On The Shattering Of Eggs

On the defrosting of several chicken thighs,
chicken fillets, legs, bone-in chicken breasts
there was much chicken juice and then
we came to reconstruct the eggs so that
the insides of the eggs were on the outsides
it was like carefully dismantling volcanoes
to save the villagers from violent eruptions
and we realised at that point that we were
on ground as thin as thin-crust pizza and
that this was all soon after we had just had
the kitchen done out new.

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Punchline

He had never been able to explain the joke to anyone else.  No one found it funny.  No one could even see how it worked, or was supposed to work. 
 
And yet, it made him laugh every time he thought of it.  He would sometimes write it down again, just for amusement.  And again.  And again. 
 
He would imagine someone else telling him the joke and he would imagine laughing.  In his imagination, he was imagining it being told by an imaginary person of his own imagining.  But even this construct could not comprehend the joke or tell it with sufficient conviction. 
 
He stood in front of a mirror.  He set up several mirrors so that several versions of himself could simultaneously chorus the joke, and an audience made up only of versions of himself crowed with laughter.  Each him caught the contagious laughter of each other him and the laughing carried on, around and around until the reflections were worn out. 
 
He wrote it in birthday cards and visitors books and on tax returns and any other pieces of paper on which he was asked to write.  
 
He would think of it, it would pop in to his head at moments when he was supposed to be thinking about something else and he would break down, be shushed, apologise, just about hold it together.   
 
No one understood why he was laughing, so he told them the joke, then he explained the joke, and they still didn’t understand why he was laughing, but at least they knew what he was laughing at. 
 
They knew the words of the joke, the raw materials from which it was built.  They could recite it, some of them.  It wasn’t a long joke.  It wasn’t difficult to remember, when you heard it so many times, when you read it on so many pieces of paper.
 
Some of them would even tell each other the joke and then laugh along.  They told it to him and he joined in with them, laughing longer then everyone else, his laughter coming from a different place.    
 
He waited until he was alone and told it to himself again, because no one told that joke better than him, and this time he laughed even longer and harder than before.
 
Someone found him, hours after he died of a heart attack.  They joked that he must have died from laughing at that damned joke of his, then they felt bad for laughing.  Not because it was disrespectful, but because they found this throwaway quip funnier than his joke.
 
They began to notice that his absence had changed the structure of their world – their lives would work differently from now on.  A subtle realignment was already under way.
 
At the funeral, the joke was read out as part of the eulogy.  Everyone in attendance had heard it many times before and they knew it as something that had never made them laugh.  But this was a different world now, it was a slightly different shape.
 

This Might Be Nothing

Things are not good. We are both tired and broken. Have no energy.

All we want is enough hot water so we can have a shower each and then head out for a nice meal.  I turn on the tap and get a cold stream – I try to rub it with my hands, knowing this won’t warm it up, but feeling as though it should.

Outside it is never quite dry.  An infinite rain keeps on, the sky delivers one raindrop every minute, just as the second hand ticks round to the top of the clock.

Then a downpour every Wednesday, for the duration of the Wednesday.

Bright hot sunshine the rest of the time, too much really.

I go out for walks, just for a change of scene, but see nothing unusual.  The pavements are full of obstacles.  Groups of joggers run past me and I worry they are running away from something I should be running away from too.  Or dogs and dog walkers are meeting on a corner for some poochdrunk love-in, leads criss-crossing the pavement like an unsolved murder.  Otherwise it’ll just be someone driving moronically or parking their car insensibly.

When I sleep, I dream the numberplates of that day’s inconsiderate motorists.

It feels as though we have opted out of the passing of time.  We don’t really think any longer about what date it is or where we are in the month or the year.

I bring some flowers home and you say thank you thank you thank you oh thank you.  We put them in water.  I’m hoping that we can watch them slowly wilt and that will remind us about life and death.  Either that or they might act as a beacon to the universe – a tease to let us back in.

The cat comes in, talking some bullshit about what it has been doing, what it wants now.  We forgive its impetuousness instantly.

Out on my walk I see a fat and beautifully coloured beetle in the middle of the path and my first thought is that for months and months I have not seen anything like this, though I remember a time some time back when every time I set foot outside I would notice some remarkable bird or insect.

This might be nothing.

But I have to knock on the door of a random house and ask to borrow a pen and some scrap paper, just so I can write this down.