The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Asking

Matthew Donnellon
Oct 13 · 3 min read

There was a house at the end of the lane. It was larger than any of the houses and more grand than any of the other on the court.

The owner liked it this way. Preferred it really. In fact, they specifically asked the agent to find a house where they could literally look down at their neighbors, as they both had a crippling neck condition that many a physician would recognize as being a rich person.

But they liked their house.

And they liked the yard.

And they liked the neighborhood.

And they liked looking at the small houses.

But, the only thing missing was a chance to show the inside. Otherwise how would the others know how much better they had it?

So they did what rich people do and had a dinner party.

It was as many dinner parties are, bored adults asking inane questions about the banalities of their meager existence. Also, they talked about traffic during their commute to work.

As always, if you’ve been to a dinner party you’ve seen him before. He’s best known as the man who couldn’t stop asking. He asks every guest the same boring questions that everyone has heard more times than anyone cares to admit.

He worked his way across the room asking the worst question, “what do you do?” he would get his answer, and then launch into the same boring speech about what he does, and never would he notice the subtle signs of people not paying attention.

Finally he came a across a man who was only there for the free food, and a chance to play with the dog.

After a curt handshake, the man who couldn’t stop asking opened up with his favorite, “What do you do?”

The other man paused for a moment, “Exist,” he said.

Perplexed the man who couldn’t stop asking recoiled, he was fully ready to start speaking when he had to repeat his question.

“No, what do you do for a living?”

“Ohhh, mostly breathe. Some cellular respiration. A fair bit of digestion.”

The man who couldn’t stop asking couldn’t believe it. All he wanted was to move on to what he does, but he was stuck.

“What’s your occupation?”

“Right now? This room.”

“No, I’m mean work. What’s your work?”

“Oh I work on a lot of stuff, my house, my car..”

“No money. Where did you go to get the money?”

“The bank.”

Now, the man who couldn’t stop asking was getting mad. All he wanted to do was regale him with his work stories, and his short cut because of the I-96 traffic.

“No. Tell me what you do right now.”

“Right now? I’m standing. I’m eating. I’m talking to you.”

“No you’re messing with me.”

“I would never make a mess in someone else’s house.”

“Stop it.”

“Stop what?”

“That!” the man who couldn’t stop asking yelled.

“I’m not doing anything.”

“Stop lying.”

“I only lie in bed.”

Just then the woman who owned the house walked by the room in which the man who couldn’t stop asking stood.

“Gwen,” he called, “Would you please me tell what’s wrong with him?”

The woman looked confused, “Jack, who are you talking about?”

The man who couldn’t stop asking looked back, and realized he was the only one in the room.

The Inkwell

A collection of Short Stories and other fiction work.

Matthew Donnellon

Written by

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.

The Inkwell

A collection of Short Stories and other fiction work.

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