A Meeting Of The Ends

A short story by Richard Brooksby, written on 1992-12-07.

"It's absurd," he said, finally, "utterly absurd and the same as all the others!"

"Erm..."

"All the metaphors are crude and cake-like, it's getting a bit too much to take."

"Do you feel that the mixture is too rich, perhaps?" I suggested. He remained silent, giving me a 'hard stare' with his steely eyes, the ones on either side of that long aristocratic nose; three feet long, in fact. I could not hold his gaze, and eventually he turned and drained the sump on his hookah.

"You're a pompous gasbag who knows nothing about it." I remarked.

The effect was startling -- his eyes bulged and his brow furrowed, his mouth opened and close alternately and his cheeks turned red. His nose waved around wildly.

"I-WILL-NOT-HAVE-ANY-POMPOUS-GASBAGS-IN-MY-HOUSE" he trumpeted at length, then he froze, perhaps realizing his mistake, excused himself and left hurriedly, mumbling something about burning his buns.

I returned to the manuscript and pondered the problem which I had invited him round in the hope of solving: how to end it. Suddenly, inspiration struck, and, with increasing desperation, I knocked my tea off the desk. The conundrum of the story remained, however.

I cast my mind back, stretched my arms forward, put my nose to the grindstone and my back to the wall. With my best foot forward I could just make out the sound of a gondolier singing in the distance:

From the beginning to the end,
He tried to buck the trend;
And stabbed it with a knife --
Thus causing lots of strife.
As his blows rained down on it
His thoughts began to knit.
It was far too much to take:
He should have cut the cake!

It was over as suddenly as it ended, and at last, I had found my end. The conundrum of the story, however, remained.