Friday, April 2, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Of Turnips, Giants and Men

The giant raised his tree, preparing to club the most recent knight-errant, when a voice caught his attention.

“Pick on someone your own size!”

The giant turned. The knight wasn’t going anywhere with his horse on top of him, and he was kind of curious to see someone his own size for once. He was so big that he couldn’t even wear tarps as loincloths anymore, leaving him eager for competition.

Unfortunately this challenger was human-sized. He was an old man in a cloak with more stains than clean spots, his body supported on a staff.

The giant grumbled, which shook the ground for a good quarter-mile. He liked doing that. It made him feel important.

"I'm bigger than a house. There isn't anyone my size."

The old man spat tobacco at the giant’s feet. "Well maybe that should teach you something.”

"It has." The giant rested on his tree, like a leaning post. "It's taught me I can pick fights with anyone and win. It’s great."

"That's not even a challenge! Of course you can kill some five-foot foot soldier."

"Damn straight I can. But that guy came with a horse."

The giant looked back. The knight-errant was still under his trusty stead, wiggling with admirable vigor.

"You shouldn't be proud of that. There's no effort. You want to be proud, hoe my field."

The giant turned back to him and scrutinized the old man.

"Hoe your field?"

"I've got twenty miles of turnips in frozen soil. You want to be impressive? Save my crops."

“I can kill anyone in the world. I also go around naked. No armor. You’re not impressed?”

The giant spread his legs a little further apart. The old man didn’t bother to look up.

“It’s enormous, but my wife says proportionately it’s unimpressive.”

“It’s cold outside,” said the giant, moving so that his gianthood was now hidden behind the tree. “It’s winter.”

“Then put some pants on and pick my crops!”

"I really like picking on people."

"And everyone thinks you're an ass for it."

The giant stiffened.

"They think I'm terrifying!"

"To your face. The second you leave it's, 'What an ass.'"

"Who calls me an ass?"

"Pick my crops and I’ll tell you!"

"You really think this is going to work on me? Just because I'm gigantic doesn't mean I'm pea-brained. You’re stereotyping."

"You can eat me if you want. Still going to be an ass who wasted his gifts essentially picking fights with the handicapped."

The giant scratched his chin. It was more scar tissue than beard these days. He kind of missed the beard.

"Pulling vegetables from frozen soil sounds hard."

"It is,” said the old man. “That's why it'll be satisfying. It's an actual challenge for your pantsless grandeur."

"But it also seems boring. Not like a battle to the death."

“You mean if you can’t do it you’ll say it’s boring as a ruse to quit?”

“Hey. I can do it.”

“I dare you to prove it.”

They stared each other down. By that I mean the giant actually got on all fours to stare into the old man’s face. The old man didn’t flinch. Three feet away, the giant realized his challenger was blind.

The giant snorted out a cloud of winter mist. It engulfed the old man, then drifted into the sky to join the normal clouds.

“Fine. But if it’s boring, I’ll eat you.”

The old man tapped his staff around on the hard ground, getting his bearings to head home.

“Just give me a moment to tell my daughter what your ‘boring’ really means, sissy.”

The giant grimaced, then gave up the grimace since his challenger couldn’t see it. A rejoinder didn’t come to mind, so he hustled to the field, the frozen soil breaking up even as he ran towards it.


  1. "It's an actual challenge for your pantsless grandeur."
    Pantless grandeur made me laugh!

    There was a kind of feel of a battle between 2 zen masters about this as they each feint and parry around one another with their words and logics.

    Nicely done

    marc nash

  2. Excellent dialogue - marc captured it with the fencing analogy.

    And your title so rocks. Made me smile this early morning.

    BTW, liking the new digs. I apped a new template but it bunged up my site, so back to boring blue. Peace...

  3. i loved this at fn and love it here, proportionately unimpressive is great

  4. A laugh in every line.

    I kept thinking of Karl the giant in Big Fish.

  5. "five foot footsoldier" hah, I like that.
    (small aside - I think you're missing an "an" in "you're ass". Heh, if you read this small aside out loud it sounds rude :D)

    Much, much fun here, as usual!

  6. Your stuff makes me laugh and read. I like your unique fantasies. That sounds dirty. >.>

  7. Great dialogue, hilarious premise, and quite enjoyable to read. More than once!

  8. Man oh man, that was great. I could visualise it all so easily.

  9. A chuckle in every line. That was a fun read.

  10. Delicious dialogue, John. My version of your old man became Benjamin Shorofsky from Fame at this line: "I've got twenty miles of turnips in frozen soil. You want to be impressive? Save my crops." Wonderful, funny stuff!

  11. Not one gem, but many all piled together. And the dialogue was all sparkly goodness.

  12. Glad people enjoyed this! Love seeing people quote their favorite lines. I took a lot of pleasure in composing it.

    Mazz, thank you for catching my typos. You're an angel.

    I've spent a lot of time tinkering with this template. Having an actual visual aesthetic feels wrong after years of whiteness. If readers dislike it I might change it back, though I must keep the three-column layout. This feels so much more spacious!

  13. Lovely stuff. I particular like the wife's put-down about the proportions of his gianthood. I wonder what will happen if he does get bored?

  14. Well Virginia, if he gets bored? I think a sequel happens.

  15. Fun, John! Full of laughable nuggets. I especially liked the proportionately unimpressive line as well. ;)

  16. Fun. A fable for our time or anytime when big assholes are taking unfair advantage.

  17. Totally awesome. I love how natural, even modern, the dialog feels at times. It flows so nice from start to finish and has the feel of a classic fable. Great work.

  18. Skycycler nailed it! That's exactly the sort of "voice" I was hearing with the old fella's lines.

    John - the site looks awesome. Three column is my personal favourite too. I'd up the text size a shade, but I'm getting old and infirm.

  19. Nothing like hearing about a giant being put into his place first thing in the morning! What a fun read, very well done -- thank you.

    (Also, I vote for the new color - I like it very much. It's like old-worn wood with a nice low light)

  20. Love to see a bully get his due... what a doofus! And the part about his 'parts'... funny as hell!
    Oh, and I love turnip.

  21. Now, THERE's a man who understands psychology... and a bully incapable of understanding anything at all! Hilarious and brilliant :--)

  22. "To your face. The second you leave it's, 'What an ass.'"

    That line made me LOL. I hope the knight made it out from under his horse.

    Very entertaining!


  23. hahaha "wiggling with admirable vigor" reminds me of David!

    love the giant-shrinkage!! But seriously, I love the dialogue. The two characters have distinct voices but it's still representative of your writing style.

    Wunderbar, auf wiedersehen! I don't know why I decided to go German.



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