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Once upon a time, before time began there was a god called Wait. He was very lonely, so one time when he was feeling especially alone, he shouted out - 'Save me from myself!' Because there was no one to hear, his words echoed around the cosmos. Then there was a bang and a crash, flashes of light; and there in front of Wait stood Now in all her splendour.
'Hello' said Wait 'Who are you? Where did you come from?'
'My name is Now, and I arrived just then when you called out for company. You seem a strange looking fellow. Why are you standing with one foot forward and one foot back? How come you don't stand with your feet together?'
'Never mind about me, you're a sight for sore eyes, with your hair sticking out every which way, and your arms and legs spreadeagled. You can stand at ease you know, why don't you stand easy?'
They went on like this for several more sentences, neither Wait pausing nor Now waiting before they began all over again. Soon they were in a real muddle. Neither knew who begun the conversation, nor who was supposed to stop it. It had a life of its' own.
Just then there was another bang, crash and fizzle and Begin had arrived.
He took a step, very short, forward, stopped and did it all over again to where Wait and Now were standing. As soon as he did that, he turned round on his very slippery heels and began in the same way again.
Both Wait and Now, very desperately had wanted to say something just when this began to happen. So they had to wait for the moment when Begin turned around again and began to make his way back to the two of them. He had just started to introduce himself, ' Hello, I'm Begin and I .....' when Now shouted 'wait!' Wait turned round and said 'What now? Can't we just say hello, I'm Wait, this is Now.'
Begin began before anyone else could get a word in.
'Who are you two? There I was enjoying myself with two slices of cake. No sooner had I taken a bite of one, put it down and taken a bite out of another, the first cake reappeared in all its' fullness with no bit missing, as did the second a moment later. You two are responsible for stopping this happening anymore, my cakes have gone. I'm Angry. In fact I'm furious! I've had a never ending supply of cakes and other goodies for ages and now that's stopped.'
'Don't single me out as one of the culprits' said Now. 'I've had nothing to do with your arrival here. I'm sorry you feel the way you do and I wish I could have my cake and eat it too, only I just got here as well not long after Wait and I got acquainted. So why don't you begin now.'
So Begin began, yet never said more than this same sentence, got to the end and began all over again.
' I was sitting eating a bite out of two slices of cake, first one then the other, and as soon as I put one down the other fulfilled itself and became whole. I was sitting eating a bite out of two slices of cake, first one then the other, and as soon as I put one down the other fulfilled itself and became whole. I was sitting eating a bite out of two slices of cake, first one then the other, and as soon as I put one down the other fulfilled itself and became whole.'
And on and on Begin went, hardly even pausing for a breath and certainly not waiting to find out if Now or Wait wanted to say anything at all.
Now it came to pass that Wait finally shouted 'Wait, that's enough! You began your story begin and you kept on and on with the same old sentence. We heard the first bit about the cakes, now tell us something different.'
This confused Now, who thought it was her turn to say something so she began without a moments hesitation.
'I was sitting on my favourite stool by the fire, next to my friend Time when I heard your call. Without any thoughts I began to think of who might have called me. A moment later having paused to consider how long I would have to wait to find out the direction of the call I disappeared and reappeared in front of you Wait. I don't know how this happened but I know Time does exist, because I've just left him.
Now, that was pause for thought.
Copyright James Middleton. 31 st. October 1995
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