Submitted for Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt


Jan 09, 2021

Contemporary Fiction Speculative

“They call that, unprecedented?”

    “I don’t know what you’d call it. I’m not sure what the word even means anymore. It’s one of those words that will go down in infamy. You know there is a problem with using a word too many times for too many different reasons. It begins to resemble those comedians who do nothing but swear. After a while it gets to be less effective. Your ears rebel against the lack of imagination. Let’s find another word. What do you say?”

“I agree it has been used zealously, perhaps over zealously, but it does such a wonderful job of encompassing the true meaning of not only our time but will go down in history for all to enjoy. Remember what the word means; unparalleled, unmatched unequaled, without parallel, extraordinary, uncommon; it is like the Constitution of the United States. It stands for just about everything. My God, the word itself is unprecedented.”

     “Before we get to excited about the word, we should consider the latest word I’ve heard creeping into the lexicon but seemingly unnoticed; at least till this point.”

“Well?... You aren’t going to say? I felt like saying that would be unprecedented, but I don’t believe in the concept of beating a dead horse, just to live up to the standards of an analogy.”

     “That is mighty good of you, but the word is really not worth all the hyperbole. It may become such, but until it does, I don’t think we should begin to be animated, even in private, about its possibilities. The newsroom people you know have warned us in the past about exoneration of words like expediency, homogenization, and even words in combination like, gratuitously enthusiastic. They prefer keeping things simple as they claim the majority of their readers prefer four letter words, or if that is not possible, phonetic resemblance to something more closely associated with, verbal equity. Don’t you concur?”

“It is possible I would, possibly even could, if given something to procrastinate, rather than just attempt to psychoanalyze you for the essence of what you are attempting to perpetrate on those, you believe, that are lacking in persistence. If I have gauged your audacity wrongly, please assume I did so out of empathy for your obvious lack of altruism, when it comes to the dictionary description of depictionary. I know you regard the difference as inconsequential when compared to the debate over the differentiation between the King James Bible, and its knock off inspiration, the World According to Ecclesiastes. I know it is the lesser of the versions used to accentuate the positive, but you must remember, it is the definitive definition of the Old Testament Wisdom Books, which are the literal translations, of the Greeks translated versions into Hebrew. It is after all, placing God at the center of ones Universe, where you might argue, is just the place for it. The translation, in case you have forgotten, has to do with there being nothing new under the sun, unless my Greek has grown rusty, and then I would have to ask for your pardon.

While speaking of pardons, that seems to be another one of those words like, will and shall.  They seem to have taken on a meaning of their own, for their own purpose. How does that happen? It is like saying, truth is not a synonym any longer for honesty. Speaking of honesty, when did being honest fall out of fashion?”

     “Funny you should bring God into reflection upon honesty and truth in the time of Ecclesiastes, which as you know refers mainly to the incipient study of man’s vanity. It is no longer possible to look into a mirror and get a true reflection of oneself without first considering the possibility of information having been tampered with, for the subservient purpose of those who perpetrate such self-deprecating ineffectual misconstrued observations.”

“You are inferring the mirrors have been tampered with for the purpose of deception?”

    “I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I have noticed that since they quit using real silver as a backing for glass, giving it the ability to reflect accurately, it has put at least ten pounds on anyone looking; or so I’ve been told.”

“So what is the word that was to take the place of unprecedented?”

     “Before I answer that, I would like to pose a question if you don’t mind. I have recently, well not recently, just more obvious now, noticed a dichotomy of conundrums.”

“Is that even possible?”

    “You’ll have to tell me. If I attempt to do something, regardless of whether I succeed, or fail, can I then argue, that I didn’t have the required intent in my attempt, to hold me responsible for my attempted actions?”

“Conundrum or not, it seems to me that if you attempt something you must have intended an outcome. So therefore, you are responsible for your actions, and must be judged on the intent, as it was necessary for your attempt to have intent if it was to have any relevance at all.”

    “I believe you are ready. Drum roll please. The word that will be the next on the dais, for at least the length of time it takes for people to realize it’s being over used in all manner of description. I have heard from some people of importance, that when a word begins to form in the breakfast bowls of those involved with the media, it is time to take notice. Just the other day I heard a water cooler story about someone having received a message from their alphabet soup. They claim they have begun to look at the whole of Armageddon predictions in a new light.”

“Before we go there, and you forget what it is I’ve been promised, let’s have the word.”

  “Sorry, exuberance! But you know what times like these do to me. The word is, “Foment.”  Provoke, agitate, encourage, is the definition according to the New Webster Collegiate Dictionary. I know that sounds like a nebulous definition for a word that implies everything from insurrection to political fornication, but I believe because of the uptake in tear gas stock in particular, and military stock in general, that we will be exposed to, "fomentation," for at least the next month, possibly the remainder of the year.  People, people say, have come to enjoy contemplating the irrelevance of words. Words they claim, have evolved the ability to be interpreted by anyone, for any reason.”

“I know what you mean. Interpretation has taken on an entirely different genre in the past several decades. Words like guilty have been interpreted to mean both culpable and remorseful, while reserving the right to assume no financial or social liability. How does that work?”

    “I know what you mean. Everything seems to be turned upside down and backwards.  I had a dream the other night where God One, was telling Jesus Two, to ask Spirit Three, if it were not time to return to finish the debate between the meanings for law and, or, justice.

Spirit thought the time was not right.  Three said we were close, but They should wait for the next full fledged dark ages, to make it worth Their effort. Two asked what He should do when those involved in the insurrection, similar to the one I might add, in Gethsemane, asked for forgiveness. God One told Him to plead the Fifth. 

He said insurrection caused by fomentation could be interpreted as simply preaching, and without that, They would be out of business. They all agreed to do nothing.”

“My dreams, are nothing like yours. What kind of tea are you drinking anyway?”


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