Let’s Bubble Up to the Surface and Smell the Numbers

now when things went south for you…
and the value has obviously increased…
that’s my question where’s the damage…

assume that everything went horribly wrong…
what’s your damage assume your damage…

you can’t just roll on and on…
let’s make the motions…
let’s start pushing this…

a healthy lawyer-to-lawyer relationship…
give me whatever you got…
to me it sounds a little skeptical…

so what I’m thinking is…
maybe what I can do is…
something like that could even…
if I have to hire somebody like that I just might…

you got burned on this one but life moves on my friend…
I think we need to take care of all the…
and then you and I will sit down and…

bubble up to the surface, smell the numbers…
get all our ducks in a row…
stop the hemorrhaging…

this is my stop I’m getting off…
call my girl…
we’ll get your gravy back…

(A cellphone conversation overheard on the Long Island Rail Road. Submitted by Derek Owens)

A nice place to visit

Mommy, the universe
is such a big scary place,

says the little girl with red hair.
Oh, yes, it is such a big scary place,
says the red-headed mother
of the little girl with red hair.
But don’t worry, dear,
we’re not going there.

(Overhead in the Hayden Planetarium, New York City. Submitted by J.R. Solonche)

Commuter Chat

I have a vision of the universe
– because nobody can find the end of it –
as stuffed in a glass jar
on someone’s desk,
maybe God’s desk
but a desk, anyway.

I think the white noise on TV
is the leftover noise
from the Big Bang.

Overheard at Macclesfield station, March 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

Prescription for a creative burst

I want to sit out in privety
with my dressing-gown on
and nobody to see
but it must have a balcony.

Then I can finish my writing.
It’s a hundred-and-forty a night, with a hot tub.
That’s no good. I can’t write
with a fountainpen in a hot tub.

I wonder if there’s background music.
I can’t have the sort of music
that keeps you jumpin’ all the while.
There needs to be quiet.

The windows have got to open.
I must hear water all the time.
If I get a room that’s luxurious
I’ll get writing in half the time.

I want to see Rooms One and Eight.
I want to see if they’ll do.
I don’t need you to come with me,
but I’ll need you to move in with me.

It’s all sketched out already,
just waiting to be filled in.
I’m tense till I get this settled.
Can’t get my head round it till then.

Overheard in a hotel bar in Ludlow, Shropshire, on the 10th March 2013. Submitted by John Killic.

Crustacean Odyssey

Ever since we were an item,
for years, we had an affinity
for crayfish.

They didn’t stay for long
in the garden.

They didn’t like the pond then
– was it running water?

It was very quick. It didn’t have time
to be un-running.

Did they all go together?
How could they know where to go?

They’ve got eyes and feelers,

Yes, but for underwater, not on land.
And how could they do that, across fields and roads?

I don’t think “road” is in their vocabulary.

I wonder if they went in a line…

What we don’t know is how
they got out of the garden. The fence
it comes right down to the ground.

Maybe a cat killed and ate them –
Oh no, then you’d see the shells.

A cat wouldn’t do that!

Yes it would, if they were moving around.
A cat will eat anything that moves.

Well, they just disappeared.

A conversation between an older man and a younger woman, overhead at breakfast in a Shrewsbury B&B, 2009. Submitted by MsJinnifer.

Counting on Him

He’s thirty-three, for Chrissake,
thirty three. Thirty fucking three.
Three, three. This year
he turns thirty-four.
And he’s still expecting me
to sort his life out. What have I done
to get to deal with all his shit?
Some times he forgets
I’m still twenty-one.

Overheard outside the Southbank Centre, London, at about 3pm on February 2nd 2013. Submitted by Judi Sutherland.


I mean I actually have to
send him a link
to the thing I want.

I mean I would almost
rather him not buy anything for me…
because he just goes
and buys me something

really SHIT. And he’s started being
really funny about it, like now
he buys me something
and says I probably won’t like it

even before I unwrap it. And I
just said to him that it’s better for me
to SAY I don’t like it and take it back,
than to pretend. And

I must have mentioned like
twice a day that I want
some stacking rings. But he
sees that as like an engagement ring,

like I’d MARRY him
for Christ’s sake. I mean if I want
to find out what HE wants
I would ask his friends.

Why doesn’t he do that? Oh, and then
he goes online to Sophie
to ask what I want
and she tells him that I want

some black jeans and this poster
I linked to on Facebook, and he
just didn’t pay ANY ATTENTION to her…
Yes but I shouldn’t have to say

what I want.

A phone conversation overheard on the train from London to Pewsey, 4.36pm on Wednesday 19th December. Submitted by Jo Bell.