THE BALLAD OF NEIL THE NAIL
(Without the little guy, nothing will stand)
a Short Story by Stephen Llewelyn
Hot extrusion, squeeze and… daylight! All shiny and new, the whole world to greet. From a big bang to sudden existence, to sudden exuberance. “Look one and all, see my shiny magnificence,” expounded Neil the nail, when almost immediately he was shoved into a cardboard box with a load of other wretched nails and plunged into darkness.
Time passes, until one day, Neil is plucked from his box once more into the light. “Yay! Now you’ll see what I can do in this world. What a nail I am! Observe how the sun glints along my―”
“What the―” Smack!
“Oi! What’s your game―” Smack!
Three violent blows and Neil was in darkness once more. A pithy darkness, that left Neil pining for the light, but he was now just another nail in a pithy, pine box.
Perfect for purpose, Neil was nevertheless taken for granted almost immediately before being forgotten altogether, as rust and rot returned him to the earth.
Neil was never famous, he was never a Nine Inch Nail, he never crucified anyone of note, he just did his job… and so ends the ballad of Neil the nail, the lost-head who lost his head so there could be a bed, in which the swinger of hammers might lie eternal.
Copyright © Stephen Llewelyn 2021
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