The Small Town Soap Box

fictional mini story

There in the middle of a small town square of a few hundred people… was a very practical wooden box about a meter square or three feet at every dimension. Every Friday afternoon before everyone went home for dinner one person stood on the box and spoke of the week’s currents. Another may stand up on it and give some advice, yet another may tell a short story or some jokes and that’s it every week. Who gets to stand on the soapbox? Well it could be the same people, or the whole town could take turns. What if the whole town did take turns and certain people were “always unavailable” when it was their turn?

One day a youth went looking for an older woman who was never taking her turn. He went to her home on the outskirts of town and knocked on the door. “Ma’am? Why haven’t you taken your turn on the box during my whole life? No one even wants to talk about you.”

The old woman was slow to begin then replied, “I stood on the soapbox for an hour in my youth. I was shaking from injuries and malnutrition and told the story about the sister town twenty miles away that was raided and burned to the ground. This town doesn’t even want to look at me because it reminds them of what happened.”