and what’s that all about? an egg running down the street? no egg is running down the street, only sponge and breadroll, no egg ever ran down the street unscathed. now we know. that’s it for now.
it is impossible to describe music, yet this is precisely what would be required now, as breadroll whistled, as sponge whistled, both whistled a song. whistling they plodded along, alas, the plodding is not the subject here. let’s focus on the whistling.
can we stop whistling, said breadroll between C-sharp and E.
wait a minute, said sponge. it was a short tune.
and the man was fat and jolly you say? yea, large belly, probably drunk, came in, ate cake, helped himself to a beer, vomited and left. without pay of course, everyone was to puzzled to do anything about it. no pay. he mumbled something about a job to do. a job he has to do, he himself? yea. he himself. with his bloodstock. cattle? don’t know, pigs maybe. or geese? you mean goats? yes, sheep and that sort of stuff. he said delivery. or liver maybe? you said he was drunk, liver probably. no delivery. ponies then. don’t know, he was driving an old banger, said he’d be back tomorrow. ah well, tomorrow then.
no we can’t. really not? no. not a chance? no. you’ve heard it. nothing we can do. nothing to do with us.
the neighbour had left the house this morning. never arrived where he was expected. never returned to where no-one was waiting. never called. we couldn’t tell what happened.
so we’ll never hear the end of it, said sponge. no, we won’t.
the man had sat down of a metal chair outside the cafe. he waited. nobody came to take his orders, nobody joined his wait. the cafe was closed. the owner had declared himself bankrupt. why where the chairs still outside? why did everything look as if the cafe was still open for business? the man asked none of these questions, instead, after a brief glance at his watch, he got up and left and a while later somebody came to carried table and chairs inside as the owner had hung himself in the kitchen. no need to keep up appearances. the man walked for an hour or so until he came to a bridge.
symbolic that. indeed. will he cross it, said breadroll.
the man stood there and waited, crossing a bridge, he thought, very symbolic, who knows what’s to happen, let’s not get excited. he stood without moving and was forgotten about. there was no bridge anyway, but a river or a canal, or a fence. dust caught in his trouser legs and they blended in with the pavement. leaves gathered around him and he saw autumn turning to winter. people ceased running into him and paths showed around a heap of leaves.
that stuff happens only in poems, novels and films. true enough, said sponge. although i read a story once where a man had turned into a slug or a spider or something. some kind of creature. wasn’t a novel.
the man turned left. he walked until he came to a small square, lined with cafés and shops, where waiters were serving people and a grocer spoke to a an old lady. i shall be off, the lady said, and left. she went to the butcher’s for pork chops and the butcher asked whether she could be interested in some lamb. no right now, she said, but later, perhaps. we’ll see how it goes. some customers showed more interest. the old lady left. she didn’t come back. she didn’t make pork chop. she fell on the way home. nothing that could be done. it was a beautiful funeral. most people said so. the priest said some improvements could have been made, some seemingly necessary changes in burial practices, long overdue but not yet implemented. not fully, a working group is currently reviewing the progress. said the priest, and he should know. after all he’s chairing the panel tasked with the supervision of the working group
so, no trace of the neighbour anymore. no. that’s a pity. it’s a shame.
we really can’t do anything. keep trying so.
i think it was a story, said sponge.
a flower, said sponge and left it at that.
what else can you say i ask you, said the next next to sponge and stared at the flower. he reached into his pocket and got his sandwich out, tore bits off and threw them at the flower. the flower stood tiny and still. a pigeon landed nearby and waddled over and another pigeon and another one, both closer to the sandwich bits and snatched them. the first storms in, a clumsy fight, sparrows take advantage, the flower looks deranged. not a rose i tell you, the man said, a rose wouldn’t have gotten through the pavement. he carefully put his foot on the flower and moved it back and forth, slowly. the bread’s gone, i’m trying to lose some wait, a minute here, a moment there, he said.
good luck, said sponge.
thank you, the man said, i will need it. there are adverse weather conditions.
so much to say, and so little time, said sponge. he said nothing after that although he had the entire day to come up with something. so it goes, said breadroll, other people make old ladies jump out of windows with the stuff they come up with, and you? is there an old lady, said sponge, and these windows cannot be opened. health and safety. i see. but you see windows around here. no. there are some, but too low. would look silly to jump out. once an old lady tried to climb over the wall of a compartment in a public toilet. she had to be rescued. old ladies should stick with windows.
