another week passed and time stood still in fastslow passing. sponge grew a beard and breadroll a fungus that looked like a beard. that’s how it goes. said sponge, we’ve been good and are being rewarded with growth. bit itchy though, said breadroll. that’s to keep us on our toes, said sponge. we must not become complacent.
rarely do we venture from the vicinity of the station these, to avoid getting lost in the maze of walled pathways. sorry can i help you, a stranger would say, but how to describe this web of lanes before us and around us to a stranger? the stranger would stare in disbelief or shake his head in incomprehension, so we decline politely. the stranger nods indifferently, shrugs and moves on. he has done his bit for today, he mattered. i think that was an idiot, said breadroll. might well have been, said sponge. that was that and so they went on.
so it is. won’t say more. enough said, spoken more. the artist, specialising in chocolate and red berries, and that’s were the sentence trails off, i assume, says sponge, painting, picture or some other, related word would have followed, if the artist, let’s call him that name, had lead a healthier life, healthy is the keyword here, a lot has been said in that context, and not suffered a heart attack, a stroke or whatever, no need for this sentence to be finished either, we get the drift.
the artist, who had not suffered a heart attack as it turned out, was fine after a good rest, just had generally overdone it a bit, became later known as the author sisal penville, a rather popular author at that. his sentences never trailed off but he started to drink so his speech was slurry. trailed off. he thought of going back into art but that never happened.
a man. morning sun. a quiet street. scene set. the man leaves the house, turns back to see if the door is locked, really shut, a neighbour returns to fetch the umbrella he has forgotten, it won’t rain when i have it, and the other neighbour, who is not a neighbour but lives 2 storeys up and 3 flats to the right, has not yet left the house (nobody has seen him in a while, i wouldn’t be surpirsed if he’s found stone dead and semidecayed). the man opens the door, locks it again, tries the door knob, the neighbour says sorry, opens the door, goes in. the man waits until the neighbour has left again with his umbrella, tires the door knob, it’s open. he locks the door and leaves.
the other neighbour, the one who isn’t a neighbour at all, was found eventually, dead and gone but fully putrefied. heart attack. apparently. makes you think.
the last sentence is to mention sponge and breadroll who have witnessed many scenes like that, albeit not this particular one, to tell all about it.
and we are sure, said sponge, that it came to nothing? Absolutely nothing?
breadroll said nothing.
i take that as a witty comment, said sponge. doesn’t really add to the topic. so nothing it is. that’s something. at least we are certain an outcome, a result, something to show with with a precise certainty. for i am going to stop talking right now and here and that’ll be the end.
you weren’t going to trust me, were you. that’s a silly ending, just like that. it has happened before though. nothing to show for it as we plod along, for certain. we could queue somewhere for a rest.
a lengthy dialog develops and fades out. they say nothing.
shall we go. said sponge.
we can’t, said breadroll.
that’s right, said sponge, i just wanted to see if you remembered.
you do, exactly.
we don’t have to sit still though.
no. we can do a few things.
a thing or two. exactly.
we should carefully plan our next step.
think it through to make a fully considered decision.
that might be very tiring.
i think we should make a move.
but we can’t.
you said that already.
they went to the corner, hesitated, looked around. time to scratch our backs, said sponge. we keep moving that way, dynamically fast-paced, everything to keep the momentum going forward.
we can’t go anywhere, said breadroll, that’s the rule.
we don’t have to sit still though, said sponge, we do have options.
possibilities, said breadroll, we should consider them well.
we should go, said sponge, the other are gone, too. they looked around, the place was empty. i’d say, said breadroll, they’ve never arrived. or have left early, said sponge.
we can’t go just yet.
this would make old ladies jump out the window just like that on tv or in books, said sponge, but it wouldn’t happen in real life. old ladies are firmly seated and generally to squat to reach the window sill even.
unless there’s something to see, said breadroll.
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.
a man, mid-fifty, respectable appearance, left the house this morning, walked down the street and turned left. out of sight.
the story goes on but they wouldn’t let us know about, said sponge, surely not, which, in turn, is something we cannot speak about. the man’s family left it very late to contact the authorities. they wasn’t much they could do, in fairness, only clean up the mess. this, they did so-so.
a young father of three was shot at after a party, a gathering of sorts, and a head wound appeared as a result. the entire head fell off shortly after, leaving a nasty stain on the carpet. many witnesses felt reminded of the recent warning by the government not to hang on to threadbare carpets. he had already lost part of his leg, and walked with the aid of prosthetic limb (which went missing ever so often) and a chinese prostitute (who always brought it back). wonders, reckons and reasons are out and raving to see if his head will be replaced by a plastic bag, as some say, or a nice cup of tea in the local pub, a solution favoured by most. a woman, who described him as a lovely chap, said he had to have part of his leg removed following a court order not to leave the room before certain issues were settled. offally does not need stories like that in times like this, said sponge, never did. sponge pouted. the man beside him did not. the contrast still did not make for a great picture. sponge always looks big in photographies.
