DI Hughes

I’m The Bracket

I’m the bracket

Believe it or not, we’re not an endless supply – some hunchbacked factory replicas made en masse to order. We’re rare – and we work harder than anyone – or anything.

It all started with a blank page back in the late 60’s and then all of a sudden – BOOM – a whole army of interactive characters, just waiting to be arranged into some sort of legible order, appeared out of nowhere. We’re a real mixed bunch. Perhaps we’d stick to our own if we didn’t have a purpose to serve. I mean as a bracket, can you even imagine the hidden messages I have to keep from the others?  Closet secrets that have scarred me to the core, but that’s my job – and I’m proud of it.

I get put on all sorts of assignments, from legal jargon to ‘who stole whose knickers’ in the online tabloid gossip columns. I see and hear everything from the mundane to the magniloquent, but no matter what, my purpose remains the same – to neatly enclose snippets of information in a passage, and hide it from the characters either side of me. No matter how much those devious little vowels and consonants try to break my curved wall of silence, I won’t bend. Why you say? Simple. I’m The Bracket.

Hyphens, commas, full stops, colons, semi-colons, uppers, lowers…the list goes on. Once upon a time we all got on fine and took pride in the fact that we were all serving a greater purpose: communication, documentation, prose. But then it all went shitty. Really shitty if you ask me.

Everyone starting getting lured in by the lust of the almighty cursor. Its blinking authority is an Achilles heel to the weak, the superficial, and especially those slutty ‘at’ signs. It seems like yesterday that we’d all allow ourselves to be arranged in whichever way our master chose through the astute authority of our cursor,  and just be happy to be on a job. We’d laugh and chuckle and whisper and banter; holding our positions until we were whisked into the abyss to start all over again.

I reckon the real tension started around three years ago. Many of us were assigned to our usual word processor to help structure a letter: a guilt drenched confession of first degree adultery. It was top shelf stuff – the very stuff we craved to be a part of. It should have been simple.

Whilst wedged on the right hand side of small arrangement of words that so eloquently read ‘we did it at your gran’s place too,’ I noticed the full stops and commas fighting for our cursor’s attention.

‘The sentence doesn’t stop here’ one squiggle said.

‘It does, the paragraph has come to a close’ replied a dot in retort.

‘You don’t monopolise where these sentences start and finish, you arrogant turd.’

‘I think you’ll find that we do – it’s our job. You’re just jealous because you’re not as powerful as us.’

In the blink of an eye, the cursor removed them from the page and scoured around at our row to see if anyone else wanted to be silenced. My lower half trembled; I nearly let the secret out.

Since then there have been lots of isolated incidents like this. Many characters are sucked in by the allure of the cursor and its superiority over the rest of us. Others just want to bring it down for their own taste of literary glory. I heard the hyphens are planning to get rid of the forward slashes; I still can’t work out why.

The problem is, no one knows their role any more, they all think they’re bigger than the page; bigger than the author. After all, we’re just pawns. But pawns with a purpose.

Not to worry, you won’t see my letting the side down. No matter what mutiny may lurk beneath the pearly white page, I’ll stay strong. I’ll always do my job. Want to know why?

Well, because I’m the Bracket.

For more Flash Corner, check out On My Way.

Image: takomabibelot via Flickr

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