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Butcher, Baker, Candlestick maker. A short, unfinished, unstory.

The chocolate orange fell from the milkman’s hand. It rolled down the cobbled hill like an actual orange might, if it were made from chocolate. The butcher, the baker, and the candle stick maker all looked on, they stood with mouths agasp.

“Why are you standing there? With mouths agasp?” – said the butcher.

“That’s my question!” squawked the milkman.

“So it is!” said candle stick maker.

“And that was my exclamation!” said the baker.

“I think we had better start again” said the chocolate orange.

Without a further word said, the milkman retrieved the chocolate orange. It took him mere seconds, so as not to disturb the flow of this story. If I had more time, and if it wouldn’t disrupt the tension of the setting, I would explain how it would have taken him approximately seven minutes. It had in fact rolled some distance, partly due to the camber of the street, partly due to the unevenness of the cobbles, and partly because it was being used as a cricket ball by an errant schoolboy.

After mere seconds (or seven minutes), of fielding, the milkman finally had possession of the chocolate orange once again. Now he strode back, and stood approximately where he had stood before. A position in the street as of yet not described.

The butcher, the baker, and the candle stick maker all stood, with mouths agasp.

“I haven’t dropped it yet!” – the milkman’s comment was fair. He hadn’t. Their gasping was unprompted.

Satisfied that both the mouth of the milkman and the mouth of the baker were no longer agasp – he dropped the chocolate orange.

This time it rolled down the street clumsily, like an actual orange might, if it were made of chocolate, and had been dropped twice already, and been used as a cricket ball, for the best part of seven minutes.

Looking over, the milkman saw the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker now all stood with their mouths agasp. He knew at least two of them were astonished at seeing him drop the orange the second time. The candlestick maker was agasp – there was no doubt – but the milkman had forgotten to check before, and it may be that he was still at least somewhat surprised by the first incident.

“Why are you standing there? With mouth agasp?” he said.

“Beca-”

The milkman stopped the baker before he finished even one word – one word we can reasonably assume was going to be “because”.

“Not you baker.” bawled the milkman, teeth gritted like a short story character losing patience with his creator. “I want to know why the candle stick maker has his mouth agasp. Is it because I dropped the chocolate orange the first time, or the second time?”

Not wanting to disrupt the narrative, the candle stick maker lied, he knew explaining that he hadn’t noticed either dropping of the chocolate orange would take up more time, and with a word count already in the low 470s he really wanted to get on with some meaningful character development.

“The latter” the candle stick maker retorted – he knew how to lie.

“I believe you” – the milkman also knew how to lie, he didn’t believe him at all. He knew the word count. He knew the stakes. He knew the candle stick maker.

At this point the butcher and the baker looked at each other uneasily, a mutual glance that made each realise that they were in the centre of a scenario that really didn’t interest or concern them. Especially now there was little chance of actually getting to eat the chocolate orange.

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