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Funny Adventure Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

CW: Mild swearing and mild sexual references



I want you to think of an object and write it down.


A guitar?


Okay.


Now think of a different object.


A melon?


Fine.


Please—put that cigarette out! You cannot smoke here. I don’t care if it relaxes you and helps you think.


Now—imagine all the possible ways that a melon and a guitar are alike. I’ll give you a few minutes to jot your answers down. Remember, we are looking for quick, lateral thinking. This can be the difference between life and death in the field. If you do actually intend on graduating from the academy and working as an agent, you’ll need to be ready for anything.


Pardon? Yes, that’s Indonesia. Enemy territory. It’s where you could be headed if you play your cards right. Yes, it is rather beautiful. Breathtaking, even. Are you weeping over the postcard? Please—stop it. Wipe your eyes and focus on the test. You have five minutes. 


***


You’re finished? Okay, let's take a look at your answers. What? I don’t care if you think this test is stupid. We need to examine your mental faculties to see if you are mission material.


Argh. They told me you were a wild card. But I didn’t expect such slovenly penmanship. And I thought I told you not to doodle! A pair of breasts will not curry favour with me. There are to be no more of these whimsical embellishments on the test paper, thank you.

So, according to you, these are all the possible ways a guitar and a melon are alike:


‘Guitars and melons bring me pleasure.’

I assume that you enjoy the taste of a melon and the sound of a guitar?


Guitars and melons both have curves. Yum.’

A melon is a spheroid (an imperfect sphere), and a guitar is a hyperbola. Did you not study advanced geometry with Dr Bertrand? No self-respecting evil genius is going to consider you a worthy adversary if your powers of discernment are poor. If you end up strapped to a table with a laser beam edging towards your family jewels, don’t expect them to be spared. You’ll be cut in half like a biology textbook cross-section.


Oi! Take your boots off the table and show some respect for this institution. I can see you haven’t polished them for days. And must you hum that vulgar tune while I’m marking your answers? It is awfully distracting. I don’t care if it’s The Rolling Stones. How else are a guitar and a watermelon alike?


People smash melons and guitars. Throwing them to the ground looks cool.’

Yes, but who engages in this behaviour? Punk rockers, angry melon farmers, clumsy market stall owners, or speed eating competitors for starters. Keep in mind that a disappointed melon farmer throws his bad melons into the pig pen for the swine to feast on. Don’t let that melon be you. The academy is willing to overlook your last five graduation failures, but we can’t keep you under our wing forever. THINK, man, THINK!


***


Okay. Time for the next part of the test. I want you to think about why a guitar is better than a melon. No, you can’t have a different coloured pen. Black ink only. What are you doing now? Stop doodling. Connecting that pair of human breasts to the body of a monkey will not get you better marks. It will only give the computer a headache when processing your answers. Is that a melon guitar? Oh, that’s actually rather good. Ahem, I mean, back to the test. I cannot stress enough how crucial lateral thinking is in the field; it will get you out of many a sticky situation. Try to do better this time. 


So, to reiterate: how is a guitar better than a melon?


‘A guitar makes cool sounds—jingles, jangles, twangs, and plucks. A melon is atonal.’

I agree. The western twelve-tone scale is a thing of beauty. But remember–a melon smashing on a hard surface is a visceral sound that draws one’s aural attention.


‘A guitar is more pleasing to look at than a melon. Its shape is modelled after a woman’s body. Yum, yum.’

That’s your opinion. Your preference. You need to learn to think like the enemy. Would an objectophiliac care about the contours of a woman’s body? Absolutely not! You must take into account that villains are often of this persuasion, fetishising nuclear warheads like giant phallic extensions, and maybe even melons because of their testicular resemblance. Keep an open mind–a melon may be a commonplace and sexually lacklustre object to you and I, but the fruit could be wielded to your advantage in a combat situation with an enemy who considers it an object of incomparable lust. They may wish to pop off to a quiet corner of their lair, bore a hole in the flesh, and accommodate their needs—at which point you can trigger the nuclear failsafe device and rescue the planet from total obliteration.

Note to self: Perhaps MI5 explosives could be housed in a watermelon? Speak to Dr Quentin in the weapons branch about this. 


Stop fidgeting! You are regularly testing my patience. Sit still. That is not a rocking chair. The legs are going to snap under your weight.


Okay, why else is a guitar better than a melon?

‘A guitar lasts for hundreds of years. A melon rots quickly.’

Yes, a guitar can last for hundreds of years in the right conditions. But a cheap, knock-off in a dank storeroom is doomed to be moldy.


‘A guitar can be handed down from generation to generation as an heirloom.’

True. Families form special attachments to instruments. My grandfather’s kazoo is very dear to me.


‘A guitar could smash a melon.’

