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The Simple Things · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Dense Masonry
“Do you realize how much you've disappointed me, Softsoap?” scowled Frau Archbrau.

Softsoap flinched and tried to set the offending teatray behind an unobtrusive sofa. “I strive to be attentive, Madame…”

“No. The answer is no,” said Frau Archbrau. “If you did, you would have crumbled to the ground in utter shame. Your presentation of the tea biscuits took unwarranted liberties, with no thought to the care that Chef LaPouffle took in their creation.”

“With respect, Madame, I do not think it quite fair that the Chef gets to display her art to you daily, but that mine must remain ever submerged below your attention…”

Frau Archbrau stared at him a few microseconds too long for comfort. “You must work to better effect with others. Groundsgrowth, please come at once!”

Groundsgrowth the gardener appeared almost immediately, so attuned was he to standards of appropriateness that he felt her call before she even uttered the breath. “Yes, Madame, how may I be of service?”

“Groundsgrowth, Softsoap has devolved in his sense of refinement, and requires remedial training. Please escort him to the west garden wall.”

“At once, Madame.” Groundsgrowth seized the protesting Softsoap and set off to the outer wall, where Softsoap could see a large unfinished gap.

Groundsgrowth dropped his yelping charge near a stack of bricks and mortar. “Softsoap, you are now assigned a simple task to rebuild your efficacy. This wall must be repaired. You are to use the Stupid Bricks you see here.”

Softsoap stared at the hole, then the bricks in the pile. Stupid bricks? Admittedly, they had creases in them that did resemble obdurate faces. “This… doesn’t sound hard…” he muttered.

“Excellent! I shall leave you to it. I shall stop back in an hour, by which time I expect the repaired wall to be head-high!” Groundsgrowth strode off to tend to a thorny rosehedge.

Softsoap sighed, seized the trowel and slopped mortar onto it, and laid down the first tier of bricks in what was surely acceptable time. He built up an efficient rhythm, and soon had multiple tiers in place.

At this point, he misjudged and dislodged one brick from its place; it fell to his feet.

“Hey, she just fell!” exclaimed the neighboring brick. Softsoap, who had been lifting the fallen brick back into place, froze in amazement. “It waff an affidenkt,” he sputtered around the brick in his mouth.

“Yeah, but she got to fall, and I don’t think it’s fair that she gets to fall and I don’t get to fall too!”

Softsoap set down the brick in his mouth. “Enough of that, you’re just a brick. It’s your job to go into a wall and get mortared in and stay there. Now let’s hear no more chatter.”

Softsoap bent to fetch another brick, but the complainer spoke again. “Yeah, but she still got to fall, and it’s not fair that she gets to fall if I don’t get to fall. I’m gonna fall!” The brick shifted and fell, knocking over the original falling brick which now landed painfully on Softsoap’s hoof. He swore an unrepeatable imprecation and danced about in pain.

“Hey, did those two just fall?” came a stony voice from the second tier of the wall.

The blood went thick as mortar in Softsoap’s heart. “No, they did not. It was the joinder of happenstance that misled you.”

The speaking brick’s dull rocky face got harder and grimmer. “I think I heard them fall. And I don’t think it’s fair that they get to fall and I don’t get to fall…”

Softsoap knelt to rap the obtuse brick with the handle of his trowel, but others were joining in… “Who fell?” “Hey, are we getting to fall now?”

And with a crash, the constructed wall came down painfully all over Softsoap.

With a rattling clatter and crunch, Softsoap was hauled from the pile of bricks by Groundsgrowth, who dusted him carefully and provided him with a towel to wipe off the mortar. “Have you gained any perspective from this experience…?” queried Groundsgrowth.

Softsoap winced. “I see now that it is not enough to espouse total freedom; when one is uninformed, it leads to unproductive chaos. Henceforth I shall comport myself to work comfortably with my associates, that we may collectively form a stronger and more effective bond.”

Groundsgrowth nodded. “Well done! Now come with me if you would; there is another matter of a very thorny rosebush on which I could well use your assistance…”

Softsoap groaned.
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