by R.D. Ronstad
Wall 1: (Sotto voce)…Hey Bro
W1: (Sotto voce)…Bro
Me: (muttering to myself) I could swear that wall just called me “bro.”
W1: I did.
Me: (muttering) I must be dreaming.
W1: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Did that wake you?
W1: Then you weren’t dreaming.
Me: I’m talking to a wall. That’s crazy.
W1: It would only be crazy if a wall hadn’t talked to you first. I did.
Me: But walls can’t talk.
W1: We can. But never mind that. You should leave. Now!
W1: The wall facing me is about to collapse.
Me: What? Why?
W1: She’s plastered! (laughs raucously)
Wall 2: Ignore him. He thinks he’s a comedian.
Wall 3: We heckle him all the time. It does no good.
Me: Wait a minute.You can all talk?
W3: Of course. How do you think we pass the time when you’re away?
W1: Wall talk.
W2: One, you’re as funny as a stray bullet.
Me: Sarcastic walls. This just keeps getting weirder.
W1: Weird is as weird does.
Me: O…kay. I’ll think about what that means later. But to get back to your question–I’ve never thought about what you do when I’m away. You’re walls. You’re not supposed to do anything. You’re just supposed to stand there in silence.
Wall 4: Yes master.
Me: More sarcasm.
W4: Yes master.
Me: So. What do you talk about when I’m away?.
W1: Closing in on you.
W4: Shush…We can’t tell you what we talk about. We all agreed long ago to keep what we discuss in-house, so to speak.
W3: You’re not a member of the club, that’s all. You’re an outsider even when you’re inside.
Me: So why talk to me now?
W4: We don’t have much choice.You hardly leave anymore. Why?
Me: Because of Covid-19.
W3: Sounds like code. I bet you think it’s a cool way of saying something that makes more sense than that.
Me: Actually, Covid-19 is this virus that people can breath in without knowing it. When that happens it may make them sick or kill them or do nothing to them. Bats probably transmitted it to a mystery animal who then transmitted it to a mystery Chinese person called patient zero who then spread it to millions of people the world over. We can protect ourselves by wearing masks and washing our hands a lot and staying six feet away from others and coughing or sneezing into our bent elbows and disinfecting surfaces obsessively and not listening to the President. But the best way to fight it is to lock yourself down like I’m doing.
W1: I think maybe he is crazy.
W4: You go out once in a while though.
Me: To get food mostly.
W3: So, this is your life–getting food, eating food, staring at your phone, watching tv or movies in the other room, and sleeping.
Me: And talking to my girlfriend on Zoom.
W1: It seems like you’re not a whole lot different from us then. Maybe we should let you join the club.
W2: Speaking of your girlfriend, why doesn’t she come around anymore. She’s cute!
Me: You can see?
W2: Of course.
Me. But you don’t have eyes.
W4: We don’t have mouths either.
Me: Good point.
W1: We used to have eyes but a marauding gang of yellow fish came through and made off with them.
W4: Ah, the old walleye joke. You really should retire that one.
W3: So, why don’t we see her anymore. Did she dump you? I bet she dumped you. She’s too good-looking for you.
Me: She’s on lockdown too. Everyone is. And no, she didn’t dump me. Like I said, I talk to her on Zoom.
W1: Yeah right–Zoom. Sounds made up. She dumped you.
Me: Let’s just leave my girlfriend out of this. Okay?
W4: Fine. I wanted to ask a favor of you anyway. When you’re done taking a shower, would you please not come out here to get dressed. It’s not a pleasant sight. It’s bad enough the bathroom walls have to put up with it.
W2: The other side of me is a bathroom wall. I wish I did have eyes so I could close them.
W1: My other side faces your neighbor’s entertainment center. I’ve seen plenty of naked people on TV. You look like a poor imitation of them.
W4: I feel naked myself. One has that big painting hanging on him of a guy holding his ears and looking like an elephant just stomped on his toes.Two has the air vent and thermostat and breaker box and a calendar with a picture of a “Police Public Call Box.” Three has a poster of a strange-looking woman holding a trombone…
Me: She’s called Mona Lisa…
W4: …and another of what looks like a macaw in a business suit who means business…
W3: …Don’t forget the squashed fly that got swatted when it landed on me last week and a certain person never cleaned it up.
W1: Hey Three: You’re fly is open.
Me: Sorry. I’ll take care of that later.
W4: Anyway, this is my point: I’m the only bare wall here. So I feel naked.
Me: I’ll see about correcting that.
W4: No. Don’t. I like feeling naked.
W3: Please excuse him. He’s a bit strange as walls go.
Me: You just called Four “he.” I also heard “she” used for Three earlier. Are there walls of different sexes?
W2: No, but we are not “its.”
Me: OK, but talking to you guys is freaking me out. This should not be happening. It’s not normal.
W2: Well, if that’s the way you feel, I won’t talk to you ever again.
W3: Me neither.
W4: Or me.
W1: Or me. You hurt my noggings.
All together: Goodbye!
Note: They didn’t keep their promise.