August 4, 2015 9:50pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 20 Comments



“You called?” said the tall, willowy man who appeared at his side.

Dylan turned his head and stared at the stranger who had suddenly appeared beside him, his hands clenching inside the pockets of his khaki, K -WAY jacket. “Sorry…what?”

The man sighed. Dylan continued to stare at him, waiting for him to get out of his personal space. The stranger remained stationary, arms folded and gazing out at the space front of him. Dylan fingered the mobile phone in his pocket ready to whip it out if necessary. The man didn’t look like a nutter but he was behaving like one. People always seemed to invade your personal space when you wanted to be alone and think. A gentle walk to clear the feeling of uneasiness was all he’d needed and as he’d stopped to admire the timber tiles on the old church and lose his thoughts to the sky, this weirdo pops up out of nowhere. He felt the sole of his trainer catch on the metal ridges of the grate as he shuffled slightly away.

“Why is a manhole cover round?” The man asked.

Dylan looked up from the metal cover that had caught his foot. “What..? look..”

“It’s a circular question, Dylan,” the man interrupted.

“Wha…How do you know my name? Do I know you?” Dylan studied the mans face. Nondescript; fading into beige. He didn’t recognise him.

“Manhole covers are round because manholes are round.” The stranger answered and stared into Dylan’s open mouth. “Like I said Dylan, I heard your call, or should I say, your screaming thoughts.”

The stranger took Dylan’s shoulders and turned him slightly. He didn’t protest because he couldn’t move. The only thing he could feel was the increasing heat from the phone still held firmly in his hand. That and a wave of panic.

“That’s better.” The stranger dusted off his hands and came to face Dylan. “A solid quarter turn to lock you in place. It’s impossible for you to fall into your own hole now. “

“I’m, I…err…I’m not sure I understand…following your meaning.” Dylan stammered.

“Oh come now, Dylan! You’re even starting to drain me. It’s time to put a lid on it. What do you want to become?”


“Yes, Dylan. Become. What is it you want to become? You’ve been thinking about that a lot, have you not?”

“ Well…I…I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.” Dylan felt like a school boy in front of this presence.

“Dylan, you seem to just spiral into a heap of thoughts and get lost in the detritus. You appear to have lost your position in life. Your load has reached maximum capacity, my friend, and you are drowning in your own shit as well as everyone else’s. It won’t be long before people start to avoid you.”


“Get out of the sewer Dylan! Are you human waste or HUMAN waste?”

Dylan wanted to cry. He wanted to cry because he felt violated. He felt small. He felt like this because the man was right. He felt the blockage start to shift.

The man smiled.

“When you become something, you start to be that thing,” the stranger stated as he started to walk away. “Think about that, Dylan.”


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The manhole pic is truly awesome in itself. This is no Thames Water fabrication. More like Neverwhere. The start of Everywhere. Something the average human takes to heart, or just the awakened few? Bah… Stumbling into ourselves or purposing ourselves, any movement toward ourselves, if it happens or we do it… As long as we push to become it, even if we’re wrong, we can reinvent it… That is how much power we can realize we have… Is what I think.

Hello Miss A, I hope you are well 🙂 I took that picture the other day. As soon as I saw the word “Become” on it, the story began to evolve in my little head!
We have so much power but we are so used to, or programmed to get lost and shy away from becoming the thing we want. And what if we go wrong? What if we fail? The depths of the sewer will be much thicker then. Winning is easy, staying there is hard.
Keep on pushing, I say. 🙂

Living well is something that takes effort. Mediocrity is simple. And a wasted effort is — normal.

Dum vivimus vivamus

Hello Larry 🙂
A wasted effort is usual. What is normal? Who decided that?
aut viam inveniam aut faciam!

“Normal” is subjective, which is to say that “I” am normal. You (and everyone else) are suspect. (haha)

I’m not in a position to argue with that except I’d take you on our side. 🙂

In point of fact, I’m ALWAYS on your side, Jules. It was the whole lack of interest in wearing a body warmer that finally won me over…

I like that kind of loyalty, Larry 🙂 and particularly that you’re a firm member of the ABC (anti body warmer club)

I have been reminded that we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS. It’s much harder to allow ourselves to BE in a world that tells us we should be DOING something.
“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear” Lao Tzu

My Wise Owl….
NO! I am, as it happens, a human -doing- human beings. …actually, that sounds a bit suspect but you know what I mean 🙂
There’s always an answer for anything and everything isn’t there but they only work if they quell your fears.

Stand in shit, get ill and start to stink.

What is Become?! Is that the name of a town?

Are you Dylan? I think we’re all Dylan.

Too much time passes between your posts.

No flippin’ idea. I believe it’s a make of manhole cover as it was in French land.

No, I’m not Dylan although I do know many Dylans and have, at a time or few, been very Dylanish. As you rightly say, there’s a bit of him in all of us at some points.

Yes, I agree. I’m very easily distracted. 🙂

“Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.” 😉

Always love reading your stuffs. (Yes, stuffs.)

That’s made me feel a bit dizzy, that comment. Me? A dizzying intellect? I feel honoured. Thank you, Crystalicious. 🙂

did someone say stationery? your pic captures are the best, mah dahlin, you are truly Photographess Prime. this is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles origin story, right? a stranger is only a friend who hasn’t been made aware of one’s updated facebook status. i’m off to use this in my morning meditations *praying hands emoji* *heart emoji* *)

Thank you for pulling me up on that, my sweet. What with that and my parcel tongue I could invent a new language. Maybe I should stick to being a Photographess. I was clearly thinking of a rose scented, missive of a man….

*burgerbeef emoji followed by Cinnabon emoji* *) <---Best

I feel sorry for Dylan in a number of different ways. I think he would have fared better if he’d treated the man like a comedian. The crack about the round manhole cover and the circular question was a good one!

Hello Mr. Gorilla Bananas! That particular crack is used in job interviews. If you don’t answer correctly then you’re too square to get the job. I love it!

Profound my dear friend. Love the manhole cover and what it inspired in you. That last bit…when you become something, you start to be that thing…yes! Hats off to you on this one. Brilliant comeback xx

Why thank you, Tracy 🙂 Lets become awesome sauce!

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