evolution has equipped train people very well for whatever they are doing. whatever it is, they excel in it, word has it. they meet to discuss, and resolve without hesitation. they sell tickets in anticipation of oncoming trains. sponge wants to buy a ticket. train people now will be able, in a position so to speak, well trained and with a mandate to perform this very service to the general public. sponge here is lucky, you could spell that out for him, to be able to receive this service.
possible hickups aside, sponge will soon be the proud holder of a valid train ticket. he will also be permitted to apply for one on behalf of breadroll.
remember, said sponge. hello. hello hello. hello. two hellos there and two hellos back in return.
that was a knife attack.
yes, it was, funny, when you think back.
quite, said breadroll, the old days. the fat lady sung and the phone never rung. deliveries never arrived and everybody did with less. crime, punishment, all real back then. i liked butter but that’s not on these days. no, siad sponge, all the carbs could kill you.
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.
i’m off, said someone and did really get up and went. someone had offered him another cup of tea but he said he wanted coffee as he was going. not a good reason for a coffee. someone wanted to bring a cup of coffee but the other didn’t want to wait. i’ll be rushing, someone said and was off. he just went without a cup of coffee or a goodbye. such was the rush that he didn’t finish his tea. he had ordered a beer, not tea. the waitress had got it wrong and brought a rhum instead to apologise, that was policy. all a bit confusing. sponge had not been there and couldn’t quite remember.
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.
train people are required to say shortly with a certain drawl. it must not sound threatening, it should sound both empathetic and helpless but yet suggest strong confidence in things working out well eventually at the same time, you don’t want a panic, panicking passengers are the worst. they shout and complain and want to speak the manager, who almost always does not want to speak to them. who do they think they are? others are not so lucky; others don’t even have permission to wait for a train, let alone see the arrival of one. years of training went into that and some never reach the degree of skill and seniority required to be suitably prepared to talk to the customer.
for budgetary reasons the management had recently started to employ young ladies who clearly did not the their pronunciation right but were hidden behind enforced glass; and wore nice dresses.
shortly, said sponge, shortly.
you have a certain arrogance, said breadroll, as if you wouldn’t want a train to appear at all. your fake tan is showing as well.
that’s my impertinence, said sponge.
want 1 inch more or 3 more inches? you decide, all for six euro. special price. be honest.
to be honest, i wouldn’t know to be honest, said sponge, my day just isn’t long enough. even now when i don’t see the office that often anymore, the outside from time to time but you know how buildings look like after a while. no way i am going to decide on that, that for sure. i wonder if i’m the only one listening to that man.
the man was slight, tracksuited, and had his hair combed over. nice watch, new car. he left without without a trace. not certain that he ever was there.
any news yet? they were sorry to announce.
good. at least some development.
trouble at pearse. the usual.
it would be any different.
bridge strike. a polo.
eggman. who is the eggman? what is the eggman? where is the eggman, we could ask but it would be a waste of time. it is the man who brings the eggs one might think and it is probably right. sponge was delighted about a little bit of joy this reassuring thought had brought. one shold relish these moments.
ahh look, the mother said to her crying child, a drunk santa, would you like him coming through the chimney.
it wasn’t a santa though, just a very sick breadroll in a red bag with white vomit around his mouth.
the child continued crying and did not answer. ahh look, the mother said, you’ll see.
a man dressed as a santa walked by, followed by another santa and another one. block of wood counted them all.
it’s getting into season, said breadroll, always had, for a quite a while anyway.
the santas were mugging passers-by.
i wonder what their terms of employment might be, said sponge.
they usually use drug addicts for that job, said breadroll.
i wonder if their christmas party is any fun, said sponge, in their terms of fun.
now look at this, said sponge, would you believe.
i would, said breadroll, if i looked.
where is sponge, said block of would.
not here, said breadroll, that sums it up.
the most amazing thing when the bomb blasted were the looks of utter astonishment in these faces of those lifes over right after they started.
but that was just one of many bombs that blasted on top of offally.
we had excellent lunch then in a hotel near the border where they had a bakery attached and a micro brewery.
are we second to none you think, said sponge.
no, said breadroll, not we, third maybe or fourth.
even fifth, said sponge. breadroll approved. probably sixth, he said.
that’s not too bad, said sponge.