THE LINE

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It was a lovely spring day. The sun was warm, the birds were singing, and the wispy clouds added a touch of pastel pleasantness to it all.

Quizzical Abner arose early that morning perplexed as usual (the man had many questions) having just awakened with a REM time voice in his head demanding, “Go stand in line”.

“Who said that?” inquired Quizzical Abner.

“Go stand in line.”

Abner rose from his state of confused repose, made his bed and his breakfast as the memory of the command “Go stand in line” continued to echo through his brain.

After his bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of rolled oats and a half-cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds,   Abner said to himself…

“What a lovely spring day. The sun is warm, the birds are singing, and the wispy clouds add a touch of pastel pleasantness to it all; I think I shall go look for that line. Perhaps I shall stand in it.”

And he did; he went for a walk, that is.

He looked everywhere for the line. Up this walk, down that path…

“Where is that line?” Quizicle  Abner inquired; there was no one there to answer his question.

“Excuse me” said Abner to the first person he met. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Abner and the stranger went on her way.

And Abner stood in line.

Eventually, Quizzical  Abner began to fidget. Standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day even though the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to it all.

Impatient and needing to do something, anything at all with his hurried, inquisitive self (Abner was a man with questions) he decided to return to his spring day walk. While strolling down the long sidewalk stretching before him Abner thought to himself, “You know, I probably received the wrong information from that stranger. Perhaps that was not the line, after all. It must be somewhere else. If I hurry to find the right place I may very well be the first person in line; that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?” He asked this question even though there was no one there to answer.

Eventually however, someone did come along.

“Excuse me” asked Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Abner and the stranger went on his way.

And once again, Abner stood in line.

And as before, Abner eventually began to fidget. He observed once again that standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day; what with the sun so warm, the birds asinging and the clouds though wispy, adding a touch of pastel pleasantness to it all.

But  Quizzical Abner stood his ground.

Standing in line, Abner wondered to himself, “If this is the line where are the rest of the people?”

Time went on. It was beginning to feel as though he had been standing in line forever.

Eventually however, another stranger approached.

“Excuse me” asked Abner. “Do you know where the line begins?”

“I believe it starts right here,” came the reply.

Abner thought to himself that perhaps he should invite this person to join him. That way, there really would be a line.

“Would you like to stand in line? asked Abner.

“Thank you for asking” replied the stranger; “But this line is much too long” and continued on his way; “Have a nice day”.

Surprised at the stranger’s remark, Quizzical Abner turned around. Behind him was a line of people that seemed to wend its way into Eternity. All were waiting patiently, no one was talking to anyone. “After all” observedQuizzical  Abner (the man with questions) “who wants to talk to the back of someone’s head?”

But as soon as he formed the words, Abner realized that he was now looking into someone’s face, someone who until seconds ago had been studying  the back of  Abner’s head.

“Hi my name is Abner; what’s your name?”

“Dalton” she replied and began to introduce him to several other people behind her. There was Morris, there was Scott and Blanca her centenarian grandmother had come along; her name was Albina Mary.

Albina Mary had more stories in her old noggin than Abner had questions. (And as we know, Quizzical Abner was after all, a man with many questions).

Within minutes this part of the line was starting to look more like a party. And others further back, noticing that the restraints previously defined by the unspoken rules of Linedom had now been broken, began to emulate the conversational opportunities now being made available to them all. As the line evaporated into groups of animated friendliness, everyone gradually migrated to a nearby park.

By the end of this lovely spring day, the sun still warm, the birds no longer singing and the once wispy clouds having surrendered their touch of pastel pleasantness to the gathering cloak of darkness, Quizzical Abner decided to go home, a practical decision (a part of himself with whom he was not very well acquainted wanted to stay and talk with his new friends) and he did just that; went home, that is.

As Abner crawled under the crisp, clean sheets he thought about the day and was oh, so very grateful.

The next morning Quizzical  Abner crawled out of bed, ate a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of rolled oats and a half-cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds and went out to greet another lovely spring day; the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to it all.

Quizzical  Abner (the man with many questions who now had some answers) thought to himself “I think I shall go stand in line.”

And he did.

A modern fable by Lee Broom

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