Nov 12 2009

Fictionlet

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“‘We don’t need no education? We don’t need no thought control?’ Obviously you can’t take that at face value,” Brigid said. “It’s satire, it’s got to be. It’s like A Modest Proposal. They’re not really advocating an anti-education point of view. They’re making fun of it.”

“I’m afraid I must disagree,” said Alex. “First of all, there’s no evidence within the song that it’s anything but just exactly what it says. The idea that such an idea is so over-the-top as to be untenable is more a matter of personal bias than anything actually in the text. Furthermore, you have to look at the song within the context of the larger work. ‘The Wall’ is a rock-opera, a large single work, of which the song is just a smaller part. It’s about isolation, it’s about a series of abusive relationships that lead to a socially- and emotionally-broken protagonist. The teachers in ‘The Wall’ are mean, small-minded, vicious — ‘just another brick in the wall’ that separates the character Pink from the rest of the world. And as a largely-autobiographical work by Roger Waters, there’s no reason not to think that it is, in fact, based on his own teachers. Far from making fun of an anti-education point of view, it sounds to me like an anthem devoted to the idea of eliminating schools all together.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Brigid. “And furthermore, you’re a stupid-head.”

“Oh I am, am I?” said Alex. “Well let’s turn to the expert, here. You’re the literary guy, Greg, what do you think? Straightforward rant, or sly satire?”

“Well,” said Greg, “I think you’re both overlooking a much more important question here: specifically, how can you have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

Brigid and Alex both nodded, impressed. “That is a stumper,” said Brigid.

-The Gneech

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Nov 10 2009

Fictionlet

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Nibbling on tuna-on-a-cracker, Greg said, “People who can’t tell ‘their’ as in ‘belonging to them’ from ‘there’ as in ‘over there’ really? Huh. I’d have thought the good old grocer’s apostrophe would be what drove you the most nuts.”

“Well yeah, that drives me nuts too,” Brigid said, talking over the music. “But not as nuts as the whole their/there/they’re trifecta.”

“Eh, I could care less about that,” said Treville, but was roundly ignored.

“What about you, Mr. Writer?” said Brigid. “Surely a wordsmith such as yourself must have a linguistic pet peeve or twelve.”

“Well, I’m usually pretty laid back about it,” said Greg. “The whole don’t-wrestle-with-a-pig thing, y’know? But I think the one thing that really makes my teeth grind is when people latch on to some linguistic construction that makes absolutely no sense and that they’d never say in a million years except they heard it on television or something and think it makes them sound hip, so they repeat it over and over.”

“I know, right?” said Treville, but then couldn’t understand why the two of them just stared at him in cold silence.

-The Gneech

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Nov 04 2009

Fictionlet

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“No! NO! Not NOW!!!” shouted Brigid, pummeling the blue screen of her laptop in helpless frustration. “Dammit, I’ve got to get this thing out the door tonight!” She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath; then she reached for the phone and dialed the Help Desk extension.

“Blisto, help desk,” came the voice on the other end of the line. Brian Blisto, one of the many I.T. guys with bizarre names.

“Hi, it’s Brigid,” she said. “My laptop’s just gone BSOD for the third time today; I need you guys to get me fixed up ’cause this proposal has got to go out.”

“Huh, not good,” said Blisto. “Let me if any techs are available. It looks like Who’s on-call, What’s in the server room, and I Don’t Know’s configuring the phones.”

“Wha huh?” said Brigid.

Blisto said, “Who’s on-call, What’s in the server room, and I Don’t Know’s configuring the phones.”

Brigid blinked. “Uh, right. Well, send me the on-call technician please.”

“Who.”

“The on-call technician.”

“Who.”

“The on-call technician!”

“Who is on-call!”

“I’m asking you who’s on-call!”

“That’s his name.”

“Who?”

“Yes.”

“So tell me his name!”

“Who.”

“The on-call technician!” demanded Brigid. “What’s his name?”

“No,” said Blisto, “What’s in the server room.”

“I don’t know!”

“He’s configuring the phones, you’re not having trouble with those are you?”

“The phones?” said Brigid. “How did I get to be talking about the phones?”

“You mentioned the tech’s name.”

“Who’s name?”

“No, Who’s on-call.”

“I don’t know!”

“He’s configuring the phones.”

Brigid stopped and blinked a few times. “Look,” she finally said, “what’s the name of the on-call technician?”

“No, What’s in the server room.”

“I’m not asking who’s in the server room.”

“Who’s on-call.”

“I don’t know. Configuring the phones!” she snapped, cutting Blisto off. After a few seconds of mutually-frustrated silence, she said sweetly, “Do you have any contractor support?”

“Yeah, when the load’s too heavy, we call in temps.”

“Fine. Send me one of the temps, please.”

“Okay, I’ll send Tomorrow.”

“I can’t wait for tomorrow, this proposal’s got to go out tonight!”

“Why?”

“So the company stays in business and we all stay employed, doofus.”

“No, I mean I’ll send Why if you don’t like Tomorrow.”

Brigid twitched. “What?”

“He’s in the server room.”

“Who’s in the server room?”

“No, Who’s on-call.”

“I don’t know — configuring the phones!

“Don’t have a cow, lady,” said Blisto. “I’m trying to help you. But I have to know which technician to send.”

“I don’t care which technician! Just send somebody!”

“Sorry, say that again?”

“I said, ‘Just send somebody.”

“The I.T. manager? Okay, if you insist. But I’ve got to warn you, he can be kind of confusing.”

Brigid’s telephone went through two layers of drywall and ended up in the accounting department.

-The Gneech

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