Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Winning one for the jumper

A man asks me if I want to buy a frog.
I say no thank you, for I was always taught to be polite; no matter how strange the conversation.
He says it can jump farther than most frogs. If there was an Olympics for frogs this one would win first prize, he says with conviction.
A gold medal, I correct him as I wonder why there are no Olympic events for animals without humans on their backs?
What use is gold to a frog? he demands as I feel myself being sucked into his world of alternative realism.
I say again: I do not want to buy a frog.
What about a share in a frog, he says, we could form a syndicate and hire a better trainer for him; we could get lots of endorsements for him once he wins the Tour de France and we could charge stud fees?
I ask where he found the frog, in a mad grasp for the safety of sane discourse.
He found me. It was meant to happen, he says. I was out on Saturday night and on Sunday morning when I awoke in a field the said frog was sitting on my belly.
What did he say?
Frogs can't speak beyond a croak on Sunday mornings, he says and somehow I feel I have lost something in his estimation, though what it is I cannot say.
I'll find someone else to invest he says, asking for bus fare to the far side of the city where a man lives in a small house who knows about racing frogs, he says.
I part with some coins and we part from one another, forever, for now.
I cannot shake the feeling that I have missed a wonderful investment opportunity.
A world champion jumping frog.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Writing money in three months

I agree to teach some people how they might get started in writing, maybe even be published.
I go around to see why each person is here. Each has a torrent of memory awaiting release.
Then we come to Alice; that is not her name, it's in alphabetical order in the interest of confidentiality.
For Alice is broke and would prefer nobody, outside of we strangers, to know that. We nod, uncertainly, and wonder who we might tell in a way that might make for a sane recounting of what she says next.
She wishes to write a novel. Fair enough, we nod in agreement.
That will make a lot of money in a short space of time.
By when?
In three months, otherwise she loses her house and her apartment in Portugal.
She took a second mortgage on her home to buy an apartment in an up and coming area that neither came nor arose higher than the hallucination of both buyer and seller.
Now, she cannot sell the apartment nor rent it and her unpaid home mortgage means she will have to quit her nice house, anytime soon.
I try, with the help of the assembled concerned citizens, to say it might take as long as four months to get this rich.
Has she written a novel? No.
Stories, essays, articles, letters to the editor, a shopping list, all draw the same enthusiastic and implacably negative response.
The day wears on, I finish to polite applause from most of the people. I leave but overhear Alice on a phone saying the day has been no good.
They will have to buy shovels and dig up the back garden, she says.
She smiles silently at me as you would to an idiot to assure that all is well.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blowing steam

A man on television is showing me a steam cleaner that will clean most things in my home, he says.
I could care less; but I notice he is not trying to sell it to me. He simply wants to share the wonderful things it does.
The machine is shaped like a large lozenge on the end of a long stick. It is light green in colour. I expect this is to show it is environmentally friendly; but this is not mentioned in any way; so I understand this is a subtle message I am to assimilate.
I pay attention; there may be questions, later, for the free draw.
This machine spews steam out below a cloth underbelly which, in tandem, makes an unbeatable team when it comes to cleaning the cess pit that is your home.
Steam loosens and cloth gathers it up, like a maniacal mother in a teenager's bedroom.
That would be enough I expect for most people; but this man seems to be under-appreciated in his own marriage for he then pulls off the lozenge itself; a bit sternly I felt, and reveals a trade secret.
This extraordinary invention is but a pipe with steam coming out of it in a jet.
For some reason not apparent to me, he then enters a bedroom and proceeds to clean the pillows on the bed with the steam jet.
I lose interest around there for it is no business of mine to see a grown man disintegrate on television holding a large lozenge in one hand and a steam jet in the other while contemplating an empty bed.
He leaves it to the rolling credits as to how we might buy it; for by then he is past caring.
As I am myself. Even for a free draw.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What did he say about me?

I meet a man I know who asks me where I have been.
I say that yesterday I was working with Sam Browne.
He asks what Sam Browne said about him. I say: he said nothing.
Next day he asks me the same question. He wants to know, with more intensity, if Sam Browne mentions him in conversations.
I tire of interrogation and say, untruthfully, Sam says hello. This satisfies him, for now.
The following day, I walk along and though I try to avoid him, he asks what Sam Browne says of him today?
I am finished working with Sam Browne so feel it safe to respond that Sam Browne says he is a wise and a good friend.
He is pleased with this and says he knew that all along. He says he will visit Sam to say hello back to him.
I am content that I have removed my interlocutor from my hair and walk on.
He calls me back. I return and silently await the question
Where does Sam Brown live, he asks, and what does he look like?
I say: he looks like you so much he may be your twin.
He goes off to seek himself, leaving me alone.

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