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Being "O"

You have heard of the letter of the law, I suppose. I don’t imagine you ever bothered to ask much about it. There aren’t many who do.

It is, “O” by the way, and I am O, and I suppose that makes me the letter of the law. One of them at any rate.

Why O you might ask?

It is a fair question. After all, the word law does not even contain the letter, O.

Not unlike justice, O is circular. You can start and end anywhere you like. At some point, you’ll just wind up where you started.

While it isn’t in everything, O is in lots of things, sometimes more than once. There are of course the other hard-working letters – E and T and R and S and L and so on. They have important jobs to do. They help ensure words continue to have power. The word Power itself is a fun example showcasing my teamwork (yes, I said teamwork) with E and R…and P to boot.

People work because language works and language works because we work. And this is really a story about birds’ eggs, but I’ll get to that.

I saw L and G and Y in a gallery of all places, complimentary cups of wine in their hands. A couple was regarding a painting and, as I entered, they seemed to be arguing about whether or not it hung straight on the wall.

“It’s fine,” the man insisted. His partner rolled his eyes. “It’s clearly askew.

Askew – what a well-balanced 5-parter! But I digress.

Of course the fucking painting was askew. The whole gallery was askew to be perfectly honest. L was double-featured and choosing to drink herself silly.


I could have screamed her name, but I find that harsh whispers are more effective with her.

“O!” she chimed. “G and Y were thinking you might make it out. And by the by, I have a proposition for you, and I know not every word deserves to be saved, but there’s this poor ole chap studying birds’ eggs….”

I knew what she was getting at before she even got there.

“An ology," I said.

“Oology” she crooned.

Now, you’ve got to understand – L liked being surrounded by me, had been coming onto me since the time of the Greeks. Studies drove her crazy. The idea of following a double helping of me was downright irresistible.

“I won’t. You know I can’t. And you really should quit your boozing. There’s a gallery depending on you to hold it upright.”

“Ah c’mon O…it’ll be like old times.”


“Fine!” she screamed, throwing the dregs of her wine in my face. “Be with your beloved N!”

And that was that.

To say the split has been an injustice is the understatement of the millennium. People remember ologies for the moment. Forgetting always takes time. I fear for the future.


There might be a way. It goes against my very nature. The nature of all letters. We are meant to work together, to participate in a conducive workflow. To uphold the order of the world. I could perhaps spellbind L. No one could ever learn I’d done it. And I’d need some help. I couldn’t do it alone. But maybe N….

L can suspect nothing.

You won’t tell, with you?

It would mean the end of all L words where O and L are not together. It’s what she meant to do to me. I know it but can’t prove it. Forced cohesion.

But a letter’s gotta do what a letter’s gotta do.

I knock on my lover’s door. It is little more than a rap, but she hears at once and opens for me.

I don’t even need to say anything. That’s what I love about this dame.

She looks at me and smiles.

“I’m in”

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