Sometimes brute force is called for. Other times it’s necessary to forgo the melon smashing and pluck some thoughtful arpeggios on the guitar for various reasons. One of them being to woo international damsels and set their hearts aflutter. Believe me—many a foreign intelligence pussycat will come a-buzzing if you ever reach spy status. But their attempts to sabotage your mission will be laid to waste if your serenades are seductive enough. In these instances, a guitar could be as effective as a silenced pistol. I’m speaking from experience. No, I haven’t always been a boring old man, you cheeky little sod. Yes, that’s right. I wasn’t always a pencil pusher. I was in the field, all over Asia. And I’ll be damned if they didn’t give the world the Kama Sutra. The treatise on desire. Those were wild years. But at the rate you’re going, I doubt that you’ll ever get there.


Now, onto the next part of the test. I’d like to try an association exercise. How is the guitar the parent of the melon?


‘Melons like music. It helps them to grow. Guitars can soothe melons with their salubrious sounds.’

Ah, so you do have an ACTUAL vocabulary? I’m sensing a hidden soulfulness in you that will have those enemy seductresses swooning and falling hopelessly in love with you, rendering them completely unable to sabotage your mission. Don’t get your hopes up though. I shouldn’t imagine that this response, put together with the rest of your asinine answers, will amount to a passing grade.


‘Guitars are built with wood from trees. Leaf litter from trees fertilises soil. Melons grow from soil.’

Good. You are starting to get the hang of thinking laterally.


‘I can’t think of anything else. These strip lights are giving me a tension headache. I need a smoke.’

Really? Just when I thought we were getting going. . . You know, I spend more time in this lab than I do at home, and I’m fine. You’re a touch sensitive aren’t you? Boo-hoo—white tiles and bright lights. . . If you were ever captured, you’d face a lot worse than this, my friend. Believe me. You’d better toughen up. I’m going to recommend that you attend conditioning classes with Mrs Sprocket. She’ll put you through your paces. Desensitise that flabby body of yours. She has a cricket bat, you know. I’m puzzled by how you’ve managed to keep all of that weight on whilst following the academy’s diet and exercise regime. You do not look to be anywhere near regulation BMI. Anyhow, that’s not my department. The question is, am I to allow you—a fool who cannot seem to sidestep simple problems—permission to engage in the highest level of international espionage? Put simply—I think not.


So that concludes the test. I can say with great certainty that you are unfit to enter the field as an operative. Your test scores are so low that I can’t even fathom your admission into the academy, or how you aced, or cheated, those entrance exams. What’s that? No, you can’t have my postcard of Indonesia. There are no consolation prizes. Oh, don’t start sobbing again. Please, for the love of God. You must know why you are failing in order to do better. During this test, you displayed a shocking lack of imagination, as well as a dearth of technical knowledge and understanding of the sciences, which I expected you to have grasped after five years at the academy. Your stay will be extended another year, as we do not wish any student to fail, as this blemishes our track record and 100% pass rate. What’s that? You don’t care if you pass or not? I hope you aren’t exploiting the academy for its food and board. Surely the hospitality here isn’t all that? In my day, the bunks were as lumpy as the mashed potatoes were. No—it can’t be that. Are you helplessly in love with one of the tutors? Is it Mrs Sprocket? Ah, I thought it might be. I suppose her haughty and persuasive manner could be considered attractive. Perhaps those disciplinary spankings won’t be so bad for you after all. Regardless of your potential kinks, I am obliged to wish you the best of luck with your continued studies. Remember—you have access to state of the art facilities and the brightest minds in the west. Don’t be so intent on pissing this opportunity away. In other words—please try to do better, because, as we said back in my day, a fool in the field is a dead one.


Yours truly,

Dr Grimshaw


November 11, 2022 17:15

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7 comments

Aeris Walker
00:24 Nov 13, 2022

“There are no consolation prizes. Oh, don’t start sobbing again. Please, for the love of God.” Hahaha love it!

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Jim Firth
11:11 Nov 13, 2022

Cheers, Aeris! Just so you know, the failed spy has quit his blubbering and is now onto the next phase of the test where he has to fashion a melon guitar out of the appropriate raw materials in simulated captivity.

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Aeris Walker
23:14 Nov 13, 2022

I have a sense that he may be better suited for that challenge 😆

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Jack Bell
23:20 Nov 12, 2022

Some very nice flights of absurdity. "Melons" - both the word and the beast itself - brimful of comic goodness. For some reason I found "angry melon farmers" as funny as any other line, although the swerve into objectophilia was pretty wild. (At first I thought you'd made that word up -- I obviously need to get out more. Or less.)

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Jim Firth
11:08 Nov 13, 2022

Haha, thanks, Jack. Yes, if you went out less, like me, you might have known what an objectophilliac was! Cheers for reading and the encouragement :-)

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Mike Panasitti
00:47 Nov 16, 2022

Lateral thinking...another word for possessing a poetic faculty? The ability to compare guitars and melons definitely qualifies as a skill in generating metaphors. It seems that your agents of espionage require some talent of a literary kind. More relatable to us writer types.

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Jim Firth
16:05 Nov 16, 2022

Haha, yes poetic faculty is more accurate. I suppose it could have been a very literary spy academy. I'm aware that all the flights of fancy are very tenuous and no real spy academy is going to put their agents through tests like these! But that's part of the fun of the story, I guess :-)

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