Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
by Tyler Tanner
Foul Bob woke up in a foul mood because the foul sun shined through the window, fouling his sleep.
“Ugh!” he turned over, trying to block the sun’s glare from his eyes. But he could feel it burning a patch on his back as it brightly shone through the window of his cabin.
“Cock a doodle doo!”
There was no way Foul Bob was going to rest a minute longer. Not with that dang rooster fouling it up. He truculently got up from his bed and started the day.
He added more wood to the fire in the hearth (he got a splinter) and put the kettle on to heat yesterday’s coffee. He swept the sparse cabin with a dilapidated broom, lightly dusted his furniture and sipped his lukewarm coffee and made some tasteless porridge. All with a frown on his face. The only thing that gave him a slight joy was his pottery. He made the mug and bowl himself and he thought they were pretty.
“Cock a doodle doo!”
Dag nabbit! He was tired of that dang rooster. He was going show him. He opened the door to the outside and grabbed a handful pebbles by the porch and chucked it at that irksome bird. The rooster fluttered away from him and returned to his proud stride.
“Cock a doodle doo!”
He went back inside and grabbed the broom to let the rooster know he meant business when he saw Happy Dale standing in the dirt road on the other side of Bob’s fence.
“Hiya Bob! Beautiful morning isn’t it?”
“Feh! Some morning! The sun was in my eyes and that rooster won’t stop crowing. They woke me up. Why can’t a man just sleep? I got a splinter and besides that, I think I may have gout.”
Foul Bob lifted his trouser leg to show Happy Dale the red irritation on his calf. He was pretty sure it was gout.
Dale looked at the leg with some interest. “Oh…..well hey, you know what today is?”
Bob made an exaggerated face, opened his palms and shrugged his shoulders in response.
“Today’s the opening day for Market! You can get yourself a poultice for your leg and, from the looks of it, you could get new a broom too.”
Bob had wondered why Dale was dressed up in his best tunic and now he knew. The road in front of Bob’s cabin turned and led to the main path through the village but not before the field where markets and fairs were held. It was just beyond the tree line. Bob sighed. Now he had the noise to contend with. He’ll have to listen to it for the next three days. A family passed by on the dirt road behind Dale. The mother took one look at Bob, and pulled her child close, avoiding his gaze. The father did not even look at him. Bob called out to the woman.
“I know your kid’s been in my Barn! Don’t think I haven’t noticed!”
The woman stopped and turned to him, irritated. “She hasn’t been in your barn. No one goes in your barn. No one wants to go in your barn.”
She turned back and walked toward the market with her family, nose in the air.
“So whadaya say Bob? Want to go down to the market with me and stock up?”
“Heck no! Buncha snake oil salesman and shysters! The last time I went, a guy tried to sell me salt from Zanzibar. But I knew better! Probably just got it from the ocean down the way. Joke’s on him.” This was his opinion from the get go and he didn’t care who knew it.
“Oh, that salt is really good! I got some and put it on my chicken. It was delicious! You should have tried it.”
“No thank you” And with that, he shut the door. He peeked out the window and saw Dale sigh and slump his shoulders, walking away. Good. Dale listened. Now he won’t get any and not get taken. Again.
All day long he heard people coming and going along the road to the market. He couldn’t read his books in peace and he couldn’t make a new mug in his shed without someone saying “Hi” to him beyond the fence. He checked his barn for kids. He was sure that they had been in there, trying to make his life miserable. It was a foul day beyond foul days.
At night, Bob roasted a chicken on a spit in the fireplace for dinner. It was bland. Just like the porridge he had for breakfast. He thought about what Dale had said about the salt. But no. There was no way he was going to get taken by someone selling salt of all things. But he couldn’t help but wonder if the chicken might taste just a little better.
