Say what?


“You sure there isn’t an easier way of doing this, Nick?”

“Do you seriously opine that I would be expending energy digging under this fence by hand if a less arduous route to achieve the same result were available?”

“Knowing you, yes.”

“Wha… why are you expressing that assertion?”

“You just answered your own question, Nick.”


“For starters, I said ‘an easier way of doing it’; you had to say ‘a less arduous route to achieve the same result’. Then, instead of ‘what makes you say that?’ you ask ‘why are you expressing that assertion?’ You have a way of making the easiest job unbelievably complicated.”

“I would respectfully dispute your proposition.”

“Will you stop it?”

“What particular activity would you prefer I cease, precisely?”

“Precisely? Being a no—”

“Henri. I would prefer that you not resort to employing abusive epithets in such a deleterious manner.”

“It’s Henry, not Henri. I’m not French and I don’t have a poncy French name. I’m Henry, like eight kings of England. In fact, why don’t you call me Harry.”


“Coz I like the name, and you can’t mess with it. Why can’t you ever call a spade a spade?”

“Too imprecise, old chap. The term covers a veritable multitude of similarly constructed but functionally distinct tools used for digging or cutting earth, sand, turf and the like. Many people employ the word ‘spade’ when they really mean ‘shovel’. Do you really resent linguistic accuracy, Henri? Do you, perhaps feel threatened by it?”

“Harry, not Henri! And no, I don’t feel threatened, but I don’t like having to have a dictionary in my hands every time you open your mouth to speak. Why must you make everything so bloody hard?”

“Language, Henri, language.”

“Are you telling me off for swearing?”

“Not at all, my dear chap. Merely pointing out to you that language is important. Expressing oneself accurately displays intellectual respect for one’s interlocutor, whilst modesty of language; choosing one’s words in a respectful and measured fashion; demonstrates basic human empathy with others and an awareness and understanding of their sensitivities.”

“Is that available in English?”

“Oh, shut up and help with the digging. The bloody van keys are bound to be in there somewhere!”

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 227 published on this site.

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