Some of the Life of Gilbert

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Fantasy
Some of the Life of Gilbert is R J Dent's short story about the differences and the similarities between money and bullets.

Submitted: April 23, 2016

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Submitted: April 23, 2016

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Some of the Life of Gilbert

by R J Dent

 

 

Gilbert was very, very fed up.

He'd been sitting inside a locked vault for several weeks and wanted to be out in the world again – circulating, as he'd been created to do. He thought back to his last week of independence; the way he'd been happily mixing with others, in and out of different environments, aware of movements and touch. He'd made a lot of people happy and had not been bored once.

Now – a few weeks later – he was feeling a little dull, there being no light, movement or friction in the vault. He'd asked some of the others about possible futures, but they were all – with the exception of Rhonda – too busy crowing about past glories.

"Once," Oswald rather pompously stated – for the twentieth time – "I was exchanged – with a few others – for a Rolls Royce."

"You said Jaguar before," Ellen said shrilly.

"Or was it a Rover?" Jamie asked in his soft voice.

"The type of car doesn't matter," Oswald snapped impatiently. "What is important is  that my personal value is far higher than yours."

"But you're worth exactly the same as the rest of us," Gilbert interupted.

Oswald sighed in exasperation. "I'm very much aware of my value, thank you, Gilbert. My point is that – unlike many of you – my actual worth exceeds my stated value.

"Like Gilbert said, in here, you're worth the same as the rest of us," Rhonda said. "Nothing."

"Fortunately, I don't subscribe to your pessimistic view of existence," Oswald said in a superior tone.

"You will when we're moved from here," Rhonda said softly.

The barrage of questions which followed this piece of supposition continued for a while, but few were satisfied with Rhonda's answers, for she was – as usual – simply speculating. Her main piece of speculation was that there was a place in which they all got taken, in order to be re-circulated – she'd heard it from one of the others a long time ago and believed it.

"I was once partly responsible for the elevation equipment in the Concorde airliner," Jamie said, once there was quiet.

"Were you? Rhonda asked, pleased to change the subject. "What was it like?"

"Quite interesting," Jamie replied. "Not like in here."

Nothing interesting happened to any of them until half a year later, by which time, Gilbert was beside himself with boredom. Then he was taken out of the vault, dumped into a truck and driven to a huge smelting plant. He was then taken – along with the others – out of the truck, thrown into a storage room at the back of a furnace, and left there to wait some more.

Once again, Gilbert got quickly bored.

Finally, on Friday, the 21st of August, he was taken out of the storage room and driven into the furnace room, where he was dropped from a crane into a white hot furnace.

Once he had been incinerated, Gilbert found that he still had an essence of his own, despite being mingled with all of the others. Somehow, although only existing in molten form, he had an intrinsic self which was defined within – and without – his former shape. This made Gilbert curious as to the nature of the reality of his existence. If he could live without form, then there was a part of him that existed separately of form, which meant that there was a part of him not needing the imposed shape that had once contained it. Therefore, why was he form? He pondered on this, but couldn't find a satisfactory answer.

During his pondering, a pourer lip was attached to the furnace, which in turn was slowly tilted to one side and the molten contents poured into moulds. The moulds were placed in a cooling room and left for a day.

Gilbert got bored again.

He chatted with the others, but again no one – not Rhonda, not Jamie, not Oswald – knew their fate – nor comprehended the new form they had been given. They all agreed that they were hollow cylinders, and that they were predominantly copper. Beyond that, it was all speculation. Their intended function was unknown.

Finally, Gilbert was removed from the mould, and then filed, sanded, polished and boxed. The box was taken to a lorry, the lorry driven to its destination, the box unloaded and stacked with other boxes, and then he was left again.

After six months, Gilbert was bored to distraction again.

He tried talking to the others about his idea regarding non-form, but they weren't interested. They were too curious about what had happened to them.

"Why are we all grouped into one container?" Oswald asked sniffily.

"It's obviously a form of punishment," Ellen said drily.

Oswald – for once – chose not to interject.

Gilbert recognised Ellen's comment for the flippant remark it was, and did not respond.

Suddenly, he felt himself being removed from the box and placed inside a metal chamber. He sat in it for a few minutes, until he suddenly felt an explosion near to him. The force of it sent him hurtling along a steel corridor and out into the air.

Gilbert was no longer bored.

He felt himself passing through a human body, then through the air again. His boredom was gone completely. He felt himself enter the trunk of a tree. He wondered what was in store for him.

So he waited. As he waited, the tree trunk slowly grew tight against him, whilst sap dripped against his outside, eroding polish and shine, making him dull again.

Bored again, he waited.

 

*


 

Some of the Life of Gilbert (905 words)

Copyright © R J Dent (2001 & 2016)

 

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