Rock Talk

“I think I fancy being called Gerald,” said the rock lying next to the Spruce tree on the stony cliff face.
“Gerald?” said another rock, this one wedged up against that very same tree just mentioned earlier. The Spruce. That’s the tree. “You fancy being called Gerald?”
“Yes,” said Gerald. “Gerald.”
“You know you’re a rock, right?” said the second rock. We’ll call it Wedge, just so we don’t have to keep saying “the second rock,” which just sounds awkward and like it’s a waste of letters. Even with stories about talking rocks, you’ve got to mind your letter use.
“Course I do,” said Gerald. “What’s that got to do with it?”
“I don’t reckon as it makes much sense for a rock to be called Gerald,” said Wedge.
“Well what do you think a rock ought to be called, then?”
“Nothing!” said Wedge. “It makes no sense to call a rock anything other than rock!”
“Rock?” said Gerald. “No, I don’t think so. I think I prefer Gerald. From now on, when you mention me, call me Gerald.”
“When I mention you?” said Wedge. “To whom I am going to mention you? In what context? Who is part of these oh so elaborate social lives you fancy that we have that requires a unique identifer for a particular rock?”
“I’d just be confusing if we were all called rock,” said Gerald. “How would you tell one rock from another?”
If Wedge could shake its head in exasperation, I reckon it would have done it just about then. “I repeat, who is it you imagine needs to tell us apart.”
Gerald thought for a moment. “The squirrel that lives up in the Spruce tree.”
“The squirrel?” squeaked Wedge. “The squirrel? The one who likes to smash nuts on us?”
“Exactly!” said Gerald. “It’d be a fine time indeed if old Squirrly wanted to crack a nut on Gerald and couldn’t tell Gerald from Ester to Zanzibar, now wouldn’t it?”
“No,” said Wedge, “I reckon ‘old Squirrly’ wouldn’t mind that one bit.”
“Oh well,” Gerald shrugged. Or it would have. “I still fancy being called Gerald.”
Wedge sighed. Or, you know, it would have. “Fine. I’ll call you Gerald.”
“Thank you,” said Gerald. And it stopped talking.
It would have been a minute or so later, if it were people talking. But they weren’t people. They were rocks. So it could have been five hours, or five days, or five weeks from Tuesday, and it makes no difference to them. In any case, Gerald spoke up again, and it was like it never quit.
“I think I want to be an artist,” said Gerald after a time.
“You want to be an artist?” stammered Wedge. “Like, with a paintbrush?”
“I haven’t settled on a medium,” said Gerald. “I figured I’d throw some pottery, do some watercolors, maybe try my hand at post-contemporary reinterpreted mixed material West Indian style Tiki dolls. You know, just explore myself for awhile. Who knows, if I’m any good, maybe I can make a run at it.”
Wedge didn’t respond for a long moment. “That makes sense,” it said at last.
“I’m glad you think so,” said Gerald.
“There might be one element you have not yet factored in, however,” said Wedge.
“I know,” said Gerald, “availability of sources for vetting the value of potential mentors. I’ve thought about that, and I think I’m just not going to worry about it at first. You know what they say. When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive.”
“That’s valid,” said Wedge, “but I was thinking of a different factor.”
“Oh?” said Gerald.
“You’re a bloody rock!” Wedge bellowed. “You don’t have arms! You don’t have eyes! You don’t have the neurophysiological framework to support the dexterous appendages needed for the most basic elements of artistic expression, not to mention lacking those appendages entirely! The whole prospect is as daft as…a rock considering a career as an artist! I literally cannot think of anything more daft!”
Gerald paused. “I know there’ll be a learning curve.”
“Learning curve?” said Wedge. “Learning curve? There’s no learning! There’s no curve! It is not. Going. To. Happen!”
“Oh,” said Gerald. “I do see your point.”
“Thank you!” said Wedge. “That is the first sensible thing you’ve said…ever!”
“Well, I suppose it’s best to manage your expectations before you really get going on something,” said Gerald. “I’m glad we had this little talk. You really talked some sense into me, you did.”
“Happy to help,” said Wedge, sounding slightly mollified, but still more frustrated than anything.
“So being an artist is out,” said Gerald.
“Good to hear it,” said Wedge.
“No more talk about being an artist,” said Gerald.
“None at all?” asked Wedge.
“None at all.”
“You mean it?”
“I mean it.”
“Alright,” said Wedge. “Alright. Just this once, I am going to believe you. Thank you. I appreciate that.”
