Contest #155 shortlist ⭐️

25 comments

Funny Friendship Fiction

The True Meaning

“You interrupt everything. You cannot help yourself can you? A simple story I am telling about watching one of the most famous Baseball players ever, and you have to interrupt. You know somewhere between little and nothing about the sport. Have you ever watched a game? Answer no. So when I tell you that I think Joe DiMaggio’s  sweetest swing was around about two years before he retired, I do not need you to tell me the phrase I should use is ‘swings and roundabouts’  One has nothing to do with the other.”

“Touchy, touchy. It is a play on words Phillip. Besides, if as you say Joe Di Maggio had the sweetest swing two years before he retired, he definitely had the sweetest thing much earlier. He was married to Marilyn Munroe. Now I come to think of it swings and roundabouts probably best describes their marriage.”

“Oh very clever Eric! At least you seem to have a grip on what the phrase actually means, which is surprising considering your normal lack of expertise with the English language.”

“You do realise what you just said is an example of using the phrase correctly, do you not? “

“What? I am probably going to regret this but, please explain.”

“Simple. Not understanding the English language is a negative, whereas having a grip, in other words understanding, is a positive. Ying and Yang so to speak. What troubles me about this particular phrase is visually no one could mistake a swing from a roundabout.”

“Why is that relevant?”

“Well you do not even need a roundabout to make the positive and negative comparison. A roundabout goes in circles, which is not a positive or a negative. It is always the status quo. However a swing can be either, going forward positive, the going back negative.”

“That destroys the whole premise of the saying meaning ‘good and bad’. You can hardly say It’s a case of swings and swings can you? It wouldn’t make sense.”

“It doesn’t make sense now. You are comparing apples with cheese.”

“Apples with cheese, don’t you mean apples with oranges? Apples and cheese have nothing to do with each other.”

“Proving my point. It is not like ‘what goes up must come down’ Going up, positive, coming down negative.  Scientists have proven that theory. Don’t ask me which one. The only reason swings and roundabouts should be mentioned in the same sentence is when you are describing the children’s playthings in a park.”

“Newton. It was Newton, something to do with apples I think. Certainly it had nothing to do with cheese. Or maybe he was the one who said e equals mc squared. No I think that may have been Einstein. Has anyone ever checked it is true?”

“Have you finished?  The problem is with the English language. Swings have been around for centuries but roundabouts, or the more commonly known carousels, are as recent as the eighteen hundreds. All it took was some clever promoter to put the two together. No one questioned why the two entirely separate items should always be spoken about together. He was probably a carousel salesman.”

“You mean like Clare Booth Luce saying ‘no good turn goes unpunished.’   Everyone repeats that, but it is not true, I helped an old lady across the road once and she gave me five dollars. Now I come to think of it the horse I put it on ran last, so maybe she is right after all.”

“Is there no end to your knowledge of things trivial?  You do surprise me sometimes. Where do you get all this useless information?”

“I have a head full of stuff. It can be very handy on trivia nights. For instance do you know bananas grow straight to start with?”

“No they don’t.”

“Yes they do. It is called neo tropic something. They grow straight and defy gravity by turning away from the Earth.”

“Towards the Sun?’

“No. Away from Earth.”

“Then it has to be towards the Sun.”

“ Well no it doesn’t, it is a banana defying gravity, not turning towards the Sun.”

“So Newton got it wrong?”

“Apparently as far as bananas are concerned, yes.”

“So where are they turning towards, if not the Sun?”

“As far as I understand it is not towards anything. iI is purely away from Earth”

“Which is towards the Sun.”

“What about at night then? Bananas continue to grow away from Earth even at night. How do you account for that?”

“Has it occurred to you that while we are arguing we are proving beyond a reasonable doubt, I have always wanted to say that in a context, the pointlessness of a roundabout being used in a saying?”

“It was actually used in a poem. Then it was Roundabouts and Swings, not the way people say it now days. Of course the Poet being Irish could have something to do with that.”

“More trivia? I cannot win. I start out talking about Joe DiMaggio’s swing and we finish up discussing how Isaac Newton got his whole theory on gravity wrong because bananas turn towards the Sun.”

“No. Away from Earth. It is the away from Earth that is the important distinction.’

“Whatever. I can honestly state I have never seen a straight banana, have you? Nevertheless we have become passengers on a roundabout going nowhere. All based on a Baseball player’s swing. Now it is an Irish poet who first talked about Swings and Roundabouts in a truly roundabout way. Where did he come from?”

