Standing stones

“Ben?”

“Yeah?”

“Ben?”

“Yeah.”

“You there?”

“No, I’m not. I popped off to the pub and left this other big, heavy stone in my place.”

“Oh. OK then.”

“… All right, yeah, I’m here. What do you want?”

“Oh, um, hi.”

“Well, you’ve definitely got the whole greeting ritual down. Hi, Joel. Hi.”

“Um, I was wondering, how much longer do we have to wait here?”

“Well, Joel, as I’ve told you before, I have no earthly idea. I would wager we’re here for the long haul, though.”

“So what are we hauling and where?”

“No, we… we’re not hauling anything, anywhere. We’re staying put.”

“Oh… For how long?”

“Well, Joel, contrary to what I said not three seconds ago, I now know for how long we’re going to be here.”

“Oh? For how long then?”

“I don’t bloody know, do I? Because nothing has changed in the last three  seconds. In fact, nothing much has changed in the last three years. Actually, make that three hundred years. No, no; three thousand years. So no, Joel, I don’t think I can answer your question any more than I could three seconds ago. Or three thousand years ago.”

“Oh.”

“What do you care anyway? Why are you in such a hurry to go somewhere?”

“I’m not.”

“Then why do you keep asking every fifty years or so?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’d like to see other places. This whole green rolling field thing has grown rather stale, I feel.”

“As certain as I am that there are loads of places just waiting for a big, heavy stone to roll around them, Joel, and taking into account that the only stale thing around here is the moss crawling all over your backside, I actually rather like it around here, I’ll have you know.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. It’s quiet, the grass is soft, the weather’s not too bad. I feel like we’ve been placed here for a reason, and one thing I see absolutely no reason for, is to move away from this place.”

“I guess it’s kind of nice here.”

“See? You’re coming around. Why bother your big granite head with this kind of pointless fancy?”

“Well, I hoped there was something different over those hills. Some other colours of grass, maybe. Or, you know, other stones to meet. Or… or the shore. I think I’d like to see the shore. I’ve never seen it, but they say it’s lovely.”

“I’m sure the shore will be coming to us before too long, so I wouldn’t worry about that, if I were you. And as for different colours of grass, or other stones, or any of that crap; why bother? So what if the grass is a different colour over the hill? It’s still grass. And other stones? I can barely tell most stones apart in this circle right here, can you imagine what would happen if we met more? Madness. It took me long enough to remember your name, I don’t care to repeat the process soon, thank you very much.”

“Hm. I suppose you’re right. You did call me Geoff for a few hundred years.”

“Of course I’m right. You’re better off not thinking about such things. No one likes a rolling stone. So, what do you want to do today?”

“I don’t know… I guess we could look for snails again.”

“There you go, again thinking about rolling around. Why can’t we just, I don’t know, count the clouds? Or make scary noises at passers-by?”

“I guess.”

“Good lad. Ooh, shh, I think there’s a couple of them coming this way right now.”

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Michael Tegos

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