It sat in the middle of the room, untouched. No one knew where it had come from; Mr. Pinkerton had simply walked downstairs that morning and found it perched on his coffee table. After the initial shock and subsequent examination of the object, he had called his neighbor to ask what ought to be done about it. His neighbor, Mrs. Fuddleson, had suggested he call the authorities, and so he had. Which was why, at this very moment, there were six men in lavender uniforms standing in his living room. They had now been staring at the object for upwards of twelve minutes, and finally one of the uniformed men broke the silence.
“Well, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“No, I can’t say I have, either. It is truly a unique object.”
“What shall we call it?”
Mr. Pinkerton took the momentary silence to ask if perhaps they should try to figure out where the object came from, and how it managed to perch itself on his coffee table in the first place. Some of the men rolled their eyes, while others simply frowned.
“Civilians.” one of the men sighed. ”Mr. Pinkerton, unless we have a proper name to address the object, how are we to go about explaining its presence? One must be able to identify an object before we go about discussing extraneous matters such as why or how it arrived on your coffee table.” Mr. Pinkerton lowered his head, nodded meekly, and sat down on his sofa. The men in lavender continued their conversation.
Suggestions for names were tossed around the group, and one man pulled out his cell phone and made a call to headquarters. He had a quick conversation while the rest of the group was debating the possibility of drabbelwhorf, then snapped his phone shut and cleared his throat to gather attention.
“Gentlemen, I’m afraid we have a rather serious situation on our hands.” The group quieted and looked up attentively. ”It seems that..well, there’s no easy way to say this. It seems that we’ve run out of words.” Audible gasps emanated from the group. Mr. Pinkerton started rocking nervously in his seat.
“None? None at all?” one man quipped.
“None. We used our last word three days ago on the glasterforple.” The bearer of bad news pulled out an electronic device from his suitcase to prove his point. ”Look.” The group crowded around the device, and as they each looked up their ideas for a name, the fear and perplexity grew in the room. The device, aptly entitled Names for Everything, was distributed annually by HQ, and provided a list of, well, names for everything. The idea of a dictionary was now obsolete – there were simply too many words to put in a single book. In addition, the sheer quantity of words had rendered it impossible for a single person to know every word, so if someone found an object they did not know the name of, they could simply pull out their Names for Everything and look it up. But the current situation left them in a serious quandary.
“It seems that there is not a single word available that is not currently being used,” continued the man with the cell phone. ”And HQ is unsure of how to approach this problem.” The men all bent their heads in thought; Mr. Pinkerton stared intensely at the object. Suddenly, he spoke.
“Well, it looks a bit like an obulon.” The huddle of men looked up at the sound of Mr. Pinkerton’s voice. They looked at him, and then slowly turned their heads in unison to stare at the object on the coffee table. The man with the cell phone was the next to speak.
“True, and it has the same color as a lobbotrip.” Other voices soon chimed in, citing similarities in shape, size, color, and potential function in relation to other objects already in existence.
In the end, it was decided that the object would be named, “The object similar to a bisseldorf but also like a ippitydoo, with a slight resemblance to a quackessy and not entirely unlike a frumpidump, and perhaps more like than unlike a vishelsnap in texture, but with a shape more akin to a yabascope.” It was added to Names for Everything the following day.
Michelle Roll (2011)
Creative Writing Minor: Communications, French, Honors
Michelle is a senior creative writing major at Chapman. She enjoys aphorisms, witty banter, and bouts of lively debate. Upon graduation, Michelle hopes to move to New York City with the aspiration of employment.