some lives are worse than others but the stories are all the same

with a head in his hat and feet in his shoes he left the house, whistling a tune; he stopped whistling when he was hit by a breeze. that’s in short what happened in the first five minutes. then man joined the first queue he saw. people were queuing for all sorts of things, depending who you cared to ask. in the evening everyone remaining in the queue was arrested for loitering, the man decided to leave the house a bit earlier next time. due to an administrative error, however, the man was flown to an undisclosed location where he had to endure interrogation, abuse, torture, one civil war, two violent uprisings, a series of civil unrest and two general election, the second preceeded by a bloodbath during which the winning party promised to do away with all those responsible for the bloodbath, the only promise they kept after the election, which caused a third bloodbath and the survivors sent the man home. on return he joined the queue outside his house, he felt confident but was arrested again. the story gets a bit repetitive here.
is that a true story, said breadroll.
based on one, said sponge.

rather than a dialogue we’ll have two monologues

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.

that is no more an option than the other option

it was good, said sponge, even i find the thought revolting now when i come to think of it.
although it did happen all a bit of a sudden, said breadroll. no build up to it really. normally there is a hint of some sort. something at least. and we could have found other ways of entertainment.
i don’t think people liked it much, said sponge.
probably not, said breadroll. we do tend to labour on about things.
yea well, but are you going to do. ring in some cabaret?
phone would be outside.

sometimes something is better than nothing at all

you know, said breadroll, we’ve got a lot under our belt, and that not just hardened remnants of something. and if it were so what?
how could it harden if we are on the move, said sponge, we’ve got to find something to have more than nothing. gum plastered pavements. we know the scene. sponge and breadroll had a fight, a hug and a rest of a day.

to say something is sometimes harder than other times

what can i say, said sponge. people walking up and down the street, relentlessly. sometimes they fall, sometimes they don’t and when they fall, they sometimes get up again to fall once more and other times they simply had it. a man went home from work once, he worked nearby in a shop, but the shop was in difficulties, he didn’t know that then, but they would let him go, without final pay, and he would have to go work somewhere else, where he couldn’t walk home anymore during lunch to see his wife, who would have left him by then as she couldn’t stand him being unemployed. he used to walk home and didn’t fall once. his wife quizzed him but he said no he didn’t fall, which was true.
i really don’t know what else to say, said sponge. not easy to make a point.

philosophy even worse than that

they did ask me, said breadroll, to make a start and that is exactly what i did — right now i did it. not that i did not do exactly the same thing before, i know i started an episode of some sorts before, before, but this time it’s different. a second time around, me is now which i believe everyone has been waiting for.
that does sound profound, said sponge, and i produced a rhyme. howsa!

offally is more than a memory

did you hear about offally, said sponge. he look straight ahead. they have bombed offally.
some time ago, said breadroll. was it a hate crime after all?
no, said sponge, sectarian apparently, or maybe religious. they are not sure. sectarian religionists. religious sectarities. lots of offal flying around.
cultists?
no, said sponge, cultists wouldn’t be so reasonable.

salvation is more than a naked lady from offally

all the men so far were gobshites, said block of wood, and no-one needs to comment on the fact of my recently rare appearances.
we know, said sponge, thou art the michael jackson of rare appearances although your face isn’t quite falling apart enough to hold the title forever.
that is not funny, said block of wood.
no, said breadroll, it’s not but what can we do? there is somebody writing our story and there is little we can do to influence him.
not much, said sponge, we could offer ransom or naked ladies but the would wouldn’t work as every bribe would be told. we are pretty much fictinonal characters —— at least we are not supposed to be from offally.

action is more like a shop than anything republicans would say or admit for that matter

q: a rather grimm place they’ve come across, the city with corners without any shops at all. let’s see how they cope with it.
a: no, that is not fair questioning at all. we have been plunged into this with no warning whatsoever and ever since tried to cope as best we can.
q: you object fnn this statement rather vigourously — now there’s an ugly looking word — so what is the matter.
if they go left they would find a corner and to the right a street with another corner right after it. not to mention other corners in sight.
i suppose the usual witty comment, said breadroll, to follow; i for one would like to be buttered. he could easily say that for even though buttering him was a considerably nasty affair for all parties involved the lack of butter and shops to buy butter made buttering a faintly imaginable activity. i think i see a shop.
words like this won’t make it far.

one stick is better than no stick at all

we won’t get far with only one stick.
no?
never.
bummer. i was hoping to.
what?
nothing. i suppose one can’t be witty all the time.
no. one cannot.

with template rather than procedure

is this it, said sponge again, sponge said again more so, and inhaled noisily. he’s holding his breath now, explained breadroll for those who thought to have missed exhalation, it’ll be soon. but it never came.
no, the man said, a different man this time, we have to pull the plug first, something we currently contemplate doing.

to contemplate
  • look at thoughtfully; observe deep in thought; “contemplate one’s navel orange”
  • consider as a possibility; “i have always contemplated leaving school and taking up the art of art forgery. well that would have been swell. can you see me there, in the world of arts? can you? i certainly can. there’s always a possiblility.”
  • study: think intently and at length, as for spiritual purposes; “he is meditating in his sleep”
  • chew over: reflect deeply on a subject; “i forgot about the events of the afternoon”; “philosophers have speculated on the question of food for thousands of years”; “the artist must stop to observe and start to observe”. fullstop.

make it so.

a start is never easier than a start

was it a good report, said sponge, comments.
tit for tat, said breadroll.
agreed, said block of wood.
it was a long morning; and they struggled to keep busy.

soup is thicker than broth

god, he’s so shallow, so shallow, said block of wood.
agree, so shallow, said breadroll.
now come on, lads, said sponge, shallow soups are deep.

© the Book of Sponge and Others.