The Madness in Meh

He held a pencil up to my face. “Do you know how it works?”

That was an odd question. My face was half-shocked, half-I-Can-Answer-This-Shit. “You put it on paper and scribble?”

“No, no… you’re just describing it. How does it work?”

I flinched, unsure of what he really meant. I took another wild shot. “You have a column of graphite and then wood around it to hold on to?”

He shook his head in frustration. “Don’t you understand? How does it work, how does it work, how does it work?” He shook the pencil so close to my face it’s tip brushed past my nose just a little.

My face was half at a loss and half There’s-Ants-In-My-Pants. “I…you…I mean friction…er…hmm the paper-”

“Do you know. How. It. Works?” He asked with the desperation of a man on the brink of breaking.

I stared at him blankly, completely at a loss. I searched within for the magical word combination. Nothing. “I…don’t?”

“EXACTLY!” He yelled and clutched the pencil so hard it broke. “It’s fucking magic god damn it!”

I didn’t quite know how to react. I made a face that was half constipated, half Who-Set-My-Balls-On-Fire.

“Don’t you see? We’re just naming things on every level. Just one name after another. Why is this called a pencil? No one fucking knows.”

“I’m sure someone-”

“NO ONE FUCKING KNOWS.” Bits of his spit carpet-bombed my arm. “Graphite? Wood? Those are just words. They don’t mean shit if you don’t give them meaning. What’s this friction thing that people talk about anyway? It works just cause we put it on paper? Friction is just another word. They could say FUCKINGMAGIC-TION and it would work the same! This whole damn thing might as well be god damn witchcraft.”

“Okay…?”

“Yes okay! I’m glad we’re on the same damn page!”

He finally passed me the pencil and I filled up my lunch order.

I felt like he had exited from behind the counter. I knew I was right when I felt his breath down my neck. “Do you know what Teriyaki even is?”

I made a face that was half annoyed, half Please-Don’t-Rape-Me.


Stories at 90km/h (sometimes 0km/h)

is a series where I free-write on my train rides.

Rule #1: It stops the moment I exit the train.

Rule #2: No editing or adding on after the ride.

Expect half-finished things on most days and very finished things on days when the train breaks down.