A Strange Thing to Say

Submitted into Contest #230 in response to: Start your story with someone uttering a very strange sentence.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction Funny Friendship

A Strange Thing to Say

“Bog walking John, yes, in my opinion Bog Walking is the World’s strangest sport.”

“Eric, the question I asked was, ‘what are the strangest sports in the World? I did not ask you to make up a fictitious sport.”

“Which is exactly what I didn’t do. Bog Walking is a real sport.”

“Yes you did Eric. You came up with the fictitious sport of Bog Walking. Admit it. Unusually inventive for you I do grant you that, but you cannot possibly be telling me it is really a sport, can you? For openers tell me where in the World do people play Bog Walking?”

“Estonia is the traditional home of Bog Walking. I have not been able to find anywhere else. It is quite popular there as I understand it. You don’t play it though. You actually do it on some part of the three hundred and seventy kilometres of bogs stretching throughout the countryside.”

“So it is most unlikely it could become an Olympic event even if Estonia is ever chosen as the venue? Already I am sorry I asked the question, although I do admit you have piqued my interest, only with a small pique mind you. So tell me Eric, how is it played, sorry, how is it done? Do you need special equipment other than the already normally allocated two legs?”

“Shoes.”

“Shoes? So the only requirements to do Bog Walking are legs and shoes fitted to your feet? Makes sense I suppose. Are these special shoes or common to garden Bog walkers that are available in any Department Store in Estonia? They sound very much like the Christmas present for the person who has everything.”

“I have a pair.”

“I rest my case. Is barefoot Bog Walking acceptable? “

“Not acceptable within the rules.”

“There are actually rules to Bog Walking? My heart rate has markedly increased in anticipation of hearing your explanation of the rules Eric.”

“Your sarcasm is noted and less than appreciated. You asked a question, I answered it with a totally legitimate response and you, in your ignorance, are ‘taking the piss’. I wonder why I bother.”

“I would confidently submit that most reasonably intelligent people would consider Bog Walking a ridiculous response. If I unintentionally misread the seriousness of your answer I do apologise. Carry on with your explanation of the rules to this sport for the ages.”

“There you go again. You cannot help yourself, deriding everything you do not understand.”

“That is unfair. Remember when you told me bananas grow straight and turn towards the Sun? I didn’t deride that, I let you explain.”

“Obviously the explanation on that particular subject was wasted. It certainly did not sink in. I said they turn away from the Earth, not towards the Sun. They defy gravity.”

“That would mean bananas make a mockery of Newton’s law regarding gravity.”

“Yes they do. The process is called neo tropism. If they turned towards the Sun the bananas would not turn inwards, also they continue to turn, even at night. There isn’t a  Sun in evidence then is there? Anyway Newton was talking about apples, nothing to do with bananas. Didn’t he say e equals mc squared, or was that someone else? I am still not convinced it does anyway.”

“I have never questioned that particular equation, never really understood it if truth be told. What is e or mc, do you know?”

“Can we get back to the subject?”

“I was just thinking I cannot imagine Einstein, or any other scientist, could remotely connect the noble sport of Bog Walking in Estonia to any of their theories. Is there any chance of it becoming an International sport? Is there a venue, a stadium for instance?”

“Do you want to hear the rules or should I forget the whole thing? I will if you keep on with your unwelcome satirical interruptions. The bogs have always been there, there is no need to erect stadiums you just find a way to get onto a bog and the game begins.”

“Sorry. Get on with it, I really am interested. Have you ever actually played the game?”

“You don’t play the game as you put it. You just walk forward over the Bog, always forward.”

“At last I find my lifelong ambition exists, a sport I have mastered without needing to go training. Forward walking just comes naturally to me, been doing it for as long as I can remember. Even as a very young child my parents constantly boasted about my forward walking ability. ‘There is nothing backward about our Eric’, they would say this to anyone who took the trouble to listen.”

“I am going to treat that with total ignore except to warn you walking backwards in Bog Walking can result in disaster.  You never see the professional Bog Walkers in reverse. You must continue forward at all times.”

“You are telling me Bog Walking is dangerous? Even for the professional Walkers?  Are there really professional Bog Walkers? Could you be confusing them with Dog Walkers, there are quite a lot of them around? I must tell you though, walking forward or backwards has never been a problem for me in all the years I have been doing it. Not so much as a twisted ankle. I have the occasional ingrown toenail but that is hardly the result of walking in either direction.” 

“Is Dog walking a sport, you never mentioned that as a strange sport? Anyhow it’s the backwards Bog Walking that is the problem. If you step back you will sink, gone in a flash. It is the antithesis of Newton’s law saying ‘what goes up must come down’, because in the bog, what goes down never comes up.”

“Back to Newton again. Not just satisfied with bananas eh, now has he got you swallowed up by the Bog monster? My Mother used to tell us there was a monster eel in the quarry pool we went swimming in. None of us ever got eaten. Even my friend Froggie Frost, who was really fat, and would have made a big meal, didn’t get eaten. Anyway I was considering borrowing your bog shoes and trying out your theory, but the thought that it could be dangerous has changed everything. How many disappeared doing the Estonian Bog Walk this year?”

“The total number?”

“Yes, how many?”

“Coincidently it is the same number as were lost to the Loch Ness Monster I believe.”

“Which was?”

“None.”

“None?”

“Correct, which proves it is the safest sport in the World, or at least as safe as fishing on Loch Ness. Fourth year in a row it is up for the award.”

“Let me get a grip on what you are saying. To participate in Bog Walking you need to have mastered the ability to walk forward. I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting I have that under control using past success as the benchmark. The only equipment you need are two legs and special bog shoes. I have the required two legs and can borrow your shoes.  At all times you must continue going forward, never backwards at pain of becoming the first person in four years to disappear in the bog.  How am I going so far? Anything else?”

“Well Eric, you seem to have only overlooked one small point, other than that, you are doing well. You have been paying attention.”

“Come on John I have listened to everything you told me about Bog Walking. What small point have I missed?”



“Well, once you start you are constantly moving forward, so you will be a long way from your starting point before you get out of the bog, which goes for over three hundred kilometres. How are you going to get home?”

December 24, 2023 22:45

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1 comment

Charles Corkery
01:01 Jan 04, 2024

Good dialogue. Well done!

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