. Is it from cold, fear, anticipation? My father, a great soldier, stands blood-red in the light. In his eyes I see future — impossible? — conquests: Carthaginian elephants crossing Alpine passes, eagles scattering everywhere — delaying, delaying, vainly delaying, watering the ground with their martial blood. His fierce eyes loudly command me: “Swear! Swear, my son, your undying hatred of Rome!”

Father, I am Hannibal. Can a boy of nine winters conquer Rome? Ask not me but Baal, who sits there, all-knowing.


By: Gregory Carrier

Old Soldiers Meet at Zama

“Well, here we are. Two old men.”
“Indeed. I’m glad it’s over.”
“Me too.”
“What shall you do now?”
“Go home.”
“Home. Such a sweet, bitter word, that.”
“And you?”
“My home is a peripatetic life. Exile.”
A dry sirocco wind blows by, covering the men in a fine layer of sand and grit. Roman and Carthaginian eyes silently ponder the graveyard of their ambitions.
“Some wine for the journey, Hannibal?”
“Yes. Shall we honour the ever-young dead, Scipio, those mortui perenne iuvenes?”
Wine pours.
“No. Let us honour the aged ones waiting to die, those senes qui morituri.”


By: Gregory Carrier

Susan Parks, Telephone Operator

“Please don’t cry, Gwen,” she implored silently as her baby squirmed in her arms. From outside in the street, she heard soldiers yelling to each other. Carefully, quietly, she approached the window and peeked through the gap between the curtain and the pane.

In her shock, she stifled a scream. “That has to be him.”

Acting mechanically, she secured Gwen under the bed, lit a match, and connected the switchboard to Fort Bliss. Out loud this time: “Pancho Villa is attacking Columbus, the town is in flames!”

Bullets shattered the window, narrowly missing her as she ducked.

Gwen cried inconsolably.


By: Brandon Morgan

Trinity, 1945

On July 16 the sun rose, set in place, and then rose again. At least that’s what it looked like. People miles distant from the southern New Mexico white sands felt shock, awe, and horror upon witnessing such a novel, seemingly supernatural event.

The official press release claimed that “a remotely located ammunition magazine containing a considerable amount of high explosives and pyrotechnics” had accidentally been triggered in the desert.

Even the young woman who had lost her sight a few years previously, living nearly 150 miles away, perceived the tremor and knew that this had been no accident.


By: Brandon Morgan


As the Public Morals Squad waited outside, the four cops raiding the Stonewall Inn were not prepared for the flame queens to fight back this time. Tables turned on police violence, activist groups organized within weeks, and gay rights newspapers published within months. Gay Pride marches born exactly a year later, the more mild-mannered Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis stepped aside as the Gay Liberation Front led. Fifty years later, though rainbow capitalism flies almost everywhere, and the cops continue to show up to the parades uninvited, LGBT rights are human rights, and Stonewall is a National Monument.


By: Jessica Joy Mills


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Tiny Tales from the Digital Pedagogy Lab 2021 Copyright © 2021 by Laura Gibbs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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