ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #76,767 [07/06/1976] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of three types of dust: House Dust, Street Dust and (ah-choo!) Library Dust.

They were all happy and calm in their respective environments, and would get agitated only when others were nearby. Whenever a feather duster encroached on House Dust’s territory, he would flip out. If a car drove too close to the kerb, Street Dust would scurry away. And if a pair of hands took a book down off the shelf, Library Dust would set upon the owner of said hands with silent disapproval.

One evening, House Dust, Street Dust and Library Dust met in their favourite pub, ‘The Holey Pillow’. They liked having a drink or two after a hard day’s work, and repine their lot in life.

“Surely there’s more to life than this?”

Street Dust sniffed derisively. “Well, Homie, you need to get out of the house more often.”

“You’re one to talk!” scoffed Library Dust. “You just sit there in the gutter and watch the traffic go by.”

“And what do you know?” was Street Dust’s retort. “You’d have more life experience if you bothered to read the books you lounged around on!”

As the number of empty glasses on the bar grew, their words became less polite. The barman was even beginning to cast nervous glances at the bucket of cold water placed beneath the till—the best way to settle hot-headed disputes between Dusts. But, as it turned out, he ended up not having to resort to this.

“Hey, Bookster!” hiccupped Street Dust a little later (into his ninth Guinness). “What if we make this interesting?”

Library Dust burped over his shoulder. “Sure. What do you propose?”

House Dust was snoring with his head on the table. What a lightweight!

“What say Homie works at my place, I work at your place, and you work at Homie’s place?”

Library Dust eyed Street Dust with a degree of suspicion. “For how long? And to what purpose?”

“Nothing too crazy. Let’s say… a week. As to the purpose? Well, whoever does the best job in their new workspace gets a hundred bucks each from the other two.”

A bone-crushing handshake and another full glass cemented the deal.

In half an hour they’d left the pub and were rambling about bawling ‘Dust Pan Blues’. We can’t tell for sure what the Police didn’t like—probably because Library Dust sang out of tune—but the Dusts soon found themselves in the local Police station.

“Hey, Guard!” hollered Library Dust who then proceeded to vomit between the bars onto the corridor floor.

The Guard didn’t bother to hide his disgust as he ambled over to the cell, his thumbs hooked into his belt in stereotypical tough guy fashion. He’d only just begun his shift and he could already tell it wasn’t going to be his night.

“Guard!” croaked Library Dust, wiping his mouth. “What’ve you got against the classics? Gene Autry was genius, man!”

“I’d agree,” said the Guard through clenched teeth, “if I even knew who that was.”

Street Dust snorted derisively from the back corner of the cell. He was laying on his back on the bench. House Dust was crouched near him on the floor, cradling his face in his hands.

“Look, you guys, just sit there and think about your risky behaviour while I fetch the interrogation reports.”

“Ooh! Reports!” squealed Library Dust excitedly. “I love reports!”

The Guard rolled his eyes as he walked away, being careful to sidestep the pool of vomit.

“Hey,” added Library Dust, “shouldn’t someone clean that up?”

The Guard flipped him off as he disappeared through the doorway at the end of the corridor.

As chance would have it, the Janitor passed by the holding cell just fifteen minutes later. She saw the pool of vomit, as well as a very dusty bench and floor inside the cell itself. Even the bars had lost their shine. Naturally, she brоke into a sweat. The Marshal was pretty strict about this sort of stuff, and could revoke her Christmas bonus for leaving such a mess. Panicked, the Janitor ran to the mop closet.

As for the three Dusts, they were sound asleep—or was it a coma brought on by the consumption of too much alcohol? Either way, it no longer mattered for when the Janitor returned and set about her task… well, let’s just say that she got to keep her Christmas bonus after all. Unlike the Guard. He got the sack, and we’re not talking about a red one full of toys. One doesn’t get rewarded for letting prisoners escape!

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