When Nerb speaks, the people listen.
Today a crowd gathered around this old, decrepit Nerb, who sat leaned up against the brick walls of the town hall. He sat there in only his underpants, despite the cold. He also wore a warm, winter hat that covered his ears. On the sidewalk, on his left side, he kept a large, steaming mug.
Nerb would have been at peace had it not been for the myriad of swarming wasps who encroached upon him and poked and prodded him with their stingers and recording devices. They made Nerb sit stoically, his eyes fixed on a single point a million miles away. His skin appeared to have turned to stone. This was the defense mechanism he employed.
Nerb's complexion, frozen in place, was the complexion of a man disgusted by the world, but a man who cares very much for a small number of its inhabitants. It was the complexion of a man burdened by his love for the good and the innocent. It was the complexion of a man who'd have done himself long ago had it not been for these good and innocent fellows few and far between.
So stoic Nerb waited for an eternity leaning against the town hall. He waited until the stinging, profiteering pokers and prodders became tired and went home. He waited until crowd had dissipated and only The People remained. Then he reached for his mug. His body was still frigid, so reaching for anything was a struggle of a task. But he got ahold of the mug. For a moment, he allowed it to rest against his lips, warming his lips. A short while later he sipped in a great gulp of warm wisdom which he savored as it passed down his esophagus. This warmth reverberated from within Nerb.
Suddenly, Nerb was human and agile again, looking to and fro, looking into the eyes of everyone around. Nerb had these eyes... When a person looks into Nerb's eyes, they become entirely captivated. In short order, Nerb had captivated The People.
It was then he reached into his mug and removed from the steaming liquid a pair of dentures. Nerb put these in his mouth. After doing so, he put his mug down.
He told myself and the others that "The Nerb is prepared to speak."
He said to us, "Gather round, good fellows. Sit cross-legged. It is warmest that way. It is warmest that way, and tension in one's glutes give rise to tension in the core which tightens the back which pulls on the neck muscles and facial muscles and thereby opens one's ears."
We did as Nerb said.
What came next was a tale of epic battles and love and loss. It was a story of tragedy and revenge, and accidental misdeeds that were interpreted as intentional and later avenged. It was an anecdote of the hopelessness of vigilantism, but the ceaseless temptation of kicking the dog that bite's your daughter's toe. It was a historic tale.
Nerb warned us of the times to come. He said that "sometimes you are having a good, peaceful time. And sometimes you are laying on the grass, watching the clouds float by. On occasions such as these, you might find a rock in your hands, and you might throw this rock into the woods. By no intention of yours, you might bonk a short-armed fat man off the head. This short-armed fatman might be knocked unconscious for a good while. You imagine he might wake up later angry and furious, wanting to charge at you and hit you with a bigger rock. So to prevent such a danger, you might put the short-armed fat man in a cage. That way, he will wake up unable to cause you harm."
"Though this short-armed fatman might be good at heart," Nerb said, "and though you meant him no harm originally, there is an inertia to action. You must act according to this inertia, or else you forsake one of the universe's axioms. Do not forsake the axioms! Good, innocent people, you must understand: To forsake one axiom is to inspire others to forsake other axioms. Defection spreads like The Plague. So, in no time, we could have complete anarchy of the axioms. Apples will fall up, then down, then apples will not fall at all."
"It is difficult, I know", Nerb said, "but you all, the good and innocent, you mustn't be too pure. The world is not pure, and your being pure is causing great abstract pressure differentials. Turbulence! You must homogenize!!! You must assimilate with the injustices of the world!"
Nerb, while preaching more fervently than ever before, began solidifying back into stone. His legs hardened. Then his torso. Then his arms. Then is fingers and his facial extremities. Finally, his jaw and lips began to stonify. But before he was entirely paralyzed, he uttered one final paramount: "Good people of the world, grow some balls. Do not dare release the short-armed fatman."
And that was that. Once Nerb had hardened, I watched a young boy kneel by his side. The boy carefully removed Nerb's dentures and placed them back in the man's mug.
Since then, Nerb has remained as stone.
I'd like to say "Thanks Nerb". But he is a stone, unable to hear my thanks. So: Until next time, Nerb.