A talking stick and a circle (cycle)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
The following is a work of fiction; completely plagiarised from one day in my life.
A festival. A circle. Or cycle. A group.
And a stick that may or may not be for talking.

Submitted: September 13, 2012

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Submitted: September 13, 2012

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The following is a work of fiction; completely plagiarised from one day in my life.

So this is the story of a men’s circle.
Or cycle, I forget what word he used.
It still fucks me off.

We were at a festival with all this blahdablah yadayah things going on, people were doing talks about war, and peace, and poverty, and economics, and social change etc etc and people were drawing and painting and doing shows. There was music. I forget the bands, Roddy Womble from Idlewild headlined. We missed it. We never missed it due to anything that follows; we just happened to miss it.

This 'man' (the quoatations become apprent further on dear Reader) comes up to me and asks if I want to go on a 'mans circle' (or cycle, dear reader you should remember

from above I forget the exact word). I reluctantly agreed to meet them at half past 12, they assured me I would hear them beating drums and see them. It would, after all, be a circle (or cycle) of men.

I was rest assured, slightly, to see the man was a man of his word. But his words didn't fill me with hope. They were there. They were beating drums. I thought I would crack a joke. 'Oh I do like a man’s circle (or cycle) where when a man keeps a promise. He didn't smile or even acknlowdge my attempt at humour. He told us to pair up and talk about 'what is a man', while we walked for fucking 20 minutes, to a 'fire pit.' I latched onto the first person I saw that wasn't paired up. He didn’t latch on to me quite as much as I had to him.

He was an impish fellow, with little to say. I asked him 'what's this all about?', he must have misheard me, as he replied with 'I came with an open mind.' The teenager in me laughed at this. A man’s circle. An open mind. Haha. I still laugh at the dirty minded thoughts that went through my head.

Anyway, i'm deviating, and this is turning into a very long story. Perhaps I should have e-mailed it (i didn't e-mail it as I didn't think it would be of any importance, my story - to your day).

So we walked in silence. I could hear other people behind me in more talkative pairs. So I decided to have a conversation with myself - in my head (I wonder if my impish companion done the same, maybe he was replaying our conversation earlier pretending he said more to me?)

We arrived at the fire pit. They kept drumming for another ten minutes, giving out more drums. I didn't get one, nor did I offer to take one, eventually it came to a surprisingly, if not obvious conclusion with a fast drum bead and shouting 'HO' at the end.

The leader talked (I say leader, he wasn't my leader, but it comes to my knowledge, and your soon to be knowledge dearest Reader, as you shall find out thustly).He asked us to put our mobile phones away behind us. I do, I feel the people on my left and right pose my phone no harm. He talks again. He runs events, for men, to help men become men in a modern world, as he says men have no rights of passage as they did in the past, and men are not men. He mentions the word masculinity. It's at this stage I thought about standing up, telling him to go fuck himself and walk away. I don't. They produce a talking stick (they, the 'leader' and his probable protégés''). It transpires we can only talk if we have the stick. As he says, ‘as a man it is good to be listened to.’ He says he does this once a week with a man’s club. They go to the woods. They do rituals with fire and drums (again, my teenage mind sniggered...rituals...forest...men only...I sniggered again).

He says we have to answer the question 'what is a man/what is it like to be a man.' I forget the leaders answer verbatim, as, believe me Reader, it was swimming in absurdity about masculinity and being listened to and feeling a sense of power and men being men and women being women. There are at this point, around 25 of us, the stick goes round each person (I should say man, but i'm not going to) for their turn to talk with the talking stick. I forget all the answers except an odd looking fellow who was called Trevor. Trevor looked like a chubby version of me, I liked him already. He said being a man shouldn't be important, being a decent person should be. I liked Trevor even more. The stick goes on. My walking mate, who I find out can answer questions that are asked of him, answers. He talks about how he went to an all male school, and how he didn't feel manly (I wondered, how does one feel manly. I don't feel manly, nor do I not not feel manly...I wanted to suggest cutting down a tree, drinking cheap strong lager, picking up girls and fighting, he was being serious so I thought best not to crack a joke based on my earlier attempt). He went on. I switched off. The next 4 people answered the exact same way; then it came to me. The impish fellow was being quiet as he was with a group of 4 other people. 4 of his friends I assume. Making him number 5. They paired off - and he he was stuck with a tall lanky chap with braces (not for teeth) and doc martens (also not for teeth).

