Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #16

May 25th, 2009 by Wordsman


“Are you sure it’s behind the couch?”

“Of course it’s behind the couch. Where else could it possibly be?”

“Did you check under the couch cushions?”

“Of course I checked under the couch cushions. Now are you going to shut up and help me look, or are you going to just sit there and . . . hang on, I think I’ve got . . . something . . .”

Dave lifted his arm slowly out from behind the couch. The object in his hand was not the remote control they had been searching for. It was not, in fact, a remote control at all, but it was something that was plenty capable of helping them to temporarily forget that they were unable to watch television.

“It’s a sword,” Jordan pointed out as he stared at it, mesmerized.

“Yeah,” Dave agreed. He gripped it by the handle and rotated it slowly in his hand, watching the light reflecting off it. “It’s a fencing sword, I think,” he added, tapping his finger on the rubber tip and then sliding it down the rest of the blade to see if it was actually sharp anywhere. It wasn’t, but in Dave’s mind that did not make it any less awesome.

“Where did it come from?” Jordan asked.

“From behind the couch. Duh. Weren’t you watching?”

“No,” said Jordan. He was so fascinated by the weapon that he even forgot to punch Dave in the arm for being a smart aleck. “How did it get there?” He frowned. “You don’t suppose it belongs to Jon, do you?”

Dave laughed. “Yeah right! Jon? Owning something as cool as this? I don’t think so. It must have been placed here by some higher power, lying dormant until its true master came along to claim it.”

Jordan’s frown deepened. “Hey, what do you mean, ‘true master?’ Why should you get to keep it?”

“Because I’m the one that found it, obviously,” Dave replied, still staring at his prize. “Haven’t you ever heard of ‘Finders Keepers?’” he explained, as if he was citing a major Supreme Court case.

“That doesn’t mean you were destined to have it,” Jordan argued. He stood and approached the couch, flexing his arms menacingly. “You just stumbled on it randomly. You were looking for the remote control.”

“Dude, don’t you remember the story of King Arthur?” asked Dave, who remembered it from the cartoon movie, not the book he was supposed to have read in high school. “He didn’t know that the sword was special. He was just looking for any old sword. But he pulled it out of the stone, so he got to be King of the Britons. This is exactly the same deal. Quid. Pro. Quo.”

“I bet even King Arthur would have had to give up the sword if someone fought him for it,” Jordan said.

“You want to fight?” Dave asked, standing up and holding the sword out, shielding himself from the potential attack.

“You can’t use the sword in a fight to see who gets the sword!”

“Oh can’t I? You think you can stop me?”

“You want me to stop you?”

“Yeah, I’d like to see you try to stop me.”


Dave and Jordan both paused, one with sword in mid-swing and the other with palms raised to catch it ninja-style. They turned toward the entryway. Jon was standing there, his eyes wild. “Put. The sword. Down.”

The voice was so much more authoritative than what they were used to hearing from Jon that they complied immediately. Dave set the sword down on the couch without a second thought. Even Jordan, who hadn’t specifically been told to do anything, lowered his hands and looked guilty. Jon walked over to the couch, and some of the color returned to his face. “Where did you find this?” he asked, his voice significantly calmer once the sword was back in his hands.

“Behind the couch,” Dave answered meekly.

“How did it end up back there?” Jon wondered aloud.

“Hang on,” said Jordan, when he had worked up the courage to speak. “This is your fencing saber?”

“It’s a foil,” Jon replied reflexively. “But yes, it’s mine.”

“You fence?” Dave asked.

Jon sighed. “I used to. Haven’t had any time since I started college, as you can probably tell by the fact that this ended up behind the couch.”

“Oh,” said Dave. “That’s cool.”

“What?” Jon asked. He wondered if he was slightly delirious from the shock of seeing his roommates playing with his hundred-dollar foil. It was rare that anyone said that he or anything he did was cool, and hearing the phrase coming from Dave was doubly surprising.

“That’s . . . really cool,” repeated Dave, who also seemed a little bit uncomfortable with the unfamiliar wording (unfamiliar when directed at Jon, at least).

“Thanks,” Jon said. He gripped the foil by the handle and rotated it slowly in his hand, watching the light reflecting off it.

“So, can we—” Dave began.

“No,” said Jon.

“You don’t even know what he was going to ask,” said Jordan.

“Yes I do,” said Jon, “and you can’t borrow it. Not even just to look at it. Do you have any idea how much this cost?” Dave and Jordan had no idea. They still thought of it as a magic sword of destiny, which of course would be invaluable.

Jon saw the disappointed looks on their faces and thought. “But you can have a snack,” he said at last.

“Huh?” Dave asked.

“A snack,” Jon said, heading toward the stairs, foil in hand. “You have snacks, right? Don’t you keep them in that cupboard on the right above the sink?”

Jon walked up the stairs to his room, feeling unusually pleased with himself. He had found his missing foil, and he had done his good deed for the day. Jordan opened the right-hand cupboard above the sink, expecting to find only chips, and he located the missing TV remote.

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