The Balloon: Humpty-Dumpty Retold, P1

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s Horses, and all the King’s Men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

A tall grey building stands near the end of Main Street. The building itself is nearly unremarkable. It’s only remarkable feature is a large window, which is at eye level and spans most of the building’s width. Passersby occasionally look into it, but not to see what the insurance agency is up to. The passersby want only to look at their reflections in the pristine, windexed glass. A man smooths down his neatly parted hair, on his way to a date. A woman glances towards it perfunctorily as she walks by, just to make sure she still exists. The office workers inside are perplexed; what interests so many strangers in their way of life?

In front of this window is a park bench, even though there is no park for a few train stops. A few years ago, this bench was uprooted from a modest park and moved to its current location. A recent war had seen the space overpopulated with benches, due to their popularity as in memoriam commissions among upper middle class families. Thus, a committee of civic bureaucrats voted to relieve it of a few benches, and to distribute them about the city. It took two years for the city and park management to realize that benches could exist elsewhere in the city, and perhaps even thrive as amenities for pedestrians.

Cars drive by it, and the pedestrians rarely rest on the bench, although there are some who sleep on it at night. A small rectangle in the center, where the wood appears lighter than the wood surrounding it, marks the silhouette of an in memoriam plaque, which is now gone. The family of the deceased might have removed it. Alternatively, it might have been removed by a public relations official for the insurance company behind the bench, who decided that an in memoriam seemed a little too odd, a little too inappropriate, to be in front of the tall grey insurance agency near the end of Main Street, and had to go because it wasn’t consistent with the company’s aesthetic.

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