Who’s playing in today’s game? said Blurtso. The Lions and Bears, said Harlan. When do the Donkeys play? said Blurtso. There isn’t a team called the Donkeys. Really? said Blurtso. How about the Elephants? No, said Harlan. Really? said Blurtso. Then why is the NFL so popular?
What are all these? said Harlan. They’re books, said Blurtso. Books? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, I used the money I had left over from my school grant to publish my novel. Your novel? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, Blurtseau Lundif – Corsaire Extraordinaire. How many copies did you print? said Harlan. Only five thousand, said Blurtso.
What are you looking at? said Harlan. There’s a knot in one of the roof boards, said Blurtso. Yes there is, said Harlan. I wonder how it grew that way? said Blurtso. I don’t know, said Harlan, the wood around it is smooth and symmetrical. A whirlpool in the stream, said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. I wonder if the roof is weaker or stronger where there is a knot? said Blurtso. I believe it’s weaker, said Harlan, because when the wood gets dry the knots can pop out. Yes, said Blurtso, now that you mention it, I’ve seen old boards with holes where the knots had been. I guess there’s no good reason, said Harlan, for a knot to remain in a board after it has already asserted its independence by going against the grain. Maybe this one, said Blurtso, asserted its independence by staying.
What are you doing? said Harlan. I’m looking at a piece of straw, said Blurtso. Oh, said Harlan. It’s a very nice piece, said Blurtso, with lovely color and shape. Yes it is, said Harlan. It’s been a while, said Blurtso, since I really looked at something—it’s quite refreshing. How long have you been looking? said Harlan. I’m not sure, said Blurtso. That long? said Harlan.