“I don’t think my heart was really in it, anyway,” said Gerald. “I think I might have a go at pastry.”
“Pastry?” Wedge sputtered.
“Yeah, you know, being a pastry chef,” said Gerald. “I think I might have the temperament for that kind of work. Have you seen the way they decorate those big fancy cakes? Just lovely.”
“What, in the whole wide bleeding rock covered world, makes you think there is the slightist chance in the universe that you could possibly, ever, in a billion cycles of existence, be a pastry chef? That’s even more ludicrous than you being an artist!”
“You want me to reconsider being an artist?” asked Gerald. “I thought you disliked that idea.”
“Oh, I do,” said Wedge. “I do. But it seems genius, abso-blood-lutely genius, compared to this asinine, vacuous, fatuous travesty of an idea you have gotten into your stone about being a bloody pastry chef. What part of you don’t have appendages is not getting through your thick…you?”
Gerald paused for a good long moment. “I don’t think I’m going to let you taste any of my pastry.”
“You’re not going to let me taste any of your pastry?” sputtered Wedge.
“No, I don’t think I will,” said Gerald. “Not even a cream puff.”
“Seeing as how I don’t have taste buds, or a mouth, or a sensory cortex correlated to the cerebral processes required to process taste, or pleasure of any sort for that matter, I don’t see that as much of a threat.”
“You’re not much of a positive energy giver, you know,” said Gerald.
“A positive energy giver? What are you drivling about?”
“There are positive energy givers and negative energy takers,” said Gerald. “I read about it. A budding creative butterfly, such as myself, has to surround himself with positive energy givers, so’s that I can water the seed of my creativity and let it grow.”
“You read that, did you?” said Wedge.
“That I did.”
“Oh yeah,” said Wedge. “Where? Where did you read that?”
“In a book, obviously,” said Gerald. “Where else would I read it, but in a book? It’s not like I have decent internet access.”
“You read that in a book,” said Wedge. “And which book was this? Where did you acquire this alleged tome?”
“It was…” said Gerald.
“I read it in…”
“Well,” said Gerald. “I could have done.”
“No you couldn’t! Who or what would have or even could have taught you to read? What optical receptors that you don’t and could not possibly have would you be using to acquire this rarefied skill?”
Gerald paused. “You do have a point there. I’ll give you that much.”
“Thank you.”
There was silence. For awhile.
“I think I might like to travel,” said Gerald. “You know, see the world.”
“You want to see the world?” Wedge bellowed in consternation.
“I think so,” said Gerald. “I’m not saying I’ve given up on my creative aspirations, mind. But you have given me a lot to think about regarding that. I’ll give that that much, I will.”
“I think you might be missing something in your calculations,” said Wedge.
“What, the fact that I’m a rock?” asked Gerald.
“Oh, you’re finally catching on,” said Wedge disdainfully.
“Nah, I thought of that,” said Gerald. “I want to go to Hawaii. They’ve got all kinds of rocks in Hawaii.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, how do you think they got there?” asked Gerald.
“Gah!” Wedge yelled. “I am done with you! Done! If I have to spend the rest of the time between now and whenever I blessedly erode into dust listening to your nonsense, I am going to pop! I won’t do it! Shut up! Just shut up!”
There was silence.
“You’re not very supportive, you know that,” said Gerald. “I think I am going to travel. I’m going to Hawaii.”
“Fine!” said Wedge. “Whatever! Go to Hawaii! Give that a go, and see how it works out for you. Promise not to write and tell me how it is.”
“Of course I’ll write,” said Gerald. “You might not be very supportive, but you’re still my mate. Of course I’ll write.”
“Fine,” said Wedge. “Whatever.”
“Well, bye then.”
“Arivaderci,” said Gerald.
“Please die,” said Wedge.
“Alright then,” said Gerald. “No time like the present. I’m off. I’m gone. Off to sunny, sunny Hawaii. Right now.” Gerald took a deep breath, then he stood up, and walked away.
“Well,” said Wedge with bemusement. “He sure showed me.”


4 thoughts on “Rock Talk

  1. Nandie says:

    Got sucked right into this one. It was hilarious and I adore Gerald. We should all be a bit more like Gerald don’t you think?

  2. Selrisitai says:

    I laughed throughout, and was always waiting for some kind of twist. You did not disappoint.

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