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Battered-Sofa

 

There is a sofa. It is not an ordinary sofa. It is a sofa in a small library, but that is not what makes this sofa so special. It is a sofa that has small holes with bits of sponge spilling out, but that is also not what makes this sofa so special. Indeed, there are many sofas that have existed around the world and throughout the history of sofas which all have small holes with bits of sponge spilling out. So there is nothing special about holes on sofas.

What is so special about this particular sofa is that you need to pay a bit of money just to sit on it. On the side of this sofa is a coin slot, like the coin slot on a vending machine. But unlike a vending machine, this sofa is not selling a beverage to quench your thirst, neither is it selling a small snack to tide you over until supper. No. This sofa is selling you the ability to sit on a somewhat comfortable surface. Actually, with all the small holes that riddle its surface, it is quite ridiculous for this sofa to claim any level of comfort at all. But the alternative is to sit on the floor of a small library that has not been cleaned for over a month, as well as risking the ire of an angry librarian who is glaring at you for depriving your local library one source of its income. So most people will just get on with it and pay £1 to sit on this sofa for a whole of ten minutes.

Now, if you choose to sit on this sofa without paying, something strange and embarrassing happens. In spite of the numerous holes with bits of sponge spilling out which make this sofa so butt ugly, beneath the surface of the sofa lies the most ingenious mechanism of sofa history, which is the ejecting spring. As you might already know, the coiled spring is nothing new to the anatomy of the modern sofa. However, unlike the coiled spring in the average sofa which sits in your living room, the ejecting spring that hides innocently in this sofa has a different purpose: it punches you hard on your fundament if you had the gall to so much as demand a free seat from it. In fact, it punches so hard that this sofa has on more than one occasion left an unsuspecting tourist cowering and whimpering on the dusty floor of the library. It punches so hard that they once invited a world famous sumo wrestler to do a little experiment with said sofa, and in the end it was the sumo wrestler who needed repair.

But throughout human history a brave and revolutionary figure will rise from time to time, and the oppression brought on by the vending sofa in this small library is no exception to that. Two blocks away from this small library lives a lady named Miss Peach. No one is sure of her given name, not least because she only gives her name as Miss Peach. But her name is not what is important about the legend of Miss Peach. What is important is that Miss Peach freed her local community from living under the tyranny of the vending sofa.

The legend goes like this, more or less. One fine day, Miss Peach had gone to her local library, not because she wanted a quiet place in which she could read a book or a newspaper, but because after months of not paying her bills the gas company had finally decided to cut the heating in Miss Peach’s flat — and they had decided to do so in the middle of winter. Yes. Gas companies can be so horrid like that. Tired of having to pay a king’s ransom just for the basic necessities of life, Miss Peach had then decided to commit the audacious act of sitting on the sofa in her local library without putting a single penny into the coin slot.

The ejecting spring in the sofa did exactly what it had been programmed to do, and the cushion sprung forth onto Miss Peach’s posterior. But Miss Peach was having none of it. Legend has it that no matter how many times the sofa projected Miss Peach and her bottom into a brief flight, which was followed by a very hard and unpleasant landing onto the floor, and no matter how sore her bum became as a result, Miss Peach was determined to get back on her two feet and force the dreaded sofa to accept her behind with grace, free of charge.

Surely this cannot go on forever? You might ask. Indeed, the company which made this vending sofa had suspected very early on that some anti-capitalist individual was going to do exactly this, and they had just the plan for it. After what must have been Miss Peach’s umpteenth attempt to enforce any human being’s most basic civil liberty, which is the ability to sit in their local library for free, an ominous rumble could be heard coming from the entrance. It was a forklift. The approaching forklift, which was driverless, interrupted the silence of the library with a loud, intermittent ‘beep-beep-beep’. But by now no one in the library could possibly be disturbed by this noise, because they were all already staring at Miss Peach’s one-woman war with the vending sofa. And that included the by now very cross librarian.

Unfortunately for the forklift, Miss Peach is no petite lady. In fact, her mass is significantly greater than that of the sumo wrestler in the experiment. Until today, no one is quite sure how Miss Peach was able to sustain less damage than the sumo wrestler. The forklift, on the other hand, was not designed to handle such great weights. None of its designers were anywhere near Miss Peach’s planetary size. They were all the modern types who ate quinoa and drank grapefruit juice all day without ever getting tired of their bland diets or pretentious lifestyles. It was for this reason that, after its first attempt to lift the object of its mission, the forklift’s engine died with a pathetic hiss.

Now, this left the spectators in the library absolutely elated. For it was the first time anyone had defeated the forklift which, along with the vending sofa, had become a symbol of the evil corporate-type behavior that was imposing its ways on this friendly little town. Soon enough, everyone had risen to their feet in unison and begun thrashing the vending sofa with their library books. And how they thrashed! Eventually, the sofa was nothing but a rubble of fabric and sponge. Of course, not every vigilante was there for justice, and some of the freedom fighters soon began collecting the change which had rolled out onto the floor from the sofa’s carcass.

The bit which is left out from this great fable, however, is the fact that Miss Peach really never intended to disobey the sofa or break the forklift, let alone start a revolution in her own town. She had simply forgotten to pay £1 for her ten minutes of comfort, and then found her huge behind stuck on the throbbing cushion of the angry sofa. The truth is that Miss Peach was just a fat woman who could not get out of her seat. Indeed, she was quite horrified by the chaos that ensued after she broke the forklift, albeit grateful to be rescued from the imprisonment of her rear when the dreaded sofa was destroyed.

But in the greater scheme of things, it is the moral of a story that matters, not its facts. Miss Peach was to be remembered as a local hero — an accolade she came to accept in due course because it meant that she could finally quit her job and fulfill her dream of writing a memoir. In fact, within a week of the incident, a statue was enacted in front of the library in honor of Miss Peach’s bravery. An European artist was invited to design the statue, and he was very truthful in his depiction of the ugly sofa, as well as the lovely round shape of Miss Peach’s bottom. Everyone admired the statue very much, and everyone bought Miss Peach’s book when it was published.

The librarian, on the other hand, did not remain in her job for very long.

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