why are we talking about food so much, said sponge, is there something?
we are not, said breadroll, we mentioned the canteen recently.
a yes, the canteen. we didn’t mention it before. the perls.
says herr brekst, whenever i come i have a question and no answer ready for me. this is the state of thing and i will have to queue for an answer like anybody else here, if there are any left that is. is this queue for beetroot by chance? or chips? answers?
it is getting silly.
in the morning sponge put on his arms. he put on his legs then. last, the head. done. ready to go. i wonder what happens next, he said. usually something happens.something, such as a knock on the door. a knock. coming, said sponge. i’m coming. he looked around. the room looked as always. another knock. impatient. sponge when to open the door with his elbow. are these your hands, the man said. he was the janitor’s helper, surely he was, the janitor had mentioned something about taking somebody on and collected money as well. are the yours, the helper said, and presented a pair of hands. i could do with some, said sponge, they are always useful. the hands were passed on, they fitted. thanks you, said sponge and closed the door. he would be late now, he thought, had he had an appointment of sorts. he left. there is a door after all, he thought.
evening time he returned, took everything off and fell asleep.
if you think you’ve been here before, you’re right, said sponge, but it won’t help. the end of the platform is just its beginning. you’ll take it from there; you’ll move on.
the setting of the train station’s shopping mall provides an impressive backdrop for these words. it was an ordinary shopping mall. shops and drunks and security staff. time drawn to thin lines, ringing in the breath of the passer-by. lashings, beatings, joy and sadness. bitterness.
bitterness adds negativity to the setting, said breadroll, though people ought to be positive. about things and stuff.
we should mention more people, said sponge, or people lose interest. we neither have account nor page, twit or twat. like bulk about hulk and stuff. but that would be asking too much. something snappy.
or interesting. said breadroll.
or interesting, of course. something mad.
to cause outrage.
yes, that would be something.
look at that, said sponge, they are all waiting. peacefully in peace. not a bother.
a queue, said breadroll.
i can see that, said sponge.
proper order, said breadroll.
remember the block, said sponge. no, said breadroll. gone a long time now, said sponge, we should leave too, but where too. we ask ourselves all the time, everybody else would have lost patience. not we, said breadroll. he tried to find the edge of the platform with his eyes. no avail, too vast it was. we’re lost, he said. big time, said sponge, that platform is a forest. would you believe, so vast and void. and insects, said breadoll.
they used to eat train people, said sponge.
that was before they had trains, said breadroll, and then only when there were no turnip. which happened rather often.
turnips are good for you, said sponge.
overrated as a superfood, said breadroll, i could have them anytime and still would suffer from all sorts of things.
me too, said sponge, but with train people it is a different matter.
shall we have tea? sit down have tea. no tea? it’s way before tea time, twit, twattering.
i don’t know, said breadroll. perhaps you are getting obsessed about it.
we wait for a while to see if sponge replies but we’re not tv, we can’t hang around a look funny while you guys giggle.
for a change. says sponge. that’s another thing. we wouldn’t touch that.
and that was it for the day really.
they can kiss my dactylion, which i’m more than happy to extend in their general direction. sponge paused. continued to talk about a christmas party some years ago, where he hadn’t been. ranted. raved. on and on. more to be said.
so many fullstops, improperly parting words, assuming full sentences where there are none. that’s it. round bits of chewing gum are the stars in a pavement universe. if only the man with the lucozade knew what worlds he’s stepping on. what difference would that make? he would be walking as before, having no alternative.
