This snap fiction story (what’s that?) was illumi­nated when I took a photo in a park of a lamppost that had recently been serviced.

All You Need to Make the World Go Round

For frickin’ crying out loud, thought Charles as he took another bite, kids these days. With their spray paint and their pea-brained optimism. Love, really? Does love power a lamppost? Will love fix the wiring? Has love ever made a tuna sandwich?

In the end, every­thing breaks down, sooner or later. Shit happens and that means that if you wait long enough shit will happen to you. Charles knew all about it, he’d been young, he’d done the graffiti bit, he’d learned that it doesn’t make a frickin’—oh what the hell, his parents were dead anyway—a fucking difference.

There, that felt good.

When you’re young, you think you can make a statement, you think it matters, you just know what makes the world go round and that it is about to become a better place. Then you learn about the wiring and you learn stuff needs fixing and you learn about loss and the only thing that ever really mattered was that tuna sandwich.

Kids at it again?”

Jesus H., why do people sneak up on you like that? A younger man. Walking one of those dogs that are more accessory than animal. If Mother Nature had wanted wolves to fit into fanny packs, she would have made them that way.

I saw them yesterday. They were bouncing soccer balls off the pole, and then the light stopped. Well, what are you gonna do, right?”

A smiley grin or a grinny smile, that’s all he’s getting. Charles had a sandwich to finish and another job to do. And Mr. Oxford E. Brogue just stands there like let’s strike up a conver­sation. His designer rat must have peed on this lamppost a thousand times.

Thanks for coming to fix it. A lot of kids ride their bikes home from school here, so it’s a good thing the park’s well lit. I called it in, but I didn’t expect you guys to show up so soon.”

Fair enough, we aim to please. It’s nice to get a thank-you. Another grinny for your trouble.

You do realize you’ve put the lid back on upside-down, right? You can tell because of the graffiti. It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? They make these things symmet­rical, and then art messes with the symmetry.”

Shit, he’s right.

Well, I guess I’ll be on my way. Good day to you. Come along, Brisk!”

For real, Brisk? Whatever happened to Fido? Anyhoo. He’s right, the lid’s on wrong. So what do you do, turn it back? Fix the love? Restore the “art”?

Nah. If art messed with the symmetry, let’s mess with the art. That art in its own right, right? Art messes with art and that’s a new kind of symmetry. Something meta, something deep. Something beyond pea-brained love.

Fixing the wiring messes with vandalism, that’s more like it. Now we’re talking. Bet that graffiti “artist” didn’t see that coming. That’s a little bit of loss, right there. Tomorrow’s another day, and all you need is another tuna sandwich.

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Father, son, husband, friend and writer by day; asleep by night. Happily pondering the immortality of the crab wherever words are shared.

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