Aphelion Issue 268, Volume 25
December 2021
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
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Certified Pre-Owned Books

by Richard Tornello

Certified Pre-owned Books
Inspected detoxed and some rejected for abuse
No dog-ears, none highlighted, no under line to be found.

Certified to meet each country’s suppression laws
No illegal words to be found.
Word that inspire within the state structure
provided you pay the necessary fee.
But words that conspire to question and mire
well to the trash heap bound and fired.

So how do we do this you may ask?
we find them claimed used a previous time to harked
with in some dark dingy back door contraband selling store?

Before I continue let me stop for a second and ask, I wonder, have you
ever considered just exactly what a used book should be?
Do the words fade as you read it?
Does some warranty on content expire,
to be renewed and complete your reading desire?

On-line this can be controlled but of course.
Kindle and others can control and may manipulate
the written voice therein changing a hero’s face.
To make my point imagine and partake,
imagine Mark Twain written, today’s proscribed words
words that were common in usage and not necessarily nice
giving time’s flavor and taste are now a censored force.

But paper is paper and will hold
acid free for ages in due course.
The thoughts that were then and were strong
may still hold their place on the page for now
and yet give rise to ideas that question
and from the crown bring on a wrinkled frown.

Is this a used book by chance?
Used books, a phrase that doesn’t make sense.
To read years on later to provoke some new thought,
or bring up an old one that needs to be taught.
These things are in books read but dear reader not used.
The type set is good the ink might be faded, not new
But all in all, the term doesn’t work.
like a used piece of machinery!
But a book so used with missing or broken words?
Useless and abused,
to be put out of its misery and a fire heavenly heaved towards.

But used books?
No such thing unless one considers:
A book with hand written comments
(Considered allowed for suggestions, the famous or infamous too?)
or pages torn out or dog eared might be ruined,
but how do you claim books that are used?
Previously read yes that works my friend.
Previously purchased that too, but used?

Maybe in the sense say of mathematics or vehicle repair
used to gain knowledge or consider, and old thought made new?
Possibly more dangerous to some who might care.


50 views or 50 page turns
only in digital can that force be renewed
and more revenue from the viewer
more royalty fees for the author and seller
a point that I believe will strike home I conclude,
yet wait a question still rests in my mind and not happily concluded.
Can the viewer be sure it’s the same as inked from times before?
Time before it was digital, before it was timed pay for viewed?
And what if the subject falls out of fashion
Or as mentioned
afoul of political correctness? Oh dear we do address so easily with redress
Deleted amended gone from the view
No paper to cross check No, not even for me and especially not even for you.


Ignoring my duress, my minor scrapes with a term
and no harm just a passing mental pugilistic whim,
I’ve come up with a business plan, your respect here is due.
I’ll try to define the fine points to help sway your view.

While most of our public as mentioned get their reading from on-line review
the demand for originals of sorts on paper
to have and to hold to feel and be read to and told
a story, a song, a poem, lyrics to hum along
a rich niche still exists in the dark corners of towns
of book speakeasies, wells hidden deep from official’s frowns.

Where we as a government have lost some control
and that’s not a good, as history in books have told
where peace and civility cannot be controlled
new thought arise from the some old burned out tempting lies.

What I propose for those
of political correctness and social credit do hold
is access to literature, on paper, but hold
The thoughts to allowed original in all but in fact
with sensors embedded not tactile in fact
that limit the reader with monitored bio-recall.
from one off detection of each body’s make up
where after a time a renewal is charged
or after a death declared, the pages are charred.
We can control what is read and make sure what is not.
while giving some elite that thrill that they want
of real books and such to their desired sensuous touch
with perfumed inked pages on paper with soft leather and such.

Until till we promote this idea to all
we cannot control the thoughts that danger us all.
We cannot contain the revolutionary bane
we see cropping up against our home country’s name.

Used books not at all
Certified, inspected, selected with provenance documented previously owned
True or not, is not to be found.
The idea to satisfy an itch, a desire plays well,
And if properly pursued,
the idea will politically and financially pay well.

I await your command.

2021 Richard Tornello

Richard Tornello began writing short stories and poems about 14 years ago. He has self-published four children’s books including one self-illustrated book of poems.

Rick was the art editor of Quantum Muse and has been published in Aphelion-webzine.com, Orion’s Arm.com, ShortHumour.org.uk, Poetry Hall, a Chinese & English Bilingual Journal, and has few stories in the anthologies “A Flash of Aphelion,” “Fantastical Savannahs And Jungles”, “XENOBIOLOGY” and most currently “BLEAKEST TOWERS”. He’s assisted with the translation of some poetry for a Chinese poet.

He studied at The Art Students League in NYC and later picked up a degree in History with an advanced certification in Asian Studies from Rutgers University. Postgraduate studies concentrated in Chinese maritime history.

He with and two partners started and owned one of the first nationally based resume database companies specializing in high tech, computer security and various advanced systems of specialized nature. He continues to have a strong interest in propulsion physics and XXXXXXXXXX CLASSIFIED Alien XXXXXXX CLASSIFIED systems.

Rick also competed in off-hand pistol and bench rest shooting for over 20 years and continues to shoot, draw, and write after retiring from headhunting two years ago

Find more by Richard Tornello in the Author Index.

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