“Most Irish poets come from Ireland, Chalmers who wrote the poem certainly did. That was quite clever though, the way you turned the phrase around. Could we do that with the other one? You know swing the ending aroundabout to the beginning? Make it Any unpunished turn will never be a good one?”

“You are one sick little guppy. I’m conceding defeat.”

“We could use you on our Trivia team next Friday, your knowledge of Baseball and Marilyn Munro could be handy. What say I swing by roundabout seven and pick you up?”

“Don’t even think about it.”

July 17, 2022 03:34

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25 comments

Kevin Broccoli
16:17 Aug 03, 2022

Nice work, Brian. An enjoyable read.

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Brian Bywater
21:09 Aug 03, 2022

Thank you Kevin. I try to write to entertain, sometimes with success. Cheers.

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Amanda Lieser
00:16 Aug 03, 2022

Wow Brian! I loved this story both as a writer and as a trivia lover’s daughter! I didn’t really know the meaning of the phrase so I was a bit intimidated by this prompt and I genuinely feel like I learned something from this piece. I loved the characters and could picture them having this conversation. This was such a great interpretation of the prompt and a well deserved short list. Nice job!

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Brian Bywater
21:08 Aug 03, 2022

Many thanks Amanda, you are very kind with your remarks. Could I interest you in a breakdown of the meaning of Trivia?? ha ha

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Tommy Goround
22:01 Jul 31, 2022

Ahh...I missed this gem until it became shortlisted. Thank you for this. Clapping

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Brian Bywater
22:34 Jul 31, 2022

Thanks back to you Tommy, may the clapping become louder. Happy days.

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14:08 Jul 31, 2022

Congrats on the shortlist! This was a fun one to read and the best of the prompt I've read so far :)

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Brian Bywater
22:33 Jul 31, 2022

I appreciate the comments Jeannette.Any chance you could join the judging panel?

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Tommy Goround
22:53 Jul 31, 2022

Lol

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02:53 Aug 01, 2022

I am on the judging panel...

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Brian Bywater
20:58 Aug 01, 2022

Is faux pas a genre?

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14:24 Aug 02, 2022

It could be a prompt :)

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Brian Bywater
22:14 Aug 02, 2022

Giving me a head start with my record. Cheers.

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Philip Ebuluofor
18:44 Jul 30, 2022

Fine work. My parents used to argue till Dawn that my sister once asked me what they always talk about. Fine rendition really.

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Brian Bywater
22:37 Jul 31, 2022

Glad you enjoyed my work Philip. I had parents who's arguments extended far longer so I have a bit to work with.

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Philip Ebuluofor
17:51 Aug 01, 2022

My pleasure

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19:07 Jul 29, 2022

Very clever wordplay. I really enjoyed this story.

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Brian Bywater
22:39 Jul 29, 2022

Thank you Mary. If you laughed I have done my job.

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Glenn Holt
17:43 Jul 29, 2022

Great humor. A whole new turn on the confusing phrase. I have been there is how I felt after listening to this conversation. Just wondering is the typo on Munro deliberate or intended to be part of humor?

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Brian Bywater
22:44 Jul 29, 2022

Thank you Glen. Definitely a typo, I blame my wife and if that doesn't work my 83 years on the planet. I do not trust 'spellcheck' I write in Australian, a derivative of English not recognised north of the equator. Cheers.

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L. E. Scott
17:31 Jul 29, 2022

I laughed very heartily. Love your dialog, flows very naturally. I noticed one or two things that could be typos, but nothing so jarring it took me out of the story. Good work. Congrats on being shortlisted.

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Brian Bywater
22:52 Jul 29, 2022

Thank you L.E, I may call you L.E without offense I trust. Talking to oneself a lot helps with the dialogue. If you only found one or two typos you probably were not paying attention. I write in Australian, a derivative of English not spoken worldwide. One of several excuses I use along with my 83 years and my wife being away. Happy days.

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L. E. Scott
23:38 Jul 29, 2022

I have a bad habit of fixing typos in my head as I read, so that's my excuse. Lol

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Whitney W.
00:49 Jul 28, 2022

I laughed out loud multiple times when reading this. It's very clever and absurd with a sitcom-like feel. You handle dialogue very well. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Brian Bywater
22:49 Jul 28, 2022

Many thanks Whitney, firstly for even taking the time to read the 'story' and secondly for your kind comments. If you laughed I can claim a measure of success. Dialogue, well doesn't everyone talk that way or is it because at 84 I talk to myself a lot??

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