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“Hey man what you doing?”
“Who me? Ah, you know, looking at the old neighborhood.”
“That’s a reasonable response given how the old neighborhood is laid out in a wide panorama beneath us from our current vantage point. But I suppose my question was intended more as a pretext for us to enter into a thoughtful discussion of feelings and the like. Uncharted territory, I know, for two gruff men like us with intertwined and troubled pasts.”
“Well, I’m thinking about things, you know? How sometimes they change and how other times they stay the same. Pondering, with a sense of somber importance, how these aforementioned things used to be. Taking stock in my life. Measuring the man I have become against the boy I was."
“I will nod knowingly at you as I mull your words in an attempt to stall while I formulate a valuable response.”
“Okay. But as long as you know I’m trying my best to do it wistfully, in a way that’s pregnant with meaning. I’m allowing the old neighborhood to jumpstart a catharsis, given its historical relevance as a poignant setting for such matters.”
“Yeah, right I acknowledge you. But you know no matter how hard you try you can’t go back in time, man. There’s nothing you can do to change the past. All those memories, man, remain lodged in the fourth dimension – time. Each of those moments still exist but unlike height, width or that other one, we can’t go ‘walking’ around in it. It’s impossible.”
“Time. You may have noticed me ‘spit’ that word out instead of just speaking it in a normal tone. That’s because your mentioning of it fills me with even more self-contempt. Those feelings of contempt are compounded since as I stand here talking to you about the way things used to be I am reminded of several discussions you, me and Tommy used to have by the tire swing when we were all friends. Certain agreements the three of us made to extend our friendship indefinitely. How that agreement seemed as sturdy as that ageless old oak we tied the tire swing to. How we expectedly grew apart given our fundamental socio-economic differences.”
“They cut that tree down, guy. Heart rot. Pathogenic fungi precipitated premature decay.”
“Aw man. That’s extremely meaningful. That piece of symbolism conjures sepia-toned images of Tommy’s sad hopefulness, his early death, the smell of my ma’s Pall Mall cigarettes, lost intimacies…
“No worries. Those intimacies were returned after a thorough soul-searching.”
“Your interruption has temporarily made me lose my strain of thought. Where was I?”
“You were reeling off a string of nostalgic images.”
“Ah, yes. Thank you. …the oil stains smudged on the old refrigerator after pa came home from the factory, which, incidentally, is now closed, another of the several changes I have been pondering.”
“You can’t let all this get to you man. Market forces compelled the factory to relocate in order to take advantage of lower overhead and remain competitive in an increasingly global market. Its benefits on the old neighborhood are ‘invisible’ in the classical sense, as most market benefits are, but they are real nonetheless.”
“I suppose it may lend a certain gravitas to our future memory of this discussion which has just transpired if we were to stand here for some indeterminate amount of time in silence as we strain to preserve the moment with the wind blowing through our graying hair.”
“Before I forget, are we still on for a sub-textual drink at a traditional ‘watering hole’ located along one of the crowded corners in the old neighborhood.”
“Unless something happens to affect my life’s current trajectory causing me to miss our meeting and altering in some small but painfully significant way how our fates unfold, yes.”
Date Written: February 26, 2005Comments:
Average Vote: 3.5385
03/7/2005 Dylan Danko (5):
“Aw man. That’s extremely meaningful." This should have been shorter but hey.
03/7/2005 Phony Millions (4): Wow! A tour de force. This short has a historical self-awareness and the characters ironically comment on their dialogue and feelings - waters some of us have traversed, but the approach is really fleshed out here. I like the idea of the characters pre-emptively giving a textual analysis of the short, in the short, a la Marxian/ Deconstructive approach. Really nice stuff, not particularly laugh out loud funny (like most of my shorts) but smart-funny. Some may find it pretentious, but the author has also protected the entire short in a self-protective veneer of ironic distance - he or she can simply say that the high-fallutin' tone was a send-up as well, in an ironic manner. Tone didn't bother me, but I'm predicting that some of the more slapsticky folks here will object to the learned-ness. Between a 4 and a 5 and that's because of the length. I don't like this trend of shorts around 650 words long. Was there a way to make this shorter, author?
