Today we present three short vignettes, written from the quirky mind of author Robert Germaux. As a multi-genre author and retired English teacher, Germaux recently showcased his sense of humor in his essay collection Grammar Sex and Other Stuff. Readers can see Robert’s other books on his Amazon Author page. Robert Germaux welcomes interview and guest post requests via his website.
Setting: A crowded restaurant. Loud voices can be heard coming from a table in the back, where a man and a woman are arguing, shouting over each other, clearly becoming more and more agitated. A nearby waiter turns to the room.
“Is there a grammarian in the house?”
A good-looking man gets up from another table and approaches the waiter.
“I’m a grammarian. What’s the problem?”
“These people are having a terrible time trying to communicate. I’m not a professional, but I think they’re dangling participles, splitting infinitives and really screwing up their subject-verb agreement.”
“Stand back,” says the man in an authoritative tone. “I’ll handle this.”
He sits down at the table and begins speaking to the couple in a firm but quiet voice. Soon, the man and the woman are smiling at each other as they use the backs of their menus to take notes. Minutes later, the woman puts her hand on the good-looking man’s arm and, in a soft voice, says, “Thank you.” He nods, stands and walks back to his table as a round of spontaneous applause breaks out.
* * *
Setting: A small village in a distant time when writers are held in high esteem for their unique skills and revered as the glue that holds society together. It is late afternoon, and a crowd has gathered outside the home of one such writer. A stranger approaches and stops next to a woman on the outskirts of the crowd.
“What’s going on?” he asks.
“It’s our Writer,” she tells him. “He’s been working on his next masterpiece. He spent all morning putting in a comma, but then he stepped out and told us he wasn’t sure. Now we’re awaiting his final decision.”
The stranger shakes his head.
“I often wonder how they handle the stress. Comma in, comma out. And then there’s the whole semicolon issue.”
The woman is about to respond when the door to the Writer’s house opens and a good-looking man emerges, holding a sheet of paper in one hand. A hush falls over the crowd. The Writer, weary but satisfied, smiles and says, “It’s out. It’s definitely out.”
A round of spontaneous applause breaks out as a voice from somewhere in the crowd can be heard shouting, “The Punctuation Party is on!”
* * *
Setting: An outdoor graduation ceremony on a sunny afternoon. A young woman in cap and gown stands at the podium, ready to address the crowd.
“When I was in Mr. Germaux’s ninth-grade English class, he made me learn how to diagram sentences, and now . . .” she pauses to take a breath and wipe a tear away . . . “now, here I am twelve years later, getting my medical degree.” A huge smile appears as she points to a good-looking man in the first row, holds up her diploma and says, “This one’s for you, Mr. G!” as a round of spontaneous applause breaks out.
* * *
(With apologies and thanks to James Thurber and Walter Mitty)
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