The Gap: A Micro-Story

Bent, again. Jason took the legs down again, flicked the little red switch in the middle and folded it back to its compact state. From here he turned it onto its back and laid it out flat again, this time putting the red switch into the locked position. He stepped back and observed the tabletop, lying flat against the floor. Victory! Jason flipped the legs out, clicked in those little silver buttons that hold the legs at a certain height… what were they called? He didn’t know if they even had a name. At last he flipped the table over onto its legs and stepped back to view his handiwork only to discover that damned bend in the top again. The two sides of the table simply refused to meet; yet when laid flat they met perfectly! He surmised from this that the problem must be contained somewhere within the legs, as the upturned table had been quite flat, but they looked straight!

A book, one of those books that you never read. A book that sits on the bookcase with its wide hardcover spine facing the lounge so the guests are impressed. A book that has more than once led you to its Wikipedia page in order to obtain a basic grasp of the plot for small talk, yet after skimming the page you find even the summary too long and complex. For Jason that book was War and Peace, and he took that book and placed it on the small gap between the table’s two sides hoping the weight would push them flat. A small change was made in the table’s structure, but the gap remained. At seeing this his frustration got the better of him, and he slammed his palm down on top of the tilted surface, then watched as the book was shaken from its tilted resting place and fell to the floor. After retrieving the book he returned it to its decorative resting place and turned to see the table, now slightly more tilted as a result of his strike, as if to mock him.

He thought back to that afternoon, and the trip to his local Kmart that had resulted in his current dilemma. In a moment truly fit for Robert Frost he had stood in front of two boxes, both boasting convenient fold up tables and had picked the box that looked less beat up, and just hours later here he was, with a table so flat that it could have passed as a teepee. He packed the table back into its plastic wrapping and slid it back into the box.

The next morning he trudged back into the Kmart, table in one hand, receipt in the other and a sheepish look on his face. As he walked through the store he eyed a display boasting small wooden tables. He paused for a moment and eyed off one of the black ones, but thought better of it. Arriving home he unpacked and set up his new table, only to flip it over to see that damned gap.

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