03/7/2005 Phony Millions: Wow! A tour de force. This short has a historical self-awareness and the characters ironically comment on their dialogue and feelings - waters some of us have traversed, but the approach is really fleshed out here. I like the idea of the characters pre-emptively giving a textual analysis of the short, in the short, a la Marxian/ Deconstructive approach. Really nice stuff, not particularly laugh out loud funny (like most of my shorts) but smart-funny. Some may find it pretentious, but the author has also protected the entire short in a self-protective veneer of ironic distance - he or she can simply say that the high-fallutin' tone was a send-up as well, in an ironic manner. Tone didn't bother me, but I'm predicting that some of the more slapsticky folks here will object to the learned-ness. Between a 4 and a 5 and that's because of the length. I don't like this trend of shorts around 650 words long. Was there a way to make this shorter, author?
03/7/2005 Phony Millions: Shit, that sucks. I meant to wait on my vote. Sorry author, twas between a 4 and 5.
03/7/2005 Ewan Snow: That's funny, Phony. For a while I thought this short was yours, though it's not quite as good as most of yours and differs in a few ways. But certain key words and ideas had your fingerprints. But I'm not so crazy about the pre-criticism, as you describe it, and the ironic distance and self-awareness. I think those things are fine, but in this case it has a certain formality to it that seems like it's trying to be funny. Look how improbably these people's remarks are! It's a well worn Acme trope, though this is maybe a different spin on it. I don't know. I would have enjoyed this more if that were toned down a little.
03/7/2005 Dick Vomit (4): Yes/ok
03/7/2005 TheBuyer: well worn and long; Sofa King long.
03/7/2005 Will Disney: This one is executed well but hasn't this deconstuctionist format been used before in a fairly similar manner?
03/7/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: And isn't QC going to point out that camera angle rip-off again? C'mon, buddy, don't disappoint me.
03/7/2005 Ewan Snow: I like this short less as the day goes on. It is now in low three territory...
03/7/2005 Jon Matza (3): Enjoyed this in places but found it a bit heavyhanded in tone overall...seems suffused with author's contempt for the characters & the human urge for nostalgia. Aren't these fellows allowed to simply have a good time and make conversation? Given my recent exchanges with the author, I suspect this comment will enrage him and result in my getting called a pretentious blowhard again. So be it, though this is not my intention--I'm just trying to give my honest reaction to the short. I, 'za, believe in the free exchange of ideas (you floral-edged platter of diagonally-cut, crustless finger sandwiches).
03/7/2005 anonymous: That's funny Snow, I'm liking you more and more as the day goes on!
03/7/2005 qualcomm: it's not really the same, jimson (assuming you're talking about the "wide panorama" sentence). there's a certain effect to giving camera directions in the second person that this just doesn't have.
03/7/2005 deliciousbrains (3): Ambitious, but just doesn't resonate.
03/7/2005 Dylan Danko: I want to know why the author is unable to admit that he's a big softie? Why continue with this charade? Come on over, big guy. We can watch 'Before Sunset' together.
03/7/2005 John Slocum: wait, this is Scoop, right?
03/7/2005 Ewan Snow (2): That is funny, author!
03/7/2005 Litcube (3): Not bad.
03/7/2005 Klause Muppet (4):
03/7/2005 Mr. Pony (4): I thought some of the heavy-handed bits were funny, maybe for the reason that Phony (Brad) outlined. Would it have been funnier if someone had gotten hit with a frying pan? Maybe. Maybe it could have been shorter, but enjoyed the thing throughout.
03/7/2005 qualcomm (3):
03/7/2005 qualcomm: there's a denseness to this prose that doesn't let a fella have a moment to himself while he's reading it. these jokes are vacuum sealed in textured plastic wrap. it's a fucking blividy plenum.
03/7/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: Hey, It's not really fair that you won't let Phony put his old identity behind him, Pony.
03/7/2005 BOOTIEANDTHEHOFISH (4):
03/7/2005 TheBuyer (3): I dunno. Didn't move me either way.
03/8/2005 Mr. Pony: I agree, Jimson, but I just cant get past it. Call me short-sighted and small-minded, but it's confusing to me. Did Brad (Phony) explain his name change? Did I miss it?
03/8/2005 Mr. Pony: While we're on the subject of names, Bootie...Aw, never mind.
03/8/2005 John Slocum (4):
03/8/2005 John Slocum: This short is stimulating (to this guy).
03/8/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: I think his silence on the matter means that perhaps you shouldn't delve further.