He was pulled from the thought from a ruckus outside. Bob went to go look. The Market has closed for the day and now it seemed the entire village was on the road, walking back to their homes, under a full moon. Folks had bolts of new cloth and baskets of bread. Children were smiling as they ate sweets from sticks they were holding. He even saw Dale. Reaching into a pouch and sprinkling a little salt on his chicken leg. Dale took a bite, chewed thoughtfully, smiled and moved on. That was the last straw.
“Will you all just shut up?!? I’m trying to get some peace and quiet! You act like it’s the biggest thing ever! You all know it’s a scam and you keep going anyway!”
Foul Bob caterwauled on his porch through the din and no one, not even Dale, paid him any mind. No one even glanced his way. They just passed him by with smiles on their faces, unaware of Bob’s foul mood. Before he knew it, the people were gone and Bob was still shouting and complaining to no one. Only the full moon as his audience. They should have listened to him. To see it his way. But then, the people were smiling and happy. And he was completely alone. He was about to go back inside but something caught his eye down by the fence. It was Dale’s pouch of salt. He picked it up and was about to chuck it into the night but a thought occurred to him. Bob went back inside, shut the door and sprinkled just a pinch on his chicken.
It was delicious.
The sun shone through the window of Bob’s cabin on his face. He was about to turn his back in annoyance but he opened his eyes and looked out the window from his bed. It actually was not a bad looking day. If you liked that sort of thing. His feet were on the ground before the rooster started crowing.
“Cock a doodle doo!”
Bob added some wood to the hearth (no splinters) and started a fresh kettle of coffee. He swept and dusted like he always did, but couldn’t help but admire the sunrise through the window. He stepped out of his cabin onto the porch, new mug in hand.
The same family from yesterday was walking along the road. The Mother caught Bob’s gaze, rolled her eyes and sighed, hugging her daughter close.
Bob cleared his throat. “Good Morning. Um…..uhhh…..pleasant sunrise isn’t it?”
The woman blinked in surprise. “Yes. Yes it is.”
“Umm…. Are you all off to the Market Day again?”
The man spoke up “There’s blueberry stall that wasn’t there yesterday. We like to add them to our porridge.”
“Blueberries in porridge?” he scoffed. But then, he sneered at the salt too. “I never thought of that. That sounds ……pretty good” Other folks started to make their way along the road toward the market.
“I like your mug. It’s very pretty,” piped the little girl.
“Why….thank you. I think they’re pretty too.”
“Hiya Bob!” Happy Dale came sauntering down the dirt road. “Say. Have you seen my salt? I bought some last night and seem to have misplaced it.”
“Uh yeah…..hold on.” Bob went back into his cabin and grabbed the pouch lying on the shelf next to numerous homemade bowls and mugs. He had another thought.
Bob came back out, carrying a knapsack. The family and Dale were still waiting for him. Bob handed Dale the salt.
“You were right,” he said simply.
Dale didn’t say anything. Just smiled. Bob then procured a bowl from his sack and offered it to the little girl.
“I make these. If you want, you can have this one for your porridge and….uh…blueberries.”
“You should come with us” said the man said. “I do a lot business with the vendor. I’m sure he can give you a discount” The woman glanced at her husband severely. The man ignored her.
Bob saw all of the people smiling around him on their way to Market. In spite of himself, Bob nodded. “Okay.”
“So how do you make such nice pottery?” asked the woman.
“Well,” answered Bob, “you first have to find the right clay….”
And as he went on talking about the thing that gave him joy, people around him were finally listening to Foul Bob.
Originally from Texas, Tyler Tanner, as a young lad, dreamed of becoming the next Don Dokken. At Lon Morris College his musical tastes refined and realized he was more of a Robert Goulet type. He then tried his hand at writing comedy. It started with an online comedy troupe called What’s Wrong With Wally, then evolved to Tres Grimm at The Met and a late night serial comedies at Sacred Fools and The Eclectic. He has now “matured” to drama where he incorporated his wittiness and love of history into a monologue called “A Life” which played also at the Eclectic.