A Gathering of the Hemlock Society

socrates     The tween twins arrived home after a typical day at middle school.  They agreed not much had gone down.  That is how typical usually goes. More had yet to come.  That meant nothing but the usual clang and accompanying clatter. Doors and whatnot.  Opened, closed, ajar.  Conflict, along with struggle.  No peace, no justice. Verbiage.  Verdicts.

Then the yin twin said to me, “I have to engage in a Socratic dialogue for Social Studies and reach a conclusion by Friday.”

“What exactly constitutes Social Studies these days?”


“Oh, that.”

There was a challenge in the way she was licking a cherry popsicle.  If I’m not mistaken the stick was no longer made of simple pine as back in the day. I pretended I was not unaware. Socrates in middle school, I thought.  Hmm, how wise.   But I reached no conclusion.

“Good luck with the conclusion part,” I added.

She said, “You have to help.”

“What else would I be doing here?  There’s a question for you.”

“You can’t be clueless about it.”

“Ask away.”

“You’re not listening.”

I said, “All I can do is what I can do.”

She said, “That’s real helpful.  What gem are you going to come up with next?  It is what it is.”

“But, it is.”

“And so then you get to say, James Brown said that first.”

“It still beats whatever came next.”

“As if.”

“No, whatever.”

“You think if you act dumb enough I’ll get fed up and leave you alone.”

“It’s worked so far.”

“Sort of.”

“What makes you think it’s an act?’

“That’s not what I said.”

“Nothing wrong with that.”

“What’s right about it?”

I said, “Another weighty question.”

She said, “You only think you can hide.”

I said, “You seem to be getting the hang of this philosophy stuff.”

“As far as you know.”

“Or nearly so.”

“You have stamina, I”ll give you that.”

“You once again seem to have all of the answers tucked away in your hip pocket.”

“What about the questions?”

“What about a point or points to make?”

“The point is an A in Social Studies.”

“There are a lot of good ones to pick and choose.”


“Are you sure it’s not  ‘as if” in this context?

She said, “I’ll be in my room.”

“I’ll be right here continuing to think hard.”

“Or, whatever.”

“I’ve got a good one for you. What about: who am I?”

She did not respond.  I expected no less.  She did not look back.

Before he slipped away, I said to the yang twin “What about you?”

“I’ll be in my room, too.”

“Not that.”


“Not that, either.”

“You have a real problem, do you know that?”

“Only one.”

“As if.”

His popsicle had turned his tongue bluish.  If the flavor did not start out artificially as grape, what in theory could it have ever been? And possibly prove.  Not any fruit I recognized. It matched the bruise around his eye. Sort of.  I never did learn how that happened.

I asked, “Since when is this about me?”

“What kind of question is that?”

“It’s simple.  I know I’ve asked it before.”

“Your point?”

“We’re searching for truth, remember?  Do I need only one?”

“Point or problem?”

“You know better.”

“The same as you.”


“As if.

“Now, you’re just mocking me.”

He said, “Why can’t you just spit it out for a change?”

“That’s not the point.”

“Not a conclusion, either.”

“You’re both too good at this.”

“You can call me Socrates from now on.”

I said, “Not so fast. Wait until you find out where that leads.”


About marclevytoo

writer of fiction
This entry was posted in culture, parenting, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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