Fred Mugford


Many times there was a large man who liked to wear baggy pants and shirts with many pockets. He banged pipes for a living, for money, so he could eat and sleep under a roof, and buy inconsequential things. But this is not important. On his journey through life, he had acquired a small ball and chain attached to his ankle. Of advanced technology, the ball and chain were diminutive in size. But the ball, containing a high density achieved through scientific material advancement, weighed as much as a cannonball despite it being the size of a pea. The chain, almost thread like, like a spider's web, could not be broken by any conventional means.

The man walked through life possessing two things: the knowledge of a key, and that key. The key would undo the ball and chain from his ankle and set him free. But which pocket was it in? He checked and looked, on occasion, forgetting which pockets of the five thousand and thirty four he had already checked. He could not be bothered to devise a simple process of elimination to find out in which pocket the key was in.

The man could be seen walking around towns, shopping centers and doughnut shops, dragging his miniscule ball behind, tethered to the almost invisible chain. He complained of his burden to any one who cared to listen, always ending his sentences with an 'Ugh'.

Tired of not getting anywhere, on a clear blue sky day, the sort that terrorists and disasters like to strike on, the man made a decision. To avoid looking for the key, with much struggle and pain, he lifted the pea sized cannon ball weight up to his mouth and swallowed it to lighten his pain.

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© Fred Mugford