At this point I should point out, after passing the stick on, you end by saying ‘ho' then everyone repeats it in unison (another ritual, meaning what - I never found out).

It came to my turn. I took the stick.

Now, there's one thing about me, I prefer not to talk directly about myself, but I do love a captive audience, I’m fairly quiet in groups, but I do enjoy standing up and talking. Again, I forget what I said verbatim. It was something along the lines of what Trevor said. I did go with 'if we all wrote what we said down on blank paper, our thoughts, emotions, ambitions, fears, dreams etc, and females done the same, there is absolutely no way we can tell a male from a female. Besides the obvious physical differences there is none. I say it's not what is a man, it's who you are. I believe you should stay true to yourself etc’, I basically withered on about how there is no such thing as a man, or a mans role and nor should there be (I would like to have thought I had done my mother proud).

I said 'Ho.' They said 'Ho' in unison in return It did occur to me that went rather well. But in reality it didn’t. I know this as the leader disagreed. I know he disagreed as he said, 'I disagree.' I asked him what about the talking stick. He forgot about the talking stick. I passed it to him. This makes me think he found a stick on the way and wanted us all to take a turn holding it and it wasn’t a true talking stick, after all we were in a forest, the one place where you could find a stick. Perhaps if we were in a bakery we would have had a talking baguette.

One of the protégées, sensing the leader was annoyed moved things along. He made a speech about masculinity or something. I wanted to look at my phone. It was behind me. I didn't, I thought I had best to give him respect, as after all he was volunteering to run this (but I had volunteered to attend! What is the protocol in such situations?).

The leader said the next question is 'what emotions do men suppress’ without using the stick.The answers went around the circle, the stick didn’t (I definitely thought he had just found a stick – a non-talking stick).

The answers were given, most of which I can't remember, a few people said they weren't good at relationships as they can't be emotional (I didn't understand either so do not fret Reader). It came to my turn. I thought (in my head none the less) ‘it’s more important to be true to yourself than to be pre-occupied with by being a male. I thought I’ll be true to myself’. I said ‘the only emotion I suppress is apathy. I don't care if that guy can't show emotion. I don't care if that guy thinks his relationship with his daughter is failing. I don't care what Trevor thinks about being a man. And in all honestly, I don't care about this thing. Whatever it is. It's pointless. There is no such thing as a man, other than the physical. I don't care if you're married, the weight of your new born child. It's all bullshit to me. It doesn't trouble me in any way or affect my life. If you can't show emotion, which, I think you may mean you can't show affection or love. Then you are a flawed individual. If you need to go on a mans circle (or cycle? It's really bothering me now, WHAT DID HE SAY?) to find out if you're a man, why don't you go on a humans circle (or cycle...) to find if you're human. Or an emotional circle, to find out if you show emotion, as you are clearly very flawed in more ways than one if you feel you have to prove yourself to be a man. This is bullshit. Everything you're saying and stand for is bullshit.’

I said 'ho', no one else said it this time. I picked my phone up (it was still there, i’m sure you gathered this by the fact I picked it up, I could trust the left and right!). I walked away. The leader chased after me, he asked me what I was doing. I said I’m leaving. He argued with me, or tried to, about why it's important to be a man and that I’m clearly not. I counter acted this with, and I quote, verbatim, 'I bet there's plenty of people sitting around your fire, who think exactly what I think, just they didn't feel they could say it. I was liberating my apathy, both towards this.' I shouted over to this protégée 'thanks for helping me get my apathy out.'

The leader shouted something to me as I walked away, it was inaudible. I must admit, I did feel a bit manly while walking away.


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