so sponge was stuck for a cue, what next, you tell me. a story is only good of it has a story in it, a string of event or thoughts or opinions, spirited or spiteful, for readers to pick and mix. maybe they make a film out of it or a tv show, a late night special. the setting is a platform of station between two other stations, straightforward. someone could push the guy over thee in front of a train, he looks innocent enough to make it into the news as a father of four or a well-liked neighbour of sorts, one other neighbours remember, old-school character. but that won’t happen. there won’t be a train for ages and if one comes it’ll be crawling along so the man would have to be tied up or drugged or otherwise immobilised but then the train people might intervene, they always do, they think they can, so they need to be dealt with and how do you do that? train people can be dealt with, they can be talked out of and into things but that requires time and time is what the villians don’t have. the train, albeit slow to arrive is often swift to go. what then? load the now immobilised man into a car, a black van perhaps or some boxy builders’ transport (white), handcuff and muffle him, ask a few questions, the man might know something, easy ones, we don’t know him very well, try to catch up with the train at the next station, that is one option; let him have it at the next station. to wait for the next train here, there another, trying not to draw a lot of attention. the job can drag on, hours pass one could put to better use, the fence needs mending, ages since a coat of protective paint had been applied, five years they say it’ll last and we started thinking about a new coat five years ago, we were talking, joking almost that five years on we’d still be talking and joking and here we are, talking and joking, but what can we do? we kind of stuck.
the first option adds rapid action to the story whereas the second introduces a time element, characters can be developed better in the rather static setting of a platform. (that theory, however, is not entirely proven to be correct). some cigarettes, smoked angrily, with haste, impatience, the wait tears nerves, they get to know the victim although he would have to be muffled. they stomp on their cigarettes, flung to the ground unfinished, no time to finish before the next. they might reconsider. maybe they beat him. or they go home altogether, the victim plodding along, it’s all delayed. they should have planned to push him in front of oncoming traffic. push and done, but no, it’s all delayed instead. the victim goes home with them, lives with them. it’s all delayed, how to get rid of him now.
that won’t happen here, said sponge. he wondered what the first sentence (they can kiss…) was meant to mean. that’s the thing, he said, when you pack too much into a story – it makes people wonder why.
it cleared up. light grey. paling.
we could sit here, look around, left, right, center, back, the full around, or into our selves, or nowhere in particular. these are often the most pleasing sights, says the lady from across. we could see ourselves saying something like that on tv, we would say if we were involved (says sponge).
a round man sat down, preparing himself for things to come with a bag of crisps and a diet coke. his movements were swift and efficient. the task to be done. we whistle songs, that’s all, quietly in the wind. not much has shown up so far. we wait. we whistle. no song in particular, songs that’s all, just that. the pidgeon shat on the man’s shoulder. he grabs for the coke and holds it safely.
shat is an awkward word. but words don’t really happen, so nothing happened really.
mr. slot was most displeased to find sponge splashed on his seat like a suburban urchin but had he ask the train people, little more than rude insults would have been the outcome.
mr. slot sat somewhere else and that was that.
herr brekst had had a similiar experience once.
sponge shivered. he did this a lot. he listen to music. stared out the window. wished he had a phone to hold that never rings. waiting for the call, maybe a text, some message. music. soso there we go again, another day’s dawn and dance and dusk again.
i wasn’t really listening, he said. if we could repeat that please.
it was a cold train. airy. gusts and drafts from all sides and no comfortable position to get warm. it was a train nonetheless. train drafts, platform drafts, what do you want? so, all together, a train. we should not be so boring, said sponge, and always talk about it. trains and trains people.
did you see the other one smile the other day, said breadroll.
sponge hadn’t so breadroll could not tell his story.
they boarded a train that would serve all stations to bray (as the saying goes).
imagine that, said sponge, it sums it all up.
during the offally bombing nobody shot, said sponge.
that’s an old story, said breadroll.
that is the face of terror, said sponge, didn’t shot this time, will shot next time. that’s the snot in the nose. what it boils down to. the snot in the nose. it’s there, you don’t feel it, don’t know about it and bang, pops out and causes havoc.
sponge sulked a bit. he liked his imagery, which didn’t ring with the others. rainy day with gust of northerly wind. terror brings security, just as the train people work. a train will come. peace on earth, our pure essence.
the tart wasn’t that bad, said breadroll, bit juicy.
not bad no, said sponge, but i could do with a burger to bugger. a cheap sexual allegation.
sex you all, so there. the tart, now remembered. burgers. starve. starving. to starve. no way you put it will it make sound any more feeding. nothing. they had rations, stuff bought by passers-by, bars, triangular sandwich containers, bars, bags of crips. on the other side of the barrier, the vending machine operated by train people. they fuck. they think about it. discuss the option.